Monthly Archives: October 2012

So I’m sitting in my house, in bed, with most of the lights out. I am hiding from the teenster trick-or-treaters. Call me paranoid, but I walked past several youngsters on bikes in masks on the walk home from the train. This isn’t the riots people.

In keeping with the Halloween mood, I thought I’d read one of the Grimm Tales in Phillip Pullman’s new book:

Grimm Tales for Old and Young by Philip Pullman
Publisher: Penguin Classics
IBSN: 9781846140266

I’ve had this in my TBR pile for a while now after reading lots and lots of its reviews. As per usual I have too many books on the go, so instead, I thought I’d read a tale at a time.

Tonight…because it sounded creepy….I read ‘The Girl With No Hands’.

To be honest, it wasn’t that creepy. Weird though. It’s a story about a miller who unwittingly sells his daughter to the devil. This is only at first. The miller cowardly goes on to cut off his daughters own hands to save himself. Some crazy deal with the devil.

The daughter leaves – I would! – and because she is so good in spirit and angel looks after her and brings her to food and shelter. And they all live happily ever after. Forget about the devil? Yeah you did! He’s still trying to mess everything up, bur bear in mind this is still a fairy tale – so everything works out ok in the end. Well, I wouldn’t be that happy with having spent years of my life in peril, but ok, sure, be happy about it.

Pullman’s tone is easy to read and I liked his explanatory paragraph at the end, but I’m not sure how gripping it would be to read in full.

Anyways, have a spooky evening y’all.


Randy Penguins, the future of publishing?

So the official news came out yesterday of the merger between two of the giant publishing houses: Penguin and Random House. Although it’s brought some funny merger nicknames – the Randy Penguin being my favourite, try and come up with a logo for that – it highlights, more than ever, the scarily changing world of publishing.

Ebooks, don’t get me wrong, you are very convenient (hush kindle, I still love you), but don’t ever ruin the physical book. Hear that people? GO AND BUY A REAL BOOK SOON, PLEASE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

I can’t help but think of the merger as one less opportunity to get into the publishing industry.

Read The Bookseller’s article, here, for a useful round up of the media’s reaction.

As for bloggers’ reactions, here are two of my favourites, both from

The Merger: 


Random Penguin’s House…

Everyone else (me included)…

The Rumour Mill: Penguin and Random House 



IBSN: 9781472100146
Published by: Corsair
Publication Date: 17th January 2013

This little gem was handed to me, in proof copy form, with the lines ‘well everybody else is going bat-shit crazy for this, so you might as well read it too.’ Hmm. Bat-shit crazy, I thought, I think I will.

Now, I love a good crime thriller as much as the next Lee Child and Harlen Coben enthusiast, but this was something different. Renner’s debut novel follows David Neff, a best-selling author who is still struggling with the aftermath of his wife’s suicide. Thrown back into writing by his pushy editor, he investigates the murder of the man from Primrose Lane.

I found myself enthralled in Renner’s suspenseful plot line, his oscillations between past and present creating questions I had to read on to answer. This was until I reached the first interlude. Confused. Apparition about a frog-type monster. I won’t go into details, wouldn’t want to ruin the incredible tie-ins. And then suddenly we’re back into the swing of things, the book and I, continuing on the search for the identity of the Man from Primrose Lane.

And then something happens. I had to read it back over four times to make sense of it. I’m still not sure I’ve made sense of it. I was tossed out of my comfortable crime-thriller world into a narrative I wasn’t sure I liked. The book became difficult, messy even, but definitely thinking outside of the box.

By the end of the book, I wasn’t sure if what I was reading was fictional or auto-biographical. Lavender from Matilda ran through my head with her distinctive, croaky ‘wow’. If you like your reading easy and satisfying, then don’t buy this book. But if you’re up for a rewarding challenge…read away.