This debut novel created quite a sensation internationally, with parallels being drawn between it and the world of Harry Potter. Published in 2013, it’s already been translated into 28 languages and the film rights were snapped up by Andy Serkis’s Imaginarium Studios. Author Samantha Shannon (22) deliberately set out to become a literary superstar, modelling her career after a study of JK Rowling.
“The Bone Season is set in an alternate England where clairvoyance is considered a scourge against society. A fascistic government called Scion has made its business to hunt down clairvoyants and imprison, kill and – for a small number – assign them to a clairvoyant army based in the remains of Oxford which has been taken over by aliens. The savvy young heroine, Paige Mahoney, is both first-person author and central character.” (source: Alistair Thompson, Scoop)
After having read it, I gathered that in about 1900, England, there was an explosion of humans born with varying degrees and abilities of clairvoyance. This attracted an alien species to our planet, who feed on clairvoyant’s auras. In exchange for having their pick of the crop, so to speak, they keep the rest of the humans safe from another kind of monster that feeds on humans, and keeps the clairvoyants – viewed as unnatural and a plague on society – under control. But of course, nothing is really as it seems on the surface.
To me this book was like nothing I’ve read before - part fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, and steam punk. That said, the relationship between Paige and an alien evolved quite predictably, which was a bit disappointing. And it took me quite a while to get to grips with the unusual (invented) language used in places and the strange world of clairvoyance she has created. But I did enjoy it, in the end, and will probably read the sequel/s.
If you liked Divergent by Veronica Roth, or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, you will probably like this.
Don’t delay … reserve it now!
Senior Librarian, Nikki Price, discovered a wonderful website that has loads of trailers of children’s books. The idea is that watching the trailer may encourage young people to read the book too. The website is BookTrailers4kidsandYA and an example is below:
Deborah Abela has created another great series for children. We have had the wonderful series about secret agent Max Remy. Actually, I treasure the first book in that series, as it is personally autographed by Deborah from when she was here in Christchurch some years ago. Now, we have ghosts and everyone knows I love ghost stories. Edgar, Angeline and Dylan spend their time caught up in great adventures as ghost-catchers. Their latest adventure sees them going to a ghost club convention in Transylvania and I am sure it will be full of danger and excitement. I haven’t had a chance to read these yet but they are certainly on my TBR pile.
Do you enjoy the occasional travel book? That is a book about people rather than places? Then you are going to enjoy ‘Follow the Money’ (A month in the life of a $10 bill)’ by English journalist Steve Boggan.Steve’s original and quirky idea was to start the money on a journey and follow it, with the necessary participation of those into whose hands the $10 note fell.By the end of 30 days and nights, starting in Lebanon, Kansas, he had driven 3,300 miles and met a wide variety of people, both ordinary and extraordinary and had an amazing time with Amish people, deer hunters, missionaries, orchardists and many other Americans.
Boggan also delves into the history of the towns and cities he passed through, giving a brief but very enjoyable tour as he is led by the money from Kansas through Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Michigan, taking in such places as Hot Springs, St Louis, Chicago and Detroit. Boggan has a wry sense of humour, a ‘polite get on with anyone’ personality and a willingness to put up with some pretty awful accommodation along the way. It’s another nail in the coffin of the stereotypical American, showing with verve and tongue in cheek humour that Americans are as various as any other nationality.
I really enjoyed this unusual short trip through a part of the USA not so written about compared to the East/ West coasts. These are places not normally on the tourist itinerary and all the more fascinating for that.
- Larry Gordon
I have been waiting for months to read this, which is Book 1 of the Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy. And as usual, Nora Roberts did not disappoint me.
Based on a legend from 1263, the dark witch sacrificed herself to save her three children from her enemy, Cabhan the black sorcerer. Using blood and love, she casts a spell to form a protective amulet for each child. When she gave a piece of herself to each child she ceased to be the dark witch. She sends her children away before she dies, and her eldest daughter vows to destroy the enemy if her mother couldn’t, even if it took centuries.
The amulets and magic were passed down through the generations until the time was right to fight Cabhan. In 2013, the chosen three descendents are finally united. Joined by three very close friends they become six. Their destiny is to defeat Cabhan the black sorcerer. They must practice their magic, swordplay, strategies and spells if they are to beat the sorcerer.
The characters are unique and vibrant. I could picture each one in my mind as they were described. A well written, fantastic magical story that held me entrapped from start to finish. If you enjoyed the Three Sister Island trilogy you will love this.
I am now desperately awaiting the arrival of book two “Shadow spell” which is due early in Autumn this year.
Lots of activities are happening just now as Napier city celebrates it’s annual Art Deco Weekend.
If you are planning to attend any events, the library has several books on costumes, in particular “History of 20th century fashion” by Elizabeth Ewing or “Vintage fashion” by Emma Baxter-Wright. Our Art Deco period books cover more aspects of the 1920s era, such as architecture and Napier itself.
Remember, many Dannevirke shops are open for a while on Sunday 23rd February 2014 for the Great Dannevirke Day Out, while the ex-Napier steam train is visiting town. Library staff will be stationed by the town clock offering free face-painting for the kids.
“Red Joan” by Jennie Rooney is loosely based on the true story of 87-year-old English woman Melita Norwood who, in 1999, was accused of being the most important and longstanding Soviet spy working in England for the KGB, while employed in top secret work on the UK arm of the Manhattan Project – the making of the first A bomb.
The blurb sums it up by describing it as “gripping, emotional and beautifully written.” I found that it took a few chapters before it began to grip but it was worth the wait. It is, in fact, a story of love, idealism and betrayal woven around this woman, her workmates, her lovers and her son. It rings true, although these strands may be fictional. It portrays her story with a great deal of empathy about her situation, her feelings and her underlying sympathies with causes which were once well meant, but soon became treacherous.Jennie Rooney has written two previous books about which I know nothing, but based on the evidence of ‘Red Joan’ she is worth following up.
- Larry Gordon
‘As founding member Alexander Graham Bell ambitiously yet aptly defined it, National Geographic’s mission has been from the very first to explore “the world and all that’s in it”. With that goal in mind, the Society’s first editor and president began collecting pictures more than 100 years ago.’ So says the blurb on the inside cover of the “National Geographic Image Collection” (2012), and from 11 million images, the very finest have been arranged into four major themes of ‘perennial interest to our readers’: Exploration, Wildlife, People and culture, and Science and climate change.
From a keen amateur photographer’s point of view, I find the clarity of the photographs amazing, especially all those pre-1950s and in particular those taken pre-1900, such as the shot depicting scientific sampling in the Arctic Ocean by Fridtjof Nansen in 1894. Although you can tell the photo is from the olden days, it is still a stunning shot, with great contrasts between the ice and the water, and the men at their work. This photo is a great example of capturing explorers at work – in addition to highlighting the lengths photographers go to, to preserve history.
There are amazing early nature photographs, such as N. A. Cobb’s ‘Face of a Fly’ taken in 1910. Stunning close-up detail when you consider Adobe Photoshop did not exist back then! Flicking through the book you will see a wide range of photographs, encapsulating modern history around the globe. On deeper reading of the introduction to each section, you will find out more about our lives, and the captions for each photograph give cause to pause and wonder at our world.
This book has inspired me to try to take better shots without resorting to post-production manipulation, and to investigate our catalogue for a book on ancient cameras. Et Voila! We have “Camera - a history of photography from daguerreotype to digital” by Todd Gustavson. And plenty others in the 770-778 section.
Initially “The abominable” by Dan Simmons appealed to me because the cover implied it was about mountaineers hunting for Abominable snowmen (Yeti) in the Himalayas. Bit of an adventure/horror I thought. And although it has a little bit about Yeti in it, it’s actually so much more than that. In fact, it’s one of the best books I’ve read for ages.
The novel begins in 1924, just after Mallory and Irvine were reported missing on Mount Everest. This comes the year after another British climber, Lord Percy, and his German companion, were reported lost in an avalanche on the mountain. Three alpine climbers – Deacon, Jake and Jean-Claude – offer their services to Lord Percy’s mother, who still believes her son may be alive on the mountain. She agrees to fully fund their secret expedition, so they can search for him (which they do intend to do, briefly) but really they just want to beat everyone else to the summit. They plan to climb the mountain in a different style to previous expeditions, using equipment they have invented.
As the story progresses, things get a bit more complicated. When the three climbers reach the Percy’s Darjeeling plantation to collect the Percy family member who is to head the expedition, they find to their dismay that it’s a woman, Lady Reggie. An experienced climber, she’s already been searching in the Himalayas for her cousin and insists on accompanying the other three, along with Dr Pasang.
However, soon after they’ve established Camp VI at 28,000 feet, one of their Sherpa’s struggles up from base camp with the alarming news that Yeti’s have attacked and slaughtered everyone. This is where it really gets interesting – because it was in fact German Nazi’s disguised as Yetis, who are hunting them, believing they are in possession of items that Lord Percy had received from his German companion. Now it’s urgent to both find Percy’s body and retrieve this evidence, and they have no choice but to summit Everest to escape the following Germans. I don’t want to spoil it for you – suffice to say that this evidence involves Hitler and is vital for Churchill to have as a weapon against him as World War II approaches.
This is a long book (663 pages), and most of the book is actually about mountaineering, written so realistically that I can’t help but believe Dan Simmons is a world-class mountaineer or perhaps his introduction is true? In it, he claims that this novel is based on the handwritten memoir of climber Jake Perry, whom he met in 1991, as an old man. It would be wonderful if the introduction and epilogue were true, but I imagine they are just a writing technique used much like Arthur Golden in his ‘Memoirs of a geisha’. Fictionalised memoir or not, it really is a truly memorable book (especially if you like mountaineering or adventure-style stories), and would make a thrilling movie. Highly recommended.
Don’t worry – it’s only for a few days! But if you panic at the thought of running out of reading material, better stock up Friday or Saturday!
There is a universal law that says for every rule there is an exception, and it is universally known that by the time you have learnt the rule the exception will have made itself known.So it is with my rule that you should read authors books in order. Janet Evanovich is up to number 20 in her Stephanie Plum (bounty hunter) series with “Takedown twenty”, and she shows no signs of stopping soon. These books are very entertaining and easy to read, but I do sometimes feel that Ms Evanovich has a list of requirements for each book that she ticks off as she writes:
- Lose a car, tick.
- Include romantic angst, tick.
- Add bungling bounty hunting, tick, tick, tick.
It’s all very formulaic but is great fun never the less. We know what will happen and she never disappoints and she always manages to add a little something to tickle us with – in this book it was a giraffe, running around the streets of Trenton.
I wonder for how long this system will work though.Sometimes I wish Stephanie would learn how to bounty hunt properly or find a job she can do better. Surely no one is that inept and unable to grow and progress! What a terrible role model for us all. Maybe she could learn how to cook, not injure herself or choose which of the two delicious men in her life she should settle on. I could help her out on that one I’m sure, but in the meantime Ms Evanovich will keep rolling them out and we will keep reading them, not necessarily in the proper order because, to be honest, it really doesn’t make a bit of difference. I hope she has a fairly long list of words beginning with T though because based on previous works, the next 19 will be very similar.
Until next time.
Qualifying young persons in our summer reading programmes were entered in the regional iPod draw. This was drawn on the 31st January 2014, by the local police. The winners are:
iRead Quest – the winner is Molly Jackson from Feilding.
Read+ – the winner is Michaela Dresel from Waipukurau.
Sorry to our local girls and boys who were hoping to win an iPod. Maybe next year!
Baby Rock for under 2′s, and Little Ears for 2-4 years, start again shortly.
Baby Rock begins Wednesday 5 February 2014, Dannevirke Library, 11am sharp. Click on the link to see full information. Baby Rock Term 1 2014
Little Ears begins Monday 17 February 2014, Dannevirke Library, 10am – 10.30am. Click on the link to see full information. Little Ears Term 1 2014
There can’t be many fiction readers who haven’t come across Alexander McCall Smith – that very prolific author of over 80 books and creator of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which just may have put Botswana on the map.
Mr Smith is a Scotsman, and for many years he was a Professor of Medical Law. He won the British Book Awards Author of the Year Award in 2004 and a CBE for service to literature in 2007. He has has achieved fame (and no doubt fortune) with these delightful stories, deceptively simply written and containing a wealth of great humour and humility. A recent example of his work is called ‘The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection’, the 14th out of the series which is up to 15 novels so far. A most satisfactory read not least because it contains so much good sense and wisdom communicated through believable, humble characters.
Let me quote you an example, ‘Mma Ramotswe pondered this……’ Once again the principal of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Precious Ramotswe, comes to the aid of people in her community who need her special aptitude for getting to the truth of a troubling matter. If you’ve never read Mr McCall Smith, do give him a try.
- Larry Gordon