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So, still being a rubbish blogger as big changes mentioned in previous posts are still having an effect and, quite frankly, I’m in a bit of a reading slump. However, if anything is likely to help me out of that it will be Carl’s annual Once Upon a Time challenge, year five and I think that makes it my third one, and hopefully this year I will finish. To make it easy on myself I will be signing up for The Journey, which only requires me to read one fantasy type book between 21 March and 21 June. Hopefully I can do better than that but we’ll see.

So, Just After Sunset is the second volume in my Stephen King short-stories-to-shock-you-out-of-illness mini-readathon.

This is a classic collection of thirteen or so short stories, and like all such collections a mixed bunch. The usual King themes are here – fighting back against violence, creepy cats, ghosts and revenge.

Not going to go into each story but I can tell you that my favourites were:

The Things They Left Behind – a 9/11 story

N – in the the tradition of Arthur Machen and MR James but modern day creepiness

The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates – sad

Another good collection.

I know that I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I am a huge fan of Stephen King and have been for over thirty years which in one way is depressing (how can I possibly be old enough?) but is also comforting (the Bride’s brand loyalty is second to none). What I have found, though, is that despite buying his books as soon as they come out (timing is good for the Christmas list) I tend to read him in spurts. I have a bit of a backlog at the moment, but my recent illness (and I promise I will stop talking about that soon) had me heading towards two of his collections of short stories so that I could read in small chunks.

But of course I ended up devouring both of them as if they were novels (or boxes of chocolates….)

So Full Dark, No Stars is his most recent book and is a set of four novellas or at least longer short stories. They are:

1922 – domestic strife and stress leading to unforeseen and far-reaching consequences (really liked this one)

Big Driver – a revenge story following an act of dreadful violence

Fair Extension – what would you do if you were given an extension? Would you be prepared to pay the price?

A Good Marriage – you think you know the person you’re married to (to whom you are married) and then you go rummaging in the garage….

Well, I know that King isn’t to everyone’s taste because of the fact that a lot (if not most) of the violence is directed against women, but much of horror fiction is and I think his stuff works because most of his female characters are find strength and fight back. Some of the details in these stories did make me wince, but they are well written and full of suspense. And on occasion quite frightening, which is after all the point.

And as always the afterword is well-worth reading.

A good collection.

Well, lots of things have been happening chez Bride, including preparing for an interview and getting myself properly promoted into the job that I’ve been doing for just over a year. Massively exciting and not a little stressful which is why I haven’t been reading, blogging or commenting but hopefully things will settle down now that I’ve been successful, especially now that another big decision has been made, which is that the Book God will be retiring from the wonderful world of work in the early summer.

I don’t know about you guys but when I’m going through periods of change I find it difficult to settle to read. But I have a plan; I am hoping to carve out proper time for reading every day from now on and set myself sensible goals, even if it’s just “read 20 pages of x today”.

 And all I need to kickstart myself is another book as good as Rivers of London.

I have to give thanks to Silvery Dude who bought this for me as a birthday present, for two reasons really (1) it’s a cracking story and (2) it was exactly the right thing for the two days on which I succumbed to my horrible cold and sulked in my tent until I felt better. So I read this in two sittings.

Peter Grant is a probationary police constable in central London who discovers he has some interesting talents (basically he can speak to the dead) when a strange crime is committed on Covent Garden. He comes to the attention of Inspector Nightingale (who just happens to be the last wizard in England) and a whole new world opens up to him.

This is a fabulous story; a quote on the cover suggests that this is what it would be like if Harry Potter grew up and joined the police and I can understand where that’s come from but this is remarkably inventive and enjoyable in a totally different way; for a start it’s considerably more violent than HP (bit not excessively so). It’s a serial killer novel with magic and mythology. And I loved it.

For a start, most of the action takes place in Covent Garden and The Strand, both of which are close to where I work, and it was great fun to imagine the rather strange plot unfolding in such familiar surroundings. And then there’s the whole mythology of the Thames, with the rivers in human form, which I thought worked wonderfully well.

I haven’t said much about the plot, but it’s a great story of the supernatural and mythological punching through to the real world (no pun intended…)

I loved it so much that I’ve pre-ordered the sequel, and it definitely took my mind off my unwellness. You should really, really get this.

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

The Sunday


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March 2011