Peter's summer reading club recommends:
P.D. James - The Children of Men
The last human being is born in 1995, Year Omega; mass infertility has doomed the human race to extinction. By 2021 the slowly dying citizenry of England have given themselves over to a dictator who promises comfort, peace, and freedom from boredom until the end of their numbered days. Peace and order are a strictly enforced illusion, but what do quiet atrocities matter in the last days of a dying species?
Everyone has seen the movie version but me. I didn't even know it existed.
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
Not actually an atlas of cloud formations, but a set of stories that contain each other like Russian dolls. Never really got the title, as a matter of fact. Each story makes it about halfway before being interrupted by the next, only to appear within it. The first story is a series of journal entries discovered on a dusty bookshelf in the second, for example. Once you finish out the final story embedded in the middle of the book, you come back to all the stories you left behind. The second half of the journal entries is found propping up the bedstead, in case you were wondering.
David Mitchell's spectacular prose is nothing short of jaw-dropping. If I could write like that, I would call myself a writer. Each novella is written in a different genre, and he masters them all. I have to single out The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish because it had me laughing like a hyena clown.
Scott Smith - The Ruins
An awfully stupid book. Clumsy writing. Moron characters. My desire for revenge on the author grew as I flipped the pages, sublimating into a murderous hatred for those one-dimensional idiot boobs he limply positioned as main characters. I couldn't wait for them all to succumb to the horrors of the (eye-roll) killer vines. Like eating a snot sandwich: I gagged all the way through.
Like a pudding from the sky, the meme struck: ask your significant other to tell you three things about yourself. And then some "rules" about launching the pudding at someone else.
"You are not a morning person."
Did you know we spend a third of our lives asleep? What a disgraceful waste. I am doing my level best to push the envelope past 33%. Mornings are a, if not the significant hurdle in my commitment to this lifetime goal. The discipline required to lie in while the rest of the world gets up yawning and scratching its bum is staggering. When I am forced by circumstance to arise, losing time that can never be added to that precious Grand Total of Hours Asleep, I get (understandably, I think) grouchy as I ponder the sobering possibility I may never be a Van Winkle world champion.
"You need to feed your imagination constantly."
In fact the reverse is true. My imagination needs to feed me. Books, movies, art, humour, games, puzzles, conversations, dreams (cf. you are not a morning person), stray thoughts - all are grist for the mill. Without these places to explore, life would be as dust in my mouth.
I sometimes complain about having to live in Mundania, a place name invented by Piers Anthony to describe our ordinary world in relation to his invented world of Xanth. At least I'm not alone; my favourite people in the world are the ones who have an intuitive imaginative faculty and the skill to wield it. Right, and the patience to interact with me. I married one.
"You can live on blackberries, cherries, and peas to the exclusion of other foodstuffs."
Three good things you can only get in Mundania, I grudgingly admit.