Leonard Wibberley

I’ve just rediscovered an author that I had read in my childhood, and who I now will read with greater enjoyment, I’m sure, as an adult. His name is Leonard Wibberley, and he is the author of the Mouse That Roared series of books, as well as more than a hundred other books of fiction and non-fiction.

I don’t know why, but I had a sudden hankering to read The Mouse That Roared, and so looked up Wibberley on Amazon. I had no idea he’d written so prolifically, nor about so many different subjects. Currently on my reading list are the Mouse books, about the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a small island nation that takes on the superpowers of the world, thinking that if they are defeated, the victors will take care of them, saving them from bankruptcy and ruin. As fate would have it, however, the Duchy continues to vanquish their opponents, and are stuck trying to figure out what to do next. I remember the humor of the books, and I suspect I’ll get more of the irony reading them now.

Also on my to-read list are several of his other books, among them The Quest for Excalibur, The Testament of Theophilus, The Trouble with The Irish (or the English, Depending on Your Point of View), and Ah, Julian! A Memory of Julian Brodetsky.

Wibberley also wrote numerous novels for juveniles, which I will also read, since that’s one genre in which I’m plan to write. Among my favorite “juvenile fiction” novels are April Morning, Johnny Tremain, and the Wrinkle in Time books (or anything by Madeleine L’Engle), and anything by Anthony Horowitz.

Given all the academic books I’ve been editing lately (see the Editing tab of my website: http://www.annaubrey.com), I am eagerly anticipating the time to reread many of these books, and find new ones along the way.

If you have some favorite juvenile fiction books, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

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In Awe

I am in awe of Anthony Horowitz. This man writes some of the most varied and interesting works, from a teenage spy (Alex Rider) to a historical drama (“Foyle’s War”) to modern murder mysteries (“Midsomer Murders”). But it’s not just the variety, it’s what he includes in each of these. It’s the side stories that make me marvel.

For example, in the latest “Foyle’s War,” which, if you haven’t watched them, I highly recommend you add them to your must-see list, the story is about a young man accused of treason during WWII. All well and good, but he is accused of treason for having joined other British soldiers who accepted Hitler’s offer to get out of a prison camp, don the German uniform, and fight against the Russians in the British Free Corps.

There isn’t a great deal said about the British Free Corps, but that is Horowitz’s way. He whets the appetite and it is up to us to read more, to do the research that he has done but which he chooses only to allude to in his story. This isn’t the first time he has done this to me, either. I am forever researching something after I watch one of his shows. That’s what I love about his writing.

Now I am researching the Special Operations Executive and the women spies of WWII. That started because of something Horowitz mentioned about cryptography in one of the shows, which led me to the first digital telephone, used during WWII between Whitehall and the Pentagon, which then led me to the SOE.

My style is to write about what I know. Horowitz’s style is to leak a little about what he knows and then drive us to further research.

If you don’t know his work, I highly recommend him. He has written several children’s books (Alex Rider mysteries among them, written for a woefully under-represented age group), about 50 novels, and numerous television shows. But I warn you, you can’t just read his work and walk away. He WILL challenge you to read more.