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Children’s Book Blog: Ask the Author –  Jonathan Stroud, Notebook

Children’s Book Blog: Ask the Author – Jonathan Stroud

Jonathan Stroud is the author of the hugely successful Bartimaeus trilogy, about a djinni and the young magician who summons him. His latest book, Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase, is set in an alternate society in which a mysterious ghost epidemic has infested Britain. Adults cannot see the ghosts, so young people are hired to track them down and vanquish them.

By | Notebook | Monday, 11 November 2013 at 9:00 pm

“There was only one catch”, Eagle Eye

“There was only one catch”

David Frum has had a go at Catch-22, one of my favourite books. Only on re-reading it in middle age does he seem to have realised that Yossarian’s view of the Second World War is corrosively cynical.

By | Eagle Eye | Monday, 31 December 2012 at 9:52 am

Voewood: A sparkling weekend of literature, Arts

Voewood: A sparkling weekend of literature

A long, louche country house party loaded with literary discussion and liberally lubricated with gin

By | Arts | Saturday, 25 August 2012 at 6:09 pm

As England plays host to the largest Shakespeare festival in history, are the Bard’s works wholly relevant in this modern age?, Arts

As England plays host to the largest Shakespeare festival in history, are the Bard’s works wholly relevant in this modern age?

Sex, lies and betrayal hardly seem unfamiliar to the morning headlines, yet can we really say that in constructing his plays around them, these themes were a pre-emptive suggestion from Shakespeare that our society (and lives) will forever be dominated by such things?

By | Arts, Notebook | Wednesday, 18 July 2012 at 4:00 am

Let’s hear it for children’s non-fiction, Notebook

Let’s hear it for children’s non-fiction

Children’s non-fiction, or “Educational Writing”, is often seen as the poor cousin of children’s fiction (unless, of course, you’re Terry Deary) – it’s time we started paying it better attention.

By | Notebook | Friday, 4 May 2012 at 12:00 am

Cut the pressure and let children enjoy reading, Arts

Cut the pressure and let children enjoy reading

Thousands of children each year leave primary school with little more than basic literacy skills. Dr Cathy Taylor, principal at the Sirius Academy in Hull, spoke out last week after finding almost one in ten pupils joining her school at 11 had a reading age of five.

By | Arts, Notebook, Opinion | Friday, 30 March 2012 at 8:45 am

Literary porn saved, as Paypal abandons effort to censor smutty books, Arts

Literary porn saved, as Paypal abandons effort to censor smutty books

There is happy news for admirers of the sort of literature which inspired Tom Lehrer to hymn the delights of a: “dirty novel I can’t shut.”
Almost a fortnight after it announced that it would henceforth refuse to process payments for self-published novels it regarded as “obscene,” the eBay subsidiary Paypal has performed a somewhat untidy [...]

By | Arts | Wednesday, 14 March 2012 at 2:43 am

Bring e-readers into the classroom, Notebook

Bring e-readers into the classroom

Sitting on a train last week were two children, a girl of perhaps 11 and her younger brother who was about 9. They were being escorted home to parents after a half term jaunt, I inferred, by their grandmother. After a bit they were ready to settle. Both asked Granny for their Kindles which they then read with total absorption until the train reached St Pancras station 45 minutes later.

By | Notebook, Opinion | Friday, 24 February 2012 at 11:51 am

Funding books and falling apart, Arts

Funding books and falling apart

The death of books has been proclaimed many times, with digital assumed to be the chief assassin. Print can’t last they say, as Kindles and e-books take a larger share of a market in apparent crisis.

By | Arts | Saturday, 18 February 2012 at 2:00 pm

The Simpsons versus Shakespeare, Battle of Ideas

The Simpsons versus Shakespeare

Last year, Joseph Reynolds hit the headlines and shook up the world of education. Don’t know his name? Not surprising. Joseph Reynolds is not an expert in educational theory, nor is he a teacher. Neither is he a rich, influential and well-connected parent who can exert the ‘right’ kind of pressure on his daughter’s school or set up a free school. Since he works as a marine engineer in the merchant navy, he cannot even act as a governor.

By | Battle of Ideas | Sunday, 23 October 2011 at 6:00 am

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