The saga of the Enid Blyton Challenge

I started this last year ‘The Challenge’ but life got in the way and I stopped half way through. And as almost come to the end of another year I am determined to finish it. I have two books left but 6 reviews to do but it will be done.

The two that are left are:

TheMysteryOfThePantomimeCat index111

I’ve really enjoyed reading these and I got the chance to go the Seven Stories museum and see the exhibtion. I think everyone should read Enid Blyton, whatever age you are and just switch off from the world once in a while.


True Love – Owen Elgie

A friend of mine – Owen Elgie – has been writing fantasy for the last few years and recently decided to ‘go public’ with it.

He has completed his first novel - The Circle of Fire – which will be released in a near future and is currently working on the second in that series.


Recently, he sent me a short drabble that he had been working on – two pages entitled ‘True Love’.

Frankly, it’s one of those horrible creepy shorts that makes you wonder if you really know a person at all!

Naturally, once I had offered his wife a non-judgmental ear -should she need it – I decided to record an audio recording of True Love.


PLEASE NOTE – the story and recording contain ADULT content.

Not for those of a nervous disposition or prone to Hitchcockian nightmares.


Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Check out Owen’s blog HERE

Christmas Meet Up

Date for your diary – 12th of December

Venue – White Swan, City Centre

Time – 7:30pm


christmas book tree

Hey there everyone,

I know I know, we haven’t even had Halloween yet…but y’all are so busy if I don’t book you now…

As regular book clubbers we know, we always take the month of December off from the various clubs and meet ups – something about spending time with loved ones and preparing for the 25th.

However, to ensure that we don’t have to miss each other too much for too long – all LBC-ers, friends, pet authors, maths jammers, clandestine cake clubbers (latters – if they wish) and (il)literate people are invited to hit the town together for a bit of a sesh!

This year, White Swan will be setting aside a bit of space for us to meet up, natter and imbide liquidy substances.



christmas books

LBC Dystopia – Gone Away World – Nick Harkaway

Date:  Tuesday 28th of October 2014
Time:  6pm – 8pm
Address: Harper Street, LS2 7EA
Tel: 0113 246 9405



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



The Jorgmund Pipe is the backbone of the world, and it’s on fire. Gonzo Lubitsch, professional hero and troubleshooter, is hired to put it out – but there’s more to the fire, and the Pipe itself, than meets the eye. The job will take Gonzo and his best friend, our narrator, back to their own beginnings and into the dark heart of the Jorgmund Company itself.

Equal parts raucous adventure, comic odyssey and Romantic Epic, The Gone-Away World is a story of – among other things – love and loss; of ninjas, pirates, politics; of curious heroism in strange and dangerous places; and of a friendship stretched beyond its limits. But it also the story of a world, not unlike our own, in desperate need of heroes – however unlikely they may seem.

gone away world



Had all worked to plan, we’d have met up in June and discussed Nick Harkaway’s first novel – The Gone Away World. Well, it’s been MONTHS but the LBC Dystopia book club is finally back in business! 


We quickly settled into our new home and began to catch up. Unfortunately, the majority of the group had read the book a few months ago and found that the details had faded slightly, particularly of the ending. A new member (who fit into the craziness very quickly!) was still reading it which lead to my doing one of my totally coherent; logical; sensible and totally factually accurate run through’s of the plot.

It was spectacular. I made my way through about 2/3’s of the book before one of the clubbers pointed out that I was called the primary female character by the wrong name(Leah for some reason became Jane). And that was probably the high point! D’oh! So this is going to be a brief, just to cover the main aspects of our chat!

The book – a giant sprawling rambily story – made sense to me as existing in four distinct sections. While not particularly coherent, parts of it were incredibly easy to read while others seemed far more dense. 

- The opening deals with the current day distopic situation. The world is a very different place with all life dependent on the Jorgmund Pipe, which has been set alight. Our intrepid band of heroes are assembled to attempt to save the day. For many of us, this was the most vividly realised section of the book and the part that stayed strongest in the memory. Pencil necks, Dick Wash, Cubritannia and shiny pretty trucks being particularly well received!

- The second goes back in time – before the destruction of the world as we know it (sort of – one or two or us hypothesised that the world had already changed drastically from what we could consider the ‘norm’) elaborating on the origins of our protagonist – his life as a child, through school, Gung Fu training under the esteemed Master Wu, University and career – joining a version of special forces. Depending on how we reacted to the first few chapters this was either the most interesting, or the most unexpected part of the tale – so utterly different from what preceded it. We very much enjoyed the family dynamic and Elizabeth and Master Wu were very humourous if more described than developed as characters. The discussions at university and the quota system regarding subversives was also very well delivered. I personally was tickled that the end of the world was delivered by the the very ordinary monikered Derek.

- The third section slowly meanders back into dystopia terms – the Go Away War which led to the world changing its shape, our protagonist meeting his wife and settling down and the consequences of the war. It ended on the big twist – that the main character was an unreliable narrator of somewhat epic proportions. Now, in the main, this was well received but I have to admit, I was aching to get back to the plot by this section – tiring slightly of the constant introduction of new characters and curious about the Pipe – though granted my understanding was enhanced via its inclusion. Here, the war was incredibly chaotic – probably the most accurate thing about the book. (The retrospective meaning behind the characters mourning his lack of being shot status was one of those ‘EUREKA!’ moments for at least one of us!) The pop-culture references were utilised in an accurate and realistic way that provided genuinely useful visual references to the scene being set before us (Mount Doom for example),

- Then the big finale – the battle of good versus evil. The stage having been set, the author continued to ram as many new characters as would fit the page and the exhausted pace never lets up. Nevertheless, we were all convinced of one thing and one thing only.

ninja vs mimes

Ninjas bad. Mimes good.

Actually, there was one other little interesting moment when we discussed a question raised by one of the longer term members of the group. Can a dystopia ever *NOT* be weird? Usually the world changing event has taken place in the past – before the book itself begins – and then the characters live and operate in ways that are quite foreign to us – the reader. However, there is often an internal logic that allows us to make sense to a certain extent of these behaviours and though processes. This book was – on the other hand – particularly weird and wonderful. Surreal even, if not outrightly INSANE!

I have a feeling that I’ll be mentally arguing both sides of this one for some time to come. Grr! 



Our next read is UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld

28th January 2015

(OMG, IKR?!?!)


Find fellow members on twitter by searching for #LBCDystopia

Let me know your thoughts by either tweeting me @LeedsBookClub, commenting below or emailing me at

Dates for your diary November 2014


Christmas Read-a-long 2014 – Act 02



caesar 02


WC – 27th of Oct 2014 – ACT 02

Scene 01 – An Orchard

Scene 02 – Caesar’s Home

Scene 03 – A Street near the Capitol

Scene 04 – Same Street

 There weren’t any warnings on the video clip on youtube and I have a high tolerance for violence and nudity(!) on TV so please don’t watch if you are of a sensitive nature.

Available FREEProject Gutenberg

Available FREEiTunes

Available FREEKindle

Grounded at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

 “My pulse quickens. It is not a fair fight, but it quickens.”

She’s a hot-rod F16 fighter pilot. She’s pregnant. Her career in the sky is over.

Now, she sits in an air-conditioned trailer in Las Vegas flying remote-controlled drones over the Middle East. She struggles through surreal 12-hour shifts far from the battlefield, hunting terrorists by day and being a wife and mother by night.

A gripping, compulsive new play that flies from the heights of lyricism to the shallows of workaday existence, and targets our assumptions about war, family, and what it is to be a woman.


The Gate Theatre is celebrating it’s 35th birthday. For the first time ever, it is touring one of its productions and I’m delighted that it chose Grounded – a Fringe First Award winner – to represent it’s work outside of London.

George Brant has written an eloquent and forceful one-person (one-woman) show about a fighter pilot turned drone operator. The set is minimalist and potent – by turns a stage, a cocoon, a barrier and more – deliberately ambiguous.

Lucy Ellinson delivers a powerful and intense turn as the nameless pilot turned operator focused on balancing shift work with family life. From the moment that she began to speak, I was gripped. Her delivery is staggering; she occupies the tiny set with an unexpected physicality that further solidifies the character before us. Despite the often times difficult subject matter, the play has moments of unexpected humour and tenderness and several times there were guffaws of laughter from the audience!

While the play is ostensibly about drones and the emotional cost that they can have on an operator; it covers far more ground than that. For each of us that watched it, the politics of the play are at once obvious and personal (as beautifully expressed by Beckie Darlington). We take from it the message that we chose.

At it’s most fundamental; it is a play about military personnel. That the pilot is a woman who had a child is by no means incidental, however, to my mind, it is first and foremost a chillingly accurate portrayal of the ambiguous moral and political sphere we increasingly find ourselves living in.

It is rare that I find myself recommending a play unreservedly. I think that everyone should try and see this over the next few days.

After the production I had the rare privilege of meeting the star (so utterly different off stage) and had a great chat with Will Lewis (Technical Touring  Manager), Beckie Darlington (Tour Producer) and Katy Munrow Farlie (Deputy Stage Manager).

Their passion for the production goes some way in explaining the astounding 148 shows so far – from London to Washington (where it was particularly well received) to Wales, now Leeds. And Manchester next I believe. When I asked about the intensity and commitment necessary for such a long run, Katy joked that there had definitely been the odd period of madness requiring the occasional conscious decision to create a bit of distance. Regardless, each person clearly had tremendous pride in the play and their interpretation of it.

There are a number of different productions currently in place across the globe. Lucy is apparently in touch with many of the other ‘pilots’.  As a pure monologue, there are no stage directions and each has found it’s own way to best reflect their unique visions. It’s hard to imagine another show as abstract or absorbing as the Gate one.


WYP_red_greyGrounded at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

Buy tickets HERE

Visit the Gate Theatre website HERE




LBC Outlaws – 23rd October 2014 – Cancelled!

LBC Outlaws will not be on tonight!!


Instead, Wrath of Angels will be discussed during the 27th of November 2014 meeting!



home work for LBCPuffins and choice for November @whiteswanleeds

I’m so excited about this next choice, I love Neil Gaiman’s work and it’s a good choice to end 2014. I apologise for all the rearranging and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the puffins who have regularly attended this year.

I have loved the variety we have had and the discussions, moans about animal stories, reflecting on how we loved the stories when young and old and how we do now.

I started reading kids books after reading Harry Potter to my cousins while sat in their bedroom doorways at bedtime, after my Uncle asked me to. Since then I fell in love with HP and then a few years later took to reading kids/young adult books again as it was the best way to clear my mind, and enjoy reading as I felt bogged down with adult fiction.

People used to mock me for what I chose to read and still do but I don’t care I just love reading. Read this article sent to me by Stefanie a regular puffin -read what you want

So put this date in your diary and for our next meeting we will be picking choices for January and February 2015, yes this year has quickly vanished. I wonder what choices we’ll have and hope its even bigger and better!!!!

19th November

The Graveyard Book – by Neil Gaiman

5499874After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family . . .

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

Meet at the


from 6:30pm


Chief Puffin

Christmas Read-a-long 2014 – Act 01




Who’s Who

The Main Cast of Characters

JULIUS CAESAR, Roman statesman and general
OCTAVIUS, Triumvir after Caesar’s death, later Augustus Caesar, first emperor of Rome
MARK ANTONY, general and friend of Caesar, a Triumvir after his death
LEPIDUS, third member of the Triumvirate
MARCUS BRUTUS, leader of the conspiracy against Caesar

CASSIUS, instigator of the conspiracy
CASCA, conspirator against Caesar
TREBONIUS, conspirator against Caesar
CAIUS LIGARIUS, conspirator against Caesar
DECIUS BRUTUS, conspirator against Caesar
METELLUS CIMBER, conspirator against Caesar
CINNA, conspirator against Caesar

CALPURNIA, wife of Caesar
PORTIA, wife of Brutus
CICERO, senator
POPILIUS, senator

FLAVIUS, tribune
MARULLUS, tribune
CATO, supportor of Brutus
LUCILIUS, supportor of Brutus
TITINIUS, supportor of Brutus
MESSALA, supportor of Brutus
VOLUMNIUS, supportor of Brutus

ARTEMIDORUS, a teacher of rhetoric
CINNA, a poet

WC – 13th of Oct 2014 – ACT 01

Scene 01 – Rome

Scene 02 – A Public Place

Scene 03 – A Street

Available FREEProject Gutenberg

Available FREEiTunes

Available FREEKindle


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