Surgery.com

Sorry folks, but I’ll be gone from my PC for a few days.  Back soon.

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Temporarily off the grid.

apology

I have to apologise; we do not have internet access at our new place yet, the nearest being a 30 minute drive away. This means I only get to connect about once per week, and for a short period of time. As soon as we are reconnected normal service will resume.

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5 February Book Releases for Children

Stars AboveTitle ~ Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection
Author ~ Marissa Meyer
ISBN ~ 978-1250091840
Publisher ~ Feiwel & Friends (February 2, 2016)
Hardcover ~ 400 pages

Description: The enchantment continues….

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.


The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century..

SaltTitle ~ Salt to the Sea
Author ~ Ruta Sepetys
ISBN ~ 9780399160301
Publisher ~ Philomel Books (February 2, 2016)
Hardcover: 400 pages

Description: In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are  Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

7 wondersTitle ~ Seven Wonders Journals: The Promise
Author ~ Peter Lerangis
ISBN ~ 978-0062238955
Publisher ~ HarperCollins (February 9, 2016)
Paperback: 112 pages

Description: Follow the threads of history back to ancient times. Two Atlantean princes, Karai and Massarym, obsessed with power and terrified of the mysterious Loculi, turned against it each other in a bitter rivalry. With the future of the world at stake and nowhere to turn for guidance, the fourteen-year-old brothers chose fear over trust, deception over truth, and violence over brotherhood, and they change the course of history forever.

In this final installment of the Seven Wonders Journals, dive into the heart of the mystery that started it all before the adventure concludes in Seven Wonders: The Legend of the Rift, the fifth and final book in the New York Times bestselling adventure series by Peter Lerangis, author of hundreds of books, including three titles in the 39 Clues series.

echoTitle ~ Echo Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek Myths
Author ~ Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee Masse
ISBN ~ 978-0803739925
Publisher ~ Dial Books (February 16, 2016)
Hardcover: 32 pages

Description: What happens when you hold up a mirror to poems about Greek myths? You get a brand-new perspective on the classics! And that is just what happens in Echo Echo, the newest collection of reverso poems from Marilyn Singer. Read one way, each poem tells the story of a familiar myth; but when read in reverse, the poems reveal a new point of view! Readers will delight in uncovering the dual points of view in well-known legends, including the stories of Pandora’s box, King Midas and his golden touch, Perseus and Medusa, Pygmalion, Icarus and Daedalus, Demeter and Persephone, and Echo and Narcissus.

These cunning verses combine with beautiful illustrations to create a collection of fourteen reverso poems to treasure.

Home runTitle ~ Baseball Great: Home Run
Author ~ Tim Green
ISBN ~ 978-0062317117
Publisher ~ HarperCollins (February 23, 2016)
Hardcover: 352 pages

Description: Perfect for fans of Mike Lupica’s sports books and Dan Gutman’s Baseball Card Adventures, New York Times bestselling author and former NFL player Tim Green gives readers a thrilling new addition to his bestselling Baseball Great series.

Josh’s life has just fallen apart. His father will no longer be coaching the travel baseball team and is moving to Florida, forcing his mom and little sister to move into a small apartment on the wrong side of town. To make matters worse, the new coach of the travel team is an unforgiving drill sergeant.

But then Benji tells Josh of a home-run derby in which the winner gets a brand-new house. All Josh has to do to qualify is hit twenty home runs during his travel-team season. With Benji and Jaden’s help, Josh is hoping to hit it out of the park and save his family, because if he strikes out, he may just lose everything.

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David Bowie’s Top 100 Books

David Bowie

Waking up on Monday to find this music icon has passed away may have come as a shock to many, but behind the musician and actor was a literary man.  To bring recognition to his love of the written word,  I thought it would be a great tribute to show what a prolific reader this man was.

On October 1st 2013, openculture.com posted this article written by Josh Jones:

“David Bowie Is,” the extensive retrospective exhibit of the artist and his fabulous costumes, hit Toronto last Friday …, and as many people have reported, in addition to those costumes—and photos, instruments, set designs, lyric sheets, etc.—the show includes a list of Bowie’s favorite books. Described as a “voracious reader” by curator Geoffrey Marsh, Bowie’s top 100 book list spans decades, from Richard Wright’s raw 1945 memoir Black Boy to Susan Jacoby’s 2008 analysis of U.S. anti-intellectualism in The Age of American Unreason.

Bowie’s always had a complicated relationship with the U.S., but his list shows a lot of love to American writers, from the aforementioned to Truman Capote, Hubert Selby, Jr., Saul Bellow, Junot Diaz, Jack Kerouac and many more. He’s also very fond of fellow Brits George Orwell, Ian McEwan, and Julian Barnes and loves Mishima and Bulgakov.  You can read the full list below or over at Open Book Toronto, who urges you to “grab one of these titles and settle in to read — and just think, somewhere, at some point, David Bowie (or, to be more accurate, the man behind David Bowie, David Jones) was doing the exact same thing.” If that sort of thing inspires you to pick up a good book, go for it. You could also peruse the list, then puzzle over the literate Bowie’s lyrics to “I Can’t Read.”

The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby, 2008

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz, 2007
The Coast of Utopia (trilogy), Tom Stoppard, 2007
Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage, 2007
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters, 2002
The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens, 2001
Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler, 1997
A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924, Orlando Figes, 1997
The Insult, Rupert Thomson, 1996
Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon, 1995
The Bird Artist, Howard Norman, 1994
Kafka Was The Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, Anatole Broyard, 1993
Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective, Arthur C. Danto, 1992
Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Camille Paglia, 1990
David Bomberg, Richard Cork, 1988
Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom, Peter Guralnick, 1986
The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin, 1986
Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd, 1985
Nowhere To Run: The Story of Soul Music, Gerri Hirshey, 1984
Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter, 1984
Money, Martin Amis, 1984
White Noise, Don DeLillo, 1984
Flaubert’s Parrot, Julian Barnes, 1984
The Life and Times of Little Richard, Charles White, 1984
A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn, 1980
A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole, 1980
Interviews with Francis Bacon, David Sylvester, 1980
Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler, 1980
Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess, 1980
Raw (a ‘graphix magazine’) 1980-91
Viz (magazine) 1979 –
The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, 1979
Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz, 1978
In Between the Sheets, Ian McEwan, 1978
Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, ed. Malcolm Cowley, 1977
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes, 1976
Tales of Beatnik Glory, Ed Saunders, 1975
Mystery Train, Greil Marcus, 1975
Selected Poems, Frank O’Hara, 1974
Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, Otto Friedrich, 1972
In Bluebeard’s Castle : Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture, George Steiner, 1971
Octobriana and the Russian Underground, Peter Sadecky, 1971
The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, Charlie Gillete, 1970
The Quest For Christa T, Christa Wolf, 1968
Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock, Nik Cohn, 1968
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov, 1967
Journey into the Whirlwind, Eugenia Ginzburg, 1967
Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr. , 1966
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, 1965
City of Night, John Rechy, 1965
Herzog, Saul Bellow, 1964
Puckoon, Spike Milligan, 1963
The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford, 1963
The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea, Yukio Mishima, 1963
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin, 1963
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, 1962
Inside the Whale and Other Essays, George Orwell, 1962
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark, 1961
Private Eye (magazine) 1961 –
On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, Douglas Harding, 1961
Silence: Lectures and Writing, John Cage, 1961
Strange People, Frank Edwards, 1961
The Divided Self, R. D. Laing, 1960
All The Emperor’s Horses, David Kidd,1960
Billy Liar, Keith Waterhouse, 1959
The Leopard, Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, 1958
On The Road, Jack Kerouac, 1957
The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard, 1957
Room at the Top, John Braine, 1957
A Grave for a Dolphin, Alberto Denti di Pirajno, 1956
The Outsider, Colin Wilson, 1956
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell, 1949
The Street, Ann Petry, 1946
Black Boy, Richard Wright, 1945″

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2016 Reading Challenge

As my ‘To Be Read’ list is in storage until March, I’ve been looking for an easy challenge to start my year and one that, will most likely, have some new additions waiting to join my bookshelves when they arrive at the renovated farm house.  As I finish each category I will review the book here so you can all keep me in check 🙂

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Christmas Special: The Nutcracker Suite ~ Tchaikovsky

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Although not a piece of literature, I couldn’t think of a better way to enjoy Christmas Day than listening to The Nutcracker Suite and enjoying a glass of wine:

I hope you all have a safe, happy and blessed holiday.

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Christmas Special: The Snowman ~ Raymond Briggs

As this week is Christmas week, I will be doing something special on the days I post.  Today we will begin with one of my favourites and, what better way to start, than with a few words from the Author himself:

“I remember that winter because it had brought the heaviest snows I had ever seen. Snow had fallen steadily all night long and in the morning I woke in a room filled with light and silence, the whole world seemed to be held in a dream-like stillness. It was a magical day… and it was on that day I made the Snowman.” – Raymond Briggs

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We’re back!

back

Just dropping by to let everyone know that my reviews will be returning to the blog on Friday 18th December. I want to say thanks to everyone for their patience while we are in transition.

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Are you Listening?

Headphones-on-Books1

I had an interesting conversation the other day; a young man in the library asked me if I had read a certain book that he held out to me, I replied that I hadn’t but I’d read the print copy.  As you’ve probably guessed by now the young man was showing me an audiobook.  So is ‘listening’ to an audiobook just as good as holding a print copy in your hands?

I suppose the answer to that question must come from your own personal definition of reading. If reading is understanding the content of the story or the theme, then audiobooks certainly succeed.  Understanding the message, thinking critically about the content, using imagination, and making connections are at the heart of what it means to be a reader and why kids learn to love books whether they read them alone, are read to or listen to them.  Audiobooks also play a large role in bringing reading to the visually impaired and help them enter that other world all readers know and love, and I for one would never say a visually impaired reader was not a true reader just because they listened to audiobooks.

Which brings me to the crux of the matter why is there even room for the “Which is better: listening to an audiobook or reading a print book” debate. It’s inane, banal and pointless, and as long as books are being absorbed in one form or another surely it is a plus for all concerned.  The debate is based on the premise that, as a reader you can’t do both and that you have to fall onto one side of the debate or the other, pretty much like the eBook debate (but we all know my feelings on that subject).

When it comes to listening to audiobooks or reading books, it’s not actually an issue of personal preference for me. It’s not even a matter of choice rather a matter of common sense and deciding if I want to get home in one piece. I cannot choose to read a book while I’m driving; the choice here is whether to listen to an audiobook or the radio; if it’s the audiobook careful choice has to be made as to content, I want something interesting but not too engaging that I lose focus on driving.  There are many circumstances in my everyday life (and probably yours too) where by using common sense my choices are a) listen or not, and b) listen to what? There is no option to read with my eyes.

If this debate had been brought up back in the heyday of dramatised books on the radio, and at the advent of the wonderful A Book at Bedtime show that BBC Radio 4 has featured on weeknights since 1949, it would not have even been given notice, or credence.  It was the norm to read your print book, listen to your radio dramatisations and then the Book at Bedtime before retiring for the night.  I’ve even had classroom discussions about a particular book on the BBC with my English Literature teacher, who had set it as homework knowing certain members of the class would be more likely to ‘read’ the book this way, rather than having to hold it in their hands.

So stop the debate or argument, whatever you want to dress it up as. Please. For it really is neither of these things. And if you insist on still travelling down this misguided path, find a visually impaired person; ask your obtuse question of them, then come away from that conversation being thankful you have an extra sense with which you can receive information.

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Taking the week off

Paper-1

I have a crazy-busy schedule for this week, so I will be taking this week off the blog in order to concentrate everything I need to for my Husband’s retirement ceremony.  That’s right, after 23 years of wearing the uniform he’s finally hanging it up.  There is a lot going on this week; family flying in from the East Coast, friends from out of country, ceremonies to attend and rehearse for, not to mention all the cookies I’ve got to bake and things to pick up for presentations.

I hope you will all understand and I’ll be back on the 18th October when everyone has returned to their homes.

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