One of the side-effects of being laid off is that I generally pick up something to while away the time. The last time that I was laid off, I started getting horribly addicted to watching Jerry Springer. This time around, I've taken to reading fiction books (as well as computer books). I've read more books in the past few weeks than I have in the past few moths. So, what have I been reading?
The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross: I'm a fan of Charles Stross' work. Ever since I read Accelerando, I've been picking up various books of his either from the library or the book store. The Jennifer Morgue is the sequel to The Atrocity Archives. Both books are about Agent Bob Howard, who works for the secret organization "The Laundry" which makes sure that us mortals stay fat, dumb, and happy while they make sure that the eldritch horrors out there (think HP Lovecraftian horror) don't make humanity a tasty little snack. Bob Howard isn't your typical James Bond cookie-cutter hero; Bob works in the IT department, so the character can be easily related to most of the folks reading this blog. :) The story itself is funny, interesting, and turns the typical spy-thriller tropes on their head. Highly recommended.
Storm Front (Book 1 of the Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher: I must be in an urban fantasy mood, because Storm Front's premise is that the things that go bump in the night are real. The twist on this tale is that the protagonist, Harry Dresdin, is a practicing wizard who also acts as a private detective investigating paranormal crimes. This is the first book in the series, and it paints a very interesting, if incomplete picture of Harry's World. It has the right pacing horror and mystery that makes for a fascinating read. I initially found this series via learning that Evil Hat published their FATE-based RPG based off of this series. After reading the RPG, I started getting into the series itself, and can highly recommend Storm Front as a satisfying read.
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett: The world of Discworld is a strange and funny place much like our own, except magic is real, and the world is a spinning disc on the backs of tour elephants riding on the back of a giant turtle. And if you can make it past that sentence, you might be a candidate to read this book. Terry Pratchett is the master of the disconnected vignette, so reading this book looking for a connected whole will drive you insane. Recommended for those who like their fantasy with a healthy dose of bad puns and outrageous visuals.