What am I up to?

I saw on someone else’s blog recently that they make a regular post on what they are particularly enjoying at the moment. This seemed like a really good idea and something that I thought I would institute on here.

Reading!

I have always read a lot, as far back as I can remember I have had books around and have devoured pretty much any reading material that I can get my hands on. I started with The Hobbit at the age of about nine and moved on to The Lord of the Rings a few years later. That pretty much cemented me into loving fantasy. I added sci-fi in my early teens with lots of Arthur C Clarke, Orson Scott Card and Harry Harrison. More recently I have come to love the setting and flavour of “urban fantasy”. My first introduction was the Anita Blake series by Laurel K Hamilton which is great, but gets a bit samey after five or so novels. Much better examples are the Women of the Otherworld novels by Kelley Armstrong; she builds a completely believable world of the supernatural around us and alongside us. It’s one long story too, with characters dipping in and out and a very strong internal narrative.

Best of them all, and what I am currently completely addicted to is Harry Dresden. The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher are, at least to me, the finest example of urban fantasy around. Obviously I haven’t read every single series and book in the genre, but they will have to go some to beat the Dresden Files! The books are each a self contained story with Harry at the centre, but there area also a number of continuing story arcs that carry through a number of books. All manner of supernatural creatures appear both as allies and enemies. We get vampires, werewolves and all manner of Fae from the Nevernever. I won’t go into any more detail since the stories are essentially mysteries and I don’t want to spoil anything, but do give them a go!

I am currently reading Turn Coat, which is the 11th in the series and if anything they are getting more page-turney rather than less.

Music!

Another of my great loves throught my life is music. I have touched a little in previous posts about how particular musical tastes intersect with what I now know about my sexuality, but that aside I cannot imagine my life without music. It’s probably the thing I would miss most on that theoretical shipwreck isle (other than obvious things like family…). There are some bands/artists that I have been listening to since the early eighties like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Madonna, Billy Joel, Slayer, Venom, Falco and many others. I did say I have varied tastes right?

Recently I have been on a bit of a voyage of musical discovery. I have always like David Bowie for his looks (See top of the page…) but I have never really explored his music beyond the huge hits that most people will have at least a passing familiarity with. I decided that I was going to listen to some complete albums and see what I thought. I put “Best Bowie albums” into google and found this list which seemed as good a place to start as any.

I started with Low, which is the first of the Berlin trilogy of albums released in the late seventies. It’s an unusual album with quite a heavy electronic flavour to it. It’s also quite dark, having been written at the height of Bowie’s cocaine habit.

After that I moved on to Hunky Dory, a much earlier album from 1971 that has “Changes” on it, one of Bowie’s most recognisable tracks. This album has a completely different feel, as if it is from 20 years apart from Low rather than just six. Station to Station, Aladdin Sane and (The Rise and Fall of ) Ziggy Stardust (and the Spiders from Mars) have been on constant rotation on my Spotify account for the last couple of weeks. David is one hell of a talent, to be able to be so damn good at so many different styles is almost inhuman.

OK so that was a bit longer than expected, and in my trademark rambling style to boot 🙂

What are you up to?