Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Asimov's Extraterrestrials

This book is fantastic and I'd definitely recommend it to adults. This was a series that came out in the 80s. The series included Asimov's Extraterrestrials, Monsters, Mutants and Ghosts. It was a FANTASTIC introduction to sci fi authors, because Asimov was the editor, and stories were chosen by Asimov, Martin Greenberg, Charles Waugh, and written by Piers Anthony, R.A. Lafferty, James E. Gunn and many others.

Each book is a selection of short stories about young ... whatevers, in this case, aliens. There's surprise endings galore, twists, thought provoking stories, some are short, some longer, all of them totally amazing. I read it when I was about 12 I think, and the back of the book recommends it for 8+ children.

I don't think they were written *for* children however. Some are absolutely heartbreaking.

These books are often available in second hand shops and if you see them- grab them!

I think I have Asimov's Monsters somewhere too.

Did anyone else read these books? :D

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Horrible Histories: The Show!

I was rather obsessed with the Horrible Histories books as a kid. I still own them, and I bought most of them.

What they were: British books that were non fiction for kids. History with all the boring bits taken out. You found out all the disgusting, weird, amazing things that you apparently never learn in school or from musty textbooks. Great, wonderful way to get kids into history.

A few years ago there was a tv show about it, hosted by cartoon character kids. I wasn't that impressed.

But recently... they made a GREAT live action skit show based on it, and it has LOTS of fantastic British actors, and it's *hilarious*. Brilliant for adults to watch too. I suggest you look it up on Youtube. Here's a great skit from it: Wife Swap!

Twice Upon A Time

Twice Upon A Time by John Pinkney is an Australian book published in 1996.

I think someone must have misjudged my reading abilities because inside the book I've written in pencil '14th birthday' which is what I often did when I got books as gifts. I think it was a little young for me, but I still enjoyed it!

From the back cover:
Sara wakes- to find herself wandering through the dark maze of cellars beneath St Ann's College. She is drawn to an old wooden door whose cracks emit a dim, flickering light.

Behind that door lies a secret, a secret that will change Sara's life. Forever.

This book seems to be quite rare now, it's only on Amazon as second hand (for 27 pounds I might add!) so I'm not sure if it was ever 'popular'. However, since it was in my shelves, it did have an effect on my life. It was right up my alley.

Sara and her little sister Ella are orphaned and living in a boarding school since their grandmother is too frail to look after them. The junior school is moving to a new campus, meaning Ella and Sara will be separated. I found this a pretty devastating concept as a 14 year old. :( And not only that, but the woman in charge of the junior school is a horrible woman who won't let the girls visit.

The secret? Stop reading now if you don't want to know...

Sara finds a door in the cellar of the school while sleep walking, a door that takes her to another dimension where there's another version of herself. She can meld into that other version's mind/body and they become one. The only thing is, the dimension changes each time she goes through it, from ultra happy sunshiney places to what seems to be post apocalyptic nightmares.

It stuck with me because I love the concept of alternative dimensions and they're so rarely portrayed in children's fiction. The emotions were very strong too.

If you have kids, grab a copy for them if you see it.

Books From Our Childhoods

Welcome to 'Books From Our Childhoods', my new blog.

Though I've called it 'Books' from our childhoods, I'll probably also be including TV shows, games, toys, and movies, and updates about our old favourites/least favourites.

This will be a place of snark, reviews, nostalgia, and community participation. If you would like to contribute a review or post, just contact me!

I started it because I have lots of children's/teenager's books still on my shelves. Some are good, some are bad. Often, I have an urge to talk about them with other people. I think lots of people are the same!