Not Enough Bookshelves: March 2008

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Odd and the Frost Giants

Odd and the Frost Giants – Neil Gaiman

How can you fail to love a book that starts

“There was a boy called Odd, and there was nothing strange or unusual about that, not in that time or place. Odd meant the tip of a blade, and it was a lucky name.”

This book was written by Neil Gaiman especially for World Book Day and I did indeed love it. It is the story of Odd and his attempt to save Asgard, city of the Norse gods form the the Frost Giant.

It is short at 96 pages but it is also magical, funny and charming. It’s the kind of book I would have loved to read as a child.

And as I’ve been talking about covers today I think this one is completely perfect.

Other Reviews



This week’s question comes from Julie, who asks:

While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?

I love the sensation of opening a brand new book, with crisp unturned pages and a shiny beautiful cover. Holding and smelling a brand new book is a definite pleasure. However, the story is really the thing, so if what is on the inside transports me to another place the outside really is immaterial to my enjoyment.

I am notorious for judging books by their covers. A very bad habit I know. I am sure I have missed out on lots of books I would have loved. I can overcome my dislike of a cover only when everyone round me has raved about a book so much I feel I have to read it. Two classic cases Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell and The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It works the other way too I have been seduced into buying some truly terrible books by their beautiful covers.

For more answers go here

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

A Challenge for Spring time

Spring Reading Thing 2008

So many books so little time, as we all know. Don’t know if I will make it through this list or if I will get side tracked by other books but here it is. From March to June I will try and read.

Fragile Things – Neil Gaimen

How to breathe under water – Julie Orringer

The Secret History – Donna Tartt

A Wrinkle in Time – Madeline L’Engle

The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai

Scrambled Eggs at Midnight – Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler

American Gods Neil Gaimen

Hateship, courtship, friendship, loveship, Marriage – Alice Munro

Inkspell – Cornelia Funke

The Miracle at Speedy Motors – Alexander McCall Smith

The disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks – E Lockhart

The Princess Academy – Shannon Hale

The Duke and I – Julia Quinn

Little Women – Lousia May Alcott

Life as we knew it – Susan Beth Pfeffer

Fifteen books but three are short story collections and three are children’s books so it should be doable.

Even if it isn’t I will have fun reading, reviewing and sharing – the main point of signing up for these.

To sign up and for more information go here

Winter Reading Challenge Wrapped Up!

I didn’t do great on this challenge I read four out of my six books and reviewed three of them. I did read lots of other books in between.

To answer the questions posed our host Karlene at Inksplasher.

Which book I liked best?

Without a doubt The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. I just adored it. Having just finished After You’d gone I think I have found a new favourite author in Maggie O’Farrel.

I’ll also be reading more Neil Gaimen, he is great.

Which book I liked Least?

I liked all of them actually which is nice.

New Authors I tired?

Maggie O’farrel
Neil Gaimen
C.J Sansom

What if anything did you learn from participating?

I learnt I find it really hard to read to a set plan. I’m much more catch your eye kind of person. Also I find reviews hard to write without doing spoiler! It was fun though and I discovered some new blogs I like so I think I may sign up for the Spring Challenge.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Petite Anglaise

Petite Anglaise – Catherine Sanderson.

Rating 3/5

Read for the Pub Challenge and 888 Challenge.

Petite Anglaise is a very popular blog with hundreds of followers. The book expands on posts Sanderson wrote on her blog that involved the break up of her long term relationship with “Mr Frog” the Father of her daughter “Tadpole” after she meet “Lover” or James through the comments box in her blog.

I did enjoy the book. I like Sanderson’s style of writing very much, she is observant, funny and puts a new twist on every day happenings.

It was an uncomfortable read though. It is about the real breakup of a family and an affair and real people are involved and yet there is the temptation to treat it is as a story. As Mr Frog says at one point

“You’re repackaging our life into some sort of soap opera?”

Throughout Sanderson acknowledges that perhaps she shouldn’t have shared so much of her personal life. While at the same time defending her reason for doing so being Petite Anglaise set her free and bolstered her confidence.

“Being popular as Petite Anglaise online took some of the sting out of feeling so lonely and hollow, so taken for granted at home.
And over time, it was as though petite anglaise really did begin to write a part of me back to life.”

The book throws up a lot of questions about the nature of blogging how open or guarded we should be about private matters in the public domain. How much can we share of our lives if we don’t touch on the people in them and is that fair to them?

I will be reading her next book, pure fiction this time. Which should hopefully be a good read with out the discomfort.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

The End – BTT

You’ve just reached the end of a book . . . what do you do now? Savor and muse over the book? Dive right into the next one? Go take the dog for a walk, the kids to the park, before even thinking about the next book you’re going to read? What?

(Obviously, there can be more than one answer, here-a book with a cliff-hanger is going to engender different reactions than a serene, stand-alone, but you get the idea!)

It depends on the book and how deeply it touched me. If I loved it and lived and breathed the characters stories then I want some time to savour them until I let new people into my head. Although this savouring usually only lasts an evening, I am rarely without a book.

With books I am less keen on I will immediately start a new book on closing them. This is especially true if I have bought/received something I really want to read while I’m been in the middle of another book.

Go here for more answers.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

After You’d Gone

After You’d Gone – Maggie O’Farrel

Rating 5/5

This is a stunning novel; a beautiful story of love and loss. O’Farrel’s writing is wonderful, I really felt like I was inside the heads of the characters experiencing their lives with them. The last few chapters are painful to read but worth it for the emotional journey, her descriptions of grief were heartbreaking.

The book is arranged like a jigsaw puzzle. It flits back and forth between different times, different characters and different voices and the stories and histories are gradually revealed.

The only part that jarred was the end. It is a similar end to the other O’Farrel book I read “The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox”. While Esme’s story had a kind of closure in “After You’d Gone” I felt the end was too clouded.

It’s a wonderful read though and I highly recommend it.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Ouote of the Day

“Is she frightened? No. Excited? Yes – incredibly. She wants to gobble up time, to rush through days and weeks and years with him, so they can do everything right now. But, at the same time, she wants to freeze it: she knows enough about love to be aware of it’s double bind – that there’s no love without pain, that you can’t ever love someone without that tinge of dread at how it might end.”

After you’d gone – Maggie O’Farrel

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Playing Editor

How about a chance to play editor-in-chief? Fill in the blanks:

__________ would have been a much better book if ______________________.

Many books leave me wanting a different ending for the characters. The one that comes to mind is The Amber Spyglass, I sobbed my heart out at the end. But would I change it and keep Will and Lyra together? I don’t think I would. The book would lose a lot if you changed the end. I read a blog post the other day about love lost and completely agreed with it especially this line;

“In the end, maybe it’s the longing for the love that can never be that touches readers more than the acquisition of that love”.

I wouldn’t change any book I had read and enjoyed. I might wish it different, I might rage against the author but I wouldn’t change it because it would change the story and it’s the story that I love.

Having said that there are a few books that could have used a heavy dose of editing the last three Harry Potter books and Diana Gabaldon to name a few.

Thursday, 6 March 2008


You should have seen this one coming … Who is your favorite Male lead character? And why?

Will from Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Material Trilogy is one of my favourite characters of all time. He is kind, brave. clever. loving and loyal the perfect hero.

Frederick Wentworth from Persuasion. I like that even though Anne hurt him he still can’t bare to see her unhappy or in discomfort. There is also his way with words, the letter he writes after overhearing Anne’s conversation is just perfect. It gives me goose bumps. Of all Jane Austen’s heroes I think he would be the nicest to live with.

Having just finished the Twilight books Edward Cullen and Jacob Black have to be mentioned. Edward maybe a vampire but he’s also impossibly handsome, caring, kind and selfless. Jacob maybe a werewolf but he’s funny, sympathetic, full of life and handsome, of course!

Kit form China Blues. He’s not really the hero of the novel but he is for me. He’s smart and funny and kind and he keeps loving and trying to protect Lizzie from herself and other people right till the end. He’s the only character in the novel who sees her as she really is and loves her anyway.

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