Category Archives: technique

Is it just me, or is this compelling?

BookDepository

Someone in Singapore bought The Jolly Postman

Whilst following Black Friday deals I came across The Book Depository (it ran quite an interesting sale).  But what really got me interest was this..Book Depository Live.

It shows you which books are being bought by its customers on a world map

Someone in the UK bought Illywacker

Is it just me?  I love seeing which books are being bought.  Little stories go through my head as to who is buying and why.  It’s also great to see books in active selling.  Like being in a bookshop and seeing what people buy.  This is a worldwide customer base, so you get some curve balls in there, not just the latest top seller.

This might be a great way to choose/not choose a BIB.

Someone in Switzerland bought On Becoming Fearless

I think I should point out that I am not a Book Depository employee.

 

 

Listless? Not I #4 Completed

The finished list in the spirit of #1 nine is enough.

English: Six year old boy reading "Diary ...

English: Six year old boy reading “Diary of a wimpy kid” License on Flickr (2011-01-07): CC-BY-2.0 Flickr tags: diary, wimpy, kid, book, read, bed, boy, hold (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.  Don’t impose too many rules on yourself!

2.  Read widely.  Books are about expanding your view of the world so don’t give yourself too small a window.

3.  Read the classics when you’re younger.  Then you’ll know about them.

4.  If you’re not enjoying it then stop.  It’s okay to give up on books, you don’t have to like them all.

5.  Don’t skip bits.  That poor author thought it was important, so read it, my friend skipped a whole section of Holes – Loius Sacher and to my mind missed the symmetrical beauty of the book!

6.  Think about what you are reading.  It’s not wallpaper you know.  Take notice of the books that stay with you, think about why.  These are important and tell you something about yourself.

7.  Don’t be a snob.  Classics, popular, pulp fiction – so what?  If you enjoyed it then good, don’t be afraid to own up to it.

8.  Stockpile books, but don’t be afraid to ignore them for something that catches your attention.  I always have a pile of books in waiting, but I never read them all.

9.  Take recommendations of books, take notice of where you got a good recommendation from and go back there for more.  Seek out more obscure book awards as recommendations (e.g.  Commonwealth Book Prize is a favourite of mine discovered from an early BIB GaloreMichael Crummey)

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Going well – The threads of the story are coming together in a predictable but not obvious way.

Listless? Not I #3

books

books (Photo credit: brody4)

A few more  rules for readers added .   I don’t know how many I’ll come up with, I’ll add to them as I work them out. (I’m aiming for 10 but I may run out of sense before then!)

1.  Don’t impose too many rules on yourself!

2.  Read widely.  Books are about expanding your view of the world so don’t give yourself too small a window.

3.  Read the classics when you’re younger.  Then you’ll know about them.

4.  If you’re not enjoying it then stop.  It’s okay to give up on books, you don’t have to like them all.

5.  Don’t skip bits.  That poor author thought it was important, so read it, my friend skipped a whole section of Holes – Loius Sacher and to my mind missed the symmetrical beauty of the book!

6.  Think about what you are reading.  It’s not wallpaper you know.  Take notice of the books that stay with you, think about why.  These are important and tell you something about yourself.

7.  Don’t be a snob.  Classics, popular, pulp fiction – so what?  If you enjoyed it then good, don’t be afraid to own up to it.

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Going well – The threads of the story are coming together in a predictable but not obvious way.

Listless? Not I #2

holes

A few more  rules for readers added .   I don’t know how many I’ll come up with, I’ll add to them as I work them out. (I’m aiming for 10 but I may run out of sense before then!)

1.  Don’t impose too many rules on yourself!

2.  Read widely.  Books are about expanding your view of the world so don’t give yourself too small a window.

3.  Read the classics when you’re younger.  Then you’ll know about them.

4.  If you’re not enjoying it then stop.  It’s okay to give up on books, you don’t have to like them all.

5.  Don’t skip bits.  That poor author thought it was important, so read it, my friend skipped a whole section of Holes – Loius Sacher and to my mind missed the symmetrical beauty of the book!

Collaborator010913

Going well – The threads of the story are coming together in a predictable but not obvious way.

Listless? Not I #1

 

Matt Gemmell

Matt Gemmell (Photo credit: hellogeri)

 

 

I was really interested to see this post Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules for Writing and heard an interview on BBC Radio 4 with his son as Elmore has died.  I’d never encountered the list and found it thought provoking, amusing and little annoying in places.  So I considered writing my own list, I was then sent this post Writing Tips by Matt Gemmell – which I think says it all, I don’t think you could improve on the sense, humanity, humility and tone of this, and the links in this to the Guardian article are worth looking at too.  It seems that Elmore’s list has started a bit of a buzz in the media.

 

So I thought I’d have a go at list of rules for readers.   I don’t know how many I’ll come up with, I’ll add to them as I work them out.

 

1.  Don’t impose too many rules on yourself!

 

2.  Read widely.  Books are about expanding your view of the world so don’t give yourself too small a window.

3.  Read the classics when you’re younger.  Then you’ll know about them.

 

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Going well – The threads of the story are coming together in a predictable but not obvious way.

Can you answer the challenge? A call for guest bloggers!

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I’ve been writing this for some time now and it would be brilliant to hear from anyone else who has tried Blissfully Ignorantly Reading a book.  If you’re not sure what I’m on about see The ethos, the rules, the challenge.  Or if you’d like to and would like to write a guest blog post then let me know.  Be my guest.

And so to bed…

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That got your attention!

My partner and I are both keen readers.  We both enjoy a thriller, we both enjoy good science based writing and, if I’m honest, like a good romance.  However, there the bookish similarity ends.

We occasionally recommend books to each other, and where one thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread, the other is often unmoved or gets something completely different from the book.  More often than not we don’t take a lot of notice of a recommendation, probably because we’ve learnt from the above.

1930 photograph from the magazine Popular Scie...

1930 photograph from the magazine Popular Science with the caption, “The new electric bread slicing machine at work in a St. Louis, Mo. bakery. The operator is holding one of the sliced loaves.” The accompanying article does not identify the bakery but this may have been the machine invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, whose 2nd slicing machine was purchased by Gustav Papendick of Papendick Bakery Company in St. Louis who worked out a process to wrap the sliced loaf automatically. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The differences don’t stop there either.  My partner likes to read a series of books by the same author, whereas I prefer variety.  They like to stick to what they know, whereas I like to be challenged and surprised (hence Blissfully Ignorant Reading).

We both like reading in bed, but our routines don’t always coincide, so my partner has finished her night’s reading just as I am getting into bed and she puts the light out!  So I come downstairs and read on the sofa (normally far too late into the night).

This all sounds rather distant, but there’s no judgement attached to each other’s approach to reading.  We do discuss our books and how they have effected us, and enjoy that conversation.  We value our reading and have tried to pass on that value to our children.  This aspect of our relationship is very harmonious – true love.  I am very lucky

“Love is Patient”

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

Corinthians 13.4

We don’t always read when we go to bed 😉

Paper or Pixels?

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If you’re buying books to try Blissfully Ignorantly then it’s definitely easier to do this with an e-reader. You can make the purchase without the unfettered blurb, flick throughs, reviews and possibly comments f rom other people around you that you might be tempted by when getting a paper book.

I must confess that I have an e-reader and couldn’t be without it – which surprises me. I thought I’d be a purist – I still love bookshops and the feel of a book, weighing how big a book is in my hand often would give me a feel as to whether I’d want to read it (is that allowed in Blissfully Ignorant Reading? I think that’s legitimate otherwise you wont be able to pick them up!) I find paper books far more tempting than e-books, but I buy more e-books. I’ve even been known to buy the e-book of a book that has been lent to me.

I have a very good reason and I’m not sure how much this has influenced my liking of the e-reader. I am visually impaired ( I used to be partially sighted until a man in Vision Express told me I wasn’t allowed to call myself that as it wasn’t politically correct – I still prefer partially sighted: more drama and sounds like a real issue as visually impaired sound a bit like “restricted view” on theatre tickets). So with an e-reader I can change font, bump up the size and have white on black! These combined make reading a much more relaxing pleasure but mean that reading on the bus is a public affair (everyone can read what I’m reading!) Which is fine most of the time, but even the most uncontroversial books have sex in them! I don’t want everyone on the bus to think I’m a pervert. I was discussing this with a friend on the bus and then settled down to read, on the very next page appeared the word c**t ( I think it was Atonement – Ian McEwan – a worthy book so you won’t judge me too harshly), so I quickly flashed my page at him and he was shocked. So now I sit at the back of the bus!

E-book sales are constantly rising but I would say the vast majority of readers I talk to are unimpressed and not tempted to either get an e-reader or to move away from paper altogether. So I think paper is safe for a while. What worries me the most is what will happen to bookshops. I’m sorry to say that I think it inevitable that we will lose our beloved bookshops in their current form some time soon.

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As an experiment I wrote this post by hand on paper first! My hand hurts now. I was telling my dyslexic son that it is ironic that you write by hand all though school and in your exams. Then you might as well throw your pencil-case away! In work who hand writes any amount these days? I take notes in meetings – but am starting to feel that I should have a tablet to help me sort and organise my notes, but any serious writing, like a report, are done electronically.

It’s strange writing this by hand. I know I’ll restructure and edit it when I transfer it to the blog but Im surprised how complete this paper version feels. Am I using a different writing technique; where I am more consciously structuring and editing? Perhaps I’m not re-reading as I go along as I do on the PC? This is feeling more like a final draft than a first draft (and in fact as I type it in I’m not changing much at all but my goodness my touchtyping has gone out the window!)

If you are a writer I bet you write on a laptop or PC. You should try hand writing for a while. It’s very different. I thought I’d find it really difficult, but actually it’s okay. It’s also interesting to see a quantity of my handwriting. The last time I wrote anything this long was an account of my eldest’s birth! I’m quite pleased with the quality of my handwriting, I thought it would be really irregular but it’s survived well through lack of use and if anything seems to have improved.

So what do you think? Paper or pixels? For me, for reading it’s definitely pixels, writing, well I’ll be back on the PC for the next post, so I that must be pixels too. It’s easy to romanticise paper, but the electronic stuff is there to meet a need. Is it meeting yours?

 

 

Does someone speak with your voice?

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Have you ever read a book or passage and been struck by the thought that this is just like my inner voice?  I have and it was quite a shock.

Firstly, you have to be aware of your inner voice, warts and all, after all it’s you without the mask or the editor.  I think many people go through life subconsciously responding to their inner voice – “That’s just the way I am and I can’t help it!” is said by those blissfully ignorant of their inner voice.  If you reflect on your behaviour, think about what’s going through your mind then you have a chance of recognising your inner voice.

Secondly, someone who writes has to record consciousness in a way that is like you inner voice, which I would guess would indicate either they are an incredibly perceptive person or they are using their own inner voice.

Thirdly, like your soul mate, you have to find them!

Now, we are all individuals and I have no idea whether any two people think alike inside their heads.  I often think that we are so separated from each other; we have no idea whether the blue I see is perceived inside my head in the same way as the blue you see, I don’t even know that you experience colours in the same way.  All we know is that we can recognise the same characteristics (in this case blueness) and talk about it.  So it would not be unthinkable that you are unique, no one thinks like you!

So who writes like my inner voice?  In my case it’s Ian McEwan.  I feel like I’m showing off, but it isn’t the clever stuff of his novels (which I love by the way), it’s the more mundane passages that really ring true (getting out of bed, opening the curtains, going into the kitchen, that stuff) and have caused me to say out loud

“That’s exactly how I think”

English: Ian McEwan, a british writer, photogr...

English: Ian McEwan, a british writer, photographed during the 2001 Paris book festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re nothing alike, which makes it even more extraordinary.

So I’m dying to know if this has happened to anyone else.  Be careful not to identify with someone who you’d like to be like.  If you’re wondering and trying to think, then it hasn’t happened to you!  It would fascinating if more people found this with Ian McEwan, perhaps he’s really good at just writing about “being”.

Do You Have A Recovery Period?

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New BIB The CollaboratorGerald Seymour (recommended by my friend on the bus)

 

What is your time between books?  I find when I have a stack to get through that I am anticipating I will read them back to back.  Which is great if they’re all good.

 

However, it depends on what else is going on in my life, as you’d expect (like writing this blog!).  But also, how I felt about the book I’ve just finished.  If it was fantastic and you have another eagerly anticipated book to follow then it’s easy to read them back to back and just enjoy your reading life.  On the other hand, if you have a stack with no particular book chosen (or if it’s a BIB) then I find it difficult to start the next book, like I can’t bring myself to leave the last one, I’m still digesting it and don’t know if I can spend the emotional energy on an untested text.  Am I mourning this finished novel?  Or I don’t want to be disappointed in another reading experience living up to the last one perhaps?

If the finished book was a little disappointing, see ending well, then it’s a struggle to start another potentially disappointing book.

So I think it’s all about anticipation for me.

I think I also go through phases of reading where I am a voracious consumer of any books I can get my hands on, and at other times am more select.  In fact I have gone for long periods without reading or only able to read short stories because I didn’t have the emotional energy to commit to a book or the attention span (this was when I was training as a teacher – I’m not a teacher now by the way).

When I was planning this post I was going to refer to a refractory period – as I’ve been using this regularly in conversations, mistakenly thinking it meant time between activities, but as I researched this post I discovered a rather different meaning in wikipedia.  Similar but not the tone I was looking for, although I do enjoy a good climax in a book!  I think I’ll stop now!  I won’t be using it in the next meeting I’m in (as I have done in the past), I wondered why people sidled away from me over coffee.

 

"Study drawing shows the allegorical figu...

“Study drawing shows the allegorical figure of Romance nude. She bends her head to read a book on her lap. Romance was one figure in a painting, The arts, in the north end lunette of the Southwest Gallery in the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building.” Graphite drawing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)