#BookReview THE CAT WHO SAVED BOOKS by SOSUKE NATSUKAWA

ABOUT THE BOOK

Grandpa used to say it all the time: books have tremendous power. But what is that power really?

Natsuki Books was a tiny second-hand bookshop on the edge of town. Inside, towering shelves reached the ceiling, every one crammed full of wonderful books. Rintaro Natsuki loved this space that his grandfather had created. He spent many happy hours there, reading whatever he liked. It was the perfect refuge for a boy who tended to be something of a recluse.

After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro is devastated and alone. It seems he will have to close the shop. Then, a talking tabby cat called Tiger appears and asks Rintaro for help. The cat needs a book lover to join him on a mission. This odd couple will go on three magical adventures to save books from people have imprisoned, mistreated and betrayed them. Finally, there is one last rescue that Rintaro must attempt alone…

The Cat Who Saved Books is a heart-warming story about finding courage, caring for others – and the tremendous power of books. Sosuke Natsukawa’s international best seller, translated from Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai, is a story for those for whom books are so much more than words on paper.

PUBLISHED BY PICADOR

MY REVIEW

This is one of those wonderful little books that speaks to you if you are an avid reader and book lover, as I am! It’s just charming and perfectly sums up the wonder of books and the impact that a book can have on a person.

It’s told through the eyes of Rintaro, who is mourning the loss of his beloved grandfather and is faced with keeping open the second hand bookshop that his grandfather devoted his life to. Not knowing what the future holds for him, he is guided by Tiger a cat who shows up at the shop to guide him along the way of saving books from imprisoned states from owners who are ‘mistreating’ books in various ways and it really makes you look at the world a little differently and gets you thinking on different levels.

The characters are very sweet and easy to sympathise with, Rintaro especially, as he’s seemingly on his own in the world for the first time without that family guidance, but he knows he has to honour his grandfather by taking care of the shop and all that is in it. It becomes his destiny so to speak and also makes him grow up with his outlook on life.

A captivating and enchanting book!

★★★★★

#BookReview BOOK WARS by JOHN B.THOMPSON #nonfiction



ABOUT THE BOOK


This book tells the story of the turbulent decades when the book publishing industry collided with the great technological revolution of our time. From the surge of ebooks to the self-publishing explosion and the growing popularity of audiobooks, Book Wars provides a comprehensive and fine-grained account of technological disruption in one of our most important and successful creative industries.

Like other sectors, publishing has been thrown into disarray by the digital revolution. The foundation on which this industry had been based for 500 years – the packaging and sale of words and images in the form of printed books – was called into question by a technological revolution that enabled symbolic content to be stored, manipulated and transmitted quickly and cheaply. Publishers and retailers found themselves facing a proliferation of new players who were offering new products and services and challenging some of their most deeply held principles and beliefs. The old industry was suddenly thrust into the limelight as bitter conflicts erupted between publishers and new entrants, including powerful new tech giants who saw the world in very different ways. The book wars had begun.

While ebooks were at the heart of many of these conflicts, Thompson argues that the most fundamental consequences lie elsewhere. The print-on-paper book has proven to be a remarkably resilient cultural form, but the digital revolution has transformed the industry in other ways, spawning new players which now wield unprecedented power and giving rise to an array of new publishing forms. Most important of all, it has transformed the broader information and communication environment, creating new challenges and new opportunities for publishers as they seek to redefine their role in the digital age.

This unrivalled account of the book publishing industry as it faces its greatest challenge since Gutenberg will be essential reading for anyone interested in books and their future.


PUBLISHED BY POLITY PRESS

PURCHASE LINKS

Blackwell’s £21.35
Amazon £24.47
Waterstones £30


MY REVIEW

This was a fascinating look at the world of books and how the evolution of digital technology has changed the publishing world and its’ outlook over the years!
The author has left no stone unturned as he explores the rise of the e-book and how that has impacted the book world, and while digital technology had been feared by the publishers to begin with, it seems to have opened up new ideas to the ‘print’ world and seems to have rebooted the ‘book’ brand and publishing world – which is all good for us readers!


This book looks into how e-books evolved so quickly and how people like Amazon took advantage and how it changed the way people read and bought books. It was feared that with the rise of e-books the print world would suffer in the way that the music industry was, after downloads appeared on the scene, but over time it was realised that some books just worked better in print and this explores that subject in great detail and I really found it so interesting. As an old dinosaur myself, I always prefer the print edition, so it was fascinating to see the charts and graphs that displayed the figures involved in all forms of print, and what genres were enjoyed so much more in digital form.


This book explores a variety of subjects within publishing – the legal issues, marketing, the rise of self publishing, the use of crowdfunding such as Unbound (of which I am happy to have been part of!), the backlist, the use of audiobooks/audible and the role that social media plays now in all forms of publishing be it digital or print.


It brings to the fore how the numbers stack up of each book form and how the outcome of new avenues often have unpredictable results. It was a lengthy read – almost 500 pages – but there is so much to look into and the author has done a brilliant job of using the in-depth analysis to peek behind the curtain, so to speak, into a world of books that has had to change over recent times and showing there is room for both forms thanks to the digital form making the old guard of print rethink and become more creative!


A perfect read for all fans of the humble book – in whatever format you prefer!

★★★★★

#BookReview DEAR READER by CATHY RENTZENBRINK #nonfiction

ABOUT THE BOOK


From the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Last Act of Love.

‘Reading has saved my life, again and again, and has held my hand through every difficult time’

For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, books kept her afloat. Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help.

Dear Reader is a moving, funny and joyous exploration of how books can change the course of your life, packed with recommendations from one reader to another.


PUBLISHED BY PICADOR


PURCHASE LINKS

hive.co.uk
Blackwell’s

Waterstones


MY REVIEW

A brilliant little book that perfectly sums up our love affair with books! It’s an ode to books and reading, and the memories they evoke when we look back at various points in our life, and how they begin to mean so much more to us as we grow older!

I loved her approach to her books and how packing them up for a new move made her sit down and reminisce about her childhood and then working with books as an adult and becoming a writer. I really enjoyed the behind the scenes look at working in various bookshops – living the bookish dream!

I also really enjoyed seeing the recommendations that accompany each chapter and I’ve made a note of many of them as they sound wonderful reads! It was fun in recognising those moments that connect us all as readers -the comfort and the excitement that picking up a book can evoke and she captures it all perfectly!

She also sums up how books helped save her through good and bad times that she has faced, and how she got the biggest buzz from talking to customers and recommending books for them! A lovely bookish book!!


★★★★

#BookReview THE SECRET LIFE OF BOOKS by TOM MOLE #20BooksOfSummer20

ABOUT THE BOOK

We love books. We take them to bed with us. They weigh down our suitcases when we go on holiday. We display them on our bookshelves or store them in our attics. We give them as gifts. We write our names in them. We take them for granted. And all the time, our books are leading a double life.


The Secret Life of Books is about everything that isn’t just the words. It’s about how books transform us as individuals. It’s about how books – and readers – have evolved over time. And it’s about why, even with the arrival of other media, books still have the power to change our lives.


In this illuminating account, Tom Mole looks at everything from binding innovations to binding errors, to books defaced by lovers, to those imprisoning professors in their offices, to books in art, to burned books, to the books that create nations, to those we’ll leave behind.
It will change how you think about books.


A real treasure trove for book lovers’ – Alexander McCall Smith

‘Every sentence is utterly captivating . . . probably the most compulsive text ever penned about what it means to handle and possess a book’ – Christopher de Hamel, author of Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts

‘Wonderfully insightful’ – Alberto Manguel, author of A History of Reading

‘Tom Mole’s enthusiasm for books is infectious. If you also love books . . . you’ll want to discover The Secret Life of Books’ – Sam Jordison, author of Literary London

‘A treat for bibliophiles everywhere’ – Gavin Francis, author of Shapeshifters

‘A treasure-chest, filled with bookish wonders’ – Adam Roberts, BSFA award-winning author of Jack Glass

‘I suspect I’ll never look at a book the same way again’ – Jon Courtenay Grimwood, author of Stamping Butterflies

MY REVIEW

This was book 4 of my 20 Books of Summer 2020.

This is the perfect book for any book lover! The obsession, the rituals, the art of collecting, the covers, the fonts – all the things that draw us to a book…. often for it to sit on our bookshelves unread for many a month/year!! And that’s why I found it to be the perfect read as I felt so connected to someone else who ‘got’ the book thing!

It features so many subjects that evolve from the world of reading – book snobbery, the impact books make on us as children, the history of a book – those messages you find written inside a book that hints of previous owners, and even how the wear and tear on a book can tell its’ own story of how a person treats a book.

It’s the simplicity of a book that I love so much – the fact that a bunch of words on a page can transport you elsewhere immediately – and how we often find ourselves making our mind up on a person based on their bookshelves! God forbid a house doesn’t have a bookcase nowadays!! How are we supposed to know what we think of someone?!!

There are also fascinating little breaks in the book to focus on artists who have featured books in their paintings and I really enjoyed the little diversion to see how books impacted other walks of life.

It also touches on the history of books and, more importantly, the future in this digital world. If I’m anything to go by, I buy more ‘real’ books now despite owning a Kindle, and I will always be grateful for having bookshelves and cases dotted around the house! And I’m glad this book is now part of my book collection!!

★★★★★

#BookReview Bookworm – a memoir of childood reading by Lucy Mangan

About the Book

When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up new worlds and cast light on all the complexities she encountered in this one.

She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. She wandered the countryside with Milly-Molly-Mandy, and played by the tracks with the Railway Children. With Charlotte’s Web she discovered Death and with Judy Blume it was Boys. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library or to spend her pocket money on amassing her own at home.

In Bookworm, Lucy revisits her childhood reading with wit, love and gratitude. She relives our best-beloved books, their extraordinary creators, and looks at the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. She also disinters a few forgotten treasures to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.

Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate – and brilliantly uses them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm.

Published by Square Peg

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

Can I give this 6 stars?!!

If you answer yes to either of the following statements then this is the book for you;

1. do you love books?
2. were you a child?

I adored this book!! Being a similar age to the author I found I was immediately taken back to my childhood and discovered books in many of the same ways that she did, and the passion she has for books and reading comes across clearly in the way she writes this book! There’s great fondness for the books and a great humour too!

It was so wonderful to look back at so many childhood memories via the books we read, and I have to say that some of the titles included were new ones to me so I’m a little eager to go and check them out although I’m wondering if they’ll still have the same appeal to me now – I’m sure they will!

This book shows you the joy of discovering new worlds, new characters and the endless possibilities that opening a book as a child brings and how important the role of books can be in educating and informing, and bringing different ideas to young minds and I think we all still feel that excitement now when we start reading a new book.

I also loved all the 80’s mentions, the excitement of visiting the library and the role that parents play in bringing books into your life when you’re a child. It was just so delightful to go back and relive those times of discovering the worlds of Narnia, Enid Blyton, Judy Blume – to name a few – and I will be recommending this to every reader I know!!

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