Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A long overdue post, with lots of book reviews!

I always have such good intentions to write a post as soon as I have finished a book, but it just isn't happening. Since my last post, I have read four books.....gosh, at sounds like I am in a confessional! But seriously, I have, and today, as I finish a fifth book, I realise I must write a post, just in case the books I read are of interest to you. Moreover, I have just bought another two books from one of my favourite book shops, the St Ives Bookseller. Therefore, I pledge before I start my lovely, new purchases, to write a new post.

If you read this blog and my earlier blog, Bibliolic, you will know that I am a huge fan of Alice Hoffman. Her books have such magic and eloquence, but recently, I have struggled with her books as she tackles more realistic topics. However, her latest one reminds of my old favourites, The Probable Future, Blackbird House, The River King, Seventh Heaven, etc. Nightbird is about a family, where the eldest male in the family is cursed with big, black wings. He is hidden away, and the rest of the family live a reclusive life, mingling with the community where necessary, but keeping themselves to themselves the rest of the time. Things change when a friendly family move next the cursed family, and the youngest daughters become friends and confide each other, deciding to resolve the curse. It is beautifully written. Gorgeous descriptions, and full of love, friendship, compassion, and of course magic!

Anne Tyler is another of my favourite authors, so when her latest book was published, A Spool of Blue Thread, I grabbed it immediately. Her books are usually set in Baltimore, in America, and focus on generations of family life. This tale is no exception, and focuses on one family who keep aspiring to fit in with the rest of the community. No matter how hard they work, or whatever tactics they apply, they never feel as though they reach acceptance or get what they want. On the outside, it feels to me as though they do, but in the story there is a lot of dissatisfaction, which made me a bit sad. It is a really good story, very well-written, which is why I could sense the unhappiness, but my favourite of her books is still A Redbird Christmas.

Asterix and Obelix......I have grown up with these two Gaulish characters, and have read their books in a variety of languages. It never fails to amaze me, how well they translate in to different tongues. They are so clever, and I could read their tales over and over again, and I do. However, when Rene Goscinny passed away, I thought these stories would come to an end. But no...Albert Uderzo continued to produce these wonderful adventures, in the same creative style. However, the latest one, Asterix and the Picts has been written and illustrated by two new people, with the blessing of Uderzo, Goscinny's daughter. I had my doubts, but they have so been put to rest. This comic book is just as good as the original creators. I loved it, and I am so delighted that they are going to carry on. I am really impressed with the way they have maintained the integrity of the original characters, while injecting new adventures and comedy. Really fantastic, and so talented!

Have you ever read The Neverending Story by Michael Ende? The film is well-known, but the book is wonderful, and goes much further than the book. I highly recommend it. I hadn't realised that he had written another book, called Momo, and it is just delightful, although quite daunting in places. It is about a little girl who appears in a town, with no sign of a family. She takes up residence in the amphitheatre, and the townsfolk all decide to take care of her, making sure she is safe and has food, and in return she helps them resolve any issues and keeps the children entertained with creative games. But a shadow falls on the town, and everyone seems to be running out of time. It seems that some evil men in grey suits are stealing time, and only Momo can save them all, together with her new friends, Professor Hora, and his tortoise. This is such a lovely story, creative and magical and suitable for all ages.

I found my fifth book in a charity shop, and it is called Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery. It starts with a fantastic introduction by the great man himself, and then presents eleven short stories by different authors. They are supposed to be ghostly, but some are magical. I only recognise two of the authors. They are all really good, but I especially like "The Truth About Pyecraft", "The Waxwork" and "The Upper Berth". I don't like explicitly, gory horror stories, but these are more suggestive, and really great tales.

Right then...now for my next book experiences! Happy reading!