Review – Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Hi,

This review is long overdue which resulted in my reading the book twice within the past year. 😀 But I didn’t mind, because Neil Gaiman‘s Fortunately, the Milk is a real treat.

Fortunately the Milk
Image provided by Bloomsbury¹

When Dad stays out way too long on his way to get some milk, his kids want to know where he’s been all the time. What they didn’t expect is that he had a weird time-traveling experience with Professor Steg, a talking dinosaur.

Dad and Professor Steg travel through different centuries and countries and meet all sorts of characters who aren’t always friendly. Professor Steg is an intelligent and likable character with whom I would travel the universe right away and Dad is, well, a caring Dad who doesn’t shy away from the unknown.

Fortunately, the Milk is a witty and imaginative book that holds surprises on every page. Chris Riddell‘s fitting drawings are beautiful and enhance your reading experience. As this book is a great read for adults, I’m sure children will love it too.

5 Star Rating: Recommended

¹http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/fortunately-the-milk–9781408841761/

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Review – The Signature Of All Things

Hi!

First I’d like to thank you all for your patience and that you didn’t run away. 🙂 You are great! Things are looking up and I’m getting back on track. I hope to post my first Frankfurt Book Fair interview in the upcoming weeks. I finally managed to transcribe the interviews, but of course I won’t publish them without giving my interviewees a look at the transcriptions first. 😉

Meanwhile, I have another book review for you. I wanted to read Elizabeth Gilbert‘s The Signature of All Things since I first laid eyes on the UK edition and its synopsis. That was about a month before the publication in October. So I had to wait patiently. I told myself that I’d see how much money I’d need in Frankfurt and that I’d buy the book afterwards. But I didn’t need to. At my interview with Thérèse Coen from Bloomsbury we also talked about The Signature of All Things. And after our interview, she asked me if I already had a copy. Well, I didn’t have one, so she gave one to me! I was the happiest girl ever. That totally made my day! The surprise came about three hours later on the bus ride home. I had time to leaf through the book and only then noticed that the book was signed! You can probably imagine my face! 😀 Thank you so much Thérèse!

Well, even without the signature, this book would be a gem. This edition is so beautiful. I’m in love with it.

thesignatureofallthings
Image provided by Bloomsbury¹
Summary quoted from Bloomsbury¹:

At the beginning of a new century, Alma Whittaker is born into a perfect Philadelphia winter. Her father, Henry Whittaker, is a bold and charismatic botanical explorer whose vast fortune belies his lowly beginnings as a vagrant in Sir Joseph Banks’s Kew Gardens and as a deck hand on Captain Cook’s HMS Resolution. Alma’s mother, a strict woman from an esteemed Dutch family, has a knowledge of botany equal to any man’s.
It is not long before Alma, an independent girl with a thirst for knowledge, comes into her own within the world of plants and science. But as her careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she comes to love draws her in the opposite direction.
The Signature of All Things is a big novel, about a big century. It soars across the globe from London, to Peru, to Philadelphia, to Tahiti, to Amsterdam. Peopled with extraordinary characters – missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses and the quite mad –above all it has an unforgettable heroine in Alma Whittaker, a woman of the Enlightened Age who stands defiantly on the cusp of the modern.

My Thoughts:

The Signature of All Things is mainly set in the 19th century. Its numerous settings include places in Europe, North America and French Polynesia. Even though I have never visited most of the book’s settings, I was able to visualize all of them and Ms. Gilbert’s descriptions are great because when I googled one of the settings, it looked exactly like I imagined it.

The main character, Alma Whittaker, grows up to be a reasonable, intelligent, extremely well-read and well-taught woman. It is remarkable to see the world through her eyes. Alma grows up in a wealthy household and still lives a life so different to other wealthy young women. I felt how uncomfortable she felt in regard to having friends and doing things that didn’t fulfil any purpose. I also relaxed when Alma relaxed, sitting at the table, being surrounded by scholars and scientists. The secondary characters in The Signature of All Things are beautifully crafted. Each has their own story to tell and would be interesting enough to write a novel about.

The book’s plot spans Alma’s, plus a quick version of her father’s life. It is very detailed. You will learn much about botany (but I guess you figured that by reading the synopsis) but there are also long conversations about spirituality. Even though I really liked the overall story, The Signature of All Things has many passages that felt drawn-out. It was as if everything written had to stay in the book. My reading pace was an interplay of quick and slow. Nevertheless, I think you should read this book if you like the synopsis. The Signature of All Things might be drawn-out at times, but it is also absorbing, surprising, adventurous and different.

4 Star Rating: Recommended

¹http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-signature-of-all-things-9781408841891/

Frankfurt Book Fair – We’re Back!

Hi y’all,

We’re back from our short but busy trip to Frankfurt Book Fair. In those few days, we met wonderful people, walked many miles, saw beautiful books and learned a lot.

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Beautiful Usborne Booth

Our trip started with a snow storm that delayed our departure and arrival. The late arrival also prevented us from visiting the fair on Friday. Therefore, we weren’t able to meet Megan from Harper Collins International Sales who had to leave that day. We would have loved to chat with her but the weather and traffic weren’t on our side that day.

On Saturday, I met Kirsty Wilson from Canongate, who was awesome. She was flexible enough to just squeeze our interview between two appointments. Ain’t that great? After my interview with Kirsty, Miss Treegarden and I went to a Lovelybooks get-together to meet all those people I only knew from the internet. The only problem was that it was pretty cold and everyone wore jackets or coats that kept the unique blog t-shirts some attendees wore hidden. I only recognized the two girls working for Lovelybooks, the other attending people will stay a mystery to me. 😀

After the get-together, Miss Treegarden and I had a little stroll through halls 3.0 and 3.1 which are halls full of German publishers’ booths. These halls got overcrowded quickly, so Miss Treegarden and I decided to separate and she went to see the other German halls, while I went back to lovely and quiet hall 8.0, the international hall. It’s a little sad to see the difference between the international hall and the German halls, because you notice that the Germans don’t seem to be that interested in international literature. Still, it had a good side that hall 8.0 wasn’t crowded: I had room to roam 🙂 At the Telegram, Saqi, Westbourne Press booth, I had a great talk with Ashley Biles who supplied me with two interesting books. Thank you! A few rows down, at the Chronicle Books booth, I stumbled upon this wonderful poster. I even got a paper cup of Grumpy Cat to take home  😀

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Grumpy Cat didn’t agree with me.

On Sunday, time was short. We only had four hours until our departure. Nevertheless, we attended a talk by Frank Grafe of Random House Germany, who told us about their publishing house and the work they do at the book fair. Later on, I met lovely Thérèse Coen from Bloomsbury for an interview. We had a great chat and I left with a wonderful present, a book I’ve been waiting to read for months. Thank you SO much. I noticed much later just how precious this present was. At the bus on our way home, I had a closer look and saw that it was signed. I was barely able to breathe. Oh wow Thérèse, you sure made my week! After another quick stroll through hall 8.0, I had to say goodbye to my favorite hall, as I planned to join Miss Treegarden for a book signing that was very important to her. On our way out of the fair grounds, we also got a quick look at Cecilia Ahern (P.S. I Love You), who was also signing books at the fair. Boy, isn’t she young?

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Cecilia Ahern signing tons of books

Our days at Frankfurt Book Fair had come to an end and we had to board the bus back home again. Before leaving for Frankfurt, I was a little worried, but now, I’m glad everything worked out fine. I’m sure, I’ll be back soon. This was only a quick roundup of our trip. I promise you’ll read more about it in the upcoming weeks!