Saturday, May 24, 2014

Why One Should Never Teach a Child to Read….

Kindle edition only $1.99!
A former work colleague of mine once said that there was nothing more terrible and terrifying than that moment in life when one’s child has become a proficient driver and one is relegated to the passenger seat. I think that there is something on a par: and that’s when one’s children begin to recommend books…
“Have you read this, Daddy?”
 “Well, yes, but not since I was three”.
“Why don’t you read it now?”
“Well, I have other things to read now”.
“Did you like it when you were three?” 
“Well, yes I think I did”.
“Why don’t you read it now if you liked it?” 
etc etc
Now that my children are a bit older, it’s becoming harder to completely dismiss their recommendations, particularly as I spend so much time recommending things for them to read, and in some instances we’re now reading the same books (Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games…). 

I grew up reading Doctor Who books from the original TV series. Loved them at the time, they were a staple of my childhood. When the series stopped the books kept going, and became geared towards an older readership as the readers themselves grew up. Now the TV series is back, the books are again for a younger age group, and they’re a bit simplistic for me these days. However, they have started publishing the occasional book by fairly prominent sci-fi authors that are a bit more demanding and challenging. So when my elder daughter recommended The Silent Stars Go By, by Dan Abnett, I thought it was worth a go.

Turns out she was right! I went through this book in a couple of days, and really enjoyed it. OK, it’s a fairly straightforward tale, but it’s well written and certainly not dumbed down. One notable thing is that Abnett absolutely nails the style of the dialogue from the TV series, to an extent that one wonders if this were in fact a near-miss script. It’s also a neat touch that the Chapter titles are lines from Christmas carols.

So, one for your kids, and maybe for you too on a cold night.

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