Friday Reads: Bank Holiday Edition

It’s the Bank Holiday weekend which means it’s the perfect time to curl up with a good book. Here’s what some of Team Gollancz will be reading this weekend.

fablesGillian: This long weekend I’m reading Fables by Bill Willingham. It’s a long-running graphic novel series (I’m reading the collected editions,currently volume 4 of 8) about what happens when the fairy tale realm is attacked by the Adversary and all of the familiar characters are forced to flee to our world, and find a way to live here.

It’s a great concept, full of clever ideas and twists, and brilliantly written. That’s not just my opinion either – Fables and it’s creative team have won twenty-two Eisner Awards since the series began in 2002, and it’s one of those ‘what do you mean you’ve never read’ series. Now I’ve read some of it I can see why!

If you like Grimm or Once Upon a Time and you’re looking for a new series to try or to read your first graphic novel, this is a perfect place to start – especially over a long bank holiday weekend!

9780575108417Marcus: At the moment I’m taking a busman’s holiday and reading Corum: The Prince in the Scarlet Robe, by Michael Moorcock. Part of our immense effort to reprint almost everything Moorcock ever wrote, it’s been a delight for me to work on these books. Moorcock has been one of my favourite authors since I was about twelve, and it’s an honour to present the definitive editions of his genre work. However, when you’re proofreading and checking the typesetting etc it can be easy to lose sight of the book, and even get a little tired of checking the same name’s spelling again and again. So it’s been wonderful to look at the finished copy and enjoy it as a whole book. I’d forgotten most of the detail of Corum’s tragic story, and revisiting it after so many years is almost like reading it for the first time. I can’t keep up with the Moorcock collection, not right now, but they’re all lining up on my shelves, ready for me to spend the next twenty years dipping into the canon of one of the great writers of the 20th century.


city of bonesJen: This Friday I’m re-reading City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments series. Why? Clearly because of the movie. I read all the books and loved them a few years ago and with the final book in the series not out till 2014—not that I’m counting—I’m not due for a re-read for a while. But also because I’m trying to pitch the movie to my movie buddy (my husband). I sold him on The Hunger Games (which in the end he enjoyed), but I will never ever hear the end of dragging him to Twilight. To be fair, I know I deserve that scorn. This time I wanted to make sure that I got my pitch right for the movie and that required a re-read. I am thoroughly enjoying my re-read. This book has something for everyone; romance, werewolves, vampires, angels, demons, warlocks, magic and it’s pretty much non-stop action. What I love is how quickly you fall into the rich and elaborate world that Cassandra Clare has created. Juxtaposing Shadowhunters and contemporary New York City is no mean feat, but it’s completely believable and even makes me a little homesick. I’d forgotten just how much I liked Clary Fray as a character (I’m not going to get all spoilery, but as the series goes on I’ve begun to dislike her). It’s refreshing to see a teen fantasy that features a female protagonist who at the start of the series many not have extraordinary powers but is still able to hold her own using her wits, her courage and sometimes just a bit of sheer luck. I’m only about 100 pages in. Clary has killed a demon even though she’s been told that’s impossible because she’d only a wee useless human by many of the other characters. I can’t believe all the things I’ve forgotten. It’s like reading the book again for the first time. My last two reads were the phenomenal The Fault in Our Stars  (I can’t possibly tell you how much I loved this book, or how unabashedly I sobbed on public transport while reading it) and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (a cross between Thirteen Reasons Why and The Catcher in the Rye). After spending so much time reading realistic YA I was thrilled to return to my fantasy roots with City of Bones. I can’t wait to grab a bit of sunlight this afternoon and return to the world of the Mortal Instruments. I think I’ve almost got my pitch right.

brightEmily: Over the weekend I will be immersed in Kay Kenyon’s A World Too Near, book two of The Entire and the Rose and sequel to Bright of the Sky. I picked up the first book purely by chance a few years ago. Why? Because I liked the cover (rather shallow of me, I know). It then sat on my shelf for a very long time, gathering dust. It’s not that I didn’t want to read it, but life happened and I moved away to university and had a plethora of other books that needed to be read so it never quite worked out. When I finally got around to sitting down with it I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed myself! The world-building is superb, with an ambitious story spanning both our own cosmos and a parallel universe known as the Entire, which is filled with a vast array of alien and near-human creatures that live under an ever-burning sky called the Bright. Quinn, the main protagonist, is a rather likable anti-hero who is determined to find the truth about his past and piece together his broken memories whilst trying to keep a large corporation with questionable morals from exploiting the Entire for cross-universe travel. Bursting with rich scenery and engaging secondary characters, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on A World Too Near, especially after the plot twist at the end of the first book!

fault in our starsHannah: This week I took a brief sabbatical from Don DeLillo’s White Noise to inhale the copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, which someone had foolishly left unattended on my kitchen table. I had been wanting to read it for a while, but the opportunity never presented itself. Now, here I was, lurking around the house in a quiet, pre-pay day week, and lurk I did. I lurked all over it. These books that come surrounded by so much hype, the popular kids at school who you know can’t possibly be as wonderful as they seem to be, are always approached with trepidation. But, my God. It is that good. Better, in fact. There isn’t really anything I can say about it that hasn’t been said before, but I cannot stress enough how deeply I fell in love with Hazel’s voice, Augustus Waters’ character and John Green, my new personal hero. He’s taken an overwhelmingly emotional topic, one that will scar so many of us at some point in our lives, and made it funny, beautiful, sad, emotive and raw. The effects of disease begin to take on new meaning. It is, quite simply, perfect.

But this weekend, it’s back to White Noise. DeLillo and I have had a tempestuous relationship ever since I got a third way through The Names and dismissed it as pretentious nonsense, but I’m giving him another go on a recommendation from someone with (reasonably) trusted taste. I’m very pleased to report that things are going far better this time, and I’m particularly enjoying the humour in it. A Hitler Studies teacher in liberal Middle America, (eventually) happily married, faces a lethal black chemical cloud unleashed by an industrial accident. What could possibly go wrong?