Books and She Moved

I keep meaning to start writing proper reviews of books. I was going to begin with Terry Pratchett’s “The Last Hero” hardback ‘picture book’ which I managed to get for £2.99 in Swansea’s Oxfam.  The many and rather magnificent illustrations seemed to have a profound effect on TP’s prose (or perhaps my way of reading was altered by the format) and I took a while to adjust to the experience. After adjusting, the book really was a riot and the illustrations really did enhance the reading experience. Before I could write a review, I began reading “Thief of Time” and that novel is proving so enjoyable that I haven’t had the inclination to write the review. Still, all in good time eh?

I began writing an Earth Balm arrangement of “She Moved Through the Fair” recently but abandoned it and have instead completed a solo guitar arrangement in the altered Csus2 tuning. It’s not the best tuning for a Mixolydian melody but I was able to use some of the ideas in my arrangement of “Lisa Lân” to accommodate the flattened seventh.



I thought that I might start taking my time and make a proper effort with the blog. Perhaps re-organise and give all posts a structure and may be even rename – take out the ‘Music’ from the title as it’s as much about books (and children’s in particular) as is it about Music.



Photograph of meself on the North Yorkshire Moors.
‘Tis I, on the North Yorkshire Moors.

Midnight is a Place

I finished reading the Joan Aiken book “Midnight is a Place’ this morning. It’s an absolutely brilliant book, teeming with ideas about freewill, social pressure and individual morality. It instantly became my favourite Joan Aiken book, which is some achievement because it is in such quality company. The power of great children’s fiction. For me, these books are just as inspirational as books on spirituality or biographies.


Night Birds have flown

I’ve just finished reading Joan Aiken’s “Night Birds on Nantucket”. It’s most definitely my favourite of the “Wolves of Willoughby Chase” sequence of books that I have so far read. It’s full of great escapist touches. It reminds me a little of John Masefield. Due to the marking of maths and language books, I don’t have time to post at length but there’s so much to love in the book – Dido Twite, Nate and his bird “Mr Jenkins”, the pink whale and Captain Casket and the “rum uns” who are on Nantucket to “do some skullduggery”.


I need to find a copy of “Limbo Lodge” next!

Update: As soon as I finished the initial post, I strolled over to Ebay and bought a copy.


Somewhat predictably, I ditched “Midnight is a Place” for the newly arrived “Night Birds on Nantucket”. Boy, was I glad that I did. For me, this narrative beats the somewhat outré character of “The stolen Lake”. Dido’s kindness towards Pen is moving (how is it that children’s fiction can elicit emotions so easily?) and her methods for drawing the other child out of her self-imposed solitude are typical of children’s books of this period. Modern books for children seem to have ditched this kind of subtlety for wind jokes and the like. I’m also filled with questions like “Who is the lady hidden below deck?” and “Is there an actual pink whale?” My only complaint is the way that Dido accepts the slaughter of the what without question. But, that is probably a reflection of my very modern morality. A child in James III / Victorian times would probably have had a more pragmatic attitude to what went on aboard a whaling ship.

This may turn out to be my most favourite Joan Aiken book thus far.


N.B. It was very difficult avoiding using the word “Croopus” somewhere in this post but I think that I managed it.

Croopus! It’s Night Birds on Nantucket!

Yes, my copy of “Night Birds on Nantucket” arrived this morning. But I’ve already begun “Midnight is a Place”. Now what to do next? Do I ditch “Midnight” and start “Night Birds” or do I wait to read the next Dido Twite adventure? It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things I know.

Back to school on Monday! My class will know the word “Croopus” before the morning is out 🙂