Festive spirit?

As a spin-off from my involvement as a judge for the children’s category of this year’s Costa Book Awards, the nice people at Costa asked me to write about my favourite festive read.

The piece has been published as part of a Christmas promotion in their latest newsletter, which is distributed to two million members of the Costa Coffee Club loyalty-card scheme. So I thought I’d share it with the, er, somewhat fewer subscribers to my blog. As you’ll see, below, my favourite festive read isn’t very festive at all.

Dandelion Wine coverDandelion Wine
by Ray Bradbury

My Christmas read is an homage to summer. Let me explain. As a boy, once I’d outgrown Blyton and the Beano, I read little else but science fiction – specifically, John Wyndham and Ray Bradbury.

So, one Christmas, I was delighted to find Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine among my presents. I was about twelve – the same age as Douglas Spaulding, the novel’s hero. I say ‘novel’ but, strictly speaking, it’s a sequence of semi-autobiographical stories which fictionalise summertime episodes from Bradbury’s childhood in small-town Illinois. I recall none of these details, by the way; I’ve had to Google them.

What does linger is the atmosphere – a surreal, magical quality conjured by the stories’ blurring of realism and fantasy. And an evocation of place so vivid the images smudge the recesses of my memory like chalk on a badly wiped board. Even now, forty-odd years later, I can’t retrieve a gift from under the tree on Christmas morning, or open whichever new book I’ve been given, without catching a summery whiff of Dandelion Wine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close

Subscribing to our Latest News

I regularly publish news items about book launches, events as well as anything else that occurs to me and I can send these to you directly whenever a new one is published. There are 2 ways I can do this.

email icon

The easiest and most common way is via email. All you have to do is click the envelope button in the header of the web site and tell us your email address. You will then be sent an email asking you to confirm your subscription which you do by clicking in a link in that email. That's it ! From then on, you will receive updates and you can unsubscribe at any time by following the link in any of the News updates.

RSS icon

The other method is using an RSS Reader. If you already follow some blogs using Google Reader or another news aggregator, you can add updates from my site to your list of subscriptions. Just press the RSS button in the header and select your RSS reader and that's it. You can unsubscribe at any time using your RSS Reader.

Of course, all this is completely FREE of charge.