A little slice of heaven.

So, my slice finally flowed through the system – I signed up for a 256 slice, which is the low end of what Slicehost offer, but I’m only really using it for playing around with stuff that my “standard” host doesn’t support very well (ruby and other such fancy things in the main). As time goes on, I may make the transfer more complete – as it is, I’ve started a second blog that’s going to be more “technical” than this one. It just allows me to separate the “work” from the “personal” slightly – so no book lists or gamer tag widgets over there.

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16 – 32, the short version

Just keeping track – I’ll do a longer write up in a bit (possibly)

  • Industrial Magic – Kelley Armstrong
  • Dime Store Magic – Kelley Armstrong
  • JPod – Douglas Coupland
  • The Hard Way – Lee Child
  • Killing Floor – Lee Child
  • Recoil – Andy McNab
  • Ultimate Weapon – Chris Ryan
  • Stolen – Kelley Armstrong
  • Bitten – Kelley Armstrong
  • The Hard Way – Lee Child
  • Destiny – Fiona McIntosh
  • Revenge – Fiona McIntosh
  • Betrayal – Fiona McIntosh
  • A Storm of Swords (Steel and Snow) – George R. R. Martin
  • A Storm of Swords (Blood and Gold) – George R. R. Martin
  • A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin
  • A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

#14 and 15 – slowing down!

#14 The complete chronicles of Conan : Centenary Edition - Robert E. Howard

What a bloody epic, in nearly every sense of the word too. A collection of Conan stories that cover his many and varied adventures (and roles), he’s a king, a pirate, a mercenary and more! The only real issue I had with the book was that it was a nightmare to read in bed or the loo, it’s hard bound and nearly A4 in size… Being 925 pages, it weighs a fair bit too – so it wasn’t the most relaxing, comfortable read!

925 pages
New Read

#15 Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while, so when I saw it in a 3 for 2 offer I had to pick it up – I’m mighty thankful I did too! It’s an excellent story, with some quite deep and thought provoking meaning to it. Following the story of Ender Wiggins entry into a military training academy and subsequent journey through the academy and beyond it’s a story with a myriad layers.

352 pages
New Read

#10 – #13

#10 Gates of Fire – Steven Pressfield
A beautifully crafted tale of the battle of Thermopylae (yes, the same one that features in the recent epic film 300). Told from the point of view of a spartan servant captured after the battle, it covers a great deal of ground over several years before the battle took place. The characterisation is excellent – you certainly feel the pain when the final defenders make their last stand after seven days of hard fighting.

523 pages
New Read

#11 The Field of Swords – Conn Iggulden
Yet another entry in the “Emperor” series, covering the sky rocketing rise of Julius Caesar as a Roman General. The main topic in this one is his invasion of Gaul and the various political issues that arise from his domination of Roman political discussion. Yet another awesome read – I just need to finish off my stack of extra books so I can get on and read the final book in the series!

656 pages
New Read

#12 The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins

A slight deviation from the historical novels of late – but I’m always interested by what Dawkins has to say (I tend to share many of the same views as he does). The God Delusion doesn’t fail to deliver, with striking arguments against the very existence of a god and against creationism / intelligent design specifically it’s an excellent read for people on either side of the religious battle lines.

416 pages
New Read

#13 Alexander (The Virtues of War) – Steven Pressfield
Following in a similar vein to the Emperor series, this singular novel covers the meteroic rise to power of Alexander the Great, covering his invasion of the East from Macedonia and the many trials it brought before him as he battled with his beliefs and the safety and happiness of his men. Alexander may have only lived to 32, but he did more than nearly anyone else has ever done in his lifetime, then or now.

490 pages
New Read

So, that’s a total of 7215 pages – I’m currently about half way through the centenary collection of Robert E. Howards conan stories, which is why I’ve slowed down slightly (it’s close to 900 pages of giant hardback bookness – it’s a nightmare to read on the loo or in bed!) and after that I’ve still got a stack of five books left to get through before I have to find new ones or re-read old ones.

#9 The Death of Kings – Conn Iggulden

The continuation of the story of Julius Caesar, started in the Gates of Rome – Caesar is now a young army officer on board a Roman galley hunting pirates… The story follows his capture by said pirates, his vengeance and the following story in Rome (it even covers Spartacus!) once again, I was barely able to put it down – a truly awesome read!

688 pages
New Read

#3 – #8 | Dragons, Magicians and Romans, oh my!

#3 Eragon – Christopher Paolini

It’s interesting, a lot of people hammer the “Inheritance” trilogy (well, the two books so far) for being utterly derivative and to some degree plagiarisms of existing tales (LOTR and Star Wars in the main). But on the whole, it’s an enjoyable story if you don’t over analyse it. I certainly didn’t really notice the Star Wars / Lord of the Rings comparisons until I was told about them. But it’s certainly one for the younger readers in all.
497 pages
New Read

#4 Eldest – Christopher Paolini

Not much different from Eragon, it continues the story and introduces some nice (if obvious) twists. Thinking about it further – it’s pretty obvious that the author may have wanted to wait before he actually had this published and looked at the entire series with a somewhat older eye (the guy is younger than me after all!)

704 pages
New Read

#5 The Magicians Guild – Trudi Canavan

The first in an excellent trilogy from Trudi Canavan, featuring an interesting take on the world of magic (though perhaps a bit generic, why must they wear robes?!?) with a good flow and story that keeps you intrigued throughout (and forces you to read the rest of the trilogy to discover the fate of the characters).

480 pages
New Read

#6 The Novice – Trudi Canavan

The continuation of the story begun in “The Magicians Guild”, picking up the story after a break of only a few months in “story” time. The story continues to be riveting, with an excellent flow and good character development.
492 pages
New Read

#7 The High Lord – Trudi Canavan

The final part in the trilogy and a worthwhile ending to this part of the story (though a further trilogy, following the characters after these events is in the works!) I was disappointed that I couldn’t carry on straight through with the new books, as I certainly enjoyed the world and the characters throughout the series and look forward to seeing how they develop further.
656 pages
New Read

#8 The Gates of Rome – Conn Iggulden

Following the story of a young Julius Caesar as he is introduced to life in Rome and it’s many risks. It’s interesting to note that you never find out who of the two young men discussed in the book is Caesar until the last few chapters. The entire story is incredible and not only because it is based in truth (the author includes some notes that explain the differences at the end of the novel) but also due to the beautiful characterisation and description. I’ll end this one by pointing out that I read it in a day, I quite literally couldn’t put it down!
640 pages
New Read

So, eight books so far – all new reads and I’ve got four more new ones in a stack to get through before I have to either look at getting more or re-reading some old ones. Interestingly, the 8 I’ve read so far combine to 4442 pages, so an average of about 555 pages a book. Not bad progress in 5 weeks!

#2 Empire of Dragons – Valerio Massimo Manfredi

A fictional account of a small group of roman soldiers that find themselves thrust into a life outside of the Roman Empire and battling for survival in an attempt to return home.Enjoyable read – though I was hoping for a slightly better climax (or even the possibility of a continuation, I’ll have to look into it and see if there’s a sequel). The characters were well developed and the storyline well paced and, of course, you can’t go amiss with a bit of Ancient Rome!

397 Pages
New Read

50 books in a Year

This intrigues me, the idea of setting a target to read x number of books in a year – I’m curious to see just how many I manage to read. So, I’m giving myself a target of 50 within 2007, with at least 20 being new reads. If I make that by half way, it’ll be 100.

As of today, I’ve managed one so far:

Rat Run (576 pages)
Gerald Seymour

But I’m a good distance through my second – I’ll try and keep a running commentary on how I’m doing, mainly for my own interest really!