The #PatCReadingList Project!

20160227_174256Calling all teachers, students, parents! We’re launching a new project, and we’d love your help sourcing old reading lists! If you’re curious, please read this whole lengthy post to find out more!

Here at Prudence and the Crow HQ, we spend a lot of our time working with people’s reading likes and dislikes, loves and hates, filling in gaps, adding unexpected delights, and stretching boundaries. We use a huge range of references and personal knowledge to do this, but we’re finding there’s one thing we don’t always know, and the more we don’t know it, the more interested we’ve become.

We don’t know what you read at school.

The Crow and I went to the same secondary school, although, as we were in separate halves of the year, we studied different things from each other, so we’re aware this is a big question, and that just because things are on a list, doesn’t mean everyone had the opportunity to study them, and, further, that just because you’re meant to study something, doesn’t mean you did! However, this is where we’re starting.

Further, we have little idea about, for example, Canadian school reading. We have loads of wonderful subscribers in Canada, and we’re interested in developing our familiarity with literature you might have focused on, or at least been aware of, at school. This goes for everywhere we ship to – currently the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, EU countries, Norway and Switzerland. No matter the language, we want to know what books you might have met!

How can you help? Firstly, if any teachers, parents, students have website links to school reading lists, that would be ideal. In the first instance, core recommended reading lists would be brilliant. Secondly, if you have, from any such academic place, or home school curriculum, your reading lists, whether for GCSE English, for ‘things you’re expected to read before you’re twelve’, for ‘wider reading’, for SATs, for the International Baccalaureate, for whatever exams you’ve sat, or teach, we’d love it if you could share them with us, whether typed or scanned.

Because, in the first instance, we need to narrow it down a touch, we’re looking for this information in relation to the last 30 years, so any recommended reading lists for children aged 5-18, from any of the listed countries, from 1986-2016.

We’ve set up an email address specifically for this project (and ONLY for this project, please do not send any subscription box/subscription account-related queries to this address, for they will not be answered!) – please send, either as links, Word document or PDF attachments, or in-email text, any reading lists, or lists of works of fiction those between the ages of 5-18 were/are directed to read between 1986-2016. (I know, I haven’t told you the email address yet, that’s at the end after I’ve reiterated some more!)

We need to know the following with your submission:

– Country of list origin

– State of list origin (if in a place that has states! If not, postal district or county is great.)

– Age group list is directed at

– Class list is directed at (if, say, reading list for Key Stage 3, or for GCSE Drama

– Year list is relevant to

An example would be, “1996 Wider Reading list for GCSE English Language (14-16 years old).” followed by the list of books.

We do NOT need any personal information from you, whatsoever – this isn’t about collecting individual data, but rather more general data to give us a broad context of understanding for what we do. We may in future look to do some more specific work in light of what we find out (I’m excited to see how much we have in common, and I have a few theories that I’m eager to test), but at this stage, we really do simply want to collect as many reading lists from as many years, ages, states and countries as possible!

You’re welcome to submit a personal recollection of books from school if you don’t have a specific issued reading list, as many or few as you like, an example of which might be:

[UK: England]

1998 – Harper Lee – To Kill A Mockingbird, Shakespeare – Macbeth, Alan Bennett – Talking Heads – GCSE English Literature
1993 – Nina Bawden – Carrie’s War, Robert C. O’Brien – Z For Zachariah, Year 7 class reading

So, if you can help with books-suggested-by-educators from the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, EU countries, Norway and Switzerland between 1986-2016, here’s what you do:

Submit your reading list by email to: patcreadinglist@gmail.com with the subject line [COUNTRY] Reading List. Delete the word ‘COUNTRY’ and replace it with the country/ies your list is from.

In the body of your email, please put the information requested above (country, state, school class, age and year), and, of course, don’t forget to attach/include the reading list!

In due course, we hope not only to improve what we do, but to share our findings, write up some interesting bits and pieces, and widen the discourse about reading in education. We have a few ideas for follow-up questionnaires and so on, but one step at a time!

Finally, if you could share this post, we’d greatly appreciate it – we’re looking for as wide a selection as possible. You can also see and share this post on our Facebook page – as you know, Facebook has a very special way of choosing how visible things are, so every like and share contributes to the success of this project!

Thanks for reading, and, if you can, for helping! We’re looking forward to finding out more! ~Prudence (and the Crow)

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Read Books, Whilst the Sun Shines! (Obviously in Australia, you’re free to cosy up for the winter.)

Prudence's August Reads

Prudence’s August Reads

And, what a quarter it’s been since I last wrote longform to you all! So much has happened, so much has changed…but in essence, nothing at all has changed, either. Which is, it must be said, just how we like it – enough change to keep life interesting, enough continuity to be cosy.

Our biggest change was in terms of packaging – we’re enjoying the new envelopes a lot, and they seem to be, on the whole, doing a much better job of keeping everyone’s bits and books in ship-shape, although, as always, we’re always sure we can improve! The stripey bags are so much fun, although, as I’ve been the one packing them up thus far, I’ve ended up flinging Maoam across the room in a fit of fingers and thumbs at a couple of points each month!

Obviously the biggest impact on our little business came when we were unexpectedly featured in Buzzfeed’s 15 Subscription Boxes You Should Definitely Try Out piece – we were so infinitely grateful we’d just undergone a considerable internal restructure (read: I’d finally sorted out the cupboards we keep everything in) so we were able to accommodate our glorious influx of new subscribers with surprising ease. One of my favourite things about running PatC, which still surprises me every time, is just how many people ‘get’ what we’re about – I love, love, love meeting all our new subscribers, reading the questionnaires, discovering new books myself, and learning so many tales of literary love, hate and curiosity. The Crow and I started PatC because I so desperately wanted something like this to exist myself, and couldn’t find it, and it thrills me daily that there are so many others out there who seem to have felt the same!

We do want this to be more, though, and this is still, despite being well into our second year, only the beginning. We have plans. We can’t tell you much more, because, as every writer knows, you should never tell your story to someone you’d like to read the book, but there’ll be content and community to it, if that’s the sort of thing you like. And if you don’t like, never fear – you can always just get a random book in a box, and we love you just as much.

On another note, we continue to receive all kinds of requests, from bloggers to mainstream print press, requesting (or, in a couple of cases, flat-out demanding) sample boxes and/or photographs of boxes. We’d like to reiterate that we don’t do sample boxes ever, for anyone, however many copies of whatever it is that you sell. Anyone is welcome to purchase a box, fill out the questionnaire, and review/unbox/critique/recommend as they wish, and we are exceptionally grateful to each and every one of you out there who’s done so, but our entire point is not the box, nor the tea, nor the whatever-else-we-put-in…we really are about the books. We always do our best to match you with your read, and, within the bounds of what you tell us about yourself and what we can find, we endeavour to occasionally ridiculous lengths to join the dots for a happy picture. We can’t send samples, because there’s no human who wants to read a book on the other end. We can’t photograph someone else’s box and expect it to mean anything, or to honestly reflect a potential PatC-er’s expectations. The point of PatC is the match, not the box. Special mention to Glamour magazine, who, earlier this year, after a few back-and-forths, did their own photography to meet their print requirements and understood this point well.

I am always, always happy to consider interview/quote/thinkpiece requests submitted properly through our Press Information link, in the usual place at the end of our site, and we love the social media and blogger contributions we’re tagged or included in, but we aren’t interested in chasing subscribers. We have only ever advertised with the wonderful IGGPPC (and once on Facebook, but that was more a statistical curiosity at the beginning – it really wasn’t very helpful for what we’re doing!).

Speaking of the IGGPPC, their annual camp is about to kick off! There are loads of awesome activities, seminars, crafts and challenges to consume, complete and compete in, and you can find out all about it here. Registration is over, but everything is available to all over the next week or so all the same! (Those of you in troops already: Troop Lumos, present and correct!). And if you missed it during last year’s camp, you can see the Crow and I do a ‘Branding and Setting Up a Shop’ seminar here on YouTube. Why I’m wearing that visor, I can’t quite recall! Anyway, we’re all in and we love the IGGPPC and can’t wait to unlock achievements aplenty!

Whilst we’re rounding up, here’s what I’m reading at the moment: Clover, by Susan Coolidge, the joyous follow-up to What Katy Did Next, featuring easily my favourite character from all the novels. The Life of Ian Fleming, by John Pearson, because Fleming was a fascinating man and this is a strangely beautiful old hardback I picked up the other day. Poul Anderson’s The Winter of the World because I was about to send it to someone when I realised it was one of my own books I’d never actually got around to reading, and had mixed it up in the wrong pile (this happens a lot).

My bedtime read (something savoured, a couple of pages a night) is Arsenic For Tea, by Robin Stevens (Wells and Wong #2) because I have just received First Class Murder (Wells and Wong #3) and can’t believe I’ve got behind. If you enjoy 1930’s English boarding school murder mysteries with a glorious strong female PoC protagonist (and if you don’t, I’m not 100% certain we can be friends, but I’ll forgive you if that’s because you’re super-into Ursula K. leGuin, although really, why should these things be mutually exclusive?), then please, dive in. Great fun and pleasingly befuddling as you’re going along; Robin Stevens is a joy and a delight and is exhibit #1 in my ‘Write What you Know’ gallery, even though, at the rate I’m loving her words and characters, I’d be happy to consume her retelling of the ‘phone book…or whatever the modern-day version of that analogy is.

Also, speaking of strong young female protagonists, I must shout out here that if you’ve yet to get to Tim Clare’s The Honours (link to a very, very accurate Guardian review, emphasis particularly on the relaxed sigh that comes when you realise, a little way into a book, that you’re in the hands of a competent storyteller) then I can’t urge you to do so now strongly enough. It’s been a wonderful year for reading for me thus far, and this book alone will tell you exactly why. I’ve already given two copies to friends and need to buy myself another in order to read it again, and treasure it closely.

I finally got around to reading last winter’s ‘this book is everywhere’ read, Station Eleven, which I only adored once I’d actually finished it, but now rate exceptionally highly. I rather liked not knowing what it was going to be about before I started it, so don’t click the link to the review if you also don’t know, and fancy going in with nothing.

Ah, I could continue with this for quite some time, but I think this must do for now, for it’s time, oh yes, it’s time at last, to get boxing for August! As ever, we’re at prudenceandthecrow.com if you want to purchase yourselves, or friends, a box, and recurring subscriptions will open up once more around the 13th of August, if you prefer that. Should you have any customer queries, once more I ask, please, please use our Contact Us form at the website, for it is the only way we provide individual assistance. Otherwise, we’re herethere and everywhere, and you’re always welcome to come and tell us what you’re reading (or writing!), what we should or could be reading, if you’re coming to IGGPPC camp, how the weather is, and what drinks go with which books (a forthcoming conversation!).

Happy August!

~P (and the C).