2016 in Books: Books 30 to 34

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I haven’t posted an update of my reading progress or this year in a while, so guess it is time for a quick catch up.

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Book 31: Deaths End

First off, the final part of Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past sci-fi trilogy. I was really looking forward to seeing where Liu was going to take his story of impending alien invasion. Each entry in this trilogy has followed a different character and presented itself as a unique take on the idea of alien contact, and alien invasion.

The last instalment was no exception. It was a great read, and as expected Liu took the tale to extreme corners of the imagination, whether it be three-dimensional being entering fourth-dimensional space, or the terrifying account of people and cities being destroyed via ‘two-dimensionalisation’. This story was quite gripping, but also a very intensive effort.

Having finished the entire trilogy this year I definitely recommend it.

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Book 32: Ghost Flight

After the dense thinkathon that was Deaths End, it will be good to get back into a light adventure novel. Having watched my son enjoy some of Bear Grylls children’s novels, I decided to see what kind of a story Bear is able to put together for us adults, and picked up a copy of his first adult novel; Ghost Flight.

I have to say it was a pretty cracking read, kept up a good pace of action, and had a story intriguing enough to keep me guessing. As one would imagine, there was a bunch of tradecraft and survival skills thrown in, with detailed descriptions of things like parachute deployments, and best practice for jungle trecking; but that was part of the fun of reading a Bear Grylls novel. If anything, it reminded me of one of my favourite authors, Matthew Reilly. I shall be getting the sequel soon…

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Book 33: Mythomania

I don’t know why I bought this book on my Kindle, and honestly, I am struggling to get through it. The premise sounded interesting enough; a modern analysis of how myths are still alive in our current era, whether it be through the persona of the president’s plane Air Force One, or a critical analysis of the Kardashians tv show. Each chapter is a small essay on some obscure topic, with analogies to myths from humanities past, and frequent references to French philosophers. And while some of its topics are interesting (neon lights and their place in culture for instance), others seem to be trying too hard to analyse trivial topics (I don’t need to hear that much about Judge Judy thank you).

I am finding this book hard to finish actually, as too often the author’s views seem stolid, or perhaps just too disparate compared to my own. When he decries the modern e-reader as an inferior experience to physical books for example, and complains about the need to have an electrical cord attached, I can’t help but feel he is just trying to rationalise a personal preference. Funny though as I am reading it via my awesome Kindle.

I shall finish the book however, as though it isn’t at the top of my books for this year, I have nevertheless learned from it.

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Book 34: The Four Legendary Kingdoms

Matthew Reilly! Some people balk at his writing, but honestly I love it. His stories are a romping great read, and as long as your expectations are aligned accordingly when you pick up his latest stories, you are rarely disappointed. I won’t spoil what happens in this one, as fans of the series will like to enjoy the ride along the way. But I will say that it was great to have a new Matthew Reilly book in my hands. Reilly seems like one of those rare authors whose presence you can feel alongside you when you read the book; you can tell that he is having as much fun telling the story, as you are reading it.

Can’t wait for the next one, but until then I will have to make do reading Hover Car Racer to my son, in an attempt to indoctrinate a new young mind to the wonders of Matthew Reilly.

Now, on to my next book…

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