Well, we had a great time last night — how much fun to get excited about a book in a crowd! If only I had time, I’d belong to a reading group. Really a blast. Nothing like getting all worked up.

Books on the brain at the moment, although I am now officially not reading anything, what with two novels in ten days under my belt. Help! What do I do? (Actually, don’t answer that. I have a stack of ’em. Just don’t know where to start, or when.)

M just finished Northern Lights this evening. Down the stairs she came, rag-a-muffined in her father’s old t-shirt: it’s the best book, ever. The saddest, the most exciting… She was nearly crying. What really got her was Lyra on her own, just left on her own, everything around her not as it seemed, going into another world. And the loss of the loyal Iorek. This would particularly appeal to M, being a particular soft toy fan. And bear-lover. And loyal.

I must say when I read the His Dark Materials trilogy last summer (for the first time, embarrassingly), I was completely blown away. Completely. If I’d read them as a child, they might well have occupied my imagination in the same way as the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper did. I re-read these every year, from age eleven, waited with intense anticipation for the next and then the next to come out. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they informed my entire creative imagination — and image of England. Parallel worlds, hidden worlds, something just out of sight and out of reach, and the belief in essential wisdom…Variations on these themes have occupied my entire writing life, one way or another. And I wanted to be an Old One. Desperately. Still do, to tell the truth. I want to know what’s Good, and be able to act upon it. Every time.