In Praise of TV

Yesterday was National Libraries Day and confession time, I realised that so far this year I have not read a single book cover to cover and my Goodreads account is hopelessly out of date.

But on the way to Swanage today, to catch some wild sea wind, I remembered how I used to hang out in the PG Wodehouse corner of my local. I'd like to say that I discovered him by accident while browsing shelves looking for a new author, from an inspiring English teacher or that an old uncle introduced me while loitering in his own musty library but no. It was the TV.

It was the TV too that introduced the teenage me to Arnold Bennett, Emily Bronte, Dorothy Sayers, Thomas Hardy and joy of joys Winston Graham's Poldark - my young adult reading. A few weeks ago, the BBC reported that 'watching movie adaptations of books inspires children to read books above their reading age thereby challenging, improving and expanding their reading abilities.' Thank you Sally Poyton, who picked up on the report so brilliantly here.

While I'm not dyslexic though, my kids have to get it from somewhere, I was slow to read but having seen a story on the telly, helped me to enjoy the reading. It also inspired me to read non televised stories by the same authors. Anyone heard of The Riceyman Steps? Where did I find these works? In the library and the TV took me there.

This week I loved Beverly Birch's encouragement to trust our subconscious, our other life. I imagine Beverly's wisdom applies as much to illustrators as well as writers or indeed anyone in the business of creating. I was so glad that among other great posts, Nick picked up on, The Hourly Comic Day. Last year we introduced our own wonderful Duck & Bear webcomic created by Amanda Lillywhite.

If anyone needs reminding, this Friday is Valentine's Day; last Wednesday Celia gave us a Year 6 perspective on 'The Yuk Factor' i.e. romance or the 'slushy bits' in books.

Gill described the benefits of cross genre critiquing in the North West and on Friday we had Graphic Design from Gillian McClure, another in the brilliant Book Basics series. On Saturday it was a big cheer for Andy Shepherd who's bagged herself an agent as a result of The SCBWI Agents Party in the Autumn and I'm just about managing to sneak in at the last minute here on Sunday, listening to a calmer sea in an IPhone hotspot waiting for some chips to arrive.

Next week we have passionate and no doubt inspiring words from Philippa, K.M. Lockwood, and Nicky Schmidt is back - hooray! And the illustration post for Friday is intriguingly entitled 'Quickfire Summary' on the planner.

Peveril Point, Dorset, Sunday 9th February 2014
Chips scoffed, it's dark outside the van and the Iphone's on the last bit of battery, so we're off home to be inspired by Sunday evening TV.

Hope you're all dry and safe in this weather and on the brink of a great week!

Jan Carr

Jan Carr is the editor of Words & Pictures. Her fiction is older middle grade, she blogs occasionally and loves to write in magenta. You can contact her at

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