Showing posts from 2014

chasers of the light

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon, quite by accident, a poetry collection by Richard Siken titled 'Crush.' It shattered me into tiny pieces; it left me wondering how I ever got by before it; it made me feel so very many things. A copy of it lives by my bed. I loved it like I have never loved a poetry collection before and like I never expected to again.
And then I read 'Chasers of the Light.' 

Wow. Talk about feeling sucker-punched. This book is seriously beautiful. It amazes me, always amazes me, when people can use so few words to make me feel so much and this book made me feel SO MUCH. I knew I would love it if I'm honest; it wasn't quite as out of the blue as my love affair with Siken. I'm familiar with Tyler Knott Gregson's work 'from the Internet' - I check his tumblr regularly and follow him on Pinterest. I have one of his poems pinned on the wall by my desk; this was always going to be my kind of book. I did not expect it to make my…

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth—deep down, I always did.
I was just a girl

Oh my. I am in book love (again, I know, sorry not sorry). People, you need to read The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and you need to read it right now. I’m not even kidding.

I found it ironic that I should be blessed with wings and yet feel so constrained, so trapped. It was because of my condition, I believe, that I noticed life's ironies a bit more often than the average person. I collected them: how love arrived when you least expected it, how someone who said he didn't want to hurt you eventually would

I knew I wanted to read this book from the moment I first saw it in hardback with its beauti…

The Here and Now

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

Hmmm. I think I'm a little bit disappointed with The Here and Now. Probably because I read so much in this genre that my standards are extremely high; I love me a good dystopia and it has to be a good one to impress me.
Not that this was bad exactly. In fact it was actually rather good (as evidenced by the fact I read it in a day whilst say on my stall at Manchester’s Off the High Street Christmas Market.) The problem was, I think, that this story had the potential to be really great and it didn’t quite reach it. It always makes me rather sad when that happens.
The premise is excellent: the story is set in 2014 but the main character, Prenna, is from another time. She's from the year 2098 and has travelled back in time with her community of approx. 1000 people, to escape a plague that's threatening humanity. Prenna’s spent the past four years since she arrived in 2010 trying to blend into society and trying to k…

Girl on a Wire

Everything could end at any moment. The difference between life and death was one breath, one second, one act. And that meant that life was worth everything, every minute of every day
Interesting characters, a slow-building love story and a circus. What's not to like? 

Oh, but I do love me a good circus story. 

It's an excellent subject for a YA novel I think actually, the circus. Or it is, if you assume that all the young adults out there are like I was when I was a young adult myself (I am not one, now *sobsob*). 

I used to dream sometimes, when I was a teenager, of living in a circus, of an old gypsy style caravan (thanks for that Rumer Godden) and of bare feet and The Big Top and the trapeze and a boy with messy hair and a cheeky grin (there was an Enid Blyton book with a boy called Barney who'd grown up in a circus. He had a pet monkey. I think it all stemmed from that....)

This book is pretty much ^^ that. And you know what? It's so refreshing to read a book like th…

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

“It’s all very well for a man to set out of his front door and tell his friend to wait while he walks the length of England. It’s an entirely different kettle of fish when you are the woman at the other end.”

I’m not sure if I ever blogged about The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, the rather wonderful story of a man who walks the length of England to visit an old friend who is dying. If I didn’t then I should have done, because Harold Fry’s story is intelligent and inspiring, moving and amusing and filled with a sense of hope. I loved it a whole lot and I have not a single qualm about telling everybody in the world to go read it.
I mention it now because I just finished Rachel Joyce’s latest novel.
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey is a companion piece to Harold and tells the story from the other side.
Queenie Hennessey is in a hospice when she gets a letter from an old friend, Harold Fry. He’s coming to see her, he says, and he asks her to wait. Queenie doesn’t think she can

in which I share some things I've read and liked.

Hey there blogosphere! What's that you say, you need something to read? Then this could be the blog post for you, because in a fit of boredom whilst The Boy was at the cinema this week, I took to the iPad (my preferred blogging device) and made a little post of books I have read recently and rather enjoyed.
Hang on a little minute first though. Have you read The Bookshop Book? No? Okay, but why? Go away and read that and come back to me.

Excellent. Then let's go.
Firstly, Cassandra Parkin’s The Summer We All Ran Away needs to take it's perfect self and disappear, frankly. It's unfair for it to hang around being that good and making the other books jealous. Seriously, this is such a good concept that has been flawlessly executed. I could not put this down and I am so excited for Cassandra's new novel, published next year.

When nineteen year old Davey finds himself drunk, beaten and alone, he is rescued by the oddly-assorted inhabitants of an abandoned and beautif…

in which I do (some more) incoherent flailing

I cannot even with this book, I swear. I cannot. All ability to do anything other than flail around and key smash has deserted me, perhaps forever.
This book is my happy place, my spirit animal, my patronus. If a person could have a book as a daemon this would be mine. It's all that's good in the world.
Bookshops are (among other things) safe places, Jen says in the epigraph. I believe that to be true. Do you want to know another thing though? This book is a safe place. It's just...I CANNOT EVEN.
Try harder, Josephine, please.
Ok, so, you know when you love a thing and you have always loved a thing and you don't know how to articulate, quite, just how much or why you love the thing and then someone comes along and expresses all that you love about the thing perfectly for you, and suddenly it all makes sense? Suddenly you have an answer right there for whenever somebody asks you why you love the thing so much? That's what this book is. It’s the answer to why I love the…

Author Visit: Jen Campbell Talks Bookshops.

If you’re a regular visitor around these parts (or follow me on Twitter) then you’ll likely be aware that I have been extraordinarily excited about Jen Campbell’s marvellous new book ‘The Bookshop Book’ – released yesterday and published by Constable (Little, Brown). The official book for the Books Are My Bag campaign, The Bookshop Book is a love letter to books and bookshops the world over:
Every bookshop has a story.

We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books. We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.

Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France. Meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains. Meet the bookshop in Canada that’s invented the world’s first antiquarian book vending machine.
And that’s ju…