Category: Books

2018 Reading Challenge Book 6 – The Geek’s Guide to SF Cinema: 30 Key Films that Revolutionised the Genre by Ryan Lambie

There’s a fair chance that every single one of these book posts are going to be gushy.

This book had me from the introduction as the author laid out the criteria for choosing the films on the list. I haven’t seen them all, some certainly aren’t films I would enjoy but all are very definitely worthy of being written about.

Each film chapter is followed by a piece about other films in the same sub-genre, fleshing out the context of the films etc.. All fascinating stuff and written in a style that is easy to read for new fans of sci-fi movies and old.

I adore that there’s no indication that you have to have seen every film on this list or you are somehow less of a fan of the genre. The writing style is friendly, straight forward and not opinionated. (To be fair I expected nothing less from a regular writer at Den Of Geek)

I love books that I can go back to and use as reference, so when I get around to watching (or re-watching) films featured I can read up on them.

2018 Reading Challenge Book 5–What Does This Button Do? Bruce Dickinson

I loved this book! (To be fair I select books that I’m reasonably certain I will enjoy, and am likely to not bother finishing ones that don’t hold my attention.)


The narrative moves at a reasonable pace, sometimes biographies get bogged down in certain places such as childhood or when a particular interest of the writer crops up, but this keeps a steady rhythm to it all with only a couple of moments where it drifts a tiny bit. As he states at the end of the book he leaves out births, marriages and divorces, maybe that’s the sort of salacious content some people want from autobiographies but I’ll be frank I really didn’t notice the lack of personal stuff in there because the tales of his career and various hobbies were enough to keep the pages turning. Sometimes the style is blunt, but never cruel, at times it’s almost like tales regaled to friends down the pub. There is an ego present, but it’s a balanced one.

The whole book is fascinating stuff covering music, fencing and flying all with relevant anecdotes thrown in along the way. The final chapter is particularly strong as Bruce battles cancer. If I didn’t know he’d made it out the other side of it all I’m not sure I could have got through it. (The final chapter of Greg Lake’s biography where he talks about his fight with the disease is very difficult to read knowing that he lost.)

I have a lovely signed hardback of this book thanks to a very good friend queuing up at a signing event when I had to catch a train, however I also got the kindle version to read as I really didn’t fancy risking damage to the signed copy by lugging it to and from work in my bag each day.


2018 Reading Challenge Books 2-4 No Such Thing As A Fish, Susan Calman and Sarah Millican

For a change I seem to be rattling through books at a good lick. Combining the latest three into one post as I didn’t get chance to post when I finished each of them.

The No Such Thing As A Fish Book of The Year

Much like the DoG book (see previous entry) this is the kind of book I am fascinated by. I love random facts. I wish I remembered more of them. Focusing on 2017 this book is chocked full of facts, all in alphabetical order (with amusing cross references). I do hope they plan to do this every year. By the way the No Such Thing As A Fish weekly podcast is well worth a listen if you like this sort of thing.


Cheer Up Love – Susan Calman

I’ve been following Susan Calman on twitter for a while after enjoying her appearances on The News Quiz and QI.  I’ve also loved her pure joy at being on Strictly Come Dancing. This book is a very honest, but still amusing where applicable, account of her dealing with her depression. The ultimate message is that you are not alone and even at the deepest, darkest, lowest point there is a way back. It’s written in a very approachable way, and I look forward to the next book which I think is due in September and is about kindness.

How To Be Champion – Sarah Millican
I loved this book! I bought it just out of curiosity for the kindle when it was on offer. I’d seen tweets to Sarah Millican about how much people had enjoyed it so figured it was worth a punt at 99p. It is brilliant. I found it relatable, reassuring and most of all funny. All of that could be because I am of a similar age and have a similar relationship with cake, but even so it’s a smashing book.



Next up – What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson



Links to the books in this post –


2018 Reading Challenge Book 1–Den of Geek Movie Geek

I adore books like this. I read it cover to cover but it is one of those books that lends itself to those who like to dip in and out of a book which makes it quite good for journeys of varying lengths.

Speaking of travelling, being the type of person who doesn’t like the idea of books getting creased in her bag, I bought a second “copy” of the book for my Kindle. It takes up less space in my bag and doesn’t damage the wonderful tactile physical copy which is now on a shelf waiting for other people in the household to flick through its pages.

Movie Geek is packed with trivia and fascinating movie info which had my (not so) inner geek leaping with joy and kept me interested even when dealing with films with which I was not so familiar.

The writing is pretty much what I have come to expect from the Den Of Geek site – light, non-patronising and highly entertaining. There’s a reason I love the DoG site and it goes the same for this book. I feel included and any in-jokes are never at the expense or exclusion of the reader. You feel part of the gang. It’s never preachy so you don’t feel like you are being told what to like and not like, your own opinions are rarely, if ever, invalidated.

Okay, Okay, I’ll stop gushing about DoG now and leave you with links to buy the books in a couple of different formats and one for the Den of Geek site (and their social media) as they are well worth checking out if you haven’t visited already.

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