Terry Deary’s recent remarks to The Guardian on why libraries have “had their day” sparked outrage among librarians, authors and readers alike. There was another comment in that article that went seemingly unnoticed, but raised my ire
Books aren’t public property, and writers aren’t Enid Blyton, middle-class women indulging in a pleasant little hobby
Enid Blyton would have certainly disagreed with him, on both points. During the second World War publishing houses were subject to strict paper rationing, and despite her books being printed by more than a dozen publishing houses at the time, they were selling out in a matter of weeks. When inundated with letters from readers telling her they were unable to obtain copies of her books, her advice was to borrow either from friends, or from their local library.
Enid Blyton has, as she so often does, tip-toed into my carefully planned reading pile this month. Rather than my old favourites, though, I’ll be reading some old and some new books on Enid.
The most comprehensive biography is by Barbara Stoney, and while there are actually very few biographies, and books about Enid tend to lean more towards the literary criticism type, this is by far the best and is still in print after almost 30 years.
I’ve been watching with interest the storm of controversy regarding author Hilary Mantel which started late last night here, and is still flooding my Facebook news-feed. The Daily Mail published this article with selected quotes from a piece by Hilary Mantel entitled Royal Bodies, in which she calls Kate Middleton a “plastic princess”.
As is to be expected, people are rushing to Mantel’s defense saying the article quoted her out of context, as of course it has. The Daily Mail does make a rather vague reference to Mantel’s original article half-way through or so;
I have long since lost count of how many times I have heard this. Last year I remember deciding to read Little Women, to the shock of several people I know who all said the same thing “I can’t believe you haven’t read it” Well I hadn’t, never seen the movie either, so I read the book. I also spent most of the book waiting for Beth to die, because at least three people told me “Beth is so sad” Well, she didn’t die, she got sick, and recovered. I won’t say I felt cheated though. Only a bit baffled. I haven’t read on yet.
This is an excellent addition to my dragon’s-hoard of books, which I was very pleased to find today. Considering I have just finished re-reading His Dark Materials it was nice timing. This is the first omnibus edition of the trilogy from 2001. It has my favourite cover art featuring the Alethiometer.