Tag: Inspirational books

My bubble in Cyberspace

I have begun reading UKLG’s “The Wind’s Twelve Quarters” and this morning finished reading the story “April in Paris” and it illustrates perfectly (for me) the profundity of the author. Most other writers would have had the main characters  (who have used ancient magic to meet) die at the hands of the supernatural to ‘restore the cosmic balance’ but not Ursula K Le Guin. She has them all walk off together into the sunshine (dare I say, “Happily ever after”?). No lesson cruelly learned or any intervention of fate, just four lonely humans and an equally lonely dog enjoying the company of each other.

Daoist indeed.

Apologies for a title that has little or perhaps everything to do with the post.


The Left Hand of Darkness

This is it (The Left Hand of Darkness), the book I’ve been waiting to read and the book generally regarded as “Ursula Le Guin’s masterpiece” – Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. I bought it today in Foyles, Bristol along with Carlo Rovelli’s “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics“.  It was on the shelves at Waterstones too but I couldn’t find the Rovelli book there and wanted both. I know, I could have bought each from different stores but that would be alien to me. UKLG books are a puzzle, they seem to be either in all book shops at any given moment or in none at all in another given moment. I keep eyeing up Melvyn Peake’s “The Gormenghast Trilogy” but I’m too mean to pay the £18 cover price.

Looking forward to reading these – I may have to go to bed super-early!!


carlo rovelli

Tom’s Midnight Garden

I finished reading Philippa Pearce’s “Tom’s Midnight Garden” yesterday. I’m glad to say that I’d forgotten a lot of details about the book over the last 40 years since my previous reading. I was still moved when Tom finally met Mrs Bartholomew even though I knew it was coming. I had forgotten that Hatty became older and younger during the course of Tom’s wanders around the garden even though Tom himself didn’t. And best of all, I had completely forgotten that this was NOT a time-switch story. I shall read it again asap to check the clues Philippa Pearce placed in the narrative.

Recommended reading for old and young alike!


EDIT: I’ve changed my mind: It has to be a time-switch story because of the skates!

The Scream – Joan Aiken

I read Joan Aiken’s “The Scream” last night. I have to say that it was one of the most spooky / chilling stories that I have ever read. Most of the time I didn’t know where the narrative was heading next. The characters are quite disturbing – Gran, Lu-Lyn, the boys from the tower block and even David himself who seems to take everything that happens to him and others around him without even flinching.

Many years ago, I considered looking at the horror genre with my pupils. I thought about using Poe, Lovecraft or the better De Maupassant stories to pick apart and reconstruct. This would have been a so-much better resource.

Genuinely unsettling. Recommended!


Jenny Nimmo – Snowspider

I finished reading the second of Jenny Nimmo’s “Snow Spider” trilogy mid week. “Emlyn’s Moon” turned out to be a well told and plotted novel, much darker and creepy than the “Snow Spider” novel itself. It helps that it has a female protagonist – Nia and the story is told very much from her point of view (but in the third person). The final book of the trilogy “The Chestnut Soldier” is even darker and more menacing. Nina is once again the main character and Gwyn (from the first book) takes very much a back seat.For me it’s suitable for children a little older than the other two novels although I’m sure that my ‘adult’ reading of elements of the plot would go over the head of most child readers. Again, I’m looking forward to seeing how the plot resolves itself.


Emlyn’s Moon

I’m currently reading the second book of the “Snow Spider” trilogy – “Emlyn’s Moon”. It’s a great read. It’s more about the character Nia than the titular Emlyn at the moment. There are some truly effective passages that I know I’ll use in the future with my class(es) as exemplar of descriptive writing. There’s a kind of spiritual awakening for the main character Nia through the book and I’m looking forward to reading the resolution of her personal problems. The book is much more about the characters than the first in the trilogy. The narrative is less linear than “The Snow Spider” too.

Apologies for my ‘lumpy’ expressions in this post but it’s difficult to express my enthusiasm for this book in the trilogy.

Edit: just to explain and to clear up any misunderstanding, I love this book!