Friday, August 29, 2008


Congratulations to Pam Cassells, winner of the $20 gift voucher for August's plastic bag recycling draw.

Monday, August 18, 2008

YA Fiction

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E.L. Konigsburg

Ostensibly this is a book for children. And why not, after all the two main characters are children? Only they're not. They're adults in children's clothing, and like all the characters in the story they are kind of dusted off and placed in the same raggedly careless fashion any item might be when cleaning out the attic.

At eighty it is almost as if Koningsburg has forgotten what children are like. But that hardly matters, she herself almost acknowledges this. Better yet if the book hadn't been marketed for children at all. It's for librarians and teachers and schools, aspiring art critics, and literary awards, it's for those people who were never young or who enjoy writing that you could frame and put on a wall.

Not that the book is quite full of quotes as such, because most can't quite be lifted from the text and maintain their full import like, "Selective forgetting is the first symptom of Austrian amnesia " (harks back to all the nazis protesting their innocence, but seems equally applicable to American politics today.) & the very funny when applied to pink bubblegum and priceless art, "whatever happened to the unposted laws of civilized behaviour?" Only "Ninety percent of who you are is invisible" seems to work all by itself.

This is a clearing out of the attic book. A search to find amazing treasure, only to discover there is 90% of any character, real or fictional that you will never see, and mostly it is not about children at all but about an old diva who has sung for the last time, and even as her precious home is being dismantled, she is putting on one last show, a real life performance so that the main character (and the reader) can understand a bit more about that "mysterious edge of the heroic world," about the past and the present and the secrets that lie just beyond that ten percent of the known world.

I'm not entirely sure about who this book is for, I'm not even entirely sure that I liked it, maybe it was just a bit too much like cough syrup for my liking, maybe the promised treasures just turned to so much dusty plastic under careful scrutiny. I'm not sure, but I do know that Joanna would say that this is all because I haven't quite grown up yet and, after all this was a book for adults. Never mind, Peter Pan awaits, and growing up is something that only children aspire to.

Review by Alicia Ponder

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Review by Joanna Ponder

The book rep told us, 'you've got to read this, we're really excited about it and it's your cup of tea!'

Cup of tea? Breakfast, lunch and dinner more like. I loved it, I didn't want to finish it. I'm still think about the wonderful mix of history and humanity, and all delivered through exquisite letters that work to form a whole story you can't forget.

Set in Guernsey just after the second world war, the book deals with the German occupation of the Channel Island. Juliet Ashton wjho lives in Chelsea is a writer of witty columns and has just had a book published and is about to set forth on a promotional tour. She starts receiving letters from members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society who admire her work. They come to reveal the personal stories of a range of fascinating characters who belong to the society. And her own story becomes part of their story.

It is a heart-warming and moving tale. Sweet and funny. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't like it. Perfect for gifts for mothers and mothers-in-law! I think I'll make a cup of tea and read it again.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Verdigris Deep by Francis Hardinge -

Verdigris Deep by Francis Hardinge is unmissable, its crisp clear text and darkly edged brilliance is somewhat akin to a stained glass window, or the most perfect of summer apples as the wicked juice dribbles down your chin. And then the sweet, sweet core. It's harsh funny, clever, and a rollicking yarn so just ignore the trite, somewhat bland cover. Once I picked it up I only put this book down once!! There's no doubts it's a five star read for 12+
Review by Alicia Ponder


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