Posts Tagged ‘Philosophy of life’

The Book of Dust. vol 2. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman.

October 27, 2019 Comments off

DustThe Book of Dust. vol 2. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2019.

This is a superb novel for lovers of fantasy, of philosophy, of mystery, of adventure and those interested in the meaning and origin of life.

It has been ten years since Lyra returned from the land of the dead in The Subtle Knife from the His Dark Materials series. She is 20 and is in a melancholic disposition because she and her daemon Pan have fallen out and there is no trust between them. They are capable of traveling apart from each other and do so regularly. This was once thought impossible but their parting is an essential ingredient in this story. Read it and find out why.

Lyra still uses that mysterious instrument, the alethiometer, to find out information and has started to use a new and radical way of manipulating it. The bankruptcy of her friend’s father who is in the rose trade is a warning of major trouble and the murder of a botanist Rodderick Hassall has the world in an uproar.

Hassall has just returned from the desert of Karamakan in Central Asia where a certain rose can only be grown whose oil has been contaminated with that magical particle Dust from which all life emanates. How? The origin of this rose oil is a building in the middle of the desert that can be entered only by those who can separate from their daemons.

Where has Pan gone? Can he really believe that someone has stolen Lyra’s imagination?

I will leave it at that. Find out for yourself in this novel of nearly 700 pages that is totally compelling. I read it over 6 days reading and savouring about 150 pages per day. It is outstanding and even the deepest philosophical points are made easy to read.

The real skill of the author is to organise the plot so that the connections between the host of characters is made apparent, otherwise it could be confusing.

If you miss this you will kick yourself. Lyra Silvertongue is not only growing up and learns much about herself, she is on the run again in the land of fairies and ghosts, the secret commonwealth.


The Fate of Fausto. a Painted Fable by Oliver Jeffers.

October 8, 2019 Comments off

FaustoThe Fate of Fausto. a Painted Fable by Oliver Jeffers. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

This quality sophisticated picture book in hardback cover will have as many opinions about it’s meaning as there are readers and that is a wonderful thing. It is certainly modern in theme and is one of the best books this year.

As Capitalism begins to creak and groan, with the rich getting richer and the poor, poorer and megalomaniacs cheating their way into political power, the proposition that the World is mine, raises it’s ugly head.

Fausto is one of these. He tells a flower, a tree, a sheep a lake and a mountain “you are mine”. They bow before him although mountain gives him a hard time and he stamps and wails. Check Trump out with impeachment imminent.

Then he takes on the sea. Sea is unimpressed but Fausto is doggedly and stupidly determined to dominate. The confrontation is superb. Read the rest and see what happens.

History shows that all things must pass.

Superb simple yet prophetic text, spaced beautifully on the page and illustrations that say it all. Fausto is a superb creation and the sea mighty and accepting. Check mountain out after it is all over. What a look.

Simply the best, better than all the rest. Could be a song.

For everybody. Will evoke plenty of discussion.

Selma by Jutta Bauer

June 28, 2018 Comments off

SelmaSelma by Jutta Bauer, pub.Gecko press, 2018

What is it like to be truly content? So content in fact that not even a million dollars would make any difference. Well Selma the sheep has the answer.

Selma gets up at sunrise, eats a little grass, plays with her children, exercises, eats more grass, has a chat with Mrs Miller in the evening, then falls fast asleep.

What a perfect day. There is comfort in routine, at least I have always felt so and Selma thinks so too and I love her to bits. But what if she had more time? read it and find out.

Simplicity itself in both text and illustrations, and so deep. This is for everybody.

It is one of the best books you will ever read.

Nobody Real by Steve Camden.

April 11, 2018 Comments off

nobody real.jpgNobody Real by Steve Camden. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

It took me three days to read this astonishing novel. I sat down poured a whiskey and said Wow. A mixture of realism and fantasy that is strangely satisfying.

To paraphrase a theme from the book “the real us lives in dark corners”. If you don’t want to go there don’t start this book.

Marcie or Mars is about to turn 18 and has just finished her final exams. Everybody says your whole life is in front of you, but first she must settle with the past.

When she was a toddler her artistic mum left and she grew up with her artistic father who is an agonised writer. He has had a novel published that critics called brilliant. Marcie copes with life by creating an invisible friend who is like a boy polar bear she calls Thor. He has been with her for 10 years and it is time to go. She has to be weened off Thor and it is up to Thor to do it.

What Marcie doesn’t know is that Thor has his own unreal world which parallels the real world of Marcie and when his work with Marcie is done he will face the Fade. What is the Fade? You will have to read the novel to find out.

Marcie needs to be herself, she has to make her own mistakes and she has to settle with the breakup of her parents. Her  road to reconcile with the past and her current friends and family is going to be bumpy.

Fascinating style of writing. Written in different fonts for the real and the unreal often poetic, always interesting, often confusing but totally compelling. One of the best young adult novels I have read for a long time.

Oku Moe Moea. The Dream which is bigger than I am by Shona Hammond Boys

January 13, 2016 Comments off

dream biggerOku Moe Moea. The Dream which is bigger than I am by Shona Hammond Boys. Pub.BMS Books 2014

This book had to catch up with me eventually and now that it has I confess to reading it’s 80 odd pages twice with some sort of awe. It is about a young 8 year old boy who has rare vision and is gifted in ways that are hard for mere mortals to understand. He sees the world as one planet and the people as one people living in a globe of crisis.

The boy’s name is Victory and he is the only child that survived childbirth. His mother had 5 girls and 4 boys who are each buried under a rimu or totara tree. Victory is very talented at art, has learned to speak, read to a high level and comprehend deep philosophical concepts and kept it to himself.

He has a friend Legend, who is a sporty type, big and strong but understands Victory while protecting him from bullies and the like in his community. Victory’s father is a bushman and good provider and Victory is sent to a Children’s Art House school set up by the author of this book.

To tell you anymore would take the privilege of reading it away from you. I read it when I am assessing my own life in the wake of the death of David Bowie. This book will not change my life but it has given me a greater understanding of where Humankind is in relation to the condition of the planet and of civilisation.

A superb book for the gifted and thoughtful reader of any age.