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Friday, May 31st, 2013 11:11 pm
It's been a good month for reading, though quite a lot of the books finished this month had been started long before.

The Official Doctor Who Fan Club Vol 2 by Keith Miller recounts the latter part of his time running the Official Doctor Who Fan Club in the 1970s. This book covers the Tom Baker era, which saw the club facing increasing problems and being wound up. But it was a really good read, and included facsimile copies of lots of the fanzines he produced.

Gifted: The Tale of 10 Mysterious Book Sculptures Gifted to the City of Words and Ideas was a very slight read, but somewhat frustrating, being over-written for me, stretching the ideas far too far. Though I enjoyed seeing pictures of the sculptures, and getting some more of the history.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins was this week's Yoggie book choice, and it was the third time I'd read this book. I enjoyed it, but found it over-written in places, and ended up skimming a lot. To be honest I think it could have been a third of the length it was, and not lost out.

Working back in time through the 70s I then finished The Official Doctor Who Fan Club Vol 1, the earlier volume of the two-part story, covering the Jon Pertwee era. Again the book (a Lulu published one, but good quality) was full of facsimiles of the original fanzines, and a great read.

Start Here: Read Your Way Into 25 Amazing Authors was a Kickstarter project to provide handy guides to 25 authors, including Charles Dickens, Ray Bradbury and others. Each chapter covers at least three works by the author, with enough detail to explain why you should read them. It's not really suitable for reading from cover to cover, but if you have an interest in any of the authors covered it's a handy reference work to have.

Peter Cakebread's The Alchemist's Revenge was a riveting read, one of the best things I've read in ages. It's a debut novel, set in an alternative 17th century England where the Civil War is combined with alchemy and clockwork engines of war. After reading it I wrote a glowing 5-star review in various places, and can't recommend it highly enough.

I've been reading Terry Pratchett's The World of Poo for ages, and finally finished it this month. It's a short book, but very well done. Not for the easily offended, but if you're a fan of Discworld, and want to get a new insight into Ankh-Morpork life it's well worth reading.

Michael Curtis's The Dungeon Alphabet is a letter by letter guide to classic Dungeons & Dragons ideas. Each section covers a topic, like magic, or treasure, and a random table which can then be used to choose new elements for your own dungeon. Not sure I'm describing this too well, but it's well done, whether you're a D&D fan, or just into fantasy and/or roleplaying in general.

Neil Gaiman's Make Good Art is a book preserving the commencement speech he gave to arts graduates at an American university. The speech is great, and it's nice to have a memento of it. But the design of the book isn't successful for me, and often makes it very hard to read.

Neil Gaiman and Gene Wolfe's A Walking Tour of the Shambles is a tour guide to a fictional part of Chicago. This was great fun, highly imaginative, and I really wish I could visit the places described. Highly recommended, and it's still in print, as a chapbook.

A number of Doctor Who old novels have been republished this year as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. The one featuring the Fifth Doctor was Trevor Baxendale's Fear of the Dark. I thoroughly enjoyed this. In some ways it was quite a simple story, but the characterisation of the leads was spot on, and it was a gripping story.

The latest Doctor Who e-short was Patrick Ness's Tip of the Tongue, featuring the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. I didn't enjoy this very much. It was extremely Doctor-lite, and the characterisation of the two key characters seemed off to me. On the plus side it was quite an experimental approach to the range of short stories, but not one that was very successful for me.

The last book finished was Antonia Fraser's The Six Wives of Henry VIII. I'd read this many years ago, and wanted to reread it. It's a well written biography, showing thorough research combined with the ability to turn the facts into an interesting narrative. On the downside the family trees don't work so good on the small screen, so I may want to pull out the paperback to recheck those.
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