You might recall that I was in England at the start of July for a conference and some “me” time. Being overly obsessed with the printed medium, I made time to peruse the bookstores while I was in Lincoln. And boy did I find some nice stuff! I have a gift for finding awesome stuff when I go book shopping, apparently (or so I think).
1. Vermilion Sands by J. G. Ballard
A novel set in the fictional landscape of the future, Vermillion Sands.
(Note: Yes, that description is dreadfully short. I tried finding a more appropriate description, but none was forthcoming, I’m afraid.)
2. The Crystal World by J. G. Ballard
J. G. Ballard’s fourth novel, which established his reputation as a writer of extraordinary talent and imaginative powers, tells the story of a physician specializing in the treatment of leprosy who is invited to a small outpost in the interior of Africa. Finding the roadways blocked, he takes to the river, and embarks on a frightening journey through a strange petrified forest whose area expands daily, affecting not only the physical environment but also its inhabitants.
3. The Unlimited Dream Company by J. G. Ballard
From the author of the Sunday Times bestseller ‘Cocaine Nights’ comes an acclaimed backlist title — in which suburban London is transformed into an exotic dreamworld — now reissued in new cover style. When a light aircraft crashes into the Thames at Shepperton, the young pilot who struggles to the surface minutes later seems to have come back from the dead. Within hours everything in the dormitory suburb is strangely transformed. Vultures invade the rooftops, luxuriant tropical vegetation overruns the quiet avenues, and the local inhabitants are propelled by the young man’s urgent visions through ecstatic sexual celebrations towards an apocalyptic climax.
4. Blue Light by Walter Mosley
San Francisco in the 1960s is already crazy enough when mysterious shafts of blue light touch the lives of random strangers.
5. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
From David Mitchell, the Booker Prize nominee, award-winning writer and one of the featured authors in Granta’s “Best of Young British Novelists 2003” issue, comes his highly anticipated third novel, a work of mind-bending imagination and scope.
A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation — the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.
In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.
I’m actually looking forward to reading all of these. Hopefully I’ll have some time over Christmas to do so, because the Ballard and the Mitchell are definitely at the top of my “fun reading” list.
What are you looking forward to reading?