Monday, 18 December 2017
Strange Kingdoms. An Autumn Gallery.
One morning I awoke to Strange Kingdoms.
Christmas treats. Five excellent books of the imagination I've read in the last few years that are easily the equal of any of the well known children's classics. Alice, Oz, Pooh, etc... I would even hesitate to call them children's/ young adult books as they can be read and thoroughly enjoyed by anyone of any age. This post is a homage to them.
Philip Pullman- Northern Lights..... Already a well known modern classic. This can stand alone or as the first book in a trilogy. Terrific read and great memorable characters.
Wicked. Gregory Maguire..... Once you get past the first 30 pages and start to develop a sense and feel for the olden style language used, this book is a marvel. Funny, poignant, moving, intelligent and profound. The story of the green witch in the Wizard of Oz but also a mirror held up to society at large. Are people who are simply born different into a closed community automatically destined to be labelled 'evil' in some way by others? Are they likely to find themselves subjects of gossip, suspicion, and conjecture throughout life just for being so and thereby judged and found guilty by speculation, rumour, and inbuilt prejudice without a voice of their own in return? This book gives a credible answer to that question. Utterly brilliant writing and imagination used to fill out the many blank spaces in Oz.
Itch. Simon Mayo.... A real surprise find. A teenage boy obsessed with the Periodic Tables and collecting elements is plunged headlong into a world of danger, darkness, and intrigue through his hobby. A cracking fast paced thriller and very different from anything else I've read over the years.
Cold Magic. Kate Elliott.... Enter another world completely- like post medieval, dawn of industrial age central Europe but with marked differences. Reassuringly familiar yet also very exotic and strange in turn. I loved this book.
Flood and Fire. Emily Diamand.... A true children's story as good as any before or since. It's the year of our lord 2216. A young girl and her pet cat travel through a partly submerged London holding the last working computer from the teknological past on their boat. Chased by outlaws, pirates and warring factions they plot a course that may change the drowned city and the reverted half- savage people around them. A lovely creative book for any age. Winner of the Times children's fiction competition.