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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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horrible histories

Health Warning For Writers

Writing is a pretty sedentary activity, which is problematic because apparently this leads to IMMINENT DEATH (much like everything else in the world – let’s face it, everybody dies. Still, I will endeavour to address this sensibly..).

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On Terry Deary’s Sentimental Gush

ghostbusters_library1Yesterday there was an article about Horrible Histories author Terry Deary on the Guardian books page, in which he was quoted as saying that libraries are effectively past it. I disagree with that view, and wanted to address some of his points. You can read the article here if you haven’t seen it yet. His original comments are in the Sunderland Echo.

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The Great Kindle Challenge: Day 6

Apologies for the lateness of the post, but I couldn’t think what to write about last night and then had work today.  It was a successful working day – I telephoned a fax machine and discovered the existence of World Psoriasis Day.  Sounds like banter.

Anyway, on the walk home it occurred to me I could do a liveblog of a night in with the kindle, noting down my observations on the thing as and when they come into my brain.  Perhaps this will help me decide whether I think it it A Good Thing or not.

So far this has gone preposterously badly – having reached the house I was compelled to watch the Horrible Histories prom on the CBBC channel (like all right-thinking adults, if Twitter is to be believed) and now I’ve got the repeat of last week’s Doctor Who on the go.  My excuse is that we missed the start, and has nothing to do with my (completely platonic) penchant for Matt Smith.

Also it’s nice to have something on in the background when making tea, which is what I am about to do now.  Macaroni cheese, as per the subliminal messages mentioned t’other day.  Essentially I think I’ll just liveblog my evening and hope the kindle makes an appearence.  Enjoy.

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No Coherence Without Chronology?

Last night I went to a couple more things at the Book Festival – not necessarily the sorts of things everyone was tweeting about (on my feed the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction was the highlight) but things that were of particular interest to me as a sometime journo and history student.

The first was a reading in the Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers series, focusing on the work of journalists Anna Politkovskaya, Hollman Morris, Marielos Monzon and Mohamed El Dahshan who variously reported conflict in Chechnya, Columbia, Guatemala and Egypt and have all been threatened (and much worse) by their governments for trying to tell the story of what has gone on in these countries.

As the first reader, journalist Catherine Mayer pointed out, these people do the kind of work that makes idealistic young folk want to get into journalism – there’s a level of integrity and courage involved in some areas of the profession that people forget about in the face of events like the phone hacking scandal.  There were some scary statistics read out – 2000 journalists have been killed in the line of duty over the past 20 years, 94 in 2010 – and last year 89 countries put restrictions on freedom of expression.  Sort of puts things into perspective, doesn’t it.

The second event was a debate on The Wonderfulness of Us – where three historians pondered Michael Gove’s desire to make schools teach ‘our island history’ in order to present Britain as “a beacon of liberty for others to emulate.”

He is glossing over a few things there, I fear.  Were we not involved in the slave trade after all, then?  But then this is a man who was overcome with worry that his six-year-old daughter wasn’t taught Greeks and Vikings in chronological order, and claimed Isaac Newton came up with the laws of thermodynamics.  (He didn’t.)

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A Day In The Life of Book Six

This has been a procrastinating sort of day.  I’ll tell you for why.
Continue reading “A Day In The Life of Book Six”

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