Bruce’s Shelfies: My Christmas, Unwrapped #Whographica # DoctorWho

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Since we’re among friends, I think it’s safe to make you all jealous by telling you how many books I got for Christmas.  Are you ready?  I think you’ll be shocked and amazed…

I got……

One.

Yup, you read that right.  One single, solitary book for Christmas.  But am I crying? No siree, Bob!  Because the book I received is an absolute cracker of a read – and best of all, I didn’t even know it existed!

So what was this intriguing, involving and all around excellent book?  Whographica: An Infographic Guide to Space and Time by Simon Guerrier, Steve O’Brien and Ben Morris.

whographica

Now, if  you aren’t a fan of Doctor Who you can probably switch off now because I’m not sure you’ll appreciate how kick-ass this book really is.  If you are still reading, I will assume that you too are a fan of all things Who, so here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Captivating, intriguing, beautiful and strange, Whographica explores the rich universe of Doctor Who like no book before it. Through creative visualisations, infographics, charts, maps and more, it offers a unique introduction to the extraordinary worlds of the show – from the Doctor’s family tree to the strangest weapons in the universe; from a star chart showing the exact co-ordinates of Gallifrey to a flow diagram of allegiances between Daleks and Cybermen throughout history.

Bursting with colour, expert knowledge, and fun, Whographica will delight new and long-term fans alike. And, like the show it celebrates, it will make you see the world in an entirely new way.

If you, like me, are a fan of Doctor Who and would like to extend your Who-related knowledge, but lack the time to watch every episode ever made or read long nonfiction texts about the series, its creators, its social impact and other bits of Who-minutiae, you should really get your paws on this book.  Every single page in it has an infographic about some fascinating aspect of the show – from the Doctors themselves to the actors who played them, from when and where particular episodes were screened, to the frequency of words used in their titles, from the comparative appearances of cybermen to daleks, to the percentages of male-to-female job roles in the production team – this book will tell you every little thing you ever needed to know about Doctor Who.

Best of all, for someone like me who likes a bit of variation in illustrative style, the infographic designs range widely.  There are some infographics packed full of graphs and bits and bobs, like the pages devoted to each specific Doctor:

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Note the pictograph showing relative heights of each doctor!! There are geographical infographics galore – this particular one shows all the countries in which 50th Anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor was simultaneously screened:

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There are many infographics devoted to the Doctors’ companions, like this one about Sarah Jane Smith:

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There are plenty of infographics that just have interesting facts that you may never have considered.  This one, for instance, names the six episodes in which every speaking character, not including the Doctor and his companion/s, ends up dead:

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Don’t be too downhearted though, because this infographic is a companion to an earlier one, which shows all the episodes in which everyone lives.

For us bookish folk, there’s even a graphic showing the dominant colours on the covers of all the published Doctor Who novelisations!

Truly, I was immediately engrossed in this nifty, satisfyingly chunky book as soon as I unwrapped it and I have had it on my shelfside table ever since.  I will no doubt be dipping into this one for a long time to come yet and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who considers themselves part of the Doctor Who fandom.

Did the Annual Gift Man leave any book-shaped packages under your tree last year?

Until next time,

Bruce

 

Lariats at the ready for..Bruce’s Reading Round-Up! (Quirky Edition)

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Welcome to a new feature on the blog – my reading Round-Up! This is where I very briefly drag into focus some great books I’ve had the pleasure of encountering and believe should be wrestled into the spotlight for a good bout of oohing, aahing and appreciative nodding.  Today I’ve got four titles that are fun and odd and quirky and highly readable, so saddle up, pop on your book-herding hat and let’s chase some wild tomes!

Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest (A. Lee Martinez)15791459

Two Sentence Synopsis:

Helen, a teenaged minotaur, and Troy, an ordinary (extraordinary) lad reluctantly become questers after almost being sacrificed by their employer to a God made of animated hamburger meat.  While encountering funny and poignant quest tropes a-plenty, Helen and Troy must succeed or die – or alternately be violently murdered by a group of reluctant orcs.

Muster up the motivation because:

It’s funny, with well-rounded characters in ethical-dilemma-inducing situations.  It’s a YA featuring a positive, hairy, giant, female role model, which is rarer than gelatinous-blob teeth.  It also includes almost every possible questing stereotype ever written, so will appeal to those who are part of various quest-related gaming/reading fandoms.

Brand it with:

Fantasy, questing, mythical creatures, rampant silliness, vintage cars

See my Goodreads review here!

 

Doctor Who: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Time Traveller (Joanne Harris)

23157198  Two Sentence Synopsis:

The Third Doctor is on the run from an alien race intent on executing him, when he accidentally lands in what looks to be a quaint English village.  Something about the creepy toy parade and false cheeriness of the residents tips him off that this might, however, not actually be a quaint English village.

Muster up the motivation because:

It’s a brief Doctor fix that will certainly satisfy those who can’t be bothered with reading a whole novel or watching a whole episode.  The story has all the hallmarks of a classic D.W. adventure, with an ominous sky vortex, an unseen entity controlling the village and its residents, and a slightly rebellious companion known only as “The Queen”.  Plus, it’s a great introduction (or reacquaintance) to the third Doctor for those who haven’t encountered him.

Brand it with:

Sci-fi, timey-wimey, creepy monsters, horse chases

Read my Goodread review here!

Hildafolk (Luke Pearson)

9700137Two Sentence Synopsis:

A happy trip to draw in the mountains takes a frightening turn when Hilda accidentally discovers a troll.  After escaping to the welcoming warmth of home and hearth, adventure ignites when the troll comes knocking.

Muster up the motivation because:

It’s whimsy in the non-cliched sense, with art that catches the eye and melts the heart.  Hilda is accompanied by a range of odd characters, including the enigmatic wood man who turns up to Hilda’s house when the door is left open and silently lays by the fireplace.  Take a chance on Hilda who is one-part Pippi Longstocking, one-part Clarice Bean and a million-parts friend-worthy.

Brand it with:

graphic novel series, mountain adventures, artistic endeavours, cute woodland weirdies.

See my Goodreads review here!

 

Duck, Death and the Tulip (Wolf Erlbruch)

4009037Two Sentence Synopsis:

Duck notices a coy but persistent presence lurking behind her and invites it to make itself known.  Interesting conversation and friendship ensue, until the inevitable end of Duck’s story.

Muster up the motivation because:

This is an accessible, gentle and thoroughly matter-of-fact treatment of existential angst and how one can engage with it to one’s benefit.  The characters are sparse but recognisable, the plot features ordinary events overlayed with important conversations and themes of acceptance and friendship  abound.  This is a great picture book for adults who like to ponder on the big questions of life in no more than 32 pages.

Brand it with:

picture books, existentialism, life and death, kids’ books for grown ups

Read my review on Goodreads here!

These are just some of the books I’ve been reading and enjoying lately but haven’t found space for in their own right on the blog.  I do post a lot of review on Goodreads that don’t make it to the blog, so feel free to send me a friend request if you like to frequent Goodreads yourself.  What books have you been rounding up lately?

Until next time,

Bruce

 

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Spine Poetry #2: The Rime of the Deadly Pepperpot…

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Afternoon all! After much pondering and concentrated appraisal of the titles on my shelf, I am once again prepared to indulge in a little spine poetry.  For those not in the know, spine poetry involves creating a poem using only the titles of books and displaying the result in photographic form…presumably in order to prove that the book titles you’ve used actually do exist.  I got this idea from someone in the blogging world, but unfortunately can’t remember who, so if you think it’s you, feel free to make yourself known and take the due credit.

Todat’s attempt has been inspired by my good blog buddy Ste J’s recent reflections on that juggernaut of entertainment, Doctor Who.  It is part respectful ode to a deadly foe, and part instructional guide for those who have trouble with being assertive. I have titled my effort:

How to Keep People From Pushing Your Buttons

spine poetry dalek

I am a Dalek;

the Great and Dangerous.

Don’t look now:

Unrest, cringe, fade to blue….

And then there were none.

And for the highly curious among you, here are the books that I used to create this masterpiece of wordsmithery:

       how to keep people from pushing buttonsi am a dalekgreat and dangerousdont look now

unrestcringefade to bluethen there were none

Until next time….EMERGENCY TEMPORAL SHIFT!!

Bruce

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Haiku Review: Never the Bride…

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Good evening sweeties, it is Mad Martha with you once again.  I am very excited about today’s Haiku Review because it centres around a book which centres around a town which is close to my heart.  Today’s review reflects on the work of Paul Magrs, with the opener to his Brenda and Effie series, Never the Bride.  Now, I will admit that I have had an up-and-down relationship with Mr Magrs….it started off quite down until I discovered he wrote for Doctor Who – the television program, not the actual Time Lord – after which he went up in my estimation quite significantly.  Having discovered the Brenda and Effie series, I have to say Mr Magrs and I will probably continue to develop our comraderie for a long time to come.

Never the Bride is a supernatural comic detective story about friendship and enjoying one’s twilight years and working against the demons of hell.  It’s easy pace and immediately likeable main character (who happens to be the Bride of Frankenstein) draw you in and before you know it you are engrossed in the sedately paced adventures of two old spinsters and the various nefarious beings residing in their locale.  The first thing that drew me to this one is the fact that it is set in Whitby – a town that I have visited in my numerous travels.

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Here I am enjoying the sea breeze on the pier (and avoiding the enormous seagulls – honestly, why are they so large?), availing myself of the services of the local laundrette (which is actually mentioned in the story – my little brush with fame!) and enjoying the view from my B&B window….was it close to the B&B that Brenda herself runs? I like to think so!

But on to the Haiku!

never the bride

Ageing She-monster

hunts down hell-spawn in Whitby.

Nothing could go wrong!

So there you have it. For me, Paul Magrs was an acquired taste, but if you enjoy dark comedy and stories that are slightly off-kilter, you may well enjoy his many works.

Toodle-ooooo!

Mad Martha

Harold and the Purple…..Dalek?: Picture book pop culture…

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Just came across this gem of a tee design, based on the classic picture book Harold and the Purple Crayon. As I preside over that tome, as well as a small collection of Doctor Who novels (although none featuring the eleventh Doctor), it would seem the perfect gift for anyone wanting to purchase a gift for a sweet-natured, stony-faced gargoyle….not that I’m hinting or anything.

Although, if one were in the market for such a gift, one could purchase it here: http://www.anotherfinetee.com/  but only for the next three days.

Until next time,

Bruce