BooksOfTheMoon

The Jungle Book

By Rudyard Kipling

Rating: 3 stars

I’ve never read The Jungle Book before (although I used to love the Disney film) so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I knew about Kipling’s views on empire and so forth, but this was quite a charming book of fables, using the stories to provide morals. Less than half of it is taken up by Mowgli’s adventures with the rest being unrelated short stories, including the mongoose Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’s fight against the snakes and the white seal Kotick’s search for a safe haven for seals, where humans won’t hunt them.

Book details

ISBN: 9780812504699
Publisher: Tor Classics
Year of publication: 1893

Neither here Nor there: Travels in Europe

By Bill Bryson

Rating: 2 stars

Despite having enjoyed several of Bryson’s other books, I couldn’t really get into this one which was about his travels in Europe, roughly following in his own footsteps from 20 years earlier. It was well-written and quite witty but it took me most of the book to realise why I didn’t hugely enjoy it. I think I didn’t enjoy the book because he didn’t enjoy the trip. He spent a lot of time moaning and this affected the tone of the book. I just wished he’d either find something to enjoy, or just pack up and go home.

He started off well, with a good amount of detail and good cheer and described the locations and people skillfully, but as it went on, you could feel him getting listless and this came through in his writing. I’d look up some of his other work (eg Notes From a Small Island) rather than this one.

Book details

ISBN: 9780552998062
Publisher: Black Swan
Year of publication: 1992

Catseye

By Andre Norton

Rating: 3 stars

Troy Horan is a Dippleman, a refugee living in a restricted area on a planet after his own world was “appropriated” as a military base during an interstellar war. He gets a short contract working with a luxury pet shop and finds himself slowly dragged into a murky web of plots and subterfuge in which imported Terran animals seem to play a central role.

I felt that this was quite sophisticated for a children’s book. The world building was quite good, with a lot of depth and the characters were all quite interesting. A large portion of the pleasure planet that the book happens on is a preserved wilderness, and the protagonist is from a similar area and the impression is that these are things that the author cares about and recur in Norton’s work a lot.

Book details

ISBN: 9780345318497
Publisher: Del Rey
Year of publication: 1961

The Code of the Woosters (Jeeves, #7)

By P.G. Wodehouse

Rating: 4 stars

This tells the tale of the affair of the 18th century cow-creamer, a small, brown leather notebook, Gussie Fink-Nottle and his fiancée Madeline Bassett where the Wooster soul and Jeeves’ ingenuity are tested to the limit. Full of improbable coincidences, farcical set-pieces and outlandish characters, this was a great fun book that had me giggling several times. A great introduction to Bertram Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman.

Book details

ISBN: 9781841591001
Publisher: Everyman's Library
Year of publication: 1938

Eggs, Beans, and Crumpets

By P.G. Wodehouse

Rating: 4 stars

Since I’ve never read any Wodehouse, I was asking around and someone in the office said he had a couple and brought them in for me. This is the first that I’ve finished. Eggs, Beans and Crumpets is a collection of nine short stories, mostly featuring some of Wodehouse’s recurring characters (Bingo Little, Mr Mulliner and Ukridge are all present). Reading them in quick succession was actually a bit wearing after a while, particularly the Bingo Little stories, since they mostly followed the same formula, but they’re wittily written and easy to read.

To be honest, I’m not actually sure if Wodehouse was being satirical in his stories or just reporting an exaggerated version of life for the upper classes in that time, but either way, I’ve enjoyed my first introduction to him, although in future I may space out his short stories a bit more.

Book details

ISBN: 9781841591063
Publisher: Overlook Press
Year of publication: 1940

An ABC of Science Fiction

By Tom Boardman

Rating: 3 stars

This collection contains 26 stories, poems and limericks, one written by an author starting with each letter of the alphabet, starting with Brian Aldiss and ending with Roger Zelazny (although the editor admits he cheated and B. T. H Xerxes is a pseudonym for the collection). It’s a pretty mixed collection with several big names of the 50s and 60s present. Interesting to dip into, and the good stories outweigh the bad ones.

Book details

Publisher: Four Square Science Fiction
Year of publication: 1966

Tomorrow’s Children: 18 Tales Of Fantasy And Science Fiction

By Isaac Asimov

Rating: 4 stars

This is an anthology, edited by Dr Asimov, centring around children in SF. With contributions from Robert Sheckley, Damon Knight, Robert Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury and several more, it seems that just about all the big guns of the era are represented. It’s a good collection from when SF was in one its most experimental phases and very readable.

Book details

ISBN: 9780860078210
Publisher: Futura Publications
Year of publication: 1966

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