The Jewel in the Skull by Michael Moorcock.

I’ve just read The Jewel in the Skull by Michael Moorcock.Jewel in the Skull For some reason it was on my mind and I searched through my old books, finding the version with this cover. Copyrighted 1967 the price on the back was £0.30 I probably last read it in the 70s…

I read it in a few days, not a challenging read and fairly short. It is heroic fantasy if you want to assign a genre, and that makes it a little surprising that the characters were not really developed, although their motivations were clear and I could identify with them.

The plot was not complex but it was an engaging tale. It was a little odd that the problem caused by the ‘jewel in the skull’ which the blurb makes a lot of, was resolved so quickly it was a let-down.

But these are very minor criticisms, overall I loved the book, it was an easy but entertaining read. Nostalgia helped me enjoy it although I don’t think that was a huge influence, I actually enjoyed reading this because it was an unpretentious, engaging and fast moving tale. I enjoyed the future damaged Europe and the sorcerer-scientist approach. I liked the evil Granbretan, the beast-orders of soldiers with their identifying mask/helms. And ornithopters fighting giant flamingos! Imaginative and entertaining. And of course, this is only the first in the series…

Can music compliment a book like wine does food?

Food-Wine-ArtWe are often told which wine best complements food. Dry white suits fish, a full bodied red beautifully compliments a steak or a strong stilton cheese. In fact there are a surplus of experts on the subject out there, happy to enlighten us whether we want them to or not.

Not entirely dissimilar, I find that reading can be enhanced with the right music.

I once missed most of the world cup though it was on the TV in front of me. Shots went wide of goal posts, offside rulings frustrated fans, players dived melodramatically. But all the while I was engrossed in Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series whilst playing Neil Young’s Decade double album on headphones. I was in another world and I still feel nostalgic about it now.

Today (world cup time again) it was a re-reading of an old classic by Michael Moorcock with my rock collection on random. But guess what came up and transformed a good read into a great atmospheric one? Cortez, Cortez, by Neil Young. Wonderful, in the setting of a hot evening in the garden, the scent of Philadelphus wafting occasionally over me, the beer having a nice relaxing effect… Bliss. Then I went in and watched England play. And lose. Ho hum.

So for me epic fantasy and guitar-based rock is like Aberdeen Angus and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

For others it may be a romantic tale with soothing classical music, or a crime novel with a stirring orchestral piece. Barry White for erotic stories?

Maybe readers of literary fiction prefer total silence? I have to say that would be dull, just like contemporary fiction with contemporary pop music, but hey, that may be just me…