The City of Ember

Jamieson Wolf has been writing since a young age when he realized he could be writing instead of paying attention in school. Since then, he has created many worlds in which to live his fantasies and live out his dreams.

You can find out more at Jamieson Wolf's website.


It is a fascinating story: In the City of Ember, it is always night. Light comes from the bulbs that fill the underground city with an amber glow.

But the city was only supposed to last for 200 years. Now, 241 years later, the city is in danger.

Lina and Doon are the only ones who seem worried, the only ones who know the city is in danger. When Lina finds an old paper that leads to clues on how to leave The City of Ember, they follow the directions to adventure and their destiny.

This is an incredible book that is not just for kids but for the kid in all of us. It makes you stop and think about what your world is like and what our world will be like in the future if things don't change.

It's also a damn great story!

Sponsored by BubbleCow Literary Consultants

My Family and Other Animals

Meredith Greene describes herself as "Writer for Belator Books. Novelist. Wife. Mother."

Belator books website

Belator books blog


Literature, natural history and hilarity all wrapped up in a rich, pleasant layer of memory.
Written about his family's 5-year sojourn to the Island of Corfu in pre-WW2 Greece. Rampant eccentricity and colorful word-pictures of life, locals and scenery. Prepare to laugh hard; do not drink liquids while reading.

BubbleCow: Get your book edited for free!

A few more quickies

Rosalind Wyllie

  • Antigone - Jean Anouil     (Monumental)
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant - Anne Tyler ('Heartbreaking)
  • The Handmaids Tale - Margaret Atwood (Earthshattering)

Chris King

  • The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys - Conn & Hal Iggulden (Essential)
  • The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett (Unputdownable)
  • Hound Dog - Richard Blandford  (Outrageous)

Rules to this game are easy - three books, one word to describe each.

Post your ideas in the comments.


This is not a usual OneBook but I wanted to spread the word for this excellent project. This was originally posted here.

A few months ago Stray came to my home and filmed me reading from In Search of Adam. I answered questions about the self harm section, where Jude breaks her wrist with a hammer. The reading was emotional.
(the filming was in a room that I did not tidy)
Below is the trailer for the actual 90 minute DVD.
The content of the film is aimed at professionals, at therapists, MH workers, doctors, A&E staff and others. The act of self harming is often hidden and this film offers voice, removing the taboo and bringing real people into focus.
I have now watched the trailer and cried. There is such honesty and emotion seeping from it. I am very very proud to be part of this DVD and really hope that it helps raise awareness and funds. And Stray, I've said this many times, you truly are a star.
So many can not begin to imagine why a person would hurt themselves. I think it's about time that people listened and began to understand self harm. This DVD will raise awareness, but only if it reaches the right eyes and the right ears.
Please please, if you can, help to spread the word.
All proceeds from sales of the DVD will fund services for people who self harm. DVDs are available from

Sponsored by BubbleCow

OneBook quickie

Here's a few OneBook quickies that came through over the weekend.

Rules are simple - three books and one word to describe each.


The People's Act of Love by James Meek (stunning)

Let's Be Alone Together, Stinging fly anthology (colourful)

In a Bear's Eye by Yannick Murphy (intense)

Posted by: Tania Hershman


Life is a Verb by Patti Digh (kaleidoscopic)

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (delightful)

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (moving)

Posted by: Julie Meredith


Bag of Bones by Stephen King - Enchanting

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - Blissful

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau - Incredible

Posted by: Jamieson Wolf

City of Joy - Inspiring
The Survival of Jan Little - Humbling
Black Body - Believable

Posted by: DJ Kirkby


The Writer's Tale by Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook (Fantastic!)
The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (Amusing!)
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Penetrating!)

Posted by: Patrick Chapman

OneBook quickie

Gary Smailes is a writer, researcher and editor.

Here's the last three books I read:

  • Tribes by Seth Godin (essential)
  • The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (surprising)
  • 3 Para by Patrick Bishop (disappointing)

Anyone one else have a OneBook quickie?

Rules are simple - list three books with one word to describe each.

Either add to the comments or email me at [email protected].

Sponsored by BubbleCow.

Black Boxes

DJ Kirby's main blog is here. You can find links to all her other blogs are on the right hand sidebar.


Black Boxes by Caroline Smailes is a book that gives you your money's worth on every page. Once again Caroline has taken one of life's most important and rarely discussed issues and with her very unique voice, made it into a very readable novel.

Black boxes is compelling reading.

I expect readers who are not familiar with Caroline's writing will think that the topic is used to allay one's fear of the situation but as usual she does no such thing. Instead, she bravely examines each nuance of this emotive topic, detailing the root cause and perpetuating factors, following the path of destruction that unrecognised postnatal depression can become. Although this is not an academic work, it accomplishes what no textbook will ever do and I strongly recommend it as reading for Health and Social Care students.

I admire Caroline hugely for writing this book and know that each person who reads it will develop a greater understanding of some very sensitive issues that are very much a part of many people's lives. Postnatal depression is the main issue but emotional abuse, neglect, bullying, love and hate are also seamlessly blended in this book written from the mother Ana's and daughter Pip's perspective. Pip's voice also speaks for her brother Davie. Ana speaks with imperfect and egocentric hindsight, Pip cries out from the harsh, damaging reality of the present time. The parallels are sharp, perfectly honed, gleaming. There is white hot pain contained within the pages of this book. Pip and Davie need a hiding tree, a place to escape the tsunami like destruction of their parent's madness's. Their pain rings out like the tones that can be coaxed from the rim of wet crystal and I found myself reading with the certainty that one of their songs was going to stop.

I challenge you to read Pip's closing words without a tear in your eye...

  • Find out more about Caroline Smailes here.
  • Read about her first novel In Search of Adam here.
  • Download her novella Disraeli Avenue for free from here.
  • Buy Black Boxes with free delivery from here.

Sponsored by BubbleCow.

The Poetics of Space

Juggler of two small children, defiant hound, pilot husband, crumbling cottage, small business and dreams of seeing The Book published.  'What Kate Did Next' is a daily blog for writers at


Gaston Bachelard was a scientist who became a Professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne.  This is the single most challenging, evocative and poetic book about the places we exist in that I've ever read.  Bachelard weaves literature, poetry and philosophy together with memories of treasured places - you'll never look at the world around you in the same way again.

Sponsored by BubbleCow.

The Gruffalo

Tara Cain describes herself as "a working mother with two young children and I am a total bookworm. My children are bookworms too which makes me want to whoop! Whoop!"
She is the features editor on a daily newspaper and writes a mummy blog here.


I can't believe no one has nominated this modern day classic.
Written by the brilliant Julia Donaldson, it's the tale of a little mouse who invents a terrible creature to ensure safe passage through the forest and all the animals trying to eat him for their tea.
But the mouse's invention isn't confined to his imagination and so he has to use his ingenuity to escape the clutches of this nightmarish monster.
Written in a lovely sing songy rhyme, it has gripped both of my children - and I actually don't mind reading it 14 nights in a row which is the norm for a book they love!

  • Go here for the official Gruffalo site.
  • This is what wiki has to say on the subject.
  • Find more about Julia Donaldson here.
  • Marvel at the genius illustrations of Axel Scheffler here.
  • To buy this book postage free go here.

Sponsored by BubbleCow.


Juliette is an unpublished writer living in London. To make her stand out from all the other unpublished writers living in London she hennas her hair, wears fabulous shoes and is generally found on the arm of a ginger actor/songwriter. Her blog can be found at The Lady with the Laptop and she likes visitors, old pianos, gin and coconut macaroons.


If you only read one book this year, make it this one. Richard Mayhew, a City type from 'London above', helps Door, a girl whom he finds bleeding in the street. Unknown to him she is Lady Door of the House of Portico from 'London Below' and he swiftly finds his world changing as his flat is sold from under him, his job given to someone else and his fiancee forgets him. Like the other inhabitants of London Below, he has been removed from the city above and must survive along with Door, the Marquis de Carabas and the mysterious bodyguard Hunter in the murky, shadowy world of the Neverwhere.
Neverwhere is the kind of book that stays with you long after you have read it. Certainly I cannot go to certain places in London without thinking (perhaps even hoping!) that I might see the Black Friars, the Knight's Bridge and its rat-speakers, and the Seven Sisters. From Neil Gaiman's intricately dancing prose which captures the true spirit of magical London, to the wonderful characters such as the exquisite Marquis de Carabas, the terrifying Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar (which one is more scary? You decide!) and the glassy-cool Angel Islington, each page just leads to more eerie, darkly beautiful discoveries.

  • Read what Wiki has to say about this book here.
  • Here's Wiki's wise words on the man Gaiman.
  • This is Gaiman's blog.
  • To buy a new copy with free postage go here.

Sponsored by BubbleCow.

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