I have been on a reading binge this summer, but an odd one, as I see to be re-reading a pile of books on my book shelf.
Certainly this saves some money. And, after all, the reason these books remained on my bookshelf after I read them previously is that I felt I would read them again. But still, I am on something of an unusual retro-tear when it comes to my book choices.
First I knocked off all of the Derek Robinson flight related books, sticking to the chronological order of the books based on the events in the books versus their publication date. Those were, in the ordering I chose:
- War Story
- Hornet’s Sting
- Goshawk Squadron
- Piece of Cake (which was made into a mini-series)
- Damned Good Show
- Good Clean Fight
All of the books except Goshawk Squadron are related in some way, either following the thread of Hornet Squadron through two wars, with a diversion in Damned Good Show where Hornet Squadron’s intelligence officer gets moved over to Bomber Command for a tour.
I quite enjoy the whole series, bleak though it can be at times, with very young men showing up and dying, some times before they’ve even unpacked. The series has gives me a feeling similar to that which I get when I re-read I, Claudius, in that they are so well set in their period that it I cannot really tell when the book was written.
Then, that complete, I started plucking Martin Cruz Smith novels off the shelf, specifically the Arkady Renko series. And it has really turned into a series. The gap between the release of books in this series indicates to me that it did not start out to be a series. Certainly the author has no other recurring characters like Arkady. It makes me wonder what made it become a series. Is the main character enjoyable to write, is the popularity of the series a major factor, was his publisher on the phone begging until he wrote more?
Anyway, the one benefit of going through the first four novels, which I have read before is that there are two new ones out in paperback since I last read the series and another one is scheduled for release next year. The series so far is:
- Gorky Park (also made into a movie)
- Polar Star
- Red Square
- Havana Bay (I’m in the middle of this one right now)
- Wolves Eat Dogs
- Stalin’s Ghost
And somewhere along the line I also managed to read Jennifer Government and Pygmy, both of which were interesting in their ways, but not enough that I think I will ever reread them. Jennifer Government is sort of Snow Crash light, a similar fractured corporate run modern world, but without the whole metaverse aspect. And Pygmy was… erm… a critical look at Junior Swing Choir? It is interesting and funny, but grew tiresome for me before I got to the end.
And at some point I have to re-read my copy of the Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle novel Inferno because I see they have a sequel out, only 33 years later, carrying on the tale of Alan Carpenter in Hell called Escape from Hell.
There is always more to read than I have time. This is why I do audio books in the car during my commute. I might have to go that route for Inferno and Escape from Hell.
What have you been reading this summer?