This is a short volume, published both in celebration of Independent booksellers, and also as a teaser of the Dæmon Voices that is to follow later thiThis is a short volume, published both in celebration of Independent booksellers, and also as a teaser of the Dæmon Voices that is to follow later this year. A collection of essays about writing, this is just one.
Anyone who has read my own book, Mr Tumnal, will know that imaginary friends are a subject very close to my heart. This is an essay that reflects on the importance of stories to us - our imaginary friends, our source of comfort, and our source of learning. ...more
The woodcut cover of this short essay on gifting the pleasure through books hints too at the other theme of the book, that of journeys trodden on footThe woodcut cover of this short essay on gifting the pleasure through books hints too at the other theme of the book, that of journeys trodden on foot - a subject that Robert Macfarlane covers more in his book The Old Ways. So from the cover onwards, this is a small, pocket-sized volume to tempt you on, down a journey of physical paths, and tempting books.
It may only be 34 small pages, but it's epic in scale, and has resulted in me adding another two books to my to read list. It's also not a collection of words that leave you with poignancy. It's a perfect volume to celebrate the joy, and the importance of reading, fitting for it's purpose of celebrating Independent Booksellers. ...more
What is there more to say about to this book other than it is the explosive finale to the Fire Sermon trilogy of books. For a world where everyone isWhat is there more to say about to this book other than it is the explosive finale to the Fire Sermon trilogy of books. For a world where everyone is born with a fatal bond of twinship, where one twin is healthy and the other disabled in some form and they are segregated as such into rival 'races' - the Alphas and the Omegas - there is only one way that this story can end.
For one cannot live if the other doesn't survive.
Francesca Haig keeps you guessing though. Cass is a seer though, and her visions show a world that is burning. This is a book that races towards history repeating itself with another nuclear attack on Elsewhere - the one place that could save the Alpha and Omega people and end the war. Can Cass change the future. Expect as much of a rollercoaster of life and death and emotions pulled every which way, as in the first two volumes of this trilogy. This is a story that does not pull any punches as it holds a mirror up to our own society.
This is an epic story set years in the future, but it is unnervingly a story that could so easily become a reality.
You understand the power of stories. It doesn't matter if every word isn't accurate. It's the message that matters. You knew that, even then. You know that stories matter.
Debbie Young's debut novel (she is the author already of various anthologies of short stories and non-fiction) is billed as a cosy-mystery - I would sDebbie Young's debut novel (she is the author already of various anthologies of short stories and non-fiction) is billed as a cosy-mystery - I would suggest the term comic-mystery - there are so many slight, humerous moments to this story that get you smiling.
Perhaps unsurprising for a novel that comes from the pen of an author who is also active in the Alliance of Independent Authors (I half-expected there to be a direct mention at one of the many village meetings!) and who is the founding director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literary Festival, this is a murder mystery that exudes literary and other bookish references. Take the Sophie Sayer's name for instance. I'm really hoping that Hector Munro might become her Lord Peter Whimsy.
The story begins at the village show, a highpoint in any yearly calendar, and in the shocking discovery of murder in a manner reminiscent of those pre-opening titles moments that anyone who has watched Death in Paridise will be be familiar with. The story winds back two months to Sophie's arrival in the village to live in the house she has inherited from her aunt (has another murder taken place here too?). If I can leverage any criticism of this mystery is that much as I love reading the excentricities of the Cotswold village life I did at times want to move on to the murder and solving thereof the mystery a little bit quicker.
Sophie though, is a character with her own backstory that is not as simple as you might think (don't all detectives have a troubled backstory?) and she must grapple with her own insecurities and life as she she stumbles through her own over-active imagination about what the villagers might be like and be capable of before she can solve the mystery at hand. Surely Carol, the gossiping proprieter of the village shop who is every bit a Susan Carter out The Archers, is capable of killing people, or if not has the motivations to do so.
I shall look forward to seeing where Sophie's next adventure takes us. ...more
This is quite simply an outstanding anthology of poetry however you look at it. Every poem had me gripping the page and brought to tears. This is a boThis is quite simply an outstanding anthology of poetry however you look at it. Every poem had me gripping the page and brought to tears. This is a book formed out of the friendship of two amazing people who met at a literary festival and found that they had a message to get across. What they have achieved in just one year is collecting together a set of poems that speak directly to the reader about what it's like to care for, and be cared for, people of 'difference'.
This is a book that should be pressed into the hands of every elected individual as to why we need more NHS and more social care. It is as the title says, the voices of the silent - those who are not always heard. Jess Hiles probably puts it the simplest, "We are the same / but I am different."
Some of the authors included in this slim volume may only have one poem to tell; and some may never have considered that they could tell their tale in this way. This collection proves that everyone has a voice and should be heard and listened to. It is a book that I will be recommending to everyone I know. ...more
Who didn't have a fascination for a fossils and dinosaurs as a child? This is a delightfully traditional tale of childhood adventure. Andy and DarrenWho didn't have a fascination for a fossils and dinosaurs as a child? This is a delightfully traditional tale of childhood adventure. Andy and Darren are two boys who dream of making a big archeological discovery in the woods near where they live.
As it says on the backcover, this is a book that "is set in the days before the internet when children looked for adventure out of doors rather than online". Anyone remembers the 1980s TV summer holidays programme, Why Don't You? will know exactly what the author means by this. The downside to this admission, and to little observances throughout the book, is that what could be a beautifully timeless tale is somewhat dated. For the most part this could be a story that happens now, with mobile phones and the internet just shelved as something not needed in the adventure much like Deborah Shepherd does in her book, The Underhill Buttons, but instead Betty Salthouse has decided to set it in I would guess the 1980s. The reference to fax machines jarred for me but then again, for those growing up as children now, maybe the description would be entirely appropriate as it is a technology that has all but vannished as quickly as it arrived.
These are small quibbles though to an otherwise excellently told adventure of children discovering something big. There was a brief glimpse of something fantastical but it was a dream sequence, and there was an all too current reference to something that might have been a climatic threat. A refreshingly traditional children's tale. ...more