Mayday by Redvers Brandling: Sent a shiver down my spine, it was so very much like Flight MH 370. Luckily a pilot from beyond steers the doomed plane...moreMayday by Redvers Brandling: Sent a shiver down my spine, it was so very much like Flight MH 370. Luckily a pilot from beyond steers the doomed plane to safety. The Mirror by Ann Carol: Sarah finds a playmate in her bedroom mirror, both very lonely, until the family buy a new house and Sarah has to move far away. Luckily for Caroline, the ghostly playmate, Sarah persuades her to leave the world of the living and join her family so long dead in the world beyond. The Man Who Didn'nt Believe in Ghosts by Sorche Nic Leodhas: A young man works very hard to join a couple dead oh so very long ago. Manages to reunite them and bury them side by side in the family tomb. The King Stone by Margaret Biggs: On a holiday to the Isle of Arran,a brother and a sister have an eerie experience with a circle of Stones. Someone Drowned by Tony Richards: Three young boys, Jeff, Tom and Leon, despite repeated warnings insist on swimming in a very dangerous weirpool, until Leon nearly drowns. Strangely a pair of ghostly hands, the hands of a young boy drowned the previous year saves Leon as well as Jeff trying to help Leon. Can't Help Laughing by Alison Prince: A really malevolent ghost Laughing Lil drives a student, Sophie Mayhew, completely insane with her incessant laughter and jokes. The Giant's Necklace by Michael Morpurgo: Cherry on a holiday to the beach, is convinced that she has to complete a huge necklace of sea shells to adorn a giant. On her last day, she goes shell hunting for a few remaining shells but is unaware of the incoming tide. The Spring by Peter Dickinson: An extremely strange story of Derek a boy in a world, where he had never been born. Siren Song by Vivien Alcock: Roger Kent is lured,never to be seen again by children out there. The Coming of the Wolf by Annie Dalton: Jacob and Lizzie away from everything familiar, their friendly house after their Mother remarries, but they have each other and their Game of Games, a game full of Magic. Jacob always in the background does not want to give up his identity because of the new marriage his mother has made. How he gains strength and courage from his Wolf is amazing. The Green Ghost by Terry Tapp: Emma Finch, an old lady goes back to her childhood house, to see if she can take residence there when she dies and returns as a ghost. A heartwarming story. Somebody Lives in the Nobody House by Ruth Park: A ghostly adventure in an abandoned house by a river. The Hook by Michael Rosen: A ghostly adventure in a burnt out cottge. A Kind of Swan Song by Helen Cresswell: Lisa, an extremely talented musician sends her Mother her last song. The Hitchhiker on Blueberry Hill by Maeve Friel: The last and the most heartbreaking story of all. A daughter murdered when hitchhiking, appears to a number of people, reaches with the help of many people to her own house, but never enters her house, and the Mother never leaving her house, waiting and waiting just in case her daughter returned home.
There is no doubt that Jesus Christ worked very hard, tirelessly to spread His message of love, a love that would unite all peoples of the World we li...moreThere is no doubt that Jesus Christ worked very hard, tirelessly to spread His message of love, a love that would unite all peoples of the World we live in. Crowds of people thronged to hear him, leaving behind their lives, discarding their jobs just to hear this message of love and peace. They were mesmerised by his calm face exuding peace, love and compassion and when He cured the lame, the blind, they never left him even for a moment. They were shocked when He raised the dead, who was this Healer of a tired, dispirited people under the yoke of mighty Roman Empire. You see they lived under the powerful heel of the Roman Empire, longing for deliverance as any enslaved people would. John the Baptist screaming in the desert, a Mighty King would follow him and save them from their terrible lives. Oh yes, they longed for such a person, a Messiah, save us, save us they wept, but could it be this mild person? They were consoled when he gathered around him a band of disciples, just twelve but in time there would be many, they would be free. Strangely, there was no mobilising of forces, no calling all able bodied men to battle, the band of twelve helped Jesus in his healings and organising the crowds that thronged around him. Maybe they said, give him time…….. But all of a sudden, Jesus veers off the track, starts talking about a ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘My Father’s Kingdom’ leaving everyone utterly befuddled and disheartened, what’s all this? Just imagine John the Baptist, utterly bewildered and completely demoralised, was this the Man he had been preaching about? At His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus sits on a snow white donkey, weeps and says ‘O Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have gathered you-as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings-but you would not!’ People fling the palm fronds in utter disgust and bewilderment and leave not out of unkindness but out of utter confusion. Utter bewilderment strikes me too, what is this ‘Kingdom of Heaven’? ‘It is after death’ diehard Bible readers tell me. But what about His message of love and peace? I insist ‘That’s there but the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is the message of Christ.’ A thought strikes me, we were given a brand new world, a wondrous world, full of amazingly beautiful animals, plants, rocks, rivers, beaches and what did we do? We try our best to destroy this beautiful world. The world fights back to keep itself alive and whole despite our best efforts to annihilate it. And I think what about keeping this wondrous world alive, healthy, before we head off to another world and destroy it too.
Most of the children's stories are so good that you wonder why more adults do not read them and so it is with this collection of short stories. 'The Ba...moreMost of the children's stories are so good that you wonder why more adults do not read them and so it is with this collection of short stories. 'The Balaclava Story' talks about a boy wanting so very badly to buy a balaclava so that he can belong to a gang of boys who all wear balaclavas, he then 'gets' a balaclava which is his undoing. What he does next is so sad. 'Nat and the Great Bath climb' is a woodlouse's adventure together with a spider to see the world. 'Ivan's Shadow' one of those folk tales about foolish people who mess up everything but triumph in the end. 'Anyone for a Banana' a strange story about a man bringing laughter to a Underground full of different types of people, a heartwarming tale. 'The Reluctant dragon and the Wilful Princess' a pact between a dragon who dislikes terrorising people and a princess who does not want to marry her pimply cousin 'A good sixpenn'worth' a boy who gives such a stirring narration of an event totally spellbinding to all his listeners. 'Particle goes green' a spell gone wrong with hilarious results. 'A Question of Grammar' is Richmal Crompton's William on one of his naughty escapades. 'The Night the Bed Fell one thing leads to another in a midnight event with confusion and a great deal of laughter. 'The good Ogre' a folk tale of a simpleton who works hard and eventually is recompensed with a smart wife. 'Harold and Bella, Jammy and Me' how do you put a show-off in his place. This story will tell you how. 'The Paw Thing' is a heartbreaking story of how a cat wins a place in her Master's heart and home. 'Oonagh' a giant's wife gets the better of his arch enemy. 'Miss Pettigrew's Parrot' another story about a bunch of very naughty boys. 'Seventeen Oranges, hide evidence and how! 'Fairy Cakes' fairies kidnap a Cook so that she can bake lovely cakes for them with hilarious results but a lot of kindness from the Cook. 'The Litter Bug' what happens when you litter and litter and litter....
I do not think I enjoyed the sequel as much as I did 'The darling buds of May'. You just cannot drag humour if there is no plot,'The darling buds of M...moreI do not think I enjoyed the sequel as much as I did 'The darling buds of May'. You just cannot drag humour if there is no plot,'The darling buds of May' had no plot but it was really enjoyable because of its descriptions of the British countryside, the delectable food, the jobs the young ones did to make money and all sorts of things so new to me. 'A breath of French air' cannot sustain as here the tremendous lack of plot shows and the book just disintegrates as a badly cooked souffle. (less)
The Thrush Green series was highly recommended to me by a person on the forum Glyphs, which still exists but in a much toned down version. I thought t...moreThe Thrush Green series was highly recommended to me by a person on the forum Glyphs, which still exists but in a much toned down version. I thought the forum a bit snooty but ......Sadly the book was hardly what I had expected. The Thrush series is much like Miss Marple, or the Inspector Morse on TV without the crimes, so no zing. However, the garden descriptions are truly spectacular, the flowers and those garden parties and fetes, the story lukewarm. Just a genteel slice of England. I think that we in the Orient love a bit of passion! (less)
His birth records were never found, they were not of great importance, after all he was the son of a blacksmith who once beat him within an inch of de...moreHis birth records were never found, they were not of great importance, after all he was the son of a blacksmith who once beat him within an inch of death. His experiences in Italy go unrecorded but they did shape his life, how he rose to such immense power is unimportant to him after all he had much more interesting story to tell, he could tell us the convoluted and very fascinating story of Henry the VIII King of England, you see he was right in the middle of everything that ever happened. Of course Henry the VIII’s story involves so very many people and they all emerge from centuries ago as Cromwell lays their lives bare to us. We hear Cromwell tell us about their joys, ambitions, their desperation, their triumphs, sadness intertwined with his own story with his own joys, ambitions, desperation, triumphs; through it all we glimpse his own sadness and loneliness. Cromwell shouts and rages with Henry the VIII King of England when he wants a male heir which Catherine of Aragon cannot give him. So many dead princes. He weeps with Catherine of Aragon when she realises that her husband Henry will do anything to marry Anne Boleyn. He shares her desperation when Henry banishes her to damp, dank castles far away from the Court. He listens patiently to Anne Boleyn, her frustrations. How sly she is….. could she be so like him? A kindred spirit? How he laughs with Cardinal Wolsey and their witty conversations, he never leaves the Cardinal not even the Cardinal is exiled. What a wily diplomat with all the ambassadors and papal legates, the Emperor and the King of France. He understands Lady Mary’s loneliness, separated from her mother. From an heir to the throne to a bastard. Even tries to get her to eat, strangely he is the only person she trusts. He knows what a hopeless life Mary Boleyn leads. Just a plaything for the King, when Anne is pregnant, she is supposed to jump into the King’s bed. Desperate to marry, but no takers. How well he negotiates with the manipulative Boleyns, the Seymours and sails through it all with aplomb dressed in the best of fabrics. He hides deep in his heart the sorrow for his wife Liz, never able to reconcile her death. Of course he enjoys his liaison with Johane, his wife’s sister. He needs to feel a full blooded man. His heart breaks into tiny shards when he thinks of his dead daughters Anne and Grace. Such deep pride in the success of his many wards Rafe and Richard, works hard to see them well settled. His love for exotic foods, such joy to share recipes from Italy with his cook Thurston. Wriothesley, Richie and Audley, lawyers and scholars whom he admires and with whom he works very hard. A visit to Thomas More plunges him in More’s household, tries so hard to get More to recant but More is content to be a martyr, in the end exposes More for what he really is, a cruel man who enjoys torturing and killing people in the name of God. He however shares his anonymity with Jane Seymour, the only Queen who gives Henry the VIII his only male heir, both important but overlooked by centuries of history, important at the time but forgettable down the centuries. (less)
When Aunt Grace comes to visit her nephew John who is a hard working surgeon she is surprised at the way his children have turned out; there is Pam th...moreWhen Aunt Grace comes to visit her nephew John who is a hard working surgeon she is surprised at the way his children have turned out; there is Pam the eldest, beautiful and very intelligent but conceited and so full of herself, Tony who is intelligent but mean and spiteful spends his time playing tricks on his school master, Lizzie talented but without any spunk a scapegoat for her older siblings and the twins David and Delia who love the garden and work so very hard to learn everything they possibly can from the gardener Frost but wrapped up in their own world. The Mother thinks of her older two children as brilliant and excuses their bad behaviour as only some besotted mothers can, ignoring Lizzie as mediocre and the twins as babies. But things sometimes do not work out as we want them to, the Father meets with a terrible accident which could leave him incapacitated for a long time to come. The grit and determination with which every member of the family works to turn things around is simply amazing. Simple things but everything done with a lot of hard work, determination to change and be a part of the family, down to earth sound common sense with no frills is what works for the Farrell family. Although a lot has been said about Enid Blyton, her books speak of a lot of excellent values, applicable not only to children but to any adult. This one particularly was an eye opener. (less)
A strange thing happens to people when they are colonised, after some time they feel westernised, socially they feel much superior to the ‘others’ who...moreA strange thing happens to people when they are colonised, after some time they feel westernised, socially they feel much superior to the ‘others’ who have not taken the trouble or made the effort to integrate themselves. Goa, has these strict adherents of the Western culture, one sign of these aficionados is their passion for olive oil which is a must for any soup and which is used oh so sparingly until the next consignment is brought from Portugal. Of course you have to use cutlery, not eating with a fork and spoon is so crass, never mind that sometimes you lapse when you eat fiery curries of crab and prawn, then you have to use your fingers, how else will you get all the flesh out? Everyone aspires to go to Portugal at least once in a lifetime, on their return a table cloth with roosters, the Galo de Barcelos is a must. There are many such nuances that distinguish you from the rabble. In the rest of India, where the British did not last for more than 185 years the effect is much less, but it strikes you like a thunderbolt when you enter a Club, here you breathe the British rarefied air and you know you are far, far superior to the lesser mortals not permitted entrance through those hallowed portals. Bharat, Nayanna to his four children has been educated in Oxford, is truly British in every aspect, dresses in three piece suits straight from London, hardly ever touches Indian food and works as a bureaucrat. A widower he lives with his extremely wealthy Father-in-law with his family of four children after the death of his wife in Lahore. Life at the huge house with the many relatives is not bad at all. The children are well looked after, hardly miss their mother, their grandmother is a second Mother after all. One fine day when Krishna the youngest of the four siblings playing in their grandfather’s garden with his siblings, sees their beloved father, Nayanna, tenderly escorting a white woman and introducing her to them as their Governess, ‘why do they need a Governess? Asks the old grandmother, the entire family takes care of them, ‘so what if their Mother is dead, I their grandmother will look after them, arrange their marriages’. But Nayanna, educated in Oxford wants his children to be completely westernised. The grandfather in his wisdom thinks Bharat just wants an affair with a white woman Some time later, Nayanna marries the Governess, Victoria Greene. Now Victoria Greene is an impoverished British woman living with her mother, they lead a very parsimonious existence counting every penny, on a very strict budget. To Victoria Greene, Bharat comes as a windfall, she works tirelessly to lay her grubby hands on his Father-in-law’s wealth but things are really bad in the once very rich Naidu family. The grandfather makes some terrible financial decisions because of which loses huge chunks of land, their main source of wealth. But despite some bad decisions, the grandfather leaves a great deal of land to his four grandchildren which Victoria Greene is desperate to get her hands on. The pitiful wealth grabbing manoeuvres leaves the lives of the children in complete confusion, Anjali, the eldest daughter marries a wealthy alcoholic later separating from him, the second son retreats more and more into a shell, deeply attached to his grandmother his rock in his tumultuous world, dying of a terrible accident the day the grandmother dies, the third child a daughter totally brainwashed by Victoria Greene, converts and becomes a Christian leaving her wealth to Victoria Greene and Krishna just goes on with nobody to guide him. What is really heartbreaking is that, through all the misfortunes that beset his children, Nayanna remains completely aloof, he shrugs his shoulders when Anjali, marries the alcoholic, he is unaware that his son has sunk into a deep depression, even when Victoria Greene converts his daughter he remains blissfully unconcerned. He abandons and betrays his children completely, never cares for them, always makes wild promises to Krishna, which he has no intention of keeping. He is completely besotted with his British wife Victoria Greene.
There was nothing in this book which can even remotely be called 'powerful'. A understated tale of brother-sister love and separation. It is a book fu...moreThere was nothing in this book which can even remotely be called 'powerful'. A understated tale of brother-sister love and separation. It is a book full of violence, a terrible boarding school where the boys are violent. The twins feel the separation and loneliness intensely which leads them to acts of violence and confusion much like my feelings as I struggled to see some glimpse of the plot (less)
Reviewing this book is difficult. What does one say about Christ? Strangely I started reading this book during the Holy Week and it probably accounts...moreReviewing this book is difficult. What does one say about Christ? Strangely I started reading this book during the Holy Week and it probably accounts for the deep impression it had on me. Christ a learned rabbi, finds that there is an emptiness in him, and goes in search of St. John the Baptist, the preacher in the wild, who has a tremendous impact on him and his teachings. What Christ learns is that whatever you do, the strength comes from within oneself, he is a conduit from God, never once does he attribute his healing to Himself, it is all from God. I particularly liked the way he tells us about the miracle of Canaan, simply put he knew the exact measures of some liquid and water to produce good wine! Beautiful and humble. The book is full of such experiences..... (less)