Seven Days of Postive – Day 70

In books, Christmas, Food on November 26, 2014 at 11:02 pm


Hubble bubble, the Christmas pudding is now on its long boil. Four and a half hours and counting.

I’m so paranoid about forgetting about it, I’ve got ‘PUD’ written on my hand in purple felt tip and I’ve put reminder notes in key places such as the stairs and on my pillow.



I was walking past the bookshop in town this lunchtime and I spotted the most perfect book to give my non-reading daughter for Christmas. I’m not going to say what it is juuuust in case she ever looks at this.

Can you imagine what it’s like for me having a child who doesn’t love reading? I just can’t fathom it. It kills me what she’s missing out on. Imagine not reading Ballet Shoes or Little Women?

I was a committed bookworm from the age of six – everyone in my family is. My niece Lottie pretty much keeps British publishing going, as far as I can tell.

Whenever I visit, it’s such a treat to go to her room to see what has been added to the groaning shelves.

It’s particularly nice because I’ve come to know many of her favourite authors, through the network of lovely lady novelists that exists on line (Twitter is a lonely author’s lifeline…) and in real time in London.

But while Peggy’s not a habitual reader, there are certain books she will hoover up. She’s chomped through all the Wimpy Kids like a plague of locusts and weirdly read The Hobbit (which I found a bit of a bore) right through, when she was nine.

She loves Wendy Harmer’s books (I Made Lattes for a Love God was a particular hit) and I’m pretty sure she’s going to like this one…

I never give up hope that the portal into reading may yet be opened in her head.

Little women

  1. Good luck Maggie! I was lucky enough to holiday with my niece on a fairly regular basis and was able to introduce her to Charlotte’s Web (which she loved, just as I did) and other faves. In order to get her to brush her teeth or comb her hair I had to read her chapters of Harry Potters (which did my head in, I’m not a fan). She then progressed to Twilight, which she re-read.

    I suspect she is too busy for novels now as she is now at uni!

  2. I’m all for reminders: notes/phone alarms/telling everyone in my vicinity to remind me… Bet the pud was incredible.

  3. I love reading and I have 3 boys who have no interest at all. This summer holidays I am making them read their school novels To Kill a Mocking Bird and a Soldiers Heart. The younger one can read The 52 story Tree house. I am going to set aside reading time every day. I scatter books around the house hoping they will pick them up and take an interest. No seeing the movie until the book is read.

    • Pegs liked those Tree House books – some of the few. Lots of fun drawings. I’ve tried all of those methods. Forcing her, the whole family reading together, 40 minutes a night… it was a constant refrain of ‘Is it 40 minutes yet? Is it 40 minutes yet?’ I hope you have more luck! SO SO agree about the movie and then she goes to a flipping friend’s house and sees it! I read her the first three Narnia books and she was transfixed – read her the start of the fourth one, left her to finish it… she didn’t. I could scream. xxx

  4. I wasn’t much of a reader at your daughters age, much to my mothers sadness. As an adult i am now a voracious reader. It will come!

  5. Have you done that thing that’s going round facebook about listing the most influential books you’ve read? I am compiling my list and Little Women comes right up there after Noddy (who taught me to read in the first place). Mrs March was a definite influence.
    For your Australian readers – I keep trying not to say Mrs Marsh!

  6. Growing up, I was always reading and my brother hardly finished a book. He simply wasn’t interested (but had plenty of other things such as music keeping him occupied). When he was in his late twenties, he suddenly discovered reading and kept saying things to me like “What book next?”, “I’ve got so much to catch up on!”, “Why didn’t you tell me it was this good?!”.

    So maybe, one day, Peggy will become an avid reader.

  7. My son is not a reader, and as a novelist like you this absolutely kills me. My daughter, THANK YOU GOD, loves reading but didn’t a few years ago- what got her started, believe it or not, were all the British pony books of my own youth. Flambards, the Jill series, the Pullein-Thompsons- it helps that she was mad about horses, but if P is too maybe you could try those? Especially Flambards. I LOVED revisiting Flambards!

  8. How funny! I have such a hard time getting my 8-year-old daughter to read anything apart from picture books, particularly strange since I loved the romantic classics at an earlyish age. The other day I came across a list of good reads for that age and Little Women was on that list. I gave her a bit of a synopsis which she liked, ordered it online and promised we can watch the movie once she’s made her way through the book. Fingers crossed it works 🙂

  9. I was always a reader, both my little ones are too (at 5 and 7 they’re both reading chapter books!!). My older sister took a bit longer to flip the switch to loving reading – I think “Climb a Lonely Hill” by Lilith Norman might’ve been the book that tipped her over.
    I bet you didn’t forget that pudding, your home would’ve been scented!! I feel a bit sad, I’m not pudding-ing it up this year as we are going away – to Finland for Christmas then the UK and U.S – so I’m not that sad actually!!

  10. I’m a very picky reader…your daughter seems to crave entertaining reads, as do I. Discrimination is not necessarily a bad thing. Personally if a book is boring I won’t bother with it. It must be witty, decisive and to the point. Try her on the short stories of Saki? Tobermory is a good starting point. My Dad is hardcore into literature and when he saw me reading your book “Shoe Money” snorted derisively. I later found him reading it, declaring it “Very well written! Very clever! Have you got any more by this woman?”

    Also Paddington looks hideola and movie versions do not always do justice to a text. The Wimpy Kid franchise was ridiculous as a movie. The whole charm of that series was the drawings and the hilarious writing!

  11. I don’t know how old Peggy is…but I recommend, depending on her age (and this may surprise you), Enid Blyton (The Island of Adventure and other adventures, Malory Towers), Mills and Boon romances (nice and short and easy and perks up an interest in romance). Nothing too politically correct, basically a popular book like the ones I’ve mentioned that are damn easy to get into and are page turners may be the key to reading love.

    By the way for us adults who love reading…I’ve just read the Rosie Project and really loved it!

  12. I think I can smell your pud from down here!

    My darling Mum carefully packed away my childhood books for the next generation, but my daughter wasn’t particularly interested in the “Wells” ballet books, Enid Blyton, Louisa M Allcott, Mary Grant Bruce, or the ‘later’ ones – the Brontes or Austen. She fell madly in love with Captain Underpants books at 7 years old (I was dubious at first, but they did get her reading) and later devoured Emily Rodda. She’s never been a ‘drop everything and read’ type of girl (unless it’s Tumblr or Facebook), which I can’t imagine: I read your last book in a day and just ignored everything else. And what’s even more annoying is Chloe’s brilliant at English – never studies and just blitzes her exams. But she couldn’t care less!

    Occasionally she will find a book that she is passionate about – most recently, Robyn Davidson’s Tracks – but that was more from the film. Up until a couple of years ago I just threw loads of books at her, hoping a few would ‘take’ – now I am just happy when she does occasionally urge me to read something she loves.

    Happy puddinging. xx

    • This sounds just like Peggy…. her English makes my jaw drop, but terrible spelling because you learn to spell from reading, don’t you? My sister had kept my all my childhood books (a large collection because I spent ALL my pocket money on them) and she HATES them!

      • Oh, yes – the spelling: Chloe and her dad share a very creative gene. If it looks right, it must be right…

        I saw your comment above about the Treehouse books: Andy Griffiths (the author) was a dad at my last school. He’s just gorgeous: he would come in and test out his jokes on the kids and his wife would takes notes on their reactions. One day I was teaching Andy’s daughter. Most of the kids were knee deep in Andy Griffiths, Morris Gleitzman etc. And there was his lovely child, engrossed in Enid Blyton.

  13. Mine’s on the boil today, too. Trying it in the slow cooker this year.

  14. Hi Maggie,
    Love your posts. Read this one and remembered a previous one about your dear Peggy. She sounds like my 10yr old Sophie. My Sophie has devoured all the Wimpys, Roald Dahl and Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton..but so far can’t get her to read ‘Black Beauty’ for love nor money…so I went straight out and bought Wendy Harmer’s ‘Latte’ title. I am busting to give it to her right now rather than wait for Christmas! Best.

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