Thursday, 27 October 2016

The last five books

Prompted by this blog post, I've been thinking about how I find new authors and where I buy my books. I must admit that I'm not great at finding new authors - I tend to rely on old favourites rather a bit too much. So I thought I'd look at the last five books I bought (and I'm pleased to say that three of them were by new authors to me).

Anyway, here are the last five books I've bought: the why and the where.

Gut by Giulia Enders

Why? I've seen Gut in bookshops before, and there have been enough hints on some of the health programmes on television that have piqued my curiosity. So I was always going to get this (or something like it.)

Where? I bought this from Paragon Books in Sidmouth, a small independent bookshop. I must admit that I don't normally buy paperbacks (I'm too fond of my Kindle Paperwhite), but I know the owner and I wanted to support him.

So what did I think? I don't read too much popular science, but I found Gut fascinating. I've suffered in the past with a dodgy tummy, so it was about time I learned more about my gut. It's a great book for some choice quotes to share, but maybe not at the dinner table.

Gut is the first book that I've ready by Giulia Enders, so a new author to me.

The Fifth Witch by Graham Masterton

Why? I've been reading rather a lot of urban fantasy lately, largely because I've been thinking about a London-based urban fantasy game and I'm mining the genre for ideas. Overall, I'm finding urban fantasy a pretty mixed bag - a few gems with an awful lot of dross. The Fifth Witch, however, isn't urban fantasy: it's horror. And frankly after all that teenage angst it was a pleasure to read about some really nasty witches.

Where? I bought this for my Kindle, via the BookBub newsletter which sends me daily bargains. I probably wouldn't have tried it if it hadn't been cheap. I can't say it was brilliantly written, but I did enjoy it.

So what did I think? A bit of a guilty pleasure. I can't claim it was brilliantly written, but I liked the evil witches.

Graham Masterton is hardly a new author, but this is the first book I've read by him, so he counts as new to me. I'd read another one.

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones.

Why? A few weeks ago I received my character hint for Across the Universe, uk-freeforms' next weekend freeform. Rupert Venables, from Deep Secret, is one of the inspirations for my character and so I thought I'd better read it.

Where? I bought this from Amazon, for my Kindle.

So what did I think? From what little I know about Across the Universe, this novel appears to be share a lot of the same concepts. It will be interesting to see what they use. As for the book itself, I enjoyed it overall, although I found the story flagging towards the end. I'd try another by Diana Wynne Jones (maybe even the next in the series).

And again, Diana Wynne Jones is new to me.

The Burning Man by Christopher Fowler

Why? I've been reading Christopher Fowler for decades, and I really enjoy his doddery old detectives, Bryant and May. This is twelfth in the series - although the detectives turn up in his other books as well (such as Soho Black).

Where? I bought The Burning Man from Amazon, for my Kindle.

So what did I think? I was always going to like The Burning Man, and so I did. I wouldn't start my Bryant and May journey here, though, I'd start with The Water Room the second in the Bryant and May series. (The first in the series, Full Dark House, has too many flashbacks and in my view needs to be read once you understand the characters.)

The Truth about Employee Engagement by Patrick Lencioni

Why? I've read quite a few of Patrick Lencioni's management books, and they've never been anything less than good. This was one that I hadn't read yet. (And technically I read Three Signs of a Miserable Job, which was the book's original title.)

Where? I listened to this via Audible (so Amazon, again).

So what did I think? Again, I enjoyed this. It's never rocket science, but Lencioni's advise is always straightforward and common sense. And as they always say about common sense, it's rarely that common... I'd recommend Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team first, though.

Looking back

This is fairly representative of the stuff I'm reading (or listening to) at the moment. Some genre fiction (fantasy and horror in this case, but often urban fantasy and science fiction), and some business/management/psychology stuff. Gut is probably the odd one out as a) I didn't buy it from Amazon, and b) I don't read that much popular science.

There are more new (to me) authors in this selection than normal. I am normally more of a creature of habit and I tend to return to the authors I know.

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