By my count I am travelling for about 120 days from the UK to NZ. In that time I will obviously be on many flights, buses, ferries and trains; I will also likely have plenty of time relaxing at pools or the beach. So what am I to do with all that free time? Before leaving London I brought a Kindle (a little reluctantly, it is annoying there isn't real competition in the eReader market and also because none of them charge with USB C) and that began my journey as a reader (same joke I made in Footnotes to Cairo).
So, here is a running list (in reverse order) of the books I've read on this trip, and my reviews of them. You will notice a lot of Sci-Fi and Fantasy-ish books, but that's because I got lots of recommendations from The Verge and because I'm a nerd? There will be other types of books in there too, don't worry.
I will keep adding new books to this as I read and review them, so keep checking back.
If you have any recommendations for things I should be reading let me know in the comments.
5. The Sellout
I picked this because it won the Man Booker Prize, so it must be good?
As it turns out it was. A slightly tough (I'll get to that), but very amusing read focused on a guy in a Los Angeles neighbourhood that unwilling becomes a slave owner, and also starts reintroducing segregation into his essentially already segregated community. Oh, also, be is on trial at the Supreme Court over this and the whole story is explaining how he got there. It's a little weird but very enjoyable.
The reason it is a slightly tough read is the author has a habit of making multiple references and analogies in single sentences all related to a single idea he is conveying - so that leads to some pretty long sentences that might feel confusing (I got used to it, and realised it is largely how I think anyway)
24 Amendments to the US Constitution (you know, out of 27)
2, 3 and 4. The Broken Earth trilogy
(The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky)
A trilogy (what isn't these days) so talking about them as one book. All three of these won Hugo awards (2016, 2017 and 2018(technically not awarded yet, but it should win)), which is some SciFi and Fantasy book award - I am told it is a big deal?
It is a really well written series with a detailed backstory to the world it is set so it feels very alive and “believable” (I guess). The general premise is that this world experiences lots of significant, and sometimes almost world ending earthquakes and geothermal events, and the books centre around one of these world ending events occurring (at the same time it is sort of the story of a mother trying to find her daughter). It does have some magic type elements in it, but also explores how a society acts to people who are different and how happily people will hate things they don't understand or fear (and how people in power will feed this to keep power).
The first book follows three different characters (individual chapters each), and is written from different points of view (one is written in the second person, which is a bit strange but in the end makes sense). By the time you get to the second book you understand what is happening with the different perspectives, and by the third book you have a taste of the bigger picture behind everything that is happening with the world, and all the bigger powers involved. The whole story comes together well and has a satisfying end too.
9 on the Richter Scale(?)
This book is set in the future where there are robots advanced enough to be fully conscious and autonomous (like the title!). Also, pharmaceutical companies seem to largely control the world.
The plot surrounds a pirate who reverse engineers and distributes patented drugs to try and help people who can't afford them (Robin Hood of drugs), and the trouble she gets in when people start dying due to a drug she made, and the pharmaceutical companies come after her because of something she discovered doing this.
It's an easy read with clear commentary around the current state of patent laws and pharmaceutical companies. The plot pretty quickly hooked me and kept me interested right through. I was slightly let down at the very end, but I am not totally sure why.
Four out of five prescription drugs
Upcoming books I've already gotten through
6. Tomorrow and Tomorrow
7. The Gone World
8. Gunpowder Moon
9. Northern Lights (from the His Dark Materials Trilogy)
(After reading this first book I realised this is the same thing as the Golden Compass... and I have now realised I shouldn't take as many suggestions from random websites without checking things out first)