– the books I read in January 2015. Three entire books! (Two, and a comic. (One, a miscellany and a comic.))
In what I hope will be a monthly update of the books I’m reading – and as an added bonus, means I’ll actually read more than one book per calendar month – I’ll start giving capsule reviews of the books I’ve had my head buried in.
Doctor Who – Who-ology by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright
A collection of weird and wonderful facts taken from fifty years of Doctor Who, this well-researched miscellany brings together the names, facts and figures of both storyline and behind-the-scenes production. Sadly it only goes up to about halfway through Matt Smith’s run, but it’s really well written and contains many interesting pieces of the lives of the Doctors and the careers of the men who played him.
There’s also loads of really nerdy tidbits about the Doctor’s greatest foes, like the Daleks, and how many different variants of them exist, as well as random lists like which actors from Corrie and Emmerdale have also appeared in the programme. It’s a bit of a hefty book but definitely worth a read for hardcore fans.
Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
I really, really enjoyed reading this graphic novel by the creator of Scott Pilgrim, dealing as it does with a subject matter that’s bound to have got fellow geeks thinking before – what if you could erase your past mistakes and start again?
Just like the Pilgrim books, Seconds is going to be one of those comics you can read again and again, and find something new, exciting and different each time. The artwork is just gorgeous – I love the halfway-to-realistic style as you can easily fill in the gaps yourself – while it’s also a very warm and funny story. I really liked the main character Katie; she’s just a resourceful woman who gets swept up in her own wants and needs. And there’s also a couple of Easter eggs in there for Pilgrim fans, which are a little bit eye-roll-y at first but will make you laugh with recognition.
Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland
First thing I thought of when I realised I was going to hate ‘Worst. Person. Ever’ was the similarly sinking feeling I got when I finished Generation A – but while that was more of a disappointing letdown, I actively disliked this one.
Understanding that there are no redeeming features whatsoever about our hero Raymond Gunt (and a quick tip – if you’re going to call a character by that name, then the rules of ‘Carry On’ wordplay apply: you can’t actually say the c-word at all in the entire book…certainly not twice a page), I’m not actually sure whether Coupland tried to humanise him more towards the end or not – if he didn’t, then why bother reading it? And if he did, then it didn’t bloody work.
I think it’s a problem I have with farce in general – or with the writers who try to pull it off and don’t succeed – but I just can’t suspend my disbelief for long enough to go with whatever ridiculous twist we’re being treated to. I get that Coupland has gone out of his comfort zone to deliver a cosmic trainwreck to an exceedingly unlikeable character, and I’m sure it has its fans, but at the end of the day, knowing what I know now, I would not have read this book if it weren’t written by one of my favourite authors.