Thursday, 27 May 2010

Armchair BEA: Literary Blues

Dear Blog,
Armchair BEA continues.  I think I shall miss it when it dissapears on Saturday night. Anyway, my Thursday entry will be all about books that have blue covers.  Hence the title.
I don't know why this seems a good idea.  But no other blogger seems to be talking about book covers, especially not blue ones.   
Why blue?  Well, blue is a cool colour.  And there cool books with blue covers.  For example:

River Secrets by Shannon Hale-sorry the picture is so rubbish.  The Books of Bayern have some of the most beautiful UK covers ever, to my mind, and no picture does them justice.  As I've said before, they're so pretty you don't want to read them.  I'm not too keen on the US covers because, well, they're not as pretty.  And they have models on the front.  I don't know why, but I don't like it when books have models on the front.  Probably because they destroy how I imagine the character to look.  Anyway.  The prose in River Secrets is as beautiful as the cover, and all the Bayern novels are well worth a read. (I think River Secrets is my favourite). One thing: Bayern is actually the German name for Bavaria.  Perhaps Shannon Hale could have thought something up herself instead of stealing a region in another country with another language across the Atlantic.  This is meant to be a fantasy novel.

Life as we Knew It by Susan Pfeffer-is just made of pure awesome and is what got me into dystopic/(post)apocalyptic fiction.  The UK cover is purple, but the US one has blue elements.  Anyway, I'll review Life As We Knew It soon.
I was 11 or 12 when I first read it and since then I've read many, many such novels.  Some are better.  Some are worse  But, well, I'll always look at it and think, "how awesome!"  I shall forever be glad I read it, even though I'm always worried now about how much food we have, etc. We had a powercut yesterday afternoon and you really would think an asteroid had hit the moon.  It was only off for an hour, but when it came back on I yelled, "THE LIGHTS! THE INTERNEEEEET!"
Related to my shallowness surrounding book covers, I'm spending 8 or 9 quid on the US edition of This World We Live In because I think the UK one looks like a poster for a B-movie horror film.

Lirael by Garth Nix-If you haven't read the Old Kingdom Trilogy, then where've you been?  You cannot claim to be a YA fantasy fan without having read at least some Nix. 
I think Lirael is my favourite of all the Old Kingdom books.   Epic huge-ness?  Check.  Necromancers? Check.  Talking dog, aka most awesome sidekick ever?  check.  Fantasy kingdom?  check. Steampunk-type nation?  Check.  Big mysterious, magical wall dividing aforementioned fantasy kingdom and Steampunk-type nation?  check.  Evil crow spies?  check. Misfit, unlikely heroine?  check.  Fantastically evil villain, who you can practically hear yelling, "BWAHAHAHAHA!" off the page?  check.  Armies of corpses aforementioned evil villain is trying to raise from the dead?  check...

Fearless by Tim Lott- Best.  Book.  Ever.  Simple as.  End of.  Seriously. 
This is a kind of dystopic novel, even though I didn't realise it at the time.  But it's wonderfully thought up and everything seems to be perfect and harmonious-much like The Other Side of the Island, but perhaps not as post-apocalyptic.  Still, it's there: Corporations (as every good dystopia must have), who hide the truth from the public and spread fear and corruption.
It's truly a touching book.  The first time I read it, I wept buckets at the end, but once I dried my eyes and blew my nose I smiled in that tragic sort of smile you smile when you read tragic books and something uplifting happens at the end.

The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder-although it is very much a book about oranges, the cover is blue and it deserves a mention.  I'm a huuuuuuuge fan of Jostein Gaarder.  I love the way his books open your eyes to the world and you discover things you've never even thought about before.  While much of the world critically acclaims Sophie's World, The Orange Girl is my favourite of the Gaarder books I've read. I really should talk about him one Foreign Language Friday (which, by the way, I'm not expecting to do this week with all the Armchair BEA everythings). 
Anyway.  It's wonderfully simplistic, romantic and dreamy.  It makes for a great summer read without being trashy, and will make you wish that there were trams still running in (insert tram-lacking country here), except by the seaside towns for tourists.  It is truly, quote the quote on the back from a magazine which escapes my mind, "a modern fairy tale."

Voices by Ursula Le Guin (sorry about the rubbish picture quality again)-is the second book in the Annals of the Western Shore trilogy, and my favourite of all Le Guin's books.  Why?  Well, Orrec and Gry  (from Gifts) make an appearance, it has some cool new characters, a war-torn city, and books.  Lots of books.  Hidden books. People giving their lives to protect the books. And so on. The city is fantastically imagined: one of those books that really opens your eyes and makes you go "wow!" as every good fantasy novel should. 

Well, there you go. Sorry I only mentioned  a few  books, but I've not been sleeping very well and I need to catch some zzzzzs before I faint with tiredness. I forgot to do a whole piece of Russian homework, and only remembered it existed when my tutor asked why I hadn't done it.  And my music theory...don't ask.  I know I've only been going for five weeks but I've been singing for six years and playing the classical guitar for a year and a half.  I should know the difference between tied notes and slurs.  Anyway, I believe it's overtiredness, which explains me not wanting to do anything vaguely extra-curricular that takes up my valuable reading/thinking about sleeping time (I don't sleep very well at all at night.  I'm just not tired at 12:45 am.  Perhaps I should become nocturnal instead).


  1. lol...i used to arrange everything in my house by colour.
    so this makes soo much sense to me!

    unfortunately a blondeboy has moved in and messed up the system.

  2. Lirael is my favourite Old Kingdom book as well :D.
    And haha great idea, books with blue covers- as shown in your post, there are many good ones.

  3. I love the cover for Lirael, so beautiful!

  4. LOL!! What a great idea!! I love it!! I've heard some great things about Life as We Knew It, but a few of these other books I'm intrigued by the cover alone. Maybe I need to check them out too!! :)


Leave a comment if you like. Don't be shy- I don't bite.