Bookish contents

Tuutikki Tolonen: Agnes and the Garden of Dreams (first published by WSOY in 2020 under the title Agnes ja unien avain) Agnes and her mother arrive one summer day in their new home, Harmala, a small country town where they don’t know a single person. Agnes’ parents had just divorced, so her mother had to look for a new house and a new job. Although there are moving boxes piled up everywhere in the apartment, Agnes at least has the opportunity to get to know the town, while she walks an elderly dog of an elderly neighbor. During one of their walks, they wander into the cemetery, where the girl finds a strange tombstone. At the same time, she has a recurring dream about walking in a garden. Can there be truth in predictions and do ghosts exist? Agnes also finds a new friend in the person of a local…

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Ingeborg Arvola: Buffy Berg is talented – Autobiography* (Cerkabella Könyvkiadó 2023) Many thanks to Cerkabella Könyvkiadó for sending me the book! Buffy Berg is very poor. A poor girl in the rich Norway’s even richer capital. With her younger brother and her unemployed mother, they manage their lives from one day to the next, but they do not feel ashamed. Ever since Buffy’s father left them, there have been only the three of them and they love each other very much. Social democracy takes care of them (if not the family). Bobby, Buffy’s brother, is talented at math and chess. Up until now, Buffy was only good at breaking the rules, but now she wants to show that she is also talented in something, and she has the opportunity to do so on the free ski course. However, in order to continue her training even after the course, she needs…

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Emiko Jean: Tokyo Ever After (Flatiron Books 2021) Many thanks to Maxim Könyvkiadó for sending me the book! In the life of Izumi Tanaka, there were always secure points: her mother, who raised her alone, and the fact that, as a Japanese-American, she never really fit in. She didn’t think being different was a bad thing until the other kids showed it to her. Luckily, Asian girls stick together – she also has three girlfriends she can always rely on. Izumi’s life turns upside down when she learns that her father – she has never met – is the Japanese crown prince. The girl travels to Japan to get to know her father, but with him comes the entire imperial court with all its constraints, conniving cousins, a scandal-hungry press and a scowling but handsome bodyguard. Izumi soon realizes that although she was never American enough in the US, she…

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Karen Foxlee: The Trouble with the Two-Headed Hydra (Allen & Unwin Australia 2023) Karen Foxlee: The Bother with the Bonkillyknock Beats (Allen & Unwin Australia 2024) Mary-Kate Martin is a very special heroine. She is not as fearless as the classic protagonists, who jump into a hair-raising adventure to save the world without a second thought. She worries about many things: she doesn’t like brown coloring pencils, mismatched clothing, facing backwards on the train, starting and ending things or saying the wrong thing during small talk. On the other hand, she is calmed down by new, lined notebooks, unopened gel pen packages or thirty-minute infomercials about vacuum cleaners on the shopping channel. And, while she’s not good at starting and ending processes, she’s very good at things in between. That’s probably why she’s such a good monster hunter – of course, the good kind who wants to help monsters. After…

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Horst A. Friedrichs – Stuart Husband: Bookstores (Prestel Verlag 2020) Anyone who likes to read also likes bookstores. It’s true that everyone probably does most of their shopping online, which is great for getting some exclusive editions, rarities, or copies that aren’t available anywhere else, but bookstores still have their magic. Although many are fighting for their survival, they still have future if they have a special style or a bold choice of thematic and, of course, supportive customers. In this beautiful volume, with the photos of Horst A. Friedrichs and the words of the bookstore owners, we can get a glimpse into the secrets of the ‘paper cities’. We can visit such large shops as the Strand in New York, which is the only one that has survived in the part of the city that once had 48 bookstores, or the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, which once…

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Aisling Fowler: Fireborn – Twelve and the Frozen Forest (HarperCollins Publishers 2021) Many thanks to Maxim Könyvkiadó for sending me the book! Could you give up your past, your family and your name in order to serve one purpose throughout your entire life: to fight against injustice and evil? Twelve gave up everything. Almost everything… She lives in the Hunting Lodge to learn to fight, earn a new name and protect the seven clans. However, her real goal is the revenge for her lost family. Moreover, even though students can’t be friends, she stands up for one of her companions and tracks her down when she’s kidnapped. However, she has no idea that there are much bigger forces at work in the background than she could imagine. The snowy, icy, freezing landscape gives the atmosphere of the story, however, there is also fire under the surface. The name of this…

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J.R.R. Tolkien: The Fall of Númenor (HarperCollins Publishers 2022) After the Great Battle, in which Melkor, the greatest evil, was defeated, the earth shook and Beleriand sank into the sea, and the lands to the east of it are became known as Middle-Earth. From then on, the elves could return to the West, to Valinor, and the men who were loyal to the elves were richly rewarded by the gods: they received greater wisdom, strength and longer life, as well as a new home between Middle-Earth and Valinor, which was called Andor, the Land of Gift, but the elves called it Númenor. However, in the case of people, the reward is often more dangerous than the punishment… Among the stories about Númenor, the tale of Aldarion and Erendis stands out. Aldarion was born in the age when the kings from the line of Elros ruled the realm in all their…

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Sophie Anderson: The Snow Girl (Usborne 2023) Tascha moves with her parents up north to live with her grandfather to help him with the chores around the house. For Tascha, it is a relief to move away from the beach, where she was burdened by bad memories and to be near to her beloved grandfather, who always tells interesting stories. Tascha’s favorite tale is about an old couple who build themselves a little girl out of snow, and because they have no children, the snow girl comes to life at their wish. Tascha is also lonely, she has no friends, so she also builds a snow girl who, like in the fairy tale, comes to life. However, all variations of the story end with the girl melting away when spring comes. Will Tascha find a way to get her friend to stay with her after the first snowdrops appear? In…

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Clea Shearer – Joanna Teplin: The Home Edit Life (Mitchell Beazley 2020) Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are tidying up our apartment and our lives after their The Home Edit series on Netflix, but this time in the form of a book. January is a time of new beginnings for everyone. This is a good time to tidy up too. This book is for you if you like organizing, if you hate it or if you’re just looking for a good read, but also if you only like beautiful pictures. The authors organize everything with ferocious humor and dynamism, while admitting that even they themselves couldn’t take some of their own advice. What I liked the most about the book (besides the excellent humor!) was that they didn’t tell us to throw everything away and live in a perfect, minimal apartment, but instead showed us that we can have a…

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Abi Elphinstone: Winter Magic (Simon & Schuster 2017) Winter has a special atmosphere. Of course, Christmas also plays a big role in this, but the period that follows it is also special: walks in the cold, snowy landscape, icicles on the eaves, iceflowers on the window. And if it’s really cold outside, we can curl up in a warm armchair with a blanket, a warm drink and a good book. Many books are set in winter or have winter scenes: The Chronicles of Narnia, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, The Call of the Wild, The Snow Queen and The Nutcracker, and several of Sophie Anderson’s novels. I really like to read wintery books in the winter and I recommend this book of short stories to people like me, in which you can read stories of 11 award-winning authors, all of which are set in the coldest season. In the book, we find…

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