Monthly Archives: March 2015

You are browsing the site archives by month.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Ahhhhh Geeks, the latest in-thing to be!

I am sure that when many people hear or see the title Geek Love their thoughts will immediately turn to:

On the plus side if they ignore reading the blurb on the back cover (that blurb is fantastic – do not skip it) it will not be long before their preconceptions are destroyed and they realise that they are caught up in:

geek (noun)
“sideshow freak,” 1916, U.S. carnival and circus slang, perhaps a variant of geck “a fool, dupe, simpleton” (1510s), apparently from Dutch gek or Low German geck, from an imitative verb found in North Sea Germanic and Scandinavian meaning “to croak, cackle,” and also “to mock, cheat” (Dutch gekken, German gecken, Danish gjække, Swedish gäcka). The modern form and the popular use with reference to circus sideshow “wild men” is from 1946, in William Lindsay Gresham’s novel “Nightmare Alley” (made into a film in 1947 starring Tyrone Power).

Arturo the Aqua Boy is a limbless megalomaniac, Electra and Iphigenia are musically gifted Siamese twins with a penchant for prostitution and Fortunato is possessed if strange telekinetic powers. Their story – by turns shocking, tender, touching and cruel – is narrated by their sister, Olympia. She is a bald, hunchbacked, albino dwarf.

Freak Shows have been out of fashion for a long time, there is a part of me that always wanted to go and see a traditional show (I still do). The Jim Rose Circus as brilliant as it was did not count as that was pure showbiz hucksterism.

Geek Love is dark, disturbing and (if you are of a gentle, sheltered disposition) distasteful tale that filled a freak-show shaped hole in my heart. The conjoined stories of Olympia’s quest to anonymously save her daughter from mutilation; and the story of the Binewski family, a story that took me by the hand through the tent flaps into their lives, and life in a travelling carnival as it spirals toward a twisted denouement, will grip you in their mutated flipper-like hands until you have turned the final page.

Geek Love is published by Abacus Books

Recommended by a Librarian: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

The Recommending Librarian this week is: Leanne Wain

What are you recommending?

Station Eleven

What is it?

It is a novel written by Emily St John Mandel

Why have you recommended it?

I recommended Station Eleven because it’s an interesting take on the end-of-the-world genre.

It raises loads of questions about survival and nature, and what place art has in human civilisation. It points out how vital stories are and how important they are to human history, how crucial it would be to preserve them for as long as possible.

The writing is elegant and unique, and the plot is beyond gripping.

Good for zombie/survival fans & readers looking to be challenged, as the structure’s complex, but important to the plot.

School Library Resources from Adam Lancaster

Adam Lancaster has posted a number of brilliant free resources for School Librarians on his Reading Educator website:

Changing hearts and minds: Stonewall writing competition for young people aged between 14 and 17

Stonewall, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality charity, has launched its first Young Writers’ Competition.

The theme of the competition is Changing Hearts and Minds.

Everyone taking part will be asked to compose a short story or poem which explores this theme in relation to the lives of LGBT people in the UK. You may want to write about the challenges still faced by the LGBT community or maybe you’d like to explore how society can help to improve the experiences of LGBT people.

The prizes
One person in each category will win 150 pounds of book tokens and will have their poem or short story published on The Guardian Children’s Books website for everyone to see!

Two runners up in each category will win £50 of book tokens.

The Judges

SJ Watson – The publishing rights to SJ’s debut novel Before I Go To Sleep have been sold in 42 different countries around the world. It has gone on to be an international bestseller and successful feature film starring Nicole Kidman.

Dean Atta – Dean is a writer and performance poet. He won the 2012 London Poetry Award and was named as one of the most influential LGBT people by the Independent on Sunday Pink List in the same year.

Ruth Hunt – A self-proclaimed ‘super-fan’ of LGBT Youth Fiction, Stonewall’s Chief Executive is really looking forward to reading your poems and short stories!

The competition is open to anyone who will be aged between 14 and 17 on the closing date which is 22 May 2015. You can enter one category, or both – the choice is yours!

Competition details

Age group: 14-17 year olds
Categories: Short story (fiction) and poetry
Theme: LGBT equality: Changing hearts and minds
Word count: 1000 words maximum
Deadline for entries: Friday 22 May
Winners announced: Monday 15 June
Submission details: Email entries to or post entries to: Stonewall Offices, Tower Building, York Road, London SE1 7NX

For full details follow this link: Stonewall Changing Hearts and Minds

Northern Lights: Les Royaumes du Nord

For several months I have been hearing whispers about a graphic novel adaptation of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy. However owing to more pressing concerns I let them float by with a mental note to check it out when I had some time.

Well that time is now. The first book has been broken up into three volumes and is called Les Royaumes du Nord.

It is being published in French with an English translation to follow and has been adapted by Stéphane Melchior-Durand and drawn by Clément Oubrerie.

Clément Oubrerie is best-known for his work as artist on the Aya of Yop City series.

Les Royaumes du Nord has already been recognized at Angoulême International Comics Festival, winning Le Prix Jeunesse d’Angoulême 2015 (the Youth Award)

The artwork looks amazing, but not speaking French I will have to wait for the translation, but am looking forward to experiencing this wonderful story in a new format.

Tygerdale has a brilliant Q&A with Philip Pullman about the adaptation.