A York English tutor’s collection of literary, Christmassy quotations. Merry Christmas!

“The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting.”
–Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
–Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Fine old Christmas, with the snowy hair and ruddy face, had done his duty that year in the noblest fashion, and had set off his rich gifts of warmth and color with all the heightening contrast of frost and snow.”
–George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
–Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!”
–Hamilton Wright Mabie

“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!”
–Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

“It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents. But there was a snowman in their basement.”
–Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Oh I absolutely love Christmas!”
-Kay Thompson, Eloise

Book of the Week – We Need to Talk About Kevin

Have you read this?  It’s one of the most challenging and disturbing novels of our time.  Is it nature or nurture that creates a monster?  And who is responsible if that monster is a child?

‘Eva never really wanted to be a mother; certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her absent husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.’

Warning:  This isn’t in any sense a children’s book, and is probably best suited to older teens +.  It’s graphic and frightening – but don’t let that put you off!

 

We need to talk about kevin

Tutoring trips in York, books books books and excitement at PREP HQ!

OK, so PREP HQ is my little house in Heworth, but nonetheless, excitement abounds!

English trips for tutees (and their families)

You may have seen my previous post about the trips I’ll be running this year. Kicking us off on Sunday 10th October will be a visit to York’s newly reopened, beautiful Art Gallery, where we’ll get inspired and creative and write some wonderful verse to complement the paintings and sculptures we see!  All tutees are welcome – please remember that there is a small charge for entering the Gallery, and that Year 7-11 tutees will need to be accompanied by a parent.  Do get in touch if you’d like to join us!

Books, books, books

I’m a little ridiculously excited by my ‘Book of the Week’ campaign.  I’ve got to say that I had a really hard time whittling down my enormous list of ‘books everyone really must read’ to 52, but I got there in the end!  Week 1’s is Year of Wonders and it’s an absolute corker – historical fiction that goes way beyond the usual kings/bodices/beheadings that are popular at the moment.  It tells the true story of ‘the plague village’, Eyam, and is utterly compelling.

In other exciting book-y news, I’ve been asking tutees this week to tell me about their favourite books, and I’ll soon have a board of recommendations up for them all to peruse.  Parents are welcome to make contributions too of course!

 

Why I love books – an entirely incomplete list.

  1. They’re a chance to make use of someone else’s imagination for a little while.
  2. They smell nice.
  3. They’re an escape from normality.
  4. Other people write much more beautiful prose than that which I use for thinking.
  5. They’re a useful ‘leave me alone’ sign on public transport.
  6. I can make (semi) informed judgements about other people based on what they’re reading on public transport and then play a game whereby I imagine a name, job and amusing life for them.
  7. They fit in my handbag.  (It’s possible that I only buy handbags big enough to hold a book.  Or two.)
  8. Old favourites never get old.
  9. They’re a good icebreaker when not used as ‘leave me alone’ signs.  It’s all in the tilt.
  10. They’re links through time to other readers.
  11. They contain words and images I’d never have thought of.
  12. Some of them contain poems, some contain plays, some contain fiction and some contain non fiction.  Endless possibilities.
  13. It is pretty much impossible to run out of reading material.
  14. Films are often disappointing when compared to the book but books are never disappointing when compared to the film.
  15. Libraries are places where scrunching down into a sofa and not moving for three hours is positively encouraged.
  16. They make me a better writer.
  17. They make me a better reader.
  18. They educate me.
  19. They inspire me.
  20. As long as I’ve got one, I’m never bored.

acbc5b1a7d9c957e6b0257a4eb2ce56e Oh yes.  Books galore.