Bring out your dead and surfing and books

The pair of us are poorly sick. Dan is a few days ahead of me, which fills me with doom as he has been really ill the last couple of days, whereas I am just starting. He’s downstairs in the ‘clearing everything out’ with tissues piling up in the bin, and coughing lots. I am upstairs in bed, listening to my beloved Radio 2 via the web (it’s only taken me a year to find the BBC iplayer) getting more and more bunged up, my cheeks actually hurt there is so much pressure in my sinuses. Grim.

Heaven alone knows where it has come from, we think maybe from Aman’s little boy as he had a runny nose on Saturday last week, but wherever it’s appeared from it is not pleasant.

I’ve been surfing through the Gruaniad website (Guardian Newspaper for my US readers – mostly known for hilarious typos in the UK), and found an article on Judy Blume, who has been celebrated at a recent event for writing what teenagers needed to hear about, at the National Coalition Against Censorship. Now my US readers, why do you think you need to have that Coalition at all? We are living in the C21st, not the Dark Ages? This ex-pat Brit finds it all very peculiar indeed that you uphold yourself as the most progressive country in the world, but then smack censorship on books; Judy Blume aside there are some odd titles in the list of challenged books. From Huckleberry Finn to Catch 22 to Gone With The Wind (long, tedious, but not that controversial unless heaving corseted bosoms and the black market in the South annoys you) to In The Night Kitchen (I mean, c’mon really?!) to One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest and Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume. Written about how a teenager copes with the death of her father after he’s shot in a robbery, while the subject matter isn’t something every child copes with, the feelings of isolation and dislocation are.

I devoured Judy Blume books when I was growing up, I had them all, read them in circulation and unlike the other teenage pap that was available, (Sweet Valley High anyone?) her books made me think and recognise the changes in my body were normal. I still own Smart Women and Wifey, read for the first time when I was senior school, and read them every year. They are slim books, so I can read them in one sitting, in fact I will probably toddle into the study and collect them to read today. I know that they will also be some of the first tween books I buy for any children DG and I have/find. (As an aside, Mike at work is still working on the list of things that our children are not going to be able to eat/watch etc. We’re up to McDonalds/Hungry Jacks or simialr, I nearly made him fall down the stairs laughing on Thursday when I said they weren’t watching the Wiggles. He said that everyone starts off like that, but then for 30 minutes peace and quiet you will park them in front of the TV. Be that as it may, most children’s TV is dire, so will be heavily vetted. In the meantime there is Pixar.)

I honestly can’t remember my parents censoring anything Patrick and I wanted to read. There were times we were all reading the same book with 4 different book marks in them. I will be honest here and say that my taste in books has definitely improved as I’ve got older, I’ve moved away from Danielle Steel, Tami Hoag, Patricia Cornwell et al in their carbon copy block/bonk-busters. I love how they are thicker, so therefore better than Mills and Boon, but goodness me they aren’t really. I read my fair share of crap, but got fed up with being able to predict where the book was going to go with unerring accuracy, so now read Literary Fiction, or Non-Fiction. Longer words, better plots and stories, you can’t skim them, you have to sit down and concentrate as you might miss something relevant for later on, and they challenge you.

Where did this general apathy come from? Why did we suddenly decide we were taking the easy route on every option? Why do we expect life to unfold easily around us, when we take no action to take charge of our lives?

I better go, I’m getting on my soap box again, and I don’t have the faculties to write properly, this started as us being poorly and ended up with living your best life all over again. If it is disjointed, rambling and uncohesive, I apologise, it is because I am.

Cough, cough, cough…

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