A Year in Books – 2014

Philip HarrisBooksLeave a Comment

Goodreads claims I read 84 books last year – including 3 of my own. I read 44 in 2013 so that’s pretty good. Lots of short stories in there, which accounts for the dramatic increase in the total number of books. There are also a lot more indie books. That wasn’t a conscious decision but I’ve been avoiding long books and indie books tend to be shorter than their traditional counterparts. One thing I did avoid as much as I could, was indie books that were blatantly part of a series. Not that I don’t like a good series, provided it’s executed well (the Lexy Cooper books are a good example of a well handled series). But I’ve seen too many indie authors sacrificing basic story telling in order to create a cliffhanger ending in the hope they can entice readers to buy the next book. I hit that at least once this year, and it was extremely unsatisfying. It’s a big part of the reason I’m skipping the rest of that particular series. I’ll probably take the plunge on a series or two this year but once bitten, twice shy. I also listened to a few audiobooks. I haven’t separated them out this year but I’m still enjoying Jim … Read More

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

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We arrived back from a trip to Banff late last night. It was one of those journeys where every step took a little bit longer than expected but we made it in the end. I’ve got a bunch of stuff to post, including some photos (and some metrics), but first, a few words on Jason Gurley’s Eleanor which comes out today. After reading, and loving, Jason Gurley’s short story The Dark Age and his short story collection, Deep Breath Hold Tight, I had high hopes for his science fiction/fantasy novel, Eleanor. I wasn’t disappointed. Eleanor took thirteen years to write and sticking with a story for that long, crafting and re-crafting it until everything is perfect, takes passion and dedication very few people have. The result of all that work is an inventive, vivid book with a haunting, lyrical feel and an intriguing plot that had me hooked right from the beginning. It’s not always a happy book, but it’s never a dull book and I found myself dragged from page to page as the layers of the story were peeled back, grateful that I had the time to dedicate to reading instead of less important things – like sleeping. A truly memorable read, Eleanor has cemented Jason Gurley as one of my favourite authors and I can’t … Read More

Eleanor Preorders

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I’ve shared my enthusiasm for Jason Gurley’s work here a couple of times and at the risk of sounding like a complete fanboy, I’m going to do so again. Jason’s new novel Eleanor is coming out on June 27th but he has been giving everyone who subscribes to his newsletter a free copy and I started reading mine a couple of days ago. I’m about 15% through (thanks, Kindle) and I’m really enjoying it. It’s been favourably compared to everything from Neil Gaiman to Ghost and already has over 50 Amazon reviews, all of them very positive. I’ll be posting some thoughts on the book when I finish it but in the meantime, I encourage you to check it out. You can probably get a free copy if you subscribe to Jason’s newsletter before he changes his mind about giving his magnum opus away for free but if you do what I did and subscribe, get a free copy and still preorder the book, Jason will send you a collection of Eleanor related short stories called The Eleanor Sketches. That book is only available direct from Jason and only for people who preorder Eleanor which means there’s only a couple of weeks left to get hold of it so you should just go and preorder it now. [Eleanor … Read More

Five Things I Learned Last Week

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Okay, technically I think these are things I’ve learned over the last two weeks but I was too tired after the marathon to post any of these last week. Hopefully you’ll let it slide. Bit.ly had a security breach – <sigh> More details here. Jason Gurley’s next novel – Eleanor – is up for preorder on Amazon. More about toilets than I ever wanted to know. Including the difference between syphonic and wash down and how to find one that flushes more effectively. There is an alternative to Google Alerts – Mention.com – but it’s expensive. The legendary ET Cartridge burial site really exists   [Five Things I Learned Last Week by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 11th May 2014]