The Book of Saints and Heroes

Title: The Book of Saints and Heroes Writer: Leonora Blanche Lang, edited by Andrew Lang Publishing House: St.Augustine Academy Press Date of Publication: June 1st 2012 (first published 1912) Rating: 5 stars ”The men and women who are most interesting to talk to, and who know most about things, are nearly always those who have lived with a library and…

Bright Dreams: The Brilliant Ideas of Nikola Tesla

Title: Bright Dreams: The Brilliant Ideas of Nikola Tesla Writer: Written and illustrated by Tracy Dockray Publishing House: Capstone Editions Date of Publication: September 2020 Rating: 5 stars ‘’I don’t care that they stole my idea…I care that they don’t have any of their own.’’                              Nikola Tesla The story of the man who invented the future. The man who gave…

Alan Turing (Little People, Big Dreams)

Title: Alan Turing (Little People, Big Dreams) Writer:  Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara (illustrated by Ashling Lindsay) Publishing House:Frances Lincoln Children’s Books Date of Publication:April 7th 2020 Rating:5 stars ”Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” (quote from the 2014 film The Imitation Game) Alan was a shy boy. His brain could work in such mysterious,…

A Christmas Cornucopia

Title: A Christmas Cornucopia Writer: Mark Forsyth Publishing House: Viking Date of Publication:November 3rd 2016 Rating:5 stars ”There’s a lovely story about a Tokyo department store, back in the days when Christmas was unknown in Japan. The head of this store had heard rumours of a Western tradition that involved a massive shopping spree and he wanted to…

Human Acts

Title: Human Acts (original title: 소년이 온다) Writer: Han Kang translated by Deborah Smith Publishing House: Hogarth Press Date of Publication: January 17th 2017  (first published May 19th 2014) Rating:5 stars ”It’s the middle of the day, but the dim interior is more like evening’s dusky half-light. The coffins that have already been through the memorial service have…

Tales Of Old Prague Houses

Title: Tales of Old Prague Houses Writer: Magdalena Wagnerová (translated by Lucie Mikolajková) Publishing House:  Nakladatelství PLOT Date of Publication:2017 Rating:5 stars ‘’Every house has a story to tell and a history behind it. The old houses of Prague, once the home of plain townsmen and burghers, now seem to us like small palaces, enchanted and full of…

Old Prague Legends

Title: Old Prague Legends Writer: Based on legends retold by by Magdalena Wagnerová (translated by Ivan Guittierez, illustrated by Nemcova Lucie) Publishing House: Plot Publishing House Date of Publication: 2010 Rating: 5 stars ‘’The city was named Praha- ‘’threshold’’ – and just as long ago people would bow before the threshold when they entered a house, they bow today…

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns Writer: Khaled Hosseini Publishing House: Bloomsbury Date of Publication: September 1st 2007 (first published May 22nd 2007) Rating: 5 stars *If you attempt any political or religious comment, you’re in trouble. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with one of my rants…’’ ‘’Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter. Like a compass…

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World

Title: Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World Writer: Pénélope Bagieu Publishing House: First Second Date of Publication: March 6th 2018 Rating: 5 stars There are dozens of books dedicated to women (well-known and less so) who defined their field and couldn’t care less about what society and established norms had dictated for them. Many of these books are successful,…

Walking the Himalayas

Title: Walking the Himalayas Writer: Levison Wood Publishing House:  Little, Brown and Company Date of Publication: May 24th 2016 (first published March 1st 2016) Rating: 5 stars Sometimes, it is better to let the extracts do the talking… ‘’If you keep walking on the north bank of the Thames, past the Putney Bridge Premier Inn there’s a medieval church with…

Under the Rock: Stories Carved from the Land

Title: Under the Rock: Stories Carved from the Land Writer: Benjamin Myers Publishing House:  Elliott & Thompson Date of Publication: April 25th 2019 (first published May 17th 2018) ‘’Let things settle. Let tress reach downwards, their curling roots grasping deep into the underworld. Let weeds wander, and life crawl and colonise and entangle.  Let the seasons set the pace….

Occult London

Title: Occult London Writer: Merlin Coverley Publishing House: Oldcastle Books Date of Publication: May 1st 2018 (first published June 1st 2007) Rating: 4 stars ‘’London is a city whose origins remain obscure and whose identity remains bound up with the mythical and the legendary, the hidden and the occult.’’ One of my most beloved semi-urban myths/ modern fables/ occult instances/…

Μystical Britain and Ireland

Title: Mystical Britain and Ireland Writer: Richard Jones (photography by John Mason) Publishing House: New Holland Australia Date of Publication: August 10th 2006 (first published 2003) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Those who pace its lanes and squares may yet hear the echoes of their footsteps on the sounding stones and read upon its gates…’’Who enters here leaves noise behind.’’ Charles Dickens…

Belladonna

Title: Belladonna Writer: Daša Drndić (translated by Celia Hawkesworth) Publishing House: New Directions Date of Publication: October 24th 2017 (first published November 1st 2012) Rating: 5 stars ‘’And the wind brought people who had let their plows rust; solitary people tiling the sky, reaping the harvests of summer nights, the fat grain of early straws, leaving it all unwinnowed. Instead…

The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals

Title:The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals Writer: Aaron Mahnke Publishing House: Del Rey Date of Publication: May 29th 2018 Rating: 1 star ‘’ “I was born with the Devil in me’’, he wrote. “I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing. I was born with…

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall

Title: Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall Writer: Anna Funder Publishing House: Granta Books (UK) Date of Publication: June 9th 2003 Rating: 5 stars *Any political comments will receive the axe. Don’t try to provoke me, you’ll fail miserably.* ‘’Peter Fechter, the eighteen-year- old shot trying to escape in 1962 and left to die on the death strip, because…

Unquiet Women

Title: Unquiet Women: From the Dusk of the Roman Empire to the Dawn of the Enlightenment Writer: Max Adams Publishing House: Head of Zeus Date of Publication: November 1st 2018 Rating: 4 stars ‘’Emerging from these themes is a conviction that history is polyphonic – that it must be told by many voices; that the ear must be…

Eight Stories: Tales of War and Loss

Title: Eight Stories: Tales of War and Loss Writer: Erich Maria Remarque Publishing House: New York University Press Date of Publication: May 29th 2018 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Only one cemetery for so many. Everywhere, in scores of places, lie the others. The white wooden crosses of the French, the black ones of the Germans.’’ With All Quiet on the Western…

Alias Grace

Title: Alias Grace Writer: Margaret Atwood Publishing House: Virago Date of Publication: September 14th 2017 (first published September 1996) Rating: 5 stars ‘’…and the real curse of Eve was having to put up with the nonsense of Adam, who as soon as there was any trouble, blamed it all on her.’’ Grace is a murderess. She collaborated with her…

North Wales Folk Tales for Children

Title: North Wales Folk Tales For Children Writer: Fiona Collins Publishing House: The History Press Date of Publication: May 2nd 2016 Rating: 4 stars ”…under the stone, two dragons are curled up, fast asleep. All day, they sleep, but at night they wake, and then they fight. Their battle destroys your tower each night.” Wales, lovely, mysterious, mythical Wales… A…