Top Ten Tuesday: Speculative Sequels…

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toptentuesday

A fine afternoon to you all – as you can probably guess from the title of this post, it’s time for one of my random occasional jaunts into meme territory, namely the ever-popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and The Bookish! This week’s topic is…..

BOOKS THAT I WISH HAD A SEQUEL

While most of these books are for the very young (or young at heart), I believe that they could all have done with a nicely marketed follow-up title.  I have given my suggestions (and in some cases, possible synopsises synopsi plot descriptions), but please feel free to add your own if any better ideas spring to mind.

oh the places youll go1. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss

This seems to be a perennial favourite on my TTT lists…I would like to see a sequel to this one that honours the parents and caregivers who read this one over and over to their offspring, titled….

Oh, the Places I’LL Go Once You Kids Have Moved Out

mrs queen 2

2. Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

This was a great little read, but I would like to see a sequel that is in keeping with the aftermath of most of my journeys on public transport, titled….

Mrs Queen Takes Two Aspirin and Has A Good Lie Down

guernsey3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary-Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This one, despite being a firm favourite of mine, is unlikely ever to get a sequel given that the author has since passed on, but I would like to see something to bring the story into the new millenium, titled….

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’s Organic Vegan Cookbook (for iPad)

goodnightmrtom4. Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian

A childhood favourite that I discovered (and loved!) as a grown-up.  Once again, in deference to the experience of parents everywhere, I would love to see a range of increasingly short and frustrating sequels to this one titled….

Mr Tom, Can You Read Me A Story?

Mr Tom, Can I Have A Glass of Water?

Mr Tom, I Need to Go to the Toilet…

and finishing up with Mr Tom Needs A Good Stiff Drink

 

curious incident5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

A bestseller if ever there was one, and I would love to see intrepid Christopher Boone turn his detective wiles to a sequel for the feline fanciers amongst us, titled….

The Puzzling Occurence of Cat Sick in My Slipper

phantomtollbooth

6. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

I would love to see this classic of silliness and punnery followed up by something a bit more sensible and dour, titled….

The Ph-inancially Viable Tollbooth:  A No-Nonsense Guide to Beating Rising Travel Costs

wherethewildthingsare7. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Once again, I’d love to see this children’s classic tackle some of the problems that more modern children (and their imaginary friends) may be facing, in a sequel titled….

Where the Wild Things Were: Children’s Excessive Screen Time and the Demise of the Mythical Creature

harold and the purple crayon

8. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

The oft-told tale of the small child and his creative spirit….I would be hoping for a sequel in a sort of “Where is he now?” type of vein, titled…

Harold and the Neutral Paintbrush.…being a memoir of a young graffiti offender’s participation in community beautification programs

whereisthegreensheep

9.  Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek

For this fun and frolicky tale, I’d love to see the sequel that charts the farmer’s instant emotional reaction on discovering that s/he is missing a sheep, titled….

Who Left the Bloody Gate Open?

and finally,

neverending story10. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

I don’t have a suggested title for this one, but if it doesn’t have a sequel it’s just a case of false advertising really.

So that’s my two bob’s worth – feel free to chime in with your own suggested titles – I’d love to hear from you!

Oh look, here’s a large enticing button…

Follow on Bloglovin

Until next time, my friends!

Bruce

Fiction in 50: Night Terrors…

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Welcome one and all to the second Fiction in 50 community challenge!  This month’s theme or prompt is Night Terrors!

fiction in 50

The premise is simple: sometime during this week…or even this month – there’s no Fi50 time police to chase you up…post a piece of fiction based on the prompt in 50 words or less.  For those who like more official instruction, you can find it, and prompts for future Fi50s, here…or click on the very attractive image above.

So here’s my twist on Night Terrors…I call it:

Value for Money

I have this recurring dream.  I’m being smothered by a giant moth.  My therapist suggested I give the moth a name to make it less terrifying, more approachable.  He suggested the name “Gigglewings”. His fee? $150 an hour.

I’ve bought a herbal sleep remedy and a tin of fly spray.

 

So there you have it….I’m happy to share that my contribution this month was partly inspired by this hilarious text exchange between father and daughter:

image

Personally, I think that guy should win Father of the Year.

So what are you waiting for? Join in!  If you need some more inspiration, check out ideflex’s effort at http://acrossthebored.com/2013/07/26/fiction-in-50-night-terrors/

And for those of you who like to plan ahead, next month’s prompt is Famous Last Words,starting the week of August 26th.

Yours in teeny-weeny narrative,

Bruce

 

Bruce’s Lucky Dip: Paper Dolls You Never Played With as a Kid…

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It’s lucky dip time again, and have I got some ripping (pun intended) offerings for you today! For those who don’t know, my lucky dip feature involves typing a carefully selected term into the Book Depository’s search box and presenting you with the delightfully weird results.

So, paper dolls. Those favoured playthings of fleshlings fond of fun in two-dimensions. Who would’ve thought that scratching the surface of such an innocuous activity would  uncover a veritable treasure chest of oddity? Well, after the utter strangeness encompassed by the range of colouring books on offer, one probably shouldn’t really be surprised.  But one will be.

For your perusing pleasure, I present to you some of the real gems of paper-related play – click on the covers if your appetite for origami-esque shenanigans is whetted!

For the Buddhist who wants to add “right-dressing” to their list of rules for living:

dalai lama paper dolls

 

In a similarly religious vein, for the paper-doll enthusiast with a penchant for swift, undetectable revenge:

voodoo paper dolls

For the book enthusiast who really wants to get inside their favourite author’s head…and wardrobe:

literary greats paper dollsI’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’m only certain of Shakespeare out of that lot…can anyone enlighten me as to who the rest are? Is that Sylvia Plath in the straight jacket? Virginia Woolf? And the bloke on the right looks like a close relation of Colonel Sanders the KFC man, but I’m guessing is somebody more literary minded….

For the pet-lover whose real-life animal friend is averse to wearing cute little outfits:

lucky cats paper dollsFor the man in your life who always liked to play with his sister’s dolls as a little boy:

naughty girls paper dolls

And my personal favourite….***DRUM ROLL PLEASE****…..

For the political enthusiast who wants to recreate famous scandals in their own home:

richard nixon paper dolls

Now before you start scratching your head at the utter surreal-ness of the book immediately above, the BD has a whole range of paper doll books featuring American presidents and their families.  So whatever your political persuasion, there is a paper doll out there for you, voter!

If paper dolls are not your thing, I have also recently discovered two more fantastically different colouring books that I just had to share with you:

For the littlest scholar of feminist philosophy:

girls are not chicks colouring

And for the colouring enthusiast who can’t resist using one of those fancy rainbow pencils:

sometimes the spoon colouring book

 

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and flex your creative muscle! And be sure to chime in with any other exciting paper-doll or colouring related titles that we need to know about.

Until next time,

Bruce

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Bookshelf of the Damned: A Haiku of Frustration…

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I’m in the middle of a good-book drought.

For those lucky individuals who have never experienced such a thing, a good-book drought consists of a reasonably prolonged period of time in which one is seemingly unable to produce warm, accepting and genuinely affectionate feelings towards any book one attempts to read. 

Whilst mired in a good-book drought one may engage in such anti-bookish behaviours as repeatedly abandoning books without finishing them, reacting with excessive nit-picking or criticism to writing styles, plot devices and dialogue sequences that previously caused only mild discomfort, and nervous hand-wringing brought on by a gradual diminishing of hope that one will ever again be blessed with a fantastic and instantly loved read.

I suspect that the good-book drought is a temporary form of mild karmic imbalance brought on by past book-related misdeeds, such as dog-earing library books, using paperbacks as coasters and allowing food crumbs to be smushed between pages while reading.  Whatever the cause, it is a spectacularly frustrating experience.

Rather than continue to spend my time half-heartedly thumbing through, and then discarding, any more potentially great but currently not-cutting-it books, I have decided to create a frustration-based haiku in the hope that my reading karma will take a more positive turn.

evil flatpack 

 

Bookish kara-te

Oh! To feel the sweet caress

of new-loved pages

 

So, fellow travellers in the blogosphere, I hope that your book-droughts grow ever shorter or are at least broken by regular monsoonal activity that produces refreshing reading.

Until next time,

Bruce

 

Monstrously Awesome: Goodies for those who type…

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Be you blogger, author or internet troll, have I got a find for you! Given that it’s winter round my neck of the shelf, I thought it was high time to consider the very real problem of typing-related hand-chilliness.  While pondering ways to overcome this issue, I came across two fantastically fashionable solutions…..

Looking for ways to brighten up the unending toil that is writing (or reading) an epic fantasy novel? Look no further than these stylish dragon or monster knitted fingerless gloves by HotScones, available at etsy.com:

And while these next ones aren’t fingerless – perhaps more suited to readers rather than typists – the little grizzly faces are just darling!
image

 

 

Next up from Scoper Monstar and also available at etsy.com are these absolute gems for the more flamboyant icy-fingered literacy fan.  This first offering is perfect for the out-there author of that ground-breaking book exposing bet-fixing scandals in miniature goat racing – fingerless hooves!

 

image

And for the fan of horror or the late-night reader of Where the Wild Things Are, who could go past these fantastic monster paws (available in a wide range of colours!)?:
image

Both of these provide snuggly warmth to your hands while allowing your fingers to get on with the business of doin’ stuff!

Click on the pictures above to be taken straight to the etsy shops of these fine craftspeople!

Until next time, may your every paw be cosy!

Bruce

 

 

 

Bruce’s Lucky Dip: Tales of the Nunexpected…

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Nuns. Those habit-wearing, good-habit-enforcing ladies of virtue.  One could be forgiven for thinking that a search for tomes about Nuns could turn out to be a banal and unrewarding exercise. As it turns out though, one would be mistaken.

For those unfamiliar with Bruce’s Lucky Dip feature, it involves my good self entering a particular search term into the Book Depository’s mighty search engine, and collecting the most interesting and unexpected results for your perusal.  To that end, I present to you some of the fruits of this most enlightening of search terms…..”Nuns”….arranged in ascending order of raised-eyebrow-height:

Nuns Having Fun Calendar 2013

nuns having fun

The perfect gift for those misguided souls who believe that nuns do little more than eat, pray and love.

Nuns Behaving Badly: Tales of Music, Magic, Art and Arson in the Convents of Italy

nuns behaving badly

I can only assume that the arson resulted from overzealous use of candles during Adoration.

Nun Bowling Kit

nun bowling

This delightful little kit provides the perfect post-Christmas-dinner activity for everyone from Great-Grandma Mary down to little baby Paddy.  As the tagline promises, “It’s Sinfully Fun!”

Flying Nuns Kit

flying nuns

For the slightly more irreverent nun-fancier, this kit includes a miniature catapult and Judgement Day landing mat.  Alternately, use it as a platform for giving expression to your repressed desire to be Sally Field.

Nun-Chuks Kit

nunchucks two

For the most extreme of nun ninjas (or nunjas, as I prefer to think of them), those with aggression impulse control issues relating to early experiences in Catholic schooling, or simply those who support the practical application of the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers”, these nun-chucks actually have nun-shaped handles. Genius.

The Secret Life of Nuns

secret life of nuns

Nuns. In compromising positions. Not for good boys and girls.

So there you have it. Just a smattering of the nunexpected on offer for those prepared to delve into more spirited forms of book-hunting.  As ever, please feel free to chime in with your own nun-related tomes!

Until next time,

Bruce

Haiku Review: The (Epic) Tale of a Library Dog…

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Good afternoon lovelies! I have an extra specialmartha and rhythm offering for you today from one of my very special blog-mates, and winner of the prestigious Gargie Award, Rhythm, the library dog!  Yes, today’s poem will honour Rhythm’s first (autobiographical!) tome, Reading with Rhythm: The Tale of a Library Dog. I was hoping she’d go for the pun and make it the “tail” of a library dog, but that’s just me.  The cover says it’s by Janet Mills, but she must have been the assisting typist as the content is very clearly in the voice of the puppy we know and love.

This colourful and appealing picture book delves into the lives of dogs who work for a living, be they therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, guide dogs for the vision-impaired, hunting dogs, guard dogs or library dogs (the best kind).  Alongside Rhythm’s explanation of the different working roles open to enterprising canines, is a little brief of what the grand lady herself enacts as a dog-about-the-library. Or school. Or Wherever, as the need arises.

The illustrations are very appealing and give the book a fun and engaging overall look.  You can read more about the illustrator, Paul Howell, here at Rhythm’s own blog. Here’s an example, followed by my review:

rhythm illustrations

Pups with a purpose

illustrate the old saying

working like a dog”

Had I been blessed with opposable digits, I would be giving this book two thumbs up.  Suffice to say, it will appeal greatly to the little ones, and would be an interesting side-discussion in early years curriculum relating to roles people (and fur-people) play in the community.

Rhythm’s book is available for purchase at Amazon, and while you’re clicking around, you can check out her blog (and fantastic flair with themed doggy costumes) at www.readingwithrhythm.wordpress.com.

Adios amigos!

Mad Martha

 

Haiku Review: Shadow Forest….

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Hello my pretties! For today’s dose of haiku I’ve dug one of my favourite tomes off the shelf: Matt Haig’s Shadow Forest.  To prove it’s one of my regularly thumbed books, I’ve thoughtfully included a picture of myself with the book and it’s (slightly less engaging but still worth a read) sequel, The Runaway Troll:

mad martha shadow forestFrom the opening sentence of the book’s blurb, “Samuel Blink is the hero of this story but he doesn’t know it yet”, the discerning reader knows that a particularly intriguing tale is in the offing. Handily, this book is one of those special little paper-gems that will not disappoint.

Samuel Blink (our soon-to-be hero of the moment) and his sister Martha (selective mute) find themselves suddenly living in Norway with a long-lost aunt (ex-Olympic javelin champ) after the untimely death of their parents.  Aunt Eda’s only rule for their stay is this: Do not enter the forest. Ever. For any reason.  For the forest is the known home of creatures of ill-repute and has already claimed the life of the children’s literally long-lost Uncle Henrik.

Obviously, both children end up entering the forest. And from there, as they say in the classics, the fun begins!

shadow forest

Picturesque arbour

not suited to tourist groups

Hold fast your shadow

I had forgotten how much I really love this book until I was casting my eyes over the shelf for re-reading inspiration recently. It’s obviously a kid’s book but the comedic undertones have appeal across age groups. I still can’t read the chapter involving the Truth Pixie without giggling to myself for days afterwards.  Incidentally, the picture above shows a different cover to the edition I own – I believe the art on my edition is vastly superior, but I’m sure you can make up your own mind.

Until next we meet, keep reading, and stay out of the forest…

Mad Martha

Bruce’s Lucky Dip: Dating for the Literary Minded…

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Today’s selection in the lucky dip comes to you courtesy of the search term “dating”.  Yes, that most anticipated and awkward of human interactions has thrown up some unexpected, yet intriguing, titles for those interested in the world of courting and mate-selection. Set your peepers to stun as you peruse the following relationship reads:

For those looking for a magical, otherworldly dating experience:

wood nymph centaurFor the malodorous or otherwise unsavoury cassanova:

undateable

In case you can’t read it, the subtitle says “311 things guys do that guarantee they won’t be dating or having sex”.  One wonders why they stopped at 311….

For the slightly suspicious, or for those concerned about their intended’s fascination with taunting small animals:

dating a sociopath

For those looking for God’s gift to women. Literally.

dating jesus

For those hoping that love will blossom organically, without the need for pesticides or growth hormones:

meeting your half orange

As is often the case with the lucky dip, this is but a small selection of the exciting possibilities availalbe to the romantically-minded reader.  Feel free to add your own contributions for our appreciation!
Until next time,

Bruce

Read it if: The Marching Dead….

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Today, unusually, I’m bringing you a Read-it-if review for a sequel.  The Marching Dead by Lee Battersby is the follow up tome to the quirky and creatively titled The Corpse-Rat King.  You’ll remember of course that in the first book, the irrepressible Marius don Hellespont was mistaken for the King of the Dead while looting the corpses of soldiers post-battle (a simple mistake to make, I’m sure you’ll agree) and was forced to set out on a quest to find the dead a real king.

In this book, Marius and his fellow flesh-folk find that their dearly departed have…well…departed… from their cosy home in the soil for reasons unknown.  Enter Marius’ simple mountain-lad mate Gerd (deceased) and Gerd’s potty-mouthed Granny (also deceased), and a now-you-see-him-now-you-don’t cat and you have a questing party worth hitching your (deceased) horse and cart to.  The story follows Marius and co. in their efforts to figure out where the dead have got to and what they plan to do when they get there.

marching dead

Read it if:

* you’ve read The Corpse-Rat King, or you’re looking for something that doesn’t take itself too seriously

* you are a boy aged 16 to pre-deceased

* you enjoy a bit of jollity and good clean fun in your fantasy tales

* your idea of jollity and good clean fun includes swearing, debauchery, general bastardry, frisky warrior nuns, potty mouthed grannies and a fancy headband made out of an animated corpse’s nether regions

Although this is a sequel, I’m sure that it could be enjoyed and followed fairly easily for those who haven’t read The Corpse-Rat King. Having said that though, the first book is a fun, cheeky read in itself and is definitely worth a look, particularly if you enjoy fantasy tales and would like something that is pitched entirely at (immature) adults.

Until next time,

Bruce