I bought one of the kids a book for Christmas called Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce. It was on the strength of a terrific Radio 3 Free Thinking lecture he delivered on the need to embrace failure.
As the blurb says, Frank argues for an end to the excesses of "affirmation" culture, where school prize days now have the elated tears and whoops of an Oscar ceremony and where pupils are encouraged to applaud themselves for listening - before they even applaud visiting guests. Promoters of such affirmation claim it is about encouraging people: But Frank asks "Is this pathology-ward level cheering and waving really encouragement? Or is it a strange new morbid dread of failure?"
I've liked everything this fellah has done: 24 Hour Party People, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, Welcome to Sarajevo and, it would appear, he was a lead writer on Brookside when it was particularly good.
I also enjoyed his Desert Island Discs, which has a bit of everything: Catholicism, punk, education, family and the North West.
I do hope the book is good, but the best judges will be our boys.