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1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

1Q84 audible edition

I have read Haruki Murakami before so I am well aware of his way of writing. Translated into English it always reads a little different. And his ideas are less than ordinary. I’ve wanted to read 1Q84 for a long time, ever since I finished reading The Wind Up Bird Chronicles a few years ago. I thought it would be good to listen to the story on Audible, but with all three volumes it came to just over 46 hours. (The last 28 minutes are an interview with the translators.)

The Blurb

The year is 1Q84.

This is the real world, there is no doubt about that. 

But in this world, there are two moons in the sky. 

In this world, the fates of two people, Tengo and Aomame, are closely intertwined. They are each, in their own way, doing something very dangerous. And in this world, there seems no way to save them both. 

Something extraordinary is starting.

My Views on 1Q84

First of all you have to realise that this is a translated Japanese book, so things may not read (or listen) as smoothly as some stories. There is a fair amount of repetition, but it could be translation, it could just be the way Murakami likes to get his story across.

I found it all a bit long winded at times. In fact there were times that if anyone mentioned the moon one more time I’d start howling at it. But, some things are real important to the story and if that’s the way Murakami likes to put it across then I guess that’s something you have to deal with.

Murakami likes talking about sex, he can be quite crude at times, a lot of the language used is very explicit. But he also knows how to make a distinction between the different types of sex, so you really get an idea of how the character is feeling about it.

One thing that Murakami excels at is characterization. I love the way he brings his characters to life, whether it’s physical description or his delving into the very depths of their being. It’s hard not to connect with them, even if they remain nameless. After reading, as well a the main characters, I also feel I know The Dowager and Tomatsu like old friends.

He also describes their surroundings in great detail and I think it’s this attention to detail which add to the length of the story. Sometimes I found myself wishing he’d just get on with it, but now, looking back, I’m glad I felt such a part of the story, knowing all the little details and living it too. No matter how surreal it all was.

That’s the next point. Now, I’m all for a bit of science fiction or fantasy, a pushing of the boundaries of belief. But Murakami does this in way which makes you think, what the heck is going on sometimes. At other times, it all seems very normal. The more surreal points are left hanging, keep a hold of your imagination, you will need it. Different dimensions, The phantom NHK collector, The Little People, Air Chrysalis, two moons, Mutha, Daughta (forgive my spellings, I was listening not reading!) Any reader can draw their own conclusions because none of these are given explanations. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy all of this, but at times I was a little baffled to say the least.

The Three Volumes

All set in one year, 1984 (or is it really 1Q84?) You can read (or listen) to the book in the three separate volumes if you wish to break it up a little. I wanted to keep going and get it all sorted. Maybe even find some elusive explanations? It starts with the main female character Aomame, who jumps from a taxi on an express way and climbs down an escape ladder. The impression is that she is going to some sort of job interview, when in fact, she turns out to be a deadly assassin with a clever way of killing.

Another main character is Tengo, a part time teacher, part time novelist who ends up being roped into re-writing a book by a strange young girl.

The two characters once went to school together many years before. They never spoke to each other, but did hold hands once. They would also see each other walking the streets, Tengo with his father who was a television license fee collector, and Aomame with her Mother who was out preaching as a ‘witness.’ Tengo made some kind of reconciliation of sorts with his dying father during one part of the book. Murakami has such an interesting way of exploring relationships of all kinds.

The Narrators

I thought the narrators where really good, the three main ones where the female Aomame voiced by Allison Hiroto, Tengo by Marc Veitor and the ingenious baddie Ushikawa. Probably not everybody’s cup of tea but I enjoyed the American Private Investigator spin put on this character. He was ugly inside and out, but I still felt a little sorry for him in the end. Ushikawa is mentioned by Tengo earlier on in the story but when he starts to narrate in the third book he is everything you expect him to be.

Conclusions

This is a long book and it takes some getting through. There were times when I thought that maybe I didn’t want to carry on. Or that maybe the whole story could have been told in half the time. There was certainly lots that could have missed out, but i think they would actually have been missed. At the end I was glad I badgered on with it. It was no great surprise ending, or maybe it was, it could have gone any way really, but it was satisfying and, well, nice.

This won’t be for everyone, but if you want to indulge in something a little different and you have 46 hours to spare, then this could be just what you are looking for. It has been compared to 1984 but I don’t see that really. 1Q84 is more of a different reality rather than a dystopian future. And to be honest, we don’t even know if 1Q84 is dystopian.

Not for the prudish or those without a good imagination that is willing to explore the more surreal. I think everyone will come away with a different opinion of this book.

Discolsure: I bought this book myself, but this post contains affiliate links.

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Book Worms Monthly – January

Hello, Welcome to Book Worms Monthly January. Have you got a goal on how many books you’d like to read this Year? I aim low and try to read at least one a month, my first January book is still going from December, but it is a big one. I’ll tell you more about that later

Reading is my passion and I love to write about what I’ve read. I’m a real book worm and I have been since the day I could read.

I decided to start this linky so that other book worms could Share. I’m starting monthly for now, so you have a whole month to link up your posts. You can link up to four posts, so that’s one a week. Or if you like you can link up some of your older posts.

Let’s share what we read and give other’s ideas what to read next. Tell me your reviews, you book reading lists, your author interviews, kids book favourites, Young Adult books, and even posts about your favourite authors. Anything book related is allowed and I can’t wait to read them all. I want to find all the book worms out there.

Here is last months linky to give you some idea of what it’s about. It’s a new linky so I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly January!

Book worms Monthly will be posted every four weeks, and you can join in at any time. I will share anyone who links over on my Social Media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Mix (formerly Stumbleupon.) I’ll also come along and read and comment on your post. Please do share this link up with your friends.

Link up your Book Worm Monthly January book posts below.

Here’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

january book worm

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Book worms Monthly – December

Hello, Welcome to Book Worms Monthly December. This is the time for gifting fabulous books and hopefully getting one or two from your Christmas Wish list too.

Reading is my passion and I love to write about what I’ve read. I’m a real book worm and I have been since the day I could read.

I decided to start this linky so that other book worms could Share. I’m starting monthly for now, so you have a whole month to link up your posts. You can link up to four posts, so that’s one a week. Or if you like you can link up some of your older posts.

Let’s share what we read and give other’s ideas what to read next. Tell me your reviews, you book reading lists, your author interviews, kids book favourites, Young Adult books, and even posts about your favourite authors. Anything book related is allowed and I can’t wait to read them all. I want to find all the book worms out there.

Here is last months linky to give you some idea of what it’s about. It’s a new linky so I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly December!

Book worms Monthly will be posted every four weeks, and you can join in at any time. I will share anyone who links over on my Social Media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Mix (formerly Stumbleupon.) I’ll also come along and read and comment on your post. Please do share this link up with your friends.

Link up your Book Worm Monthly December book posts below.

Here’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

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Audible half price for Four Months!

I’m a big Audible fan, just check out some of my book reviews like the ones on this page here. I’m really excited to tell you about Audible’s Special Black Friday offer, A whole four months at half price! Then it’s £7.99 per month afterwards but for that you get a brand new audiobook credit every month that you can use against a book no matter what the price. (read below for the full terms and conditions.)

If you want to learn more about Audible you can win my prize winning post Five Reasons Why You Should Listen to Audible. But if you haven’t got the time then here is a quick run down on why I love Audible so much.

  • You can get all the latest and greates books as well as old classics, and once downloaded they are yours to keep and listen to as often as you wish.
  • As well as books you l can listen to podcasts and often exclusive dramatisations (The Terry Pratchett ones are my favourites.
  • You can listen while doing other stuff, like cooking cleaning, or even crafts. I love to pop in my earpods while crocheting.
  • There is no dropping your book if you fall asleep while reading , you can always rewind the story if you nod off.
  • It’s great for long journeys or hospital stays or anywhere you would read a book, but you only need your phone or kindle or whatever device you can download Audible on.
  • You can switch devices and still access all of your library on Audible.

These are just a few reasons why I love Audible so much and I am happy to be an affiliate for them. Many of my book reviews I’ve done on this blog are Audible books.

I hope you conisder signing up for this latest special offer from Audible, please be aware that I am including affiliate links and may receive a little commission on any sales, but it won’t cost you any more.

audible 50 % off
T&Cs:This offer is open from 18th November 00:00 to 13th December 23:59. Offer is by invitation only. Offer is not available to existing Audible members or those participating in an Audible free trial, or who have recently participated in an Audible free trial. For the first four
months of your Audible membership, you will be charged the discounted price of £3.99/mo. After the first four months, your Audible membership will automatically renew at £7.99/mo until cancelled. You will be billed monthly, and will receive one credit each month, good for any Audible audiobook. . The promotion applies only to items sold by audible.co.uk. The
same items sold by other sellers (e.g. audible.com, etc.) do not qualify. This promotion may not be combined with other offers. The Offer is subject to availability and may be withdrawn or amended without notice. The offer has no cash alternative. Limit one per customer
and account. Audible account required The Offer is non-transferable and may not be
resold.
Other terms and conditions apply, including those available at https://www.audible.co.uk/legal/conditions-of-use. Audible’s Conditions of Use apply. If your credit card is declined, the
offer will not apply. If you violate any of the terms or conditions, the promotion will be
invalid, and the discount will not apply. Terms prohibited by law shall be void without
prejudice to the remaining terms.

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The Binding – Bridget Collins, book review

The Binding, book cover
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: The Borough Press (10 Jan. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0008272115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008272111
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.9 x 22.7 cm

You can buy this gorgeous hardback copy of the Binding on Amazon for just £8.53 Also available in paperback, kindle edition and Audible My links are affiliate links which will cost you no more to click through and purchase but may earn me some pennies.

I listened to The Binding on Audible narrated by Karl Prekopp.

The Blurb for The Binding

Imagine you could erase your grief.
Imagine you could forget your pain.
Imagine you could hide a secret.
Forever.

Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.

In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded.

Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.

THE BINDING is an unforgettable, magical novel: a boundary-defying love story and a unique literary event.

My Verdict on The Binding

As I already stated, I listened to this book on Audible, but I’m a little envious of the beautiful cover and I may even be tempted to buy a hardback version. It’s quite a long book a whole fifteen and a half hours on Audible. But, I couldn’t stop listening. The narrator was gentle and lent himself perfectly to the story, but I have to admit, he did also send me to sleep a couple of times and I had to rewind.

The story itself is like nothing I’ve read before, it’s a world that is so like this one but more historical, but it’s a world were books are more like drugs than reading material. There are novels which are made up stories, but most books are peoples memories, stored away in pages. Some sell their memories for others to read. Others pay to have their memories removed. But once those memories are bound into books they no longer belong to the original owner.

The book is written in three parts. The first is a little strange and it’s hard to figure out if you are reading a normal story or some sci-fi novel. Nothing is made perfectly clear, but it’s understandable because the main character has already been to a book binder and had his memories erased. This, in turn, showed that he had the talent to bind himself and was taken on as an apprentice.

The Second part fills in all the missing pieces as the main character finds his book and remembers everything. But as soon as this part of the story is told we are taken back to the place where his book was found and the story is taken over by someone else. Then the two characters work together to find out the truth.

It’s a really interesting concept and shows what lengths people will go to to erase their memoires. It also shows how other people can be manipulated by having their memories erased. It also touches on social differences where the rich pay for memory erasal and for books of other’s memories, and where the poor sell their memories for cash.

It certainly has a philosopical edge as to how much of real life is put into books and how much people crave to read about a different life. It made me think of Jostien Gaarder’s ‘Sophie’s World.’

The main theme of this story though, is not the philosophical stanse, but a coming of age love story. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, it’s very unsual and the love story is not even conventional. Personally though, I enjoyed it thoroughly and would definitely like that hardbound copy for my ‘pretty’ book collection.

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Book Worms Monthly November

Hello, Welcome to Book Worms Monthly November. As the weather turns colder I find reading becomes more of a cosy down on the settee

Reading is my passion and I love to write about what I’ve read. I’m a real book worm and I have been since the day I could read.

I decided to start this linky so that other book worms could Share. I’m starting monthly for now, so you have a whole month to link up your posts. You can link up to four posts, so that’s one a week. Or if you like you can link up some of your older posts.

Let’s share what we read and give other’s ideas what to read next. Tell me your reviews, you book reading lists, your author interviews, kids book favourites, Young Adult books, and even posts about your favourite authors. Anything book related is allowed and I can’t wait to read them all. I want to find all the book worms out there.

Here is last months linky to give you some idea of what it’s about. It’s a new linky so I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly November!

Book worms Monthly will be posted every four weeks, and you can join in at any time. I will share anyone who links over on my Social Media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Mix (formerly Stumbleupon.) I’ll also come along and read and comment on your post. Please do share this link up with your friends.

Link up your Book Worm Monthly November book posts below.

Here’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

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Click here to enter
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I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith, review

I can’t believe I’ve never read ‘I Capture The Castle’ before. The author, Dodie Smith, also wrote one of my favourite childhood books, ‘One Hundred and One Dalmations.’ I still remember reading a part out loud in class at school.

I wasn’t sure it was the type of book I would enjoy, but after reading it, I know it’s the type of book I would like to write. It’s full of innocence, humour and humility and it’s so like the words of a naive 17 yr old’s journal.

Journalling

I kept a journal from a very young age. I doubt my life would have been interesting to anyone else, but I liked keeping all my memories jotted down and now it’s quite amazing to read back on them, especially the earlier ones. Sadly, my journalling stopped when I started blogging. Why write things down when I can blog about them instead. Of course my earlier blogs follow on in a very similar style to my journals, but maybe not so personal.

Mabye in the future someone will take my journals and turn them into a novel. Or maybe not…most days are a *yawn*

I Capture The Castle

This novel is written in journal form, not diary entries but story telling from the view of the main character, Cassandra. And what a character she is, how could you not fall in love with her, she’s just perfect. Even when she shuns the boy who adores her and falls in love with her sisters fiance, you just can’t feel anything but sympathy and endearance. Such a likeable character I don’t think I’ve ever met.

Cassandra sets out to capture the castle in her words. She brings you into her weird and wonderful life by bringing it to life in her journal. Her family is rather eccentric and they live, penniless in a rented castle (on which they no longer pay rent because the landlord has died.) Then the heirs come along, an ‘exotic’ American family who stir up all sorts of commotion and emotion.

Beautifully written with an unexpected twist.

Who hasn’t wrote those last words in their journal at some point. I know I have.

You can also listen to I capture the Castle on Audible, narrated by Jenny Agutter. Click the link to listen to the sample. You can join Audible for just £1 and download your first audio book. If it’s not for you then cancel your subscription, if you like it (I Love it) you can continue your membership for £7 a month which includes a credit to any book of your choice each month. At the moment I’m taking part in extra commission for everyone who signs up to Audible using my link, so thanks in advance if you decide to give it a go.

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Bookworms Monthly October

Hello, Welcome to Book Worms Monthly October. As the weather turns colder I find reading becomes more of a cosy down on the settee

Reading is my passion and I love to write about what I’ve read. I’m a real book worm and I have been since the day I could read.

I decided to start this linky so that other book worms could Share. I’m starting monthly for now, so you have a whole month to link up your posts. You can link up to four posts, so that’s one a week. Or if you like you can link up some of your older posts.

Let’s share what we read and give other’s ideas what to read next. Tell me your reviews, you book reading lists, your author interviews, kids book favourites, Young Adult books, and even posts about your favourite authors. Anything book related is allowed and I can’t wait to read them all. I want to find all the book worms out there.

Here is last months linky to give you some idea of what it’s about. It’s a new linky so I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us This October!

Book worms Monthly will be posted every four weeks, and you can join in at any time. I will share anyone who links over on my Social Media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Mix (formerly Stumbleupon.) I’ll also come along and read and comment on your post. Please do share this link up with your friends.

Link up your October book posts below.

Here’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

I listen to many of my books on Audible, it means I can go on listening while I crochet, cook, make a coffee, or even in bed without worrying about light or my glasses. You can take a £1 trial for 30 days of audible, and then if you decide it’s for you a subscription is only £7 a month for credit towards any audible recording of your choice no matter what the price. There are always plenty of real bargains for when your credit is spent too. I will receive a small comission from anyone who signs up to Audible using the banner below, although it will cost you not a penny more. So thank you in advance.

Book worms monthly September

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What I read in September – Matt Haig and Margaret Atwood

This month I’ve been reading Matt Haig and Margaret Atwood.

Back to my current Matt Haig addiction I finished Reasons to Stay Alive. I listened to it on Audible, read by Matt himself which I really liked. But it is definitely something that needs to be kept in a paper copy, particularly by your side at all times so you can remind yourself why it’s worth living at all times. It is about half the size of his regular books though.

I will be buying myself a ‘hard copy’ as I’m certain I will read it again.

How to Stop Time – Matt Haig

On to my fourth Matt Haig book. I didn’t read it straight after Reasons to Stay Alive, but I guess it needed to be written about next. There was definitely some cross over.

If you can bear with me for some personal opions, I have often thought about how long you could actually want to go on living. There has to be a point when you get fed up of it all and feel comfortable with it being the end of your life.

In this story the main character is over 400 years old. He’s lived many lifetimes and aged slowly. He has loved then forbidden himself to love again and over the years he has lost the reason to being alive. He has stopped feeling alive.

I love how the story intertwines the present day with his history. One minute he’s teaching his class in a London school and the next we are transported back to a different century while he reminices on the most significant events of his life.

The reason he has stayed alive is because he knows that he has a daughter, who is also blessed, or cursed with a long, long life. He’s lost her and he’s desperate to find her again and that’s what keeps him going.

But then it’s all turned on it’s head when he meets a lady that he has feelings for. He has stopped feeling for such a long time.

The ending feels a little rushed and unbelievable. But then that’s not the point of the story. Is it believeable that someone could live for hundreds of years? The story is to help him understand why he should live. Again, reasons to stay alive but in a different format.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

I’ve not seen the television series or the film, but I did get drawn into the story and decided to buy myself a paperback of this classic tale by Margaret Atwood. Straight away I was drawn into the story and the life of the main character Offred. It’s certainly a strange tale, and has so many more questions than answers. I do enjoy stories that look into a future though, whether they are utopian or dystopian, and this tale is definitely dystopian.

Offred tells of her current situation in a matter of fact way while having flashbacks of a different life before Gilead became about. This different life is the one we would be used to now.

I found a lot of the story quite harrowing and the repression was stifling. The whole concept of the story is pretty terrifying. I decided I would like to watch the television series after reading the book but was dismayed to find that to watch it I had to pay Virgin an extra £19.99 to watch just the first series, and the other two were even more expensive!

I will console myself with the new Margaret Atwood book, I’m not sure whether to get the book or the audible copy. At least I won’t have waited as long as those who read The Handmaid’s Tale when it was first published.

The Testaments audible copy

I’m already started on my next book, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. This is a paperback which I bought second hand. The problem with books is that I cannot crochet and read at the same time.

See My other Book Reviews.

This post contains affiliate links, thanks for your support

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Great Offers on Books from Lonely Planet

This post contains affiliate links for Lonely Planet. They will cost you nothing to click but may earn me some money if you purchase anything, so many thanks in advance if you do.

Travel from Lonely Planet

I’ve never been much of a traveller, I’ve had no desire to go around the world. I think I am actually afraid of how huge our planet is and of wandering around too far from home. Lately thought I have felt a desire to know more about this world so books can help me imagine what it’s like.

I have also decided that if I am to go abroad before it’s too late it will have to be soon. So, I am in the process of ordering my very first passport and I hope to be travelling further afield for the first time next year.

Books

I was thrilled to learn that the Lonely Planet book shop was having a flash sale this weekend.

You can buy one and get one free on everything. I have a collection of books already from Lonely Planet. Books about the UK for me and lots of fascinating books for the kids. You can see some of my kid’s books and games reviews over on my other blog.

I’m going to show you just a short collection of fabulous books you could be choosing from. And the buy one get one free even applies to the books on sale already…extra bargain!!

Normandy and D Day Beaches.

Now, if I’m going abroad for the first time I’m not wanting to go to far. One place that both myself and my husband would love to visit is Normandy.

Quiz Book

But everyone knows that Lonely Planet sell travel guides, you can buy for practically anywhere in the world. But they do other books too, like this fabulous quiz book.

Pit your worldly wits against family and friends, or just challenge yourself, with this ultimate travel trivia book. With head-scratching questions on everything from geography and culture to history, wildlife and transport, it’s a fun and challenging test for all ages – and the perfect addition to any trip.
Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel Quiz Book is split into three sections: Easy, Medium and Hard, with 100 quizzes in total, each featuring 20+ questions that will confound adults and kids alike. Perfect for social get-togethers, rainy days and family trips, this fun and illustrated book also makes a great gift!

Learning a Language

Whether you want to learn a new language or just want to pick up a few phrases, you can get a book to help you from Lonely Planet.

Kids Books

I love the Lonely Planet kids books, the offer the whole world to your kids in words and pictures. As I’ve already said, I’ve review quite a few of them with my kids.

If you were asked to tell someone on the other side of the world about yourself, where would you start?
Perhaps you’d mention your favourite hobbies, the pranks you play on your family, or what you want to be when you grow up. Would you include a selfie or a family photo? A cute snap of your puppy or that awesome shot of you playing your favourite sport?
In this fascinating and fun collection, 84 children from incredibly diverse backgrounds share their stories and photos of what’s unique about their lives – from weather, local festivals and hobbies to their favourite sports and food. These personal portraits also reveal the many things children have in common, no matter where they’re from.
Discover what it’s like to live in an orphanage in Zambezi, by a remote fjord in Greenland, on a cattle ranch in Australia, high up in the Himalaya mountains in Nepal, at an eco-lodge in Costa Rica, and much more.

World’s Strangest Creepy Crawlies

I love the diversity of the books you can get for children. Take this one for instance.

Enter the weird and wonderful world of creepy-crawlies. Our animal experts have unearthed 40 of the planet’s most bizarre species and ranked them in order of their oddness! With jaw-dropping facts and amazing photos, we reveal each creature’s seriously strange characteristics and the unusual ways they hunt, eat or defend themselves.
They’re sometimes hard to spot, but there are a mind-boggling 10 billion billion bugs on the planet. Inside World’s Strangest Creepy-Crawlies, kids will discover the tiny terror that blows itself up to save its friends, a creature so well disguised even its own species can’t see it, and a giant spider the size of a dinner plate. And with our ‘strange-o-meter’, they can compare each animal based on its creepiness, fight factor and superpowers!

These books make fabulous Christmas or birthday presents too. (Just saying!)

Twin Mummy and Daddy
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