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Posts from the ‘reading’ Category

Reading and writing in a pandemic economy

I was very interested to read how bookstores are coping with the challenges of a coronavirus-hit economy.  The BBC writes about “How bookshops are helping with isolation“.  I’m going to quote from their article at some length, to illustrate how innovation and enthusiasm can compensate for other problems.

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Taking Responsibility–A Blast from the Past

I have always been a reader. When I became a mother, I did all I could to teach my son to love the written word. It was sometimes an uphill battle. There was the teacher who used reading as punishment, setting impossible goals and choosing the worst books possible. Then there were the required summer reading lists with books often containing age inappropriate topics. This post came out of the latter and shows just how important it is to know what our kids are reading, especially for school. Read more

Francis and MacLean

Last week’s post about the modern gothic romance led to an interesting comment thread, as a discussion of Alistair MacLean sprang up in the comments. While I had not read Mary Higgins Clark before the book I reviewed last week, MacLean was an old familiar friend. I don’t recall when I first encountered him – but I was young, probably a preteen. The First Reader and I were talking about him, and for some reason Dick Francis – another childhood favorite of mine – came up. Their main characters had much of the same outlook on life, he commented. I agreed. Perhaps Francis was influenced by MacLean? he suggested. I turned back to the computer and looked it up. Read more

The Modern Gothic

There’s a used bookstore near me that is, well, not unique, I suspect, but certainly unusual. You know those penny books on Amazon? Or rather, there used to be such. I see them less and less these days. Have you ever wondered where they came from? I could take you to a place. There’s an industrial area in the north end of Dayton, OH, bleak and rusted with the moth-eaten hopes of commerce passed by long ago. Nestled into that is the Dollar Book Swap, where you walk into the back door of a warehouse, past rickety palisades of wooden pallets set up as a fence to guide the consumer toward their goal, passing through an old commercial refrigerator’s curtain of plastic panels into the unexpected warmth. Shelves and shelves, vast lengths of them, creaking with books. Every one of them, a dollar. Treasure unspeakable, to me in another time and persona. Now, I go there rarely, although the temptation to seek out the pages of old friends comes as I commute past it daily. Really, though, I read more ebook than paper, and despite the recent acquisition of yet another bookshelf, to my First Reader’s dismay, I don’t need more books. But as a treat, I go. Read more

Greeny-yallery

“A greeny-yallery,/Grosvenor Gallery, /foot-in-the-grave young man” Read more

Why am I doing this?

Like the sperm whale plunging toward the surface of Magrathea, existential questions are something that most writers think about. Not necessarily ones relating to their own existence, but to that of the book they’re working on.

“Why am I doing this?”

It’s actually one those questions that, generally speaking, is easier to answer for yourself the first time around than the 20th (Trust me on this, I’m past that mark. And it’s still hard.) Read more

The Rising Tide

I had one of those interesting days today, at least, in the ancient Chinese curse sense. In part, anyway. It’s the start of national book week here in Oz, and, I may be trifle biased but a love of reading is greatest gift we can give to children, to the future.

Now, for me, crowds are a hardship. I am very sound and movement sensitive, maybe because I am kind of proof of this whole evolution thing, as in I’m a little primitive. Both little and primitive, that is. Being an urban-dweller requires coping well with a sea of noise and movement, ignoring most of it, and shutting out peripheral stimulus. Your little hunter-gatherer who does this ends up either very hungry, or very dead, or, mostly, both. I was raised in hunter-gatherer tradition, and there’s a lot of it my family history, in my genes, I suspect. I guess I am one of yesterday’s people, to the modern world. But I still have to live in it, a little. Read more