27. Self & I, by Matthew de Abaitua

In 1994, just out of a University creative writing course, the author spent 6 months living with and sort of working for the writer Will Self.  This book is partly about that time, written 20 or so years later.  The title is an obvious reference to Withnail & I.

The book is also partly about Will Self and his writing (I have never read any of his books, and Self & I does not encourage me to), and partly discourse about the state of the novel as a form of writing.

The author writes books (science fiction, apparently) and also teaches creative writing.  I felt it would be of greatest interest to students on those courses. It wasn’t really for me.

3 out of 10.

DISCLOSURE – I was given a free kindle copy by the editor, following a conversation on Twitter.  The only way that influenced me was that I felt I owed him the courtesy of reading this book through to the end.

23. Rosewater, by Tade Thompson

I have given up on this audiobook about a third of the way through. It wasn’t really engaging my interest sufficiently to see how it carries on.

Rosewater is a kind of sci-fi thriller, set in Nigeria in 2066. There has been some kind of alien contact – the alien entity is contained in a biodome. Somehow it is capable of curing people of their illnesses, even reanimating the dead. And it gives some people ESP or telepathic abilities.

Elsewhere this book gets good reviews.  So I can only say that it wasn’t really for me.

3 out of 10.

18. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North

I picked up this book in Waterstones’ cafe last year. The beginning intrigued me.

The premise is that Harry August is re-born each time he dies.  He lives his life over again, albeit never in the same way.  He accumulates knowledge and experience across his lifetimes, as do others of his rare kind.

The story becomes something of a time travelling thriller, a cat and mouse chase over several repeated lifetimes.  I am sorry to say that the characters lacked credibility and depth. I would say a good idea that needed a better writer. Sorry. 3 out of 10.