World Book Night 2014

Poster made by the fantastic Amy of


Happy Mothers Day!

I was going to buy you

a card with hearts of pink and red,

but then I thought

I’d rather spend the money on me instead.

It’s awfully hard to buy things

when one’s allowance is so small,

so, I guess you’re pretty lucky

I got you anything at all.

Happy Mother’s Day to you.

There I said it.

Now, I’m done.

So how ’bout getting out of bed,

and cooking breakfast for your son?

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book

Making the move

Slowly but surely over the next few weeks I’ll be making the move from Blogger to WordPress! Hopefully this changes will be a breath of fresh air for LBC and will see us back in blogging mode (I say us, obviously the primary culprit here is me!).

Looking forward to populating these pages with our older posts as well as lots of new stuff!!

If you’d like to get involved with blogging for us or joining LBC, drop me a line on twitter @LeedsBookClub or an email at leedsbookclub @ (with no spaces!).

Featured image found on deviant art by  Sedeptra - isn’t it awesome!



LBCPuffins choice for May

at The White Swan Pub, Swan Street Leeds on 13th May 2014 – Grinny – Nicholas Fisk


by Nicholas Fisk

Great Aunt Emma is no ordinary old lady. But why is she so strange? For a start, she just appeared, grinning, on the doorstep, as if from nowhere. Why have Mum and Dad never mentioned her before – after all, she is supposed to be Granny’s sister, isn’t she?

Soon Tim and Beth start noticing more and more odd things about the great-aunt they’ve nicknamed ‘Grinny’. And before long, they make a horrifying discovery. She isn’t even human, she’s as dangerous as a time-bomb and she has a fearful task to perform which involves them…

Andy Crane worked for Piccadilly Radio and Capital Radio before joining the BBC in 1986. Since then, he has appeared on Going Live, Jim’ll Fix It and Blankety Blank, and has presented Top of the Pops. -GOODREADS

If anyone needs to borrow my copy I can post it to you or meet up. just let me know. its my next read to finish by Tuesday. Tweet me @isfromupnorth :D



Chief Puffin

LBC Puffins


Divergent Trailer

For #GiraffeLBC (meeting tomorrow evening at 6pm in the Giraffe Bar and shrill on Greek Street), we have been reading Divergent by Veronica Roth.

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Sounds pretty bleak, right? Naturally Divergent has been adapted into a moooovie – the latest touted YA Blockbuster.

Check out the trailer here:

Giraffe LBC – Children of Men Write Up

Giraffe LBC
Date:  Tuesday 7th of October 2014
Time:  6pm – 8pm
Address: 6 Greek Street, Leeds, LS1 5RW
Tel: (0113) 244 1500

* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *

Huge thanks to the wonderful @AlisonNeale for providing this write up and co-ordinating the return of the Dystopian book club for 2014!


The Children of Men is a story of a world with no children and no future. 
The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her band of unlikely revolutionaries may just awaken his desire to live . . . and they may also hold the key to survival for the human race.


No children. No future. No hope. In the year 2027, eighteen years since the last baby was born, disillusioned Theo (Clive Owen) becomes an unlikely champion of the human race when he is asked by his former lover (Julianne Moore) to escort a young pregnant woman out of the country as quickly as possible. In a thrilling race against time, Theo will risk everything to deliver the miracle the whole world has been waiting for. Co-starring Michael Caine, filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men is the powerful film Pete Hammond of Maxim calls “magnificent…a unique and totally original vision.
We read the book and watched the film in this case, and unusually, they both have merit in different areas, although they bear little resemblance. It was noticeable that those of us who read the book first preferred it, while those who knew the film beforehand enjoyed its bleaker story line and cinematic beauty. It was also felt that the film was more representative of its time in terms of politics and attitudes, while the book was somehow timeless, or perhaps more accurately old-fashioned. The film felt more global, the book more local. In the film the baby needed to escape the UK, and thus Theo’s (the protagonist) role at the end had been played out; the book, conversely, kept the baby in the UK, so Theo had a new part to play, as protector.

This may have to do with the altered setting:

  • the film shows the country in a violent and dangerous flux after the discovery of the fertility problem, 
  • whereas the book seems to be set much later, when the ageing population has calmed somewhat and just wants to ensure a peaceful, safe existence, free from boredom.

One reader suggested that the book would have been more interesting without the baby, simply telling the tale of the demise of the human race until the lights went out. Certainly the disturbing idea of the Quietus – not used in the film – gives a glimpse of the brutal possibilities. So to a major criticism of the novel: coincidence. It was felt to be somewhat unrealistic that Theo just happened to know someone at the Quietus he attended. In a rather larger example, how fortunate that of all the women who could get pregnant, it was one of the rebel group. Some book clubbers pointed out that in the novel the population has shrunk significantly and society is very insular, so it is less unrealistic. The film does not suffer from this problem. In the novel, it is men who have become infertile – a clever device, as it narrows the window to recover the human race in a way that infertile women does not. The latter is the case in the film, which some felt disempowered women and at the same time changed the dynamic of the rebel group. The characters in the novel are thoroughly unlikeable, be it unpleasant or completely devoid of personality, and none of us felt any sympathy for them. Some readers pointed out that this would not have been a problem had they been interesting. Sadly, so often not the case. We agreed that the one character we really wanted to know more about was the Warden, whose motives were never entirely clear. Both novel and film were felt to be hyper-realisations of immigration policy. The film, with its detention centre, took this to extremes, while the book only mentioned in passing the trials and treatment of the ‘sojourners’. A good point was made that this element of the story could not have worked anywhere but on an island. British society has fought to retain the country as a last bastion of civilisation and hope, resigning itself to dictatorship in order to retain order. We had an intriguing conflict of opinion about Theo’s actions at the end of the book. Some of us felt that unpleasant as Theo was, it was only when he donned the ring at the end that he lost his morality and humanity; others disagreed, claiming that the ring was a temporary measure and his actions redeemed his earlier crime of wilful blindness. You’ll have to read the book yourself to decide! Criticism of the author’s repetitive style also caused discussion, with a few readers feeling that it built in atmosphere and emphasised the religious tone, while others claimed that it made the book more difficult (in one case impossible) to read. The religious theme and references throughout the book annoyed some readers (partly owing to recognising vaguely, but not fully understanding them); however, it was acknowledged that the author and any readers with a similar viewpoint would enjoy their significance. We felt that this dystopia was a realistic imagination of events that could genuinely come to pass, with some nifty nods to long-term British political issues. Our criticism was more of writing style than storyline, and this is reflected in our scores. The film probably won out in the end, though.


Our next read is Divergent by Veronica Roth!

Find fellow members on twitter by searching for #GiraffeLBC.

Follow @GiraffeTweet for details on the deliciousables and their projects nationwide.
Let me know your thoughts by either tweeting me @LeedsBookClub, commenting below or emailing me at

Giraffe LBC – High Rise – Write Up

Giraffe LBC
Date:  Tuesday October 2013
Time:  6pm – 8pm
Address: 6 Greek Street, Leeds, LS1 5RW
Tel: (0113) 244 1500

* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *


Within the concealing walls of an elegant forty-storey tower block, the affluent tenants are hell-bent on an orgy of destruction. Cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on ‘enemy’ floors and the once-luxurious amenities become an arena for riots and technological mayhem.
In this visionary tale of urban disillusionment from the renowned author of Crash and Cocaine Nights, society slips into a violent reverse as the isolated inhabitants of the high-rise, driven by primal urges, recreate a dystopian world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

Huge thanks to the wonderful @AlisonNeale for providing this write up and co-ordinating the Dystopian book club!

Possibly the oddest opening line I’ve ever read and the book only gets weirder. We agreed at the start, however, that this book is not intended to be realistic – although those of us living in blocks of flats could see flashes of realism in the situation – and is instead an allegory and an amplification of the actions of humanity in times of crisis.

High-Rise interestingly reveals that even among people of one class or social stratum, divisions and shifts of allegiance into tribes will take place. There’s always someone to look down on or blame. Politically, this is perhaps a particularly good time to be reading such a book.

 The story switches between representatives of the tribes, allowing the reader alone to realise the depth of paranoia among the inhabitants of the high-rise. Alongside the author, residents are shown to be orchestrating and furthering the ‘experiment’, videoing events and manipulating those around them. We found it hard to understand why they wished to exacerbate the situation and at the same time keep it a secret from the outside world. As society breaks down, the adults become primeval cave(wo)men – a behaviour that in the character of Laing, for example, leads to uncomfortable extremes.

So, what did we think of it? This is the first dystopian novel we have read set in such insular circumstances. In fact, the setting of London is completely irrelevant: the story could be anywhere, and almost at any time. However, it took us longer to read than expected, given that it’s a short book. We found it interesting, but unpleasant; however, we were nearly all ‘gripped’ and eager to reach the end. Said ending was somewhat unexpected, although its lack of a proper conclusion was not unliked by most.We noted the book’s detached feel: there is no moralising, no judgement – simply documentary narration.
On the heels of the recent announcement of a film version, we felt that the last lines of the story seemed particularly cinematic.At the same time, however, we were uncomfortable with the extremely male perspective: rape was a simple shorthand for the breakdown in society and some of the attitudes to an extent reflect the time in which the book was written. Abusive behaviour also applied to the treatment of animals – again a rather uncomfortable read – but oddly, in this case the author gave more detail and expressed far more sympathy than for the humans.The scores probably accurately reflect our feelings: it was a worthy novel, well written, and while in no way was it a pleasure to read, we were glad we had.



Find fellow members on twitter by searching for #GiraffeLBC.

Follow @GiraffeTweet for details on the deliciousables and their projects nationwide (which this month include an awesome #GiraffesCantDance giveaway!).
Let me know your thoughts by either tweeting me @LeedsBookClub, commenting below or emailing me at

Giraffe LBC – Watchmen

#Giraffe LBC
Date:  Tuesday 5th of February 2013
Time:  6pm – 8pm
Address: 6 Greek Street, Leeds, LS1 5RW
Tel: (0113) 244 1500

* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *
* * * * * SPOILERS * * * * *


“Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night.

Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else.

Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world.

Was Rorschach.

Find fellow members on twitter by searching for #GiraffeLBC.

Follow @GiraffeTweet for details on the deliciousables and their projects nationwide (which this month include an awesome #GiraffesCantDance giveaway!).
Let me know your thoughts by either tweeting me @LeedsBookClub, commenting below or emailing me at

Enid Blyton Challenge Book 08 – The Boy Next Door

One of our Superstar Guest Stars has agreed to a new challenge based on our chats relating to #LBCPuffins.

Can’t wait to read each review as they come! Huge thanks – as always – to Helen…though now I think on it…missing out on all these wonderful stories… Clearly we need each other!
Helen’s Enid Blyton Challenge

About the Author

The Boy Next Door

THE BLURB (Taken from the back of this edition)

First edition 1944 my edition 1951About the book: Robin, Betty and Lucy are delighted when some new people move into the empty house close to theirs – especially when they spot a boy of their own age over the fence. But a sinister mystery surrounds Kit, the boy next door – a secret so terrible that he is forced to live like a prisoner. The children try to help him escape- and find themselves in a desperate struggle against a ruthless criminal. 




This for me has to be the best so far. Obviously it doesn’t compete with the book of Brownies for nostalgia reasons but as for writing and a story it’s almost as if it wasn’t Enid Blyton. A mixture of Secret Seven and Famous Five but with a bit more danger thrown in. 

The story begins with us meeting Betty who is awaiting the arrival of her brother Robin, home from boarding school for the summer and her cousin Lucy and her dog Sandy come to stay.

Robin returns home feeling much older and doesn’t want to play with the girls thinking girls can’t catch and wishes for another boy to play with. They are told a new family are coming to stay next door and the children hope, well Robin hopes that it is another boy to play with. They hear a lot of howling from next door and sure enough there is a boy dressed as a Red Indian, we soon discover is They decide they are going to dress up and seek next door to give the boy a fright. However the boy captures them and ties each of them to a tree and disappears. The woman who had been sat reading when they first looked into the garden comes across them and is shocked to find them. They tell her the boy tied them up and she exclaims there never was one. She unties them and tells them never to come back. 
Later a ball comes over the fence with a message in it explaining that he would like to meet but the hole has been covered up in the hedge where they entered, and that another rout must be found but they must not be seen. The children begin to wonder what kind of mystery is going on next door if the boy they met ‘does not exist!’

The story leads on to the discovery that the boy is in hiding from his ‘evil uncle’ since his father was killed in a plane crash leaving him an orphan and very rich and that ever since his ‘evil uncle’ has kidnapped him twice and is trying again to gain his fortune. The children do find a way to meet again and discover a houseboat on the river which a gentleman - Mr Cunningham – agrees to let them have for two slices of birthday cake. The children set about redecorating the boat and plan ways to seek Kit out onto the boat so they can have picnics and adventures.
Then one day they find out Mr Cunningham has gone abroad and the children and told by two nasty men to stay clear of the boat as they want peace and quiet. However it turns out they are working for Kit’s Uncle and they hide the boat. It’s discovered by Robin later on under some willows down a back stretch of the river and has had its windows bordered up.

A few days later Robin wonders what has happened to Kit and goes next door to investigate and discovers Kit locked in his bedroom. After hearing Mr Barton climb the stairs he hides only to be discovered by the adults. Robin makes his escape but only just and runs to tell the girls. He decides he must go back and help Kit and in doing so discovers that Mr Barton is plotting with the ‘evil Uncle’ to have the boy kidnapped again. Robin decides it would be best to hide Kit and takes him to the boat, only to discover later that is where the evil Uncle was planning to hide him. Its here where the adventure reaches its climax and good again conquers evil with a few surprises on the way.

This to me was a child’s introduction to mystery and crime writing and if I had children I would definitely read this to them. I was totally gripped and found myself shouting ‘no don’t do that, it’s a trap!’ It involved kids using their imaginations, wits, looking out for each other, and learning that not all adults are friendly. They climbed trees, dug holes, played games, made dens and created a friendship that would last forever, a childhood everyone should have.

Whilst writing this I tried researching the book and found very little apart from this the Enid Blyton society and this blog HERE.

Next book: Mr Galliano’s Circus

The Book List

Dec – The Twins at St Clare’s
Nov – The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat
Oct – The Naughtiest School Girl
Sep – Mr Galliano’s Circus
Aug – The Boy Next Door
Jul - Adventures of the wishing Chair
Jun – The Magic Faraway Tree
May - The Enchanted Wood
Apr - The Adventures of Scamp
Mar - Secret Seven
Feb - Five on a treasure Island
Jan - The Book of Brownies

The Challenge

Helen tweets from @isfromupnorth and has her own blog Hello from me to you. It’s worth bookmarking because Helen knows EVERYONE and is involved in all sorts of lovely events!


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