“I wish I had a more reliable way of figuring out how to write. It’s all just intuition and waking dreams.” – Robbie Arnott
Posts tagged "Christmas"
So they know it's Christmas – and why that matters

So they know it’s Christmas – and why that matters

It’s that wondrous, mystifying, awesome and perchance disorienting time of the year when trees come out, baubles roll about, nutcrackers grin and gnash their teeth, elves get busy, and we revel in company, or brace ourselves against yet another formidable bewilderness of loneliness or mere aloneness, when we find ourselves in opulence, common enoughness, or...
A ghost of Christmas, present

A ghost of Christmas, present

The smell hits me as Gary closes the door behind me. Some Scratch ’n’ Sniff abomination – I’d call it ‘December 1983’, but I’m damned if I know what it actually is. “It’s frankincense,” Gary says. “Off a display at Bed Bath & Beyond. Little spray bottle. Heh.” He shrugs. “Guess I got trigger-happy.” “Apparently,” I...
Looking ahead by looking behind

Looking ahead by looking behind

“Where did you go to, if I may ask?” said Thorin to Gandalf as they rode along. “To look ahead,” said he. “And what brought you back in the nick of time?” “Looking behind,” said he. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit   2020 has been without a doubt, and without exception, an unexpected journey to the...
A clandestine Christmas

A clandestine Christmas

One day I went with the general 1 to the Swedish Legation to get some protective passports for his daughters. I met there a young man – one of the most handsome young men I have ever seen – in the garb of a Catholic priest. I looked at him,then looked again, and sure enough,...
A perpetual advent calendar

A perpetual advent calendar

Our world is ever more in need of the solace, wisdom and power of books. Good books are often hard to come by, so here is a bumper list of some of the most gripping volumes recently published for the young, the younger and the no longer so young in search of the music of...
Timely and timeless books

Timely and timeless books

Book browsing in a bookshop is as much an art as it is a way of life. Here is my trawl through some rather beautiful children’s books, with delighted thanks to Hatchards and Waterstones Piccadilly, for being not only shops but especially worlds of books, with wonderfully rich departments dedicated specifically to children.   Seasonal...
Write Christmas

Write Christmas

Three Christmas hampers

Three Christmas hampers

Still pondering gifts for the smaller people in your life as the winter holidays loom? Here’s a selection of non-perishable treats for Discerning Young, Not Very Young and Definitely Older readers, featuring books that have been published, reissued or rediscovered in 2015, as well as one or two earlier favourites. Hamper #1 – A Box of...
Young vanish

Young vanish

Standing in my garden, smoking too quickly and slightly drunk, it came to me that I should write to you. It’s funny how certain smells can make a person nostalgic – just cigarette smoke and night time made me think of you. Those smells don’t remind me of you, exactly, because nothing really does (and...
Wenceslas squared

Wenceslas squared

English Christmas carols are a hotchpotch, like the English themselves. Perhaps that’s why they are so popular. They have the power to summon up a special kind of midwinter mood, like the aroma of mince pies and mulled wine and the twinkle of lights on a tree. It’s a kind of magic. How did they...
Children's books for all ages

Children’s books for all ages

Here’s a selection of children’s favourites to be cherished across the generations, a compendium of winged words and enchanted images by endlessly inventive authors and illustrators. Mostly published (or reissued) over the past year, new characters rub shoulders with old and voices combine in captivating harmony, jostling for space on bookshelves, coffee or breakfast tables...