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Philippa Gregory writes novels for both adults and children. She and her daughter Victoria, 13, talk to Jenny Gilbert about what's read at home
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Philippa When Victoria was about ten, I started letting her browse through my own library. Now she often has some quite sophisticated adult reading on the go alongside childish things - Margaret Atwood at the same time as horsy-pony books. At her age, it's quite a good way to read. She's not prejudiced one way or the other. The only thing she demands absolutely in a book is that it gets on with the story. Wuthering Heights ought to be a cracking read - we tried it twice - but you get Nelly Dean droning on and on. No child will read for 60 pages and then say, well, this is beginning to develop. It's got to grab them straightaway.

The main and huge difference between my daughter and me at her age is that I didn't have a television in the house. There were great gaping periods of boredom in my life when a book was the great escape. I was a voracious reader of absolutely anything, fact as well as fiction. And I'd read uninterrupted for hours. That level of absorption is still what reading's about for me. Compared to that, my daughter watches television, plays on the computer, sees her friends... Reading's just one of the things she does, but she does it enthusiastically. In the end, I think it's a better way to bring up children.

I used to censor Victoria's reading very firmly, and I still guide it. I've got some adult novels that are about abusive sexual relationships and I wouldn't want her to read them now. And I frantically steer her away from very lightweight commercial fiction because the image of women that they present is so second-rate. But she's perfectly capable now of distinguishing the books with heroines that I would call victims and she calls wimps.

I'm not so interested in her reading worthy books, I just want her to think that reading is brilliant.

Victoria I read an awful lot. Every night before I go to bed, and quite a lot at weekends. If I get into a book, I can go on for hours. When I was younger I liked horsy things, like Patricia Leach and KM Peyton and the Black Stallion books. Now I generally read books that are a bit older than my age range. John Grisham is my favourite author and The Pelican Brief is my favourite book. But sometimes when you get tired you want books that are easy. Some books you can get so caught up in that when the characters feel tense, you feel tense.

I've read a lot of the novels my mum's written, and I quite like them, though they aren't exactly my style. Mum's got a big library and I'm allowed to go in there and choose books. She's never minded what I read, though she sometimes checks what the titles are. She's never stopped me point blank from reading anything.

I used to be mad about the Point Horror books, but gradually I realised that the plots were really bad. Someone always died and then their best friend was in danger. It might work for the first couple of books you read, but after that you see the formula. They always fix on blood and guts and gore. But now there's also Point Romance, Point Fantasy, Point Crime... The best were the crime ones, because they have a story. But schools don't like you reading them. I can see why, actually

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