Gingerbread

I requested and received an advance copy of this free from the publishers, in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own.

Ever since I read ‘Boy, Snow, Bird’ a few years ago I’ve been a huge fan of Helen Oyeyemi’s books, so when I saw this was coming out I was VERY excited!

And when this beautiful book arrived in the post (the cover is by Neil Lang and I think it’s stunning) I was itching to get going with it!

Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children’s stories…Helen Oyeyemi invites readers into a delightful tale of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe.

As many of you will know, I’m not the quickest reader at the best of times and even slower since trying to fit it in around Peapod, so despite my enthusiasm and best efforts it took me an age to finish! But it was worth the long journey…

…and a journey it was – from modern day life through fairytale farms in non-existent countries, through ‘looking-glass’ cities with dark, gingerbread underbellies, and back to the familiar, albeit slightly warped!

This book is impossible to pin down and almost as hard to describe.

It’s a family saga but not like any you’ve ever read before, with an extremely eclectic cast.

It’s sort of magical realism but it’s a very matter of fact magic, if indeed it’s magic at all.

It’s a sharply observed commentary on society, politics, prejudice, feminism, class and more…But one that’s hidden in talking dolls, changelings in wells and not-haunted houses.

It’s like Margaret Astwood collided with Haruki Murakami in a fairytale world.

Deftly written with a lyrical beauty that’s laced through with a sharp wit, this book demonstrates a detailed knowledge, and love of, fairytales and their tropes as well as a shrewd understanding of people – of cliques, of types, of behaviours and, especially, of women and families.

I can’t lie, it’s not an easy read. There’s often a complaint that books don’t flow; if anything this flows so freely that it takes a bit of concentration to try and follow its weird and winding ways.

That said, I was snatching a page or two here and there where I could – I think if I could have read it in larger chunks, I would have followed much easier.

So if I have one piece of advice in regards to this book it is – Read It. But read it when you have time to really read it – lose yourself in it, allow yourself to luxuriate in it, indulge.

WWW Wednesday 3/4/19

WWW Wednesday is hosted by ‘Taking on a World of Words’ every Wednesday’:

What are you currently reading?

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

I mentioned last week how I’d chosen to read the e-book of this (from the library) on my phone so I can read in bed without waking Peapod!

It’s been a perfect choice for these overnight reading and feeding sessions. It’s fairly short (I should finish it in the next couple of nights, if not overnight tonight) and an easy read that maybe won’t be in any of my ‘Top….’ lists but is nevertheless very, very enjoyable.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling, read by Stephen Fry.

I’m still really enjoying the Harry Potter audiobooks and this is one of my favourite books in the series. Mostly because it makes me so angry (Dolores Umbridge especially, but Cornelius Fudge and Percy Weasley, I am also looking at you!) but also because of The Order itself which is filled with some of the best people. (How under-rated is Lupin in the series?!)

Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone

I feel so lucky to have been sent a proof of this, I have been looking forward to it for ages having read her books and, though I’m only a chapter in, it is well and truly living up to expectations! Magical!

I’ve got the proof version, but the real cover (designed by Carrie May and Jenny Richards) was revealed on twitter last week and it’s stunning. I’m a big fan of a map in a book and this has that feel on the cover.

As an Abi Elphinstone aside, I found out this week that she has a picture book coming out in late October too! How flipping exciting!

What have you just finished reading?

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi.

I don’t even know where to begin trying to talk about this book! It was fantastic, in both senses of the word. I’ll be reviewing it (as best I can!) this week or next, in the meantime I’ll leave you with the knowledge that it was excellent but with the advisory note to redd it in big chunks if you csn – it’s much easier to follow than if you’re only managing little snippets at a time!

What are you planning on reading next?

I’ll definitely be continuing with Harry Potter on audio. I’ll be starting Half Blood Prince this week.

I’m going to read the next Apprentice Witch book – A Witch Alone – as an overnight ebook too!

It’ll be a while before I finish Rumblestar, so I don’t know what physical book will be next. I have an absolute stack to get through! Scavengers by Darren Simpson and the final installment in Alice Broadway’s Ink Trilogy, Scar, are both hig on the list though.

Having finished Gingerbread, I’d also really like to find time (hahaha, I know!) to read some of the adult fiction titles sat patiently waiting on my shelf too, but I have no idea yet how I’ll manage this!

Have you read any of these?

What are you reading at the moment?

WWW Wednesday 20/3/19

WWW Wednesday is hosted by ‘Taking on a World of Words’ every Wednesday’:

What are you currently reading?

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi.

I was so excited to receive a copy of this to review as I’m such a fan of her writing and it’s turning out to be as weird and wonderful as I’d expect from her! It took me a while to find my stride with it but I’m loving it now.

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

I’ve done it. I’ve caved. I’m reading an e-book. I’m so disappointed in myself but it means I can read in bed again without waking Peapod! Now I just need to be able to keep my eyes open…

I’ve been meaning to read this series for AGES! Everyone has raved about it and I’m only a couple of chapters in, but I can see why!

What have you just finished reading?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling, read by Stephen Fry.

I’m still really enjoying the Harry Potter audiobooks!

It’s funny re-reading them after so long though – I’m still hooked, I still think they have an incredible magic to them (no pun intended) and I still love them…but I am also noticing little things that perhaps I’m less keen on (the whole yule ball and coupling up in this book for example) or simply that I wouldn’t have noticed first time around – there could easily be a Harry Potter drinking game where you take a shot each time someone or something glided somewhere or Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled!

What are you planning on reading next?

I’ll definitely be continuing to binge Harry Potter on audio and have The Order of the Phoenix ready to go. If memory serves this is one of my favourite in the series.

I am SO EXCITED too to have a copy of Abi Elphinstone’s Rumblestar on its way so that will be jumping to the top of the pile!

What are you reading at the moment?

WWW Wednesday 6/3/19

WWW Wednesday is hosted by ‘Taking on a World of Words’ every Wednesday’:

What are you currently reading?

Monsters by Sharon Dogar.

I’m still reading this. It’s dragging a bit and though there’s things I’ve enjoyed about it, I feel it’s gone on too slowly, too samey for too long. Plus, it’s marketed as YA and I don’t feel this is a YA book at all. Maybe it’s just me. I’m too close to the evd and enjoying it enough not to DNF but I’ll be glad to finish it (surely this week?!)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling, read by Stephen Fry.

I’m still really enjoying the Harry Potter audiobooks! They’re very expensive to buy so I’ve been using a mixture of free credits on audible, money off play books and, mainly, the library (hooray for libraries!)

What have you just finished reading?

Mary Poppins by PL Travers, read by Olivia Colman (audiobook)

One of my goals this year was to read more classics, especially children’s classics. So when I found I had a week or so to wait for the next Harry Potter audiobook to be available, and knowing this was read by the wonderful Olivia Colman, I decided to read this while I waited.

It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Having watched the film repeatedly growing up but never read the book, it took maybe the first chapter or 2 to get into it and Olivia’s Michael took a bit of getting used to. But once I had, I really enjoyed it, though Mary Poppins did far too much sniffing for my liking and I’ve never heard the word ‘presently’ used so often!

It had an Alice in Wonderland sort of absurdity and wit to it. My favourite chapter was Mrs Corry with her gingerbread.

The Closest Thing to Flying by Gill Lewis

I enjoyed this but perhaps not as much as I expected to. Its an excellent book and this was definitely a case of ‘its not you, its me’! I’ll be reviewing it properly next week.

What are you planning on reading next?

I’ll definitely be continuing to binge Harry Potter on audio.

I am SO EXCITED too to have a copy of Helen Oyeyemi’s Gingerbread. She’s one of my favourite authors and I can’t wait to read this. I had been reading a few books at a time but I know I’ll want to devour this so as soon as I get Monsters finished I’m starting this and giving it my full reading time!

Which other children’s classics should I read?

What are you reading at the moment?