Monday, July 12, 2010

(Tentative) Reading Plans

Things have been pretty quiet on CR over the last month and a half (certainly when compared to the month-of-super-productivity that was May), so I thought I’d write just a quick post about reading plans for the summer months – mainly to prove I’m still alive and reading.

Bearing in mind this will all be taking place as I try to put the finishing touches to my PhD, things might continue to be a bit slower than before, but I will still be reading and reviewing as much as I can (it still amazes me that I managed a 28,000-word chapter – on the role of the US Executive Branch in formulating foreign policy – during May and the first week of June).

So, what have we got in the works? Some novels from some great novelists, as it turns out…

There’s Crime Afoot…

Initially, it seemed like I’d be reading and reviewing masses of fantasy novels. Having done quite a few over the last two months, however, I’ve decided to take a bit of a break from fantasy and am going to catch up on eBooks, which I’ve left piling up for a few months. The bulk of these are thrillers, though there will be a couple of fantasy novels thrown in for good measure, too. So, first the thrillers in the works:

Sandford-StormPrey John Sandford: easily one of my favourite authors, I’ve got three of Mr Sandford’s novels stacked up, and I’m disappointed with myself for leaving them unread for so long. I won’t go into too much detail, but they’re the second and third Virgil Flowers novels (Heat Lightning and Rough Country), and the 20th Lucas Davenport novel (Storm Prey). Considering how long the series has been going, I am truly impressed by Sandford’s ability to keep the series both fresh, intelligent and entertaining for so long at the same time as producing a parallel series with a different feel and voice. Really very impressive, and clear evidence of why he’s such a success in his home country (and it’s doubly impressive because his novels are set in Minnesota and Wisconsin – hardly well-known areas outside the States, and not exactly among the top tourist destinations).

Baldacci-DeliverUsFromEvilDavid Baldacci: Long-time readers of the site will know how  much of a fan I am of Mr Baldacci’s novels – all three series are great, as far as I’m concerned, and they have never failed to entertain me, without ever being clichĂ© or ridiculous. Intelligently-plotted, exceptionally well written, Baldacci is hands-down one of the finest authors working today, so I’ll be getting to his latest – Deliver Us From Evil – very soon.

DeMille-TheLion Nelson DeMille: A novelist who never receives as much  attention in the UK as I feel he should, DeMille is one of the best thriller writers, and his series featuring John Corey manages to mix intelligent and timely plots and stories with exceptional writing and the occasional well-placed touch of humour. I read the first three novels in this series (Plum Island, Night Fall, and The Lion’s Game) in very quick succession, and am very happy that he decided to return to the characters I’ve enjoyed so much. It’s not released in the UK for some time, but thankfully I managed to get it from the US. (Globalisation is a great thing, sometimes…)

Rollins-AltarOfEdenUK James Rollins: I’m never sure how popular James Rollins actually is – his novels are usually poorly placed with Dan Brown’s in ‘style’ and ‘genre’, but really he’s very much different and much, much, better. Sure, he blends the occasional conspiracy in the plots, and uses some intelligent artistic licence with the science and technology he includes in the stories, but damn he’s good. I’ve read all the novels he’s written since Map of Bones (filling in the gaps whenever time permitted), and try to never miss a single one. I’ve reviewed a number of the Sigma Force novels on the site in the past, and Altar of Eden seems to be something a little different.

I’m also considering a couple of novels that I’ve already read, but would like to read again – namely, John Grisham’s The Brethren, which was the first of his novels I ever read, many moons ago. A couple of other authors under consideration: James Twining, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, Andrew Britton, and Richard North Patterson (for the latter, it would be an ‘old’ novel, Balance of Power, the themes and issues within which I think might hold contemporary relevance).

Had enough of Swords & Sorcery, then?

Absolutely not! That’s not to say fantasy and Sci-Fi will be ignored – certainly not! Aside from reviews that should be coming in from Alyssa and Emma, I’ll be attempting to read a handful of big fantasy releases that have been sitting on my shelves for some time. Some I recently mentioned in the ‘Fortnightly Acquisitions’ post, but here are the others:

FantasyUpcoming.jpg

- Justin Cronin’s The Passage; MD Lachlan’s Wolfsangel; KJ Parker’s The Folding Knife; CL Werner’s Temple of the Serpent; Sam Sykes’ Tome of the Undergates

Then there’s also the limited selection of sci-fi/other novels that are still on my to-read list: these include a number of books that aren’t published for some time, though, so I shall keep schtum about them for the moment.

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Anyway, that’s a quick run-down of what’s coming up over the summer months (dependent on any particularly exciting acquisitions that might come through over the next couple of weeks, that is)

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