Current reading (or: I suck at finishing anything)

Toll the Hounds

Book number eight in a series that I’m enjoying, this one is dense. I started reading it in Summer 2009 and I’m only just over half way through. I think part of what’s holding me up is that the majority of characters that I liked have been killed off over the last few books, and the people who are left do everything with the pace of characters from a Jane Austen novel.

I have faith that things will improve, if not in this book, at least in the series. Otherwise, I would have given up by now. I read the other books in the series while putting my son to bed, but this books has stayed downstairs; perhaps this contributes to my pace, too.

House of Leaves

I borrowed this from Ed after it was lampooned in xkcd. I’ve been reading it since before Summer 2009. The thing about this book is that if you leave it for a while, you need to skip back about a dozen pages to make sense of where you are.

There have been points where I have been making negative progress, going back more pages than I read- doing this enough times I will not have started the book yet. If you know the book, you may see this as fitting.

It’s also a big floppy awkward shape, and being borrowed I didn’t like to take it when I travelled in 2009 (and I travelled a lot), nor would I read a friend’s book in the bath.


I picked this up in August 2009, along with Moxyland (which I finished and reviewed) but before Little Brother (which I also finished and reviewed).

To be fair to the book, it’s just been unlucky. I bought it because Borders in Blanchardstown was shutting down and selling off stock cheap. Unfortunately, the stock was in basically no order at all, and I was in a hurry. The story is slow moving but promising (or again, I would have given up), but the book didn’t fit in my pocket so I couldn’t read it on the plane back to England (fuck Ryanair’s baggage policy) and then I forgot about it until I picked it up from my Dad’s house on a return trip.

I made a brief attempt to start it again but the spark is gone and I’ve a bunch of other books I’d like to read more. I think that sums up the book so far: not bad, just not as good as everything else.

The Confusion

Technically, I haven’t even broken the spine on this one, but I got it for Christmas last year with a view to reading it right after finishing the excellent Quicksilver. I read Quicksilver rabidly from about May to October 2009, bookending the period of time I was frequently going to Ireland (though I didn’t fly with it, I read it when I came over by boat).

Despite galloping to the end of Quicksilver, I thought I needed to give myself a break — to clear my palate or read something light before embarking on another extremely dense (but very rewarding) book. Now that I’ve built up so much book debt, it seems irresponsible to start.

Mystery Man

Helen picked up this super-dry, dark-humored and very-Irish book for basically nothing when we saw Eddie Izzard in Birmingham, the book was badly bound and fell apart so when we went to see Derren Brown (also in Birmingham) I bought a fresh, but basically still badly bound, copy from the same bookshop. This is, again, fitting if you’ve read the book.

It’s sat around for a while, but I’ve made good progress, about 1/3, and I’d only count myself as properly reading it from July this year. Remodelling the bathroom has interrupted me on this one; it’s a bath book, but the contents of the bathroom were put into, and then taken out of, a series of boxes in the loft.

I promise this book, I will finish it soon.


I think I’ve read this, but I’m not sure. I’m a victim of unfairly cheap books at charity shops. I picked up Whit, too, to buffer myself so that if I went on another Iain Banks kick (these happen, now and then) and then found I’d actually already read Complicity, then I would have a fall back.

Caves of Steel

I broke spine on this a few years ago and got a few pages in before drifting away from it. Someone left it out and I picked it up and got hooked again, so I took it to DLP to read when I was bored. Unfortunately, I never got bored, so I didn’t really start reading it until I was on the train back to Stafford. Now I’m home, it suffers from still being surrounded by things I’d prefer to read.


Robert left this with us to read. It’s like candy: short chapters, interesting narrative, I feel that my effort in reading it is being rewarded. I’m already about a quarter through in three days. Some books are meant to be raced through.

Red Plenty

I just bought this today. I am fucking weak.

I nearly bought Zero History in Waterstones today, but I managed to show some restraint and I said to myself: “I’ve got loads to read and, while I want to read this book, by the time I get around to it, it will be on paperback for a fraction of the cost”.

Then I impulse bought Red Plenty just as I was leaving the shop. Damnit.


I don’t want this to sound like I never read anything — I’ve finished Makers, Content, Little Brother, Moxyland, Snowcrash (again), The Ethical Engineer, The Soul of a New Machine, Retromancer, and Quicksilver, not to mention thousands of blog posts, hundreds of Instapapered articles, Anthem and Someone Comes to Town Someone Leaves Town as audio books and nearly a dozen non-fiction computer science books — but I long for the Inbox Zero of fiction.