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Ben Davis is an author currently living and working in Staffordshire with his wife, son, and wimpy dog. Ben Davis writes funny books for older children and teenagers including the Joe Cowley series, My Embarrassing Dad’s Gone Viral and Make Me Awesome. When he’s not writing, he regularly visits schools and leads creative writing workshops.
Gizmo, a scruffy little mongrel, may well be my favourite canine character yet and we get to hear his side of the story in this dual narrative. Gizmo has been there since the day George was born. George decides to deal with the awful news from the vet, that at fourteen (seventy-eight in dog years) he may not have much longer to live, by creating a “bucket list’ of favourite things to enjoy together. Ben Davis is an expert at capturing the awkwardness of adolescence and gradually we get to understand the full back story as George accomplishes his mission. George struggles with anxiety and his home situation, his parents are separated, and life in Year 8 at school do nothing to help with that. The beautifully nuanced relationship with Gizmo is his only comfort it seems. As we come to understand what led to his friendship problems and the family break up and through a new friendship with Lib, forged around Gizmo and the bucket list, George’s resilience and confidence grows. Learning to empathise with Lib’s struggles with poverty and as a young carer also puts his own problems into perspective. Despite their hilarious misadventures there is a thoughtful message throughout of how to cope with change and ultimately with loss. Despite the sadness this is ultimately a hopeful and helpful read. Many young readers will empathise with the difficulties George and Lib experience and this book will reassure them while at the same time making them laugh. A perfect crossover text for upper primary and secondary libraries.
In a nutshell: contemporary comedy adventure Ben Davis does a great line in down-trodden teenage boys and employs it to great effect in his new novel. Freddie Smallhouse is living through the worst year of his life: after the failure of his business his father is now employed testing out the protective padding used to train police dogs (ouch) while the family are living with boring Uncle Barry and about to be made homeless. No wonder life coach Chuck Willard’s Complete Road to Awesomeness Program seems to be Freddie’s last hope. A series of hilarious episodes follow as Freddie tries and spectacularly fails to achieve awesomeness before a surprising, funny but touching happy ending. The laughs come fast and furious, but for all the silliness there’s a real sense of the importance of family, friends and relationships too. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: Wimpy Kid meets The Inbetweeners | This is the fourth and sadly the final book in the Private Blog of Joe Cowley series, and Joe will be much missed. In this episode he’s in London living with his friends Sound Experience band members Harry, Ad and Greeny, independent for the first time ever (except for their chaperone the super-strict Mrs Gleba), he’s got a cool older girlfriend, and is smiling so much he looks like the Joker in a wind tunnel. Joe being Joe of course, things are bound to go awry. Joe’s voice is one of the funniest in teen literature, his comments on life and he and his mates’ way of living it are spot on, and the books’ mix of text and cool illustration really appealing. There aren’t enough funny male central characters for this age group but fans of Joe Cowley would also enjoy Tom Easton’s Boys Don’t Knit or Don Calame’s Swim the Fly. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell; a dad's gotta do... The title of this book will be irresistible to young readers and the story, a mix of comedy and family drama, won't disappoint them. Nelson's dad turns from frustrated estate agent to evangelical tree-hugger overnight when Nelson's mum leaves them. He sells the house, and Nelson's beloved X-box too and moves them to middle-of-nowhere Norfolk. When his obsession with a TV survivalist gets out of hand Nelson determines to get Mum home and sets up a blog to raise the money he'll need. It takes off and no wonder when his dad becomes the unintended star. There are lots of funny scenes, but readers will understand too Nelson's worries for his dad and see how much he and his little sister need their mum.Recommended for readers of Frank Cottrell Boyce and David Solomons who also write comedy stories based in family life and love. ~ Andrea Reece
April 2014 Debut of the Month ** Due to the content we recommend this for 12+ readers Fourteen-year-old Joe Cowley off-loads all his concerns about girls, friends, school enemies, family and …girls again in his funny, easy-to-read and not-so-private blog. One of Joe’s problems is that his brain and his mouth seem to have stopped coordinating properly. Can he help them get back into line? It would certainly help him to speak to girls if he could. Joe’s problems - and some of his solutions – will be horribly familiar to readers. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Private Blog of Joe Cowley a small number of members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'This is one of the most humorous books I have ever read, a book that made me laugh out loud.' Rose Heathcote. Scroll down to read more ... A Piece of Passion from Claire Westwood, Editorial Assistant, Oxford University Press The Private Blog of Joe Cowley arrived on my desk the very same week I had been moaning about how there are hardly any funny books out there for teenagers. So it felt a bit like the gods had answered my prayers when I started reading the manuscript and it turned out to be EXACTLY what I was looking for! Not only did it make my face ache from laughing so much, but it had a fantastic plot, and an unforgettable main character. Joe is a true underdog hero that you can’t help rooting for throughout all his triumphs and disasters. I was won over by his unfortunate habit of saying precisely the wrong thing at the wrong time (usually whenever his dream girl, Lisa Hall, happens to be around). I think all teenagers—as well as adults who, like me, remember the horror of their own teenage years in vivid detail—will definitely be able to relate to Joe!It’s almost impossible to pick my favourite moment from the story—there are so many hilarious incidents that had me genuinely crying with laughter (not surprising really as the author, Ben Davis, is a comedian as well as being a writer). Although I have to say the bit where Joe’s dad gives him ‘the talk’ about contraception (using visual aids!) may take pole position as the most toe-curlingly cringeworthy scene ever. You’ll never look at carrots in the same way again!
New York's repertory movie houses specialized in presenting films ignored by mainstream and art house audiences. Curating vintage and undistributed movies from various countries, they educated the public about the art of film at a time when the cinema had begun to be respected as an art form. Operating on shoestring budgets in funky settings, each repertory house had its own personality, reflecting the preferences of the (often eccentric) proprietor. While a few theaters existed in other cities, New York offered the greatest number and variety. Focusing on the active years from 1960 through 1994, this book documents the repertory movement in the context of economics and film culture.
For more than 30 years, New York's repertory movie houses specialized in presenting films ignored by mainstream and art house audiences. Curating vintage and undistributed movies from various countries, they educated the public about the art of film at a time when the cinema was beginning to be respected as an art form. Operating on shoestring budgets in funky settings, each repertory had its own personality, reflecting the preferences of the (often eccentric) proprietor. While a few theaters existed in other cities, New York offered the greatest number and variety. Focusing on the the active years from 1960 through 1994, this book documents the repertory movement in the context of economics and film culture.
Right blog. I'm back! Let's not waste time with pleasantries - there is absolutely NOTHING pleasant about my life right now. Reasons why everything is terrible: 1. The love of my life, AKA Natalie, still hates me all because of one tiny - OK, huge - mistake. 2. Natalie has now started hanging around with my so-called 'friend' Greeny. Since January, he's lost about half of his body weight and now girls actually fancy him! 3. Harry, Ad, and Greeny AKA The Sound Experience have had a top ten dance hit with a sample of my voice saying 'I'm as gay as the day is long'. Still, at least there's Buzzfest to look forward to. Who knows, once we're there, amid all the beautiful people, scenery and music, Natalie might realise I am the love of her life and return into my waiting arms. On the other hand, it could just be full of weirdos, overflowing toilets from hell, and death metal . . . Joe Cowley is back! And this time it's even more butt-clenchingly embarrassing and excrutiating than before. From a 'Grand Gesture' involving Star Trek costumes and the school boyband, to being trapped in a portaloo that's about to be pushed over. Joe's completely up to his neck in it - literally! Welcome to Cringefest . . .
You know how it is when your dad's an evil super villain? OK, so maybe you don't, but Danny does. As heir to the Dread dynasty, he's expected to carry on the family business of kidnapping world leaders, maiming innocent bystanders, and brainwashing sharks. You know, general evil stuff. The problem is, achieving world domination isn't Danny's idea of fun. In fact, he'd much rather be saving the planet than enslaving it. But when Dad Dread hatches his most diabolical scheme yet, Danny realizes that to defeat evil, he's going to have to start thinking evil . . .
Hello blog! It's the start of another term and there are three things that SUCK about my life: 1. I am STILL sharing a bedroom with my step-brother Gav (AKA Shrek's stinkier twin). 2. My mum is 6 months pregnant and therefore cabbage-kickingly MENTAL. 3. I'm about to have a high speed rail line (i.e. brace) installed in my gob! The only non-sucky thing is that I've got a GIRLFRIEND! A real one! Who actually wants to SNOG me!!! The problem is her dad officially HATES MY GUTS and is determined to make my life a LIVING HELL. Oh, and this smarmy loser called Seb is trying to steal her off me with his rubbish DJ skills. There's just one thing for it - me and my best mates Harry and Ad are going to have to enter the same DJ competition as Seb and WIN! What could POSSIBLY go wrong? The hilarious sequel to The Private Blog of Joe Cowley.
Ben Davis is the editor of Artinfo, one of the world's most popular resources for information and discussion on arts and culture. As a critic, he has become painfully aware of the role that class plays in art. 9.5 Theses on Art and Class seeks to show how a clear understanding of class makes sense of what is at stake in a broad number of contemporary art's most persistent debates, from definitions of political art, to the troubled status of outsider' and street art, to the question of how we maintain faith in art itself in a dysfunctional world.'