In an attempt to resuscitate this blog, I’ve decided to try something new – a book diary. Since my problem with writing posts here seems to be that I run out of steam very soon (I have a ton of unfinished drafts from as far back as 2008 lying around), I am going to do some decidedly short form – from now on, I’ll posting something on every book I’ve read, even though it might only be a sentence or two. Which of course still leaves my other problem, namely lack of self-discipline, but maybe I can deal with them on at a time.
This also means that my future posts will be even more subjective and impressionistic than my non-reviews used to be – but seeing how I’m mostly talking to myself here anyway, I do not think that matters much. I’m also hoping for some side benefits – back in the day when I still had friends in RL we used to talk about the books we were currently reading, and I always found that reading with a perspective towards telling others about it tended to heighten my appreciation of the books I was reading; hopefully I can achieve something like that with this diary. Which I’ll probably manage to maintain for a week or two. Well, we’ll see, won’t we?
First one then – The Islanders, by Christopher Priest. This book surprised me – Priest is very much a cerebral author, and from the reviews I had read I expected this, his first novel in eight years if I remember correctly, to be an interesting, but somewhat dry affair. Instead, it turned out to be a veritable page turner that had me glued to my Kindle with only grudging interruptions for things like the occasional food intake or sleep. Definitely not what you would expect from a book that for the most part (with the exception of some more conventional narratives interspersed here and there) is a travel guide to some imaginary islands, but that’s what happened. It might of course just have been me, and maybe I have a special affinity to books that make you follow the traces of characters scattered all over the places like leaves by the wind, but I enjoyed this immensely. I always suspected the oeuvre of Christopher Priest would appeal to me (this is the second book of his I’ve read – possibly the third, I seem to vaguely remember having read a German translation of A Dream of Wessex way back as teenager), and this novel establishes that suspicion quite firmly as a fact.