November reading round-up

(Beinecke Library, Yale)
(Beinecke Library, Yale)

Is it really December tomorrow already? Time really does seem faster every year. It looks like I have read way more than usual this month because I read seven graphic novels/trade paperback collections of comics and let’s face it, they tend to be quicker reads than your average non-graphic novel. I read them for Graphic Novel Week and wrote short reviews of them all here.

This week I took Tim (as a late birthday present) to see one of his favourite authors, William Gibson, speak in Bath at an event arranged by Toppings bookshop. It was a slightly odd evening, in that Gibson just did a reading from his new book then a short Q&A and implied that the main point of it all was the book signing. Every other author event I’ve gone to has had either an interviewer or the author giving a short talk, but I don’t go to that many so perhaps I’m just discovering late in the day that author events vary quite a lot!

I suppose I expected something more because this year it’s 30 years since the publication of Neuromancer, Gibson’s first novel, which has achieved legendary status and had major influence on the world that reaches far beyond those who’ve actually read it (which I had done in preparation for the event). I had seen on the Internet that Gibson was doing/had done some events specifically about Neuromancer this year and therefore expected it would at least get a brief discussion. As it was, it was only mentioned by audience members in Bath (who, incidentally, had some very intelligent questions that provoked some interesting debate between Tim and I as we waited in the cold and wet for our delayed train home).

Certainly it was different at the David Mitchell event earlier this month, at which an interviewer helped Mitchell discuss his new book and past work for a good half hour before the Q&A and signing. It’s a style I much prefer, even if it did mean I took an hour and a half lunch break that day! But then I’m pre-disposed to prefer an event with an author I’m a big fan of, whose work I have read all of (or at least all the novels, I believe there are short stories out there I haven’t read).


Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (review here)

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (review here)

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Transmetropolitan Vol 1: Back on the Street by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson

Transmetropolitan Vol 2: Lust for Life by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson

Transmetropolitan Vol 3: Year of the Bastard by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson

Transmetropolitan Vol 4: The New Scum by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson

Transmetropolitan Vol 5: Lonely City by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson

Serenity Vol. 4: Leaves on the Wind by Zack Whedon and Georges Jeanty

Ex Machina Vol. 1: The First Hundred Days by Brian K Vaughan and Tony Harris

Short stories

“Can’t and won’t” by Lydia Davis (Selected Shorts podcast)

“If at the wedding (at the zoo)” by Lydia Davis (Selected Shorts podcast)

“The party” by Lydia Davis (Selected Shorts podcast)

“The two Davises and the rug” by Lydia Davis (Selected Shorts podcast)

“The egg race” by John Updike (Selected Shorts podcast)

“Camilo” by Alejandro Zambra (New Yorker, May 26, 2014)

“The right sort” by David Mitchell (Twitter, collected together here:

“Sheherezade” by Haruki Murakami (New Yorker, available online:

“Here’s the story” by David Gilbert (New Yorker, June 9 & 16, 2014 )

“The adolescents” by Rachel Kushner (New Yorker, June 9 & 16, 2014 )

Happy December, folks!

5 thoughts on “November reading round-up

  1. Anne December 1, 2014 at 12:31 am

    I am interested in what you thought of Gibson. I have a funny little booked 365 Book Devotions, or something like that, and every day a book is highlighted. This past week Necromancer was highlighted and wondered how I had avoided knowing about it if it is truly as ground-breaking as the devotional said. Hm.

  2. Kate Gardner December 4, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Anne It’s taken me forever, but I will shortly be publishing my review of Neuromancer. I vacillate between high praise and “Huh?” so it’s been a difficult one to write!

  3. Martin December 4, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    (I’ve just read your Neuromancer review, and this comment could’ve just as well sat there rather than here).
    Just a William Gibson anecdote. I loved Neuromancer when I first read it, a couple of years after it first came out. I liked the later novels in the series, but not so much. When The Difference Engine came out, I went to see Gibson and co-author Bruce Sterling at a reading/talk/signing in Manchester’s Waterstones. My plan was to buy a copy and get it signed at the event. Unfortunately, it was the most tedious book event I’ve ever been to. The passionless reading seemed to go on forever, and afterwards neither author was willing to talk about anything other than the current book. I may have gone with inflated expectations due to enjoying the Neuromancer series so much, but I was so disappointed I’ve not been able to work up the enthusiasm to read anything by either of them since then.

    Also – thanks for pointing out that there’s a new Serenity collection! I’d missed that news.

  4. Kate Gardner December 4, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Martin Interesting. So maybe the event I went to was typical for Gibson, then. Still odd. But I guess not every author can be a genius self-promoter.

  5. Martin December 19, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    After slagging Mr Gibson’s book-discussing skills, I would be remiss not to point to today’s Guardian Bookclub podcast:

    William Gibson discussing Neuromancer.

    I confess that, when he started talking and I heard his slow drawl, I was transported straight back to the Manchester bookshop. But my fears were groundless and I thought it a really interesting discussion. Very enjoyable. Recommended!

Leave a Reply

Name *
Email *

Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.