March Haul

A worrying thing happened a couple of weeks ago: My Dad came into my room to wake me up, sat down on the bed, looked around for a moment, and then said, “Frances, I think you shouldn’t buy any more books.” This was, I suppose, an intervention (of sorts), but my my excuse this time is that I bought most of these books at the Oxford Literary Festival – and so clearly should not count towards book-buying bans! The Cambridge Literary Festival also happened just last weekend, and I went, but I think that now I really should cut back…

In other news, I thought I’d do something a little different for my haul photo this month, since so many of the books I bought in March were both beautiful and rather oddly-shaped! What do you think?

March Haul

1) Jane, the Fox and Me by Isabelle Arsenault & Fanny Britt. A beautifully-drawn graphic novel about a girl who’s being bullied at school. I read this towards the beginning of March, so all my thoughts on it are in my March wrap-up.

2) The River of Lost Souls by Isabel Greenberg. A short comic about Charon, the ferryman in Greek mythology. I’ve also read this already, so, again, there’s more about it in my last wrap-up.

3) The Snow Queen and Other Stories by Isabel Greenberg. Another comic, this one based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. This book, along with The River of Lost Souls, seems to only be available from Isabel Greenberg’s Etsy store.

4) The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman. A re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, with elements mixed in from Snow White, and beautiful illustrations by Chris Riddell. I’d been on the edge about buying this for a while, but I finally decided to pick it up while I was in Oxford, ’cause I was really in the mood for fairytales… 🙂

5) Killing the Dead by Marcus Sedgwick. A short story that was published for World Book Day. I really don’t know anything else about it, except that I’ve really liked what I’ve read of Marcus Sedgwick’s writing so far.

6) Nowhere People by Paulo Scott. These next three books on the list were something of an impulse buy, which I picked up mainly because I really want to read more culturally diverse books this year… Paolo Scott is a Brazilian author, and this book was originally written in Brazilian (naturally).

7) By Night the Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel. See (6) for reasoning. This book was originally written in Spanish, and is, I believe, set in West Africa.

8) The Alphabet of Birds by SJ Naudé. Again, see above. This was translated from Afrikaans, and Naudé is a South African author.

9) Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp by Philip Pullman. Another impulse buy from Oxford, but I’ve always loved Philip Pullman’s writing, and the illustrations in this book were absolutely beautiful!

10) Wordsmiths and Warriors: The English-Language Tourist’s Guide to Britain by David Crystal & Hilary Crystal. A book about the history of various different English words (presumably, most of them particular to Britain). I’ve read a couple of David Crystal’s other books, and enjoyed them, and I’m looking forward to reading this, too. 🙂

11) 100 Ghosts by Doogie Horner. A collection of cartoon ghosts, with various different cute and quirky themes.

12) Flambards in Summer and Flambards Divided by K.M. Peyton. The new Oxford University Press editions of the last two Flambards books, which I read years ago. I bought the first two at the beginning of the year, and have been eagerly waiting for these to be released, so that I could finally have a matching set!

13) Sorry, I’m British! An Insider’s Romp Through Britain from A to Z by Ben Crystal. Another book about Britishisms, though this one looks to have a more humourous approach…

14) The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris. A novel inspired by (or possibly a re-telling of) the stories about Loki in Norse mythology. I’ve always been interested in Norse myths, but even more so now than I have been previously, because I’m so excited about Rick Riordan’s new Asgard series. 😀

15) The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst. A biography of Lewis Carroll which I bought in Oxford (which was quite fitting, since that’s where he lived). I’ve only read the introduction so far, but since I’m going to go to a talk by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst later this month, I’m hoping I’ll have a chance to read some more of it soon (& maybe get it signed!).

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Cambridge Literary Festival Wrap-Up

So my brief adventure at the Cambridge Literary Festival is finally over, and I enjoyed it a lot, though I didn’t get to go to all the events that I was hoping to: the Judith Kerr talk sold out before I could get tickets, and unfortunately I couldn’t persuade anyone to go to the International Book Aid Quiz with me…

Anthony Horowitz//Point BlancMy favourite event was probably the Alex Rider 15th anniversary talk with Anthony Horowitz, and if you ever get the chance to hear him speak, then I really recommend that you do – he’s an incredibly entertaining speaker. He talked a lot about his inspiration for the books, and how he based a lot of the villains on teachers that he’d disliked at school, and the like. 🙂 Afterwards, there was a book signing, and I took along my old copy of Point Blanc, since it’s my favourite Alex Rider book. I got to have a (very) brief chat with him, too, which was a lot of fun. 😀

Sally Green//Half BadI was a little late to my second event – the YA talk with Sally Green and James Dawson – because the queue for Anthony Horowitz was so long, but luckily I didn’t miss all that much. The talk was rather like an informal interview, with a journalist chatting to the two of them about various different aspects of YA literature, and the audience chipping in every now and then, too. As you’ll probably know if you’ve been following this blog for a while, I’m already a huge Sally Green fan, and it was really great to hear her talk about how she came up with the idea for Half Bad; James Dawson I’d never heard of before, but he made his books sound really interesting, and I definitely want to pick up his new book, All of the Above, when it comes out later this year.

I decided to buy physical copies of Half Bad and Half Wild so that I could get them signed, and I was tempted to get one of James Dawson’s books as well, but most of his already-published books are horror, which is a genre I really don’t get on with… But they were sharing a table in the signing room, so I got to chat to them both, and I even asked Sally Green about the likelihood of a Nathan/Gabriel endgame in the Half Life trilogy – the upshot of her answer was that I’d have to wait and see (of course!), but she did agree that they were perfect for each other, so I remain hopeful. 😉

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst//The Story of AliceLastly, on Sunday I went to a talk by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst about his new book, The Story of Alice, which is a biography of Lewis Carroll, the real Alice Liddell, and of Alice in Wonderland itself. The talk was interesting, and there were several good questions asked by the audience at the end. Gillian Beer (who was chairing the talk and asking questions) also read out one of Carroll’s poems – My Fairy – which I liked a lot (and you can read it online here, if you so desire), and Douglas-Fairhurst finished up with an extract from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Again, I got my copy of The Story of Alice signed at the end of the talk, and I was very tempted to buy a copy of Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense (a collection of Lewis Carroll’s poetry), since they had the beautiful clothbound editions available, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough cash on me… :/

Cambridge Literary Festival! (14th-19th April)

I found out about this festival quite by accident, while reading a magazine over my Dad’s shoulder, a few days after getting back from the Oxford Literary Festival. But I’m definitely excited! The festival runs from Tuesday 14th April to Sunday 19th April, and you can find out about the different events that will be going on at cambridgeliteraryfestival.com.

Here are some of the events I’m hoping to attend (though I’m certain I won’t be able to go to all of them):

1) A talk by Judith Kerr, who wrote The Tiger Who Came to Tea and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, amongst other things (18th April, 11.30-12.30).

2) A talk by Anthony Horowitz, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Alex Rider series (18th April, 2.30-3.30).

3) A joint talk by James Dawson and Sally Green about YA literature. I haven’t read anything by James Dawson, but I am very excited by the chance to meet Sally Green, who wrote Half Bad and Half Wild (18th April, 4.00-5.00).

4) A talk by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, who’s written a new biography of Lewis Carroll called The Story of Alice, which I bought when I was in Oxford (19th April, 10.00-11.00).

5) The Book Aid International Quiz, which is exactly what it seems to be, and which I will undoubtedly not be attending unless I can find some people who are willing to go with me… (19th April, 8.30-9.30).