Monthly Archives: November 2014

Delayed literary gratification and me

To put a fine point on it, delayed gratification has never been a strong suit of mine. Unless it’s something I want with the fire of a million wish lists which necessitates waiting, I’ll usually go for the closer, more immediate reward.

However, the other day I picked up two books I’m planning to read on my trip to England next March. That’s a little over three months. That I will have books in my vicinity. That I’m not allowing myself to read. For three months.

I’ve decided to put them in my closet underneath some pleather hooker books because a) if reading isn’t sexy, what is? and b) if I can’t see them on a daily basis, I won’t be tempted by them. Hopefully.

Thankfully my local library is reopening this week after some much-needed refurbishing, so I’ll have that lifeline.

This is going to be tough!


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Holiday Reading Preview


In case you’ve been hiding in a hole somewhere (if it’s a Hobbit hole, let me know, ‘cause how awesome would that be), you know that the season of tinsel and peppermint EVERYTHING is almost upon us.

Here at Semperlibris, we’re not immune to the odd bit of holiday spirit. And if it’s attached to some top-notch literature, so much the better!

So in the Yuletide spirit, here’s a rough list of some of the festive books I’ll be reading throughout December.

Krampus: The Yule Lord (Brom)

-Twisted fairy tale featuring Krampus, the Scandinavian trickster demon and, of course, Santa Claus. Lovely illustrations really help create nuanced characters.

The Englishman’s Christmas: A Social History (J.A.R. Pimlott)

-Explores the origins (from the Middle Ages onward) of many facets of a traditional English Christmas, with an emphasis on the mixing of Christian and Pagan influences.

The Reader’s Digest Book of Christmas (various)

-A holiday favourite of mine, this book presents the story of the birth of Christ, the history of Christmas, selections of Christmas literature, and examples of Christmas traditions from around the world.

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

-Delightfully zany ode to all things Yuletide (especially Santa Claus). This will be my first Discworld novel!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear that carton of eggnog in the fridge calling my name.

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A Quick Word on The Narrative of John Smith


One of the numerous books I picked up on my honeymoon in Britain, The Narrative of John Smith is Arthur Conan Doyle’s unpublished (well, at least until now, that is) first novel.

As a first novel from an emerging writer (who would go on to become a literary heavyweight), it’s actually not bad. It’s interesting enough and doesn’t have any glaring flaws. It is, in a very real sense of the word, ok.

However, it’s not really a novel in the popular sense. It’s more of a linked series of dissertations on various subjects, which, incidentally, would seem more appropriate coming from a young man’s mouth than a 50-year-old man who is laid up with a vicious case of gout.

But, in the end, this must-read for any die-hard Doyle fan provides invaluable insight into the mind of the author and so is worth the read, although what is on offer isn’t quite what is advertised.

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Recommendation Corner: Rivers of London

Set in London, this light urban fantasy series by Ben Aaronovitch follows the adventures of Peter Grant, a biracial police constable who discovers not only that magic is real but also that he is one of a few practitioners.

I love this series for so many reasons (too many to list here, really), but one of the biggies is that the narrator and protagonist is a person of colour. So refreshing to see!

A must read for any budding or established Anglophile, I especially enjoyed rereading this series after returning from my honeymoon in England. And at about 300 pages each, they’re super quick to whip through.

Best read in order, the books out now are Rivers of London (printed as Midnight Riot in the U.S.), Moon Over Soho, Whispers Under Ground, and Broken Homes.  Fifth book Foxglove Summer is due out early January 2015 (with a rumoured sixth book on the way) and you better believe I’m going to preorder that bad boy.

A word of caution though. Be sure to get the British version with the funky, hand-drawn map-style covers. The American covers are absolutely horrendous.

*A bit of a short post this week, I know, but as I’m currently recovering from a stuffy head cold, slicing my hand open on a cat-food-tin lid, and one heck of a Halloween party, I think I’m entitled to slack off just a little bit.*

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