August reading round-up

James Freeman Clarke.

I have not read many books this month. I am, however, part-way through not one, not two, but three books. And for the first time in a while I’m riveted by my current read. I have missed that feeling.

This month we have again been busy. We went to the Great British Beer Festival (many beers, but it felt odd drinking them in a conference centre) and to the Science Museum (always excellent), revisited Reading University campus, watched 1987 film classic The Lost Boys on an outdoor screen at Bristol Zoo (bats flying over the audience added to the atmosphere and walking past the lions at night is genuinely a little scary), did a treasure trail around Bristol Harbour and celebrated our 15th anniversary. So maybe it’s not surprising that I struggled to find time to read.

Happy September!

Books read

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
This is a meaty, action-packed sci-fi novel. Hiro Protagonist, freelance hacker, and YT, skateboard courier, team up to fight a shady series of corporate bad guys who are spreading a mysterious virus called Snow Crash. This is a fun adventure but includes a lot of infodumps, which irritated me.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Probably my least favourite Austen to date. I read this for Austen in August. I appreciate expanding my catalogue of classics, but Fanny Price is the wettest heroine. I could not get behind her at all. Austen’s sense of humour, on the other hand, is growing on me.

The Empress and the Cake by Linda Stift
This weird modern-day fairytale stars a bulimic narrator and an old lady convinced she is the long-dead Empress Elisabeth of Austria. It’s well written and disturbing and did I mention weird?

Short stories read

“A love story” by Samantha Hunt (New Yorker)

“The weight of the sunrise” by Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s Science Fiction)