Monday, 12 March 2007

What are we reading?

In this sad family where we have no TV to fill our idle hours, we have to resort to reading. In fact we read a huge number of books.

At present, I (in my habitual fashion) am reading several: To Know Christ Jesus (a superb book by Frank Sheed which I re-read every few years, along with his Theology and Sanity); A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby for lighter reading; Syd Field’s Definitive Guide to Screenwriting; Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King, and Writing a Children’s Book by Pamela Cleaver, as well as St John’s Gospel. I’ve also just finished The Heresy of Formlessness by Martin Mosebach, which I thoroughly recommend to anyone interested in the impact of the Liturgical changes of the 1960s on the Catholic Church.

Anna is reading My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, St Frances de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life, and Peter Ackroyd’s biography of Shakespeare (which is extravagant by her standards - she’s more inclined to read one at a time (always excluding cookery books).

Ant is away at camp with the Adventure Scouts at present, but when here is reading Benedict XVl’s A Lenten Journey and Scorpio by Anthony Horowitz. I think she may also be starting The Seventh Raven (by Peter Dickinson) and Out of the Silent Planet, bu CS Lewis, as they are on her desk - but she’s not here to ask.

Bernie is deep in Sabriel by Garth Nix - she’s very much a one book at a time girl.

Charlie is reading The Lord of the Rings, The Rotten Romans, Belloc’s Cautionary Verses and Sophie’s Tom (Dick King-Smith) and any cartoon books that come his way. He’s a bit like me - a book in progress in every room of the house - including the bathroom...

Dom has just finished Escape From Blood Castle and is wondering what to read next. No - she’s decided: it’s How to Train your Dragon

Charlie and Dom are also having the Voyage of the Dawn Treader read to them as a bedtime story.

I don’t need (I hope) to extol the benefits of reading. We find that by making sure there are plenty of good and exciting books around, and by reading to them a lot when young, they all get the reading bug in various degrees.

It's probably worth saying that we all re-read a large number of books (I work through my P G Wodehouse collection once every few years, for example...). I believe a book worth reading is normally worth re-reading - or to put it the other way round, a book only worth reading once is probably not worth reading at all. So much of our culture is instantly disposable, but literature really shouldn't be. So perhaps that's another aspect of being counter cultural - not always seeking the new pleasure, thrill or sensation, but being enriched by re-visiting old friends in the world of literature.

If you’re not interested in books, this will have been a very boring post - but then if you’re not interested in books you are probably a very boring person....

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