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More Rainbow Bookshelf Videos!

Hello lovely people, as the title of this post suggests, I’ve made more videos where I go through my shelves and find books with specific colours from the rainbow. I was only going to link one video here, but then I remembered that I forgot to link the video I did last week, so here they both are:

For my orange/yellow selected books, click here

And for the latest one, all about green books in my collection, click here

Enjoy!

…though I do tend to ramble…

Poetry, Uncategorized

Oh, it’s that section of the library, is it?

Books in court,

their words binding the defendant

to the table

wrapping the air with motive,

mystery,

evidence that is pure fiction,

until the jury

stands up and reads

aloud.

The books fall down

blown away,

scattered, pages billowing

like petticoats

in a stiff morning breeze.

Poetry

Evaporate

Engines chug away

propelling the clouds into new positions

that people read

as sacred teachings.

Oblivious

to the mechanics behind their prophets.

Those maintaining the perpetual motion

no longer speak or hear

in a common tongue.

Language

is lost to them now.

Poetry

Slush pile

The envelope is rough under my fingers.

Debossed

where the pen has been guided,

quick, hasty shapes

that are not so very far from my own.

The stamp in one corner, red

this time. A week ago, it was blue.

Then the letter itself, stained

with tea to age it,

when the grain is clearly young.

The words mean less and less:

What is my name?

 

 

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New video! Interesting Stand-alone books.

Hello everyone, just thought I’d let you know I’ve posted another Booktube video on my channel. This one is about stand-alone books that I either really love or find the concept intriguing. If that sounds like something of interest to you, you can find it here.

Happy watching!

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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!

 

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Favourite authors and writing influences

Having just finished reading an early book by Diana Wynne Jones (early as in published in 1975) and then seeing Reflections – her collected essays and thoughts – on my shelf, I had to pick it up and flick through it. Looking at several pages at random, I found myself laughing aloud, as I often do when reading her books, and thought it was about time I talked about some of my favourite authors (really only a handful from a whole sack of rice)…and yes, she is number one on that list.

My first introduction to DWJ was a collection of books from her Chrestomanci series, gifted to me by my grandmother when I was about ten. When I read them at the time, I thought they were interesting, but I know I didn’t fully absorb them properly because my attention was more on Harry Potter, and so I was half-hearted in my reading of other books. Then, shortly after the film Howl’s Moving Castle by Studio Ghibli came out, I learned that it was based on a book of the same name, written by DWJ. I remembered her writing style, and thought I’d give the book a try – and I was absolutely blown away. It’s very different to the film (I love both, as separate entities) and there was so much humour in it and the characters were so engaging that it easily became one of my favourite books, and still is. I then re-read the Chrestomanci books I had, and couldn’t believe I’d missed how good they really were. Since then, I’ve been steadily adding to my collection of her books, and she really was (I say ‘was’ because, for those of you who don’t know, she passed away in 2011) one of those authors who is consistently brilliant, with inspiring, believable worlds and a writing style that spurs my author envy no end. I really could ramble on about how much I love her all day, but for now I’ll just say, if you haven’t read any of her books yet, pick one up right away.

Next on my list is David Eddings, whose Belgariad series I practically grew up with. It was my first brush with epic fantasy (I’d heard of LOTR, but until the films came out, I wasn’t interested), and his whole magic system of the Will and the Word made so much sense that I wanted it to be real. I also wanted a white lock in my hair like one of the characters, too (Polgara the Sorceress), but then I was only 11/12. I’ve read and re-read this series, and its  sequel, the Mallorean, so many times that the characters are pretty much family, and I will probably always have a copy in my collection. I’ve read some of his other works, too; The Elenium, The Tamuli, The Redemption of Althalus and the companion books to the Belgariad series, Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress (I should mention that he worked with his wife, Leigh Eddings, so equal credit should go to her, too, though her name is only on some of his works – apparently a marketing move by the publisher). Unfortunately, now I’ve read more into the lore of LOTR, I can see how many ideas Eddings borrowed, and that does irk me a bit, but I can’t say he outright plagiarized Tolkien because the story and characters are very different. (For clarity, Eddings has a whole system of Gods and backstory as to how the world in The Belgariad was made. Only recently did I discover that Tolkien had his own Gods, too, and Eddings’ really are similar.)

I believe Garth Nix is a worthy third, because his Abhorsen series is a thing of beauty. Were it not for my nostalgic feelings, his work would actually beat Eddings. Anyway, the reason why I love Nix is because of how well-developed his magic system, geography and Necromancy rules are, as well as how relatable his characters are (for me, Lirael in particular – I’d want nothing more than to stroll around in the Clayr’s library). I also like his Keys to the Kingdom series and Seventh Tower series, which are aimed at a slightly younger age-group.

Cornelia Funke ensnared me with Inkheart at the age of 13 (interestingly, the same age as her character, Meggie). I borrowed the book from my school library and gobbled it up so quickly that I didn’t know what to do with myself afterwards. A book about booklovers and characters wandering out from the pages – how could I not love it? (I love the film as well, and for an interesting bit of trivia, Cornelia sent Brendan Fraser a copy of the book, saying that he inspired her character, Mortimer, who he played on screen). After that I discovered The Thief Lord (which is based in Venice, and though I have never been there, I now feel as though I have), Dragon Rider (the sequel of which has just been released in the UK) and Igraine The Brave, all of which are fantastic, not to mention Inkspell and Inkdeath, which complete the Inkheart world.

Unsurprisingly, I have to mention JK Rowling here too, because I am a huge Potterhead and I think she is awesome in her own right – she really did work hard and went through some terrible times in her life, yet she persevered through it all. However, with the other authors mentioned above, their work made me want to write, whereas Harry Potter just made me want to read and be completely absorbed by her world. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I thought I’d just mention it.

So that’s that. As I said above, this is just a sample of my favourite authors – I have MANY more – but it’s getting late and I need to sleep at some point.

Kat out.

Poetry

Hardback

I ease into the spine,

careful not to rip or tear,

hearing that new page sound;

a spreading of toes

preparing to feel the ground

in case it tries to slip away

from me.

A deep inhale

before setting the fingers to work,

elegantly stretching from right

to left

as eyes blur left

to right.

Strength flows up my arms

congealing in my head.

The saliva on my tongue

tastes

of salt;

bittersweet meetings,

conversations left unsaid

where

there was so much to say.

I arch upwards,

clearing away the tide

that fills my lungs,

exhaling

the raw.

I step back to mountain;

the cover shuts.

My body tingles

with satisfaction.

My mind

is famished.

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I’m in an anthology! ‘One Hundred Voices vol 3’

One of my flash fiction pieces is being published in an anthology, which is currently available for pre-order here. If anyone’s interested, there’s 10% off when using the order code: 100V3-97.

Happy reading!

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Reading a new book

A few months ago I picked up a very sword and sorcery style fantasy, a bit reminiscent of David Eddings’ work (I love his Belgariad series and have re-read it several times) and several other epic fantasies that I’ve read. Up til then, I’d mainly been reading middle grade or YA fantasy, which are also the genres I write in, so I though this book would make a nice change. What I didn’t expect, however, was for the sheer amount of detail in it – the type that makes a simple trip to the well seem to last an age because every flower, tree and creature is mentioned along the way.

While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and in fact is generally expected in epic fantasy, I found it quite jarring and it took me away from the characters and the story. I think the reason is because the pacing between a middle grade book and an epic fantasy is very different, and I wasn’t prepared for that. The whole story seemed to take so long to tell, and, quite frankly, I wasn’t used to it. But I liked the main characters and was intrigued about where the plot was going, so I tried to carry on to find out what happened. Yet every time I looked at my bookshelf, I could hear the other books calling out to be read (well, not literally, because I’d be questioning my sanity if that were the case, but I think you understand that they were very appealing).

I started reading less and less, wanting to start something new but not wanting to ‘give up’ on the book I was trying to finish either. I was feeling low because I wasn’t reading as much, and I felt like I wasn’t doing the books justice by just letting them sit there on the shelf, or rattling around, dog-earred, in my bag. Then I got to the point where I wanted to do anything other than read, because I simply couldn’t get on with that book.

So I did finally put it aside.

At first, I felt bad. I hardly ever stop reading a book before the end (in fact, the only other book I’ve taken a break with is ‘The Silmarillion’ by J R R Tolkien – it’s not an easy read, so I need to fully focus on it to absorb the plot, something that’s a bit hard to do on the bus or during a break at work).

Then I read the prologue of the book I’d been waiting to read, which is a middle grade steampunk novel, and it was like someone tearing a hole in a plastic bag that happens to contain your world. I got a full lungful of fresh words describing new people, places and concepts, and for the first time in months, I want to read again.

Perhaps I should have changed books as soon as I knew the other one wasn’t pulling me in. Who knows? At least I get to visit exciting worlds again.