Sunday, 7 July 2013

Currently Reading - Jul 2013

The missus and I spent a couple of hours this morning (before it got too hot), reducing the pile of top soil we got yesterday, working around in the back garden. Lovely sunny day, a little breeze, it was darned near perfect. But we're now at the hot part of the day, relaxing after refreshing showers and a bite to eat. Time to take a look at the books I'm currently reading. I've got 3 on the go at the moment, one a series of short stories, one a classic SciFi novel and, finally, a history book.

In my UK book club, the genre challenge for July is short stories. I had a few in mind, but decided to start with Passport to Eternity by J.G. Ballard. I may read another selection if I have time at the end of the month. This series of stories was originally published by Berkley Medallion books in September 1963. I found my edition at one of my used book stores in Victoria, BC in April  of this year. It is in remarkably good condition. This was Ballard's third collection of short stories and his fifth published book. His second novel, The Drowned World is one of my favourites. I've also enjoyed some of his other stories; he is definitely unique amongst SciFi writers. This book contains the following stories:
The Man on the 99th Floor (1962) - already enjoyed this one;
Thirteen to Centaurus (1962) - very interesting
Track 12 (1958) - strange, good
The Watch-towers - (1962)... hmmmm
A Question of Re-entry (1963) currently reading
Escapement (1956), The Thousand Dreams of Stellavista (1962), The Cage of Sand (1962), Passport to Eternity (1962)

I've enjoyed a few of Edgar Rice Burroughs stories, one of my favourite series ever is the Barsoom series; aka John Carter of Mars. For July, I chose Burroughs as my focus author and planned to read a couple of the Mars books; to refresh my memories of them. Also in my list is The Moon Men. It was a series of three books; The Moon Maid, The Moon Men and The Red Hawk, published in 1925. The Ace Edition I have, was purchased at ABC Books in Courtenay, in 2010. It has only the second two books in the series. I'm currently reading The Moon Men and enjoying very much. It's quite different from the Mars books, so far. The Moon Men tells the story of Julian 9th, who takes on the Moon men )conquerors of the Earth) and their human allies. The second book deals with Julian 20th, The Red Hawk. From what I've read, originally, the series was to actually deal with the Communist threat, but Burroughs' publishers persuaded him to change it invaders from the Moon. I can see the allusions to Communist Russia in the story, so far. Very interesting.

I purchased A Train In Winter at Ivy's Books in Victoria in April this year. I read the synopsis of the book and it hooked me immediately. I'm reading this for my Book Addicts Book club, as the Non-Fiction selection for Jul thru September. The book is written by Caroline Moorehead was born in London in 1944 and is human rights journalist. She has previously written six biographies, including one on Bertrand Russell. In 2011, she published A Train in Winter; A Story of Resistance, Friendship and Survival. The book focuses on 230 French women of the Resistance, who were captured and sent to Auschwitz; and of whom only 49 survived. This was the only train, in 4 years of German Occupation of France, to take women of the Resistance to a death camp. The book sounds fascinating, as Caroline Moorehead, sought out and interviewed various survivors of the camp and also families of some of those who had died.

So there you have it, my current reading list. I don't think it'll take me long to get through them, as so far, they all seem very good.

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