Santa doesn’t have a security camera

This is what my six-year-old son told me this afternoon, when I was warning him that Santa was taking notes on his behaviour. In that spirit, I’m staying up really late tonight… way past my bedtime… playing around on the computer (alas, not World of Warcraft as the server is down for maintenance).

People always ask me what my favourite books etc are, so I have been sitting here this evening devising lists of my top ten everythings. Just click on the tab at the top if you want to see. There are books, poems, music, films, all kinds of things. Leave a comment if you see something you like (or really dislike), or, indeed, if you were at some of the same concerts as me in the 80s.

The thing that struck me as I was doing this was that I had trouble coming up with ten favourite books: even though I would have called myself an avid reader. By contrast, limiting myself to ten favourite songs was practically impossible (and the list is likely to be much tinkered with in the coming weeks). Is it that I have loved so many books that it’s hard to pick the real stand-outs? I’d like to think that was the case, but I suspect that perhaps I became a writer because so few books really satisfied me.

As a child, reading and writing were the same pleasure for me; I barely made a distinction between them and would often respond to a book I particularly liked by writing an unofficial sequel to it (intellectual property law not being my forte as a seven-year-old). Now I find I read a great deal of non-fiction rather than fiction; mostly for research, but I also love to read social science stuff. I would say that becoming a writer changes your relationship with reading forever (so be warned all you book-loving would-be writers!!) When I read now, unless it’s entirely out of my genre/s, I find that it just makes me want to get back to my own story, or I’m second-guessing what the author will do, or analysing how she created this or that feeling.

Well, we shall see if Santa brings me anything to read (if, that is, he has checked his security camera at some stage and decided I’m worthy of presents). I wish you all the happiest Christmas you can have.


3 thoughts on “Santa doesn’t have a security camera

  1. Totally agree with you about being a writer changing the way you read. I find myself analysing the writing when I am reading, wondering why they said this and not that. I read Sonya Hartnett’s ‘The Ghost Child’ a while ago and have to admit I was totally engrossed in the story. I dived in one end and came out the other end, completely immersed all the way through. Its been a while since I let myself read like that.

    I think your six year old sounds pretty cluey. Though I still hope he will fall for crumbs on the kitchen table and chewed carrot sticks by the back door. I’m sure Santa will be good to you – that escape key on your keyboard doubles as a Santacam – (has no one told you that?)

    I shall be working a shift trying to make sick people feel all Chrismassy. Poor darlings.

    Have a Merry One.


  2. oh, excellent comeback. i had no idea that i could have done more as a child. to me santa was omnipresent.

    sometimes for me, what makes a book a favourite was where i was (time, manner, place) when i read it. will have to think about this. no. wait. i’m on vacation. i’ll think about it tomorrow.

    merry scary and happy scrappy from taos, new mexico.


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