How my bookishness began..

Casting my mind back to the early eighties, I remember when ‘the book club’ people used to bring a pile of books into the foyer of my junior school.

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Now, I was never a spoilt child, I rarely had the latest trends, my parents mainly replying to my wants with a ‘I’ll make you one’, (a Care Bear cuddly toy – Mum), or, ‘you don’t need a climbing frame, here’s 20 yards of rope, I’ll tie it from the apple tree to next doors fence!’ (- Dad). So I generally just made do. One of my most vivid memories was the slide Dad knocked up in the shed, made from an old white MDF dressing table. It lasted probably ten minutes because the splinters in my ass kind of put me off playing on it!

But, when it came to books, thankfully, that was a completely different story! 😉 So, off home I’d skip with the order form flapping away in my hand, because that day, I knew my parents would say ‘it’s book club time is it? Here you are, have five big juicy pounds, choose whichever ones you’d like.’ Oh the joy!

I was like a kid in a sweety shop, I can tell you! Working out how many books I could order for my five pounds. Now, back in 1980, five quid was a HUGE sum of money for any kid, and the fact that I was getting something that wasn’t home made filled me with utter glee!

The ‘book lady’ used to visit my school probably three times a year, and on every visit, I was one of the rare kids who ALWAYS had the full fiver to spend. My parents obviously knew just how important reading was, and dished out the maximum spend allowed, no questions asked, and no threats of ‘making me one’.

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So these exciting moments of my childhood have stayed with me. I can vividly remember receiving my little bundle of books, held together with two large elastic bands in a cross fashion. Even then, I was greedily sniffing the newness, rushing home to get stuck in to Roald Dahls’ The Twits and Revolting Rhymes.

As I got older, obviously I progressed to longer stories with less pictures. And then, one day on the book table at school, I discovered a series of books called ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’. Oh. My. God. 😮

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That was it for me, a book that you don’t read IN PAGE ORDER?!! What IS THIS?!! Well, all I can say is, I rarely left my bedroom! My Mum was like, ‘Lisa, it’s a glorious day, why don’t you go outside and play, get some fresh air?’ Um, I’m in the middle of a great adventure at the moment, so maybe later. Or not.

As I headed into Senior School, my tastes changed somewhat. Sat in an English class one morning, circa 1986, one of the lads in my class was discreetly reading, holding the book under the desk. He was absolutely engrossed. ‘What ya reading?’ I asked, with an air of (fake) disinterest. (I didn’t want him to think I was genuinely interested, that just wasn’t cool!) ‘Oh, you won’t like it, it’s gory and horrible’ he replied.

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I WANTED THAT BOOK. That very weekend, I visited my local library and borrowed A STACK OF HORROR from the adult section, and I was converted into a James Herbert fan overnight. Horror was now my bag.

That’s my story of my earliest feelings of book-love, and it’s stayed with me all my life, and I thought I’d share it with you 😀

What’s your earliest bookish recollection as a child? I’d love to hear your stories!

Inheritors of the Earth by Chris D Thomas

Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction by Chris D. Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 solid stars even though I have (temporarily) DNF’d @ 39%.

….the story of life on Earth is one of never-ending change…

Inheritors of the Earth will be moved to my ‘started but pick up again later’ shelf as I have the upmost respect for the unique way our ever-changing world is portrayed by ecologist, Chris D Thomas.

‘Wherever in the world you are reading this book, you would once have been surrounded by an impressive array of staggeringly large animals’.

Never have I read a statement so thought-provoking in a non-fiction book. It made me look out my window, imagining what I would see if I turned the clock back a few million years.

I’m always tuning in to TV documentaries about nature and this fantastic world we are all honoured to be part of. Inheritors of the Earth caught my eye on NetGalley. I thought that reading a documentary style book would feed my brain and satisfy my yearning to try and understand planet earth just that little bit more. I was fascinated by the fact that ‘nature is fighting back’.

Mankind has altered our planet over millions of years, but instead of exploring the negative impact, the author instead gives an account of how the flora and fauna has learned to adapt and thrive in this forever changing world.

Like a lot of non-fics that are bursting with facts, figures and fantastic photography, this one doesn’t disappoint. I will say, however, that e-ARC’s of this kind are not at their best, this would undoubtedly be a five star hardback. In the format of an e-book, which lacks flow (no fault of the author/editor) it is heavy-going for me. At just under half way, I was feeling bogged down with information overload.

Let me just say, this is absolutely without a doubt a truly brilliant and unique account of Earths past, present and future which deserves all the stars. Unfortunately, I am unable to finish it because my brain simply cannot take it!

I got as far as 39%, and I began to forget everything I’d read, apart from the wonderful detailed account of the hardy Sparrow. It’s all my own doing, the book is not to blame. As a ‘coffee-table’ book, this is perfection. If I owned this in all its hardback glory, over a (long!) period of time, I would read it all. Bite-sizing this would satisfy me more than a cover-to-cover approach.

I will be keeping this on my kindle, and will read occasionally, it deserves to be savoured because there is stacks to learn, just not all in one go.

I would highly recommend it to students that are studying environmental subjects, and those with a real in-depth passion for conservation. It’s not a light read, little ol’ me just hasn’t got space on my brain hard drive to store it all. I’d need much more RAM to be able to process it all satisfactorily.

I’d like to thank the author, Chris D Thomas and the publisher, Perseus Books for the opportunity to read this, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m not giving up on it, what I did read was faultless, I shall continue at some point in the future.

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Ronaldo : The Reindeer Flying Academy by Maxine Sylvester

Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy by Maxine Sylvester
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well that made such a change! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ronaldo and his flying school antics.

This is the first children’s book I’ve reviewed. The author, Maxine Sylvester, was kind enough to send me this e-book. I only wish I could of read it out loud to a group of children. I love to see their reactions and faces light up when I do the voices and sound effects! (Takes me back to when I was a nursery school assistant and story time was the highlight of my day!)

The story was a fun read, following young Ronaldo and his reindeer friends and family on the first part of his journey to achieve his dream, to be one of Santas reindeer on the most important night of the year~ Christmas Eve.

With lots of life lessons scattered throughout the story and some very funny illustrations adding to its appeal, this is a perfect alternative to traditional festive bedtime stories.

Children would be able to relate to Ronaldo’s hopes, dreams and also fears. It teaches the reader that it’s important in life to have faith in yourself, focus, appreciate the love and support of those close to you, and, above all, don’t take life too seriously. It feels good to have a bit of fun, and it feels great to be a success!

Overall, a smashing kids book that is suitable for adults to read to their children, or for readers of about 7+ to read themselves. My only gripe is I had black and white illustrations in the e-book, and I’d of loved to see them in full colour. I’m guessing a physical book would be a far more enjoyable read. Long live proper children’s books with full technicolour! 😉

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