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Friday, June 29, 2012

book mother

For the past year I have been trying to the drop the fact that my ten year old has finished The Fellowship of the Ring into conversation. Trying but not succeeding. I know, show offy parents are very irritating  but surely reading that book at ten is too impressive not to broadcast?

Maybe it is to my credit that I am not practised enough at said boasting that I found it impossible to crow bar the fact even into conversations with other mothers about what our  kids are reading. I don’t know, I faltered at the wrong time or the conversation drifted towards Harry Potter or else, in the case of my book club, my mouth was simply too full of cheese or crackers or cake to say anything at all. I’m more greedy than boasty I suppose.

So when said child told me that I only buy children’s books for my own gratification, I wondered. 

 Granted, it is true that since discovering The Book Depository website, I have been a pretty frequent visitor and it is a rare morning that our doorbell doesn’t ring to reveal a wounded looking Postman who sadly hands me a few flat parcels held together with an elastic band. (I think the book packages are too small to be delivered by van but definitely big enough to add to his workload considerably.) Our recycle bin is filled with corrugated cardboard and every time I change the sheets I find another flat envelope hidden and forgotten under the folded duvet covers, containing a beautifully illustrated children’s book. (Yesterday it was Fables by Arnold Lobel. (

I didn’t hear him complaining though, when I gave him “11 Birthdays” by Wendy Mass, on his eleventh birthday. ( Who could resist that title for that occasion?

I don’t know if it is that books are cheaper now or do they just seem cheaper compared to the cost of iPod’s and Xbox games? As a child and well into adulthood, new books always seemed expensive, a treat for holidays or birthdays.  (As were magazines, now that I think about it. I didn’t start buying them until I was about thirty five. Only then did I feel they were deserved. Theres convent education for you.)
So now, I buy books. As well as 11 Birthdays, my eldest got Chasing Vermeer  (, The Giver  (, and The Wonderful World of Oz ( None would have been his choice but that was the point. I wanted something different to what he would find on the shelf in his classroom or the display table in the bookshop. (Mollified, he did thank me, I'm pleased to report.)
For my seven year old my ambitious plan is this. Seven books, all with the word seven in the title. So far I have three. The Seven Silly Eaters (, Seven Uncles Come to Dinner ( and The Secret Seven(

Nuts I know, but I love it. Love finding a great title I’d never heard of, love scouring the reviews on Amazon, and most of all, if it’s an oldie (and they are almost always the goodies) love finding it at a bargain price now that the copyright has run out. Sometimes I treat myself and get the hardback. The lineny blue binding on The Little House was well worth it. (

Hmmm, maybe he’s right, they are for me. I do share them though.

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