Thursday, 10 July 2008

Holiday reading

It's that time of the year when the Sunday papers highlight the books we should all be reading on holiday.

You know the sort of thing - "This year I'll be re-reading War and Peace. In the original Russian."

As a humble hack, I don't aspire to such lofty, intellectual heights. Indeed, this year I shall be mostly re-reading Everyone Hide From Wibbly Pig or catching up on Igglepiggle's latest adventures.

I occasionally get the chance to catch up on books written for the over-5s. Judith O'Reilly's Wife In The North is a witty and moving collection of her blog posts documenting her family's move from London to Northumberland.

Judith and I used to share bylines, bosses and grievances working for Thomson Regional Newspapers (then publishers of The Journal and the Western Mail) at Westminster. She is now living among her former readers and has made a deserved and enormous success of her blog

The actress reading extracts on Radio 4's Book of the Week sounds nothing like Judith but you do get the feel of the blog brought to life. (you may not be surprised to learn that I'm still waiting for a publisher with a fat cheque to snap up my ramblings on politics).

Judith's Husband In The South would enjoy Guardian sportswriter Daniel Taylor's story of two contrasting seasons in the company of Sir Alex Ferguson. I've read several books on Fergie over the years and this is the one that leaves you with the feeling that you know the man - contradictions and all - as far as anyone can say they know him.

Taylor is frank about the compromises sports reporters make, the trade-offs for access to their subject and the press conference questions that are toned down or bottled for fear of annoying the man facing the questions.

It could never happen in political journalism.......

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