Archives for category: For 9 – Adult

.Image result for The boy at the back of the class

Published by Orion

‘So…I’m scary? Just because I look different?’

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be confronted, others are not so easily dealt with. Some of the largest bullies in the world are those with the greatest power, who abuse that power, and abuse people, with the result that there are over 6.5 million refugees trying to escape.

This is a story about one of them. This is the story of Ahmet who arrives at school in the middle of the term and takes the last seat at the back of the class.

He’s nine.

This is an extraordinarily moving account of friendship, bravery and hope. It is the story of a small group of children wanting to do the right thing – against all the odds. Their naivety – a belief that in the end all will be well, if they can just make sure everyone know, that the adults out there, would do the right thing too, lends the story a piquancy that wouldn’t otherwise be there, which colours the story.

The book is illustrated sensitively and touchingly by Pippa Curnick – and her pictures add their own bit of seasoning to this extraordinary book.

‘Sometimes all you really need is somewhere to cry without anyone ever knowing.’

This is a story of hope.

Part of the royalties of this book will go to aid refugees.

It should be read along side Elizabeth Laird’s Welcome to Nowhere – it is, in effect another side to her story…

If you don’t do anything else (and don’t read it), buy it anyway. It will help, just a little, but it will help someone somewhere out there, who is looking for a new place to call home, somewhere they can live in the peace we all take so much for granted.

Better still, buy it and read it. Then tell everyone else to, and get them to buy and read it too.

This is not a book to share – its a book to be bought.

Though perhaps we could subsidise all members of both houses of parliament to have a copy, along with Elizabeth Laird’s book.

Its time we started to care.

I’m sure Waterstone’s could do a promotion for that many copies and I would be very happy to process them through the till.

I have, but one criticism, (it is very small) – it’s this. The word ‘gotten’ is used and though, that in itself lends some colour to the book, for those who are also studying English for exams, as well as reading a good book, it should perhaps have been exchanged for another. It is of no serious matter, but none-the-less it is one that should not be used, unless of course the book is meant to be written in American.

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Image result for pages and co anna james

Published by Harper Collins.

‘…do you ever feel like you read books, like more than other people?’

I have just spent the day just lying in the garden and reading this small proof.

Its brilliant.

Harper Collins should sell it along side copies of Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) and The Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett).

Perhaps in a slip case.

Should you follow my advice and buy and read a copy of Pages and Co, the reason for this suggestion will be obvious.

It isn’t necessary for the reader to have read them, but you may enjoy Pages and Co a little more if you understand the references, and know about the characters. To those and quite a few other books too. If you haven’t read them – not to worry, you really don’t need to, but may find when you have finished Pages and Co, that you will want to…

This is a book of books, if ever there was one.

I always knew that libraries and in particular bookshops, were important, slightly magical places. I’m a member of the British Library and am now aware of the British Underlibrary as well and would be honoured to be a member of that too, and would love to work there. I have worked in bookshops for about 25 years all in – so I know about how magical they can be. Perhaps my experience would assist in my application….

This is stupendous. A celebration, if you would, of good writing,  good stories – simply marvellous. As I said, its a magical book of books.

Buy it when it comes out in September (2018) – you may find that it is available before publication – so its worth placing your orders…now. Place them with us at Waterstones Finchley Road O2, there’s just a chance we may have Anna James for an event – so signed copies may be available. Certainly worth the time and trouble.

I owe Amabel for this – she brought the book back from a Harper Collins Publisher’s ‘do’ this week, as she thought it was ‘for me.’ How right she was/is.

 

 

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Published by BBC Books / Penguin Random House / Target Books

Dr Who. Iconic – brilliant and British.

Secretly, I rather hope there is a Dr out there – not necessarily to just protect us from the Daleks, Nestene Consciousness and all the other aliens out there…but also from ourselves…our politicians…

That aside I have always enjoyed watching Dr Who – especially, when small, after persuading my Dad  that it was ‘the last in the series…‘ and to come and be with us as the Daleks tried once more to take over the world. We were always safe if Dad was there…More recently I have enjoyed the new regenerations (also with Dad, though sometimes afterwards on the telephone) – starting with Christopher Eccleston… though Matt Smith was definitely not one of my favourites. He looked too young…and was obviously younger than I, which seems incongruous – however legitimate, for the Dr.

Image result for doctor who rose bookRecently ‘they’ have published a few of these more recent stories as books – and the first I read was this – Rose.

I hadn’t read a Dr Who story for a very long time and found that I loved it more than watching it on TV. Perhaps because I had seen it, but also because there seemed to be more background in the book than the programme. Then again it might have been that I just missed the detail whilst watching it.

I can highly recommend these. They are not, it has to be said ‘literature’.  They are pure fun – for those of us who enjoy Dr Who…for those of us who want a little light entertainment…to laugh out loud on the tube and to secretly hope that there is someone out there…who can whisper just six words….

My Dr? Probably Jon Pertwee – the third regeneration…

 

Image result for the last chance hotel thornton

Published by Chicken House

I may have only reached page 184, of a book that is 324 pages long, but I think I can safely say that this is brilliant. I am staying at my parent’s house at the moment as my water tank has decided to leak everywhere and, trying to live without water on tap, as it were, was proving difficult. This has been a wonderful distraction.

Seth is The Last Chance Hotel’s pot-scrubber. He has a nose for spices and herbs. He is a very good chef, just like his father, however, he doesn’t get much chance to practice due to the owners of the hotel and their daughter  Tiffany.

This is part mystery, part crime, and part magical fantasy. When a rather important guest is murdered Seth finds himself the main suspect, as it was after eating his rather special pudding that the deceased died. The repercussions of his death are far wider than Seth realises. His only friend is his black cat, appropriately named, Nightshade…without whom the story would have had a very dark turn indeed.

This is a book to savour. To enjoy sitting with your cat beside you in peace – for once not climbing bookcases or disappearing into the backs of open drawers. It is marvellous with many different elements, or, if I may, flavours.

Buy it, find a corner in which to read it and disappear into a whole new world…

Stupendous:

‘The traveller flung back the hood, revealing a dark domed head, the skin hatched with wrinkles like a raisin and a monstrous scar running from the corner of his bulbous nose to the corner of his lip so it was lifted as if in a permanent sneer. It was much the same look as Tiffany achieved without needing the scar.’

 

 

Image result for boy under water adam baron

Published by Harper Collins

Cymbeline Igloo, nine, is friendly, relatively popular and good at sports. Apart from one. Swimming. Cymbeline Igloo has never been swimming. Not once. He’s never been in a swimming pool, let alone the sea, ever. This hasn’t been a problem, up until Miss Phillips statement  – and the fact that he panicked a bit…..and said it.

‘Er, I said. ‘Well.’ And then I said, and I don’t know WHY I said it, ‘Yearh, I’m like really epic at swimming.’ 

Which resulted in that challenge against Billy Lee which had repercussions far more serious than falling into the pool and displaying more of his anatomy than he would like. That and letting down Veronique Chang.

Cymbeline’s mother has a secret. Cymbeline believes it has something to do with swimming, however, he is unaware of quite what a secret his family is dealing with.

Both funny and touching. This is a book  about families, siblings and illness. About stories and essentially, love and…friendship, of course.

‘Billy and I were…friends now, as weird as that sounds. I felt guilty for making judgements about him and it made me realise that the bit you actually see of a person is like the ears on the hippos on the Discovery Channel. There’s much more underneath.’

This is a good book – it is Waterstone’s Book of the Month for Children from tomorrow. It is a must buy. 

I hope to have signed copies in Waterstones Finchley Road O2 at some point on Monday. Even if you can’t get hold of one of those, come and buy one..

Image result for explorers atlas harper collins

Published by Collins / Harper Collins

This is for those people who never grow out of asking questions.

My sister once complained that I still ask the impossible questions, (usually related to medical subjects) that I should have stopped asking when I left my childhood.

Clare is my elder by 4 years. I ‘put her through medical school’ (not really, but I was working whilst she was training) and now semi-retired, she was/is a consultant. So I expect her to know everything. At least anything to do with medicine.

This book is for those of us who don’t have a geologist in the family – who should know everything to know about Geography. It is, however, by no means ‘just a Geography book’ – there is so much more to this.

It is, I suspect the sort of book that will engender more questions, more ideas, more thoughts.

Page 121 for example:

A few facts about –

MADAGASCAR (You didn’t expect me to use any other country, I hope.)

4th largest island in the world.

Lemur – It’s a clade of primates which includes nearly 100 different species, all of them endemic to Madagascar.

Archaeoindris – With a body mass of 200 kg, it was the largest species of lemur, the size of a gorilla. Its extinction coincided with the arrival of the first humans to the island around 350 BC

Vanilla – 2nd most expensive spice after saffron. Madagascar is the 2nd largest vanilla producer after Indonesia. 

Avenue of the Baobabs – Beautiful & famous dirt road with many prominent baobab trees lining it. I have been there and can confirm that this is so.

Brookesia micra – The smallest chameleon and one of the smallest reptiles on the planet, roughly 3 cm long. It was discovered in the mid-2000’s and can only be found on the small rocky island of Nosy Hara.

Gondwana – The name of the ancient (sic) supercontinent, which once included Madagascar, Antarctica, India, Africa, South America and Australia.

The facts given in the book are split between Geography (1,051), History (667), Society (641), Flora & Fauna (384), Economy 9356) and Science (176)

There are a few ‘general’ pages about the globe at the beginning: Planet Earth (physical attributes), Greatest Explorers, Earthquakes & Volcanoes, Highest Mountains, Largest and Smallest Countries.

Image result for explorers atlas wilkowiecki madagascar

Each page includes a silhouette map of the country/ies  in brown, (with a scale) and if necessary (and logically) any surrounding islands / other countries included on the same leaf.  My only criticism is that it is printed in sepia and often in a very small point font – which isn’t perhaps the best colour for those with poorer eye sight, however, it is printed on cream paper and the paper is matt – not ‘Art Paper’.

The book is bound in boards and measures some 34.5 cm x 27 cm (13.5 inch x 10.5 inch) – so a larger format book, necessary for such an atlas.

I feel I should apologise – I have had this book for a while, but not got around to giving it the review it deserves.

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for the beast player pushkin

Published by Pushkin

This volume has a really distinctive cover, that everyone seems to pick up and admire. Another brilliant book from the Pushkin ‘stable’ – a Japanese fantasy to another world.

Erin’s mother cares for the Toda – serpents that are central to the success of the army and the safety of the kingdom. It is a job that involves ensuring they are healthy, fit and well. Ready to go to battle as soon as necessary. It is a dangerous job, the Toda controlled by silent whistles… Erin’s mother though is good at her job, she is different, though. Some would say she shouldn’t be looking after the Toda at all. Many are suspicious.

When the Toda under her mother’s care die, Erin is forced to escape, as her mother is executed…

An extraordinary and unique tale of intrigue, danger and adventure. Something different for the Summer….

 

Image result for storm keeper's islandPublished by Bloomsbury

This is the story of an island. A tale of history, of stories, magic, the sea and candles. Its the story of a telling of tales. Mysterious, dangerous and wild. This is a book of water, history, and the smell of the sea. This is a story of an island full of impossibility. Of siblings. Bravery and sacrifice. A book about the sea in the depths of eyes. This is a story about storms, tides; low and high… it is a story of an island, the sea, and the safekeeping of stories.

Catherine Doyle’s use of language is partly what makes this such a superb book – there are few books for children that use smell, sight, hearing, taste and touch in quite the way she does. It makes the book a vivid and quite a special read.

There’s a Storm Keeper for each generation. Just one and one wish that can be granted.  A Storm Keeper is not something that is inherited. The island chooses. Someone that will keep the island safe, they are the person that will become the Storm Keeper.

Its a story of the wielding of power.

 

This is a book to take on holiday to an island, where the wind and sea meet. This is a book of wildness which should be enjoyed in peace in a cottage, with the sound and smell of the sea surrounding it… with a fire in the hearth and a natural candle burning on the mantelpiece.

 

 

 

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Published by Faber and Faber.

I am three quarters through this and I am loving it.

Alice Mistlethwaite has been sent to a boarding school in Scotland. It is unlike most boarding schools I have ever heard of (fictional or otherwise), however, there are similarities. Those traditions, that no-one outside the school know about, for example, which can trip up the unwary – and can affect burgeoning friendships. The groups of friends that fluctuate as promises are broken, and made. Where one might inadvertently help, or hinder another… those little vignettes of life that affect everyone living together.

This is wonderful. To quote page 137 and the start of chapter 18 – ‘This is a story of a girl who lost her mother, and her home and is afraid of losing her father and needed to find herself.’

It is also the story of two boys who make friends with the girl, who lost her mother. Jesse, whose older brothers tickle and tease him, and always loses the First Day Challenge and Fergus, the clever one, who sometimes just doesn’t think

Small incidents and phrases throughout the book have made me laugh.

One of Alice’s letters home ends with the rather wonderful statement

‘In Year Nine, we get to kill the hens.’

Stupendous – for everyone, boy, girl, adult or child – everyone will get something from this.

 

 

        

Published by Piccadilly Press.

It is 03.09 in the morning. Dark. Silent, apart from my oil heater clicking gently behind me. I woke a while ago to continue reading this extraordinary volume.

This is a story set in Grey Britan, after the Gasses. The world has changed, things are not as they once were. Lahn Dan is contained within the Emm Twenty-five and there is nothing beyond.

‘there’s nothing outside of the Emm Twenty-five. Everything outside Lahn Dan is Dead.’

People and society have changed too.

The Aus live lives that are easier than most, though much of their world is fake. They are secure. Have hot water. Fresh food and their grass is green. They have been changed to look like the people of history, those known for their looks. They are beautiful. The Cus, meanwhile, are only able to use technology to support the Aus, and Pb they are the lowest of the low. They work. Have nothing, but stories, are almost illiterate, don’t eat food, but consume small pills for sustenance. Their grass is a sort of muddy brown colour.  They are set apart.

Aus – gold, Cus – copper and Pb – lead.

Lahn Dan to Serendipity is a place of darkness, filth, and hard-work. A place of bridges over the Tems – which she knows used to be one of the largest rivers in the world. Serendipity has never seen a river, but she has heard about them. The Tems is now a thick line of mud, used to dispose of anything unwanted, whether human or otherwise.

London is filled with images of horses. The National Gallery contains, of course, that stunning picture Whistlejacket by Stubbs, along with many others, including The Horses of Achilles, by van Dyke. Then there are the statues: Richard III on horseback outside the Houses of Parliament. The horses in the sculpture entitled Animals at War in Park Lane – there are thousands of them. Lahn Dan is filled with them too..

This book was a serendipitous find. I saw a brief glimpse of its existence in a piece of ephemera at work. Then sent out a plea for a reading copy – a proof, any form of this book for me to read. The author responded promptly and sent me a copy of the hardback – which I took home the day before yesterday, and started to read last night.

I am now just 55 pages into the book. I can’t leave it alone, yet am having to stop, every now and then, because I’m worried about what Serendipity has done, who she has met, and what decisions she is about to make. There are many characters who can and without doubt will affect the run of this story – and one I am in particular, a member of the Aus society, of whom I am most suspicious.

The book quotes a poem I read at school entitled The Horses by Edwin Muir –

We did not dare go near them. Yet they waited, 

Stubborn and shy, as if they had been sent

By an old command to find our whereabouts

And that long-lost archaic companionship.

 I have ridden horses. I have been snuffled at. I have been examined and in turn gazed back, into those gorgeous eyes. I have been trusted. I have ridden like the wind, my mount and I as one, both together. In a small way, I have been part of that archaic companionship. This is a celebration of all of that.

The paperback is due out on the 25th of this month. I’m afraid I prefer the hardback’s dust-jacket to the cover of the new edition coming out – it is perhaps less eye catching, it is perhaps more traditional.  A book though, is more than its cover, as we all know – so  if you can find a copy of the hardback before the 25th of January – then buy it (£9.99).

If not, then order the paperback (£6.99).

I suppose it isn’t long till the 25th of January.