How often do you find yourself approaching a bookshop counter muttering “I really shouldn’t be buying this, my bedside table is overflowing…”?
As booksellers the constant temptation means our to-be-read piles consistently reach ridiculous, wobbling heights. These are the books I intend to tackle first, but probably not before adding to the pile yet again!
Bookworm – Lucy Mangan
There’s nothing cosier than returning to the books that enchanted you as a child. Part-memoir, part book-guide, Bookworm promises to trace the ‘greatest hits’ of Mangan’s library, exploring why the sanctuary of reading was so alluring to her then, and now. I’m looking forward to being reminded of some dimly-recalled golden reads from my own childhood as a bookworm.
When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up different worlds and cast new light on this one. She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library. InBookworm, Mangan brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life and disinters a few forgotten treasures poignantly, wittily using them to tell her own story.
Find it here
The Pinhoe Egg – Diana Wynne Jones
A huge fan of Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle, I’ve been working my way through the Chrestomanci sequence. Next in line is The Pinhoe Egg. The Chrestomanci books are children’s novels set in parallel worlds, all featuring the charismatic Chrestomanci, an enchanter with nine lives who tries to keep the magical worlds in order. So far the novels have all featured twisty narratives, always hilarious and original, all with pitch-perfect characterisation. Harry Potter fans look no further.
Cat Chant and Marianne Pinhoe have discovered something truly precious and very strange. An egg that has been hidden away in an attic for who-knows-how-many years. Marianne gives it to Cat, even though he lives at nearby Chrestomanci Castle. Chrestomanci himself is sure to be interested in the egg – and interference from the Big Man is the last thing Marianne’s family of secret rogue witches wants. But how much longer can the Pinhoes keep their secrets? Things begin to spiral out of control and Marianne and Cat may be the only two who can set things right. But first Marianne must accept her own powerful magic, and Cat must uncover the secrets behind the mystical Pinhoe Egg…
Find it here
Chinglish – Sue Cheung
The only reason I haven’t read this yet is because it fell down the back of my aforementioned overflowing bookshelf!
Based on the author’s teenage years in 1980s Coventry, this Young Adult novel follows Jo Kwan as her family begins a new life in a new town. Armed only with a talent for art, she must navigate her infuriating siblings, bullies, friendship drama and a series of very unlucky pets.
Described as a brilliantly tragicomic novel about one teenager’s life growing up above the family Chinese takeaway, told in diary entries and doodles.
Find it here
The House of One Hundred Clocks – A. M. Howell
I loved A.M. Howell’s charming first novel The Garden of Lost Secrets. Promising to be another gripping tale, The House of One Hundred Clocks is a historical adventure for 9-11 year olds set in 1905.
Helena and her parrot, Orbit, are swept off to Cambridge when her father is appointed clock-winder to one of the wealthiest men in England. There is only one rule: the clocks must never stop. But Helena discovers the house of one hundred clocks holds many mysteries; a ghostly figure, strange notes and disappearing winding keys… Can she work out its secrets before time runs out?