A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

Please scroll down for the English translation.

Peidiwch â gadael i’r clawr braidd yn ddifflach eich digalonni! Mae hon yn stori wirioneddol hyfryd a gafaelgar am Alex, dyn yn ei dridegau a Sam, ei fab awtistig wyth oed.

Mae Alex yn caru Sam ond nid yw’n gwybod sut i bontio’r blwch rhwng y byd “arferol” a’r byd y mae Sam yn byw ynddo. Mae hefyd yn ei chael yn anodd ymdopi gyda thymer Sam ac yn encilio i’w swydd ddiflas gan adael ei wraig i ddatrys unrhyw broblemau.

Nid yw’n syndod bod Jody, ei wraig anhygoel o amyneddgar, yn penderfynu ei bod wedi cael llond bol a bod yn rhaid i Alex symud allan o gartref y teulu. Heb gyswllt arferol dydd i ddydd, mae Alex yn ei chael yn anodd canfod ffyrdd i wneud i’r amser y gall ei dreulio gyda Sam olygu rhywbeth i’r ddau ohonynt. Ac yna mae’n taro ar fyd Minecraft.

Mae’r cymeriadau yn y llyfr yn neidio oddi ar y dudalen a byddwch mewn dim o dro yn annog Alex i ddal ati a chanfod y bont a fydd yn y diwedd yn dod ag ef yn nes at ei fab.

Catalog llyfrgell

A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

Don’t let the rather boring cover put you off! This is a really lovely and gripping story about Alex, a man in his thirties and Sam, his autistic eight year old son.

Alex loves Sam but doesn’t know how to bridge the gap between the “normal” world and the world Sam inhabits. He also struggles to cope with Sam’s outbursts and retreats to his boring, mundane job, preferring to leave his wife to resolve any issues.

Not surprisingly Jody, his incredibly patient wife, decides enough is enough and Alex has to move out of the family home. Without normal day to day contact, Alex struggles to find a way to make the time he can spend with Sam mean something to them both.  And then he stumbles across the world of Minecraft.

The characters in this book leap off the page and you soon find yourself willing Alex to keep preserving and to find the bridge that will finally bring him close to his son.

Library catalogue

Posted in Book reviews

The Humans by Matt Haig

Please scroll down for the English translation.

Bu Grŵp Darllen My Novel Lovers yn trafod y llyfr yma yn ein cyfarfod diwethaf ac roedd y rhan fwyaf ohonom wrth ein bodd gydag ef (er ei bod yn wir nad oedd yr un dyn yn ein plith wedi ei fwynhau gymaint â’r gweddill ohonom).

Mae’r Vonnadoriaid yn gwybod fod yr Athro Andrew Martin wedi profi damcaniaeth Riemann. Yn awyddus iawn nad yw’r darganfyddiad mathemategol pwysig yma’n dod yn wybodaeth gyhoeddus ar y ddaear, maent yn anfon un ohonynt eu hunain i ddinistrio gwraig a mab Andrew, ac unrhyw un arall a all fod wedi gweld yr wybodaeth. A pha ffordd well i wneud hyn na threfnu i Vonnadoriad fyw yng nghorff yr Athro Martin?

Yr unig broblem yw bod y Vonnadoriad dan sylw i ddechrau’n drwghoffi ac yn arswydo pobl a’u ffordd o fyw; sut fydd byth yn cymhathu? Mae’n dod o blaned fwy soffistigedig, lle mae rhesymeg a mathemateg yn hollbwysig. Ond wrth i’w genhadaeth barhau, mae’n darganfod cerddoriaeth, Nerton y ci ac yna, yn fwyaf cythryblus i gyd, beth mae cariad yn ei olygu.

Pan ddechreuais ddarllen y nofel hon credwn ei bod braidd yn od ac yna fe wnaeth yr hiwmor a’r cynhesrwydd gael gwared â fy holl amheuon. Mae’n stori gadarnhaol, doniol a gwreiddiol iawn; yn hyfryd i’w darllen ar ben eich hun neu fel rhan o grŵp darllen.

Catalog llyfrgell

The Humans by Matt Haig

My Novel Lovers Reading Group discussed this at our last meeting and it received overwhelming approval (although it’s true that our one male reader didn’t experience the same uplifting effect as the rest of us did).

The Vonnadorians know that Professor Andrew Martin has proved the Riemann hypothesis. Anxious that this important mathematical breakthrough does not become public knowledge on earth, they send one of their own to destroy Andrew’s wife and teenage son, and anyone else that may have been privy to the information.  And what better way to do this than arrange for a Vonnadorian to inhabit Professor Martin’s body?

The only problem is that the Vonnadorian in question is at first disgusted and horrified by humans and their way of life; how will he ever blend in? He comes from a more sophisticated planet, where logic and mathematics are all important.  But as his mission continues, he discovers music, Newton the dog, and then, most disturbing of all, what love means.

When I first started reading this novel, I thought it was rather odd and then the humour and warmth overrode all my reservations.  It’s a life affirming, very funny and original story; lovely to read by yourself or as part of a reading group.

 

Library catalogue

Posted in Book reviews

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Please scroll down for the English translation.

holding-up-the-universeRoeddwn i’n dwli ar y stori ddiddorol, lon yma am ddau berson ifanc yn tyfu lan ac yn dod i delerau gyda rhannau o’u hunain sy’n eu gwneud yn teimlo’n unigryw ond hefyd yn fregus.

Mae angen holl ddewrder Libby i ddychwelyd i Ysgol Uwchradd ar ôl absenoldeb hir. Ar ôl marwolaeth ei mam, collodd Libby rheolaeth o’i harferion bwyta a daeth mor fawr nes i fywyd arferol droi’n hollol amhosib. Mae hi dal yn pwyso gormod a nawr mae’n rhaid iddi wynebi rhai o’i beirniadai mwyaf llym.

Mae Jack ar ochr arall y raddfa poblogrwydd, ac mae’n cael ei weld fel “too cool for school”. Ond mae angen i Jack gadw ei fywyd o dan reolaeth lem rhag ofn i unrhyw un ddarganfod ei gyfrinach fawr: mae’n dioddef o brosopagnosia (dallineb wynebol). Wrth deimlo cymaint o gywilydd ei bod methu adnabod ei deulu agos heb gymorth, mae Jack yn brwydro i reoli ei ofn o gael ei “ddarganfod”.

Nid yw’r tro cyntaf y mae’r ddau’n cwrdd yn mynd yn dda, ond wrth iddynt gael eu gorfodi i dreulio mwy o amser da’i gilydd, gallent ymestyn allan a helpu’i gilydd?

Library catalogue

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

I loved this engrossing, feel-good love story about two young people growing up and coming to terms with parts of themselves that make them feel both unique and vulnerable.

Libby needs all her courage to return to High School after a long absence. After her mother’s death, Libby’s eating habits got out of control and she became so large that normal life became absolutely impossible.  She is still over weight and now has to face some of her harshest critics, her peers.

Jack is at the other end of the popularity stakes, regarded as “too cool for school”. But Jack needs to keep his life under strict control so that no one discovers his closely guarded secret: he suffers from prosopagnosia (face blindness).  So ashamed that he can’t recognise his close family without clues, Jack is struggling to keep his fear of being “found out” under control.

The couple’s first meeting does not go well, but as they are forced to spend more time together, will they be able reach out and help each other?

Library catalogue

Posted in Book reviews

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

the-bone-sparrow-by-zana-fraillonPlease scroll down for the English translation.

Llanc ifanc yw Subhi, Mwslim Rohingia, a aned mewn canolfan cadw mewnfudwyr yn Awstralia. Mae bywyd yn galed heb lawer o fwyd, dim addysg ac yn waeth fyth, dim gobaith.

Gyda dim atgofion o’i gartref teuluol, mae gan Subhi chwant mawr i glywed straeon ei fam am ei chyn-fywyd a’i mamwlad. Mae ganddo ddychymyg lliwgar, ond mae hyd yn oed Subhi mewn syndod pan mae merch ifanc yn llwyddo torri trwy’r ffensys sy’n amgylchynu’r gwersyll. Mae Jimmie’n dod a bwyd a chyfeillgarwch iddo, ond hefyd gobaith am fywyd gwahanol du hwnt i gyfyngiadau’r ganolfan cadw.

Ysgrifennodd Zana’r nofel hwn i amlygu’r straen dynol tu ôl i ystadegau argyfwng y ffoaduriaid. Mae’n stori sy’n torri calon, gyda thrasiedi ac arswyd, ond yn dangos pŵer gobaith a chyfeillgarwch yn ogystal.

Yn addas i blant dros 10 mlwydd oed (ac oedolion wrth gwrs!)

Library catalogue

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Subhi is a young boy, a Rohingya Muslim, born in an immigration detention centre in Australia. Life is hard with little food, no education and most devastating of all, no hope.

With no memories of his family’s home, Subhi has a desperate appetite for his mother’s stories about her former life and homeland. He has a vivid imagination, but even he is taken by surprise when a young girl manages to break through the fences surrounding the camp. Jimmie brings him food and friendship, but also hope for a different life beyond the confines of the detention centre.

Zana Fraillon wrote this novel to highlight the human stories behind the statistics on the refugee crisis. It’s a heart-breaking story, with both horror and tragedy, but also the power of friendship and hope.

Suitable for children over 10 (and adults too of course!)

Library catalogue

Posted in Book reviews

Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

off-the-page-by-jodi-picoult-and-samantha-van-leer

Please scroll down for English translation

Stori hyfryd, mwyn a hawdd i’w ddarllen yw hwn gan awdur gwerthwr-gorau a’i merch. Er ei fod wedi’i ysgrifennu fel dilyniant i “Between the Lines”, gallir darllen y stori fel nofel unigol yn hawdd iawn.

Mae Delilah, disgybl ysgol uwchradd swil, wedi “dymuno” bod Oliver, bachgen golygus, yn llamu o’r tudalennau o’i hoff stori tylwyth teg ac i mewn i’w bywyd. I gyflawni’r gamp gymhleth hwn, roedd rhaid i’r stori gael ei ail-ysgrifennu ac i fachgen, Edgar, gael ei ddodi i mewn i’r llyfr yn lle Oliver.

Mae Oliver a Delilah wrth eu boddau gyda’r canlyniad ac er bod Oliver weithiai’n gweld hi’n galed i ffitio i mewn i’r byd go iawn ac yn colli’r cymeriadau eraill yn y llyfr, mae’n ymddangos fel eu bod yn mynd i gael eu diweddglo tylwyth teg.

Ond beth am Edgar? Mae wedi gadael ei fam, awdur y stori tylwyth teg, a’r bywyd yr oedd yn ei nabod. A fydd yn hapus i fyw mewn byd lle mae popeth wedi’i benderfynu eisoes?

Bydd y rhamant a’r antur yn y llyfr hwn yn apelio at blant yn eu harddegau ifanc (ac i lyfrgellwyr sinigaidd hefyd!).

Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

This is a lovely, gentle and easy to read story by a bestselling author and her daughter. Although written as the sequel to Between the Lines, the story can read as a stand-alone novel very easily.

Delilah, a shy high school student, has “wished” the handsome Oliver out of the pages of her favourite fairy tale and into her life. To achieve this complicated feat, the story had to be re-written and a boy, Edgar, placed into the book to replace Oliver.

Both Oliver and Delilah are delighted with the outcome and even though Oliver sometimes struggles to fit into the real world and misses the other characters from the book, it looks as though they are going to get their fairy tale ending.

But what about Edgar? He’s left his Mum, the author of the fairy tale, and the life he knew.  Will he be content to live in a world where everything has already been decided?

The romance and adventure in this book will appeal to young teenagers (and cynical old librarians too!).

Library catalogue

Posted in Book reviews

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

Please scroll down for the English translation.

Roeddwn wrth fy modd gyda’r stori hon, sef fy hoff lyfr o’r flwyddyn hyd yma.

Mae pysgodyn aur, Ian, yn plymio i’r ddaear o fflat ar y seithfed llawr ar hugain o adeilad Seville ar Roxy. Wrth iddo blymio, mae’n bwrw golwg ar fywydau’r trigolion drwy eu ffenestri. Ac maent yn fishbowlgrŵp o bobl hynod ddiddorol ac amrywiol.

Mae’r dihiryn Conrad, a’i fywyd carwriaethol tymhestlog sydd yn cynnwys tair menyw, gan gynnwys Katie sy’n bert ond yn ddiniwed. Mae Claire, sydd yn ofni uchder ac yn berson emosiynol, yn ennill bywoliaeth drwy wrando ar ddynion unig yn olrhain eu ffantasiâu. Yna mae Petunia Delilah, sydd yn dynesu tuag ddiwedd ei beichiogrwydd ac yn dwym ac yn deisyfu brechdanau hufen ia. Mae  Herman yn fachgen ifanc sydd wedi profi trawma yn y gorffennol ac yn credu erbyn hyn ei fod yn medru teithio drwy amser. Ac yna mae fy hoff gymeriad, Jimenez, sef y gofalwr unig sydd yn gofalu am y fflatiau ond nid yw’r trigolion byth yn sylwi arno.

Yn wreiddiol, doniol ac theimladwy; nid wyf yn medru aros am lyfr nesaf Bradley Somer.

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

I loved this story, my favourite read of the year so far.

Ian the goldfish is plummeting to earth from an apartment on the 27th floor of the Seville building on Roxy.  As he rushes past he catches glimpses of the residents’ lives through the windows.  And what a fascinating and diverse lot they are.

There is the villain Conrad, with a messy love life involving three women, including the pretty and vulnerable Katie. Claire, an acrophobic and obsessive compulsive earning her living listening on the phone to lonely men acting out their fantasies.  Then there’s Petunia Delilah, very pregnant, hot and bothered and lusting after ice cream sandwiches.  Herman, a young boy who has been traumatised in the past and now believes he can travel through time.  Not forgetting my favourite character, Jimenez, the lonely caretaker who looks after the apartments but goes unnoticed by all the residents.

Original, funny and touching; can’t wait for the Bradley Somer’s next book.

Library catalogue

Posted in Book reviews, Uncategorized

The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J B Morrison

the-extra-ordinary-life-of-frank-derrick-by-j-b-morrisonPlease scroll down for the English version.

Bydd y nofel hon wir yn tynnu ar eich emosiynau!

Nid yw Frank yn deall fod cael ei daro gan y cerbyd llaeth yn mynd i ddwyn cymaint o bleser i’w fywyd, a hynny yn sgil gofalwr cymorth yn y cartref newydd ac ifanc, Kelly.

Roedd ei fywyd wedi ei gyfyngu i’w fflat, y siop elusen a’r llyfrgell a’r unig sgwrs bwrpasol y byddai’n ei mwynhau oedd gyda’i hen ffrind, Smelly John. Roedd yn treulio ei ddiwrnodau yn gwylio DVDs a’n delio gyda phobl a oedd yn cysylltu a’n dymuno gwerthu pethau iddo, naill ai mewn person neu dros y ffôn. Roedd  Kelly yn chwa o awyr iach, yn ehangu ei orwelion ac yn rhoi rheswm iddo godi yn y bore.

Os ydych yn esgeuluso eich rhieni hŷn, beddwch yn barod i deimlo’n euog. Os nad ydych yn euog o hyn, mae hon yn stori ddoniol a thrist ac yn ddisgrifiad dirdynnol iawn o’r hyn a olygir i fod yn  yn hen a’n unig.

The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J B Morrison

This novel will really tug at your heart strings!

Frank has no idea that being run over by milk float will bring so much pleasure into his life in the form of his new young home help, Kelly.

His life had become confined to his flat, the charity shop and the library, with his only meaningful social interaction with his old friend, Smelly John. His days were mainly spent watching DVDs and dealing with cold callers, in person or on the phone.  Kelly is like a breath of fresh air, widening his horizons and giving him reason to get up in the morning.

If you are neglecting your elderly parents, prepare to feel guilty. If not, this is in turns funny and sad, and ultimately a moving account of what it can mean to be elderly and alone.

Library catalogue

Posted in Uncategorized

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