Posted in Blog Tour

The Roald Dahl Collection #BlogTour


September 13 is Roald Dahl Day so put it in your diaries. As a child I adored Danny the Champion of the World, was fascinated by the awful characters in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and as I made my way through a predictably turbulent adolescence was delighted and terrified by Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. I was particularly lucky as Roald Dahl continued to create brilliant stories for children and The BFG was a huge hit with my daughter who read this as her first chapter book at the tender age of four. From then on our trips to London referenced The BFG although her exceptional love of this book didn’t mean that she could visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Seeing the delight my own children gained from his books just meant that my admiration for the author grew and grew so imagine my delight when I was given four of the books in the adult collection as part of the celebrations.

Recollected for the first time since their original publication; FEAR, INNOCENCE, TRICKERY and WAR depict some of Dahl’s most sinister tales, including those he greatly admired, focussing on aspects of the human condition that he found most fascinating. Complete with stunningly thought-provoking illustrations, courtesy of renowned artist Charming Baker, Britain’s most seminal author reveals even more about the darker side of human nature.

Fear – Tales of Terror and Suspense.

Following an insightful introduction to this collection by Roald Dahl of how he read all the ghost stories he could lay his hands on marking each one out of ten. He’s not one to fool his audience and cheerfully admits that many received nothing at all so you can be sure that this collection is the cream of the crop of ghosts. Not being a great lover of ghouls and ghosts I was easily tempted in when I saw that the first story was written by the author L.P. Hartley of The Go Between fame.

L.P. Hartley’s story called W.S. features a writer who receives postcards signed off with the intials W.S., coincidently the author’s own initials his name being William Streeter but he brushes this aside commenting that Shakespeare also shared them. Then the pictures on the postcards get closer until they get to Gloucester, very close to where William Streeter lived. The police are convinced they are a hoax, the author wonders whether he is schizophrenic but what is there is another explanation – when the doorbell rings William Streeter finds out. Although I declare myself immune to ghosts and ghoulies I must admit there was a frisson of fear to accompany my delight at this clever tale.

Blurb

These fourteen classic spine-chilling stories are collected from Dahl’s extensive research of over 700 ghost stories. Fear includes timeless and haunting tales such as Sheridan Le Fanu’s The Ghost of a Hand, Edith Wharton’s Afterward, Cynthia Asquith’s The Corner Shop and Mary Treadgold’s The Telephone.

Innocence – Tales of Youth and Guile

The largest part of this book is given over to Roald Dahl’s autobiographical book Boy which I had previously read but some years ago now. If anything I enjoyed this re-reading far more, being charmed all over again by the stories from childhood that would work their way into his books for children. brilliant to read the flashes of inspiration as he plundered his own memories of mice and gobstoppers and chocolate tasting to create the wonders of The Witches and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The illustrations that accompany the stories give us more hints and a glimpse at the author’s Norwegian heritage.

Blurb

What makes us innocent and how do we come to lose it? Combining autobiographical stories from his childhood – such as the much-loved, Boy – as well as four further tales of innocence lost, Dahl touches on the joys and horrors of growing up. Among other stories you’ll read of the wager that destroys a girl’s faith in her father and the landlady who has plans for her unsuspecting young guest.

Trickery – Tales of Deceit and Cunning

The ten stories within this book vary in length from a single page to far more substantial ones and they all tell of the kinds of daring deeds that don’t rely on strength and brute force but the cunningness of a fox. Once again my favourite was the story which was clearly the forerunner to Danny the Champion of the World – a story I loved when it was read aloud to my primary school class aged seven or eight. Once again I chuckled as two grown men in Champion of the World (no Danny in this version) doctored the raisins to poach the pheasants thereby neatly outwitting the gamekeeper and giving the pheasants a far better send off than being blasted by a gun!

Blurb

To what depths of deception would you stoop to get what you want? In these ten dark and twisty tales, Dahl reveals that we are at our smartest and most cunning when we set out to deceive others – and sometimes ourselves. Here you will read of a husband and wife and the parting gift which rocks their marriage, the light fingered hitch-hiker and the grateful motorist, and discover how sleeping pills can aid a little bit of serious poaching.

War – Tales of Conflict and Strife

The last of the four books I received is again given over to Roald Dahl’s autobiographical work with Going Solo detailing his career as a trainee fighter pilot and then his time in active service. As the book progresses you can’t help but visualise the harsh reality of war which the author punctuates with brilliant descriptions of the people and places he met along the way. Although incredibly moving in places and much darker than the other books in the collection for dint of this being real life I was once again amazed at the breadth as well as depth of Roald Dahl’s story telling prowess.

Blurb

Including famous short stories such as Over to You, War presents the gripping
autobiographical account of Dahl’s experiences working in East Africa as well as his life as a fighter pilot during WWII. As he travels across the British Empire, you’ll read about the pilot shot down in the Libyan Desert, the fighter plane lost in mysterious fog and the soldier who returns from war irrevocably changed.

Roald Dahl, the brilliant and worldwide acclaimed author of Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and many more classics for children, also wrote scores of short stories for adults. These delightfully disturbing tales present a side of Dahl that few have seen before; this stunning collection is most certainly a darker side of Dahl.

Posted in Uncategorized

ROALD DAHL’S 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

AUDIBLE’s ESSENTIAL PICKS FOR: ROALD DAHL’S 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Four More Stories
Author: Roald Dahl
Narrator: Roald Dahl£17.99

charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory-and-other-storiesAvailable at Audible.co.uk Roald Dahl’s wickedly funny novels have turned him into the world’s number one storyteller. In this collection five splendiferous stories are brought to life by the author himself.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (abridged): Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last!

James and the Giant Peach (abridged): A little magic can take you a long way.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (unabridged): Nobody outfoxes Fantastic Mr. Fox!
The Enormous Crocodile (unabridged): This greedy crocodile loves to guzzle up little boys and girls.
The Magic Finger (unabridged): Horrible neighbours learn their lesson from a little girl with powerful magic!

The BFG
Author: Roald Dahl
Narrator: David Walliams
£18.00

bfgAvailable at Audible.co.uk
Read by actor, writer, and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams, this audiobook features original music and sound design by Pinewood film studios.
The BFG is a nice and jumbly giant. In fact, he is the only big friendly giant in Giant Country. All the other giants are big bonecrunching brutes, and now the BFG and his friend Sophie must stop them guzzling up little human beans, with some help from Her Majester, the Queen.
David Walliams is a multi-award winning British comedian, actor, and writer, best known for the comedy series Little Britain; but his acting work includes plays, dramas, and films. He is also the author of five hugely successful children’s books, including two illustrated by Quentin Blake, Roald Dahl’s favourite illustrator.

The Enormous Crocodile
Author: Roald Dahl
Narrator: Stephen Fry
£18.00

enormous-crocodile

Available at Audible.co.uk Read by actor, humourist and storyteller Stephen Fry, this audiobook features original music and 3D sound design by Pinewood film studios.
The Enormous Crocodile is a greedy grumptious brute who loves to guzzle up little girls and boys. But the other animals have a scheme to get the better of this foul fiend, once and for all!
Stephen Fry is an award-winning comedian, actor, presenter, director and writer. Television work includes A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster, Blackadder, and hosting QI. On film, he played Oscar Wilde, and appeared in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and The Hobbit. His voice work includes narrating the Harry Potter books.

Lust
Author: Roald Dahl
Narrators: Derek Jacobi, Gillian Anderson, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Mark Heap, Richard E Grant
£21.99

lust

Available at Audible.co.uk
Two husbands secretly agree to a night of passion with each other’s wives; a slighted old man takes an elaborate and chilling revenge on his tormentor; a sculpture comes between a scheming wife and her put-upon husband…
Lust highlights a domestic familiarity always on the edge of something much, much darker. Collected together for the first time, stories include ‘Madame Rosette’, ‘Neck’, ‘Georgy Porgy’, ‘The Visitor’, ‘The Last Act’, ‘The Great Switcheroo’, ‘Bitch’, ‘Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life’, ‘The Ratcatcher’ and ‘Nunc Dimittis’.

Cruelty
Author: Roald Dahl
Narrators: Adrian Scarborough, Andrew Scott, Jessica Hynes, Juliet Stevenson, Mark Heap, Richard E Grant, Stephanie Beacham
£19.99

crueltyAvailable at Audible.co.uk From Roald Dahl, the master of the sting in the tail, a newly collected audiobook of his darkest stories, read by Will Self, Adrian Scarborough, Stephanie Beacham, Andrew Scott, Richard E Grant, Tamsin Greig, Mark Heap, Juliet Stevenson and Jessica Hynes.
Even when we mean to be kind, we can sometimes be cruel. We all have streaks of nastiness inside us. In these ten tales of cruelty, master storyteller Roald Dahl explores how and why it is we make others suffer.
Collected together for the first time, stories include ‘The Great Automatic Grammatizator’, ‘Royal Jelly’, ‘Mrs Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat’, ‘The Swan’, ‘Poison’, ‘Skin’, ‘The Princess and the Poacher’, ‘Genesis and Catastrophe’ and ‘Mr Feasey’.

Kiss Kiss
Author: Roald Dahl
Narrators: Tamsin Greig, Juliet Stevenson, Stephanie Beacham, Adrian Scarborough, Derek Jacobi, Stephen Mangan
£20.00
kiss-kiss

Available at Audible.co.uk What could go wrong when a wife pawns the mink coat that her lover gave her as a parting gift? What happens when a priceless piece of furniture is the subject of a deceitful bargain? Can a wronged woman take revenge on her dead husband? In these dark, disturbing stories Roald Dahl explores the sinister side of human nature: the cunning, sly, selfish part of each of us that leads us into the territory of the unexpected and unsettling. Stylish, macabre and haunting, these tales will leave you with a delicious feeling of unease.
Collected together for the first time, stories include ‘The Landlady’, ‘William and Mary’, ‘The Way up to Heaven’, ‘Parson’s Pleasure’, ‘Mrs Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat’, ‘Royal Jelly’, ‘Grorgy Porgy’, ‘Genesis and Catastrophe’, ‘Edward the Conquerer’, ‘Pig’, ‘The Champion of the World’

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Tales For The Tube – M.L. Stewart

Short Stories 5*'s
Short Stories
4*’s

I’m not usually a big fan of short stories but these mini-thrillers by ML Stewart are some of the best I have read. It is worth downloading this one simply to have a good laugh over the ‘All Rights Reserved’ and ‘Disclaimer’ to set the tone before turning to the first of five stories.

In ‘Jack and Jill’, a husband and wife’s lives are torn apart by a neighbour.
Follow ‘The Backpacker’ as he embarks on the ultimate suicide mission.
‘The Blind Snail’ sees a badly beaten woman awake from unconsciousness in a darkened house. Help is trying to reach her, but she has no idea where she is.
‘The Mysterious Case of the Magically Missing Drugs’: Scotland Yard’s D.S. Liz Porteous assists an old friend from HM Customs to stop an ingenious drug trafficker.
‘The Montgomerys’ were the perfect family…until the money ran out.

ML Stewart has mastered the art of getting the essence of the character and scene into a minimal number of words to produce a well-rounded story and rather than one where reader feels cheated or the story appears rushed. Each of the five are different but all are clever. Reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s short stories for adults, this collection is ideal for the daily commute.