05 April 2011


T is for a Tuesday Meme!

Some people just can't pass up the opportunity to alliterate. =P Tuesday is the most popular day for memes, and it has a lot to do with its T-sound being an easy phonetic match for so many other words. We have "teaser" . . . "tasty" . . . "top ten" . . . and so on!

And the least popular? In my experience . . . Saturday and Sunday. (LOL--I know, right?!?!) But it has very little to do with the letter "S"! Bloggers seem to take their breaks during the weekend, and that's fair enough!

Anyway, here is a new Tuesday meme I found and wanted to participate in . . .

Hosted by Book Rat, who says:
Sometimes the best books are already on our shelves, waiting to be read.
TBR Tuesday is a chance to spotlight books that you own
that have been languishing on the endless to-be-read pile.

As Misty explains, there are two reasons to spotlight these unread books: to bring them to the attention of those who haven't heard of them and to find out from those who have already read them whether they are worth it. It's the second reason that draws me in.

A couple of my books have never shucked their "To Be Read" status not because I never picked them up again after buying them, but because I did start to read them . . . but then never finished. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the reason I set them aside was that I just couldn't get into them at the time. (Wrong book, wrong time: no one to blame.) But there is one book that I deliberately stopped reading in the middle . . .

Six children leave the comfort of their homes for Coldharbour, an eerie wasteland of wind, rats, seagulls and rubbish tips.
Emily and Freda, the insect-like twins, find Thomas half-starving on a food tip.
They discover Walter, the giant boy, his hands buried in the ashes of a fire.
Helene reaches Coldharbour at the height of a furious storm.
Together they seek out Milo--the sixth child--whose skin is hot and bright with silver.

Unique gifts have drawn them to one another,
but will they be in time to save themselves?
. . .

What I remember was that the children were gross. One boy suddenly becomes ravenous at the dinner table, eating everything in sight--gorging on it, not even bothering to chew. Later, he starts peeling his skin off and watching his hair fall out in clumps. Then there are the twin girls who run around on all fours, whom the narrator compares sometimes to dogs and sometimes to spiders. The whole set-up is ugly--and ugly in a way it shouldn't be. It was as if someone had kidnapped a baby with hydrocephaly from the hospital and exhibited him in a carnival freak show.

And having said all that . . . I wonder if it's worth another try. British author Cliff McNish is pretty open about writing dark and disturbing books--Horror for some of the youngest readers there are. (What I call "Family Horror"!) And he says he started writing them after his daughter begged him for a scary story with a witch. (Judging by reviews of his Doomspell Trilogy, Daddy really delivered!) As for The Silver Child, it was inspired by a prompt to write more about food, because readers love it when children eat. (Oh, how true . . .) The Horror twist is that it made McNish wonder, "What if they can't stop eating?" He answered this question with the grotesquely gluttonous boy I've described, and a Horror trilogy was born.

His creative process reminds me a bit of Stephen King's now. (Thinner, anyone?) So I'm feeling rather kindly towards The Silver Child at the moment and am open to all answers to this question:

If you have read The Silver Sequence or are a fan of Cliff McNish,
why would you say this first book is worth it?

And now for some linky cross-over love . . .

Hosted by Baja Greenawalt's Cozy Book Nook,
which invites all book lovers to carouse, make merry and revel
with bargain book abandon!

Now, BBB is a Monday meme; so I hope Lesa doesn't mind that I'm a day late to her party and bringing "the dark side" with me . . .

For, yes, I got my copy of Cliff McNish's Silver Child at a real bargain! (LOL!)

A big bookstore was having its annual Cut Price Sale and selling virtually every book in stock at a discount. Sometimes it's as little as 5% off, but this one was marked down 40%.

It seemed like a good incentive to start a series that had received many excellent reviews and had lovely hologram covers. And after the first half of the novel proved so disappointing, I comforted myself with the thought that at least I hadn't paid full price. =P

So now for my second question:

Have you ever bought a book at real bargain only to feel
that you still paid more than it was actually worth?

And now I look forward to two things: reading everyone's answers and discovering that there is something in McNish's disturbing novel to love!

Image Source: The Silver Child by Cliff McNish


Lesa said...

Never heard of this book or author. Sounds weird and slightly gross for sure-- I will check for it at the library and bookstore and read a few pages to see what I think. I do like weird-- gross not so much.

I did announce BBB as a Monday meme at first but now it is a Sunday night through Thursday night meme night so get linky any old time you feel like it!

40% off is a good deal though I know you wish it had been a deeper discount since it is a dud-- maybe it will improve on a second reading. Are you going to try again?

I don't recall any bargain book duds but since I've been on a bargain book buying binge since last fall it is bound to happen sometime-- especially since I'm finally reading some of them.

Thanks for joining BBB again!

Misty said...

I have a friend who really likes Cliff McNish, and send me 2 of his books, but I haven't had a chance to read them yet (again, ENDLESS tbr...)
Thanks for participating! :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Lesa -- I do want to try again. After all, since I already own the book, I won't be shelling out any more money. ;-) What puts me off, though, is the understanding I got from one review that this first novel mostly sets up the world and then ends on a huge cliffhanger!

Misty -- Is either of them from The Silver Sequence? I've been hoping to get more opinions about it. Unfortunately, McNish isn't very popular among book bloggers.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...


Well, you can tell that I buy in bulk when the price is right, and yep, I have come across some duds. One I bought a couple of months ago, had me thinking that if that book was published, why shouldn't I give writing a book a try. I put it down after a couple of pages. I don't know where it is now, someplace in the Mom Cave.

I'm having a hard time reading right now for some reason. Even excellent books, if they required too much concentration, I put them aside for something easier.

I am reading "Beloved" right now, and was so glad to find it for .50! I remember watching the movie way back when, and it threw me for a loop.

I stopped by last night, but my eyes were so tired that I didn't even notice the rat on the bookshelf!

Have a wonderful day!

Kathy M.

Enbrethiliel said...


There are bound to be duds in every bargain basket, aren't there?

In fairness, The Silver Child never struck me as on the level of the awful book you've described.

What a coincidence! Hard books are proving unusually challenging at the moment for me, too. And I'm just talking about the rereads! I can't believe it is taking me so long to finish The Hobbit again. =P

Thanks for stopping by, Kathy. =)

Paul Stilwell said...

Just reading that excerpt you quoted had me going, "yelch", or something to that effect.

I'm convinced a child would want to hear a scary story about a witch for two main reasons: the child does not want witches to become acceptable in any way, but wants witches to be witches, and the child wants to see the witch meet her/his demise.

Oh, and the cover of that book...yelch.

Enbrethiliel said...


Stiwell, have you ever read The Witches by Roald Dahl? It definitely lets witches be witches and meet the demise they deserve, with the unsettling twist that the wickedness they wreck can't always be put to rights even after they are defeated. (I'm keeping it deliberately vague in case you haven't read it.)

I saw the movie before I read the book. The former changes the original ending so that it's "happier"--and many years later, I read that Dahl was so furious that he stood outside of the cinema in his town, urging people not to watch it! =P However, while I'm usually all for movies being as faithful to the source as possible, I kind of like the changed ending. The original ending, in which the evil is irreparable, pushes The Witches into the Middle Grade Horror genre--which I kind of love. But the second ending lets the story slip back under the safer umbrella of Fantasy--which is like Hansel and Gretel getting to go home after killing the witch, and obviously just as fine by me!

On another note, there is a darkness in Dahl that he can't always cover up with humour. I remember the first time I sensed it and physically recoiled from what I was reading. (I can't remember the passage, but it was in his memoir Boy.) It reminds me of the darkness in David Almond's writing (He wrote Book #2 of the Ten Worst Books I Ever Read.)--and when I was working on this post, McNish reminded me very much of Almond, too. But I'm not familiar enough with British MG and YA authors to put my finger on it properly.

Paul Stilwell said...

That's funny about Dahl standing outside the cinema. I watched the movie, and the only thing I can really remember is the witches having no toes. But I do remember liking the movie.

I read The Twits in grade 6 and had similar feelings of recoil. And it was always Quentin Blake's illustrations, earlier in childhood, that repelled me from ever reading his books. I didn't find them horrid or anything, they just left me very neutral and I couldn't work any interest up in those books - unlike so many of the other story/picture books we read.

Belfry Bat said...

I have fond memories of Dad reading to us brethren from The Giraffe and the Pelli and Me, which had the strangest pictures in it. I can't recall much of the story, but it was a delightful way to prepare for sleeping.

Enbrethiliel said...


Stilwell -- I remember loving the movie!

Oh, look . . . It's on YouTube! =P Future live blog alert?!?!?

Your passing comment on Quentin Blake makes me wonder about authors and illustrators who end up working together on every book. It makes for good continuity, yes, but I'm sure there's enough else to write an academic paper on. After some point, did Dahl start writing for what he knew Blake could do? And if Blake had suddenly been replaced by, say, Edward Gorey, would Dahl have protested? And so on . . . I won't bore you!

Batty -- My brothers had to read that book for school. They weren't living with me at the time, or else I would have read it, too.

My own experience with Dahl has been limited to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (an interesting twist on the Morality Play), The Witches (excellent Horror for kids), Matilda (which I remember as okay), and the first half of Boy (which made me recoil so much that I couldn't finish it). And there's just something about Dahl that makes me think I should know him better; for good or ill, he seems so influential.