Thursday, May 30, 2013

148. The Adventurous Four: Stranded! by Enid Blyton

Siblings Pippa, Zoe and Tom visit their friend Andy who takes them to see the Cliff of Birds on his fishing boat. They inadvertently discover that the island is being used by smugglers and get taken hostage. Quick thinking helps them turn the tables and escape.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

147. Chocky by John Wyndham

At first, Matthew's parents think that Chocky is his "imaginary friend". But events lead them to a deeper understanding of the being that he communicates mentally with.

146. Five go to Billycock Hill by Enid Blyton

The Famous Five camp out on Billycock Hill near their friend Toby's farm. They meet up with some interesting characters including moth and butterfly enthusiasts Mr Gringle and Mr Brent, and Toby's little brother Benny who's always chasing after his pet pigling Curly. When two experimental planes go missing from the nearby airfield, the Five help solve the crime and find Toby's cousin Flight-Lieutenant Jeff Thomas who had been accused in the theft.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

145. Enid Blyton: A Biography by Barbara Stoney

Enid Blyton is arguably the most prolific children's writer of all time. During a career that spanned four decades, she wrote poetry, plays, books and magazine articles. In the 1950s she was churning out over 20 books per year. This biography helps the reader discover the woman behind the work, who was hard-working and dedicated to her audience on one hand but immature emotionally and temperamental on the other.

Monday, May 27, 2013

144. Five Go Adventuring Again by Enid Blyton

The three cousins are back at Kirrin Cottage for Christmas Holidays with George and her dog Timmy. A tutor, Mr Roland, has been hired to help the boys catch up on their studies. Uncle Quentin's very important research notes go missing and the Famous Five solve the mystery and save the day.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

143. Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton

In this first book of the Famous Five series, first published in 1942, siblings Julian, Dick and Anne meet their cousin Georgina, who wishes to be called George, for the first time. George is unfriendly at first but the children win her over and she willingly shares her island with its derelict castle and submerged shipwreck. During a storm, the ship gets washed up on the beach and the search for a long lost horde of gold bars begins. George's dog Tim becomes the fifth member of the group.

142. The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

When the village of Midwich is visited by a strange silver, egg shaped object, all its inhabitants are put to sleep for about 48 hours. Days after this incident it comes to light that all of the women of childbearing age are pregnant - over sixty of them. The babies all look alike,with golden eyes, white hair and translucent skin, and have a central consciousness. What one boy learns, all the boys learn; what one girl knows all the girls know.

Friday, May 24, 2013

141. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Following a meteor shower, everyone who witnessed it goes permanently blind. Add to that the proliferation of "triffids" which are tall, intelligent, venomous, mobile plants that prey on humans and you've got an apocalyptic sci-fi horror story.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

140. White Shadows by Elwy Yost

TV talk show host and film historian, Jack Parris, and his German research partner Georg, have been obsessed with unravelling the myth of actor and film producer who is known by at least 18 pseudonyms including Philip Kurzon. Kurzon's magnum opus is a film of unprecedented length, 43 reels and 8 hours 10 minutes,  that has only been viewed in public. Add in a romance, Nazi and resistance operations, a primeval tropical forest and you've got a page turning plot.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

139. Magic Moments from the Movies by Elwy Yost

Bubbling with enthusiasm, in true Elwy Yost style, the author details his favourite movie moments. Set out chronologically, there are a lot fewer entries for the 60s and 70s(the book was published in 1978)than there were for the "Golden Era" of films the 1930s-40s. Makes one realize how spoiled we are today that we can look up and watch almost any film we wish, where as Yost relied upon his memory and film libraries.

Monday, May 20, 2013

138. Secret Seven Win Through by Enid Blyton

It's the Easter Holidays and the Secret Seven find that their clubhouse is out of bounds so they seek out a new place to meet. Deciding to use a well hidden cave, they stash their treats, pillows and books. Things mysteriously start to go missing and the Secret Seven help the police by uncovering the intruder.

137. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

On their honeymoon cruise, journalists Mike and Phyllis Watson are eyewitnesses to odd red fireballs that fall from the sky into the ocean. Months later, ships start suddenly vanishing in tropical seas. The Russians blame the capitalists who suspect the Russian. The reactions of world governments and individuals are entirely believable in this sci-fi tale of monstrous beings lurking in the deeps.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

136. Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell

First published in 1949, when Britain had been through two brutal wars in the previous 35 years, this novel is set in a world where war continuously rages. Throughout this dystopian tale, Orwell introduces a new language, Newspeak and unforgettable characters like Winston Smith and Big Brother.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

135. The Secret of the Wooden Lady by Carolyn Keene

Girl detective, Nancy Drew, and her friends are enlisted by Captain Easterly when strange things start happening on his clipper ship the Bonny Scott. Through research and following clues, Nancy finds the treasure and the thugs get their just desserts.

134. The Secret of the Lost Empire by Elwy Yost

Jon Skye and his uncle Howard venture into the uncharted jungles of the Amazon with the mysterious Mr Plumm in search of the legendary Falls of Orellana, alegedly the highest in the world. The plot is filled with many twists, turns and unexpected results.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

133.The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon

This first book in the original Hardy Boys series was written in 1927 and then underwent significant plot changes, made by Harriet S. Adams, in 1959 and was republished. Brothers Frank and Joe Hardy solve their first crime, and recover stolen jewels and bonds, with some help from their father professional detective Fenton Hardy.

132. Billy Bunter's Tramp by Frank Richards

The title is a play on words - while out for a tramp (hike) Billy Bunter and the Famous Five of the Remove encounter a tramp(hobo)named Ragged Dick. The story takes many twists and turns surrounding the true identity of the tramp which is not revealed until the very end.

Friday, May 10, 2013

131. A Poor Black Cat by George Borrow

A charming story about a black cat who is scorned by the Calvinist-Methodist people of Llangollen, Wales as it's former owner was the Anglican Vicar. George Borrows is considered by many to be the father of the "travel book". This story appeared as a chapter in Wild Wales published in 1862

Thursday, May 09, 2013

130. After the Crash by Martin Spinelli

A powerful true story of faith, perseverance and recovery written by Martin Spinelli whose wife Sasha has killed and their 4 year old son Lio critically injured in a car crash. Despite the early prognoses by doctors, Lio survived and thanks to the single-mindedness of his father has made a tremendous recovery.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

129. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Conjoined twins, Marion and Shiva Stone are separated at birth. Their mother, a nun, does not survive their delivery and their father, a surgeon, flees the scene. Raised by Hema and Ghosh, Indian doctors living in Ethiopia, the twins share a special bond and an aptitude for medicine. Verghese skillfully weaves political history - the 1974 coup d'etat and 1975 abolition of the monarchy into his story lines

Saturday, May 04, 2013

128. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

A post-apocalyptic story centering around a group of young people that have the ability to communicate by thought-pictures. Their society abhors and destroys anything that strays from the norm, so when their gift becomes known they must flee to the "fringes" where mutants live in exile.