Thursday, 11 June 2009
I now bring you a heartening school story.
Message from an English teacher to me today: "Some of my pupils were reading Deathwatch under the desks last lesson as they needed to find out what was happening next - very gripped! (No I didn't tell them off!)"
Hooray for teachers who so much like the fact that their pupils read that they turn a blind eye when they read in the wrong place!
But it leads me to ask you: what books did you risk punishment to read when you were young? What stories helped turn you into the readers and writers you now are? What exactly was it about those books that tranpsorted you to a place where detentions were worth courting?
One of my favourite reads, which I read over and over again and would certainly have gone to many detentions for, was The Black Tulip, by Alexandre Dumas. Oh, the romance, the swords, the horrible torture, the blood-curdling pain, the honour and bravery and all that bejewelled swash-buckling!
So go on, share your favourite books from your youth, if you can remember that far - and maybe jog our memories so that all those illicit moments of dangerous reading come flooding deliciously back.
Whatever it is that you identify as the must-read factor, I bet you that if we all put a bit more of it into our own writing, we'd end up writing stories that more people would want to read. And publish.
Because it is my firm belief that it's not just kids who want to be gripped by a book, gripped so that the real world fades away for a while.