Philip Pullman on Children’s Literature & the Critics Who Disdain It

Lit is lit books are books. We find certain books at certain times and they change us. Categories are for selling.

From Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman. Used with permission of the publisher, Vintage Books. Copyright © 2017 by Philip Pullman.

Reading in Print

by Kerry Lambeth (?) who tweets at @kerrypolka

“Most books I read are still e-books, mostly because I do a lot of reading on my commute and it’s much harder to keep a paper book open and at eye level when you’re clinging one-handed to the pole on the Northern line, but I’ve been making more time to read for pleasure and those are usually print books.”

A Year of Reading Round the World

b252801416b6c19659cd7ec230d3c68aIt’s hard not to be drawn to what Ann Morgan is doing, but it is not for me at the moment.

In 2012, I embarked on an eccentric project. Having realised how anglocentric my reading was, I decided to try to read a novel, short story collection or memoir from every UN-recognised country, plus former UN member Taiwan (then 196 nations in all), in a calendar year.

I set up a blog,, and asked the world’s book lovers to help me. Pretty soon suggestions – and even books, manuscripts and unpublished translations – were flooding in from around the planet.

My criteria for choosing the titles I read varied and developed throughout the year. Sometimes I opted for national favourites. At other times I picked wildcards that intrigued me because they seemed at odds with the society that had produced them, such as works by exiled writers. And there were narratives that challenged my preconceptions in a huge number of ways.

Not all the books I read were set in the countries in question, but many were evocative of the regions they describe. Since then I’ve continued to seek out books that transport me to a different place. Here are 10 of my favourites:

Read more…

Readers (A Wander)

It’s always a shock to find that anything I write on a blog is read by anyone.

I have a part-time job as the registrar of a Brookline Soccer Club, and a very sweet father from one of the under-9 girls teams came to pick up his coaching card last night and had seen the link on my e-mail signature and had read some of these posts. He is an interesting man a computer programmer, who has hand-made books and used photography to create one-off items too.  One of which is in the Boston Public Library.  I plan to talk to him more, but in some ways what he was talking about what is happening with graphic literature at the moment changing the way we read.  On-line writing, something I really don’t have much of grip on is also changing the way we read both in terms of the composition of the work–how it is written and what it contains–and how it is taken in by the reader.  I almost used the word consumed there, and that is another issue in terms of how we purchase, collect and share (I can’t use the term) “books” any more, or maybe the meaning of “book” will change.  (The old academic term text uglifies the whole process).  Enough for now.  More soon.

The Case for: Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

I am very proud to re-post this by my cousin, Alexei Warshawksi–also proud that he is an English Major at U. of Warwick.

“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.” And with these words to his wife, Guy Montag begins to realise for the first time that perhaps he should trust the evidence of his own eyes over the processed ‘facts’ fed to him by the media and his superiors… Read on