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September 6th, 2013

vivdunstan: (botanics)
Friday, September 6th, 2013 12:02 am
I finished quite a few books this month.

First up was the Elementary BASIC book that uses a Sherlock Holmes framework to teach wannabe programmers the computer programming language BASIC. Or at least that was the aim when it was published in 1982 in the early days of home computing. It's quite a lot of fun, with a nice premise, but I found the later chapters less convincing. Indeed the most impressive computer program in the book for me was in the opening proper chapter, and things went downhill from there. I also found some of the programming structural decisions frankly bizarre, and wonder how a beginner would have understood them. But still fun.

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty tells of a human travel writer who ends up writing a guide book to New York for zombies, vampires, werewolves, and the like. It's quite fun, but I didn't find it as gripping as I expected. Plus I was a bit annoyed that so much of the plot swung (rather unconvincingly) around the human character. But I'm sure I'll go on to read the sequel, which is based in New Orleans. Comes out next year I think.

I'm rereading the Narnia stories, in my own order, which is always to start with Lion etc., then go back to Magician's Nephew, then read the rest in sequence. This month it was the turn of The Magician's Nephew. I like this book a lot, it has a charm about it all of its own.

Poor Yorick was the prequel to the To Be Or Not To Be Choose Your Own Adventure version of Hamlet which was such a success on Kickstarter. Backers got Poor Yorick too, which tells how Yorick ended up as a skull dug up years later. It's short, but fun, and highly entertaining. I sent a second copy of the main book to my English teacher from school, who took us to see a Royal Shakespeare Company touring production of Hamlet at Carlisle. She enjoyed the new book a lot.

This month's book club choice was Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves, essentially a WW1 autobiography. I found the beginning and ending sections almost unreadable, and waded through the beginning chapters until the trenches were reached, and the narrative improved. From then on it was gripping, albeit grim, and a worthy read, at least until Armistice was reached. I studied WW1 in both history and English classes at school, and am glad I read this book.

Last was the latest Doctor Who e-short: Spore by Alex Scarrow, featuring the Eighth Doctor. Some readers found this read more as a Third Doctor story, but I could picture Paul McGann saying the lines. It was a shame he was companionless. For example I'd have liked to see his long-term audio companion Charley Pollard in the story. And I had some issues with the plot and narrative. But I enjoyed it, and more than I expected to.

I'm flying through a few more books at the moment, and expect September to be a bumper read too.