World Book Night 2014

World Book Night takes place on 23rd April this year. Find out more at http://www.worldbooknight.org/

Blog A Book Etc

Looking over the selection of books for World Book Night 2014 and I came across my beloved Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. A little swell of happiness welled up in my heart and my want to read further into the second book has increased.

Rivers of London

You are probably getting sick of seeing this book on my blog but it was a great read and the second one goes even further into the story of PC Grant. By my own admission the story is quite hard to believe but really does get you hooked in to the point that you just have to know what happens next.

There are also other books included in the WBN list which have at some point taken my interest however I am yet to read. Out of the 20 books selected my favourites are shown below:

The Humans by Matt Haig

Confessions of a GP By Dr Benjamin Daniels

Theodore Boone by John Grisham

So these are my three top choices under River’s…

View original post 28 more words

Advertisements

New Artwork for Rivers of London

Aaronovitch has also been revealing artwork but the artwork is for an imaginary alternative paperback cover. It has been done by Wayne Reynolds, an artist he met at a convention in Belgium.

Aaronovitch has said LIMITED EDITION prints of the image MAY be available soon.

 

Rivers of London Rap

Ben Aaronovitch has posted a link to a rap done about his books. Composed and written by Mikis Michaelides (Aaronovitch’s nephew) and comedian and 4 O’Clock Club star, Doc Brown, you can check out the blog post about it here:  http://temporarilysignificant.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/rivers-of-london-rap_2.html and the actual rap here: http://libbylibby2.tumblr.com/post/68765662059/the-rivers-of-london-rap-written-composed-and

NaNoWriMo Word Count Update, Days 10 &11

So my word count is a dismal 15,869 words. No, I haven’t given up. I have just been struggling to settle into writing is all.

Writing tends to be ritualistic I find and for me, I have to potter around, do this, do that, flick through news websites, check my e-mail, etc. then I can settle to write. I have had plans change unexpectedly then just suddenly felt a bit out of it and a tad useless because I am unable to apply for jobs due to various reasons (including my knee). This has all prevented me from writing even though I do want to write. The side effect of this has been that my word count has suffered. (There could be an element of plotting mingled in with this also).

Hopefully I will get more done but before I do that, I am going to post this blog post by Ben Aaronovitch. It is funny anyway even if you don’t read his books but if you have read them, it makes it even funnier in my opinion: http://temporarilysignificant.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/they-got-to-pay-there-way-like.html

 

Are witches becoming popular again?

Cover of "The Worst Witch (Young Puffin S...

Cover via Amazon

Okay, this is probably going to be at odds with other articles you will see around the web but a couple of days ago, I came across a Guardian article talking about witchcraft and witches returning to popular culture in the wake of the Vampires and Werewolves trend. You can read it for yourself here.

The article mentions that various US television networks are starting to show different shows with witch protagonists, suggesting that this is the place that the trend is showing the strongest.

The only thing I took from it originally (it was late at night when I first read it) was the fact that Jill Murphy had published a new Worst Witch book. Not really surprising since she has released new books in the series recently however I did not recognise any of the other books or authors mentioned.

Today, I went to my local Waterstones and as I was browsing and picking up a book (or four!), I found myself unconsciously looking for books about witches. The result? I saw nothing to vindicate The Guardian’s article. I realise it is probably a trend that is just starting to find its feet but if there is a rising interest in books and other media about witches, why can’t I seem to see or find media about witches? Even in HMV, when looking, I couldn’t find anything about witches, not even on the shelves they had set aside for Halloween.

This evening, I returned to the article in question and re-read it. The result was the same. I decided to do some digging and had a look at the Waterstones and WH Smith websites in their best sellers generic listings and the best sellers for fantasy. Nothing.

The only patterns I could find was that vampire books are still popular and other authors, who had always been popular, like Terry Pratchett and Ben Aaronovitch, were still up there in the best sellers lists. A look on Orbit UK, Puffin and Gollancz future publishing schedules show none of this supposed trend. All I found was the tail end of the vampires craze and new books from established authors and series. (This is generalised I hasten to stress!)

So it has got me thinking about whether witches are becoming popular again or if, actually, witches (and wizards) had always been popular in their own way and had never really gone away?

I feel it is a valid question to ask.

A very brief survey of some of my friends from NaNoWriMo (just over 24 hours away!)  revealed that they thought that has been a small rise in popularity but it could easily be an offshoot to the vampires craze. Also, confirming what I suspected, was the fact that paranormal creatures and beings had never really gone out of style. It’s just that the focus of attention shifts.

Cover of "Harry Potter and the Philosophe...

Cover of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone

The article mentions Charmed from the late 1990’s and that got me thinking about the fact that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in 1997, during the same time period. The Harry Potter series has gone from strength to strength and continued being popular long after the end of witches popularity. The series has been so popular it has spawned spin-off books, a film series, a theme park and many other types of merchandise and not least of all, the recent news of JK Rowling wanting to return to the world of Potter and start writing a new spin-off series.

In the adults market, Ben Aaronovitch has gained success with his Peter Grant novels, featuring a London police officer and the country’s only remaining wizard. As well as them, there has also been Benedict Jacka’s Alex Verus novels. These are just two series that I read that feature wizards and witches (though in Jacka’s books, they are known as mages).

Then there are the popular Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher, the only wizard in the phone book. These books are on my to read list and Butcher has recently released a new book in the series.

So books about witches and wizards have always been popular, bubbling away beneath the hubbub of the vampire’s (and werewolves) craze. They sell and create series. Jacka has talked about this in his most recent blog post. He is talking about urban fantasy books in general but his comments are correct: “For every Sookie Stackhouse or Dresden Files, there are twenty or thirty urban fantasy series that fizzle out” (Jacka, Benedict. (2013). Alex Verus: The Future (Continued). [Online]. Available at http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2013/10/25/alex-verus-the-future-continued/).

So maybe witches are not becoming popular again as suggested in the Guardian article but instead the spotlight and attention is being shifted to a new type of character within the fantasy genre. Whilst talking with my friends about this, I had the thought that perhaps that maybe the reason I had not seen much in the way of different media having prominent witch characters is that perhaps we are just on the cusp of a new craze. I put this theory to them and they agreed that perhaps, that is the case.

I think that is my theory then. We are on the cusp of a new craze, a craze that is just starting to spread its wings. The interest in these types of books and stories have always been there but it’s now going to experience a new resurgence and people are just beginning to notice.

Or perhaps, it’s just something that is going to fizzle out to nothing.

 

Whispers Under Ground Google Map by Ben Aaronovitch

So just like he has done so with the previous two books, Aaronovitch has created a Google Map marking different locations from the third Peter Grant book, Whispers Under Ground. You can check it out here. He has also said on his blog that he will be creating a Google Map for Broken Homes locations when the book is finally released in the US.

Broken Homes is out now here in the UK and due out in the US in February 2014.

Book Review: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Can I just say, I love the cover of this and the other books!

Yes, it has been a few weeks since I last did a review (not surprising since I have focused on Camp NaNoWriMo) but this is the “certain” book I have read. Yes, I know this book is not due out until next Thursday (25th July 2013) but I received my copy a couple of days ago due to having it on pre-order at Waterstones.

The Folly is working through its list of Little Crocodiles, on the trail of the Faceless Man when Peter Grant and his boss, Thomas Nightingale, is called to look into an RTC (Road Traffic Collision) turned Murder case in Crawley where a man by the name of Robert Weil is discovered to have a connection to a mutilated body in a forest. Without being able to step back for a breather, Peter is called to investigate a one-under on the Underground of a town planner and a stolen magic book.

Things get weird though when he hears of odd things happening in a housing estate block flats South of the River, which has been built by an eccentric and seems to have some sort of secret running through its core.

Peter’s got a full case load again and London just got weirder! (If that’s possible!)

This book follows on nicely from the previous book, with The Folly’s investigation into the Faceless Man and grabs attention from the start, featuring all the usual wit and laugh out loud writing readers have come to expect from Aaronovitch and his compelling character, Peter Grant. The opening does read like a summary and it did catch me off initially but it is easy to read and certainly, with hindsight, it is possibly how Peter would receive an update on the investigation.

A host of characters from previous books return, including the Gods and Goddesses of the River Thames, Peter’s dad and the Irregulars and The Quiet People discovered at the end of the last book. Admittedly, they do seem a little shoe horned in and I think Aaronovitch could have explained what language Peter’s mum speaks to him in and translated it. I struggled to understand what was being said, even after re-reading those bits.

I do like the way he combined all the seemingly unconnected threads together into one story line and certainly upped the tension with events at the end of the book, leading to a great (if slightly predictable) twist at the end.

As usual, you can tell Antonovich’s love for the city and how well he knows it. I know I have mentioned this before, but his ability to describe London and all the locations of the novel is fantastic and brilliantly done for a person, such as I, who has never been or has been down just once.

I have already stated a few negatives about this book but I feel it is also worth mentioning that the story seems to finish then restart again near the end. Whilst it is obvious as to why this happened and provides a good cliffhanger leading into the next book, I do feel as if the structure is slightly broken due to it but then again I don’t see really how it can be rejigged to prevent this issue. Maybe I should just put it down to the charm of Aaronovitch’s writing…

As well as the actual novel, if you get your copy from Waterstones, you will also get a short story exclusive to Waterstones, taking place in the Covent Garden branch of the chain, featuring a poltergeist activity and taking place possibly before this novel. It is amusing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Certainly it ends with a message we should all take to heart in this day and age of internet, TV and films.

So my ultimate verdict on Broken Homes? An excellent addition to the series and I will definitely re-read this one, along with the others, whilst waiting feverishly for the next.