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'Book of the Month' selections for 2008

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Book of the Month December 2008

The Silurian cover pic

The Silurian Series 

by 

L A Wilson

 

Published by Lulu

I have recently discovered L.A. Wilson's visionary series 'The Silurian'. Here at last is Arthur of the Britons, King Arthur the Silurian with 'thick straight black hair and ebony-black eyes'. Arthur, child of the sun, emerging from the darkness of a bitter and abusive childhood to burn through these books like dragon fire. This is the story of the last defence of Britain against the invading Saxons, and of the old gods against the 'misery and sin and guilt' brought by missionary Christians.
The narrator is Bedwyr the Fox, Prince of Gwynedd, and foster brother to Arthur, Artorius Rex the Bear. The rhythm and intensity of Bedwyr's words takes the reader directly to the torn heart of 5th century Britain, a place where lives could be lost in the flash of a Saxon sword, and where the constant possibility of death intensifies every feeling.
Bedwyr gives the truth of his life - everything - incredible courage, wild rebellion, deep suffering, sexual passion, and love. Love most of all. Love is the power of these books, the love between Arthur and Bedwyr, love between fellow warriors on the battlefield, love between parent and child, and sexual love unrestricted by gender. 'Love those you are with while you live, and have no care for those who judge you, for the judges do not have to live your life.'
L.A. Wilson is an artist and a poet. These are my favourite books ever!

Review by marycade

Booksy Review Forum 

 

 

 

Book of the Month November 2008

 

boki cover pic

boki 

by 

Nitoo Das

ISBN 978-0-9798825-4-8

Published by Virtual Artists Collective

Iíve been enjoying Nitoo Dasís poetry for some years online in various writing groups, so was delighted when she announced on Facebook that she was bringing out a solo collection....

Nitoo Das is an accomplished artist as well as poet, and has provided a stunning cover and delightful interior illustrations for the book.

The poems themselves are as enticing and exciting as I hoped they would be. I defy anyone to read the very first poem in the book, and not want to read on further, thanks to the kaleidoscope of sensations provided by ToesÖ

There are poems about art, about portraits. These poems turn into portraits themselves. There are letters to people, all named, that give us glimpses of other lives, other worlds, exotic in some ways yet deeply familiar in others. There are poems of Cousins, Gods and Feet and instructions on how to cut a fish ... Settle down and be transported away in poetry that is always utterly beguiling, easily understood, in turns wicked, affectionate, sly, funny and loving. Learn about the mango bug, the Spinster-aunt, two tombs in Landour and Veerappanís daughter.

Poetry books arenít often page turners, but this one is. Buy it. (Yes, I know Iím repeating myself, but you really should.)

 

From the review by Catherine Edmunds.  See 

Booksy Review Forum 

for  full text.

 

 

 

Book of the Month October 2008

 

Please sir, there's a snake in the art room - cover pic

Please Sir, There's a Snake in the Art Room 

by 

Keith Geddes

ISBN 1-905988-09-5

Published by Libros International

A prep school headmaster exchanges Twickenham, London for Ngong, Nairobi. Kenya provides new, different challenges....

Along the way he has to deal with unruly parents, some of which are so despicably attractive that they quite put his off his stroke. There are problem teachers, some of whom scheme, wheel and deal, or even take days off sick. There are, inevitably, students. Some of them perform, others under-perform. Some are almost anonymous, while some excel. There are sports fixtures where the school could do better, and there are success stories that outnumber the disappointments. And amid this, Tom Thorne finds himself a new wife, a new family and, believe it or not, a new job....

Head teacher Tom Thorne, we realise quite early on, bears a strong resemblance to a certain Keith Geddes, whose own life history has witnessed the exact transformations that the author inflicts on his fictional hero. And so Keith Geddesís book begins to read more like an autobiography than fiction.

It is an anecdotal, light and light-hearted depiction of the professional and personal challenges that a head teacher has to address. And throughout it is also an enjoyable and often humorous experience for both pupils and teachers, despite the fact that navigating its waters is rarely plain sailing.

Review by Philip Spires.  See 

Booksy Review Forum 

for  full text.

 

 

 

 

Book of the Month September 2008

 

Allakazzam by Daniel Abelman - cover pic

Allakazzam! 

by 

Daniel Abelman 

BeWrite Books

... Daniel Abelman's debut novel is a trickster tale, and I've always loved this kind of story. Every culture has tricksters: in some Native American stories, he is known as Kokopelli or as the coyote; in Zora Neale Hurston's collection, it is the slave named John who outwits his white master, God and Satan. Whatever name he is known by, the trickster inspires audiences to jealousy as they wish they could be so clever.

A short way into Abelman's book, I erroneously figured out that this is one such tale -- I say "erroneously" because I thought I knew who the trickster was as well as the tricks he was playing, but I'd forgotten that the coyote is a shapeshifter; true to the best of trickster tales Abelman's coyote changes form again and again. Every time I think I have figured it out, I turn a corner and discover that there are many more dimensions to this story ....

 

Review by Bintarab.  See 

Booksy Review Forum 

for full text.

 

 

 

Book of the Month August 2008

 

The Ice King - cover pic

The Ice King 

by 

Michael Scot 

Review by Rachel Gardner. See 

Booksy Review Forum 

for more info.

If you suspect that there's more to archaeology than that dreadful Dr. Who-meets-Dan Brown series, then I urgently recommend 'The Ice King' by Michael Scott (New English Library, 1986 - 'Michael Scot' is a pseudonym covering a partnership between fantasy authors Michael Scott Rohan and Allan Scott).

Yes, the plot essentially comprises an archaeological excavation turning up more than it bargained for, and a small group of the archaeologists having to defeat that which they have inadvertently called up. However, the archaeology is brutally realistic. The squalid site accommodation will bring back horrible memories to everyone who's ever worked for a certain archaeological unit in Kent, while those who've dug at Whitby Abbey will shudder at the descriptions of caravans trembling on the cliff edge in the wind, and as for retrieving large wooden objects from a wetland environment, knee-deep in liquid mud and with inadequate lifting gear... yes, fifteen years after 'The Ice King' was published, we had exactly the same experience lifting the Fiskerton logboat! Moreover, the reason that the Ancient Menace manages to free itself unsuspected is that, in line with proper professional procedures, nobody has tried to open the big wooden boxes until they've been properly conserved, and thus nobody had any idea what was in them and has now made good its escape.

'The Ice King' is gripping, genuinely scary, based on thoroughly credible research in its scene-setting, its history, its science and its folklore, and has some spit-your-tea-across-the-room laughs as well. It can be done! Read this and never watch an episode of 'Bonekickers' again!

 

Book of the Month July 2008

 

'In Two Minds' cover pic

In Two Minds 

by 

Christine Ann Clatworthy 

ISBN 978-0-9558963-0-9. Edited by Jolen Whitworth. Publisher A Ansell T/A ESP. Purchase from the author's website

 

Review by Catherine Edmunds. See 

Booksy Review Forum 

for excerpts.


All profits from this exceptional poetry collection go to St John's Hospice, Bedfordshire, in memory of the author's daughter, Andrea.

I've long known Christine's poetry from the UKAuthors site, so knew that in buying the book, I would not only be helping a worthy cause, but would also be guaranteed a collection of moving, inspiring, and always readable poetry. I was not disappointed. Christine has that enviable ability to capture moments of reality and show the magic that we don't always realise is there; to make us stop and catch our breath.

The best poetry, like all great art, is all about keen yet unobtrusive observation, and the ability to communicate what has been seen to the reader without the poet's ego intruding. This is Christine's forte. These poems are full of love - love for family, for nature, for the minutiae of everyday life - all communicated delicately and skilfully so that the reader, for a while, is privileged to become a member of this family.

There is love and there is loss, and that loss is treated with a sensitivity and freedom from sentimentality that makes it all the more moving, and allows the reader to catch a glimpse of the pain and relate it to their own experiences. I think this collection must have been incredibly cathartic to put together, and for any reader who has ever lost anyone they loved, there is undoubted comfort.

This is a beautiful book; one to keep and cherish and read and re-read. I recommend it without reservation.

 

Book of the Month July 2008

 

Book of the Month June 2008

Cover pic: A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil

A Tale Etched in Blood and 

Hard Black Pencil

by

Christopher Brookmyre

Review by R D Gardner

I think it's totally unfair that 'Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha' wins the Booker Prize, while the equally brilliant 'A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil' gets the odd paragraph in the Genre Fiction sidebar because Christopher Brookmyre is a writer of murder mystery/thrillers.

Yes, it does open with the discovery of two corpses; one suspect is almost immediately apprehended, the other is hospitalised before the police get to him, and the plot involves the subsequent murder investigation. However, the plot makes up about a quarter of the book, and the investigation is carried on in brief windows throughout it. The significant feature of 'A Tale Etched in Blood...' is the 'hard black pencil' part: both suspects, one of the victims, the detective in charge of the excavation, the lawyer on whom one of the suspects calls, and the landlady of the local pub were all in the same class at school, and most of the book is concerned with following them, and other members of the class, from their first day at infant school to the final school-leaving disco. I admit to a special interest, being a schoolchild of the Seventies and early Eighties myself - I thought that the Burgundy Boys were an aberration confined to my own sixth-form college in Scunthorpe until I read this - but as gritty, bitingly funny, startlingly well-remembered evocations of childhood go, I'm confident that this will go down a storm with anybody who went to school ever.  

 

 

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Book of the month May 2008

The Self Revealed Ed Wendy Robertson

The Self Revealed cover pic

Book of the month

 April 2008

 

 

Lip by Catherine Smith

 

 Lip by Catherine Smith - cover pic

Book of the month March 2008

 Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Roadside Picnic cover text

 

Book of the month 

February 2008

Herman's Stone by Janet Murch

Herman's Stone cover pic

 

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