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Book haul! part two: Fiction and Non-fiction

As promised, here’s part two of my recent book haul! They cover quite a few genres and age ranges.

Fiction:

Dragon Rider: The Griffin’s Feather by Cornelia Funke – The last winged horses are on the brink of extinction. Three foals lie curled in their eggs in a sanctuary for threatened creatures, where a young dragon rider lives with his silver dragon. The foals are ill, and the pair volunteer to seek the only cure: a Griffin’s feather. But Griffins, with the heads of eagles and the bodies of lions, are a dragon’s fiercest enemy, and live far across the world in the sweltering jungle. A dangerous and exciting adventure begins …

Around the Universe in 10 -43 Second by Manu Breysse – Sareth is a Pharaoh on a lost planet at the far end of an arm of the Milky Way. While imposing a hard-line, despotic regime there, he is accidentally teleported to the centre of the galaxy. Lost, Sareth goes to take refuge in a city library to try to understand what is happening to him. But, just as he is about to discover the meaning of life, it disappears before his very eyes… Come discover Sareth and his companions on their insane quest to find the meaning of life! A quest against which the universe itself appears to put them on their guard with its space worms, galactic jellyfish, pan-dimensional creatures, humans… Accompanied by an alcoholic, his shrink and the latter’s daughter who is in the throes of adolescence, Sareth will confront the dangers of an absurd universe, which has no other purpose than to make life rare and precious!

Carnivalesque by Neil Jordan – To Andy and his parents, it looks like any other carnival: creaking ghost train, rusty rollercoaster and circus performers. But of course it isn’t. Drawn to the hall of mirrors, Andy enters and is hypnotised by the many selves staring back at him. Sometime later, one of those selves walks out rejoins his parents – leaving Andy trapped inside the glass, snatched from the tensions of his suburban home and transported to a world where the laws of gravity are meaningless and time performs acrobatic tricks. And now an identical stranger inhabits Andy’s life, unsettling his mother with a curious blankness, as mysterious events start unfolding in their Irish coastal town.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl – James Henry Trotter lives with two ghastly hags. Aunt Sponge is enormously fat with a face that looks boiled and Aunt Spiker is bony and screeching. He’s very lonely until one day something peculiar happens. At the end of the garden a peach starts to grow and GROW AND GROW. Inside that peach are seven very unusual insects – all waiting to take James on a magical adventure. But where will they go in their GIANT PEACH and what will happen to the horrible aunts if they stand in their way? There’s only one way to find out . . .

Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book  by Terry Jones, illustrated by Brian Froud – This is a reproduction of the diary of Lady Angelica Cottington, which features pressed garden fairies. Or rather the psychic images of the fairies, who quickly turned it into a game, where they leapt between the closing pages in an effort to outdo each other to produce the most outrageous poses. The book claims to be the facsimile edition of the notebook of Lady Cottington who, it is said, took the infamous photograph of a group of fairies that was authenticated by Conan Doyle, but later discredited. She was determined to prove the existence of fairies and began to capture them between the pages of her notebook, in which she had previously pressed wild flowers. This is a record of the fairies she caught, and of the disruptive influence they had on her otherwise sheltered life.

The Museum’s Secret by Henry Chancellor – Welcome to the Scatterhorn Museum! But don’t get too excited – it’s a cold and dingy place, crammed full of tatty stuffed animals and junk. Nobody much wants to visit any more, and its days are surely numbered. But when Tom is sent to live here he soon finds there is more to this museum than meets the eye. The animals may be shabby and moth-eaten – but they possess an incredible secret. And when Tom discovers he can go right back to the time of their making, a hundred years earlier, he embarks on a journey full of unimaginable terrors… Join Tom in his breathtaking adventure in and out of time, from an Edwardian ice fair to the wastes of Mongolia, the jungles of India, and beyond…

The World’s Worst Children 2 by David Walliams – The brilliant follow-up to David Walliams’ bestseller The World’s Worst Children! Ten more stories about a brand new gang of hilariously horrible kids from everyone’s favourite children’s author, illustrated in glorious full colour by Tony Ross. If you thought you had read about the World’s Worst Children already, you’re in for a rather nasty shock. The beastly boys and gruesome girls in this book are even ruder, even more disgusting and WORSE than you could ever imagine!

Moonlocket by Peter Bunzl – It’s hard to escape the secrets from the past.
Storm clouds gather over Lily and Robert’s summer when criminal mastermind the Jack of Diamonds appears. For Jack is searching for the mysterious Moonlocket – but that’s not the only thing he wants. Suddenly, dark secrets from Robert’s past plunge him into danger. Jack is playing a cruel game that Robert is a part of. Now Lily and Malkin, the mechanical fox, must stay one step ahead before Jack plays his final, deadly card…

Non-fiction:

Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell – ‘Can books conduct electricity?’ ‘My children are just climbing your bookshelves: that’s ok… isn’t it?’ A John Cleese Twitter question [‘What is your pet peeve?’], first sparked the “Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops” blog, which grew over three years into one bookseller’s collection of ridiculous conversations on the shop floor. From ‘Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?’ to the hunt for a paperback which could forecast the next year’s weather; and from ‘I’ve forgotten my glasses, please read me the first chapter’ to’Excuse me… is this book edible?’ This full-length collection illustrated by the Brothers McLeod also includes top ‘Weird Things’ from bookshops around the world.

The View from Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman – ‘Literature does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation.’ This collection will draw you in to exchanges on making good art and Syrian refugees, the power of a single word and playing the kazoo with Stephen King, writing about books, comics and the imagination of friends, being sad at the Oscars and telling lies for a living. Here Neil Gaiman opens our minds to the people he admires and the things he believes might just mean something – and welcomes us to the conversation too.

Nightwalking by Matthew Beaumont – In Nightwalking Matthew Beaumont recounts an alternative history of Londonpopulated by the poor, the mad, the lost, the vagrant and the noctambulant. He shines a light on the shadowy perambulations of poets, novelists and thinkers: Chaucer and Shakespeare; William Blake and his ecstatic peregrinations and the feverish ramblings of opium addict Thomas De Quincey; and, among the lamp-lit literary throng, the supreme nightwalker Charles Dickens. We discover how the nocturnal city has inspired some and served as a balm or narcotic to others.

So there you are, a breakdown of all the books I’ve gathered this month. Most of them I bought myself, but Carnivalesque and Around the Universe in 10 -43 Second I gained from giveaways – always a bonus!

 

Annie Is Looking For Guest Posts and Collaborators

Annie Likes Words

ANNIE IS LOOKING

Are you interested in writing a guest post for Annie Likes Words or working together on a collaborative post?

I am looking for bloggers who share my passion for literature to either write a guest post or collaborate on a fabulous post to go on both of our sites.  I would prefer that the content be related to reading and writing, but am open to all ideas.

If you have a stellar idea or just want to chat, fill out the form below.  Please fill out all the required fields as well as a few ideas or your collaboration or guest post in the body of the message.  Please share any social media Hit that “submit” button and I will get back to you soon!

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On the trail of a first time indie author

It’s always interesting to hear from authors about how they got their work into print.

Inkyeverafter Press

The Inky team were delighted to be approached by Isle of Wight author and illustrator Marianne Su Yin to help see her dream of publishing a picture book become a reality.

Marianne is a talented illustrator and, like Zoe, used crowdfunding to finance her book ‘On the Trail of the Missing Pets’. This was Marianne’s first foray into the world of self-publishing, so we asked her to share her thoughts on becoming an indie author.

On The Trail of The Missing Pets

Naively thinking the process of actually writing and illustrating a book would be the hardest part, it was a surprise to learn this was just the beginning. After six months of revisions, edits, formatting and preparation I made the wise decision (thankfully, in hindsight) to employ a professional for its transition from storyboard to publication. It is so easy to become attached to our work that taking a step back can be difficult, and sometimes…

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Creature Unknown

The hand on my face presses down, sliding its fingers into my gills. No oxygen, no screaming, I suppose it thinks. My mouth proves otherwise. I have teeth, I have lungs, I have a voice that belts out an alert to all around me. There is a creature here wanting to crush you. It’s got me. Stay back, else it will get you, too.

The end of the emporium

Neat golden lettering on marbled paper

bleached

by time and its sun.

A pair of scales hangs in mid-air,

weighing the light

of the lamps flickering in distaste.

Half rotten and full of cobwebs,

an enchanted gimmick

made

to float and sing

and make the room smell

of sweet perfumes.

Scraping off the sign has such finality.

We watch,

turning up the collars of our long coats

as we try to warm our ears.

Book Haul! part one: Poetry collections

I don’t usually write about books I’ve bought at any given time, mainly because I don’t tend to buy a lot at once. But this month I did, plus I was gifted a few too. Some I’ve started reading, some I haven’t, but they all grabbed my attention for one reason or another. So, here’s the first part of my haul for this month, focusing on poetry collections. I’ve included their blurbs too, so you have an idea of what each collection is about:

Bear by Chrissy Williams – The lively ‘bears’ in this playful and poignant collection will surprise you on every page. They are poems of love and death, life, loss and grief. The ephemera of popular culture is used to confront mortality, and you’ll be transported from the British Library to the Alps to the International Space Station, along with a vibrant cast of Vikings, videogames and Angela Lansbury. From the ludicrous to the domestic, these profound, wry and very real bears affirm that hope may be found even in our darkest moments.

Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals by Patricia Lockwood  What if a deer did porn? Is it legal to marry a stuffed owl exhibit? And what would Walt Whitman’s tit-pics really look like? Free-wheeling and surreal yet deadly serious, and including the viral hit ‘Rape Joke’ (‘An oblique mini-masterpiece’ – Guardian), this book shows one of our most original poets at her virtuosic best.

The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy – That saying? Behind every famous man . . . ? From Mrs Midas to Queen Kong, from Elvis’s twin sister to Pygmalion’s bride, they’re all here, in Carol Ann Duffy’s inspired and inspirational collection, The World’s Wife. Witty and thought-provoking, this is a tongue-in-cheek, no-holds-barred look at the real movers and shakers across history, myth and legend. If you have ever wondered, for example, how exactly Darwin came up with his theory of evolution, or what, precisely, Frau Freud thought about her husband – then this is the book for you, as the wives of the great, the good, the not so good, and the legendary are given a voice in Carol Ann Duffy’s sparkling and inventive collection

Take This  One To Bed by Anthony Dunn (hardback signed edition): The poems in Antony Dunn’s fourth collection explore the passions and tensions of how we live together – as neighbours, as families, as lovers, and as companions to our own various selves. Here are stories of experience and imagination – of a man’s clothes taking on a life of their own, of a city overcome by an epidemic of weeping, of two goldfish left in an emptying house: touching and enchanting tales that combine bittersweet comedy with an unflinching account of human nature. At the heart of this deeply affecting collection are poems that dwell on the domestic crises that define our lives, that tell ‘how our hurts come down … hard and without warning’, and ask how we might live with them.

Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis by Wendy Cope (1986 edition) – Already well known for her hilarious send-ups of contemporary writers, Wendy Cope is perhaps the most accomplished parodist since Beerbohm. This first full-length collection includes work by Jason Strugnell, the subject of the Radio Three programme, Shall I Call Thee Bard?, as well as other parodies and literary jokes. There are, in addition, telling lyrics and a number or remarkable love poems – candid, sometimes erotic, and very funny indeed.

The Air Mines of Mistila by Phillip Gross & Sylvia Kantaris (1988) – High above the plain, beyond the village of Hum, up where the mountainside melts into cloud, lies an unmapped plateau. Here people appear out of thin air. And disappear. Or so they say. Mistila

Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith – In this brilliant collection of new poems, Tracy K. Smith envisions a sci-fi future sucked clean of any real dangers, contemplates the dark matter that keeps people both close and distant and revisits kitschy concepts like ‘love’ and ‘illness’, now relegated to the museum of obsolescence. With allusions to David Bowie and interplanetary travel, Life on Mars imagines a soundtrack for the universe, accompanying the discoveries, failures and oddities of human existence and establishing Smith as one of the best poets of her generation.

The Ghost Orchid by Michael Longley – Following on from the remarkable riches of Gorse Fire, the poems brought together under the title The Ghost Orchid share some of the same concerns, but take many different approaches. Whether in the west of Ireland, Sissinghurst or the stone gardens of Japan; whether confronting the blood of the Iliad or the Odyssey or undergoing Ovidian metamorphoses; whether testing poetic form or renewing Ulster Scots dialect; whether in Buchenwald or Belfast, Longley speaks with pared delicacy, passion and huge vulnerability about love, life and death. A lyric craftsman of genius, Michael Longley has written a book that is fragile and exquisite – like the evanescent ghost orchid itself – yet full of tragic intensity; it is his finest achievement.

The Hungry Ghost Festival by Jen Campbell (pamphlet) – The Hungry Ghost Festival [a traditional Chinese festival]. On the 15th night of the seventh lunar month, the boundaries between the living and the dead break down, and the dead visit the earth looking for food and entertainment. Jen Campbell’s festival celebrates the presence of the past, in this case childhood and adolescence in the North East, as it floats through the present adult consciousness.

Staying Alive edited by Neil Astley (anthology) – ‘Staying Alive’ is an international anthology of 500 life-affirming poems fired by belief in the human and the spiritual at a time when much in the world feels unreal, inhuman and hollow. These are poems of great personal force connecting our aspirations with our humanity, helping us stay alive to the world and stay true to ourselves.

So that’s all the poetry books I’ve gathered this month. A few were recommended by Booktubers, but most were finds in local bookshops. I might review a few once I’ve read them, there are one or two I already want to talk about in more detail.

Stayed tuned for part two: Fiction and Non-fiction.

Kat out.

 

 

The Button

I see it. The button:

press in event of emergency.

Go on, then, press it.

But I don’t know what will happen!

Ah, that’s the fun of it.

Press it.

If…if you insist.

I don’t insist on anything.

You’re the one insisting.

After all, you’re talking

to yourself.

There’s no-one else left here

now.

It’s just you.

Press it.