BanksRead – Celebrating the novels of Iain Banks

Twitter went mad this morning, and with good cause. We were all shocked and saddened to hear that Iain Banks has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He published a personal statement (which you can read here), before going off on honeymoon with his now wife Adele. I wish them every happiness in the time left, and send deeply felt virtual hugs to Iain, his family and friends.

Back in January, I posted a teaser about a project I was planning for May. Several of you guessed correctly that I was going to read the books of Iain Banks, and said they’d join in.

Last week, I started trying to find all my copies amongst the book stacks, (I still don’t think I’ve found them all!), and I designed a logo for my project, based on the original covers for The Wasp Factory and Stonemouth.

Then this! … At first I thought that I’d be considered as jumping on the bandwagon, but after seeing the interest in celebrating Banks today, thought I’d continue with my plans. When Alan at Words of Mercury suggested setting up a forum, I happily said I’d help out and consequently The BanksRead Forum was born. Do pop over, and tell us your thoughts about the novels of this fabulous author – please do join in the discussions, or just read what’s there. Thanks.

I’m going to start (re-)reading his novels now, concentrating on the mainstream ones.  I’ve read all bar the latest two, so it’ll be a joy to revisit many old favourites. I mentioned above that I’d dug out as many as I can find – it’s annoying – I can’t find Canal Dreams or Whit, and I only have three of the SF novels.  For some insane reason, I didn’t keep the earlier SF ones; those I have, I haven’t read yet. I’ll post here with a tab up top to collect the posts, and link and discuss on the forum.

For now, I shall leave you with a photo of my Iain Banks book collection.  I do wish they’d kept up with the black and white covers…

8 thoughts on “BanksRead – Celebrating the novels of Iain Banks

  1. Tomcat says:

    Deeply saddened by Iain Banks’ news. I love his book (even went as far as writing an entire dissertation about his work in my second year at uni), and have read many of them more than once.
    Very much looking forward to hearing about your re-readathon.

    • gaskella says:

      Wow – but well worth dissertating (is that a word?) on! I read the Wasp Factory twice back in the 1980s, as I did Espedair Street – at the time it was at the height of my passion for rock’n’roll as exemplified by the Rolling Stones. It’ll be fascinating to see how they fare on re-reads – a) because I know the twist in The Wasp Factory, and b) because Espedair St will now be a nostalgia trip.

  2. Jennifer Wallace says:

    Such a lovely way to celebrate such a wonderful writer. I was incredibly saddened to hear this news today, and that Iain Banks has so little time left to spend with his wife. I loved The Wasp Factory and A Steep Approach to Garbadale but haven’t read any of his sci-fi books. Will be looking out for your posts on them and I’m sure will be adding many more Banks books to my TBR.

    • gaskella says:

      Sharkell, I always like to start at the beginning with a new author. The Wasp Factory is his first novel (1984), and is dazzling – but very dark, with a slight fantastical feel that is a precursor to his SF books, although not SF. If you don’t fancy this, The Crow Road is a family drama with a wonderful cast of characters and possibly one of the best opening lines ever.

      • Sharkell says:

        Thanks. I’ve ordered it from the library. Funny, they have two copies and they are both out – that says a lot for a book published in 1984!

  3. A Damned Conjuror says:

    Those B&W covers make me so nostalgic…I remember as a child browsing bookshops seeing those books displayed and always been drawn to them, hadn’t a clue who Iain Banks was just loved the designs. I avidly remember The Crow Road design.

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