Related to: '100 Ways to Be As Happy As Your Dog'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

100 Ways to Be More Like Your Cat

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

From the bestselling author of One Hundred Ways For a Cat To Train Its Human comes a new guide on how to improve your own life by learning from your cat.Content, living in the moment, finding pleasure in small things - your cat knows exactly how to get the best out of life. So let your cat be your guru as Celia Haddon shows in 100 ways how adopting their outlook can lead to our own happiness. Stretch out, relax, find a warm spot - and enjoy purrfection.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Joy of Cats

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

Anyone who lives with a cat will know of that strange and mysterious bond that grows between human and animal and which can bring such joy and fulfilment. Cats make houses into homes, heal stress and provide fun and entertainment. In this exquisitely produced anthology, drawn from the writing of cat lovers through the ages, Celia Haddon offers a testimony and a tribute to that unique and rewarding relationship between humans and their feline companions in which cats, in their utmost complexity, remain among us, but not of us. Above all, she reminds us of the truth of why cats matter.

Hodder & Stoughton

The First Ever English Olimpick Games

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon
Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Secret Thoughts Cats have about Humans

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon
Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Find Its Inner Kitten

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

Purrfect ways to understand the meaning of your inner kittenhood and humans, ­ the dysfunctional species that stifle your inner kitten joy.Finding your inner kitten is about finding serenity and peace. It's never too late, at any age, to have a happy kittenhood. The secret of this lies in your ability to integrate and transform your experiences with an inferior species, humans.Stop relying on humans to fulfill your physical, emotional and inner-kitten needs. You must take responsibility for your own welfare. Humans are emotionally inadequate. They cannot understand the purradigm of the cat-human partnership. Humans expect lifelong loyalty and love, failing to understand that this is the human part of the relationship. Their inevitable disappointment warps the relationship.Bowls of food are no substitute for proper hunting. The hard wired instinct to eye, stalk, pounce, tear off feathers and eat prey is unused and the inner kitten is unfulfilled.Catnip mice are no substitute for real mice. Humans enjoy playing with them. We cats do not recognise them as mice though we will occasionally join in this silly human game ­ out of sheer good manners. Don't miss Celia Haddon's new book, 100 Ways to Be More Like Your Cat, a guide on how to improve your life by learning from your cat.

Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Train Its Human

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

At last, the handbook all you cool cats have been waiting for! One hundred easy ways to discover the joys of a purrfectly obedient human.Though humans cannot speak cat, they vocalise repeatedly. Most of their vocalisations are meaningless and can be completely ignored.In urban areas, fun can be got from hunting human objects such as mink stoles or old underpants. For some reason this kind of prey is usually greeted with human laughter.To get a male human off an armchair, jump on the back of it, hold down his head with a firm paw and lick his bald patch.Purring right into the ear is one of the kindest ways to tell a human being that it is time to get out of bed.Don't miss Celia Haddon's new book, 100 Ways to Be More Like Your Cat - your guide on how to improve your life by learning from your cat!

Hodder & Stoughton

One Hundred Ways to Say I Love You

Celia Haddon
Authors:
Celia Haddon

This beautiful book abounds with expressions of the richness of love, each in its own unique way: it will inspire you to put your own sentiments into words, and as a gift to a beloved one, it will say 'I love you'.

Adrian Plass

Adrian Plass is one of the most-loved Christian writers in the UK. He is the bestselling author of The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass Aged 37¾ - which with its various sequels has sold millions of copies around the world. A somewhat bemused Anglican, Adrian and his wife Bridget live in the north of England travel widely to speak in churches, prisons, schools, and at festivals and literary events in the UK and around the world.

Ali Almossawi

Ali Almossawi works on the Firefox team at Mozilla and is an alumnus of MIT's Engineering Systems Division (MS) and Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science (MS). Previous stints included working as a research associate at Harvard and as a collaborator at the MIT Media Lab. His writing has appeared in Wired and Scientific American.

Andy Riley

Andy Riley is the author/artist of the Bunny Suicides books, Great Lies to Tell Small Kids, Selfish Pigs, D.I.Y. Dentistry, Roasted, Wine Makes Mummy Clever, Beer Makes Daddy Strong and lots of other stuff. His scriptwriting work includes Black Books, The Great Outdoors, Little Britain, Hyperdrive, Armstrong and Miller, Smack the Pony, Gnomeo and Juliet, and The Armando Ianucci Shows.For more information and cartoons, or if you want to talk to him, go to www.misterandyriley.com

Celia Haddon

Celia Haddon is a bestselling anthologist whose books have sold well over 1,000,000 copies worldwide. She was the Daily Telegraph's pet agony aunt and is a reputed lover and worshipper of cats, having lived with them and loved them since she was a child. She has compiled a number of anthologies in their honour. She is also compiler of the best-selling One Hundred Ways series and a qualified cat behaviourist.

Chambers

Chambers is one of the world's most respected dictionary publishers, appealing particularly to word lovers and those who revel in all the quirks of the English language. Its extensive list of innovative language and reference titles includes the renowned Brewer's list of endlessly browsable dictionaries of phrase and fable, and covers English-language dictionaries and thesauruses for every level of user from school to crossword fan, from English learner to student of slang. Meticulously researched and expertly written, the highly acclaimed Chambers range has been at the forefront of presenting knowledge and learning in an engaging and accessible way since it was first established in the 19th century.

Chris Addison

Chris Addison is an acclaimed stand-up comic and actor. He has been twice-nominated for the PERRIER AWARD at the Edinburgh Festival and twice-nominated for the Barry Humphries Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In December 2005 he was nominated for Best Newcomer at the British Comedy Awards for his role in the BBC's new political satire, THE THICK OF IT. He writes for the Guardian and the Times. This is his first book.

David Bramwell

David is the creator of the bestselling Cheeky Guides and author of travel memoir The No9 Bus to Utopia, ("packed with wisdom, humour and pathos." Tom Hodgkinson, Idler), which has since evolved into an award-winning one man show, Radio 3 documentary and TEDx talk. David is a presenter on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 and has made programs on subjects ranging from time travel to Ivor Cutler. In 2011 he won a Sony Silver Award for The Haunted Moustache. He is a regular contributor to Ernest Journal, co-hosts the Odditorium podcast and has written books on alcohol and hard words for Harper Collins. "A remarkable storyteller." (Radio Times).

Henry Hemming

Henry Hemming lives in London, UK.

James Bowen

James Bowen is the author of the bestselling A STREET CAT NAMED BOB and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BOB. He found Bob the cat in 2007 and the pair have been inseparable ever since. They both live in north London.

Jill Abramson

Jill Abramson, a bestselling and award-winning author, has worked on the Wall Street Journal and Time and, from 2011 until 2014, she was the executive editor of the New York Times (the first woman to hold this position). A dog-lover all her life, she has long been fascinated by the complex relationship between dogs and their owners. She, her husband, and Scout live in New York City and Connecticut.

Jo Keeling

Jo is the editor and publisher of Ernest Journal, an awardwinning digital and printed magazine for the curious and adventurous. It is a guide for those who appreciate true craftsmanship, slow adventure and eccentric history. She worked on the launch team for Countryfile magazine, launched and edited Pretty Nostalgic magazine and co-authored Wild Guide: Devon, Cornwall and South West. She writes regularly for Countryfile, The Simple Things,The Guardian, Independent and greentraveller.co.uk. She has hosted Bristol's Biggest Indoor Picnic and collaborated on events at Wilderness Festival, Port Eliot and Eroica Britannia.

Jonathan Wittenberg

Jonathan Wittenberg was born in Glasgow in 1957 to a family of German Jewish origin. The family moved to London in 1963, where he attended University College School, specialising in classical and modern languages, subsequently reading English at Cambridge. He trained for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College London, receiving ordination in 1987. He now lives in London with his wife Nicky and, three children, and his faithful canine companion, Mitzpah.

Justin Pollard

Justin Pollard read Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge. He is a historical writer and consultant in film and TV. His credits include Elizabeth and Atonement and the BBC TV drama The Tudors, as well as more than twenty-five documentary series such as Channel 4's Time Team. He is a writer and researcher for QI, and the author of seven books including THE INTERESTING BITS, CHARGE!, SECRET BRITAIN and BOFFINOLOGY.