Posts tagged Reading

Read to Your Children. They’ll Thank You for It

It’s International Literacy Day today, and I’d like to talk about fostering a love of reading. Recent research by Egmont shows that reading for pleasure has huge benefits for children, and the best way to encourage them to do that is for parents to read aloud to their children. (Thanks to The Author magazine for alerting me to the Egmont study.) The Benefits of Reading for Pleasure Overall, reading for pleasure is declining among kids in Britain, crowded out by other forms of entertainment. But reading has massive benefits, such… Read More

August Reading Roundup

How was your reading month? I had a good one, recovering from my slump in July and making some great discoveries. Here they are: The Troll Garden by Willa Cather Willa Cather is one of those authors whose work I’ve been meaning to read for so long that I’ve forgotten who made the initial recommendation. This short story collection was an excellent introduction, full of poignant plots and fascinating characters, with a noticeable focus on themes of creativity and art, urban vs. rural life, and the yearning for something better…. Read More

July Reading Roundup

I’ve been overwhelmed with work and travel lately and have got out of the habit of blogging. But I’m going to return to my monthly reading roundups now, skipping over May and June and just picking up again in July. Our School Stories 2019: Tales inspired by Dulwich College and P.G. Wodehouse I read this one because I wrote one of the stories in it, and I wanted to see what the others were like. It’s quite a mix of different styles, which is not surprising because the editors gave… Read More

See What I Did There?

Has anyone else noticed an annoying trend in contemporary writing? OK, there are probably several that spring to mind (“I was sat?”), but the one I’m thinking about today is “See what I did there?” You’re likely to encounter this phrase any time the writer has used a rather obvious pun, but it could appear after any piece of wordplay. Here’s an example from the Washington Post: “The Chargers, on the other hand, have an electrifying offense (see what I did there?).” You see, he’s talking about the Los Angeles… Read More

April Reading Roundup

Time for another roundup. My month was consumed on the blog with the Radetzky March readalong, but in between that, I also read some other great books. Read on to get my reading recommendations, and let me know how your month went in the comments below. Scattered Sand: The Story of China’s Rural Migrants by Hsiao-Hung Pai Wow, this one was powerful. I had no idea that the recent movement of 200 million Chinese peasants is the “biggest mass migration in history”. Hsiao-Hung Pai tells their stories in this book,… Read More

The Radetzky March Readalong: Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the readalong of Joseph Roth’s novel The Radetzky March, kindly organised by Caroline and Lizzy. For Part 1, click here. To avoid spoilers, don’t read anything at all. But who cares about spoilers, right? Are there characters you like or dislike particularly so far? Roth has a great knack for making characters feel real, without making them particularly likeable or dislikeable. I feel sorry for most of them, locked as they are into quite horrible lives and seemingly unable to escape from them. I find myself drawn to the… Read More

The Radetzky March Readalong: Part 1

This month, I am reading Joseph Roth’s novel The Radetzky March in the excellent company of fellow book bloggers Caroline and Lizzy. The readalong takes place over three weeks, Roth having helpfully split his novel into three parts just for this purpose. This week, I read Part 1, and I am responding to questions that Caroline and Lizzy came up with as prompts. Welcome to the #germanlitmonth spring readalong of Joseph Roth’s most famous novel, The Radetzky March.  What enticed you to readalong with us? A strange sequence of coincidences…. Read More

Refined and Elegant Things: The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon

The eggs of the spot-billed duck. Shaved ice with a sweet syrup, served in a shiny new metal bowl. A crystal rosary. These are just a few of the items on a list of “refined and elegant things” in the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon. Then there are “things that make your heart beat fast”, “things that make you nostalgic”, and, on the other hand, “infuriating things” or “things later regretted”. And, beyond the lists, there are anecdotes, jokes, improvisational poetry competitions, and some quite beautiful observation of life. One… Read More