Other Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks – An Interview with the Gruffalo

This weeks Weekly Geeks task is to interview our favourite character from a book.

There are lots of characters I’d like to interview, but it would give away too much of the plot to those people who haven’t read the book. So I decided on my favourite children’s character – The Gruffalo.


I love The Gruffalo, and the sequel The Gruffalo’s Child. If you haven’t read them, then you should really try to have a look at a copy (or buy one for any toddlers you have in the family). They are the cleverest picture books I have ever seen.

  • Are you really scared of the mouse?
    When I was younger I was really scared of the mouse, but now I’m older I realise how clever that little mouse is, and we just tell the story to our children so that they don’t wander off into the dangerous wood.
  • Do you have a favourite book?
    Gruffalo can’t read. We love telling stories to each other though. Our favourite stories are ones about our clever ancestors, and how we tricked other animals into getting what we want.
  • What is your favourite food?
    I’d love to say mouse ice cream, but really we just eat nuts and berries.
  • How many Gruffalo are there?
    I don’t know. There are lots of us, but we’re very hard to find, as we are very good at hiding.

    I think I’ll stop there! I feel really silly doing this – it was great to give it a try though. I look forward to seeing what all the other ‘weekly geekers’ have come up with!


Technical help required!

The Blog Improvement Project challenge this week is to update the basic parts of our blog – improve the blog roll, the ‘about me’ page and the archive section.

As part of this project I’d like to create a page on my blog to show all the books I’ve reviewed. Ideally I’d like all the books displayed alphabetically by author. Does anyone have a widget which does this automatically?

How do you archive all your book reviews? Has anyone seen a really good way of doing it? All help greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

2008 Memoirs Richard and Judy Book Club

The Bolter – Frances Osbourne

The Bolter is a non-fiction biography of Idina Sackville, a woman who scandalised 1920s society by marrying five times and having numerous love affairs.

Idina had a really interesting life, but this book fails to capture the essence of the woman. The writing is quite dry, and at times very boring. I think this book would have benefited from being written as a piece of historical fiction, so that some life could be breathed into each of the characters. I would have loved to have had a greater insight into the thoughts and feelings of Idina, instead of a list of two-dimensional people she met.

The reader also wasn’t credited with much intelligence, and I found myself being irritated by over-explanation of many things. I think the worst offender was this:

“He hadn’t seen him for five months, almost half a year.”

Overall, I was very disappointed by this book. The back cover makes it sound so interesting, but ultimately it failed to live up to my expectations.


The Book Seat

I’ve just stumbled across The Book Seat. It is, essentially a bean bag for a book, which allows you to read without having to hold anything.

I was immediately drawn to this, and was very tempted to add it to my wishlist, but I now can’t decide whether it is a great solution to a very old problem, or just a marketing ploy, which won’t work in practice. How easy will it be to turn the pages? Will it just fall over all the time? I’d love to give it a try, as I’m always moaning about how heavy some books are!

Does it sound like a good idea to you? Or is it just silly? All thoughts appreciated!

2008 Crime

The Ghost – Robert Harris

This is the second book I have read by Robert Harris. The first, Fatherland, was a great idea for a story, and was cleverly written, but lacked the special spark of a great book. Unfortunately The Ghost  wasn’t an improvement.

The narrator of Robert Harris’s latest book, Adam, is assigned the task of becoming a ghostwriter for an ex-Prime Minister’s autobiography. The person he replaces in this job has recently died in suspicious circumstances. Adam travels to America to interview the former Prime Minister and begins to uncover some dangerous secrets.

The Ghost comes across as an attack on various political polices rather than as a thriller. The plot is slow, and lacks the intelligence of Fatherland. If you are interested in British politics then it might be worth reading, as I’m sure there are many politicians parodied in this book, but I’m just after a decent plot, and failed to find one. 

The characters were flat, and the plot was highly improbable. By the end of the book I was so bored that I didn’t really care about the twist, I was just glad to have finished it.

Very disappointing.

2009 Recommended books YA

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

I bought this book about ten seconds after I finished reading Semicolon’s review for it, and I’m really glad I did, as I think this is my favourite book of the year so far.

The Hunger Games is an annual televised event in which twenty-four children fight-to-the-death. Two children from each of the twelve regions of Panem, a new land created from the ruins of post-apocalyptic North America, are randomly selected to take part.

This sounds like a scary, violent book, and if I’d have thought about it too much I may not have bought it. I admit that when I was reading the first chapter I was worried about the kind of book I’d started, and wondered how on earth it could be suitable for eleven-year-olds (the age suggested on the back cover). I didn’t have to worry, although the children do fight to the death, it isn’t graphic, and in a strange way you are hoping that each of them die, so that the narrator, Katniss, can survive.

Many important issues are raised in the book, including poverty, war, the misuse of power and the evolution of reality television – for this reason I think it would be great for reading groups.

The book is perfectly paced; the plot drives the book on so well that I didn’t want to put it down, but at no point was it going so fast that I was skimming sections. The characters are well thought out, and although survival is a large part of the book, I think the main theme is love. Katniss’s confusion over who she truly loves is very touching. I enjoyed this book so much that I have already pre-ordered the second book in the trilogy, which is released in September.

I can’t fault it. Highly recommended.