March 2016 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in 2023. Every six-ish days, I’ve been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I’ve found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

As I have previously written, on 22 March 2016, I set off from home in slightly unusual circumstances; I had the car, because Anne was in England at a family funeral, and my phone was broken so I had no means of contacting the outside world as I drove to work. When I hit the tunnel that takes you from the motorway to Avenue de Cortenbergh at around 0850, there was the usual tailback of traffic. But it became clear by the time I reached Rond Point Schuman that this was no ordinary traffic jam; the Rue de la Loi, along which I would normally coast before taking a left turn down Rue de la Science for my office (the green line on my map), was being closed off by serious-looking police, and I ended up taking a very serpentine route indeed, not helped by thinking at one point that it might be smart to double back and then changing my mind. 

I finally made it to the office at 1022, those last two kilometres having taken me 90 minutes to drive, to find most of my colleagues gathered ashen-faced in the lobby, greeting me tearfully – I was the only person who was unaccounted for, due to my phone being out of order, and people were beginning to assume the worst. They informed me that two terrorist attacks, one at the airport and one at the Maalbeek/Maelbeek metro station (marked with the four-pointed star on my map), had killed dozens of people – 35 including the perpetrators themselves, as it later turned out. I had massive numbers of messages on every possible platform asking if I was all right, which is very reassuring.


The horror hit very close to home. I had flown out of Brussels airport in the morning five times already in 2016, and was originally due to do so again three days later to go to Eastercon in Manchester (in fact my plans had already changed and I took the Eurostar to London for work and travelled on up by train). Anne’s flight home from England was cancelled and she returned by Eurostar the next day. Maelbeek metro station is in the heart of the EU quarter, and I go past it most days and through it several times a month; a former colleague was actually on the train that was bombed, but fortunately escaped without injury.

Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play? I had two trips to London, one of which extended into Eastercon in Manchester (Mancunicon) and also went to Barcelona. I don’t seem to have taken any photographs on any of those trips. We finished the month at my sister’s in Burgundy.

For the centenary of the Easter Rising, I wrote a blog post for the Dublin Worldcon bid, though later had to make corrections.

What with one thing and another, it was a slow month for reading.

Non-fiction: 2 (YTD 11)
The Road to Ruin: how Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin destroyed their own government, by Niki Savva
Easter 1916: selected archive pieces from the New Statesman

SF (non-Who): 8 (YTD 25)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
Mother of Eden, by Chris Beckett
Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
Wings of Sorrow and of Bone, by Beth Cato
Witches of Lychford, by Paul Cornell
Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor

Glorious Angels, by Justina Robson – did not finish
Naamah’s Curse, by Jacqueline Carey

Doctor Who, etc: 3 (YTD 11)
Short Trips: Steel Skies, ed. John Binns
Illegal Alien by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry
Another Girl, Another Planet by Martin Day and Len Beech

Comics: 2 (YTD 7)
The Sandman: Overture, by Neil Gaiman et al
House Party, by Rachael Smith

3,500 pages (YTD 14,100 pages)
5/12 (YTD 30/59) by women (Savva, Cato, Okorafor, Carey, Smith)
1/12 (YTD 7/59) by PoC (Okorafor)

Top book of course was Carroll’s Alice, which you can get here, followed by Paul Cornell’s Witches of Lychford, which you can get here, and The Sandman: Overture, which you can get here.

I bounced off both Glorious Angels, which you can get here, and Another Girl, Another Planet, which you can get here.