Having enjoyed a revival of my dormant inner child thanks to the Red House Children's Book Award shortlist, and having then discovered that I love the writing of Patrick Ness, I am now really looking forward to his Chaos Walking Trilogy which has just arrived, The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men.
Has anyone else read these and if so what can I expect... apart from the fact this might take me a while given that the three books run to about 1500 pages (double spaced admittedly)
I also had a serendipitous moment of the long-arm of coincidence-ness last week which led to the arrival of another book.
The Endsleigh Salon theme was the 1970s and they very graciously allowed me to subtract five given its Orwellian1984 connections and take in 1Q84 to talk about, on the basis that Haruki Murakami had rendered me incapable of picking up anything else for weeks. Of course then I was in trouble... only half way through the book and trying to explain what it was about...er..well, there are these two people and these sort of two parallel universes and one of these people has semi-ghost re-written a book by a really strange girl, oh yes and there are two moons in the sky and then the other one of these people, a girl, goes round murdering people. Yes, it's really good. Not sure this will help Murakami sales at all but suffice to say I finished it between Paddington and Taunton, thought about it all the way to Exeter, have Volume Three lined up and ordered a whole box-load more of Murakami because I have finally found a way into his writing with 1Q84.
But I digress. Fortunately everyone else had stuck to the Endsleigh theme and amongst the books was one from one of the Happy Campers, who had heard Tiffany Murray talk about Diamond Star Halo at Port Eliot Festival, read it afterwards and loved it. Halo Llewelyn grows up in a rural recording studio, mixes with the rich and famous rock stars as a child and I was sold on it and made a note. Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs because the very next morning there it is, an e mail from Tiffany Murray, who clearly has extra-sensory-sixth-sense-crystal-ball-perception asking if I would be interested in reading her latest novel Diamond Star Halo.
Some things are obviously destined to be and I said yes with indecent haste.
Now I know there are some purists out there who will find any book that attempts to add to the shrine of Jane Austen's literary output something of a crime, so how fitting that it is P.D.James who has done it. Death Comes to Pemberley and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years, there are sons in the nursery and happiness is complete until Lydia Wickham's chaise comes hurtling down the drive, out she tumbles screaming that her husband has been murdered and we can only wonder whether Adam Dalgliesh is in hot pursuit ready to investigate. I'm really looking forward to this one and on the subject of sleuthing, did I read that the latest theory is that Jane Austen may have died from arsenic poisoning, or did I dream that...
Another new arrival that is most definitely tapping into my inner child, Homework for Grown Ups Quiz Book - fiendishly fun questions to test your old-school knowledge by E.Foley and B.Coates. It actually has the look and feel of one of those school text books that you'd open and be faced with geometry pictures and then start to feel a bit sick whilst hoping you'd got the one that someone had pencilled in the answers. Lord knows how I passed the Eleven Plus.
I shall now test you with some 'simple mental arithmetic' for starters, my klutz subject ... hands on desk, no calculators hiding under the desk lid please... except for Dark Puss who has to put on a blindfold and try and get the answers without even reading the questions :-)
A typist averages 14 words to a line and 30 lines to a page. How many pages will be needed for 38,406 words?
Pencils cost a stationer £1.80 for a packet of 10. How many can she buy for £36.00?
Robert accidentally divides by 8 instead of multiplying by 8 and gets an answer of 564. What should his orginal answer have been?
One lucky contest winner receives 1/4 of his winnings in cash, and is given four more prizes, each worth 1/4 of the balance. If the cash and one of the prizes are worth a combined total of £35,000 what is the total value of his winnings?
Don't put the answers in comments because we really don't want to give Dark Puss any help, I'll post them later.
Listen, you'll thank me on the day that doctor asks you to count backwards from a hundred subtracting seven each time...