Which Writers Impressed You At School?

When I grew up my reading was heavily influenced by my teachers. Luckily some of my primary teachers rather liked Roald Dahl and the rest also made brilliant literary choices. I wonder if this is typical of English schools and what writers stand out in the memories of those of you who grew up abroad?

When my infant teacher initially read the BFG, with incredible accents for each giant, I was totally sucked in. The following year another wonderful teacher read us George’s Marvellous Medicine and then The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. C S Lewis then became a firm favourite of mine and I started consuming the other Narnia stories, such as The Silver Chair.

Being Read To Matters

I do wonder if my love for reading would have been less evident if I hadn’t had teachers who really read with passion. The reading bug needs to start somewhere and Roald and Lewis definitely triggered the obsession for me.

My mum also read to me daily and as time moved on I started to read to her. I would read Enid Blyton books and those involving Professor Brainstorm. I’d also try poems and fact books. Mum bought me a whole set of illustrated Charles Dickens books (children’s editions).

As I got older, teachers introduced me to Michael Morpurgo (Why the Whales Came) and Shakespeare (starting with Macbeth). One thing was certain, the more books I sampled, the stronger my passion for reading became.

Inspiring Tales

So yes, my brilliant teachers brought amazing narratives into my life and I am forever grateful. I will never lose my love of Roald Dahl books, no matter how many times I come across them. Similarly, I have a place in my heart for Narnia and Hogwarts. Admittedly Harry Potter was first read by me as an adult but I bet J K Rowling’s books have a massive impact on today’s young people and encourage many to read more often.

For another article about Roald Dahl have a read of this. If you enjoyed this post perhaps consider following my blog.

Kindle or Paperback? (Books)

One of the things that intrigues me about reading is how some people are so passionate about printed books and others are perfectly content with electronic stories. Some readers are fairly polarised about this issue but I tend to read both.

As a writer and avid reader of narratives, it fascinates me that many have really strong opinions on this matter. Below are some of the points that people I know have made about the two types of books.

Kindle Ebooks

– Easy to read on the move as they can be accessed using your mobile phone, kindle reader or iPad.

– Navigable. You can use a drop-down list to select what chapter or page you want to find instantly.

– They track where you have got to, even updating different devices. If I read on my iPad kindle app, it will update my phone app too so I always know where I am. No bookmarks falling out and making me lose my place.

– Kindle books are usually cheaper, often just a few pounds or up to ten pounds if newer.

– Ebooks take up less space.

Paperback books

– They smell good when freshly opened. Nothing beats the feel of a brand new book.

– Being compact, they are great to take on trains or read on holiday by the beach.

– You can make notes in them or add post-it notes. Some readers like to highlight sections or add comments.

– Books can be handed to friends to read when you have finished or sold on afterwards.

– Paperback books tend to hurt your eyes less as they don’t emit bright lights.

This was just a fun book related post as I have had a very busy few days. Please comment your thoughts on the matter and maybe follow my little blog.

Christmas Gone Crazy – Extract Two

This is the second part of my Christmas short, but weird, story. For the first part, click here.

Making my way through airport security, a few hours later, I thought I could sense snow coming. The sky looked heavy and the airport was dark. I found a spot on a bench and took out my iPad. Perhaps I could find out a bit about this freak and begin coming up with an angle. I managed to get a clip of him declaring his village the new ‘Jerusalem’. Just as I began watching his rant, a voice butted in.

“I know who you are. You’re the only person likely to know about this.”

I turned round to see a brown haired woman, about the same age as me, peering over my shoulder.

“And you are?” I said, half guessing.

“Fiona,” she said reluctantly. ‘Your camera girl.’

“Well, you may as well take the weight off your legs. The plane isn’t due for an hour,” I said, half smiling, half disappointed. Disappointed mainly because I wanted some time alone. Smiling slightly because she was a lot better looking than the last camera man I had.

 

Grabbing her a coffee, I found it obligatory to try and make conversation and see if we had anything at all in common. She turned out to be fairly left wing and quite a thinker. I did enjoy her retelling the last assignment she had. While waiting to get footage of a movie star emerging from a London nightclub, she had spent hours, in the rain, poised with her camera focused on the club door. In the two minutes that she snuck inside to the loo, the actor had not only come out, but made an announcement that he was having a sex change operation, and no longer wanted to be known as a male. She had got back from the bog, to find that the other camera guy had an exclusive and she had missed everything. Neither of us had much luck at all. That was the main thing we would discover about each other. We were both riddled with bad luck.

We queued up for the plane and were soon high above the clouds, sipping cheap wine and making the most of the on-board entertainment. She was watching old episodes of ‘Friends’ while I opted for a couple of episodes of ‘Fleabag.’ We both liked trash TV. The man who was sat at the end of our row kept getting up and going to the toilet and every time we got settled again, he seemed to want to make us stand up. Fiona tutted after a few times and he looked at her with disgust. Thankfully I was between them and could keep her from retaliating. The smirk on her face showed me that she was enjoying the challenge.

 

“Next time I’ll step on his toes,” she whispered.

She reminded me of my little sister and the way she used to torment me. We used to laugh for hours about anything and everything. I missed those days. Sadly, she had been gone five years now. I suddenly became somber.

 

“Cheer up,” she said, revealing a picture she had taken on her phone. It was the moody guy and she had edited it so that he looked like the devil.

I tried to smile. “You know, the Christmas Jesus guy is going to wind you up like mad,” I said, showing a picture of him riding a reindeer, with no clothes on.

“Think of all the fun I can have with him,’ she replied as she changed the photo so that it looked like Donald Trump. Somehow the guy really suited the yellow hair, comb over and pale blue suit. His face was already plump enough to pass as the President.

AD – If you enjoyed this, keep looking out for the next instalment or check out my book below. This book of short stories is about first impressions being often misleading.