My Bookshelf 17.2.14

Predator’s Gold by Philip Reeve

The second in the series from my school library. I read the first book, Mortal Engines, earlier in the autumn. Predator’s Gold picks up two years after this and follows the two surviving main characters. These are quite dark for children’s books, with (spoiler alert!) many of the main characters dying. I did enjoy this adventure novel, but the ending was incredibly cliched and I decided to quit the series after finding out that the third book starts twenty years later following the now grown-up child of the two main characters from Book 2…

The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens

This is the last novel written by Dickens and he died before completing it, so you enter in knowing that the mystery remains unsolved. I last read Dickens in high school and found it difficult and uninteresting. Thankfully I’ve matured as a reader since then and really enjoyed this book though the language does take some getting used to. Since I’m not a Victorian literary scholar, I did feel that I missed some of the subtleties in language and references to contemporary events, but would recommend this book if you like murder mysteries. The edition I read (Vintage Classics) also included The Trial of John Jasper which puts the main suspect ‘on trial’ before various authors such as G.K. Chesterton. Worth reading just for the humour and theories put forth as to what happened, though it doesn’t reach any consensus.

The Meq by Steve Cash

I couldn’t put this down! The Meq is a science fiction fantasy epic which spans roughly 100 years, and again is quite a dark novel. The main characters are part of a people group who when they reach age 12, stay physically the same but can live for hundreds or thousands of years. A few of them carry magical stones that allow them to control the ‘Giza’ or normal humans (dare I say, Muggles?) and they often have special powers as well. Cash takes the characters around the globe, and has a good eye for detail in his writing. The only downside to this book is the passages of poetry/lyric writing which introduce every chapter. They would have been more useful at the end as a reflection, otherwise I found them distracting and irrelevant to the story. I’m keen to read the rest of the trilogy.

SLA blog

I’ve enjoyed reading on the SLA blog the various “How I Got to the SLA Conference” posts. I haven’t applied to go this year as I will be at IFLA #WLIC14, but this advice will be useful in the future.

The Wikiman blog

Ned Potter recently published a very interesting blog post about making your own library degree. Instead of getting the piece of paper, why not devote the same amount of time, energy and money to creating your own degree by means of conferences, MOOCs, writing essays, CILIP PKSB, etc. The comments by others are very interesting (I missed the Twitter firestorm) and though no one comes up with a solution, the conversation is starting and it’s good to hear others’ thoughts on this tricky issue.