On learning (For Karthick)

Karthick left some kind feedback and a question but no contact information (I’ve now added a section for that to the form) – this is a reply. Karthick asks: I’d love to know your methods of learning. How do you learn more? What mediums do you learn on (and any more tips on reading too!) Thank you for your time.…

Janus (3): DC Reading List 2021

I’m trying a different format for this year’s reading list: a queue and a read (past tense) list. (Note that many of these are carried over from last year’s list!) The Queue Fiction:Don Quixote – Cervantes (Edith Grossman translation) The Three Body Problem – Cixin LiuExhalation – Ted ChiangA Hero Born – Jin YongUncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher StoweNorse…

Katherine Rundell on children’s books and imagination

Children’s fiction… offers to help us to refind things we may not even know we have lost. Adult life is full of forgetting… When you read children’s books, you are given the space to read again as a child: to find your way back, back to the time when new discoveries came daily and when the world was colossal, before…

Janus (1): Looking back

Disclaimer: This post was written mostly for me – if you’re not me, you may wish to skip to the end or to skip it entirely! 2020: Goals in Review Looking back, who knew what 2020 was going to be like? I’ve heard several people say that it was a year in which mere survival (for you, for your organisation)…

“Led by pleasure and wonder”: Dana Gioia on creating a new generation of readers

You can’t force young people into literature. They need to be led by pleasure and wonder. Creating a new generation of readers is important. When a society loses the capacity to read fiction, it loses one of the most powerful ways by which we grow and refine our inner lives, our understanding of ourselves, and our understanding of other people.…

Katherine Rundell on learning from children’s books

Children’s books today do still have a ghost of their educative beginnings, but what they are trying to teach us has changed. Children’s novels, to me, spoke, and still speak, of hope. They say: look, this is what bravery looks like. This is what generosity looks like. They tell me, through the medium of wizards and lions and talking spiders,…

Page 37

If you find it hard to give up on a book without a guilty conscience – a sense that you’ve wasted something, neglected a duty, left a job unfinished and one of the windows of your mind ajar – it’s time to start thinking differently. Time spent on a bad book is time wasted. Money spent on bad books is…

Katherine Rundell on the subversive politics of children’s books

A lot of children’s fiction has a surprising politics to it. Despite all our tendencies in Britain toward order and discipline – towards etiquette manuals and school uniforms that make the wearers look like tiny mayoral candidates – our children’s literature is often slyly subversive. … The same is true across much of the world; it was Ursula Le Guin,…

Who was Victor Hugo?

Part Jean Valjean, part Thénardier. “I want to destroy human inevitability; I condemn slavery, I chase out poverty, I instruct ignorance, I treat illness, I light up the night, I hate hatred. That is what I am and that is why I have written The Wretched. As I see it, The Wretched is nothing other than a book having fraternity…

Castles on Clouds

I’m a couple of chapters away from finishing Les Miserables,* thanks to the enthusiasm of a friend** and to Nick Senger’s excellent chapter-a-day read-along schedule.*** It’s a fantastic read – hard going at times, but deserving of its reputation. Beside the story itself (forgiving its long string of ridiculous coincidences), I most enjoy the little**** insights into life in another…