Mining for Gems – The Walton Book Inspiration

jowaltonOn reading Jo Walton’s ‘What Makes this Book so Great‘ I was struck by two things. How many great sounding books are out there that I’ve never heard of, let alone read, and how many books I’d bought because they looked good and never got around to reading. Strictly speaking I know the extent of the second one, I’m just in denial about it. A number of them have an entry in What Makes this Book so Great.

I’m not a big fan of book challenges. I know a lot of bloggers run them, but I don’t like to add constraints as to where I go next. Still Jo’s list is fairly wide ranging, so it barely constitutes a constraint and I do own several of the books already, so I thought it would be a fun idea to read and review them in context of Jo’s reviews. These are all online, so should be easy enough to link to them and run a compare and contrast.

It is undoubtedly going to be a long and drawn-out read-through. I’m already part of the Hodderscape Review Project and have belong to a book group, so that’s two books a month I’m committed to reading, combined with my burgeoning blogging commitments (so many great books, so little time!) there is rarely time to squeeze in a novel from whatever the reader equivalent of a slush pile is.

But I’ll give it a go…

I’ll start with the books I own and first up will be Octavia Butler’s Kindred. This has just been reissued by Headline, and I am fortunate enough to have been given a review copy, so that seems like a good place to start.


A few of the unread books in my house that are also in Jo Walton’s book. Yes I have a problem.

After that, I own the following:
Random Acts of Senseless Violence by Jack Womack (a book I rushed out and bought on the strength of Walton’s review).
The Dragon Waiting by John M Ford.
Red Shift by Alan Garner.
The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson.
Growing up Weightless by John M Ford. Another book I ordered on Walton’s say-so.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. (I’ve had this for years but have been too scared to read it.)

Then are those that I don’t own yet but will probably by at some point.

Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet. (I bought the second volume today in the charity shop. Volume 1 is very high on my wish list.)
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
China Mountain Zhang – Maureen McHugh
Some Samuel R Delany because Walton loves him, and I’ve never read any.
Jasmine nights by SP Somtow
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Some Steven Brust and maybe just maybe some Lois McMaster Bujold.
Orbital Resonance by John Barnes (I loved Luther Blisset’s Q, so what not this? (that’s an 80’s Football joke))
Corrupting Doctor Nice – John Kessel
The Chronoliths – Robert Charles Wilson

So there we have it. It’s a bloody big list, and I could have chosen several more, if the wind has been blowing in a different direction. I have no idea how long this journey will take, but I know I’ll read some interesting stuff along the way.  I do hope you’ll pop in every now again and see how I’m getting on. If you’re lucky I’ll be in a Little Chef eating a Jubilee Pancake!


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