“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young
As I travelled through cyberspace this week I found news about Douglas Adams, George RR Martin and a wonderful piece on the wonders of Alice in Wonderland.
From The Guardian
Douglas Adams’s celebrated Doctor Who script City of Death, written over the course of a weekend after the producer, in Adams’s words, “took me back to his place, locked me in his study and hosed me down with whisky and black coffee for a few days”, is being turned into a novel by the author James Goss.
From The Independent
Good news and bad news for fans of George R R Martin, with the announcement that he is ditching the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga and this year’s San Diego Comicon … so that he can get on with writing the next novel in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.
From BBC iWonder
Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of our most popular novels. First published in 1865, it has never been out of print.
So why have Alice and the inhabitants of her Wonderland captivated us for so long? And why have they inspired music, film, fashion and even theme park rides?
When I am in the middle of reading a novel I don’t really have a lot to blog about. Which makes it hard to write a book blog, without having read any books; and I am not the fastest reader in the world.
To counter this, I occasionally like to come on here and update you on what I am reading now, and whatever other booky type stuff I have been up to.
Currently reading: Lies by Michael Grant
I started reading Michael Grant‘s Gone series a couple of years ago. This year I have promised myself that I will finish reading this series of Young adult science fiction, which I have to admit is no great chore, these books keep getting better as the series progresses.
Currently I am almost half-way through the third book in the series; Lies which like the first two books is weird, filled with twists and so far a lot of fun.
Listening to: The Buried Giant
BBC Radio 4’s long-running Book at Bedtime recently featured a dramatisation of Kazuo Ishiguro‘s latest novel The Buried Giant which I have listened to when I can find time. I won’t tell you much about it (that can wait for my review), except if you haven’t listened to it and you are wanting to do so, you better hurry. The BBC tends to remove their radio archives from the servers after about 30 days, so episode 1 is due to expire soon.
Finished reading: Tom Gates; Everything’s Amazing (Sort Of)
Speaking of books at bedtime… Little Amelia and I finished reading the third book in the Tom Gate’s series of children’s books, Everything’s Amazing (Sort of). Like the first Tom Gates book (we didn’t know the running order, so we are currently reading the second), it was a fun, easy to read book that adults won’t find too painful to read with their little darlings. It is filled with Liz Pichon‘s crazy doodles, and a has a whacky, yet somehow believable plot.
Sir Terry Pratchett fans have started a petition… asking “Death” to bring the author back.
The petition on Change.Org – called “Reinstate Terry Pratchett” – has already received thousands of signatures.
The description reads: “Because Terry Pratchett said this: ‘There are times in life when people must know when not to let go. Balloons are designed to teach small children this.'”
Far from being a scary figure, Sir Terry presented “Death” as a witty guy with an unpopular job to do.
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
In the week that Terry Pratchett sadly passed away, I thought I would scour the net to see how the various book sections of the newspapers are paying tribute to the man who taught us that the world isn’t always round.
The BBC has dug into the archives of Radio 4 and replayed a wonderful interview with Terry Pratchett. The interview is available to listen to on the iPlayer.
Click to listen to James Naughtie presents a special interview with Terry Pratchett to talk about Mort, his fourth installment of the Discworld series.
On the Guardian book blog Graeme Neill writes about what he missed the first time he read through the Discworld novels… A task I am soon to begin.
The Independent decided that a picture is worth a thousand words, so they presented Terry Pratchett’s career with a series of photos.
The Daily Telegraph has decided to speak to Terry Pratchett’s daughter to find out what life was life growing up with Sir Terry as your father.
So popular was Terry Pratchett that I could fill so much more space on this blog with Pratchett news and views from the past week, but I think I will save some stuff for my Re-Discovering Discworld Project.
“AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER,
Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.
The story of Terry Pratchett’s death, as told on his Twitter account.
Tributes are being paid around the world for the renowned fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett, the creator of the cult Discworld books, as well as thirty other novels, who sadly died today. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago, Sir Terry reportedly passed away surrounded by his family, peacefully on his bed with his beloved cat.
My own relationship with Terry Pratchett existed in an alternative world. A world which is flat, floating in space on the back of a giant turtle.
I discovered the Discworld back in 1997, when one of Terry’s multitude of fans, sat in a black chair and was quizzed about this strange land on the BBC quiz show Mastermind. Having never heard of the Discworld novels, nor of Terry Pratchett, I sat bewildered as a series of questions were asked about this strange flat land. So bizarre were the questions, and the answers that I knew instantly Discworld was a land I had to travel to.
Over the years since that chance discovery, I have spent countless hours travelling in Pratchett’s strange flat world, although it has been quite awhile since my last visit. So today to mark the passing of this wonderful wordsmith, I have decided to make a vow to you, and myself, to go back to Discworld and document my findings. Starting after I have completed the novel I am currently working through, I will start from the beginning and read all forty Discworld novels in order, and record them in a new section, Rediscovering Discworld .(Don’t fear this isn’t going to become a Discworld blog, I will break it up with other novels.)
Cyberspace is filled with plenty of things for book lovers. Every Sunday I will share some of the best things I have found. Just click the links to be swept away, but please remember to come back.
Last Thursday was World Book Day, the day where children all over the United Kingdom dress up as their favourite literary character. My youngest daughter dressed as Wally (known in the US as Waldo, and in France he is Charlie) from those fun Where’s Wally books. My eldest daughter dressed as Liesel Meminger, the main character from The Book Thief.
One child however, hit the headlines here in the UK when he dressed up as Christian Grey,from the 50 Shades of Grey books, complete with cable ties and bondage mask.
Almost as worrying as the boy’s choice of costume was the fact that his mother couldn’t understand why the school banned her son from pictures and ordered him to get changed.
Read the full article and watch a video interview with the boy and his mother on The Guardian website
Kazuo Ishiguro‘s latest release The Buried Giant, has divided reviewers, and his fans because it is a fantasy novel. Personally, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. His last novel was science fiction, and the one before that was a mystery novel, and I am sure it will be at least long-listed for the Booker Prize (as all his novels are).
Dutch photographer Reinier Gerritsen has been photographing in the New York subway since 2008. Around 2011, he began to notice that something was changing. As each year passed, more and more people were abandoning printed books in favour of smartphones and tablets. (Or Kindles like myself, though it has been known to see me reading a traditional book).
He began to document the phenomenon by photographing people reading books on the New York subway. The BBC has documented Gerritsen’s wonderful art project with this short film.
Way way back in the very early 1980s a friend of mine played me an album from his brother’s record collection. It was loud, with roaring guitars, and drums that sounded like thunder. The singer belted out song lyrics that were littered with references to The Lord of the Rings, partying and women… Three things the teenage me was in the process of discovering. The album was Led Zeppelin IV, and it, and all the other Zeppelin albums released before and after make up a large chunk of the soundtrack to my life. Barbecues, long car journeys, and nights in drinking cold beers hardly ever occur without a dose of Led Zeppelin.
Of course, like all good things in life, Led Zeppelin are no more. They split up in 1979 after the death of John “Bonzo” Bonham the bands troubled drummer. There have been reunions, the latest in 2007, and rumours are always circulating that the band is going to reunite, but I wouldn’t hold your breath unless you can breathe through your ears. Of course that doesn’t mean that you will never hear the music of Led Zeppelin played live again, thanks to Robert Plant’s tendency to drop a Led Zep song or two into the live sets of whatever band he is working with now.
In Paul Rees‘ biography of the former Led Zeppelin singer, simply titled; Robert Plant, A Life, readers will get some insight into the other bands that Plant have worked with, but as you can imagine the majority of the book is focussed on the Zeppelin years. Therein lies the problem for me, and many others who have been fans of Robert Plant for thirty something years or more
So much has already been written about the antics of Led Zeppelin that none of this seemed new to me. At least half of the book is dedicated (and rightly so) to the years of Zeppelin’s reign as the Kings of Rock, but for me, it often felt like I was reading a book I have read before.
Of course, if you are just now discovering the beauty of Robert Plant’s music, or you want to discover how Plant’s career, which seemed like it was going the way of the Dodo in the 1990s, was resurrected, there is about a quarter of the book that will have you enthralled. Or if you have never heard ANY of Robert Plant’s music (is that even possible) then this book is for you. Well researched and expertly written, Paul Rees’ book is the perfect starting point for anyone interested in reading how one man from Wolverhampton joined forces with three guys from London and conquered the world to become one of the biggest bands in rock history.