Tag: Inspirational books

Charity shop bargain books

I managed to buy some fantastic books from charity shops in Swansea today:

  • A hardback version of Michael Morpurgo’s “Arthur High King of Britain” with illustrations by Michael Foreman
  • “The Fantastic Kingdom” a collection of illustrations from the golden days of storytelling
  • A hard cover first edition of Ian Serraillier’s “The Challenge of the Green Knight” with illustrations by Victor G. Ambrus
  • A hard cover copy of Rosemary Sutcliff’s “Sword at Sunset”

Perhaps a bit too much Arthur in one day for me but what a wealth of great story tellers and illustrators!

Looking forward to reading.

I’m also currently reading and thoroughly enjoying Sherwood Anderson’s “Winesburg, Ohio”

More Bradbury

Having finished reading Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes”, I’ve just begun his anthology “Summer Morning, Summer Night”. This set of stories contains one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever had the good fortune to read – “All On A Summer’s Night“. It seems quite autobiographical in nature when set against the interviews with Ray Bradbury that I’ve watched and read recently. Young Douglas Spaulding , who lives at his grandmother’s house with a varied set of boarders, makes a touching gesture to local librarian (and also another boarder) Miss Eleanora Welkes who mistakes the gesture for a romantic one from one of the male boarders. Everything about the story is delightful.

I bought my copy from Waterstones – a Harper voyager edition with a cover price of just £2.99. Really, a bargain!

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Picture of the cover of Ray Bradbury’s “Summer Morning, Summer Night”.

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.

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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!!

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carlo rovelli

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!

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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.

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