Sunday, 25 February 2018

Cream of Plankton Soup

Cream of Plankton Soup is a collection of short stories that is, and this is no tired, old cliche, but a genuinely fresh, new cliche, like no other collection of short stories that I have ever read.

In fact I think I can say that this collection of stories by Grant Sutton is possibly like no other collection of short stories in the history of short stories. Ever.

When I began to read it I felt something akin to an electric (or was that an eclectic?) current jolting its way through my mind and my body.

On the first page of the first story the reader meets Pipa, a young woman who has given birth to twins. Fathered by a vegetable of some kind, though she declines to say which type of vegetable.

The twins are called Pierre and Melone.

When the twins -who are being wheeled around by Pippa in a misappropriated supermarket trolley- begin to cry, Pippa has to soothe them by unhooking a stepladder from the trolley and playing a rather unwieldy piano accordion whilst sat atop the stepladder. For about an hour, during which time she plays random notes.

The protagonist then begins to offer Pippa a wide range of tendentious advice before he is subjected to a foul mouthed tirade about the suitability of vegetables and, indeed, all men to be good parents.

Another story touches on the problems faced by cliff faces and the attentions of confused woodpeckers, and is a fairly ordinary, yet well-paced and well told tale of regal woes as a King awaits an assassin on the top of a cliff, when the story takes a sudden and unexpected change in direction that is a genuinely WTF?? moment. Well, at least for the reader, the King -presumably- knew what was happening all along, even though it had cost him 100 brave warriors.

The remainder of the stories consists of an absolutely delicious gallimaufry of brobdingnagian proportions, including 43 bags of frozen peas, the fact that, after all, gravity does not exist, what not to do with a photocopier during a board meeting, the concepts of natural and supernatural selection and the sudden appearance of a kidnap ensemble made up of militant clowns. And then it gets really weird!

The book is enlivened, and genuinely so, by reader's comments. How could there be reader's comments in a printed book? That's an interesting question which will be answered by visiting, after you purchase and read the book, of course.

There are also some wonderfully evocative illustrations by Ayesha Drew.

The book is published by Matador at £7.99 and can be ordered here


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Now read That's Books and Entertainment in your own language!

With the help of Google's excellent Google Translate service, you can now view and read the That's Books and Entertainment blog site in your own language.

You will find the language translate switch at the top of the blog page, just to the left.

Over the next several days there will more style changes to the blog which, it is to be hoped, help give the That's Books and Entertainment blog a bit of a makeover. In fact, it's probably the first makeover this blog has ever had!

And thanks to Louise for making these suggestions. And no, that is not Louise in the photograph!

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Living With a Jude

Living With a Jude is a remarkable book by Alice Soule.

The book describes how it is for a family that is living with a child who has severe learning disabilities.

Jude was born with Microcephaly which brought about Global Development Delay and autism which was not, immediately, diagnosed.

In her book Alice discusses, in a light and heartwarmily honest and humorous way, how Jude's issues impacted not only on Jude but also on the rest of his family, Alice included.

It deals, in a sensitive fashion, with a range of vitally important topics such as the impact of his disabilities including health and diet, social isolation, education and socialisation.

It also looks at the problems and challenges of post-16 life options and further education for children such as Jude.

The book is also very well illustrated with family photographs and will be of great benefit to people who are involved in the care, education, healthcare and treatment of people like Jude or who provide support and assistance to their families as well as to the families themselves.

It's a remarkable book and comes highly recommended by this reviewer.

The book is published by The Book Guild at £9.99 and can be obtained here

Twenty Five Million Ghosts

Twenty Five Million Ghosts is the debut novel of Steve Aitchsmith.

It tells the story of Steve. Steve is a troubled man. He is troubled by an army of persistent, organised ants. But that's only the beginning. 

After a varied range of careers, insurance followed by a stint in the army and some rather dubious but officially sanctioned joint services intelligence gathering, the police and, finally, education, Steve has retired to a secluded and somewhat tumbledown cottage in woodlands not far from Brighton.

His wife works away from home during the week, his daughter lives in university accommodation for most of the time and he is generally happy with his lot.

His mother has not long to live and he finds that, apart from his constant battle with the warrior ants in his garden and house, he is beginning to acknowledge his need or rather his desire for not only personal security and an understanding of what is happening in the world.

In his quests he is assisted by a somewhat unconventional Roan Catholic priest as he explores the war-torn past of his own family and the new world that he now occupies.

He finds himself exploriung his own past, the past of his family, the adventures that he found himself involved in, to examine the world, to break the law and  to find peace, through reading journals of the wartime activities of his forebears.

This book, although a work of fiction, is clearly based on real life events that happened to members of the author's family or people that he knew.

The book is published by Matador at £9.99 and can be bought here

Monday, 22 January 2018

Man of Two Worlds

Man of Two Worlds is a new non-fiction book from Peter Rutt.

Rutt has eschewed the usual such as religion, science and what might be described as mainstream beliefs and opinions in Man of Two Worlds.

Instead he has set out to take a refreshingly new and idiosyncratic look at the mechanics of life and of death.

He has enjoyed a journey of discovery and he is now inviting his readers to follow him on that selfsame journey.

His book covers a wide range of fascinating concepts and ideas. For example, why there are certain types of spiritual apparitions that it is impossible for mortals to communicate with, previous life experiences, the Akashick register, karma and why some people are born poor, why some people are murdered (it is all something to do with what they did or did not do in a previous life, apparently).

He debates the nature and existence of truth, including where truth actually resides.

Rutt also describes what happens to the soul after death, how he discovered when writing his book "Jack the Ripper From the Cradle to the grave" that there were a large number of "bad souls" from the Victorian era who were all congregating in the lower levels of the London Underground tube stations.

And how he was able to help hundreds of damaged souls flee to the light.

It is an interesting book published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and available for purchase here