Wednesday, 20 March 2013

This year's project

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Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

I've had an idea for my reading this year, which was hinted at in my previous post when I said that I was consecutively re-reading the Merrily Watkins series of supernatural mysteries by Phil Rickman.  This year I am going to be all about the series.  This might mean that I will post a bit less frequently on here - and it might be a good thing to have a little blogging break - but I will keep popping in with random thoughts and other one off reviews (I badly need to catch up on my review copies).

So far I am thinking this year that I will (re)read the following series:

The Merrily Watkins series by Phil Rickman

I've currently nearly finished the fifth, "The Prayer of the Night Shepherd," which might be my favourite, as its plot deals with Conan Doyle and the possibility that the hound was inspired by Hereford legend rather than Devonian.  As a south-west girl, I heartily refute this: I've even visited the grave of the guy who was meant to have inspired the character of Hugo Baskerville and got a bit freaked out, which I wrote about in the course of a review here.  As it has quite a human rather than supernatural resolution, I've never quite understood why "The Hound of the Baskervilles" gets described as horror - but Rickman has the interesting idea that Conan Doyle shied away from the supernatural because, in the words of one of Rickman's characters, something happened that "disturbed Conan Doyle enough to send him into complete denial and turn the Hound into a detective story with a weak ending".

Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series

I love this series, but I'm a bit behind (I haven't read the last one yet) and my experience of reading them has been quite disjointed.  The plot is very complex and I think I've lost track, so I need to go back to the start to get a hold on how it all develops.

The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I love these but haven't read them for probably about 10 years, so it will be nice to re-read them.  I'm including in the series the Eoin Colfer addition to Douglas Adams' work, as I haven't read this yet.

I'm not planning on re-reading the Harry Potter series as, during a recent bout of headaches, I started to listen again to the audio versions by Stephen Fry.  As I'm feeling the Fry love at the moment (not literally, alas), I will probably continue to listen to the series on my IPod while walking to and from work.  I don't tend to write about audiobooks on here, as they feel like cheating.

This has started me on thinking about series, and how some series of novels are ripe for this kind of consecutive reading while others are not.  I love the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, but I don't think that they would repay being read in a row.  To want to re-read a series it needs to show development of writing style, ideas, plot or character (and preferably all four).  I think that the ones I am planning to read have this - whereas, funny though the Stephanie Plum novels are, Stephanie is pretty much as bad in her bounty-hunting job in the nineteenth novel as she is in the first and she seems scarcely any closer to resolving her love triangle: re-reading the series consecutively would just expose how static the series has remained, but it's fun to dip into them occasionally.

Has anyone got any suggestions for series that I should visit this year?


  1. There is a little known series of books that goes under the umbrella name of The Lord Of The Rings. Give it a whirl!

    1. Can 3 books be a series, or is it a trilogy? After how many books does it become a series? But then I have said that I am going to re-read Hitch-hikers and that is a trilogy in 4 parts (no 5, no 6...)

  2. My suggestion is Agatha Christie. I have been thinking of this author a lot recently - I haven't read any of her books in many many years but I am a bit addicted to watching the adaptions of her books on tv.

    I am reading Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks at the moment (well its my in-between other books read) as its a book that deserves my full attention and time. I quote from this book as follows (author John Curran) on page 40 where he says that

    It is possible to read a different Christie Title every month for almost seven years and at that stage it is possible to start all over again safe in the knowledge that you will have forgotten the earliest.

    1. I do keep meaning to go back to Agatha Christie, but never seem to get around to it. I'm not sure that I would call her Marple or Poirot novels a series though - I think of them more as stand-alone books with a recurring character. As a I recall you can dip into them at any point, rather than having to read them in an order as the character's life develops. But maybe I'm wrong. In Marple "A Caribbean Mystery" should be read before "Nemesis,"or with Poirot "Curtain" should be read last. So maybe they are a series.

      I think I just wrote myself around in a circle.

      I've got John Curran's book, but it's one of many on my shelves that I haven't read yet....