Find Your Perfect Summer Read with Neem Tree Press
Posted in Neem Tree Blog on August 24, 2021
Summer is the perfect time to catch up with that reading goal you set yourself all those months ago and whilst many countries have been added to the green list, still so few of us are able to travel abroad. As Stephen King once said, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” In honour of helping those with wanderlust find the ‘perfect summer read’ – we thought we’d share three of our own fun and adventurous stories with you.
Cows Can’t Jump by Philip Bowne
From debut novelist, writer for The Wombles and winner of the Spotlight First Novel prize, this hilarious and poignant coming-of-age odyssey catapults 18-year-old Billy across pre-Brexit Europe.
Literary fiction resonating with themes of family, faith, race, love, loss, taking risks, borders and barriers, downward mobility, and growing up under the shadow of Brexit.
17-year-old Billy has just left school with no A levels and he’s desperate to escape middle England. As a grave-digger, he’s working the ultimate dead-end job. Billy’s home life isn’t any better. In the evenings, he observes his dysfunctional family: his Grandad’s engaged to a woman half his age, his xenophobic Dad’s become obsessed with boxing, and he suspects his deeply religious Mum is having an affair. All the while, celebrities are dropping like flies and Britain is waiting for the EU referendum. Everything is changing, and Billy hates it. Meeting Eva, though, changes everything. She’s Swiss, passionate about Russian literature, Gary Numan, windfarms and chai tea, and Billy gambles everything for a chance to be with her. When things start to go wrong, Billy’s journey across Europe involves hitch-hiking with truckers, walking with refugees, and an encounter with suicidal cows. But the further he goes, the harder it is to be sure what he’s chasing –and what he’s running from.
Just in case you’re wondering how Brexit will affect your travel plans see these articles below:
What does the future hold for UK citizens travelling to Europe?
How Will ETIAS & BREXIT Affect UK Citizens?
About The Author
Philip Bowne lives in London and works as a writer for The Wombles, a children’s entertainment brand. Like his protagonist, Billy, Phil attended a failing and severely under-resourced school in Bicester, Oxfordshire. However, unlike Billy, Phil ended up studying English Literature and Creative Writing at university. While studying, Phil published short stories in literary magazines and anthologies in the UK, US, Canada and Germany. After graduating, Phil spent time in Europe and the US, working and volunteering in various roles and settings: repairing boats at Lake Como, housekeeping at a mountain lodge in California and working with charity Care4Calais in the former Calais ‘jungle’ refugee camp. Cows Can’t Jump is Phil’s debut novel, which he worked on while managing a bar in London.
The Three Hares: The Jade Dragonball by David Ross and Scott Lauder
The first book of The Three Hares trilogy is a fast-paced adventure story that will teach young readers about history, art and the mysterious Three Hares motif found all over the world – from China to Cornwall
Sara’s school trip to a museum in Beijing seemed pretty run of the mill. The last thing she expected was to find herself inside a 700-year-old Chinese silk painting—and that wasn’t the worst of it. It’s only when she’s running for her life on a dangerous mission to protect the world from an evil shaman that Sara finds out how much danger is lying in wait just below the surface. And she seems to be the only one, despite the help of the Eight Immortals, who has the power to stop it. Thrown between present day Ben Nevis in Scotland and the Palace Museum in Beijing to the metropolis of Kaifeng on the Silk Road in the Song Dynasty, Sara has to dig deep and find wells of physical and emotional strength to stay alive long enough to fulfil her mission.
The Jade Dragon Ball draws readers into the historical settings the story opens up. The artworks introduced – the Qingming Scroll, the Ktisis Mosaic, the Jade Suit – are pivot points upon which the story is based and encourage interest in the actual historical and cultural context.
For more insight into the history of The Jade Dragon Ball why not check out the videos below and immerse yourself on Chinese culture this summer.
The Song Dynasty in China | Asia for Educators
History comes alive with animated classic Chinese scroll painting – YouTube
Valerie Hansen Walks You Through the Qingming Scroll – YouTube
Along The River During the Qingming Festival – YouTube
The Three Hares: The Golden Monkey Key
The second book in The Three Hares Trilogy, written by Scott Lauder and David Ross, transports readers to the 6th Century traveling along the Silk Road. Silk was once such a prized commodity that an entire trading network spanning 4,000 miles to connect Europe, the Middle East and North Africa with China was named after it. According to Chinese legends, Lady His-Link-Shih, wife of the mythical Yellow Emperor, was given the title Goddess of Silk as she’s credited with the introduction of silkworm rearing and the invention of the loom. This rich historical background sets the scene for The Golden Monkey Key as one reviewer notes “Depth, insights, action, and surprising twists and turns make this quest fantasy a standout production! – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Sanjeev’s dog Jigsaw is missing in the middle of winter in New Jersey. But this tragedy is dwarfed by what happens to him in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Has he really entered the 6th Century and become the slave to monks traveling the Silk Road to Byzantium -and might they just be murderers? Trouble is even if he figures out how to get out of this, he’s got other problems: someone, or something, is coming after him. Part of the answer might be Sara, a girl who contacts him on the net and keeps talking about the Immortals. But who or what are The Three Hares and how can they stop the darkness about to engulf the world?
About the Authors
Scott Lauder was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. Having taught in Greece, Japan, and England, he now lives with his wife and four cats in the UAE where he teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and drinking good coffee. His other books include The Right Thing, A Single Shot, and The Boy-King Tutankhamun.
David Scott Ross has travelled and taught throughout Asia since he first moved there in 1987. He currently teaches in upstate NY, where he lives with his wife and two sons. When David is not writing or teaching, he dreams about becoming a chef, a rock star, maybe an actor, but probably not all at once. At present, he is wrapping up two projects: Pastimes, encounters with a Stone Age people, and Dim, a detective novel.
If you want to find out more about the Silk Road, see the articles below.
The Mystery of Silk and the World’s First Intellectual Property Theft
History of Silk