A Brief Overview of The Books I’ve been Recently Reading
It’s been a while since my last post. This is due to many different reasons; namely I’ve been working as a graphic designer and been to Kangaroo Island, where my fiancé is doing her nursing placement. This has resulted in higher priorities than updating this blog.
Yet, despite being very busy, I’ve still done a lot of reading in the process. I’ve read many books in this time, from a variety of genres. However, not many of them have warranted me dedicating a full blog post to. This is either due to them just being not too interesting to discuss, or because I’ve not had the opportunity to write about them yet. So, here’s a few books I’ve read recently, broken into their respective areas.
The Complex World of Journalism…
The world of journalism has always been a fascination to me. It’s an industry I go in and out of professionally and has greatly aided my writing career. With this previous experience in the industry and the stories around it, it’s made me recently want to read more books on the topic.
One of these books is Tim Burrowes’ Media Unmade. This 2021 publication details rapid changes in Australian media, which has been a category 5 cyclone to say the least. Burrowes, a founder of the Australian PR website Mumbrella, dives into all aspects of broadcast media and what’s been happening in them. This is varied, from the controversies of shock jock Kyle Sandilands and Sky News commentators to the lost fortunes of Channel 10 and Fairfax Media.
The reason why I didn’t think this book warranted a full blog discussion is simple; the book, while filled with interesting ideas, was slow and bland. I struggled to get through this book, which I only did because I was interested in finding out more about the destruction of the old media empires. I’d only really recommend this read if you’re interested in the rapidly changing world of the media.
The other book in journalism I’ve read recently is Andrew Fowler’s The War on Journalism. In here, Fowler goes in-depth with the idea of freedom of the press and government’s trying to gag the media and whistle-blowers, as well as the media destroying itself. This is investigated through the reactions to the War on Terrorism, the issue of WikiLeaks and of the phone-hacking scandal of News of the World.
I didn’t discuss this book in a full blog, not because of its niche information, but because I simply didn’t see a reason to discuss it in-depth. The information in this book, while in-depth, just wasn’t enough for a full post. I feel this would work better as a blog post on the surprising idea of no true media freedom in Australian law. Unlike the United States, Australia doesn’t have the same protections for its journalists and whistle-blowers. This is a topic I’d like to discuss at a later time, when I’ve done more research into it.
…With Calming and Familiar Science Fiction…
To stop myself from going insane in the fact-filled world of non-fiction, I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction. Some of this science fiction I’ve been reading as of late I’ve already discussed on here, like Lost Mars and Dune. There have been other sci-fi books I’ve been reading lately though that I hadn’t had the opportunity to talk about until now.
Images: Front Cover of Lost Mars and Frank Herbert’s Dune, two other science fiction books I’ve read recently that are really great.
We Can Remember it For You Wholesale and other Short Stories is a collection of short stories for Philip K. Dick. This book collects a lot of his earlier short stories, from about the early 1950s. Some of these stories are the inspiration behind the film Total Recall (1990) and several episodes of the Electric Dreams TV series.
Philip K. Dick is one of my favourite mid-20th century authors. To read a lot of these stories was a lot of fun, although they didn’t warrant a full blog. While some short stories in here were fun to read, some were forgettable adventures. Yet, this is one of the reasons why I enjoy collections like this one. They showcase the best of the author, as well as give light to some of their not-so memorable stories.
The other major sci-fi book I’ve read recently is Frank Herbert’s Dune Messiah. First published in 1969, this is a sequel to his 1965 novel Dune. It follows 12 years after the end of the first book, with Paul now Emperor of the universe and of Arrakis. While much shorter than its predecessor, this book is still filled with the complex world of the Dune universe and crazy amounts of plotting.
I haven’t discussed this book as I wish to talk more about the wider Dune series much later, when I’ve read the others in Frank Herbert’s series. All I can say is this book is pretty good, but still suffers from some of the issues of the first book, namely the pace and too much complex information. I’ll return to it in future, upon finishing the main Frank Herbert books in the series.
…Broken Up with Poetry and Witchers
To further showcase how varied my reading has been in recent times, I’ve also read some poetry in the mix. This came in the form of Ken Bolton’s A Whistled Bit of Bop. A curiosity from the 2022 Adelaide Writer’s Week, I finally got to read this poetry collection recently. And I really don’t have much to say about it. The stories told in the poems are good, particularly of his travel in Europe and of an old friend of his. The writing too was good, having a narrative flow to it which felt more like a short story than a poem.
Yet, where this collection struggles is how pompous it feels. It’s all very self-centred and arrogant, like he’s better than others because he’s a poet. It’s this sort of attitude is why I ended up not enjoying my time with some of the poems, which actually did help with getting me to sleep at times. I’m pretty sure Bolton will appeal to a fan of poetry, but just not for me. There’s plenty of other better poetry collections, in my opinion.
One last main book I’ve read recently is Andrzej Sapkowski’s Season of Storms. This standalone novel in his Witcher series is the final book from that series I’ve read. And what an adventure it is from start to finish. Geralt loses his swords here, the tools of his trade, and must now venture to find them. The world presented here is one which has all the classics that makes an enjoyable Witcher adventure, from great conflicts to Geralt’s irritation of Dandelion.
I haven’t spoken about this entry as I really don’t have much more to say about the Witcher series that I’ve already said in the past. I love the books in this series and have discussed it in the past as being an inspiring series (link here). However, while I found Season of Storms enjoyable, it was missing some of the magic the other books in the series has. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that’s missing, which makes it less enjoyable than the others in the series. I still do recommend this book, only if you’ve read other books in the series.
These are just some of the books I’ve read recently. Stay tuned for a piece on Phil Brown’s The Kowloon Kid, a book I just finished reading coming soon.