The 'Read On. Get On' campaign has an historic goal - to eliminate illiteracy. It may surprise some that in this country with its literary heritage, its leading universities, its Nobel laureates, its history and its world-class economy, that illiteracy should remain untamed and intractable. Yet one in five 11-year-olds are still leaving primary school struggling with the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.
On the 4th of January, 1960, at the age of forty six, Camus had planned to take a train back to Paris after a Christmas holiday with his wife and kids. At the last minute, Camus changed his mind and decided to travel instead with his publisher Michel Gallimard. During the journey, Gallimard's car slipped off the icy roads and smashed into a tree, immediately killing Camus.
You'd think a book would be the least dangerous thing you could send to your friend who's just begun their summer holiday. Nothing could be much safer, it might seem, than relaxing on a deckchair, in a peaceful garden or hotel poolside terrace, with a book and a cool drink. But this is Northern Ireland, and when we send parcels, we have to risk assess.
Here we are, seven years on from the publication of the final Harry Potter book. In its first 24 hours Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows went on to sell over 15 million copies. An astonishing figure that followed the hype, secrecy and excitement surrounding the publication of JK Rowling's final piece of an intricate seven-book journey.
Now that the panic has subsided somewhat, I find myself asking whether Piketty's book, for an average-Joe like me, was worth reading. Hopefully, by explaining my personal experience reading Piketty, I will help other intellectually-curious, non-economist types decide whether it's worth all the effort.
Buzzfeed and bloggers aren't stupid, they all know that the most clickable content currently exists in the format of 25 Reasons It's Great To Have No Direction In Life or 8 Ways To Find The Hottest Guy Ever. I'm as guilty as anyone for clicking on 9 Reasons It's Ok Not To Be 5'9" and it's countdown counterparts, but here's 6 reasons we should go cold turkey, even for a day...
In reading to my daughter when she was younger it became apparent that modern children's writing differs from the classics of my own childhood. Heidi and the Secret Garden might propel me back to the comforts of childhood, but for her fiction from the pre-TV era grated because the prose felt too descriptive.
Caution seems to be the perfect watchword for all to bear in mind when approaching the Hebrew Bible. Yet caution, and its cousin attentiveness, are qualities in short supply in the modern world. The biblical texts are not easy to read or understand. But they are worth engaging with - and that will be the subject of my next blog.