The Book of Toby

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How many guests and when?

Toby has now written, with the help of his mum, Sabine, letters to all countries, and all the US states the only one he's not heard back from, at the time of writing, is South Dakota Toby loves learning at school and is keen on archaeology, history and, particularly, fossils. In , aged five and a half, Toby decided to write a letter to someone in every single country in the world. His Mum Sabine, embraced the challenge and started to seek out people who would be interested in writing back to Toby.

This is a book containing just a few of the letters, to and from the world, and what a special book it is too. Suitable for children as well as adults, each letter is a snapshot of the country and the people that live there. You can dip in and out, and each time you visit somewhere new, learn something new and wonder at the magic that has been created. Click here to read a special blog by Toby's Mum about the book and how it has changed alot of people's lives. April Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

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Toby's Story (A Dog's Purpose Puppy Tale Series)

Once more the door was open, once more a bent figure shuffled towards me asking for money, but this time I knew the lovely story of the paintings which greeted me like long lost friends. Tell us about your research into the Apocrypha, the Middle East of ancient times, and Venice. Can we look forward to reading more about these topics in upcoming books? The novel came out of me almost uninterrupted.


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I discovered the story has strong Zoroastrian antecedents — and I became very enamoured of the Zoroastrians. It is a religion which, the more I learned of it the deeper its appeals to me. It still exists — and the Parsees are its main inheritors — but what attracts me to it most is its great stress on tolerance — especially religious tolerance, which all of us who have lived through recent troubles must agree has become an urgent necessity in our time.

Something which occurred in many small ways throughout the writing of the book: I had written the Epiphany scene before I had realised that the Magi, who visit the Christ child at Epiphany, are for the tribe of the Medians who are Zoroastrian priests; then I had written the important scenes which occur on the bridge by the church of the Angel Raphael, before I had learned that the bridge is a key Zoroastrian image for the threshold of worlds. This is almost certainly because the dog is part of the Zoroastrian element in the story, and for the Zoroastrians the dog was sacred — a psychopomp, one who leads the soul across the threshold of life and death.

Julia Garnet is a lovely creation-inspiring, affecting, charming, utterly believable. Is she based on any real-life models? No one in any of my books is based on anyone — other than myself. All my characters are aspect on my own selves — and the more successful the character I would say the more unconscious the self. One marvellous feature of being a novelist is that it allows for the possibility of living unlived aspects of the personality — to explore these is part of the reward of writing.

What sorts of feedback have you gotten? For some time I have been aware that people want serious matter in what they read, even if they do no necessarily want it served up in a solemn or inaccessible way. I have more respect for readers than some English publishers have — who seem to think we only want to be titillated depressed.

My readers have been outstandingly kind. I find the modern habit of categorisation irritating ad limiting. I like all kinds of writing — and I feel really good books appeal to all kinds of different levels. Shakespeare knew this — he was popular and profound — so was Homer, so was Dickens.


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  8. It is a modern failing to separate the popular from the so-called literary. Away with categories, I say! Give us the inside scoop on your writing regimen: How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you outline the complete arc of your narrative early on? Do you draft on paper or at a keyboard? Do you have a favourite location or time of day or night for writing? What do you do to avoid distractions? Well, this may disappoint you but I have no regime whatsoever.

    I write only when the fit and it is a kind of fit takes me — and that might be for ten days on the trot — or not at all for a month.

    Tobit - Chapter 1 - Bible - Catholic Online

    Perhaps because of this I write, when I do, very fast. I wrote Miss Garnet in nine months — but, as I am always saying — it took over twenty years to mature in y mind — most of the ideas I want to write about have been mulling about somewhere inside me, linking up with other ideas, for many years. Physically, I write on a, now, quite aged laptop and I have no plan at all other than a kernel of the idea.

    That grows inside me and then seems to flow down my arms — or not; and if not I stop till they do. Did the first-person voices for Tobit and Tobias come easily? So I scrapped it and tried for something old and plain — different from the more complex syntax of the Venetian sections.

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    But I kept a cadence — a rhythm — which I do take from the — matchless — Authorised Bible. I was pleased at having some first person narrative to mix with the third person and i think it is what give the book its particular texture, which many people are kind enough to say is part of the richness of the book. How did you go about creating the rich back-story that informs the Julia we meet in the present action of the novel? Oh dear — should a writer, I wonder, be allowed the luxury of an ideal reader? How does your background as a Jungian psychologist and English literature scholar feed your work as a novelist?

    And vice-versa?

    Working in these two professions together with bringing up my children have been a privilege — without theses disciplines I would be much lesser person. Practising as an analyst has the great advantage of teaching you everything about yourself which your children have not already taught you. Know thyself, is, in my view the supreme command for a writer. It helps to keep you honest — to convince a reader one must be honest.

    I am always reading Shakespeare — and, in fact, at present also the Bible , which I am trying to read all through. I read almost no contemporary fiction. The last novel I read was Chance by Joseph Conrad. It makes anything I do seem very unimpressive! And I love detective stories — especially the old-fashioned ones.

    It is also about other levels or dimensions of existence — and it also begins with a death. Like Miss Garnet , Instances is a novel — about redemption and the possibilities of forgiveness although with a more contemporary setting.. A man dies leaving behind a wife and a mistress, but, against the expectation, these women become f not friend allies.

    The Book of Toby

    The man returns in disembodied form and we learn about the follies in his life. Again as in Miss Garnet , of illusion, of things not being as they seem is key.