Past Features

Turning Off The TV #20: Trainspotting

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Welcome to my regular Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I recommend books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.

The film this week is: Trainspotting.

Trainspotting

Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

I’m aware that this was in fact based on the book Trainspotting (Mark Renton #2) by Irvine Welsh, but the film has such a cult following that I thought it would be a good one to cover.

Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.

Last Exit To Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.

Whilst it’s set in New York, rather than Glasgow, Last Exit To Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr. similarly follows the stories and lives of several people – a drug addict, a transvestite, a criminal and more. It is a very honest description that doesn’t hide anything, and was apparently banned in the UK in the 1960s! Which has to make it worth reading, right?

Junk by Melvin Burgess

Junk by Melvin Burgess

I read several Melvin Burgess books as a teenager, and I was always struck by the sheer brutal rawness of his writing. Junk by Melvin Burgess is the story of two teens who fall in love with each other – and heroin. Maybe it’s a shocking idea for a book for teenagers – but it’s not like this sort of thing never happens, and literature aimed at young adults should tackle topics like sex and drugs.

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick is a typical PKD book – weird, a bit trippy and very clever. It is about an undercover narcotics agent called Bob Arctor, who has to indulge in the very drugs he is trying to bust, in order to fit in. However, he is soon informed of a new lead within the drug ring – a man by the name of Bob Arctor. It’s a pretty harrowing portrayal of what drugs can do to the mind, and definitely worth a read.

Junky by William S. Burroughs

Junky by William S. Burroughs

A dark account of a drug addict in 1953 New York, New Orleans and Mexico City, Junky was William S. Burroughs first novel. It was a risky move during a period of anti-drug hysteria, but it paid off – the book is now considered a modern classic.

Are you a fan of Trainspotting? Do you have any recommendations to add? Are there any other TV shows or films you’d like me to cover?

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: April 2014

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

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Last month I read a total of twenty books, which sounds like a lot but many of them were graphic novels: After Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #13.5) by Charlaine Harris, Mass Effect Foundation: Volume 2 by Mac Walters, Red Country by Joe Abercrombie, Glow (Sky Chasers #1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan, Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes, Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor, X-Men Forever 2, Back in Action (X-Men Forever 2 #1) by Chris Claremont, Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men Volume 2 by Stan Lee, This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, Civil War: Marvel Universe by Ed Brubaker, A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, Behemoth (Leviathan #2) by Scott Westerfeld, Goliath (Leviathan #3) by Scott Westerfeld, Wolverine Noir by Stuart Moore, Wolverine First Class: Ninjas, Gods and Divas by Peter David, Wolverine First Class: Wolverine-By-Night by Fred Van Lente, X-Men Legacy: Emplate by Mike Carey, The Avengers: Volume 2 by Brian Michael Bendis, X-Men: Worlds Apart by Christopher Yost, The Kill Order (Maze Runner #0.5) by James Dashner.

I was so happy to finally finish the Leviathan series, and it’s now one of my favourite Young Adult series out there. I read some other great books this month: Days of Blood and Starlight was just as gripping as Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Falling Kingdoms was a wonderful fantasy read. I also went crazy on the graphic novel front, ordering as many Marvel comics as I could through my county library service. And there are still plenty more to read! I also read most of Dragon Age Library Edition: Volume One, but unfortunately my ARC stopped about three quarters of the way through. I did email Netgalley, who contacted the publisher but sadly I haven’t heard anything and the title has now been archived. I will just rate and review it based on what I did managed to read.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read five books towards the Avengers vs. X-Men Challenge, so unfortunately I didn’t do as well as last month, and I also didn’t quite manage to defeat April’s villain, Kingpin. Better luck next month! May’s villain is Bullseye, and he looks to be quite a challenge.
  • I’ve already beaten my goal of fifty books for this year on Goodreads. I’ve raised the goal to seventy-five, which I think will still be manageable – I may even reach that before August, and I can raise it again!

 

Currently reading:

>The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black The Quick by Lauren Owen

Off the blog:

The majority of April was fairly quiet, but this past week has been pretty busy. I’ve been off work since last Tuesday, although I’m back today. On Wednesday night I went to the Glamour Book Club to see Laini Taylor and Lauren Owen, and I also met up with some fellow book bloggers! I will cover the event in detail in a future post. My friend joined me in London, and she stayed until Tuesday. On Thursday night, we went to see Jace Everett in Bristol. It was a TINY event, with about one hundred people – but the venue put out chairs, so no-one was dancing and I felt like we gave off a bad impression. But despite that, I loved the music and got to meet the man himself afterwards, and get a CD signed. Then on Friday we went to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 which I really enjoyed, Saturday was Free Comic Book Day which meant a trip to Forbidden Planet in Bristol, as well as Bristol Zoo because it was a lovely, sunny day. Oh, and a few weeks ago my Dragon Age: The World of Thedas book arrived, which my fellow Queen of Ferelden, Paola, convinced me to buy. I was just a *little* bit excited by its arrival, as you can see…

Some highlights from April 2014.
Some highlights from April 2014.

 

How was April for you?

 

Dragons and Jetpacks

Dragons & Jetpacks: Books of the Month, April 2014

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Dragons & Jetpacks is a science fiction and fantasy bookgroup, based on Goodreads. The group is open to all, all that is required is a Goodreads account. We read two books a month, one fantasy and one sci-fi – the second week of each month is when members make suggestions, and the third is used for voting. We’re always happy to meet fellow fans of the genres, so you’re more than welcome to join the group!

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Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

Goodreads

The Age of Kings is dead… and I have killed it.

It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king…
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

It’s up to a few…
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved… Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…

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A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

Goodreads

Bob Arctor is a dealer of the lethally addictive drug Substance D. Fred is the police agent assigned to tail and eventually bust him. To do so, Fred takes on the identity of a drug dealer named Bob Arctor. And since Substance D–which Arctor takes in massive doses–gradually splits the user’s brain into two distinct, combative entities, Fred doesn’t realize he is narcing on himself.

Have you read either of this month’s picks? What did you think?