The Honours

By Tim Clare

I got this book as a token of support for the author, whose wonderful writing podcast, Death Of 1000 Cuts, I’ve been listening to daily for a month now. I knew it’d be good. In his podcast, Tim explores pretty much every conceivable aspect of the writing craft from his own unique perspective. The episodes where he analyzes excerpts submitted by listeners offer an even deeper insight into what he considers good writing. And obviously I approve of his standards or I wouldn’t be listening to his show. THE HONOURS did not disappoint — but despite the positive prejudice, I ended up with mixed feelings about it.

Continue reading The Honours

Warbooks

I took several warbooks to my seaside vacation last month and managed to read three. I’ve never read that genre before and I wanted to get acquainted with it in the name of research for one of my writing projects. My picks were essentially random, from the several dozen old pocket books I inherited from my father and largely ignored because they’re mostly stuff I’m not interested in – books about the Second World War and Vietnam, books about mafia, books about Japan and books based on a variety of successful movies*. Anyway, the three books I read are, in the order I read them: GOING AFTER CACCIATO by Tim O’Brien, AN AFFAIR OF MEN by Errol Brathwaite and AND THEN WE HEARD THE THUNDER by John Oliver Killens. And the extraordinary thing is, not one of them is really a warbook.

Continue reading Warbooks

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

This unique game draws the player into the frightening world of Senua, a young Celtic warrior, as she’s pushed over the edge of sanity upon discovering that her lover has been tortured and killed by the Vikings. She launches on a dream quest to wrest his soul from the clutches of death, a journey that takes her — and the player with her — through the depths of her personal hell. It’s an experience both disturbing and deeply touching, deeply human. A story of love and courage in the face of torment and despair, presented through incredible acting, stunning visual and audio effects, and last but not least, engaging and fun gameplay. Hellblade is one of those very rare games whose value reaches far beyond good entertainment.

Continue reading Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hyperion

By D. Simmons

After reading the first of four books, I wrote a one-line comment on Goodreads saying, “Liked it despite numerous annoyances.” After reading the second, I change my statement to “Didn’t like it despite numerous qualities”. These are mainly related to the authors indisputable ability to create and maintain suspense, and to surprise. Book one ends with a cliffhanger so epic that I had to pick up book two immediately. But I won’t be reading the rest of the series.

Continue reading Hyperion

Mrs. Dalloway

by V. Woolf

What an odd book! With no plot whatsoever, the narrative flows from one point of view to another, sometimes smoothly and sometimes making nearly unintelligible jumps. Almost every character that’s mentioned, no matter how thin their connection to the titular Mrs. Dalloway, her friends and family, gets to to ‘speak their mind’. I struggled to find connections. At times I struggled to tell what the hell was going on. But despite the oddity, I mostly enjoyed reading it. The writing is unorthodox, occasionally poetic, and I was struck by its beauty more than a few times. So here I’ll save some highlights:

Continue reading Mrs. Dalloway