What are the best last lines in literature?

Sheet of lined paper with 'The End' typed on it.

The Washington Post recently published a ‘best last lines in fiction’ article, and it was exactly as predictable as you’d expect. Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye (which I adore, but still…), Grapes of Wrath, Gone with the Wind, Huckleberry Finn, The Sun Also Rises etc etc. A veritable who’s who of the literary canon, but not many surprises.

I decided to pull together an alternative version with my own top 10 favourite last lines.

You can read mine below – a mixture of serious and silly – and then I’d love you to leave your own favourite in the comments. Continue reading

In Praise of Libraries

stack of books

Libraries have always been a big part of my life.

I remember the excitement of finally being old enough to join the tiny library in the village where I grew up; the responsibility of having a card to look after; the solemnity of the ritual where I would approach the counter with my chosen books and stand watching while the librarian stamped each one with a return date.

(25 years later I am still slightly ashamed that I was once careless enough to lose a book from that library. Sorry sorry sorry. I have no idea where it went.)

At primary school I was selected to be a student librarian. It was a pretty unexciting job – one for those of us who were diligent and smart, but not popular enough to be elected house captain. Still, it won me a red enamel badge with gold lettering, which I pinned to my denim jacket with pride. Continue reading

Stories for Our Not So Distant Future

Beacons Stop Climate Chaos

This time six years ago I was not a blogger. I was not a mum. I was not even married.

Six years ago, I worked full time for a coalition called Stop Climate Chaos. I would describe it to people as the climate change equivalent of Make Poverty History – a large, diverse group of development charities, environmental NGOs, churches, trade unions, student societies and many others – working together to campaign on issues around climate change. Continue reading

Learning to Love Charity Shop Shopping

charity shop books

When I was a kid, I hated charity shops. My Mum was brilliant in them – she had a real instinct for finding hidden treasures in the unlikeliest of places – and would always emerge victorious with a perfect pair of jeans or a cashmere cardi. She and a friend would take whole days to visit other towns nearby and trawl their shops for a change. But I didn’t to inherit her skill, and I wasn’t prepared to work at it. I’d get bored quickly, and could never be bothered rifling through the racks of musty smelling garments on the off chance that I might find something useful.

More recently, I’ve had a change of heart. I still don’t buy clothes in charity shops (mainly because, as you’ll have guessed from my post on fashion earlier in the week, I don’t really buy clothes at all…) but if I’m looking for books or toys, they are the first place I go.

Continue reading