When I was younger, maybe 8 or 9, I loved anything on TV that involved Tony Robinson – obviously Blackadder, Maid Marion and her Merry Men and Time Team but he also did a fantastic show based on Bible stories called ‘Blood and Honey’. I would go every week to the library and borrow the cassette of ‘Odysseus the greatest hero of them all’ that was written by Robinson and Richard Curtis, read by Robinson. I’m not sure if anyone else got to borrow it much because I always had it. I’m not sure how it survived so many listens. I loved the way Robinson read it, doing all the voices and putting in all the drama, just like he did on the telly.
Mum and Dad must have been sick of listening to it over and over, because for Christmas that year they got me two new story tapes – The Light Fantastic and Equal Rites. Of course, they were read by Tony Robinson, and so in a round about way I was introduced to the brilliant world of Terry Pratchett. I’m not sure that my parents knew what they’d introduced me to.
Another book review, this time a great set of books for children (or adults) which give a gateway into finding out more of the traditions, songs and legends of Britain. Given the Terry Pratchett twist that is!
I’ve had to leave the cafe I was in. I’d been there for about 45 minutes, nursing my cool drink and reading ‘The Shock of the Fall‘ by Nathan Filer on my kindle. I had to leave because as I got about 90% of the way through I was balling my eyes out and people were starting to look at me strangely.
Recommended Reads: Young Adult Fiction
The Old Kingdom Trilogy by Garth Nix
‘Sabriel’ is set in two realms Ancelstierre, an alternate reality early 20th century England, and the Old Kingdom. The Old Kingdom is a land of magic and danger, where spirits from the dead and Free Magic roam the land. Ancelstierre is run by politicians who deny the existence of magic north of Wall, the border between the two lands.
The book is named after it’s heroine, Sabriel, a girl from the Old Kingdom who has been raised in a boarding school south of the Wall. Sabriel’s father is a Necromancer, binding the walking dead and putting them to a final rest, preventing them from performing evil deeds at the hands of an unknown villain.
When Sabriel is sent the necromancy tools (a set of 9 bells which are used to bind spirits into death) by her father, she realises something is desperately wrong, “he himself was unable to return to the realm of the living… And that meant he was either dead, or trapped by something that should have passed beyond the final gate”. She must travel to the Old Kingdom to rescue her father and prevent the great evil’s return.
Whilst working at the library, part of my job is to help write content for the library blog. I’ve not yet managed that, but now that I’m on borrowed time there (see this post) I feel like I need to make up for lost time, and in doing so have decided to start a new section of this blog. And I’ll tidy it up and send it to whoever it is on the council to put on the library site.
It seems fitting that I’m getting around to writing this as The Ocean at the End of the Lane has just been awarded the Book of the Year by the National Book Awards’ public vote.
Neil Gaiman is an author I originally happened upon by chance, through TV and film. About 9 years ago a friend gave me a chunky video box containing two tapes. It was a BBC TV production of Neverwhere. I’d never heard of it but it had an interesting premise when reading the blurb and a fair few recognisable actors in it. My friend said I could look after it permanently as he’d managed to find a DVD copy at great expense from America. But if I was ever thinking of getting rid of it, I was to hand it back to him. I’ve still got it somewhere.