Favourites Friday #5: Silly Verse For Kids

Click to view on Goodreads
Click to view on Goodreads

Just a quick one today guys as it’s Semi-finals day @ Wimbledon and I am glued to it!!! (Mon the Murray).

Spike Milligan is a hero of mine and this book is the best collection of his ‘nonsense’ poems for young kids. When I look back on my early childhood, this book is what I remember. I remember my mum and dad reading it to me and being in hysterics. I still remember all of the words to my favourites ‘On the Ning Nang Nong’ and ‘The Land of the Bumbley Boo’.

Every child who is read to is lucky, but I doubt that every child is as lucky to be read things as fun as this. It is something I will never forget!

In The Land Of The Bumbley Boo

In the land of the Bumbley Boo
The People are red white and blue,
They never blow noses
Or ever wear closes,
What a sensible thing to do!

In the land of the Bumbley Boo
You can buy Lemon pie at the zoo;
They give away foxes
In little Pink Boxes
And Bottles of Dandylion Stew.

In the land of the Bumbley Boo
You never see a Gnu,
But thousands of cats
Wearing trousers and hats
Made of Pumpkins and Pelican Glue!

Chorus
Oh, the Bumbley Boo! the Bumbley Boo!
That’s the place for me and you!
So hurry! Let’s run!
The train leaves at one!
For the land of the Bumbley Boo!
The wonderful Bumbley Boo-Boo-Boo!
The Wonderful Bumbley BOO!!!

© Spike Milligan. All rights reserved

Buy this for your kids!

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Favourites Friday #4: To Major Tom – The Bowie Letters

So I went AWOL for a week, sorry about that. I’ve had some evil strand of the common cold, or Man Flu as I like to call it and it really knocked me for six. (Six what??) It also didn’t help that my Mum was visiting and we had loads of stuff planned so I had to man up and get on with it which probably hasn’t helped with the recovery process. But I did manage to have fun despite the feeling of impending death so all was not lost.

I’m just starting to feel a bit more human now. Today was the first day I’ve had chance to pick up a book since last week too…I am officially the worst book blogger ever. Oh well.

That being said, on Sunday, my lovely, crazy Mumsy and I went to the V&A to see the David Bowie exhibition David Bowie is and it was amazing. It also reminded me of one of my favourite books.

Photo & Synopsis from Goodreads. Click to view.
Photo & Synopsis from Goodreads. Click to view.

A meditation on the relationship between pop star and pop fan, this intriguing and thoroughly entertaining epistolary novel tracks a 30-year, one-way correspondence from devoted music fan Gary to rock icon David Bowie. Beginning as an angst ridden teenager, Gary writes letters to Bowie, sharing his thoughts on everything from Ziggy Stardust and Glass Spiders to his boarding school days and adult life as a husband and father.

I like to think that this book would appeal to anyone, not just Bowie fans. I love how we enter into the world of Gary Weightman – a normal boy who is sent away to boarding school – through his letters to Bowie. He tells Bowie and, therefore us all of his secrets, his worries and his feelings on life and growing up. It’s a great coming of age story which reminds you just how passionate and intense only teenagers can be. And on the other hand it gives someone like me who wasn’t born around the time of Ziggy Stardust a first-hand account of the world’s reaction to David Bowie and the whole glam movement.

The book chronicles all the way through to the release of the film Velvet Goldmine in 1999 (one of my favourite films) in which Gary writes an angry letter to Bowie chastising him for objecting to the film and not allowing his songs to be used. I felt exactly the same way.

To Major Tom is a book of nostalgia and a profound reflection on life in general. Gary himself sums it up pretty well in his introduction:


I could not believe how much of my modern mental furniture was installed by my devotion – musical, cultural and otherwise – nor how hard in recent years it’s become to keep that furniture polished and dusted. Times change, people change, dreams explode and worlds collide. And, if you think it’s foolish to spend your life living in the past, imagine what it’s like to live in somebody else’s. Sometimes I wish Ziggy had played the flugelhorn instead.
[2002]

Favourites Friday #3: Why I love James Frey, controversy be damned!

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Click to view on Goodreads.

I love James Frey. I love what he says and how he says it. There, I said it.

I thought I’d go for something a bit different for this week’s FF. It’s definitely not YA, or Paranormal, or Fantasy! But here are some of the reasons why James Frey is one of my favourite authors.

At the age of 23, James Frey woke up on a plane to find his front teeth knocked out and his nose broken. He had no idea where the plane was headed nor any recollection of the past two weeks. An alcoholic for ten years and a crack addict for three, he checked into a treatment facility shortly after landing.
-A Million Little Pieces (Goodreads synopsis)

I didn’t know anything about A Million Little Pieces before I picked it up. I didn’t know it had been marketed as a memoir rather than fiction so I totally missed the whole hype and scandal because I never thought it was anything other than fiction; Fiction that I fell in love with instantly. There’s something about Frey’s streamofconsciousness style that I just can’t get enough of. It’s simple and fierce yet really beautiful in some way. The idea that someone who is beyond broken is doing everything he can to stay alive, and still manages to find beauty in the world and some kind of hope and faith is what really beguiled me. This book is also completely and utterly heartbreaking. You’ve been warned.

I felt exactly the same about follow-up My Friend Leonard too. ‘A heartrending story of a friendship between a newly-sober James and the charismatic, high-living mobster he met in rehab, Leonard. I haven’t reread it as many times as AMLP but it’s still up there in my favourites list.

Then, when Bright Shiny Morning came out I bought the huge hardback edition and was so excited to read it, but it was such a let down. Sad Panda. I was so disappointed that I didn’t even finish it, (I should really give it another go though) so I didn’t know what to expect when I heard his next book was titled The Final Testament of the Holy Bible.

As I was waiting for the book to be released everything went a bit crazy.

He’s been called a liar. A cheat. A con man. He’s been called a saviour. A revolutionary. A genius. He’s been sued by readers. Dropped by publishers because of his controversies. Berated by TV talk-show hosts and condemned by the media. He’s been exiled from America, and driven into hiding. He’s also a bestselling phenomenon.

I have no doubt that the above quote (which is used on Goodreads as the start of The Final Testament synopsis) was just another promotional tool to create this ‘character’ of James Frey. But for a few weeks everywhere I turned, Frey was being called the most hated writer in America, which just made me want to love the book even more. And I did.

What would you do if you discovered the Messiah were alive today? Living in New York. Sleeping with men. Impregnating young women. Euthanizing the dying, and healing the sick. Defying the government, and condemning the holy. What would you do if you met him? And he changed your life. Would you believe? Would you? This is The Final Testament of the Holy Bible.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why this book created such controversy. Having a protagonist who many perceive to be Jesus reborn who insists that he’s just a man and that religion does nothing but spurn hate and will be the ultimate undoing of the world will do that. He also sleeps with almost everyone he encounters, not forgetting the men…shock horror! But seriously, come on. James Frey is a writer. It’s fiction. If you don’t like the subject matter don’t read it, but leave the poor man alone.

The Final Testament has its flaws. It gets pretty ridiculous and it repeats itself a tad (love is all that matters, yadayadayada), but I felt the same way reading this as I did AMLP- It just spoke to me. I get what he’s trying to say and I like it.

‘I had spent my life worshipping death, fearing it, obsessing over it, and living my life according to what a book says will happen when it comes…I came to understand that it’s no way to live, and that living is all we have and all we will ever have, and that is not to be wasted. That love is life. That life isn’t worth living without love. And that the Catholic Church, filled with celibate men who have no experience with it, has no right telling other people how to love or who to love or what kind of love is right or wrong.’

True Dat.

Favourites Friday #2: Alice in Wonderland and why I have so many copies!

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Is it excessive to have four different versions of a book? Usually I’d say yes, but not where Alice in Wonderland concerned. As I’m sure is the same for a lot of people – Alice has been one of favourites practically from birth. I don’t actually remember my parents reading it to me but I’m sure they did. Along with The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice is a book I always come back to and I can’t ever remember a time of not having a copy close by.

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This is my bog-standard copy that I’ve had since Uni. I love it because it is battered and tatty and full of almost illegible notes from various essays I had to write.
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This was just a cheap copy I picked up in my teens which introduced me to some of Carroll’s other works including his plays and essays. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read it front to back…I really should.

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Then there’s my favourite.
It’s not particularly old, 1980, but you don’t see many Through the Looking Glass stand-alones these days. I found this in a charity shop and had to buy it. The eight full-page illustration plates by Tenniel are beautiful in colour.

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Books 006

Which also has the addition of The Wasp in a Wig which I’d not seen before. Books 009

And this is a 2009 Penguin Classic special edition with canvas boards and various extra notes on the text that my friend Dora gave to me. So pretty!Books 010

I love them all for all different reasons so I can’t bring myself to get rid of any of them. Oh, and I’m pretty sure if I went rummaging in my parents attic I’d be able to find the copy I grew up with. I’d love to see that again. I bet it smells amazing! I’m actually going home next weekend, I’ll try and find it if I get the time.

Favourites Friday #1: INKHEART and the Perils of Book Borrowing

I meant to post this earlier but I went to see The Great Gatsby which was…hmm meh. OK maybe it was better than meh, I’ll raise that to stunning but a bit…ambiguous (and long). But anyway,  as I’m sort of new to this whole blogging thing but not at all new to reading, I have so many favourite books on my shelves that I probably won’t get round to actually reviewing but those books are the reason why I wanted to start a book blog…because I want to gush about them all the damn time.

So I give life to Favourites Friday where each week (don’t hold me to that) I’m going rant/gush about one of my favourite books, series, author or just a particular edition/cover.

First up:  The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke.

Everything about these books are magical. I was first introduced to Inkheart by Di (who is awesome and takes awesome photos, and blogs here) who told me I would love it and thrust her copy into my greedy mitts! And obviously, she was right. I did love it and I still do.

Inkheart has everything I love in a book. It has magic, and mystery, action and adventure, a loveable protagonist in Meggie and despicable, dangerous villians like Capricorn. It is also a kind of love letter to books themselves and also to family; at its core is a beautiful father/daughter story.

The only bad thing about borrowing books is that you have to give them back. And if you truly love that book it can be difficult. Sure, you can buy your own copy, but you’ve just read it, so if you’re anything like me and don’t have that much cash lying around it can seem a bit wasteful buying a book that you’ve just read. I had one of these moments giving Inkheart back to Di. The edition she gave me was this one…

From Goodreads - Click to view.
From Goodreads – Click to view.
In the end, giving it back wasn’t so hard because I took the next book Inkspell in exchange. Whilst I was reading Inkspell the final book was released and I needed it! I can’t remember whether Di hadn’t bought it yet or had but hadn’t read it yet, but either way, she didn’t have a copy for me so I bought the shiny new hardback which was so pretty I’m sure I would have noticed it even if I’d never seen the other two.

From Goodreads - Click to view
From Goodreads – Click to view

The picture doesn’t really do it justice, and the pages inside are equally as magical. So now what, I have a hardback edition of the last book in a trilogy and not the other two. I don’t know about you, but that didn’t sit well with me. Every time I looked at it on my bookshelf it annoyed me so you won’t be too surprised that I set out to buy the other two. Obviously, being slightly weird about books as I’m sure I’ve already demonstrated, I was going to get the other two in hardback to match Inkdeath. Until that is, I saw the Gift Editions. Oh My God they are beautiful. Once again the picture doesn’t really do it justice but the embossed gold art work is divine. DIVINE. Epic, let’s say.

Inkheart

I only bought the first two in this edition which I regret now as I haven’t been able to find an Inkdeath one since. I mean, I love my copy of Inkdeath…but it would be nice to have a proper set. PERILOUS!

I’d love to hear about one of your favourite books on your shelf!

The Inkheart Trilogy is published by Chicken House.