Poet Simon Armitage decides to walk the Pennine Way, in the opposite direction to usual and paying his way with poetry readings as he goes.
I have to admit, I was halfway through the book before I realised I had mixed up the author with Simon Amstell, former host of music quiz show Never Mind The Buzzcocks. I have no idea why. Probably because I'm an idiot.
Moderately entertaining at worst, this, but I couldn't muster any huge enthusiasm for it.
102. The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith. 248 pages.
I didn't enjoy this as much as the previous books in this series, but I suspect that might be more to do with me than with the book.
It was still nice to revisit all the characters in Smith's Botswana and to sympathise with their troubles and enjoy their triumphs.
103. 1984 by George Orwell. 265 pages.
This is definitely a classic. Many terms from it have passed into the language and culture and the society depicted in it is enduringly horrific.
It has its faults of course - there's a horrendously long info-dump towards the end of Part Two, which could easily have been shortened or even entirely dispensed with without lessening the impact of the book as a whole for one thing, and the behaviour of the Party is illogical and self-destructive even by the internal logic of the story, but it's still an enormously effective dystopian nightmare that stays with you long after you've read it.
103a. The Girl Who Was Infatuated With Death by Laurell K. Hamilton. 39 pages.
Short story set in the Anita Blake 'verse between the novels Blue Moon and Obsidian Butterfly.
This starts promisingly, with Anita called in to search for a missing girl, but degenerates into another Anita-angsts-over-her-relationships fest.
Slight and disappointing.
104. A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire. 307 pages.
Second in the October Daye series.
An intriguing and engaging mystery for changeling Toby to solve when she's sent to find out why her liege lord's niece isn't answering the phone - if she can survive long enough to get the answers she needs.
I enjoyed this book, although at times I was frustrated by Toby's utter inability to see things which were as plain as day to the reader.