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Hallucinations- Oliver Sacks


Synopsis (from amazon)

Have you ever seen something that wasn’t really there? Heard someone call your name in an empty house? Sensed someone following you and turned around to find nothing?

Hallucinations don’t belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. In some conditions, hallucinations can lead to religious epiphanies or even the feeling of leaving one’s own body. Humans have always sought such life-changing visions, and for thousands of years have used hallucinogenic compounds to achieve them.

In this book, with his usual elegance, curiosity, and compassion, Dr Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organisation and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture’s folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all, a vital part of the human condition.

Review

Oliver Sacks is probably generally seen as one of the most accessible neuroscientists of modern times.  Considering that, and my interest in psychology it’s quite surprising that I haven’t read anything by him before now. I can see why he is seen as accessible from his writing style, however I did find Hallucinations a little hard-going, more because of repetitiveness than anything else.

The book was split into sections based on causes of hallucinations (e.g. particular illnesses, sensory reasons, drugs), which made sense in some ways, however it also meant that when more than one cause for a particular type of hallucination could be found a description of that type of hallucination would be given in each chapter about each cause. There were different first-person accounts, which was interesting in it’s own way because different people hallucinate different things, even within a set type of hallucination. Even that did have some repetitive air to it though.

Having said that it was very interesting. I think Sack’s main aim was to make hallucinations more acceptable. They are generally seen as a sign of madness, and they can be that, but usually they aren’t, there are many more things that can cause them, and lots of different presentations of hallucinations which many people wouldn’t consider.

In fact he described what one would call a migraine aura usually as a type of hallucination which is interesting. I suppose calling it an aura makes it seem less serious or scary- but is that just because of a sort of stigma put on the idea of hallucinating. I do sometimes find migraine auras distressing- would they be more distressing if I called them hallucinations? Anyway it just shows that hallucinations aren’t all what one’s first thoughts of hallucinations would be. They aren’t always ‘real’ things. They aren’t always pictures even.

I did find it very interesting, and it probably changed my view of hallucinations a bit. It could have done with a bit of editing though. I’ll certainly read more by Sacks, and I already have Musicophilia and Migraine on my wishlist.

Oliver Sacks sadly died this weekend, which is what prompted me to write this review over the others that are waiting to be written.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£7.49)

Kindle (£4.49)

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Blogiversary Giveaway 2015


 photo 276bb9e1-1cf9-4786-8239-44a84554fba0_zps94b4d079.jpg

It was my blogiversary yesterday (6 years, can you believe it?!) so I’m running a giveaway to celebrate.

The prize is your choice of any book mentioned in my review of the year posts, so long as it is sold on The Book Depository

The giveaway is open internationally if The Book Depository does free shipping to your country.

You don’t need to follow my blog to enter, but can earn extra entries by following in any of a few different ways.

Enter Here

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Sunday Surfing 30/8/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Which YA Book to Read Based on Your Favourite Disney Princess

The Benefits of Reading Before Bed

A Japanese Bookseller Bought Most of the Copies of Murukami’s Latest Book to Hold Off The Online Sellers

The Best Selling e-books of 2015 (so far)

‘American Gods’ is Being Adapted For TV

Oliver Sacks, Neuropsychologist and Writer Has Died

And on the blog this week…

Food in Literature 101

The Kids Read ‘I’m Not Sleepy’

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Children’s Hour: I’m Not Sleepy


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
I’m Not Sleepy is another story about our favourite Baby Owl. I borrowed it from the library because the toddlers love Baby Owl

In this one it’s Baby Owl’s bedtime, but he doesn’t want to go to sleep because

“I’m NOT sleepy”

even though he’s yawning, and stretching, and even closing his eyes.

It’s much more like ‘I’m Not Cute‘ than ‘I’m Not Reading‘, which I prefer as a it’s a bit simpler and easier to follow, plus there’s much more of Baby Owl shouting, which we all like.

There are different animals to the animals in ‘I’m Not Cute’ which is interesting for the kids, and as with ‘I’m Not Cute’ the kids love naming the animals, as well as joining in with the shouting.

It’s probably our second favourite library book, after ‘Shh! We Have a Plan

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.99)

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Top 10 Tuesday: Food in Literature 101


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101 .

Welcome to Food in Literature 101. In this course we will be looking at books and scenes in books where food is important. Eating in this class is not only allowed but encouraged. This is your required reading:

Chocolat- Joanne Harris

The descriptions of chocolate in this book are graphic enough to mean you need a bar of chocolate to hand when reading it

Great Expectations- Charles Dickens

Specifically the scene where Pip meets Miss Havisham in her decaying wedding reception.

 

A Little Princes- Frances Hodgeson Burnett

Again specifically the scene where Sara and Becky are really hungry so they imagine a magnificent feast.


The Book Unholy Mischief- Ellie Newmark

When a homeless boy is caught stealing a pomegranate by a chef the chef takes this as showing the superior taste of the boy so he takes him in to be a chef’s apprentice.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl

Food plays a role in a lot of Roald Dahl work (the cake in Matilda, the peach in James and the Giant Peach, for example), but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has the most feed in it. For a more full look at food in Roald Dahl take my second year class.



Like Water For Chocolate- Laura Esquivel.

This book has recipes as part of the story.One at the begginning of each chapter

Brooklyn Bites Short Stories- Scott Stabile

These short stories have food as a pivotal part of the plot. Technically 3 books, but they’re all very short.

 

 

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Sunday Surfing 23/8/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

 

Run a Bookshop, as Your Holiday

Jonathan Franzen Considered Adopting an Iraqi Orphan so he Could Learn about Young People. I don’t even know where to start with this one

The Book that Claims it Can Put Your Child to Sleep

Why Bedtime Stories Are Good for Kids

Play the tumblr Book Themed Game

And on the blog this week…

I Talked About What is Happening With Libraries in Birmingham

The Kids Read ‘Shh! We Have a Plan’

 

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Children’s Hour: Shh! We Have a Plan (revisited)


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

I first wrote about Shh! We Have a Plan after I bought it for my nephew. When I saw it at the library a couple of weeks ago I decided I should share it at nursery too, especially considering how much they had loved Oh No, George! I think I made a pretty good choice because it’s almost certainly the toddler’s favourite book of the ones I got from the library (which is really saying something because one of them was a Baby Owl book).

Shh! We Have a Plan follows four men who are trying to catch a bird. Three of them are trying to use stealth and creeping up on the bird, the other is being very friendly, much to the annoyance of the other three

“Shh! SHH! We have a plan”

The kids like the simplicity of the words which make it very easy for them to join in, and they especially like saying

“Hello Birdy!”

along with the fourth man. They love looking out for the bird, and are becoming increasingly competent at describing what is happening in the pictures. Both make them feel a sense of achievement.

The pictures in the book tell as much of the story as the words do, which makes it almost like the children are making up the story for themselves. The pictures are simple but rather beautiful. I like how everything bar the birds are in blue which makes the bird stand out so you can see why the men want to capture it.

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.24)

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Birmingham Libraries in Trouble


DSCN0837

Library of Birmingham (photo by me)

So what I had feared is happening. Birmingham, yes, cannot really afford its lovely new library. I was concerned from the beginning (well sort of) that the opening of a fancy, new, and- yes- expensive library would effect the libraries in Birmingham as a whole.

First the hours were cut and staff were let go. Now apparently new fiction is not being bought- there’s just no budget. I fact reportedly some Birmingham libraries have been asking for donations for their shelves.

I love the Library of Birmingham. It is a beautiful building, and of course all the books. However I never really saw a problem with the old one at least it terms of it’s purpose as a library. You couldn’t exactly call it beautiful, but it had books, and places to read them, which is the important thing really. It’s nice to have a library which isn’t a concrete monstrosity, but I’d rather have the old old library back based on the pictures I’ve seen, apparently at the time it was too ‘showy’ though, and the knocked it down when the ugly new library (of the time) was built.

Victorian Library (source)

The Library of Birmingham is probably the library I use the most (there are others closer to home, but I travel through town every day. It is certainly a nice library to have as my main library, although the decreased opening hours have meant that it’s often already closed when I am travelling through town on the way home.

That fiction is being cut I think really shows the attitude that libraries and reading are a luxury. Is this true though? Whilst non-fiction may be more intellectually enriching, fiction is, at least generally speaking, more emotionally enriching. Is that the type of society we really want? Where intelligence is rated above compassion or empathy? Plus reading has been shown to have good effects on mental health which is surely a good thing.

Old central library (source)

Again it is the poor that are getting hit. Those for whom the library is their only, or their main source of books. I am lucky. I can afford to buy more books than I really ‘need’. I have a pile of books waiting to be read which could last me a few months, and enough Waterstone’s points to buy three or four books if I’m really desperate.

However I remember a time when I used the library a lot. I did much of my studying for my GCSEs there, and spent a lot of time there during my holidays. I was a frequent visitor at the school library. If it wasn’t for the library- and yes, especially the fiction section I wouldn’t be the reader I am today.

Reading isn’t a luxury. Reading is a way of life, and in a world where there are so many other things to distract potential readers shouldn’t we be putting more into our libraries, not taking away from them. Books create a person, books are a lot of what I am, not just a reader, but my personality too. I hate to think of a world where this access to self is lost.

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Sunday Surfing 16/8/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Mistakes You May Be Making When Reading 

Books in a Tweet, Do They Encourage Reading?

Why Paper Books Won’t Die (long but worth the read)

Why Mark Haddon Doesn’t Mind That ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’ Has Been Censored

The Books Obama is Reading This Summer

Bad Things Are Happening to Libraries Here in Birmingham

Fake Books in Film

Are You Living in a Haruki Murakami Novel?

And on the blog this week…

Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

The Kids Read ‘Ruby Roars’

 

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Children’s Hour: Ruby Roars


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
Last week I went to the library to pick some books for the kids (let’s not go any further into this library business here or I may start getting angry) Ruby Roars is one of the books I picked. I’ve been in pre-school a lot this week and they seem to have taken to Ruby Roars, which is strange because they didn’t seem that engaged when I read it first time, I suppose they must have been more interested that I thought though because they asked for it again.

Ruby Roars is about a Tasmanian devil who is learning how to roar. She tries out lots of different noises but can’t seem to scare anybody. Eventually she finds the perfect word and scares everybody.

The kids like the noises which increase in their volume (or at least they do when I read it!). They find it funny I think to see you being a bit silly (which is sort of strange because half my job is being silly, you’d think they would expect it by now). It was because of the noises that I picked the book out, so I’m glad I was right

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.99)

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Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From I’m using my Goodreads so not sure this is 100% correct, but more or less. Title links are for reviews. Most books read is first:

Enid Blyton

27 books read. It wasn’t until I started counting until I realised how many Enid Byton books I’ve read. All the Adventure series, all the Secret Seven, 1 Famous Five, 3 Twins at Saint Clare’s. Mostly borrowed from the library as a child. I feel  I should do better.

Jodi Picoult

25 books read. All her solo written books and kindle shorts except Wonder Woman and Leaving Home.

Jaqueline Wilson

21 books read. For a few years in junior school (and the beginning of secondary school) I read all of the Jaqueline Wlson books I could get my hands on. I may still have one somewhere, and I still want to call my child Lottie after The Lottie Project.

Roald Dahl

15 books read. Most of his children’s ones, as a child. I intend to try out his adult stories at some point


J.K. Rowling.

13 books read. All the Harry Potter’s plus Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages and Tales of Beedle the Bard. The Casual Vacancy and her books as Robert Galbraith.

Judy Blume

13 books read. A good chunk of her YA novels. I should really try one of her adult novels at some point.

Paula Danziger

13 books read. Around about the same time I was reading Judy Blume.

Noel Streatfeild.

13 books read. Again in childhood.

Jasper Fforde

10 books read. 7 Thursday Next, 2 Nursery Crimes, 1 Shades of Grey (when oh when will that second one come out!)He’s got a new one coming out next year too, a stand-alone novel, how exciting!

Charlaine Harris

19 books read. First 10 Sookie Stackhouse books. I was in a bookring on the Bookclub Forum, but it stopped at book 10 and I was never that bothered to seek out the last 3.

I think my list is pretty telling about how my reading habits have changed. When I was younger I used to find a book I liked then try and read everything by that author. Now I read more eclectically meaning that it’s only favourite authors who I keep returning too, or if I’m reading a series I will read a lot by one author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Surfing 9/8/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

 

A Night at the Harry Potter Hotel

Could You Answer Questions Asked of Booksellers?

This 7-year old Created a Comic About a Girl With Magic Afro Puffs

Which Margaret Atwood Should You Read?

What One Female Author Found When She Send Her Manuscript Under a Male Name

The First Books Authors Loved

Misconceptions About Harry Potter Fans

And on the blog this week…

Deals of the Moment

The Kids Read ‘Tip Tip, Dig Dig’

I Reviewed ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’

 

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman


Synopsis (from amazon)
It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.
His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

Review

Neil Gaiman started off writing ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ as a short story for his wife when they were apart, but it just kept growing. You can sort of tell that he was thinking about her at the time. The narrator keeps speaking about stories or books as a comfort and an escapism, I can see that as being what Gaiman intended this story to be for his wife. I put a few of the most interesting quotes on my tumblr, but I think this one sums it up the best:

“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible “

In a way it is more ‘adult’ than the other books I’ve read by Gaiman. I think it’s because it’s narrated by the main character as he looks back. It’s more introspective and that gives us the sort of insight that a present narrator wouldn’t give. Looking bak he could see things which he might not see at the time.

It still had the normal Gaiman fantasy and action-y bits which stopped it being too thoughtful, but actually I preferred the times when the narrator was just thinking. The thoughtful times I suppose.

There’s some interesting messages in it too about an adult’s relationship with his own childhood. About how looking back can be a comfort, and about how we never really loose that childhood part of ourselves, it’s just often hidden by life.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£0.99)

Paperback (£3.85)

Other reviews:

Reading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac

Under a Gray Sky

Alison Mccarthy

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

An Armchair by the Sea

Words for Worms

Chrisbookarama

Did I miss your review? Post a link in comments and I will add it here

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review

Children’s Hour: Tip, Tip, Dig, Dig


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
The kids really liked Tip, Tip, Dig, Dig There’s a bit of a story to it, about how the different building equipment are going to fix problems but it’s more about the repeated refrains of what they do, e.g. tip, tip. The kids can join in and learn about what the different equipment does at the same time (which is good because everything is apparently a digger!). The problems are asked about so the kids can guess what the answers are too e.g. “Look at all this mess! What can we do with it?”

The pictures are very appealing, being bright and fairly simple.

Buy it:

Boardbook (£4.99)

Paperback (£10.19)

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Deals of the Moment- August


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. This in the post where I talk about any books which are of interest.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews. Amazon links are affiliate links but any money made goes back into the blog (e.g. for giveaways)

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Hunter S Thompson

I may buy this one because it’s on The Rory List, although I’m not sure how ‘me’ it is.  Plus it’s very popular. It’s about drugs and the ‘American Dream’

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Virgin Suicides- Jeffrey Eugenides

I love Jeffrey Eugenides writing, and especially liked Middlesex. The Virgin Suicides is a sort of modern classic. About a family of girls who all commit suicide.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet- Jamie Ford

This is one of my favourite World War novels. It’s about the Japanese community in America during WW2.

You can buy it…here. (only £0.99)


The Happiness Project- Gretchen Rubin

I’ve heard some fantastic things about this book, but again I’m not sure if it’s one for me, it seems a bit self-helpy for my taste. However I may give it a go. It’s a sort of autobiography showing the various methods Rubin used to gain happiness and how they worked out for her

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


Keeping Faith- Jodi Picoult

I am a big Picoult fan, I’ve read all her books. Keeping Faith is about a kid who starts hearing God. She ends up with a lot of attention, but so much rubbish is going on in her life, is she really hearing God?

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult

Yes another Picoult one. This is about an ex-Nazi SS solider who wants forgiveness. Not a ‘usual’ Picoult but very good

Buy it…here (only £1.49)


Anita and Me- Meera Syal

Anita and Me was one of the first ‘adult’ books I read. It’s about an Asian girl growing up in a predominately white town, and wanting to fit in.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao- Junot Diaz

This is one of those books everyone says you ‘have’ to read. It’s about a geek who lives in a dream world- basically.

Buy it…here (only £2.59)


Charlotte Street- Danny Wallace

I loved this book when I read it. It’s a bit like Nick Hornby in style. About a man who tries to find a woman whose disposable camera he accidentally took.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


Kommandant’s Girl- Pam Jenoff

Kommandant’s Girl is probably my favourite Pam Jenoff (at least so far). It’s about a girl who gets together with a German Kommndant to help the resistance during WW2.

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


The Ocean at the End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman

I just finished this one (it’s a Summer deal rather than a monthly). I highlighted a lot of quotes (see a few on my tumblr). It’s sort of insightful, a coming of age novel, but with the usual Gaiman fantasy element (yeah, can you tell I still need to write my review?)

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


Still Alice- Lisa Genova

A very moving book, and sad. About a woman with early-onset dementia.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

If anyone doesn’t already have it! It’s a dystopian book about a ‘game’ played every year where basically kids have to kill each other off, sort of based on Battle Royal. I really liked it.

Buy it…here (only £2.19)


Eleanor and Park- Rainbow Rowell

Not my favourite Rainbow Rowell, but still great. Geeky. It’s a love story, but more too.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

 

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Sunday Surfing 5/7/15


bird surf Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Books Children Should Read Before Finishing Primary School (according to teachers)

The Trailer For ‘Mockingjay Part 2’ is Out

And So is the Trailer for ‘Room

Picture Books Which Go Against Girlish Stereotypes

Read the First Chapter of ‘I Am Malala

The Man Booker Longlist was Revealed

And on the blog this week…

I Reviewed ‘Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me?’

Lucybird’s Book Blog is now on tumblr

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You can now follow Lucybird’s Book Blog on tumblr

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)- Mindy Kaling


Synopsis (from amazon)
Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: comedienne, actress, obedient child of immigrant professionals and, now, writer. With a blend of witty confessions and unscientific observations, Mindy writes about everything from being a timid young chubster afraid of her own bike to living the Hollywood life, dating, friendships and planning her own funeral – all executed with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls.

Review

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? has been on my wishlist for so long. I heard about it before I even knew Mindy Kaling existed (oh, sad times). I just heard it was funny, and it seemed like the sort of thing I would like. Then I saw The Mindy Project, and I realised I really wanted to read it. However due to my thing of not actually buying off my wishlist I didn’t end up buying it until it popped up on the kindle monthly deals this month (yay!).

I read it a couple of weeks ago when I was ill. It took me a few hours, less than a day. It’s been a long time since I last read something that fast (of course I was stuck at home with nothing to do). I really loved it. I had to start watching the US version of The Office afterwards to stop me getting withdrawal (I had avoided it so far because usually US remakes are a bit rubbish, and I only occasionally liked the original version of The Office), which I’m now on the seventh series of (so yeah, I am liking it actually).

I love how Mindy blossomed I suppose. She was a pretty shy kid, you could still see a bit of that Mindy quality, a sort of no cares attitude, although it had it’s quivers. She really was a self-made woman. It sort of reminded me of how Stephen Fry and his contempories came up. They started as their own thing and sort of got ‘discovered’. I like that, it’s genuine.

I also like how she tried to use her position to teach girls who might admire her. There was one scene (and, God, I hate People magazine for this) where Mindy was going to a photo shoot, something about beautiful people. Nice yeah? At the time she was a size 8 (which I think is a size 10 in the UK) so about average. The stylist only had size 0s, which is just rubbish, especially when you are showing someone ‘normal’ who was beautiful, and then to suggest they couldn’t wear nice clothes because they were too ‘big’. It just makes me mad. And Mindy is really pretty. It still makes me mad now.

So despite the fact that most of the time it was funny there was a serious side too, and now I love Mindy even more. I just wish I didn’t have to wait all the way until September for her new book

5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.99)

Paperback (£6.29)

Other Reviews:

Alison Mccarthy

Girl Vs Bookshelf

Ink and Page

Words for Worms

Recovering Potter Addict

Chrisbookarama

Silly Little Mischief

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Sunday Surfing 26/7/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

 

Most Popular Highlighted Quotes on Kindle (Excluding ‘The Hunger Games’)

The Moment Haruki Murakami Knew He Would Be a Writer

Can ‘Buzzfeed’ Guess How Old You Are Based on Your Taste in Books? Well it couldn’t with me…

There’s a Drop in Younger Children Visiting Libraries

And on the blog this week…

The Kids Read ‘One Bear At Bedtime’

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Children’s Hour: One Bear at Bedtime


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

One Bear at Bedtime is a simple story the boy only needs a bear to go to bed, but all these other animals show up. It’s a counting book, with a series of animals showing up, a different number of each.

The kids likes it because it was silly, with animals doing things they shouldn’t, like lions shampooing their manes. Really it’s the pictures which make the story- and the questions you ask.

 

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.99)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Sunday Surfing 19/7/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

 

Why ‘Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf’ is Feminist.

Brain Scans May Indicate Which Children May Go on to Struggle With Reading

‘Go Set a Watchman’ Breaks First Day Sales Records

Is There a Third ‘Mockingbird’ Novel?

Should the Book World Fear Amazon?

Publishers Earn More than Authors on e-book sales

And on the blog this week…

 

I Reviewed ‘Stardust’

I Talked About the Last 10 Books I Aquired

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Stardust- Neil Gaiman



Synopsis (from amazon)

Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall – named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining…

Review

This is one of those books where I saw the film first. And I really like the film. It sort of put me off reading the book because I find if I watch the film first I’m just waiting for my favourite bits of the film. It’s part of the reason I try to read books first, sometimes I can still enjoy the film then, but I would rather get the enjoyment out of the book, generally speaking.

I couldn’t help comparing it to the film. I did think it was a little slower to start but I didn’t mind because it meant that a similar atmosphere could be built, and actually it gave me a better idea of the contrast between the village of Wall and the land beyond the wall.

On the other end of the spectrum though one of my favourite bits of the film is the pirate captain. He was still significant in a way in the book but his actual part was less big, we didn’t see so much of him, so we didn’t get as much of a sense of character from him.

Overall I did enjoy it. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t seen the film first. But it was a nice little story, I just don’t really have anything much to say about it.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£3.96)

Paperback (£6.29)

Other Reviews:

Nylon Admiral

Words For Worms

Chrisbookarama

Literary Lindsey

 

 

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review

Top 10 Tuesday: Last 10 Books I Acquired.


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s The Last 10 Books I Acquired. I’m using my Goodreads so not sure this is 100% correct, but more or less. Title links are for reviews. Newest acquistion is first:

The Ocean at The End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman

This book which I bought on kindle was really cheap (I presume it still is, I bought it on the weekend). In it dark creatures are after our narrator, and he only has 3 women at the end of the lane to protect him.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)- Mindy Kaling

This one is in the kindle monthly deals. I’ve been wanting to read Mindy’s autobiographical book for ages, and I love her show The Mindy Project.

 

A Tale For the Time Being- Ruth Ozeki

Another kindle one which had been on my wishlist for a while. It’s the story of a diary which is found washed up on the beach. I wanted to start this the other day but found it had been sent to the cloud reader rather than direct to my kindle, gah.


Tigers in Red Weather- Lisa Klaussmann

This one was recommended to be by Rory, it was in the kindle’s monthly deals last month so I bought it (do I actually save any money on kindle monthly deals or end up spending more?). It tells the story of two cousins and a Summer which changes them. It’s my current kindle read.

A God in Ruins- Kate Atkinson

I actually bought this companion to ‘Life After Life’ in hardback, in a real shop. I’ve already read and reviewed it (see the link above), and I loved it.


Satan’s Shorts- Heide Goody and Iain Grant

This set of short stories was free on kindle. I hadn’t read it before as it was more a companion than part of the Clovenhoof series, but I heard it bridged some of the gaps between Pigeonwings and Godsquad

Stardust- Neil Gaiman

Another previous kindle monthly deal. I am in the middle of writing a review of Stardust as I’m writing this post (in fact I may end up publishing it before this as I’m preparing this on the Sunday). It’s the story of Tristan who goes into another land to find a fallen star.

The Apple- Michael Faber

The Apple is a series of short stories which link to The Crimson Petal and the White. Again a previous kindle monthly deal.

The Winter Guest- Pam Jenoff

You guessed it, another previous kindle monthly deal. This is about two sister’s living in Poland during WW2 one of whom finds and helps a crashed American paratrooper.

Ajax Penumbra: 1969

Another kindle book. This one is a prequel to Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore and is all about Mr Penumbra before he became the owner of the store.

I sort of wish more of these were ‘real’ books. I suppose it’s easier to buy kindle books though, and I have a tendency to buy them when they’re cheap.

 

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Filed under general, Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

Sunday Surfing 12/7/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

A Reader’s Manifesto

Shirley Hughes Has Won the Booktrust’s Lifetime Achievement Award

“The Girl on the Train’ Has Broken Book Sales Records

Childhood Books Explained as an Adult

Book Lover’s on Instagram and In Real Life

Is this the Real Reason People Buy Kindles? For me, no.

Bad Love Advice From Literature

The Advertisers of the New ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ Book Are Allowing One ‘Lucky’ Fan to Advertise the Book on Their Skin

Read the First Chapter of Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’

Or listen to it…

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed ‘A God in Ruins’

And ‘The Winter Guest’

And ‘The Thirteenth Tale’

I Looked at Kindle Deals this Month

And I Talked About my Reading Habits

 

 

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Reading Habits


I was tagged by Lectito to write about my reading habits. I don’t usually bother with these things but as I have a bit of spare time I thought I would do this one. I’m not going to tag anyone but if you want to do it too you can.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Not really. I have a favourite chair, and I like to read in bed, but I can read pretty much anywhere. I’m in the middle of buying my first house though, and I already have my book nook picked out!

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I sometimes use bookmarks, when I can find one, but generally I just remember where I was from what happened last.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?

I’m used to reading on the bus so I can stop at the end on a sentence but I don’t like doing it, I prefer to wait until the end of a paragraph.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

Yes I always read over breakfast and lunch, and often will have a cup of tea and a snack when reading at other times. Plus I like to pop into coffee shops for a coffee and a read of my book when I’m in town.

Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

I don’t generally like complete silence, my mind tends to drift, I prefer to have some music or background noise so I don’t get distracted.


One book at a time or several at once?

Almost always two. One paperbook, and one on kindle. Mainly because I do a lot of reading on my commute so the kindle is more convenient then, but I prefer reading a ‘real’ book. Sometimes one will overtake another though. At the moment I’m reading Tigers in Red Weather on kindle and Hallucinations in hardback. The hardback is in the lead, but mainly because I’ve been stuck at home ill.

Reading at home or everywhere?

I prefer reading at home, more comfortable, less interruptions. But I probably do most of my reading elsewhere. I have an hour commute to work, an hour lunchbreak, and an hour commute back so I spend most of that time reading. Reading on my lunchbreak is the worst for interruptions though, the number of times I’ve been interrupted whilst reading in the staff room just to be told that “you like reading, don’t you?”. Well obviously, so let me get back to it!

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

In my head.Does anyone read out loud once they can read in their head? Unless they’re reading to someone else? I read out loud to the kids at work, that’s it.

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Oh no, that would spoil it. The only time I skip pages is if I’m re-reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, then I skip to Hagrid’s entrance, I find the bits before a bit slow.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I don’t mind the spine breaking. I get sad if pages rip or get damaged, or if pages start falling out, but I don’t mind if a book is just showing signs of being read.

Do you write in your books?

Nope. No since I was at school and had to make notes. I don’t even make notes on my kindle. I just never felt the need.

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The Winter Guest- Pam Jenoff


Synopsis (from amazon)

Helena and Ruth Nowak are like chalk and cheese: one staunchly outspoken and independent, the other gentle and caring. Caught up in the struggle of Nazi occupied Poland, the sisters have bound together and created an enviable bond that can’t be broken. Or so they thought…

When Helena discovers a Jewish Allied paratrooper, wounded but alive, she risks the safety of herself and her family to hide him. As her feelings for the solider grow deeper, she finds her loyalties torn.

Review

Why yes I have been reading a lot of Pam Jenoff recently (and I have ‘A Hidden Affair’ still to review too). There are things I like about her writing. It’s often set during world war two. It’s exciting. It’s easy to read without feeling ‘fluffy’. This one. Well, I liked it, but it didn’t have quite the same excitement as the others by her that I’ve read.

Don’t get me wrong there was excitement there, but it was a long time coming, and whilst there was always some promise of it most of the time it was unfulfilled.

Actually I would say that this story is less an excitement based story, or even a war based story as a story about people. It’s a story of the relationships between Helena and Ruth, between Helena and Sam, and the girl’s family. It’s also a story of self-discovery. Both girls learn more about themselves.

Both become stronger in their own ways.

It didn’t hook me in the same way as some of Pam Jenoff’s other books have, but I think it showed a more sophisticated writing style and plot than her others have.

The others may have been more enjoyable at the time of reading, but The Winter Guest is more likely to stay with me.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.03)

Paperback (£7.99)

Other Reviews:

Silver’s Reviews

Have I Missed Your Review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

 

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Filed under Fiction review, Historical

The Thirteenth Tale- Diane Setterfield


Synopsis (from goodreads)

Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once the imposing home of the March family–fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, Charlie her brutal and dangerous brother, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House conceals a chilling secret whose impact still resonates…

Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield’s past–and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has Angelfield been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic author Vida Winter? And what is it in Margaret’s own troubled past that causes her to fall so powerfully under Angelfield’s spell?

Review

I read The Thirteenth Tale so long ago now that I had to read the synopsis just to remind myself what happened (I don’t like this synopsis by the way, but I don’t think I can write a better one so I decided to lump with it, it’s the same as amazon’s, except that it doesn’t mention the film). All I could really remember is that I didn’t want to include it as a short review because I felt (still feel) it deserved more than that.

This book sat on my wishlist for a long time after I read lots of positive blog posts about it, then it sat for a long time on my to be read pile. It may have sat their for longer if I hadn’t read Bellman and Black as a review request.

It was better than Bellman and Black too. They both had that gothic element which I love, and a certain mystery to them. Plus a element of the past effecting the future. The main different with this general background was that for William (of Bellman and Black) it’s his own past which effects him, and for Margret it’s more Vida’s past which effects her.

The story takes part during a two time periods, there is the past story of the twins at Angelfield, told in a rather detached way by Vida Winter, and the current story of Margret as she hears Vida’s story and makes her own investigations, as she has been commissioned by Vida to write her biography. At least initially Vida’s story is the most engaging, however the further we get into the story the more the two stories become entwined.

Trapped up in Vida’s big empty house, having nothing to do except listen to Vida’s story makes Margret rather crazy, understandably. (A classic of gothic literature, think Jane Eyre trapped in Thornfield, with all those noises, and the strange maid, and unexplainable fires…you get the idea) But how much is Margret imagining? How much is real? Is she just being effected by Vida’s story? By her own past? Or is there something more to it?

Vida’s own story has the aura of a gothic mystery too. All the way through you are trying to work out what actually happened in Angelfield, just as Margret is.

There was an added little story which I didn’t really think was that necessary to the story. I’m not sure it added all that much either, although it did create a bit of a twist in the tale which I suppose was good, if a little over the top.

It got me guessing right up to the end.

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Kindle (£3.66)

Other Reviews:

The Book Musings

Books at Violet Crush

HeavenAli

The Perpetual Page Turner

Reading With Tea

Alison Mccarthy

Words For Worms (Discussion, contains spoilers)

Have I missed your review? Post a link in comments and I will add it here

 

 

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Mystery

Deals of the Moment- July


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. This in the post where I talk about any books which are of interest.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews. Amazon links are affiliate links but any money made goes back into the blog (e.g. for giveaways)

I almost didn’t do one this month because the pickings are pretty slim. Have ended up using kids books to sort of ‘pad it out’

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)- Mindy Kaling

I bought this one as soon as I saw it. It’s been on my wishlist for a long time after reading about it on someones blog, since starting watching ‘The Mindy Project’ I’ve been wanting to read it even more. Yay I finally have it.

It’s an autobiography.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


Station Eleven- Emily St. John Mandel

I’ve heard lots of great things about this dystopian story. Set in a world where there has been a disaster, then a deadly illness starts spreading.

You can buy it…here (only £1.79)


Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing- Judy Blume

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was the first book by Judy Blume I read, it’s probably true for a lot of people. This is the story of Peter, and his crazy little brother- Fudge.

You can buy it…here. (only £1.79)


 

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A God in Ruins- Kate Atkinson


Synopsis (adapted from goodreads)

In Life After Life Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In A God in Ruins, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy – would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century.

Review

‘A God in Ruins’ is a companion novel to ‘Life After Life’. You don’t need to have read Life After Life to understand it (but you should, because it is amazing). 

If you have read Life After Life you should know that A God in Ruins is very different. More ‘normal’. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact I really enjoyed it, but it’s barely comparable to Life After Life.

I’ve sat with just those few words for a few days, letting myself get distracted by Hearthstone, because I don’t know how to write this review without spoilers. You see the ending is really important, but I can’t describe why it’s important, or why it really ‘makes’ the story without saying what that ending is. See I want to say how it effects the novel as a whole, because that’s what made me love A God in Ruins, but I don’t think, if you already knew it your reading would be the same. I suppose all I can say is to make sure you read right to the end (the author’s notes are interesting too, but not essential).

The problems with books where the ending is what makes it is that the rest of the novel has to hold enough power by itself to make people want to read it.

The novel was split into three timelines, with chapters differing between those timelines (generally speaking). There was Teddy’s war, and a little of his time before the war. There was his life with his wife Nancy. And there was the life of his daughter Viola- this bit mainly told in her own voice.

A lot of the time the novel had a plot which wasn’t very exciting. Atkinson’s writing was still good enough not to make these sections ‘boring’ but they didn’t hold a great deal of pull. You read them, but you weren’t necessarily eagerly looking forward to reading them. They had an everyday simplicity which was beautiful in it’s own way, the images that Atkinson drew, but I wouldn’t have read a whole book of it.

What I really liked were the periods during Teddy’s war (while I do have a thing for war novels). I found those times most interesting and exciting. I really liked Teddy (well you’re meant to ‘everyone loved Teddy best’ -I paraphrase but that’s basically a quote from ‘Life After Life’). He seemed like a good leader of his little team. He also seemed like a good husband, and father.

That’s part of the reason I really didn’t like Viola. She seemed like Teddy’s opposite, despite being his daughter. She was so selfish, and self-absorbed. However when it came down to it she was an interesting character, after all the best characters to read about are not always the ones you love- Viola was definitely an example of that. Actually she had more depth than Teddy really.

Sorry, I can’t do this without spoilers. Highlight to see the spoiler.  It’s interesting that Viola does have such depth as a character seeing as she was a figment of Teddy’s imagination. I suppose he was a better author than he thought! It is also interesting to think that Viola also had her own voice in the book, seeing as she never really existed. Part of me thinks that Viola was Teddy’s way of punishing himself. For not loving Nancy enough, for his own imagination making himself kill her, which is a cruel thing really. That is if you take it as being all Teddy’s imagination.

In her author notes Atkinson writes that she saw it as another of Ursula’s lives (sorry if you haven’t read Life After Life) , which means that actually it was ‘real’ in that universe. Oh I’m confusing myself now. I always thought of the one life in Life After Life being Ursula’s ‘last’ life, and this life fits with the Teddy dying in the war ‘life’. Oh it’s confusing! I suppose in a way you can say that both things happened. Is one life better than the other though? One is certainly better for Nancy…but the other while that leads to more. Either way it’s interesting to think of how a single event could be so pivotal and make things so much different. I suppose even any small event could end up that way, even if it doesn’t seem significant in the grand scheme of things, even if it’s not such a big event as someone dying or not. From what I feel about Teddy I actually think the life where he dies is more likely, I don’t think he would give up on a crew member, but maybe that’s just me.

I think this would make an interesting book club read. Maybe more so if you read Life After Life too. End of spoiler

People who didn’t like the more ‘unusual’ side of Life After Life may prefer A God in Ruins, I liked that element of it though which makes Life After Life at least more memorable for me.

Because the ending is so important I wanted to give this five stars at the end, but probably most of the way though I would have given it four, or four and a half. It seems somehow wrong to give it lower than five stars, but should I really give it five stars if it wasn’t like that all the ay through.

If you follow me on twitter you’ll see that there were points other than the ending which really got me. I wrote about how my own thoughts ended up having the same tone as the novel, which only happens when I really get into a book, I think maybe things go 5 stars there too.

I’m going to do something which I haven’t done for a long time. a variable, or sliding score

4-5/5

Buy it:

Hardback (£9.00)

Kindle (£8.49)

Paperback- pre-order (£7.99)

Other reviews:

Alison Mccarthy

Did I miss your review? If so leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

 

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Filed under Fiction review

Sunday Surfing 5/7/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

The Dangers of Living a Bookish Life

‘Go Set a Watchman’ May Have Been Discovered Before it was ‘Discovered’ This whole thing sounds so manufactured.

The Most Popular Books Set in Each Country in Europe

Bookish Summer Activities for the Kids

 

And on the blog this week…

The kids Read ‘Dinosaur Roar!’

I Reviewed ‘Moranthology’

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Children’s Hour: Dinosaur Roar!


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
You know what I like about Dinosaur Roar!? That it’s a book about dinosaurs (which are generally popular) which doesn’t require me to try and pronounce the names of the dinosaurs.

It’s a very simple book actually. Two words to a page, “Dinosaur” and an attribute e.g. “Dinosaur fierce. Dinosaur meek”. With each of two attributes being the opposite of each other, and with a nice rhythm.

The kids like it being about dinosaurs, and especially like roaring with the roaring dinosaur. If it was our own book (we borrowed it from stay and play) I can imagine that it would become a quick favourite. Plus I can imagine it being one they could ‘read’ for themselves. Sort of in a similar way to how they feel about Brown Bear.

 

Buy it:

Paperback (£4.00)

Boardbook (£5.00)

Kindle (£3.80)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Moranthology- Caitlin Moran


Synopsis (from amazon)

In MORANTHOLOGY Caitlin Moran ‘gets quite chatty’ about many subjects, including cultural, social and political issues which are usually left to hot-shot wonks – and not a woman who sometimes keeps a falafel in her handbag.

These other subjects include…

Caffeine | Ghostbusters | Being Poor | Twitter | Caravans | Obama | Wales | Marijuana Addiction |Paul McCartney | The Welfare State | Sherlock | David Cameron Looking Like Ham | Amy Winehouse | ‘The Big Society’ | Big Hair | Nutter-letters | Failed Nicknames | Wolverhampton | Squirrels’ Testicles | Sexy Tax | Binge-drinking | Chivalry | Rihanna’s Cardigan | Party Bags | Hot People| Transsexuals | The Gay Moon Landings

Review

I wanted to read Moranthology since it came out, but somehow it hasn’t happened until recently. After all the build-up and how much I loved How to be a Woman it got to a point where I was almost expecting to be disappointed.

I found it interesting and funny, just like How to be a Woman, but less cohesive, maybe because it was actually made up of lots of Moran’s columns from The Times. Some columns were more funny than others, and some more interesting. It was nice to see a variety of topics, even though it did make for a less cohesive book. I think although the book was split into sections it might actually have been better to have as a flick through book than one to read cover to cover, as I did.

I always feel a little cheated when I read a book made up of things which have previously been published, simply because I feel I could have already read them for free online (ok, maybe not so much with The Times), or bought the paper. There was a little original material, and that did contain some of my favourite bits (the conversations with her husband most notably).

All in all a very good read, but not to the levels of How to be a Woman. Which is hard by the way because that basically gave me a girl crush on Caitlin Moran

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.74)

Kindle (£5.98)

Hardback (£7.94)

Other Reviews

Between the Pages

Nylon Admiral

Devouring Texts

Lit and Life

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Filed under Essays, non-fiction review

Sunday Surfing 28/6/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Authors Say the National Curriculum is Damaging Children’s Creative Writing

Book Franchises Which Need to be Left

Guardian Readers Recommend Indie Bookstores

Amazon Plans to Pay Kindle Authors Only for Pages Buyers have Read

J.K. Rowling has Revealed Why the Dursley’s Disliked Harry So Much

And Has Revealed There is a Harry Potter Stage Show Coming Soon

Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down According to Buzzfeed Readers

The Problems With Buying Books

 

And on the blog this week…

The Kids Read ‘Wow! Said the Owl’

I Posted Some Short Reviews

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Children’s Hour: Wow! Said the Owl


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.


Wow! Said the Owl is a story about an owl who decides to stay up during the day to see what the world is like, and is very impressed. I’s a simple story. The owl sees everyday things, the sunrise, leaves, flowers, clouds, but through new eyes everything makes the owl say “Wow”. It’s also a book about colours and says all the colours which the owl can see.

The kids love joining in saying “Wow” and feel proud when they can name the colours. The pictures are really beautiful and are what prompted the kids to pick it up.

 

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Short Reviews the Third


I’ve decided to do some little reviews again. This time for books that I don’t have a lot to say about, but I still want to mention.

The bold links are amazon affiliate links (the money goes back into the blog).

 

Left Neglected- Lisa Genova

Left Neglected is another book about brain damage by Lisa Genova. This one is about a woman (Sarah) who looses her left after a car accident, basically she can’t see anything to the left of her, it’s as if it never existed.

I didn’t think it had quite the same emotional punch as Still Alice, but it was still very easy to sympathise with Sarah. Where Still Alice was about Alice’s deterioration Left Neglected has more hope and shows how Sarah learns to cope with her injury and how she begins to make things better 4/5

The Apple- Michael Faber


The Apple is a series of short stories about the characters in ‘The Crimson Petal and the White‘. It’s descriptions are less than in Crimson, but they are still rather beautiful. It also was quite as ‘racy’ as Crimson, which I am not bothered about either way but some may prefer. It didn’t have quite as much detail as I would have liked, but was still interesting to read.  3.5/5

Satan’s Shorts- Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Satan’s Shorts is the third book in the Clovenhoof series. It’s a series of short stories based around the characters in the other Clovenhoof books, and you probably wouldn’t get much out of it of you haven’t read any of the others. It is funny like the others but not as engaging. 3/5

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Sunday Surfing 21/6/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

The Significance of Shoes in Literature

Books for Kids About Refugees

Waterproof Books

Questions J.K. Rowling Needs to Answer

 

And on the blog this week…

The kids Read ‘Banana’

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Children’s Hour: Banana


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

Banana is not the easiest of stories to read, and my colleague who read it struggled. It doesn’t have hard words, in fact it only has two words in the whole book (one is “banana” believe it or not). However it does require a certain…theatrical element which my colleague didn’t really give it. I would have liked to read it myself, but we had borrowed it and had to give it back.

It’s the story of two monkeys and a banana. One monkey has a banana, and the other wants it, it’s a story of sharing in the end (that’s when the second word comes in- “please”).

There are two ways you can get things out of this book. One, which is what my colleague used, is to make up your own little story which explains the pictures, this is a good way to get the kids looking at the pictures and thinking about what is happening and different emotions. The other is to put lots of expression into your reading so that your tone of voice shows how the monkeys are feeling. Of course you can use just one, or both together.

The kids really did like looking at the pictures, but few of them answered the questions my colleague put to them, which left her a bit stuck.

Buy it:

Boardbook (£5.50)

Paperback (£5.99)

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Sunday Surfing 14/6/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

 

Books Which are Straightforward About Mental Health

Books to Read Before the Films Come Out

A Book Lover’s Life

Paulo Coelho is Telling Readers to Try His Book Before They Buy it

And on the blog this week…

The kids Read ‘I’m Not Reading’

 

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Children’s Hour: I’m Not Reading


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

 

I’m Not Reading is a story about Baby Owl from I’m Not Cute. Seeing as how much the toddlers have been loving I’m Not Cute recently I decided to seek out this book which I had seen in pre-school.

In I’m Not Reading Baby Owl is settling down o read a book in the peace and quite, but then along comes Tiny Chick who wants to listen, then tTiny Chicks Brother’s and Sisters, and then his cousins and all their friends, and they all want to sit on Baby Owl’s lap.

The kids didn’t take as much of an instant liking to this one. It’s a bit more complex, and you don’t get as much of Baby Owl raging which the toddlers enjoy. They did still like those elements when they did come up though, and the pictures tell more of a story than those in I’m Not Cute which makes those more interesting.

Buy it:

Boardbook (£4.75)

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Sunday Surfing 7/6/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

‘Go Set a Watchman’ is Harper-Collins’ Most Pre-ordered Book Ever

Ali Smith Won the Bailey’s Prize

Reasons to Read More (as is you need an excuse)

On Recommending Books

Stories About Men are More Likely to Win Literary Prizes

E.L. James is Releasing a New ’50 Shades of Grey’ Books From Christian’s Point of View. Words one, trick and pony spring to mind.

And on the blog this week…

The Kids Read ‘It’s Mine’

Deals of the Moment

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Children’s Hour: It’s Mine


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
This week we read It’s Mine! for the first time. It’s written by Rod Campbell who is probably better known for his book Dear Zoo. It’s a simple story, not even really a story. You see little bits of the animals (e.g. the elephant’s trunk, the giraffe’s neck) in the jungle and the reader is meant to guess what it is.

The kids really weren’t that great at guessing the animals, or were being shy and didn’t want to speak up. Some of the animals were a bit difficult for the animals to guess, I had to peak at the next page on the bear for example because even I couldn’t tell what it was going to be.

They did however like naming the animals when they saw the whole of them, and they really liked the lion at the end.

Technically it’s a pop-up book, but a bit of a lame one, only the last page pops up

Buy it:

Boardbook (£3.59)

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Deals of the Moment- June


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. This in the post where I talk about any books which are of interest.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews. Amazon links are affiliate links but any money made goes back into the blog (e.g. for giveaways)

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


1,411 QI Facts To Knock You Sideways

I’ve read a few QI books and they are interesting whilst still being easy reads. I’ve not read this one, and the fact books are good for a quick flick (although probably better in hardcopy) so I will probably buy it.

Buy it…here (only £2.59)


The Distant Hours- Kate Morton

I really like the gothic feel of Kate Morton books, and for a long time The Distant Hours was my favourite by her. It’s a bit of a mystery story about three sisters.

You can buy it…here (only £1.49)


The Princess Bride- William Goldman

Lots of people love the film ‘The Princess Bride’ but I’m more of a fan of the book. It’s just funny, and adventurous, and a little romantic. I’m concerned that the footnotes (which are a bit part of the humour) would get jumbled in the ebook version though, they’ve never quite worked in ebooks in my experience.

You can buy it…here. (only £1.59)


Fallen Angels- Tracy Chevalier

On one of my previous deals of the moment posts I considered a Tracy Chevalier book, but in the end didn’t buy it. I still sort of want to read another one after reading and liking The Girl With the Pearl Earring. This one is about friendship in the Victorian age

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Elements of Eloquence- Mark Forsyth

I’ve spoken before about how much I love Forsyth’s books about language. The Elements of Eloquence is about constructing your writing, and should be on the school syllabus, it’s interesting, knowledgable, and readable

You can buy it…here (only £2.59)


 

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Sunday Surfing- Bumper Edition


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been busy so there’s been no Sunday Surfing. So this is a bumper edition.

Around the web

What Would Jane Austen and Other Famous Authors Tweet? 

A Google Map of Book Settings

Books for People Who Love the Harry Potter Series

Books You Can Read in Under an Hour

Minister of Culture Invited to Talk About Future of Libraries

21 Books All Women Should Read

Tattoos Inspired by Books

A New Image from the Harry Potter Illustrated Edition has Been Released. At this rate we won’t even need to buy the book.

The Devil Wears Prada is Becoming a Musical

Reasons to Date a Woman Who Reads

And on the blog…

The kids read ‘Kipper’s Ball’

And ‘Is it Bedtime Wibbly Pig?’

And ‘I’m Not Cute’

I reviewed ‘Godsquad’

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Children’s Hour: Kipper’s Ball


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

Every time that I go into pre-school lately at least one of them seems to want to read Kipper’s Beach Ball. It’s a Kipper story, you know, the dog, and it’s similar to other Kipper stories. Simple, everyday, cute. In this one Kipper finds a beach ball in a pack of cereal and goes to play with it, it’s so much fun!

I think the kids like that they can identify with Kipper (a bit like Spot). There is a bit of a puzzle before they know what the ball actually is, which is interesting, and they like seeing what happens to the ball too.

Personally I find it a little too normal, but I can see the appeal.

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.29)

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Godsquad- Heide Goody and Iain Grant


Disclaimmer: This book was given to me free of charge (by the author) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

The Team:
Joan of Arc, the armour-plated teen saint of Orleans.
Francis of Assisi, friend to all the animals whether they like it or not.
St Christopher, the patron saint of travel who by papal decree has never existed – no matter how much he argues otherwise.

The Mission: An impossible prayer has been received by Heaven and it’s a prayer that only Mary, Mother of God, can answer. Unfortunately, Mary hasn’t been seen in decades and is off wandering the Earth somewhere. This elite team of Heavenly saints are sent down to Earth to find Mary before Armageddon is unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

Godsquad:
A breathless comedy road trip from Heaven to France and all points in-between featuring murderous butchers, a coachload of Welsh women, flying portaloos, nuclear missiles, giant rubber dragons, an army of dogs, a very rude balloon and way too much French wine.

Review

Godsquad is the fourth book in the Clovenhoof series. However it’s rather differ to Clovenhoof and Pigeonwings and can easily be read as a stand alone novel. It contains some of the same characters as the pervious books but they have been relatively minor characters before. It contains neither Satan or Gabriel.

I always rather liked Joan of Arc in the previous books so I was looking forward to seeing more of her, but on the other hand I found Francis of Assisi annoying- so wasn’t so much looking forward to seeing more of him.

In terms of action and adventure Godsquad did seem to promise more than either of the previous two books, so I found myself a little disappointed that the action didn’t get started earlier. It was somewhat interesting to see the saints adapting to modern life, but we have seen a lot of that in previous books and it might have been nice to have something different.

However when the action did get going I did find in very engaging, and the second portion of the book went very quickly for me.

I still really liked Joan of Arc by the end- more so if possible, and Francis of Assisi had grown on me too- although there are still annoying elements to him, and I liked Christopher too.

I found Mary to be a rather amusing character. Feminist, anarchist, anti-capitalist, but pretty much clueless really- that’s why she was amusing.

In fact on reflection I think it may be my favourite in the series.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£2.99)

Paperback (£8.99)

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Children’s Hour: Is it Bedtime Wibbly Pig?


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

Is it Bedtime Wibbley Pig? Has to be one of the most patronising children’s books I have ever had to read. After we read and really enjoyed ‘Suddenly!’ I expected this one to be better, but it was just so boring.

The premise is that Wibbley Pig is getting ready for bed and the narrator is asking him what he is doing, but in some of the most stupid ways “Are you brushing your teeth Wibbley Pig?” “Have you finished your cocoa Wibbley Pig?”. I can see it being the way parents might ask their children but it was just so mundane.

The kids I read it to (just 4 pre-schoolers) did sort of like answering the questions for him, but to be honest it was too young for the pre-schoolers, it may be better for my toddlers, but I guess  that they enjoyed it well enough.

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Boardbook (£5.99)

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Children’s Hour: I’m Not Cute (revisited)


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

 

Back when Children’s Hour was just a baby the kids really loved a book called I’m Not Cute. It was only the second Children’s Hour book featured on this blog, and I am the only remaining member of toddler room staff from that time. It was so loved that now it is just a distant memory, because the kids loved it to death.

But when I got back from jury service I saw that we had a new copy.

I’m Not Cute is the story of Baby Owl. All the other animals are calling Baby Owl cute, but he’s not cute, he is a hunting machine! He gets very frustrated with the other animals.

It was a pretty much instant hit with the kids. We read Puffin Peter first and I was concerned that they wouldn’t concentrate for a second story (the kids will often ask to read a second story but tend to loose interest if you read it to them) but they actually became more engaged not less.

They love watching Baby Owl’s tantrums, and staff ‘shouting’ like a toddler is always popular. They were quick to be able to join in, and showed lots of pride in being able to name the different animals.

The squirrel still doesn’t like a squirrel though!

Buy it:

Boardbook (£4.99)

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Sunday Surfing 10/5/15


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

J.K Rowling Has Spoken Out Against Abuse on Twitter

Mindy Kaling Has Revealed the Release Date For Her Latest Book

Book Lover’s Problems

Children’s Books Which Inspired Future Writers

Children’s Books Which Promote Deaf Awareness

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed ‘Ajax Penumbra: 1969’

 The kid’s read ‘Puffin Peter’

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Children’s Hour: Puffin Peter


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.


When I came back from jury duty there were two new books in toddler room, on of them was Puffin Peter (the other was a book which was loved so much a few years ago that it literally got read to death).

Puffin Peter is a story about two friends, Peter and Paul. One day Peter gets lost in a storm and can’t find his friend Paul, but he meets a whale who tries to help him. It is very loosely based on the rhyme Two Little Dicky Birds.

As a story it’s very similar to Monkey Puzzle, but more complex in a way. The whale listens to Peter’s instructions and finds things which meet all of his descriptions (rather than the latest one as in Monkey Puzzle). It makes the whale seem smarter, but it’s less funny.

There’s no rhyme either, which makes it less interesting for the kids. They still liked to see if the different animals were Paul, but they were less focused than they would have been if we were reading a favourite.

I really like the pictures. They are bright and quite atmospheric.

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

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Ajax Penumbra: 1969- Robin Sloan


Synopsis (from amazon)

San Francisco, 1969. The summer of drugs, music and a new age dawning. A young, earnest Ajax Penumbra has been given his first assignment as a Junior Acquisitions Officer – to find the single surviving copy of the Techne Tycheon, a mysterious volume that has brought and lost great fortune for anyone who has owned it. After a few weeks of rigorous hunting, Penumbra feels no closer to his goal than when he started. But late one night, after another day of dispiriting dead ends, he stumbles upon a 24-hour bookstore and the possibilities before him expand exponentially. With the help of his friend’s homemade computer, an ancient map, a sunken ship and the vast shelves of the 24-hour bookstore, Ajax Penumbra might just find what he’s seeking…

Review

Ajax Penumbra 1969 is the prequel to Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, it can be read alone with no problems, but I think those who have read the sequel first would probably get more out of it.

I must admit I actually think I prefered this one to the sequel. It certainly was quicker to get going, but then it was a short story- so I suppose there wasn’t much time for ‘faffing’.

It was interesting to see how Penumbra started, and his job sounded like a great job! I found his adventure more interesting than the adventure in the sequel too, although I would have liked to see more of his early days in the bookstore.

I came out of it liking Penumbra as a character much more too. He had interested me before, but we didn’t really get to know him.

I would like to know if they really did sink ships in San Francisco and build on top of them.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.89)

Hardback (£6.39)

 

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