Tuesday, November 29, 2011

some books i read

Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet is a brave and intelligent coming-of-age story in the Cold War Era. Clem is a council flat boy. Frankie is the wild(ish) daughter of a wealthy local landowner. They shouldn't be together but can't keep apart. But meanwhile the shadow of nuclear warfare and the Cold War looms and threatens. Indeed, we spend chapters with JFK as he botches the Bay of Pigs and tries to decide what the heck to do about Russian nukes in Cuba. It might take you time to get into it, you may at times think come on come on, get back to Clem and Frankie, but by the explosive end you'll be left reeling and want to start again immediately. The aftershocks will continue for days.


The Montmaray books by Michelle Cooper, A Brief History of Montmaray and The FitzOsbornes In Exile. Oh joy! What a wonderful discovery, even if I wasn't the first to land upon these rocky, historical fictiony shores. Sophie lives on the island of Montmaray, a tiny sovereign nation not too far from the coast of Spain with her eccentric family - frighteningly intelligent cousin Veronica, uncle King John who has become increasingly loopy, cheeky tomboy sister Henry and a smattering of villagers. Her brother Tom is in England, being educated, and their Aunt Charlotte has summoned Sophie and Veronica to be debuted. But it is 1936 and the world is a-rumbling with changes: Spain is having a civil war and in Germany a man called Hitler is threatening to invade Poland and Czechoslovakia and both of these things will impact on Montmaray. This book is told through Sophie's journal entries, in her engaging, amusing, intelligent voice and with wonderful observation, humour and humanity. It's full of literary, historical and political references, and just a little bit of talk about frocks and froufrou. You must, must read both.

And Jasper Fforde's Song of the Quarkbeast - The magical, adventure-filled and hilarious sequel to The Last Dragonslayer. Kazam is being challenged by iMagic, their magic company competition and whoever wins will be favoured by the King and have the monopoly on magic. They might even be able to get the mobile phone network back up. Our non-magic, foundling heroine Jennifer Strange just knows there is something more devious going on with the Amazing Blix, the king of the unUnited Kingdom...and just where and when will Kazam's missing manager the Great Zambini appear next to give them all some much-needed advice? Plus, should she go on a date with Youthful Perkins? Surges of magic that can send oak trees flying. Trolls out to rid their homes of human vermin ("here person person person"). A sneaky Quarkbeast looking for its other half. Big Magic, small magic, flying carpets, old grudges, new possibilities. It's explosive. Literally. Just read it - your sides will split with laughter and magic.

6 comments:

  1. I've been seeing Life: An Exploded Diagram all over the place and I'm even more intrigued now!

    Also, I take it you're a Melbourne person by your tags! Hello fellow Victorian! Now following :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. it's a really fabulous book, i hardly do it justice here. hope you get around to reading it and that you love it too!

    thanks for following, your blog is just ace, with such great reviews. cheers!

    ReplyDelete
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