Paperback writer


On Sunday afternoon I grabbed Daisy a book at Brissie airport on the way home as a quick little present for being away for the weekend. Daisy has lots of chapter books that she has collected over the past 18 months or so as presents and treats she has picked up for herself. To date Roald Dahl has been the best for her – she still needs to read out loud rather than in her head, or she loves to have books read to her. Rob can do voices from the Enchanted Wood and the Faraway Tree better than most….it is adored by both girls. I grabbed The 39 Storey Tree house (without realising that there were 2 others before that) and within 2 or 3 pages she was HOOKED. Properly hooked, like you get when you connect with something instantly. I caught her reading it in bed post bed time. She asked to take it to School to read, and hasn’t stopped raving on about it. Oh the magic to seeing a love for the written word come to life…what a joy indeed!

I was talking to my Mum on Monday morning as we tend to do for a bit of a weekend debrief and she was telling me that she borrowed 5 books from the library in large print for her Aunty June (age 90) last week. Aunty hasn’t been reading over the past couple of years, she found it hard to stay focused and the text was a problem with her eyesight. Mum told her to give it a try and started her out with Tuesdays with Morrie and left her with it on Friday afternoon. Sunday morning 7.30am she was woken to a call from Aunty, and after she got over the panic that everything was OK with her, and that the tears she was crying on the phone were from happiness, she listened to her explain the happiness and joy she had got from reading again. After all those years. The joy of words, on paper, transporting you to another place.

6 years, or 90 years old, the magic off reading and writing is something very special indeed isn’t it?

What have you enjoyed lately that has re-ignited that passion and magic that comes with a really good read?
I haven’t had a cracker for some time but I think for Rob over the holidays it was The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
Do you enjoy reading?


  1. I was an avid reader as a child. All my childhood memories are me reading… I remember reading any chance I could – my morning shit before school, on my bed while waiting for mum to cook dinner, in the backyard with the dog on weekends etc etc. I have read ONE book since having a baby. it saddens me deeply, and this year I’m hoping to spend less time online and more time with my head in a book while Olivia naps. Your story here made me tear up – how beautiful. And congrats on raising a reader, so very spesh, Beth!

  2. Love reading. My girl devoured all the treehouse books and we even went to see it at the Opera House. I just finished The Fault in Our stars with my stepdaughters who usually hate reading. They loved it and now we are all following John Green on Instagram waiting for the movie to come out…read it, its lovely x

  3. Amanda Garven says

    This is a special post. A standout to me. I love to read, I always have. Its as essential to me as breathing. My boys have that same love. The worlds it can take you too. I’m desperate for some new material though. I’m getting antsy without the greed of a new book or series( even better!)

  4. daddownunder says

    Lovely post Beth. I can’t wait to progress to the Roald Dahl stuff with Max, I’ve been practicing my voices. I actually read Jesper Jones recently after seeing you recommend it a while back and confirming my suspicions that you have impeccable taste. I’m coming back to this post to see what everyone recommends.

  5. My mum used to count herself lucky if I dried one plate to every ten pages I read as a child. Does Daisy have any of the Muddle Headed Wombat series by Ruth Park? Originally a serial on the ABC Argonauts Show a long time ago, it has been republished as a series of adventures of Mouse, Tabby and the Muddleheaded Wombat. In my mind I can still hear the voices of those readers.

    On a different note, my purchase of the vintage Lulu quilt arrived a couple of days ago. I love it as does the recipient. I’m glad I saw it on your FB page.

  6. Annaleis Topham says

    We have read the other 2 storey treehouse books and we are onto the third – kids think it’s a riot! Apparently there is a stage show over east as well. Reading together is one of our favourite times of day.

  7. Lisa Mckenzie says

    The joy of reading at any age love it I am reading the honey queen by Cathy Kelley at the moment though it is not the best book I have ever read but the first I have read on my iPad on overdrive from the library xx

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      I’m yet to read one on the iPad…I keep meaning to but the allure of paper keeps me going back to the paperback.

  8. I was a massive reader as a kid. Jill’s Gymkhana, Enid Blyton, Dahl, anything. I am delighted that one of my kids is the same x

  9. Lynne Grierson says

    Reading is one if the great loves of my life. I read books, on my Kindle, magazines, newspapers,online…I will read the phone book if it is the only thing available! I am so glad that your Aunty has rediscovered the joy and what a joy Tuesdays With Morrie is! I have bought so many copies of this book over the years as I love to give it to people and encourage them to pass it along to others when they have read it.

  10. Leila Minter says

    I’m sure I read everything in the house twice when I was a kid, including the things I shouldn’t have (My brothers love letters) Wish I made the time to now, although sometimes I think I’d rather read kids books. My daughter is now 14 but when younger we collected the old original Enid Blyton’s before they changed names. When she was moving on from readers to easy chapter books we found it hard to find one’s that weren’t to long but loved the Pearlie in the park collection was great and after that somewhere the spiderwick chronicles were a favourite also. Now with 2 younger boys, one who started school this year, we are discovering a whole new lot of authors.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Pearlie was a good one for Daisy too – a good transition. I think at age 6 they still need pictures to keep the interest up.

  11. Kimberley Atkinson says

    If you will let me, I might just have to read this post out to 500 or so kids (in their classes while at school library) especially year 7/8. Lots of kids still struggle with reading or the comprehension and at my school 12 year olds can be reading at a 7-8 year old level still…. Pasifka school. Awesome kids and with a rocking school libraries with over 260 new books already this year BUT it is the motivation to get them going and keep going. The hard bit is them arriving at school with a vocab level of a 3-4 year old at 5 years of age – not just pasifika or maori kids but ALL kids seem to be turning up with a smaller vocab than 5 years ago in ll schools…
    Keep buying books – good on Daisy and i wish books were as cheap in NZ as they seem to be in Oz – I filled a suitcase at the Brisbane Big W last October and bought them back to school – $7 chapter books there are $12-16 here…. And good on you for instilling the reading bug. Andy Griffiths is fab – met him a few times.

  12. Reannon Hope says

    Legend in my family says I could read at two. My mum & my aunties tell stories of me reading Golden Books to them. When I try to say its impossible they all say I would point as I read & if anyone was reading one of those books to me & tried to skip a word i would pull them up on it. Truth is I haven’t been without a book in my hand since. I am obsessed with books. In school I was the one sitting on the grass or in library reading & even now I take a book most places with me.
    My eldest loved reading up until he hit his teens. I’m hoping he’ll find the love again when he is older. My husband has never been a reader but over the last 18 months has started. He mainly reads real life stuff ( ususally about bikies or drug dealers) but when he left for work last week I packed some fiction for him- To Kill a Mocking Bird ( my all time fave book), a Stephen King ( I was obsessed with him in my early teens) & The Book Thief ( he heard the author talking on some AM radio station he listen to in the Pilbarar so thought he might like it). I’m really hoping he reads Mockingbird……
    Right now I’m loving books set in early Australian times, from the 1900’s onwards so if you have suggestions let me know 🙂

  13. I have always loved reading. I used to disappear to my room to read for hours when I was tween / teenager. One of my favourite things to do on holidays was go to the library and stock up on books to read. I’m such a nerd. I’m hoping my daughter inherits my love too.

    I read The Husband’s Secret

    by Liane Moriarty over the summer holidays and it was so good. It really got me thinking about what I’d do in the same situation. Highly recommended.

  14. Loved books as a kid (The Secret Garden was a favourite) and consider my work as a parent almost done, as both my kids (13 and 14) are avid readers. AND now I work in our local library – can you imagine? I come home with a huge pile every shift, even though I already have a pile next to my bed.

    Just finished Tuesdays with Morrie as I wondering if I was the only person who hadn’t read it yet! Always up for a bit light fluff, with occasional dips into more serious literary fare. I don’t really do murder mysteries as I have to concentrate too hard at the end of long days!

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Rob has tried to put some serious books on me, Neighbour too and I try my best but sometimes they just annoy me. Kind of like the theatre sometimes. That said, I am SO glad School forced me to read some of the greats – 1984, Utopia, Animal Farm….

      • IKR? I’m glad I’ve read To Kill A Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, Equus etc, but nowadays, it hurts my brain. If it doesn’t get me in by the end of the first chapter, I’m outta there! (although I’m glad I stuck with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, because my friend insisted it got better!).

  15. Lisa Aherne says

    I have an extensive library of books, and even have an overload in the caravan! Yes I do have a Kindle, but my latest book club book was not available from Amazon or iTunes, so I am reading the paperback. I believe the very best thing for any child or adult is to develop a love of reading, there is so much to be learned. I left school at an early age but was not disadvantaged in my chosen career because all the things I needed to know I could learn from books. Best invention ever!

  16. Champagne Mumma says

    Love that your daughter is into books. I was from a young age and hope my daughter is as well! She already has a book shelf full! lol (8months old) I see a lot of kids these days that just aren’t interested. I bought my 8yr old niece The Witches and my 11yr old niece Anne of Green Gables. Hoping they love them as much as i did! I need to get back into reading!! But it’s damn hard with a baby that doesn’t sleep!

  17. Ainsley McArthur says

    Seems we had the same week-end in reverse as I travelled Brisbane to Sydney and likewise purchased the 39 Story Treehouse before realising that there were 2 prior! As for reading, do blogs and magazines count? I have a nice pile of must reads on the bedside table but progress is slow, especially as I seem to have reread 2 pages read the night before as I’ve drifted off…..

  18. My 5yo has just finished listening to the Enchanted Wood on cd (narrated by the lovely Kate Winslet- I could listen to her all day!) and is hooked! Great to pop on when they are winding down in bed for the night. She also is loving Roald and will only let her Dad read his books to her- I’m not worthy apparently!
    I’m trying to get into Eyrie by Tim Winton but I’m struggling! Someone please tell me it’s worth persisting with??

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Haven’t started the Winton one…but am intrigued to hear Kate Winslet read that classic – would be perfect for our next road trip!

      • We have all 3 CDs in our house – kept us going on the long drive from Canberra to Brisbane Christmas before last, they’re great! And fostered a love of all books Blyton in my now 7 yr old when previous attempts to introduce her to my favourite childhood stories failed …

  19. I think I live to read, I could probably build a house out of books if I hadn’t started buying them electronically. However, I haven’t read anything ‘amazing’ for a while, everything is good but when I come across Amazing I will let you know. I’m struggling to get my 9 year old to read by herself, she’ll read for homework reasons but my dream is to get her reading like her brother (he takes after me). Think I might buy her the book you bought and see how she goes with that one.

  20. I love love love a good book, the whole experience of being taken away
    into the story. I truly hope my kids treasure a good book & I must
    try harder to ensure they do. I have 3 kids 4 and under and currently
    struggle to find the time to read. I loved Tuesdays with Morrie,
    perhaps a reread is the motivation I need to get back into some
    reading. I really can’t wait until my kids are old enough to appreciate
    Enid Blyton (and I cannot to read those stories again – those stories
    really made my childhood) Thanks Beth – what a great read

    Bel W

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Thanks Bel – I think sometimes going back to a book you read and loved it just the thing to get you back into the swing of things…you always seem to get something different from the story each time.

  21. Sarah Derrig says

    Reading is one of my favourite things to do, nothing better than getting fully engrossed in a book. I’ve just finished reading “Gone Girl”, which has gone straight into my Top 5 books of all time. For my book club we’ve just finished reading “And the Mountains Echoed” which was such a beautiful, heartbreaking story. I’m now quickly whizzing through the 3rd Bridget Jones installment before moving onto the next book club pick.

  22. I belong to a book club and have recently read The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, The Book Thief and Burial Rites, just to name a few. 🙂 Miss 8 has recently discovered Roald Dahl and is currently reading Matilda, while Master 6 is reading Hey Jack, which is the boys answer to Billie B Brown 🙂

  23. My kids love reading. They will sit and turn pages and squeel at pictures and concentrate for good stints of time with their heads in books. Having you read to them, even better. They are only 2 and 15 mnths so I think im onto a good wicket here. Though little miss is banned from paper backs at the moment with a slight ripping fettish. I just read Barracuda and thought it was pretty good. A great story written in true Christos style. Might be a few ‘Oh Dear’ moments in that one for your great Nan!! ha ha

  24. I’m just biding my time until niece gets hooked on Harry Potter. It will be a wonderful moment for the whole family.

  25. Not sure how “girlie” your daughter is, but if she liked 39 Story Treehouse, then she will most likely enjoy the Tom Gates series. Just last night our book club was talking about Tuesdays with Morrie as one of the bookclubbers is going through hard times. For adults, Burial Rites by young Australian author Hannah Kent is a good read – historical fiction. And for a laugh, The Rosie Project is a lot of fun.

  26. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is amazing but The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is the most recent book I read and it was brilliant. I was completely immersed in it and I’m having trouble starting another book after reading it.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Mum just read Donna Tartt’s for book club and she loved it – big read though! I think I need to save it for our next long weekend or holiday.

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