Tag Archives: world book day

The Collector by Fiona Cummins – a review

Today is World Book Day, and I suspect there are scores of children everywhere dressed as Harry Potter, for once slightly gutted that school is shut due to snow.

Every day is book day in my world, just without the fancy dress. So today a cancelled train to Edinburgh gives me the perfect opportunity to read. However my latest read certainly isn’t one for children. It was The Collector, the second novel by author Fiona Cummins. Her debut novel Rattle was one of my favourite books of a couple of years ago, so I was very excited to get a copy of her follow up in my Festival goody bag last year and the Collector certainly didn’t disappoint.

The Collector starts shortly after the first book finished. There is a girl missing, and Brian Howley, the Bone Collector is on the run. In Rattle, Howley’s collection was destroyed and now he is trying to rebuild it. Detective Etta Fitzroy is back on his trail and is determined to prove she is up to the job of catching him again. Jakey is also back and having escaped from The Bone Collector once he is determined that no one else will suffer. This time we also meet Saul, with an alcoholic mother he meets Mr Silver and is soon under his spell.

This was another gripping read. The Collector grabs you from the start and continues at break neck speed until it reaches it’s disturbing conclusion. The Collector is terrifying and I think one of the reasons it is so creepy is that everyone can identify with collecting things. I was always collecting something when I was younger, even now I have a collection of fridge magnets. So collecting is something that you can understand, although hopefully no one reading this is collecting body parts!

The writing is superb in this novel, and the characters are that great mix of both good and bad that keeps them realistic. The viewpoints change throughout giving us an insight into not only Etta but also Howley and Saul which makes it a real page turner.

The Collector is an excellent novel. It is definitely best to read Rattle first but I would thoroughly recommend making your acquaintance with the Bone Collector and what more excuse do you need too treat yourself than in celebration of World Book Day.


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Children of the revolution

As you all hopefully know, today is World Book Day. In fact it is the 20th anniversary of the day. I can imagine for parent’s the joy of this day is slightly tempered by the need to suddenly create an entire Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory out of an old washing up liquid bottle, an egg box and some sticky back plastic, but to me it’s a really positive day.

Everywhere you go people are talking about books. On the radio, in the papers, even people in the office are showing off pictures of their nephews and nieces dressed as book characters and discussing what they read as a child. Books are such exciting things.  Therefore I was rather surprised to read in the paper that last year 25% of children between eight and 11 had used their £1 book token to buy their first ever book. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s great that the day allowed all those children to buy books. I just can’t imagine not having bought a book by the age of eight.

Admittedly I don’t actually remember buying books when I was eight, that was what parent’s and adults were for. Yet I remember books being everywhere, and I was a child before Harry Potter had even been thought of. We still had Enid Blyton, lots of books about girls with ponies, and of course what is still one of my favourites today, Winnie the Pooh. Even if we weren’t buying books, there were regular family trips to the local library or at one point there was a mobile library which came to us, books on wheels. Libraries were a great way to encourage us to read. Even the Father would come with us and pretend to read a paper whilst sat in the corner.

More disturbingly for me however, the article went on to say that one in 10 people within the UK did not own a book. One in 10 people did not own a book. That’s so shocking it deserves repeating twice.  I suspect Mr F would rather I owned less books, as it is getting close to a choice between my books and space for him, and that is a tricky choice. However to not own even one book I find very sad. The article doesn’t specify what type of book. I assume it means only fiction and therefore doesn’t include things such as cook books (everyone has to own at least one cook book don’t they, even if it’s just a Delia Smith how to boil an egg?) However still that to me is quite a shocking statistic. It makes me want to go and find all these people and give them a book. To be fair I probably do have enough to help out quite a lot.

That’s why I think something like World Book Day is so exciting and is starting a new revolution of readers. If all those children who are buying their first book continue to love reading, then books will be everywhere. Plus it will mean the next generation of parents have something to do whilst they are waiting for the superglue to dry on their child’s Harry Potter costume in 20 years time.


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Deadly decisions

Thursday was world book day. This is quite possibly one of my most favourite days. I’m gutted it’s not something we get to celebrate at work. I might suggest next year we take a leaf out of the local schools book and all come dressed as a character from our favourite novels. I’m not sure who I’d choose though as dressing as a detective is a bit dull. I suppose I could don a wax jacket and pair of wellington boots and go as Vera, or a pair of white overalls and be Kay Scarpetta. The local school  had a huge array of costumes I spotted on the way to work. As well as the usual Harry Potters there was the Gruffalo, a Gangsta granny, and even a little red dragon.

More exciting than just getting to wear a fancy costume apparently all the children got given a book token. Am I only the person who thinks book tokens are one of the most fantastic presents ever. Every time I suggest to people that it would make a good gift for someone I get laughed at. How can people not think that book tokens are great? It’s almost like two presents in one, you not only get a free book you get the joy of choosing it yourself.

I was very excited the other day when I realised that national book tokens still exist. I remember getting these as a child and it would take me weeks to decide what I wanted. It hasn’t changed as I’ve got older. Whenever I get a token the ability to decide what I want suddenly disappears. Give me cash and I’ll buy the first book I find off my wish list but as soon as it comes to a token I’m a dithering wreck. It’s the most important decision in the world and making the wrong one thereby wasting my all important book token is catastrophic.

I haven’t actually seen a book token for a long time, and sadly I suspect they are no longer paper based things. They are no doubt credit card style items that get ‘topped up’ which isn’t quite as exciting in my mind but still book tokens are book tokens and the thrill of choosing books never goes away.

I hope that those who celebrated world book day enjoyed spending their book tokens. I wonder if I organised the day at work I could persuade them to let us have book tokens too. I would need to come up with a better character to dress up as though.


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