Childhood fantasy

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

cslewis writing for children

He’s right… by the time you reach an age with double figures, fairy stories are for babies… and you are no longer a babe. In just the same way that we cease admitting to the guilty affection for the music our parents liked as we grew, so do the books of early childhood get left upon the shelf… at least when anyone is looking.

We ‘progress’ to more complicated reading. Quite often the books we read as teenagers say more about how we would like to be percieved by the world, or reflect the adventures or romance that we long for at that age. Most of those stories, too, are as wildly fantastical as the fairy tales… but being set in ‘reality’, they are more acceptable to our fledgling egos.

Those who loved fairy tales may be lucky, making the early discovery of fantasy and science fiction… which may simply…

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I can’t help noticing…

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

It is beginning to look an awful lot like spring. There are buds and the first blossoms on the trees. The ground is covered in tiny wildflowers, from coltsfoot and celandine, to speedwell, daisies  and violets. From the birds building their nests, to the emergence of insects. No matter what the gardeners think they control, Nature has her own agenda.

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THE FORTELLING by Alice Hoffman, a Review

I filled in the gap between Jennifer Egan’s Emerald City and Give a Boy a Gun this week by reading Alice Hoffman’s coming of age story, The Fortelling. This mystical, mythical 2005 publication is set in “ancient times of blood,” pre-dating history, when Amazons rode their magnificent horses across the Russian Steppes.

Rain, born in sorrow and destined to become queen, cannot force the current queen, her mother, to love her. Even the shaded illustrations and patterns on the pages create a misty background for the visions that come out of the fog and the smoke of the women’s fires. What is the significance of the black horse Rain sees when the ancient priestess throws her potions into the fires to accomplish the foretelling? What are the strange dreams she has that haunt and worry her as she changes from a warrior girl to a leader-queen?

Mothers and daughters alike will enjoy this novel where genres of YA and women’s literature are blurred. Better yet, read it aloud to each other, luxuriating in the poetic wording and phrasing handled so well by Hoffman. I recommend this novel to all women, regardless of their age or reading preferences.


Literacy Lessons

Reading and writing forms the basis for literacy: the literate person is one who can read and write. In a book of essays, Words Are My Matter, Ursela La Guin, famed sci fi writer and philosopher-in-general writes the following words about reading:

“Reading is a means of listening.  Reading is not as passive as hearing or viewing. It’s an act: you do it. You read at your own pace, your own speed, not the ceaseless incoherent gabbling, shouting rush of the media. You take in what you can and want to take in, not what they shove at you fast and hard and loud in order to overwhelm and control you. Reading a story, you may be told something, but you’re not being sold anything. And though you’re usually alone when you read, you are in communion with another mind. You aren’t being brainwashed or co-opted or used; you’ve joined…

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Congratulations to my grandson, Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda on reaching 400,000 hits on his blog, Without Ritual, Autonomous Negotiations.

If you have not checked out this important, scholarly blog, treat yourself and do so. Basically, you can find anything discussed there including education, politics, history, philosophy, poetry, and many other interesting things. Dr. Pegoda’s “take” on these subjects and current issues is young, refreshing, original and creative.

If you go there once, I can guarantee you will return.


The Purple Booker founded this meme, and I first came across it on Brainfluff, one of my favorite blogs. Take the book you are reading, copy a couple of sentences (without giving away the ending or a solution to a problem or mystery), and maybe you’ll interest someone else in reading it.

Here is today’s from Will Schwalbe’s The End of Your Life Book Club:

“…we were going to have to say goodbye to Mom taking her youngest grandchildren to a Broadway show or to the Tate Modern or to Harrods to marvel at the Food Hall and visit the pet store puppies (The mother’s pancreatic cancer is getting worse.) We were going to have to say goodbye to the little ones remembering their grandmother beyond a fleeting image or an imagined memory promoted by a photograph. We would need to say goodbye to Mom at their graduations and to her buying them clothes and to them bringing home boyfriends and girlfriends to meet her.”

Although this sounds (and is in spots) incredibly sad, one can see how beautifully it is written. The bond forged through the reading of the same books by the son and his mother demonstrates the ability of shared book discussions enhancing communication between individuals whether they are as close as family members or two people trying to make their way to friendship.