We went to Gottenburg, Daughter and I. Not really, as we went the other way once we’d landed at Gottenburg airport. But Gottenburg is what it said on our boarding passes.
When I noticed, I wondered what had happened. Did someone working for the airline – you know, the 50p airline – just type what they think they hear when people say Gothenburg with a harder th than they should and nothing or no one checked or edited what they’d done?
Or was it a trick? Might we find we couldn’t travel on a boarding pass with the destination misspelled like that? Might we be accused of having written our own ticket, getting it wrong? Or they could have spelled it wrong to prove that it really was right (if you’re with me so far?). Perhaps some kind of double bluff? Why spell it correctly? Do you get the correct spelling only from more expensive airlines?
Though, I’ll have you know that due to personal riches (and also the need to take the luggage we needed to take) we bought the ‘best’ on board.
It worked. We got to Gottenburg and back again.
The airport. The rest of the time we spent east of, rather than west of, Landvetter.
It was nice. I revisited childhood streets. Drove – was driven – past my grandfather’s house. Waved to his gravestone across an expanse of clean snow. Ate more lent buns than I am willing to admit to. Saw what my two former schools look like now. (Different.) Visited the town’s second hand shops and allowed Daughter to buy 19 dinner knives. Or was it 18? Forced my hosts to buy pizza twice. With cola. Met a friend I’d not seen for over forty years. Went to a concert featuring one of Daughter’s favourites, encountering him in the supermarket that afternoon. Hung out with a total of three cats. Checked out the library. Looked at art, walking up all five floors of an old textile factory! My knees, my knees… Missed Prince Daniel ‘looking at fabrics.’
Left Gottenburg after a burger (two actually; one each) at Max. Where they have a striking wall of ‘books.’
You should probably pay attention to the title of Derek Landy’s latest, or even last, Skulduggery Pleasant offering. Although, I have reviewed the ‘last’ book more than once. Or so it feels. First it was nine. Then 12. This is the 15th. And of course it’s not the last! There is a prequel coming. Soon.
Things are dire, and Valkyrie Cain has sided with the bad guys. But then the good people do that, from time to time, and then they see sense again. Unless they die. Even when they die. And some people do die. What am I saying? Loads of people die.
I enjoyed this one even more than some in the past. I was clearly ready for some dismemberment of skeletons. And they are so polite! Must be an Irish thing.
Have mentioned this in the past, but I do like Omen Darkly. That boy really rises to the occasion and grows, in more ways than one.
Until the End is last year’s Skulduggery Pleasant. I had not been keeping up. But it seems this prequel that is coming – soon – needs you to have read all of the series. So that could keep you busy.
Oh, well. At least the rest of the world still have their day to come.
I saw some mention of Spiderman and dressing up (so I had to Google it). I feel one can always dress up any way one wants to. But I thought I’d [re]offer you a Spiderman from the past. Like ten years ago. Doesn’t time fly?
This one is Steve Cole. Visiting the old Bookwitch Towers. Those were the days.
OK, I admit to having seen and promptly borrowed this idea from a woman author on Facebook. Or stolen. But thank you, anyway.
The idea is to show photos of women authors, because it’s International Women’s Day today. And there have been ‘a few’ over the years. This is in no way fair or representative, and I could have spent all day looking at photos and it still wouldn’t be.
First, my fairy blogmother, Meg Rosoff, without whom I wouldn’t be able to subject you to this Bookwitchery.
Second, my – in this case rather wet – main photographer. (It’s how they do it at university.)
‘My’ first author in real life, Adèle Geras and Theresa Breslin, who was so interested in meeting me. (I don’t know why.)
Eleanor Updale and Sally Gardner, caught in the Edinburgh greenery in our second year at Charlotte Square.
Sara Paretsky, who has put up with being followed round the country by me.
And Helen Grant who buys me tulips.
Thank you all. And your literary sisters everywhere. I love you.
Despite some minor technical issues over photographs, Candy Gourlay’s second launch of Wild Song, online with Nikki Gamble last night, was probably the best ‘zoomy’ event I’ve attended. So, well done! A good event for a good book.
And those photos. Well, they helped. I’m never a great fan of too many pictures like that, but these really opened my eyes to what went on around the last turn of the century, and how they inspired the birth of Wild Song. I’m glad they did. And it seems many of us in the audience were relieved that Candy’s relatively slow writing process – over 15 years – moved the book from being about the birth of hot dogs, to introducing us to an intelligent young Igorot heroine in the Philippines, and her subsequent trip to St Louis.
Sometimes you just want to take things more seriously.
I learned a lot about growing up in the Philippines, both at the time Luki did, and also how it was for Candy.
The fairly large audience chatted in the chat box, and enjoyed finding out more about this book, which I guess many had not had an opportunity to read yet, as it was only published on Thursday. But the thing is, after this chat Candy had with Nikki, everyone wanted to read it.
Having been somewhat sorry not to be able to go to the physical launch in London earlier in the week, it was good to see a short video from that event. It confirmed my long ago impression that Filipino people sing as much as us Swedes. As Candy said, considering what her book was about, it was only right to fill the London launch with local Igorot people, singing and dancing.
This long awaited sequel to Candy Gourlay’s Bone Talk, has her characters leave the Philippines and travel to the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis. They are a few years older, but still the same young people they were. Luki is still as feisty and independent minded, and she certainly does not want to be married off, even to her best friend Samkad.
Now that the Americans have penetrated deeper into the Philippines, they come up with more ideas of what they might do to the natives, who have a perfectly good system of their own that they live by. But the thing here is that Truman Hunt, the US doctor, manages to persuade these young people to voluntarily leave their country and come with him to the Fair, where he intends to ‘exhibit’ these human beings, alongside people from other parts of the world. Whereas they believe they are going to meet the President, because he wants to see them, especially.
The cynical and knowing reader understands that all will not be well. What I liked was that Luki, despite being ‘innocent’, is also capable of working out that things are not what they were led to believe. She is strong, and she stands by what she believes in.
In a way you can’t blame the visitors to the Fair for their beliefs about these savages who eat dogs. They have been told lies, because why else would they come and gawk at other human beings like this? And there are always people hoping to take advantage of others. But there are also some very strong characters who stand up for what is right, for others who need their help.
This story feels particularly right today, when so many people think they are better than others, often because of their skin colour or their perceived lack of sophistication.
Wild Song shows there can still be hope. And in the midst of what is done to these Filipino visitors, I loved the humour of Luki’s reaction when she discovers Samkad boarding the ship in Manila. She’s no ordinary teenager.
Thinking back to Köln twelve years ago, feeling grateful for having been able to travel to concerts, seeing and hearing Roger Whittaker live. Today he’s 87, and here’s wishing him a huge birthday cake, if only to accommodate all those … Continue reading →