April 30, 2015
I’m still fizzing from my visit yesterday to Alexandra Park School – my second as their Patron of Reading.
The first visit back in December as a Book Doctor was deliberately low-key, to help me find my way into the role. This…
…was much bigger.
In two sessions I spoke to the whole of the school’s Years 7 and 8 – introducing myself, taking questions, talking about how I became a reader, and putting forward my next idea: a Free Readers Manifesto.
What I would like to develop is a way of encouraging students to read by thinking about the differences between reading you have to do for school and reading you do for yourself – which is what I mean by Free Reading.
APS students can – and did! – give me comments, questions and suggestions about how this manifesto could end up – because it’s not finished. When it’s done I would like it to be theirs as much as mine – something we’ve come up with together. For now, however, the draft version I gave them to consider and work on with me looks like this…
The Free Readers Manifesto – First Draft
1. We are free to read whatever we want.
2. We are free to skip bits we find badly written or boring.
3. We are free to give up on reading that does not give us what we want, and find other reading that does.
4. As Free Readers we will not be measured, tested or questioned on our reading – unless we want to be.
How can this manifesto be developed and improved? I can hardly wait to find out. Meanwhile, my thanks and best wishes to Alexandra Park School’s staff and students for what was another thrilling and inspiring visit.
Being a Patron of Reading is brilliant. 😀
April 28, 2015
This is my copy of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien:
It looks slim because it’s printed on thin paper. The whole book is there. Ask my father, who gave and read it to me as a bedtime story.
It took him four years. Even in the context of what so far has been a very lucky life, it was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.
April 21, 2015
This is my copy of The Princess Bride by William Goldman:
The sticker on the front cover used to say its price – three pounds. I bought it to celebrate the arrival in the post of the contract for my first book deal.
The advance wasn’t big but it was going to be much appreciated: that night (18th Feb 2005) I had about two pounds left in the bank but enough in my pockets to pay for a bottle of tonic and this book that I knew and still love.
I was very happy, and whenever I’ve picked it up since I remember that feeling.
More of the Books Beside Me coming soon.
April 2, 2015
My five favourite books I’ve read so far this year are:
Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell
Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage by Albert Glinsky
All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West
Nemo: River of Ghosts by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn
Of the films I’ve seen lately, my three favourites are:
The Fall directed by Tarsem
Bicycle Thieves directed by Vittorio De Sica
-and the thrillingly unhinged-
Blind Woman’s Curse directed by Teruo Ishii
BTW: The whole of my book Crawlers is now up and free to read on Wattpad here. A delighted THANK YOU to @dmitrixyz for all his comments as he read it and my smug smile when he was caught by one of the twists. 😀