There are a couple of recent posts on Fidra books that may be of interest to any EduBuzz or Edinburgh based readers.
The childrens’ writer Steve Augarde is visiting the shop “on Thursday 8th May at 7.30pm to talk about the joys and problems of writing for children and young adults and to give plenty of practical advice on how to get your work in front of an agent or a publisher”.
Vanessa has also written a post about Harry Potter appearing on the A level reading list. Harry Potter? A level? I don’t like to get snobby about books, as I read anything with words on that sits still for long enough – newsletters, noticeboards, cereal packets, Enid Blyton, Tolstoy, whatever. The only book I remember failing on in recent years was something by Martin Amis which I just couldn’t hack. I fully admit that I loved reading the Harry Potter books – they’re good stories. But I’m afraid I don’t rate them as challenging literature, if that makes sense. Re-reading the Fidra post, though, perhaps it’s the good story element that warrants inclusion. I was quite surprised recently to hear that a friend’s son is reading a John Grisham novel for Higher English; this is someone else whose books I’ll read as a quick page turner but I wouldn’t rate beyond that. I wouldn’t want to have to read them twice, although they do make good films.
Perhaps I am just a book snob after all, and haven’t moved on since my own school days. I fully admit that I don’t really know what the requirements and expectations are these days for A levels (or Highers), English or otherwise, and it is oh so easy to make sweeping statements from the comfortable pedestal of ignorance. I didn’t even do English beyond O level – and O levels must surely date me. I really wouldn’t like to think that students today were only studying Chaucer, Shakespeare, Lawrence, Eliot as there is so much good, well written, challenging story-telling about in recent literature. I would hate to think that syllabuses and expectations hadn’t moved on since I was at school so perhaps Harry Potter and John Grisham do have a rightful place on the syllabus. Just don’t tell me that Dick Francis is on the list as well.
Oh help, I’m at serious risk of expressing opinions on things about which I really know very little. I should just stick to harmless anecdotes and shut up. But do visit the Fidra blog.