Saturday soapbox

July 1, 2017

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

who you read

You are now the main character in the last book that you read. Who are you?

(For the record: I’m Jake Bailey, in What Cancer Taught Me.


Michael Bond 13.1.26 – 27.6.17

June 29, 2017

Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear and author of more than 200 books has died.

What will be wanted on this voyage and will there be marmalade sandwiches when he arrives?


Book readers better people

May 12, 2017

Reading could make people kinder and more empathetic.

Readers were more likely to act in a socially acceptable manner while those who preferred watching television came across as less friendly and less understanding of others’ views, British researchers said. . .

Researchers told the British Psychological Society conference in Brighton that fiction fans showed more positive social behaviour.

Readers of drama and romance novels were also empathic, while lovers of experimental books showed the ability to see things from different perspectives.

Comedy fans scored the highest for relating to others.

The study suggested reading allows people to see different points of view, enabling them to understand others better. . .

But there’s a but:

However, the authors warned the study did not prove cause-and-effect.

So it could be that reading causes positive behaviour, or it could be that thoughtful, well-mannered people are more likely to prefer reading.

Is it that better people read books or readers are better people?

Either way, book readers are better people.


Quote of the day

April 20, 2017

I don’t know how you can understand other people or yourself if you haven’t read a lot of books. I just don’t think you’re equipped to deal with the demands and decisions of life, particularly in your dealings with other people. Sebastian Faulks who celebrates his 64th birthday today.


Quote of the day

March 27, 2017

Quite casually I wander into my plot, poke around with my characters for a while, then amble off, leaving no moral proved and no reader improved. Thorne Smith who was born on this day in 1892.

P.S.

He’s the author or Night Life of the Gods, a book that still makes me laugh out loud after many rereadings. That might disprove the quote because laughing leaves me much improved.

I haven’t watched the film which was adapted from the book and having enjoyed the reading so much and so often I’m not sure I want to watch it, but should you wish to have a peek you’ll find it on here on YouTube.

 


Babette Cole 10.9.49 – 15.1.16

January 17, 2017

Author and illustrator Babette Cole has died.

. . . Among her bestsellers were the Princess Smartypants series, which reimagined the traditional fairytale heroine as a motorbiking Ms; books about Dr Dog, a family pet who dispenses medical advice, which were turned into an animated cartoon series; and The Trouble With Mum and its sequels.

Never conventional in appearance, conversation or lifestyle, in person Babette was a highly entertaining companion, a brilliant raconteur of stories true or fanciful, told in a breathy voice and with theatrical manner. Her life as she relayed it seemed to be a series of entertainingly optimistic plans combined with disasters or near-disasters; and her picture books had a similar sense of high-octane drama underpinned by an anarchic sense of humour.

Despite the fun, Babette was no lightweight. She created books on the kinds of disgusting topics that children love and adults mostly do not, and then, emboldened by their success, she went on to more controversial subjects, partly because she liked to shock and partly because she felt she had a duty to make sure children were properly informed. . . 

The Trouble with Mum is a delightful book.

The trouble with Mum is that she’s different. She wears funny hats, makes funny cakes and the other parents don’t like her. This makes her sad. Then one day the school goes on fire and Mum, who is different because she’s a witch, magics up some rain and saves the day.

One of the lines I remember from the book is Mum was sad.

Shortly after one of the many re-readings of the book when my daughter was about two,  she found me in tears, gave me a hug and asked, why Mummy sad? I explained I was reading a sad book and was grateful for the story which had taught her to recognise the feeling.

You can listen to the The Trouble with Mum here (though it uses Mom not Mum) and Princess Smartypants here.


366 days of gratitude

September 13, 2016

The request to do book reviews on the local radio station came at just the right time.

With two pre-schoolers, one of whom had multiple disabilities, I wasn’t in a position to take on full time work but the offer gave me the excuse to read and call it work.

One of the books in the first pile I was given to review was Grievous Bodily  by Craig Harrison.*

It made me laugh out loud and has done each of the many times I’ve re-read it.

I came across it again last night, started reading and with a very few minutes was laughing.

It’s one of very few books I’ve read that have that affect and with every laugh I’m grateful for it.

*( It was published in 1991 and probably only available second-hand now).


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