Pink = happy

Last night family and friends gathered for a “think pink” party for me. It was partly for my birthday (let’s not talk numbers) and partly to raise funds for the Look Good Feel Better program for breast cancer patients. (I asked people to donate to the cause rather than spend it on presents for me.) Everyone was asked to wear something pink. Some stayed conservative and limited it to a pink tie, or pink handkerchief in the pocket or, with the ladies, some pink jewellery. And, they all looked great. Others went all out, dressing up from head to toe in pink, and they looked hilarious. (Hooray!) One chap came as a pink pig, with piggy face mask and a lovely curly, plastic pink tail. Another guy wore pink pyjamas, pink bunny slippers and pink...

Read More

What the Raven Saw

I rarely review on this blog. However, today I want to do a little rave about a children’s book I’ve just read. Now, before you ‘I-only-read-grownup-fiction’ people switch off, I beg you to read to the end. You never know; you might be so intrigued you’ll get yourself a copy of this one. In fact, give Children’s Lit a go. Think of some of the great movies that have come out of Children’s and Youth Lit: Narnia, Harry Potter, Twilight, The Goonies… As a reviewer, I read a lot of children’s and YA books and, believe me, I’m a hard marker. There are the occasional duds. For those I usually spend a few weepy moments wondering how and why they got into print when I’m still trying to get mine picked up....

Read More

Santa Claus is coming to town.

This morning, in my town, Santa is riding into town. It’s the day of the Christmas Pageant. It’s billed as the largest street parade of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s only rival in the rest of the world is Macey’s Parade in New York. There are clowns, fairy tale characters, Scottish pipe bands, monsters and a haunted house. There’s a giant Christmas stocking, two gorgeous (and now antique) rocking horses and bucket-loads of marching girls. Of course, Santa (Father Christmas) and his reindeer make a grand entrance at the very end. I think that in the last few years they’ve added a manger scene, as a concession to those who know why we have Christmas in the first place.  So there are now two miracles connected to the...

Read More

Why read fiction?

Someone asked me, ‘What’s the point of reading fiction?’ Slightly gob-smacked that this would come from someone I know, I blurted the first thing that popped into my head: It teaches us things about the world. (Lame, I know, but remember I was in shock.) ‘Oh yeah,’ she said, ‘like what?’ Well I burbled/floundered/dribbled on with a pile of rubbish and I could tell from the slightly patronising, rather smug smile on her dial that she wasn’t convinced. But, later, I had some brilliant things to say. What a shame she wasn’t around to hear them. Of course the first mistake I made was to try to convince her that fiction is useful (which it is). Why do beautiful things have to be “useful”? Why does...

Read More