I'm grateful to Terry Deary. If you haven't heard of him, he's a writer who created the Horrible Histories.A few years ago we got a set of Horrible History CDs with a box cornflakes. We played them in the car on long journeys for a couple of years. Eventually the boys bought themselves the HH books and every time i went looking for them, i'd find them with their nose in a Horrible History.
Terry Deary got my boys reading. We didn't need to push them, hassle them, cajole them. They just started reading because they found something that interested them.
I still love Horrible Histories. My particular favorite bit is Stupid Deaths. Have a look on YouTube.
What is it about death that fascinates writers? Excluding the chick lit section, the vast majority of books in the library are thrillers or cop procedurals or horror or sword and sorcery, all involving mayhem and murder. My antihero was an assasin.
"Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job." This is a cracking line from when Terry Pratchett was still funny. Death is a reoccuring character in the Discworld stories and has all the best lines.
My favorite bit from Monty Python's Meaning of Life is the section about death. "How did we die?...But i didn't have the salmon mousse." Sorry, like many Python fans i like to quote the dialogue.
I suspect it's something to do with talking about the thing we fear. If we name the beast, it's not so frightening. When i had surgery a couple of years ago, i talked about it a lot in the couple of weeks before the surgery. It made me feel better about it.
It's a heavy responsibility, helping everybody face their fears. I'm sure we're up to the job.
Of course, i could be talking blox.