Bookweird by Paul GlennonBookweird by Paul Glennon


byPaul Glennon

Paperback | August 19, 2008

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Norman Jespers-Vilnius is just an average eleven-year-old kid–until he absentmindedly nibbles on the edge of a page and wakes up inside his favourite book, the Undergrowth Series. Norman finds himself smack in the middle of an epic battle of animal kingdoms, where he forms a close friendship with young Malcolm, a future king. After joining Malcolm’s fight he winds up back in his own bed, dirty and in torn pyjamas. But his adventures have only just started. It soon becomes clear that Norman has been caught by a mystifying force called “Bookweird”– Norman finds himself inside books his family is reading, mixing up plotlines. When he tries to undo an act of violence in his sister’s horse novel, he has to explain the appearance of a pony to some disgruntled policemen at a crime scene in his mother’s favourite thriller. Can Norman put all of the stories back on track and return these fictional worlds to normal? Or will Bookweird trap him in the pages forever?

Award-winning author Paul Glennon has created a breathtaking, fast-paced story for adventurers of all ages.
Paul Glennon is the author of The Dodecahedron, or a Frame for Frames, which was a finalist for the 2006 Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction and was selected as one of The Globe and Mail’s 100 Best Books of the Year. He lives in Ottawa, where he works in the software industry.
Title:BookweirdFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.73 × 5.49 × 0.73 inPublished:August 19, 2008Publisher:PRH Canada Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385665474

ISBN - 13:9780385665476

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun and adventurous. Bookweird is a great book for young readers looking for thrill and adventure in the stories they want to emerge themselves in. It reminded me of The Neverending Story, but with more fantastical twist and turns.
Date published: 2010-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Creative and Unique! Wonderful. Norman's behaviour gets himself grounded from his computer for the weekend. Fortunately, he is also an avid reader so he starts the weekend off by picking up the umpteenth book in his favourite series (a Redwall type of book) as he reads he unconsciously starts picking at a page much farther on in the book and ends up eating the page. When he gets to the page, a major moment in the plot, he finds it gone and realizes what he's done. So off he sets for the library where he meets a very strange new librarian who won't let him have a copy of the book for various reasons. But as Norman leaves the librarian tells him he'll take care of it just go back home and read the book. So as Norman starts to read his book he falls asleep and wakes up inside the book. His actions start a series of events that change the course of the story and he must put it to rights. When he wakes from this world, his little sister is horrified because the pony book she's read five times has suddenly had the cute little pony killed viciously by gypsies. Norman agrees to read the book and once again falls asleep. He enters the pony book and finds he's let wolf creatures from his book into his sister's book and once again he is in 'bookweird'. He meets the librarian various times throughout these fictional worlds in different personas and he helps Norman set the 'bookweird' havoc right which he has created. Norman also ends up in his mother's serial killer book when a pony turns up instead of body and then his father, a professor, is missing a page from an antique copy of an Anglo-Saxon poem. It's Norman's job to set the fictional world back to order. This is one of the most creative and unique plots that I have read! Each book that Norman finds himself in is fascinating and the reader becomes entranced by the story. I usually enjoy the "story within a story' format of novels and this was no exception. At points one forgets that the subplot is part of a larger plot and when Norman is whisked from one place to another the reader feels his disorientation themselves. Very well-written, a page-turner and a highly recommended book. The author, Paul Glennon is the author of an adult book which was a finalist for the 2006 GG. This is his first YA book and I hope he continues to write more. His first book The Dodecahedron: Or A Frame for Frames sounds fascinating. I'll have to make sure I go back and read it.
Date published: 2008-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best young adult novel I've read in ages Norman has an odd habit - when he's reading, he gets so engrossed in the book that he often grunts, mumbles, speaks to characters, or actually tears off little bits of the pages and eats them. This habit is about to land him in serious trouble, as he has offended a 'Bookweird,' a somewhat capricious spirit of books. Quite literally tumbling into the book he was reading (a fantasy where human-like stoats are trying to reclaim their medieval realm) is one thing, but realizing he could be stuck forever is another. And once he starts messing with the plot, things grow even more complicated, and soon he's facing the plots of his sister's book (a pony girly-girl book) and his mother (a gruesome murder mystery he's not allowed to read) as well! Delightful, funny, exciting - and, surprisingly, quite moving - this book really had me captivated. And the ending? Oooh, Mr. Glennon - you'd better be working on a sequel...
Date published: 2008-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Story!!!! This book has it all! Fantastic adventure, great battles, nail biting moments and plenty of laughs. From the first time Norman finds himself inside the book he is reading I couldn`t wait to find out how he was going to set the story back on track. Then to find out he ends up inside the books that his family members are reading as well and that the characters from the different books end up intertwined. It made me laugh, made my heart race and I would recommened it to anyone who loves an adventure.
Date published: 2008-09-28

Read from the Book

Things Begin to Fall ­ApartThe weekend started out well for Norman ­Jespers-­Vilnius. Saturday morning and the first one out of ­bed–­Mom, Dad and Dora were still sleeping when he climbed the stairs back up to his bedroom with a stack of peanut butter and toast. The toast lasted maybe half an hour and three ­hand-­to-­hand battles through the third level of Castle Keep. He played with one hand on the controller, the other shuttling toast to his mouth from the plate on his lap. When last of the ice moths of level 3 had been dispatched, Norman paused the computer, freezing his character in mid victory celebration, fist and battle axe raised, eyes blazing with orange pixels behind the hoisted visor of his helm. This called for more toast, which Norman supplemented this time with a large glass of milk and a bowl of pretzels. A hero’s work is hungry ­work.Norman spent the next few hours like this, seated sideways in his desk chair, skinny legs dangling off the side, a plate of peanut butter toast balanced in his lap, milk and pretzels within reach of his left hand and his right hand gripping the controller. The food required no attention at ­all–­it would be eaten whether he was conscious of it or not. His eyes never strayed from the computer screen before ­him.Level 4 of Castle Keep had some surprises in store. The broadsword that had dealt destruction to the beasts and enemies of the first three levels was useless to him here. The phantasmagorical warriors of level 4 were immune to sharpened steel, and Norman’s character had precious little magic to keep them at bay. Only his shield, bathed in the magical waters of Avalon on level 2, was of any use to him against the Spirit ­Knights.It took some getting used to. Norman lost track of the number of times he was killed, overwhelmed by the massed phantasmagoricals and enveloped in a mist that sent him back to the start of the level, but he was getting the hang of it. The trick was speed. You couldn’t stand and fight against these things; you just rushed through the castle labyrinth as fast as you could, ducking swiftly behind the shield when ­necessary.He was vaguely aware of the rest of the house waking around him, but the world outside his bedroom door was so much less real than the world within the computer screen. He didn’t count how many times he told his sister Dora bluntly to go away. It was his instinctive reaction every time the door squeaked, and it usually worked. Some whiny retort always came back, but he ignored it. Dora might have said “I’m going to tell Mom.” Or “Mom and Dad are mad at you.” Usually it was something like that. It was only a background annoyance, but he was at a particularly tricky part when the door squeaked ­again.“I said, go away,” Norman snarled through his teeth. If she made him lose here, he thought, he’d kill ­her.“Pardon?” It was his mother’s voice. Norman glanced up, surprised to see her standing in the doorway. Her arms were crossed and an eyebrow was raised. It could have been ­worse.“Sorry, I thought you were Dora.” He just about kept it together, eyes back to the screen now as his hero leapt across a chasm to a ­ledge.“And that makes it right?” Meg ­Jespers-­Vilnius asked. Norman could tell that she wasn’t really mad. He focused on climbing the wall toward a small niche carved into the dark stone near the ceiling. A golden chalice flickered in that small high ­alcove–­a magical one, Norman hoped. His magic stores needed replenishing, and if he was lucky it was also a save ­point.“She was driving me crazy.”“The only person who can drive you crazy is you.” It was the sort of thing his mother said. It might make sense, but it was best not to think about it. “Anyway, it’s time to wrap it up.” She casually messed his already ragged head of hair. “We’re leaving in ten minutes.”Norman heard what his mother said. He even understood it, but he didn’t have time to think about that now. He just stored the information away until he could process it properly. First things first: he had to get that chalice or he was a dead ­questor.He still hadn’t found a way to the chalice niche when his mother appeared at his door ­again.“We’re all ready to go. Hurry up and get dressed and get down to the car.”“I just have to get to a save point,” Norman whispered. He ducked around his mother’s arm, trying to keep his eye on the screen while his mother reached across to pick up his empty plate and ­glass.“Make it quick. We’ll be in the car in two minutes, and your dad isn’t happy that you drank the last of the milk.”Norman twisted as the plate came back across his line of sight. His knight was ­mid-­leap. This was something that required a precise ­touch.He didn’t hear his father shouting from the bottom of the stairs, didn’t hear the thump of shoes that should have warned him. He was almost there, his questor’s fingers stretching for the chalice, when the door burst ­open.“You’re still not dressed?” His father was ­incredulous.Norman took his eyes off the screen and his knight slipped a few feet down the wall. He only just managed to catch a ­handhold.“Just a few seconds, I have to–”The screen flickered, its light closed to a point and it blinked ­out.Norman turned to see his father holding the ­plug.“Put these on and get to the car.” Norman’s father threw clothes at him. Hearing the growl of real anger in his father’s voice, Norman struggled into them hastily. How could this have happened? He had been nearly there. He was still stunned as his father frogmarched him down the stairs and to the ­car.Norman slumped into the back ­seat.“Where are we going, anyway?” he asked, unable to disguise the resentment in his ­voice.“For coffee, then shopping,” his mother replied from the front ­seat.“Why do I have to come? I can look after myself.”“Because,” Dora explained in her ­know-­it-­all voice, waggling her ponytailed head for emphasis, “you drank the last of the milk so Dad couldn’t have his cappuccino at home.”“I didn’t ask you,” Norman muttered. In his heart he blamed Dora for all this mess. If she hadn’t kept bothering him all morning, he would have reached the chalice a long time ­ago.His dad cut the argument short. “Come on, guys. We’re not even out of the driveway yet. Just sit quietly and read your books.”Dora flashed Norman a taunting grin and picked up her stupid pony ­book.“I don’t have a book,” Norman ­said.Edward Vilnius put the car back in park. “Where is it?” His eyes met Norman’s in the ­rear-­view mirror. He was doing that professor thing where he looked over the glasses that had slipped down his nose. His normally kind grey eyes were now cold and ­hard.Norman opened the door and unbuckled his seatbelt. “It’s in my room. I’ll get it.”“Stay where you are,” his father sighed. “I’ll get it.” There was no arguing with him in this mood. Norman watched sulkily as his father returned to the ­house.“I was ready ten minutes ago,” Dora announced for no other reason than to annoy ­him.Norman wanted to punch her, but he wouldn’t. He could feel the anger building up in him, but he wouldn’t do it. He had made up his mind to take her book and lose her page for her. His mother put an arm over the car seat and looked ­back.“Now, Norman, I did warn you that we were leaving, right?”Norman shrugged and allowed a single grudging ­nod.“You haven’t forgotten your father’s curse?” his mother ­asked.Norman folded his arms and rolled his eyes. He wasn’t in the mood to be ­cajoled.“He really is cursed,” Dora affirmed ­gleefully.“It’s true,” his mother continued. “When he was born, some evil nurse at the hospital put an irascibility curse on him, the foulest of moods possible. There is only one cure.”“Coffee,” said Dora melodramatically. “Three times a day.”“Preferably in its most potent espresso or cappuccino form,” his mom added, finishing the ­oft-­told family joke. “It is our duty as his family to ensure that he never goes without ­coffee–­for the sake of humanity.”Norman thought the old joke was lame, but he couldn’t help smirking. As Edward Vilnius strode out of the house, tall but hunched over at the shoulders, he really did look as if an evil curse lurked over him. He heaved the car door open, fell into the front seat heavily and drew his arms back as if to toss Norman’s book back at him, but he caught Norman’s eye and passed the book to him gently. His father would never damage a ­book.“Okay,” he said, putting the car in gear. “Can we all keep ourselves out of trouble now?”That should have been the end of it. On another day Norman might have put his head down and read quietly. He might have stayed out of trouble. But today he couldn’t help himself. His ejection from Castle Keep still rankled. If they had only waited a few more minutes, he could have reached the chalice and saved the game. He glanced over at Dora. She was only eight and skinny, but she still managed to find a way to take up more than her half of the seat, slouching against the door, curling her feet under her, piling stuff beside her. She was doing it on purpose. Norman wasn’t fooled by her silent squinting into her book. It was better when they were both in trouble. It was better to spread it around. He’d find a ­way.It wasn’t that Norman minded reading. He was looking forward to this book, anyway. The Brothers of Lochwarren was the latest in the Chronicles of Undergrowth series. He’d been 137th on the library’s waiting list. Thankfully, the paperback had just come out. Norman’s dad had brought it home the night before and already Norman was seventy pages into it. He didn’t get much farther that day in the car, though. He was restless and bitter. In the coffee shop, his father finally got his cappuccino and biscotti and temporarily lifted the curse. Norman knew better, but he asked for a slice of cheesecake. He was politely refused. The refusals became less polite as the day continued, as in each store he asked for something he knew he couldn’t ­have.He couldn’t see why he had to be here anyway. His father could buy coffee by himself. His mother could shop without him. At eleven, he was old enough to stay at home and look after himself. He couldn’t stop reminding his parents of this as they dragged him from the coffee shop to the building supply store, to the grocery store and to a hundred clothes stores. He spent the morning trailing around after them sulkily, subtly insulting his sister at every chance until she was as miserable as ­he.“Sometimes it’s just nice to do things together as a family,” his mother said when he complained for the umpteenth ­time.“Nice for who?” Norman muttered bitterly. He knew even at the time that it was a step too far. Nothing made his father angrier than him mouthing off at his ­mother.“Norman,” he said, “you’ve been miserable all day. Your mother and I have had some errands to do. We thought we’d do them as a family. You had most of the morning to do what you like, and once we got home you would have been free to do as you please.”Norman noticed the “would have been,” but he still couldn’t stop ­himself.“So I’m just supposed to pretend I’m happy to be here?”His father grimaced and took a deep breath. He was clearly thinking about what punishment was ­appropriate.In the pause, his mother repeated one of her little sayings: “You determine your attitude. Everyone does. Don’t be at the mercy of events.” Norman’s mother had written a ­self-­help book called Unthink and Undo and now made a living as a motivational speaker saying things just like this. Norman usually tried to ignore ­them.At this point her comments weren’t ­ignorable.His father had decided on his punishment. “You can spend the rest of the weekend without your computer. Maybe this will remind you how lucky you are.”It will remind me how all of you messed up my game, Norman thought to himself, but his father wasn’t done. This was to be one of his compound ­punishments.“And when we get back home, you can rake all the leaves in the back yard. Hopefully this will teach you not to be so selfish.”It taught him nothing of the sort. It was nearly dark when Norman had finished with the leaves. The rake was ancient, and the grey wood of its handle had split and cracked. Norman felt a bitter sort of justice when the blisters started to erupt. There, that would be proof that he’d suffered, if that’s what they wanted. Before the afternoon was done, he had removed two splinters from his hands. The second one went deep and caused a bubble of red blood to form in his palm. He squeezed it, almost enjoying the sting. Inside the house he could see his father working at his computer in the den. He typed with one hand and sipped espresso from a tiny cup with the ­other.Norman didn’t want to hear a thank you from his dad when he came in. He wanted to be angry. He rubbed his hands, hoping someone would comment on his blisters. No one did. He ate supper silently and went to bed without being told. If he was going to be punished, he wanted to look the ­part.A Passage to LochwarrenIn bed that night, Norman finally buried enough of his resentment to manage to read. He really had just got to the best part. The Undergrowth books started slowly. They always began by describing the lands of Undergrowth in great detail, from the Western Sea and the Fisher Kingdoms of the coast to the Obsidian Desert in the east, from the Fastness of the south to the Forbidden Highlands of the north and everything in between. What was important in this bit was always the last part, which described the setting of this particular book in more detail. A few of the countries and cities, like Caernavon and Brunswick, turned up in multiple volumes, but more often than not each book explored a region barely mentioned in previous books. Norman skipped over the general geography. He knew it by heart and had a wall poster of the map of Undergrowth. The description of Lochwarren itself he read in more ­detail.