P.J O'Rourke.

With these words of wisdom in mind I thought I would talk a bit about one of the
great loves of my life.
Big books. Small books. Heavy books. Light books. Books of facts. Books of fiction. Books of reason. Books of nonsense. Work books. Fun books. Grown up books. Children's books.
At the moment I'm very much in a bookish frame of mind.
This Wednesday I am hosting another story telling for the under 5's.
"The Tiger who came to tea."
An absolute favourite within the walls of this house.
I love it because its a wonderfully entertaining story that captivates the children's imaginations.
But I also love it because if I think hard enough (and trust me I have done a lot of thinking about this book) and squint my eyes slightly whilst thinking uplifting thoughts there could be a hidden meaning. But I think that may just be me.
So before I get completely sidetracked and end up in a culdesac of mine own making I would like to share with you some of the books that have come in to our family recently.

This is the first.
Repro Depot's flora pattern book.
The book has 75 patterns in it each in three different colour ways,
all ready to print out and use on craft projects.
The book shows all the different designs and the enclosed disk has all the information you need to print them again and again.

There is also a folksy pattern book which I am seriously thinking of investing in.

I had read so many great things about Rob Ryan's book, and lets face it you couldn't move with out bumping in to it over this Christmas, so I felt it would be rude not to treat myself to a little present.

And I was not disappointed.
The paper cuts are beautiful and the story heart breaking.
But then what is there not to love about Rob Ryan?

While trawling through Amazon one night I found this amazing book.
Sara Fanelli's "Sometimes I think, sometimes I am"
The book is in five parts devils and angels, love, colour, mythology and the absurd.
Each illustration is based on a quote.

"Tell me where is fancy bred, or in the heart or in the head"
William Shakespeare.

"To write a weepy poem try onion juice" Stephane Mallarme.
I keep on picking this book up and dipping in and out of it.
Each time I find something new, humorous and inspiring.

The Hippy discovered this book and knew I would love it.

Published in 1910 it tells the story of little Bobby who lives at the top of the hill and the adventure he has when his pram rolls away with him in it.

The slant of the book gives you the angle of the hill.

When we saw this book before Christmas it was bought and paid for and hidden away for the big day before either of the children could blink or braw breath.

We both remembered it so well from our own childhoods.
It comes with a cd which has the best music on it for you to read along to.

I really really love illustrations in children's books from the late 1960's and early 1970's.
Well actually I think I just love illustrations in children's books.

Which brings me to this final book in my little book club for one.
Something Father Christmas lovingly placed in the stocking of the Ginger Ninja.
Possibly, due to his love of the wrestling annual his auntie bought him, more for his mama's reading pleasure than his own.

Patrick George's "A filth of starlings"
A book about the collective nouns for animals.
Some well known, a pod of dolphins, some lesser known, a parliament of Owls
and some I suspect fanciful a hover of trout.
I could have taken a photo of every illustration in the book to show you, but in the end settled on this one.

"A kettle of hawks
Swirling and spiralling, hawks seek out the rising air thermal during migration.
Hungry for its prey, the white tailed hawk plucks insects from the rising smoke of the wildfire.
And a pair indulge in aerial acrobatics, steamily circling, diving and soaring during courtship."
How poetic is that?
And remember anyone who says they have only one life to live
must not know how to read a book.
Happy reading.
Love Nora xxx


  1. It is GREAT that you love books xxx (You didn't always - ssshhh, Bobbie!) My problem from now on is always WRITE something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it - any day now!

  2. Thanks Jane – I also have perceived hidden meanings in the Tiger who came to Tea. I think it’s a pretty sinister story and I very much buy into a masculist reading of the story.

    Essentially the hidden themes are all about invasion and conquest. The Tiger represents a powerful invading force entering a country (the family home) and pillaging it of all its natural resources. The women folk of this land, across the age spectrums, are bemused and initially shocked – but also excited by the sheer power of this exotic force. They entertain it, feed it and marvel at its voraciousness and greed. They fear the Tiger but resistance quickly gives way to affection – and a willing submission to its powers.

    The husband represents the defeated indigenous army coming home after a struggle only to find his home pillaged and his women-folk buying into the deceit. In contrast to the exciting, testosterone-fuelled tiger, the husband is boring, drab a domesticated cuckolded husband who despite providing for his family, has no glamour or excitement to him.

    The final insult is that he has to pay for meal out – and the mysterious Tiger re-appears in a domesticated version as a cat – winking at the reader through the gloom. You know that he might not appear again as a Tiger but forever he will be sinister memory within a broken household.

  3. So, I've been sitting here reading your wonderful post on books, glorious books, and discovered a little covetous drool leaking from my lips. Ooh, what a gorgeous lot of books these! I realize now, that I only buy the small one books anymore and never for myself. It seems a luxury and money that should be spent elsewhere. I do remember the days of my youth when I would forgo a weeks proper groceries to buy a book. I remember a time I ate nothing but oatmeal for days on end because I had to have 'The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry'. Me thinks I need to spend an afternoon in Powells Books, one of the largest new and used book stores in America - it's just down town!

  4. The Tiger who came to tea is a favourite here too.

    thank you for sharing all these other lovelies xx

    i have enjoyed looking and reading about them.

  5. Thanks for all the messages people.
    Two things to point out.
    1 I have always been in to books, Bobbie I think your memory must be faulty!
    2. Jon, Nikki did warn me not to open this can of worms!
    my take is much the same only may be a little more of a idealistic bit of re worked socialist propaganda!
    The Fat cat arrives at the door of the working family, tricks its way in by making the populace think its wonderful and will deliver all to every one. It then bleeds them dry and departs. Leaving poverty and hunger in its wake, with not so much as a backwards glance.
    But you never know where the Fat cats are hiding, or who is working for them, hence the ginger tom at the end of the book.
    Also Judith Kerr and in fact her family are really interesting, her father was a play write and they had to flee Germany in the early 1930's. They ended up eventually here in England. She wrote another book about her childhood experiences in germany called "Hitler stole Pink Rabbit" aimed at children. Her brother a top and famous Lawyer also wrote a memoir about their early lives.

  6. Apologies. So that was what you were doing up there ;-)

  7. I think I love ALL of these books, I haven't had a splurge on books for ages (other than children's ones), I think I need to spend some time in the grown up sections.
    One of my 'hopes' for this year is to read more, I used to read all the time but generally nod off if I'm quiet and still for a while these days.

  8. Hello, Just found your blog. I had a quick peek at your flickr stream, I really liked your photos..Em x


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