Good Reading : September 2008
my say It’s been freezing in Sydney these past few weeks. As I read my book in bed I struggle to poke the least amount possible of one hand out to hold the book while keeping the doona up over my ears. I try and turn the pages with the same hand that holds the book. But I manage, because not reading before sleep is now impossible for me.There was a stage when we had a TV in the bedroom. It was truly terrible! It would actually keep me awake – not help me go to sleep – and my reading became almost non-existent. I have recently finished reading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, thanks to a number of readers (you know who you are!) and my mother and niece who encouraged me, nay, pestered me, in a friendly way, into reading it. It now resides on my favourites shelf. I have just finished Animal Farm by George Orwell. My husband had a battered old school copy on the shelf. In fact, it was a library copy that was never returned. He denies it’s his so I expect the last name on the list is the guilty party. As I was reading it I found someone, surely not my husband, had drawn pictures in the bottom right corner of the right hand page over about 50 or so pages.The drawing was of a little man climbing a ladder to a platform. Each image had him further up the ladder until the last images had him jumping off, going splat into a small pool. If you flicked the pages quickly it was like a little movie. I experimented last month with not book-marking my page as I read. I know a few readers who just close the book and easily find where they left off. So I thought, maybe I should give that a go? I found it difficult and started finishing on even numbered pages to help myself remember, then decided to stop at page numbers ending in 2, then stopping at the end of the first paragraph of a page ending in the number 2.What started as a fun exercise ended with me wondering why I was doing this in the first place.Tempted to turn down the corner, I finally reached for my bookmark. Did our cover image give you a fright this month? It’s the cover of the new John Marsden book Hamlet: A novel, which features as our cover story this month. Marsden is an inspirational teacher, writer and all-round good guy. Shakespeare fans will be fascinated to read his new book. I am quite tempted to read The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, who is the subject of our author profile this month. It sounds interesting and Paula Grunseit’s interview brings up some interesting questions about authors who burn their work. In this issue we also celebrate Indigenous Literacy Day, which falls during September in Australia each year. Surely the problem of children’s literacy, particularly with our Indigenous children, is of the highest national importance.Without being able to read and write, how can children access opportunities that we take for granted? Why not get involved? A while ago gr donated books to a rural school in a poor area of New South Wales. It saddened me to discover that many of the children in the school had no books in their houses. Not just a few, but no books at home.The school had instituted a program to present each child with a book at the end of each year, so by the end of their schooling years each child would have a small library of their own. Food for thought.