Books 2020

You know when you’ve read a book, and you really want to tell people about it? This blog does claim to be “booky,” and so as the year staggers to its end, I thought I’d ponder and discuss what I’ve been reading in 2020 (not necessarily...

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How to write Dark Age poetry (yes, you can)

It annoys me when authors invent an olde-worlde society in which all the characters seem basically to be modern people with a greater tolerance for violence and a capacity for magic. But then I am reminded, when writing pseudo-medieval stories or reading those written by others,...

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Deprivation in various authors

Please read the PS, but in the meantime: Some of you may remember that my favourite Diana Wynne Jones quote is: "All power corrupts, but we need electricity." It's very true. Some months ago, I wrote the following, intending to use it in a blog: Recently our central...

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JL on Children’s Books

My friend Judith Leader has been a guest on this blog before. Here she widens the debate on children’s literature. I have read with interest the posts by people about the books they read as children. I have been impressed by their knowledgeable writing, the books...

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The Rowling furore part 2

Since writing Part One, I’ve realised how ignorant I am on this topic – not completely ignorant, and also not neutral, but in need of a great deal of further inquiry. (Please don’t use the word “re-education.") I’ve got some work to do, and it...

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Children’s Literature (3)

In last Saturday’s Guardian Review, John Mullan reviewed AN Wilson’s “The Mystery of Charles Dickens,” and quoted him on a famous section of “Dombey and Son” - (spoiler) “The death of Paul Dombey is so schmaltzy that we simply refuse to be moved, but then, dammit, we...

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Children’s Literature (2)

It's interesting that the guest posts of Stephen Hall and Judith Renton (both of whom to my knowledge read fantasy as adults) chose practical children's adventure stories. I don't want to denigrate the wonderful authors they chose, but maybe in the days when we were growing...

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SH on Arthur Ransome

Stephen Hall works and lives with his family in Edinburgh, playing board games and walking the dog when not Munroe-bagging. He has been part of my life for a long time, being my younger brother, and is also responsible for the maps in the “Tales...

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Guest post: JR on Malcolm Saville

If you want to start a conversation, just ask for people's views on children's TV or literature! You may not have been expecting a post this week, but I've been grateful to be inundated by several readers (two so far) eager to share their own...

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Children’s Literature (1)

We all have our favourite authors from childhood; and the best ones last into adult life too.  Who is your favourite? Long ago, I put together my top three: and, be warned, I’m going to post about all of them. (Honourable mentions: AA Milne, Tove Jansson, Arthur...

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