‘ve liked T.C. Boyle’s books ever since I first saw him perform at the UEA Literature Festival in 2012. I had just moved to the UK and had just started my PhD. I was excited, not just because of all the changes that had recently happened in my own life, but also because I felt as if I was now in the middle of it all. Whatever “it” was. A place where world-famous others magically appeared in packed lecture theatres to talk shop.
become a cliché to the point that they seem to have lost much of their ability to scare, I still can’t resist a good vampire story. For every boring, unimaginative Twilight rip-off, there’s a lesser-known gem lurking in the darkness somewhere, waiting to be devoured. Or, perhaps, to devour unsuspecting readers first. One such story is Necroscope by Brian Lumley.
Many will know George R. R. Martin from his Song of Ice and Fire series (better known as the TV series adaptation, Game of Thrones). I’ve always been intrigued by the premise of the series, I don’t like watching TV, and I haven’t read any decent fantasy in a very long time. But the books are so damn long and there are so many of them. Would they be worth it?
My love for horror has recently been rekindled. With yet another dreadful Saw instalment out there, one would almost forget that there’s still plenty of original stuff around. Not only that, older works are increasingly at risk of being forgotten. To support my own memory as much as anything, here’s a quick overview of some good books I’ve read in the past month.
I only picked Kinflicks because of its slightly raunchy cover – a scantily dressed young woman jumping into the air, her face drawn into an expression of pure ecstacy. Turns out the book is actually a coming of age novel about Ginny, who returns to the Virginian town she grew up in to look after her dying mother. Oh, and also because her husband has thrown her out for what she insists was not cheating. Promising start.
I have done very little reading over the past few months, and even less writing, because, well, life. That and the library still being closed. Fortunately things appear to be taking a turn for the better and I have discovered a little community library I’ve been borrowing books from. It’s little more than an oversized cupboard in a green space aptly named Old Library Wood. A bit of research suggests that its presence is part of an ongoing effort to make the area a safer and more pleasant space for local residents. Of course books should be part of that. Books are always a good idea.
The Dark Frontier is thrilling ride through the Weird West: a world which feels both excitingly familiar and exquisitely strange. Anyone who feels slightly bored by more traditional western stories will find plenty to enjoy in this new collection of genre-bending writing.
Self-publishing is often frowned upon, seen as a vanity exercise that removes the gatekeeper function of traditional publishers and releases floods of drivel onto an already saturated media landscape. My own opinion is a bit more nuanced. I think publishing and self-publishing can easily exist together. Indie and DIY approaches have long been common in other creative sectors, such as music and film. And with everyone broadcasting themselves on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, I can’t see why self-publishing my thoughts in book form would be a weird or embarrassing thing to do.
Never mind the pubs reopening, I thought as I was watching the news. It’s the library I’m excited about. As expected the experience wasn’t quite what it used to be. With face masks, a one way system and a limited assortment of books available things didn’t feel like they’d gone back to normal. But I’ve stumbled upon a real gem. I always love it when that happens.
I don’t know if it’s typical for Norwich, but the people here tend to leave items they no longer need… Read more Lost and Found: On Reading Books from the Street