Book H00t #17 The Loblolly Boy

Loblolly: a non-professional assistant to a ship's surgeon
Loblolly: a medicinal porridge sometimes containing meat

What do these definitions have to do with this book? Nothing, as far as I can make out. But what an odd word!

This loblolly boy is able to fly, doesn't need to eat and is invisible to others. Some people, the Sensitives and the frightening Collectors are able to see him and this drives the plot. Exchanges take place, bodies are swapped and children escape from one existence to another.

James Norcliffe's fantasy novel has a touch of the Peter Pans about it. It intrigued me! And I usually don't like fantasy.

There were also some beautiful passages of writing, like:
He did let me touch the wings once. The feathers were long and soft and glittered in the dapled sunlight with a speckle and an emerald shine. They were beautiful. When he flexed his shoulders they lifted and stretched and I gasped at the lovely symmetry of them.
The message is certainly not a clear one. The children want to exchange with the boy to escape their lot in life, but they quickly find out that jumping from the frying pan into the fire isn't all it's cracked up to be. Perhaps readers might sympathise with these kids, but shouldn't wanting to improve your lot in life be positive? And there's a theme about single parenting happening in there too which I have mixed feelings about.

All in all, this is an entertaining ride which will certainly raise questions!

Happy tales,
Barking Owl

Book Blogger Appreciation Week Meme

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

You can have a FAVOURITE snack? I am all-embracing in my snack choices.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of
writing in books horrify you?

HORRIFY! Books are precious!

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?

see above.

Laying the book flat open?

I have a lavender scented book weight.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?


Hard copy or audiobooks?

Hard copy

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you
able to put a book down at any point?

Urgh. This annoys me so much. I can stop at any point and pick up again immediately. Someone *close* to me HAS to finish at the end of a chapter.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

this doesn't happen often, english teacher :)

What are you currently reading?

The Loblolly Boy by James Norcliffe

What is the last book you bought?

see above

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can
you read more than one at a time?

More than one, life's too short for only one!

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

nope, all the time.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

stand alone, although I have enjoyed the Hunger Games series and the Moon books too.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

The Sweetness At the Bottom Of the Pie by Alan Bradley

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

By colour! Really, quite anal about it ;)

Two excellent articles FYI

"Where The Popular Kids Are Sitting" by Karen Healey about YA readers, YA writers and the endurance of speculative fiction.


John Green's speech for the ALAN conference about the intelligence of teenage readers.

Weenie Hoot: Hunger Games II Catching Fire

WOW. Just wow.

Again I devoured this one. It picks up pretty much where the previous novel left off, and the tension is ramped up almost immediately.

If you haven't caught this series, I see Dymocks is offering Hunger Games at $9.00. Get into it!

Oh and this isn't the Australian cover, but I like this one better :)

Happy tales,

Barking Owl

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Interview

As part of the Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I interviewed the lovely Jess from Barney's Book Blog

And it went a little something like this:

What’s the story of the title of your blog?

Have you ever seen the television show ‘How I Met Your Mother’? One of the characters (played by the fantastic Neil Patrick Harris) is named Barney and he has a blog where he writes about picking up chicks and being awesome. When I decided to start my blog, I didn’t like the name Jessica’s Book Blog, so instead I named it after the only person (although not real) I knew who had a blog.

What was the impetus to start blogging?

I read too much and needed an outlet to discuss my opinions on the books I read. My family and friends were at the point where they would roll their eyes every time I said, “I just read the most incredible book...”

When you started did you have an imagined reader in mind? Or were you writing for yourself primarily?

I didn’t really think about who would read my blog. It was more for me to vent my ideas and opinions about the books I was reading.

What lifted the number of subscribers and readers of your blog? Was it a particular post?

It wasn’t a particular post. It was embracing the blogger community and getting involved with weekly memes and commenting on other blogs. Commenting and engaging within the community made other bloggers search me out and become subscribers.

Do you blog all of the books you read?

No, I don’t usually review books that are a part of a series that I started reading before I started blogging. I do usually mention them in posts where I discuss what I am reading for the week.

Has your writing/ your ‘voice’ changed over the time you have been blogging?

My writing has changed. I have a very different reviewing format than I did in the beginning. I write more about the themes I see in books instead of just talking about what I liked. I also try very hard to be spoiler free.

Thanks Jess and happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

b0Ok h00t #16 The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian

This award winning novel is told from the viewpoint of Arnold Spirit (Junior) a teenage cartoonist who lives on the Spokane Reservation, the rez. Arnold has a couple of strikes against him: he was born with "water on the brain", has seizures and oversize hands and feet. Against the wishes of his best friend, and the Indian community, Arnold decides to leave the local high school and head to the rich white high school Reardan. His tale is illustrated with his cartoons.

Does this sound like a funny book? Well, Sherman Alexi's character is funny! The voice of the 14 year old is realistic and the content is spot on for this age group. But this is tempered with the racist prejudice that Arnold faces, and the very real problems of the rez- alcoholism, poverty, hunger, loss of cultural identity and so on. Overall though, this is a book with heart, and I can see both boys and girls enjoying reading about such an unfamiliar world. The friendship between Arnold and Randy is lovely and real.

Overall, I think this would be a great book for thirteen year olds. And in Australia, it could lead to discussion about our treatment of and attitudes towards our Aboriginal people.

Happy tales.

Barking Owl

It looks like a wild and windy night, perfect for cuddling up with a book :)

BooK Hoot #15 Tender Morsels

**spoiler alert**
Margo Lanagan's controversial fantasy has a very dark start. Liga is abused by her father, sexually and psychologically, but out of this horror comes a beautiful daughter, Branza. As if this isn't enough, she is then raped resulting in another daughter Urdda. The three live and heal in a place which is on the edge of what we would consider the 'real' world. Both of these worlds are nudging and tearing though, and there is movement between them from some minor characters. And a lot of bears!

This sort of text is not my usual cup of tea, but I found it strangely compelling. I wanted to know that life would be better for Liga and the girls. And I thought the writing was poetic and beautiful. Lanagan constructs a dialect which goes to making the world of the text fascinating. It is certainly an original fairytale, borrowing from Grimm's and like those shows just how cruel and unjust life can be. There are moments of tenderness, as the title suggests, and these are poignant and a relief.

Would I recommend this to teenagers? Well, yes. Older ones, who can cope with the darkness. Or those who like fantasy. It is an honest and brutal tale that has much to say.

And as for the controversy, fairy tales are not sweet nor Disneyesque. There are clear signs on the back that this is not a children's book. I hope most adults who are complaining about this text also stop their kids watching crime dramas, or playing violent games. If you don't want this stuff in your head, then you've every right to not read/ watch.

And what a beautiful cover! The artist's work can be seen here.

happy tales,
Barking Owl