Sunday, 15 April 2018

Reading log

Right now I am reading Apex Hides the Hurt by Coulson Whitehead, I bought this last week at Readings instead of The Underground Railroad, which is actually what I went there for, while killing a few minutes before the movie I was going to see (I, Tonya) but when I picked the latter book up and looked at the cover I couldn't bring myself to, because it was one of those redesigned covers the publishers put out when a book wins a major literary prize, and it just put me right, right off. Anyway the one I'm reading instead is really excellent and it reminds me of many other books that are great, without being at all like them (eg, White Noise). Whitehead is a pretty amazing stylist, he has this rare gift for figurative language which is both highly original and also somehow doesn't draw attention to itself. The language watches the action from the edges of the room, and in this it's like the protagonist of this book and also the protagonists of many of his other novels, notably Zone One.

I think I've been reading too much American fiction recently. The other book I wanted was this thing I have heard a great deal about from my friend L, called The Sea and Summer, an SF novel published thirty years ago and dealing with sea level rise in an Australian city. I don't like ordering books, it feels like a hassle although it rarely is in practice, but I'm going to have to order this one I can tell, if I'm ever going to get a copy.

I have also made a few false starts at Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie; the blurb said something like "the true heir to Iain Banks", and just like an Iain Banks novel I am having difficulty getting across the hump of the space opera settings, personal names, labyrinthine military bureaucracy etc, but this book has been eagerly recommended by two or three different people whose opinions I trust so I'll try it again.

A bunch of books around Australia's recent and current military operations:

Anzac's Long Shadow by James Brown - I've read this before - read it again and not until almost the last page did I realise that the author is not actually Kevin Rudd's son-in-law, as I had thought, but Malcolm Turnbull's. A WHOLE OTHER AND DIFFERENT THING. And of course, periodically while reading I would momentarily forget that the author was an Australian defence analyst and ex-soldier and not actually the Godfather of Soul.

No Front Line: Australian special forces in Afghanistan by Chris Masters


Uncommon Soldier, also by Chris Masters 

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