14 Mar 2015


Purchased from The Book People, two books from Gerald Durrell. The first perfect for the What's In A Name ? 20015 challenge: An Animal In The Title category, the second, my first book read as part of the 2015 Take Control Of Your TBR Pile challenge.


AMAZON.CO.UK BLURB: In the gloom it came along the branches towards me, its round, hypnotic eyes blazing, its spoon-like ears turning to and fro independently like radars dishes, its white whiskers twitching and moving like sensors; its black hands, with their thin, attenuated fingers .... tapping delicately on the branches as it moved along, like those of a pianist playing a complicated piece of Chopin .... Read more by clicking on book title

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One: The Vanishing Lake}: I once described Madagascar as looking like a badly presented omelette, lying in the Indian Ocean off Africa's eastern 'flank', from which it was wrenched millions of years ago.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 64}: They stagger to and fro like scaly Sumo wrestlers, the dust kicked up into little clouds around them, while the subject of their adoration gazes at their passionate endeavours, showing about as much excitement and enthusiasm as a plum pudding.

MY THOUGHTS: In search of the elusive Aye-Aye in what was to be the last of his adventures. Given that as well as the various animals as is typical of his books we also get to know something about the people, flora and fauna of wherever it is he finds himself The Aye-Aye And I can possibly best be described as a travelogue come conservation book.

A fun and yet bitter-sweet read. Though no longer the boy of books like My Family And Other Animals still as enthusiastic  as ever, whilst quintessentially a 'Gerald Durrell' book we find the author quite frail (first published in 1992, sadly the author died some three years later) and without his usual vigour

March 2015 Take Control of Your TBR PileMENAGERIE MANOR

AMAZON.CO.UK BLURB: Most children at the tender age of six are generally full of the most impractical schemes for becoming policemen, firemen or engine drivers when they grow up ... I knew exactly what I was going to do. I was going to have a zoo of my own .... Read more by clicking on book title

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One: Menagerie Manor}: It is one thing to visit a zoo as an ordinary member of the public but quite another to own a zoo and live in the middle of it: this at times can be a mixed blessing.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 57}: .... for after all, the last thing you expect to find wandering about a respectful parish is an infuriated porcupine pursued by a highly embarrassed man in night attire.

MY THOUGHTS: First published in 1964 so a much earlier book than The Aye-Aye And I. Unlike many of his previous books which chronicled his adventures 'collecting' animals Menagerie Manor deals with his Jersey zoo and its occupants. 

Overturning the stereotype of a zoo as a place of captivity in which animals are kept in appalling conditions, a zoo ahead of its time. Whilst for me this doesn't begin to compare with his earliest books it is still full of a wit and a wonderful attention to detail, made even better by the use of pen and ink illustrations, that readers of Durrell's books have come to expect.


Kelly said...

This is an author I've never heard of. His idea of a zoo sounds fascinating. I've always loved zoos, but only those I felt took proper care of their animals (a point that could easily be debated).

I'd be willing to bet you'll be the only contributor in the animal category of the challenge with an "aye-aye" in your title! ;)

Alexia561 said...

I'm not familiar with this author, but his books sound lovely! I've always loved the larger zoos, but the small ones where they keep animals in tiny cages always make me sad.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I have never heard of this author- but he sounds like a great one. Loved hearing your thoughts about these two books. :)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Thanks for sharing! I don't know this author either, but sounds like some cute books.

themethatisme said...

Not just an idea - he actually did it largely funded through his writing and the park and conservation trust are still working.

Kelly said...

Thanks for providing the link. It looks like a wonderful place to visit.

Suko said...

Fun reviews of books I had not heard of before! I hope your weekend has been relaxing, Tracy.

kimbacaffeinate said...

This author is new to me, so I am glad you shared. These sound fun

Melliane said...

These book look nice, it's also the first time Ihear about the author so it's nice to discover something new.

Lindsay said...

Both are beautiful covers, and I don't think I've read anything by him, though I know of him.

Tracy Terry said...

For anyone wishing to read any of Gerald's books I highly recommend starting with My Family And Other Animals, the first book in his Corfu trilogy.

Gina R said...

Another author I'm not familiar with but thank you for the introduction! The artistry though...reminds me of some of Dahl's covers.

Literary Feline said...

It's always nice when you can knock books off your challenge lists. :-)

These both sound like fun reads, especially Menagerie Manor.

Charlie (The Worm Hole) said...

Oh, very cool! That has to be one of the most unique animals I've seen chosen. Well done for completing the category :)