Haiku Review: Banana!


Greetings readers, Mad Martha here with another Haiku Review! Today, I delve into the colourful, dynamic world of Ed Vere and his two-word masterpiece Banana!  This is one of our absolute favourite picture books…and unfortutely, our copy is currently missing. I’m not blaming Bruce…just because it is his job to guard the shelf…but the fact remains that this important tome is not in its allocated place.  If any of you know where it might be, please let us know, for while Bruce puts on a brave face, those of us who know him well understand that on the inside he is pining, warring with complex emotions of loss and grief, like a book-shepherd missing his favourite book-sheep…..

But back to Haiku:

Titanic struggle

over simian treasure.

The victor? Manners.

Until next time readers, keep your eyes (and bananas!) peeled for that book!

Mad Martha

The Gargoyle’s Gift Guide: Stocking fillers for Book Nerds…ahem…Literary Fanatics…


Well hello my pretties! Today I present for you some fantastic “stocking fillers” that the book lover in your life may be coveting….I say “stocking fillers”, but in my day stocking fillers were reasonably inexpensive knick knacks that were a quirky little add-on to the main present.  Today, the term appears to be taken more literally, and includes any item that is small enough to fit in a stocking, regardless of price (or so the advertisers would have us believe).

To this end I present to you the following beauties….

For the non-lactose-intolerant book lover, try these Quotable Chocolate Bars!

Yes! Chocolate wrapped in a quote from a well-known literary talent! How could one go wrong with such a combination? Unless, of course, you live in the southern hemisphere, in which case, by Christmas day, one’s stocking will be marred by a seeping, oozing, chocolate-y puddle and a slightly soggy box…but at least that box will contain the remnants of a quote from a well-known literary talent!

Or, for the more swanky of your book-loving friends, what about this Paperback Perfume?

Allow your friends to demonstrate their love of reading through this olfactory extravagance.  As they swan about amongst the in-crowd, the distinctive scent of a crisp new paperback will follow after them, beckoning those of a like mind towards intellectual union.  Unfortunately for the more digitally inclined reader, “Scent of a Kindle” has not yet been released.

  Why not stuff the stocking of the gent who has everything, including a hefty shelf of paperbacks and a flair for snappy dressing,  with this Penguin Paperbacks Tie

Then challenge him to read all of the titles pictured!

And for that hard-to-buy-for, teenaged rebel without a clause, what could be more appropriate than this Banned Books Bracelet?  

As soon as this little baby’s unwrapped, your subversive teen reader will be parading around the room and stickin’ it to the man in jewellery form, saying, “Yes! I’ve read Captain Underpants! What of it?”

I hope this has been a helpful starting point for you all – I intend to continue providing useful and timely advice regarding gifts for various social groupings in the run-up to the great holiday season, so stay tuned.

Laybuy now for Christmas!


Read it if…: The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk


Afternoon all….every so often a children’s author comes along who I suspect is sneakily writing for adults under the guise of writing for children. Glenda Millard, author of the Kingdom of Silk series, is one of these.  She is sneaky in another way too, in that she ALWAYS manages to publish new books in this series without me knowing.  Such is the circumstance in which I discovered The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk, which is number six in the series.

For those unfamiliar with Millard’s work, she has an incredible ability to discuss sad and scary issues, including the death of a child, Alzheimer’s disease, and the difficulties faced by children in care, in a way that is both accessible to children and deeply touching to adults.  In this particular offering, Saffron, the youngest of the Silk girls, is experiencing the fear that comes with unexplained symptoms of illness.

Read it if:

* you wish that your childhood had been played out against the backdrop of a large family, a sprawling backyard and special connections between loved ones

* you have ever experienced the fear of facing a problem that you felt was too big for you to overcome

* you are prepared to fall in love with the whimsy and innocence of Stephen Michael King’s beautiful illustrations

* there is an old (or young, or young-at-heart) hippy hiding somewhere inside you

*you like books that are packed with heart; that remain with you after reading; that transport you to a better place and can be read in one sitting

This series has grown to become one of my all time favourites – librarians and teachers, in particular, you will certainly find something to entertain and engage your class with this series of books.  And for adults, you may find yourself experiencing some healing you didn’t even know you needed….

For those interested, the other books in the series, in order are:

The Naming of Tishkin Silk; Layla, Queen of Hearts; Perry Angel’s Suitcase; All the Colours of Paradise; Plum Puddings and Paper Moons

Until next time,


Haiku Review: And Then There Were None…


Good afternoon all, Mad Martha with you once again! Before I start, may I congratulate the winners of the inaugral Gargie Awards – bravo to you all!

Today I have chosen to review one of my personal favourites, Agatha Christie’s little ripper And Then There Were None.  Regular followers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of Ms Christie – indeed, she was the subject of my very first Ode to an Author.  This charming little title follows the woes of ten seemingly unconnected people who are all invited to an island party – but to what end? I think you can probably guess!  If you haven’t got around to this particular title yet, it should definitely be the next Christie you pick up.  So here, my dears, is my haiku review:

You know your invite

to that mystery party?

Wash your hair instead.

Yours in poetry,

Mad Martha

Introducing….the GARGIE AWARDS!


Greetings all! To celebrate my musings attaining 50 followers, I have decided on a new theme, and more importantly, to recognise my fellow bloggers for services rendered to the blogosphere and beyond.  To that end today marks the first ever round of conferrals of the GARGIE AWARD!

Allow me to explain.  In gargoyledom, the most prestigious award that can be attained is known as the Order of the Stony Groove and is conferred upon deserving gargoyles who have served the greater population in a particular field.  After applying to the High Council for matters relating to gargoyle-fleshling relations, I am happy to say I have been approved as an official bearer of a modified version of the award…henceforth known as the GARGIE!

The obligations attached to the Gargie Award are as follows:

1. Display the award badge prominently  on your site….if you want.

2. Publish a post to inform the world of your great achievement…..unless you can’t be bothered.

3. Nominate some fellow bloggers (who have been outstanding in their field…figuratively or literally) and tell us the particular way in which they have excelled….if you feel inclined.

4. Indicate to your nominees that they have received the award….provided you have completed step three.

Without further ado, the inaugral recipients of the Order of the Stony Groove (Fleshling Category), otherwise known as the Gargie Award are:

READING WITH RHYTHM http://readingwithrhythm.wordpress.com/ for services to canine-fleshling literacy development

1001 CHILDREN’S BOOKS http://1001kidsbooks.wordpress.com/ for services to me personally (in terms of book recommendations!) and to fleshlings opposed to aging.

FANTASTIC BOOK BLOG http://fantasticbookblog.wordpress.com/ for services to unmissable book covers that would otherwise never again have seen the light of day.

BOOK TO THE FUTURE http://bookmust.wordpress.com/ for services to non-pervy introverts with internet access and an interest in books

Congratulations my pretties!  Your hard work has been recognised by gargoyle kind.

I will continue to confer awards as I see fit, possibly on a semi-regular basis, if I remember.

Until next time,


Awardiness: Liebster nom nom….and a sneak-peek at a new award!



Well howdy friends…the charming and delightful Sarah at www.stayathomeeducator.com has seen fit to honour me with a Liebster award for beginning bloggers.  Needless to say, my stone chest inflated with pride when I received the notification.

This award requires the following tasks:

  • List 11 things about yourself.
  • Answer your nominator’s 11 questions.
  • Choose up to 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers and ask them your questions.
  • Inform your nominees of their award nominations

So here we are:

Eleven things: There is a mirror placed directly opposite my shelf in my line of vision. I am getting sick of the view. The youngest fleshling in the house spotted me today and said “gargoyle” – or some approximation of it.  My middle name is Octavius.  I was the eighth shelf-related creation of my particular craftsperson.  Mad Martha and I are planning some excursions in the near future.  I am currently seated between Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test, and Susie Orbach’s The Impossiblity of Sex. I found both books mildly entertaining, but slightly disappointing overall.  Christmas decorations have yet to be hung in my dwelling.  I fear that I will be adorned with a silly Santa-ish hat in the foreseeable future.  I enjoy reading works by Dr. Irvin D. Yalom.

Eleven answers: I began blogging at the urging of some fellow shelf denizens who felt the world could benefit from my vast deposits of knowledge.  Depending on the content, it usually takes me up to half an hour to write a post.  My hobbies are reading, blogging, throwing things off the shelf to simulate poltergeist activity.  I have many favourite books and most of them have been mentioned in at least one of my posts.  If  I could travel anywhere in the world, I wouldn’t be fussy.  A typical day for me involves reading, sitting still, and throwing things off the shelf to simulate poltergeist activity.  I visit facebook, wordpress and The Book Depository every day.  I can’t recommend a movie, as my shelf is not placed in sight of the television.  I have multiple email accounts – specifically, more than two and less than two thousand.  Both pie and cake, thank you.  Books inspire my blog posts.

Regarding the last two tasks, I will refrain at this point from nominating others, but stay tuned my friends, because a new award may be seen on the block soon enough.  A fantabulous, unique, exciting new award…..

Until next time,



Ode to an Author/Illustrator: Leslie Patricelli…


Hello all, Mad Martha with you again! For today’s ode I have selected an author/illustrator who is close to my heart and frequently enjoyed by the youngest fleshling in the house….the wonderful Leslie Patricelle and her irrepressible Baby!  If you have not encountered these bright and batty picture books before, you are in for a treat.  They are ambrosia for the eyeballs, indulgence for the eardrums, manna for the downtrodden soul!  And so it goes…

Ms Patricelli,

I laugh from my belly;

I get so frantic

for Baby’s wild antics!

He cracks me up,

Such a cheeky pup!

But I have to say,

(Don’t take it the wrong way!),

I’m glad he’s not mine because he looks like a right handful…


Until next we meet, my friends, adieu!

Mad Martha

Read it if…..: Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling


Today I’m bringing to you some good reasons to pick up Michael Boccacino’s first effort (and a pretty darn impressive effort it is!) at a full length novel, Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling.  It is a delightfully different hybrid of ghost story, science fiction and Victoran gothic, but comes together in a very satisfying and spooky fashion.

Read it if…..

* you like books authored by people whose name resembles a tasty foodstuff (in this case cheese, but really, it could be any foodstuff)

* you have ever had a dream about a lost loved one and wished that it (a) could go on a bit longer or (b) make some sense

*you enjoy a spooky, traditional ghost story that seamlessly integrates creatures that could have escaped from HP Lovecraft’s imagination

*you enjoy stories in which Death appears as a cheerful and amiable chap

*you’re a sucker for a plucky young governess who is drawn into events beyond her wildest imaginings and somehow finds the strength within herself to fight back

This is a great little read – I finished it in just a few sittings and was drawn in from the very first page.  Boccacino delivers some startlingly good prose here and I’ll be keeping my eyes out for any further efforts on his part.  So do yourself a favour and wrap your suckered tentacles around Charlottel Markham and her quirky, creepy, deadly adventures.

Until next time,


Just Dahl-ing: Fantastic finds for a Friday…


“My candle burns at both ends,

it will not last the night.

But ah my foes and oh my friends

it gives a lovely light”

Roald Dahl’s motto

Well my friends, I am in a particularly Dahl-ish mood today (as is the case with all of us at one point or another) so I have compiled a small collection of quite fantastic finds related to the good man himself.  For the iphone/pad/pod/potato owners, you can spruce up your phone with a Golden Ticket inspired decal!

Got a birthday coming up? Theme it Wonka and snatch these amazing character cake toppers!

But my best, and possibly the weirdest, find yet – a full set of pens crafted around characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Here, my friends, is the answer to the question “What do you get that book lover who has everything?”

Each of these beauties is available for purchase at the links below:

Ipod decal: http://www.etsy.com/listing/87689801/the-golden-ticket-iphone-44s-decal

Cake Toppers: http://www.etsy.com/listing/51715867/willy-wonka-and-the-chocolate-factory

Pen set: http://www.etsy.com/listing/92003417/the-entire-set-of-character-pens-from

Laybuy now for Christmas!


Read it if…: The Year of Living Biblically


I have recently finished reading A.J. Jacob’s highly amusing The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.  It has been an enlightening and often hilarious read and therefore earns a spot in my “Read-it-if…” reviews.  Essentially, this book does what it says on the tin – it follows the trials and tribulations of a not-particularly-religious man who decides to test the extent to which it is possible to actually follow all of the teachings in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures as stated, at face value.

Read it if:

* you have even a passing interest in religion generally, or Judaism or Christianity specifically

* you have ever wondered how the Bible might assist in dictating proper etiquette in certain common, awkward situations…such as what to do when engaged in a fist-fight and your wife intervenes by grabbing your opponents man-parts

* you want to find out why God doesn’t trust people who wink any more than you do

*you admire super-human feats of endurance and perserverance, such as out-Bible-talking a Jehovah’s Witness

* you are looking for ways to increase your currency in Bible trivia or smug dinner party interjections

Really, I found this to be a thoroughly interesting and thought-provoking read that shone light upon a diverse range of perspectives and interpretation techniques employed to unpack that most contentious canon, the Bible.  While it is genuinely hilarious in many parts, Jacobs also manages to be reasonably sensitive to the people he encounters on his year-long quest.

So what are you waiting for? Signs and wonders?

Until next time,