A Book I Wish I’d Written/ The Genre I’d Like to Write

I’m doing a children’s writing course at the moment, so that’s a bit of a clue. I would love to write a children’s book, although I’m still undecided whether I’d like to write for 8-12 year olds, or teenagers. There’s still quite a lot of scope under the umbrella of children’s literature though, so I still need to name a genre. I think I’m leaning towards sci-fi/fantasy.

As for a book that I wish I’d written – that one’s easy. It got a mention in the first of my Friday Reads, and it’s Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. The story is by turns funny, poignant, clever and absurd. It hooks you at the start, carries you along at a breakneck pace and leaves you breathless and wishing there were 100 books in the series instead of only 3. I think Pullman is one of the most talented writers around at the moment, and his alternate universe is so convincing it’s really hard to believe that it isn’t ours. It’s a book that has haunted me since I’ve finished it, and one that I would consider re-reading at some time in the future. And that for me is the ultimate compliment I can pay a book.

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2 Responses to A Book I Wish I’d Written/ The Genre I’d Like to Write

  1. Andy wts says:

    aka “The Golden Compass” in N America. Started reading it, got half way, but never finished it – maybe it should go in that category? I dunno about this one. I agree with what you said, and don’t get me wrong, its a stirring read, but with a caveat that Pullman is creating a world that seems to be an anti-Christian antithesis to Narnia. Controversial? Maybe. Am I reading too deeply into this? Could he be thinking that the debate could boost sales? Oooooo, bit cynical! But I cant help thinking Pullman has another agenda other than a damn good read. Something beyond the surface, subliminal and possibly subversive (ooo, does that make him some sort of passive terrorist?). What does makes that man tick? He’s an interesting character, without doubt, but not all he seems, IMO. Maybe I should finish it at xmas … and then we should *both* reread it.

    • sjbteaching says:

      If you read interviews with Pullman he says that he hovers somewhere on the spectrum between atheist and agnostic….sometimes closer to one end, sometimes closer to the other. He says the church comes in for a bit of a bashing in the book because that’s the religion he knows best as he was brought up in a family with strong Christian beliefs. As far as I know he doesn’t make any secret of the fact that he is anti-organised religion (any religion), but this isn’t the same as being anti-God. I think most of the controversy is stirred up by the people who insist on a God versus Science debate. Personally I don’t see why it has to be an either or.

      But hey – here are the two of us, having a healthy debate about a (children’s) book. And adults all over the world are having the same debate about the same book which children are reading and enjoying just because it’s great story. But is that not the mark of a good book that crosses from children’s to adult fiction? That children can read it and enjoy it as a fun story, and adults can find deeper meanings in the subtext to debate which the children are not even aware of?

      So to go back to the post: Do I wish I had written the Northern Lights Trilogy? OH YES!!!!!!!!!

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