Archives for category: For 9 – Adult

Published by Macmillan

Not yet Published – 5 September 2019

Iffen.

Except for the sound in the ivy, his movements were silent. He prowled like an animated shadow. He smelt wonderful, part smoke, part caramel. His leaps looked like slow motion. When he turned his head to look at Louis, an amber power traced patterns on the nerves beneath Louis’ skin. From his very first visit he had taken ownership of Louis’ room, Louis’ bed and Louis’ mat (on which he sharpened his claws)…

Iffen banished loneliness. His arrogant sorting through the offerings on the windowsill made Louis smile. Either they vanished completely, or were flicked scornfully into the ivy. They were not enough. Lately Iffen had taken to bringing his own supplies…

I have just finished the proof of this quite extraordinary and enticing wondrous book. Really, quite one of the most evocative, brilliant pieces of writing that I have read for years

Everyone should buy copies of this – Magic. When I say magic, I mean the primeval, and dare I say it, real magic of nature – of wildness and of books – how I wish I had been brought up, just for a little while in an ivy-covered house… The power of books, of words and of course of pictures… Absolutely wonderful.

Image result for chauvet cave drawings

The cover to this book, doesn’t reflect the depth, wildness and enticement of this wild, extraordinary tale. Buy it. Perhaps in years to come someone will design another more fitting. In the meanwhile, know that there is something extra to this tale – the English is wonderful – a book of real magic…

 

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Image result for darkie and co oxford childrens library

Now out of Print, originally published early 1930’s

I found this on a stall at the National Book Fair near Russell Square Hotel, last Sunday and have spent the intervening week reading it with immense pleasure, between my time at work and doing those things that are essential for sanity and comfort.

It was priced at £4 – but I paid just £2 – as everything on the stall was marked half price.

It has been a joy, not least because of the use of language, which was a pleasure – ‘No imperance,’ the sergeant replied, drawing himself up with dignity. ‘No imperance to the Law, my lad. Which I took to mean no impertinence…

The paper is thick, off white and it is regularly illustrated with wonderful pictures, black and white and full of character. The font is about 12 point and the book has good margins and a nice sized gutter too and, what is more, it has a dust jacket…

It was published by Oxford Children’s Library – I think in 1930/31 which reflects the use of language, particularly in the title which could, in these more recent years be held to be politically questionable. Darkie though is bright and intelligent and his name is given as a term of affection… The story is a proper adventure – our young hero has run away, and becomes involved with a puppet master and gypsies – out to get what they can in the way of a ransom.

Lastly this small volume has that wonderful smell that comes with old books – slightly musty…a comforting sort of smell.

It is a delight.

This post, is by way of a reminder, that one can find good reading (and books that are designed properly and beautifully) for very reasonable prices for very little – if you are willing to try something a little different, that might have a history…

Image result for where the river runs gold

Published by Orion Books –

Freedom Fields Family

Stronger Together

Education, Healthcare, Work Experience, Training

Food, Fresh (air), Fair (treatment), Freedom and Fun

A Family for Life

This book is by way of a warning.

A dystopian novel set after the last bees have gone. A distant memory. Where there were meadows, fields and trees there are now bricks, mortar and steel. Food is hard to come by. People make do and their children are sent to the Freedom Fields to help pollinate crops by hand.

This is the tale of a sale of hair and the last tendrils returned as a skein to be kept and given as a gift. Of free-thinking. Resistance. Seeds and hope. It’s a tale of families and siblings. A story of belief.

Themba and his sister Shifa’s adventure begins as they realise that the Freedom Fields Family isn’t quite what the brochure suggested and there’s that secret too…

Brilliant. Read it. Enjoy it. Trust in the bees.

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Image result for max kowalski didn't mean it

Published by Puffin Books

‘…and always wait for the weather.’

Not many big brothers would hold a funeral for a desiccated bifurcated dead worm for a younger sister.  This is, however, one of the first things that the hero of this story does at the beginning of this book. He is his father’s eldest child. He is ‘stepping up’ – taking on the responsibility for his family, when his father disappears.

This is a story of families. Of siblings. Of hiding out. Sticking together and responsibilities…a tale of a trip to Wales, of learning to climb, a pink rolling suitcase stuffed with money and a mystery…

I haven’t finished it yet – but it keeps distracting me from what I should be doing….

There are probably lots of definitions of what it is to be a ‘man’ – this small volume (I have finished it now), gives one such definition… Stepping up isn’t what youngsters are supposed to be doing. Theirs is the time for experiments, challenges, support and love.

A book of the mountains and of Wales too. Stupendous. Loved it.

Image result for malamander thomas taylor walker

Published by Walker Books

Why I never received a proof of this, I don’t know – I thought I was on everyone’s list for pre-publication Children’s books. I must have fallen off a list…

I have only just started this – it arrived at work today and I nicked one to read whilst having my lunch – it is wonderful.

Lost and found. Lots of things get lost – there’s a big Lost Property Office run by T.F.L. which reputedly has some very strange things in it.  I have a transparent box in which I keep lost property for a month – mostly odd toys and the odd glove. Harrod’s had a very efficient and very busy system when I worked there… Generally the items that I took down to the Lost Property Department were things like glasses, gloves, hats, purses and once a wallet that was bursting at the seams (it couldn’t close), with £50 notes, all on their edge, forcing the opening so that it bulged apart by about three inches… I never knew of a person, though to be left, or for that matter to be found in such a place…

This is about a young Lost Property Officer working in a hotel. He looks after lost things. There is though, a mystery around the town and the hotel. A baby that was left (before his time) and the parent’s of that child went missing…leaving just two pairs of shoes and some luggage – now no longer safely stored in his office…

I am LOVING this – and won’t say more at the moment (I can’t, I haven’t finished it yet) – but I can tell you it has some fantastic characters in it – and I’ve only just reached page 44 – I can’t wait to find out about the man with the hook, or about Lady Kraken, Mr Mollusc, or the Belgium chef and of course what happens to Violet (and what happened to her)…let alone Herbie….

There are fantastic pictures of fish throughout the book – vert wild looking and chapter headings illustrations as well. This, I am certain, is a book that everyone will want to read…

It is now 08.51 and I’m going to tweet about this quickly and go to bed, to curl with this very good book and find out what happens next…and the answers to those tantalising questions!

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Published by Pushkin Books

Holy Batman!

Lenny’s mother wins a competition at the beginning of this hugely touching and emotionally charged brilliant volume. She is one of the lucky winners of the Burrell’s Build-it-at-Home Encyclopedia set.

Some of my followers may not know what an Encyclopedia is, or, I should say was. Before the Internet existed you could buy sets of books that contained everything you need to know about everything. A dictionary in a way of everything from the universe, through wildlife, geography, languages, people, sciences, philosophies, religions…everything there was to know was contained in these sets of books. A famous example was the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which was first published (the Internet tells me) in 1768. The last time it was printed (it is now available on the Web), was in 2010 and it was bound in 32 volumes and it would have been printed in a very small font too.

So Lenny’s mother won a set of these and this book is punctuated with letters between her and the General Sales Manager who, as is the way of the world, rather hopes that she can gain some sales out of this situation.

Lenny mean while becomes entranced with beetles…her brother with birds of prey…and birds in general. Every Friday the children run down to get the latest instalment, the latest letter.  The books become point of importance, of reference, if you will, to the family, and particularly for Lenny’s brother who seems to be perpetually growing and doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

This is a wonderful book. It deals very sensitively with the big questions of life and death. It is an emotional volume, but one that shouldn’t be missed. It’s a book that EVERYONE should read.

 

The_Middler_cvr72DPI

Published by Nosy Crow.

Our eldests are heroes.

Our eldests are special.

Our eldests are brave.

Shame upon any who holds back an eldest

And Shame upon their kin.

Most of all,

Shame upon the wanderers.

Let Peace settle over the Quiet War,

Truly and forever.

‘My big sister, is bigger than me’… I am sure there is a poem that starts with that phrase. This is a story set around where you stand in the family: Oldest, Youngest or a Middler. My big sister was a Middler. I don’t think she felt the same way as Maggie does in this fantastic tale of deceit. I have never asked her. Perhaps I should.

Jed, is an Eldest – so a hero. He’s special. He’s brave. Trig is four years Maggie’s junior, the Youngest and Maggie?  Well she’s not important at all. She’s a Middler. She won’t be doing anything interesting. She’s not important. She will live safely. Her life will be secure, quiet…unlike her brother’s.  She isn’t brave (she’s a Middler), she’s not special (she’s a Middler) and she certainly isn’t a hero. Eldests are heroes, special and brave. They go to camp…

Maggie begins to realise that things aren’t quite as she has always been led to believe. Perhaps it isn’t so wonderful to leave, seemingly never to return, to fight the Quiet War. Perhaps there’s more to this then she thought.

Fennis Wick is protected from the Quiet War by the Boundary; protected by all the Eldests who go to fight, to keep their families safe. Beyond the Boundary – there’s wilderness, lawlessness and there are the dirty, dangerous and deceitful Wanderers

I’m not sure I am as brave as Maggie. Though thinking about it, I am certain that my big sister (you know, the one that is bigger than me), would certainly have done something of a similar line as Maggie and on reflection – I hate inequality and lies…and I have been known to say what I think and to stand up for what I believe in – so perhaps we two would fight for what is right…certainly to protect my brother…siblings are so important, so special.

A dystopian story about lies, deceit, families, friendships and siblings…

Eldest. Middler. Youngest.

Dirty, dangerous and deceitful wanderers.

A stupendous book about malfeasance,

thinking for yourself and

standing up for what is right.

A book for now.

Simply one of the best books I have read in ages…

 

 

NB. I have just looked up that poem – and find it’s by Spike Milligan and entitled: My Sister Laura. I haven’t read it in years…

 

 

 

The One and Only Ivan: Katherine Applegate

Published by Harper Collins.

This was published in 2012, so can’t be said to be a new title. I had a feeling that I had heard of it when I saw it on the trolley at work, a couple of days ago. I hadn’t read it though and wasn’t aware of the impact it would have.

Ivan is a silver backed gorilla. This is his story. In places it makes me ashamed to be a member of the Homo Sapiens race. We seem to be able to do so much good, but most of the time we don’t. We stand apart or actively behave in a way that no other creature would. Then suddenly we do the right thing.

This is Ivan’s story, almost, but not quite in his own words. Its moving. Funny. It made me cry. It made me wonder about us. So involved with ourselves. So little understanding. This is a story with heart, the heart of a Silverback Gorilla. They have large hearts. It’s a story for the brave, for those who think out of the box. For those who need to know. Its the story of friendship, a promise and of hope. A story of a Silverback, two elephants, a dog and a child who looks, a child, who sees. Its wonderful – a book you will never forget – a book that looks to the future. What’s more, its based on a true story.

Katherine Applegate lives in California. I wish she didn’t. It would be so much more convenient to have her living here. The pond is a rather large expanse for an author just to pop-across to sign some books. None-the-less – this book is going to be one of my SBOTM – at Waterstones Finchley Road O2 for June. I will, though have copies to sell once I can get the book in again – hopefully by the end of this week – it is one that should be in stock permanently.

On searching the Internet for a picture to illustrate this post, I have found there are indicators that this is to be made into a film/movie – READ THE BOOK FIRST. It isn’t out yet – but I believe that you will regret not doing so, if you don’t. It is a simple tale, but one that you need to read.

 

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Published by Harper Collins

I received this through the post, from my oldest friend who lives in Cork, Ireland. It is of Irish decent. I have always liked the Irish (particularly this one) – and this is a superb book. It reminds me a little of the Derek Tangye stories set in Cornwall, I think, that I used to read many years ago.

This though, is set in Co. Kilkenny, Ireland on a sheep farm ( Zwartbles). Bodacious is the chief feline who oversees the work of the farm, from the dosing of the lambs in spring, keeping the rats and mice at bay, ensuring the eggs are collected from the egg-makers, walking the fields with The Shepherd, and accompanying The Shepherd when she is travelling on the quad bike…amongst other occupations.

This is a rather charming wonderful book of a cat whose responsibilities are taken seriously, with an eye on the wildlife and the stories he has been told: Bodacious’ own story is one to bask in – like a heat lamp…

It is really rather special.

The cat on the cover is credited to the author (along with the black faced sheep on the left), and though it doesn’t state so on the flap, I think the feline sitting with such certainty on the post is Bodacious.

It is a charming tale of an extraordinary cat. I too had an extraordinary cat, which is probably why the book was sent to me. Pakka and I would walk the common, and hunt together…though I think I was probably more of a hindrance.  Particularly when she might have caught a vole / shrew – which I would gain from her and then release. She went down rabbit holes too, whilst I waited ‘up-top’, so I do understand Bodacious’ appreciation of The Shepherd stopping and watching quietly. My new familiar is young still, so our relationship is in the early stages, but we are beginning to understand one another.

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Relationships such as these are to be celebrated. The author, though, seems to have taken this a little further: she has an appreciation and special relationship with most of the creatures that she has come across – this is a joy and a must buy for Christmas.

Though having read about the breed, I’m not sure that I don’t need a Zwartbles rug… Actually I know this to be the case…and Sakka would like it too, I’m sure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for The glass of Lead and gold funke

Published by Pushkin.

27th September 2018

I don’t know what it is about Pushkin Press, but they seem to publish the most charming and interesting volumes. This reminds me physically, of my favourite of their books, Meet at the Ark at Eight (Hub), also a slight wonderful volume. If you haven’t read it yet, go out and buy it and read it now. At least get a copy ordered. It won’t take long.

Neither will this slim little volume. Illustrated beautifully by the author, it tells the tale of Tabetha, a mudlark in Londra, who works around the river Themse, and is asked to find a glass, which is of sentimental value, no more. Or so the gentleman insists…

This should be tucked into everyone’s stocking. At just 91 printed pages it is slim, but wonderful. A winter tale to read by a fire on Christmas day. It should become a tradition. Pushkin have bound it – so its a little bulkier than ‘Meet’ and so slightly more expensive (£9.99), it is, however, worth every penny.

I did contact Pushkin and they have promised that if Cornelia should decide to visit the UK – they will get in touch. An author I’d love to have visit Finchley Road O2 – if only so I can tell her directly how much I love her books.

Interestingly both Ulrich Hub and Cornelia Funke are both German. I have some (not a lot) of German ancestry. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy these so much. Maybe its in my blood. Either way. Both should be bought and read over Christmas…

Go out and buy them.