To celebrate the imminent publication of Gorilla Dawn, I am so pleased to welcome the well known and extremely loved author, Gill Lewis, onto the blog to tell us about the last five books she read.
When I’m in the middle of writing a novel, I tend to avoid reading fiction, as I don’t want to enter other authors’ heads. I want to stay in the world of my characters and not be lured into other stories. Having finished my latest novel, Gorilla Dawn, I’m now catching up.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I’m in the middle of listening to the audiobook of this story and I’m totally immersed into the lives of Verity (let’s call her that for now) who is a Special Operations Executive and her friend Maddie, who works in the Air Transport Auxiliary. The story is set during WW2 and begins with Verity’s confession at the hands of the Gestapo. The characters are so well crafted and their friendship so beautifully drawn, that you are rooting for both of the girls as the story unfolds. There are many twists and turns and I’m sure there will be more by the time I reach the end. I keep finding any excuse to put my headphones on and become submerged in the story once more.
Feral by George Monbiot
Highly readable, Monbiot sets out the case for re-wilding Britain, not just for the sake of the natural world and what it has to offer us, but also to re-wild ourselves, to rouse our own lives from ecological boredom and find vitality outside the narrow confines of our domestic world. The book discusses allowing our over-managed, overgrazed landscapes to return to their truly wild state. Monbiot puts forward a strong case for the introduction of larger predators such as lynx and wolf and gives an insight into how other European countries have successfully managed this.
The Unfeathered Bird by Katrina van Grouw
I couldn’t not buy this book. This bridges the gap between art and science. Katina van Grouw’s detailed anatomical drawings of skeletons depict birds in their natural positions, such as the Magnificent Frigatebird chasing a Tropic Bird in flight. The drawings highlight the varied evolutionally adaptations and the underlying similarities between species. A beautiful book to be dipped in an out of. It allows a different way of seeing.
Katy’s Pony Challenge by Victoria Eveleigh
I’ve been a huge fan of Eveleigh’s pony stories since reading the first books in the Katy series. Eveleigh manages to combine rural life, warmth and humour in her stories. The ups and downs of friendships are gently played alongside the theme of ponies. Katy’s Pony Challenge explores the connection between humans and horses and interweaves a character on the autistic spectrum into the story to show the power of the silent communication between people and animals.
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
I love reading books where I have no idea where the story is going. Triss wakes up one morning with a ravenous appetite, and leaves and cobwebs in her hair. Her parents are concerned, but her sister is terrified of her. Hardinge’s reimagined story of a changeling is mysterious and ominous, and kept me reading late into the night. It made me feel unnerved and unsafe in the way only the darkest of fairytales can do.
Gorilla Dawn is published by Oxford University Press in paperback, priced £8.99
Deep in the heart of the African jungle, a baby gorilla is captured by a group of rebel soldiers. Imara and Bobo are two children also imprisoned in the rebels' camp. When they learn that the gorilla is destined to be sold into captivity, they swear to return it to the wild before it's too late. But the consequences of getting caught are too terrible to think about. Will the bond between the gorilla and the children give them the courage they need to escape?
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