Six Sentence Stories: A Tale of Two Books


I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Useful

 

 


A tale of two books

“Why don’t you make yourself useful for a change and take those library books back,” she said over breakfast, “I mean, it’s not like you have anything better to do.”

He looked across at her from his laptop between a mouthful of marmalade on toast and the words not daring to express themselves: Actually, dear, I have my book of poems to finish – but, ah, yes, thirty years of marriage had taught him when the optimum time was to answer her back – and it certainly wasn’t over breakfast.

He bundled the books into his old school bag – the brown leather one he used to take for marking homework in days that seemed as ancient now as the bag itself – and he decided to walk to the library instead of taking the bus, never mind the rain, and each street he encountered reminded him of the years that had passed, and each corner was yet another best-forgotten page, and each road he crossed was fraught with noise and cars and danger and people seemingly neither from the future, past, nor present.

Inside the library he waited at the counter to return his books; and that’s when he noticed her approaching, her head buried in the concluding pages of a paperback as though she was desperate to reach its end before time ran out – and he recognised her straightaway, and his heart thumped and his stomach made a flip, and he opened his mouth to say her name, and in the moment it took for words to travel the ever-decreasing distance between them… his mind conjured the possibilities he had dreamed of since he last saw her.

They had met on a pottery course; each Tuesday evening, nine weeks of clay and kilns and conversation to throw the soul, and at the end of it all phone numbers exchanged… gah! like a bloody fool he had neglected to write down a paper copy as he always did with his numbers, and when his mobile phone died so did she… and with it a love which had blossomed so briefly in an art room in London, and where things you created got fired and cast into shape, and were tangible enough to hold in your hand forever.

“Catherine, is that really you?” he said, and she replied… “Peter?”, and all at once time stood still in a library one minute before noon, and she noticed then the book in his hand – Down and Out in Paris and London – and it was the same book as hers, though a different edition and cover, and she smiled at him, and he smiled back, and outside the library a clock in town chimed noon, and it stopped raining.


The Doctor Who Quiz Book of Dinosaurs, 1982

Cover illustration by Geoff Hunt.

We promised you dinosaurs! And here are some – with added Doctor Who time travel stamp of approval!

Presenting, the Doctor Who Quiz Book of Dinosaurs, written by Michael Holt, published by Magnet Books, 1982.

This paperback was aimed at children, and took readers on a journey with the 5th Doctor and his companions – Nyssa and Tegan, as they travelled back and forth through time exploring prehistory. The reader is asked to solve puzzles and answer questions after each adventure is told, aided with black and white illustrations by Rowan Barnes-Murphy.

Big bad bird…

According to the Doctor, the terrifying creature pictured below is a kind of hybrid lizard-vulture-woodpecker called Archaeopteryx (say it ‘Arky-op-terricks).

It couldn’t yet fly, and instead ‘glided’ down from the tops of trees to capture its ground prey, whereupon it would “tear him to shreds with its razor-sharp toothed bill.” The creature was too heavy for flight due to having weak wing muscles and solid, heavy bones – as opposed to modern birds who have hollow bones. Its feathers were used as insulation to protect against the cold climate it inhabited.

TVTA theory: Dinosaurs became extinct not because of an asteroid or disease, but because the Archaeopteryx friggin’ ate them all!

Artisit impression of Archaeopteryx. Image: SPL/BBC.

Koringa, the crocodile-wrestling circus lady! 

In the book, according to Nyssa she once saw a video of a lady croc-wrestler called Koringa, who worked with Bertram Mills’ Circus. The Doctor disputes that Koringa wrestled with crocodiles as they are far too deadly, and rather that it was alligators she wrestled. There follows the theory on how Koringa managed to wrestle such a beast, then a quiz about the differences between alligators and crocodiles. Regarding Koringa, I checked – and she really existed; so Nyssa was right.

Rear cover:

Doctor Who bonus book advert:

Doctor Who Best Sellers. 1984.


That’s all for now…

Thank you for avoiding Archaeopteryx with us 🙂 

In praise of trees

“Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.”

Chinese Proverb

The How and Why Wonder Book of Trees. Written by Geoffrey Coe. Illustrated by Cynthia Iliff Koehler and Alvin Koehler. Grosset and Dunlap. New York. 1973.

This was one of the books included in my recent free lot of novels, and is not a novel but The How and Why Wonder Book of Trees, originally published in 1964. My copy is from 1973, and I’m featuring selected images illustrated by Cynthia Iliff Koehler and Alvin Koelher.

Enjoy 🌲🌳🍀🍂🍃🌿🌱🌱🌱

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More random book cover designs, and a spotlight on British Salvationist illustrator Jim Moss

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. 1999 Harper Collins. Cover by J.R.R. Tolkien.

We have you covered… again!  (See part one here)

Today’s book post features design covers and illustrations published between the 1920s and 2010s, courtesy of a generous donation of old books to TVTA!

What happened was this… an English teacher working in France was moving home and job, and before leaving she decided to give away a number of her old books. Finally, after a Pandemic-lockdown-observed-meeting outside the local park gates, two bags of wonderful books were handed over for the reading and scanning pleasure of those inside TVTA Towers – cue happiness 🙂

Some of the titles will be instantly recognisable, others obscure, some have been adapted for stage, film or television, but all are equal here in having interesting covers to bind their tales.

Enjoy your donated book!

1920 William Heinemann.

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Some random book cover designs

Tobermory and other stories. Saki. 1998. Cover Diana Ong / SuperStock.

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Happy New Yeats! Party like it’s 1999, in 1962!

Prince Magazine Special. 1985. Australia.

Happy new year vintage mates! Sorry we’re late and sorry we got the wrong year, but Wooof and I just got back from time travelling in 1982 watching Prince recording 1999, then we got lost in 1962 and found a cool book of poetry from W.B. Yeats, and then we got tangled up in a vintage space war between aliens and robots disputing a 3 billion year old moon made of chedder cheese and denim!

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