Wednesday's Inspiring Books - CLOCKWORK

Happy Wednesday, one and all.

So, what's going on here? The WIP grows every more, and is now well over the 26,000 word hump and heading into the home straight. You can read a post I made here to see why 26,00 is almost 40,000, really. Almost.

The mug I'm sending on as part of the SipSwap blog celebration arrived yesterday. I won't tell you what it is in case its intended recipient is reading this, but I promise you, it's a goodun. Kinda want to keep it for myself. Hm.

Also started batting around a few ideas on a new project - something different to my previous and current stuff, which is exciting, challenging, and scary all at once. That probably makes it a good thing. Also signed up for December's AW Blog Chain - The End of the World! Which will be great.

But enough of me. It's Wednesday morning And that means one thing.

Wednesday's Inspiring Books returns.

Today, Philip Pullman's CLOCKWORK, OR ALL WOUND UP.

Philip Pullman is a marvelous writers, one of the pioneers of children's writing living today. His HIS DARK MATERIALS series, no matter what you think of the theology, is remarkable - broad and profound in a way few children's books are. His mastery of language and craft are beautiful to watch and when this combines with the sheer effort he puts into his books, you get Good Things.

CLOCKWORK is an odd little book. Odd because it's so simple, in many ways, so focused on a few simple tales and the art of storytelling itself. Little because - well, because it is. It's a short story, really. Maybe a children's novella?

I first read this book when I was in France. I'd taken a few books with me on a family holiday, should I need some entertainment beyond the Gallic landscape. I left it untouched for a while. I'm not even sure why I'd bought it. Finally, one day - perhaps it was raining - I sat down and jumped in. And wow. The ending of this book - which I won't spoil, but I will say is technically astonishing and very satisfying - shocked me. Writers could do that? They could have all the streams of a story just come together like that? I'd never seen it coming. I wanted to do that.

The title comes from one of the main stories - a broken clock, and a clockwork figure made for the position. It also comes from Pullman's understanding of good story telling - that you wind up all the factors, all the characters and plots and scenes, and then they go, and they keep going, and eventually it's not you who's driving the story. It's a good understanding of the best stories. In the end, it's not always the writers who decides what the end is. 

I'm not going to say much more. You should read this book if you want to know what I'm talking about. Go on. Read it. You won't be sorry. Time's running out, y'know.

Tick tock.

Tick tock.

Tick ...


  1. My colleague just asked me if I recommended His Dark Materials. Answer is a resounding yes. Led to an interesting discussion on the difference between faith and religion too, which seems relevant given all the broohaha over women bishops. Definitely not 'just' a children's book, Philip Pullman writes in such a great, non-condescending way.

  2. Well, if nothing more, this CofE news gives you a great excuse to use 'brohaha', which is always great. See? Perspective, right there. Agree that Pullman never condescends, though he's not exactly free from the religious bias he so decries.