Books

Ginger Spice: Author

Ugenia Lavender
by Geri Halliwell
Macmillan UK
May 2008, 160 pages, 6.99

“I know there is prejudice against celebrity authors but if you read my stories you’ll know they’re not ghost written -- only I could be that bonkers!”

Geri Halliwell makes it hard not to love her. Even despite the "It's Raining Men" cover and the yoga videos. She's got a determination about her, and a killer sense of humor. Her post-Spice life, too, is filled with achievements to rival the biggest celebrity goodwill givers. She been a representative for the United Nations Population Fund, touring family planning clinics women's groups in the Philippines. She produced a documentary series on her UN work, which saw her visiting with kids from different social backgrounds around the world. In 2006, she toured Zambia raising awareness about maternal death rates and HIV. And that's just the beginning. Geri, it would appear, lives her Girl Power motto.

Now Geri's bringing that motto to Britain's over-sevens. She's written a series of books, all featuring a feisty nine-year-old called Ugenia Lavender. The San Francisco Chronicle quotes Geri as saying that while Ugenia's adventures are based on Geri's own childhood, the character herself is actually inspired by the varied personalities that made up the Spice Girls.

"[P]art of the motivation for creating this character was that I wanted to find a new medium for Girl Power. Ugenia is like all the Spice Girls rolled into one."

So, let's see -- a girly, sassy, sporty chick who can balance her energy and her innocence? I like her already.

Her first adventure is out in the UK on May 2, with illustrations by Rian Hughes.

Sense and Sensibility at the World Cup

I've sworn, after learning about the latest kleptocrat billionaire to buy a club, or scrambling from the clash between hooligans and riot police, or hearing a homophobic chant rise up from the stands, I would give up on the game. Anyone with sense would.

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