Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Lovers what is your Google Plus ranking?

I have just found a site that allows you to see where you rank on Google Plus (Google+). For your information I am only 83040 places below Lady GaGa who is at the top.

Go to Social Statistics to get your ranking then post it the comments section. How popular are you really?

I am working to get below 80,000th.



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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Inner Child as Writer

In both my fiction and my poetry, a huge amount comes simply from observation. And observation comes from being interested. That starts when you're a child. It's the escape - the relief - from the ego.

C. K. Stead

The child as observer being the father/mother of the writer is an interesting one. I agree that observation and interest are crucial for good writing, especially for poetry. Keeping the child's curious view of the world is a wonderful gift for the adult and young adult writer. Such observation and interest are certainly seen in Stead's writings.


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Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Wonder of Reading

It is a wonderful gift to be able to read. It is something that we take for granted. Two things I read recently made me pause for thought.

1. I was reading a book by Leslie Stephen (father of Virginia Woolf) about 18th century literature where he points out that the vast majority of the readers were in London and they were an elite. Illiteracy was rife, not only London, all across England. So literacy as we know it is a relatively recent phenomenon. Even today most of the world's population is illiterate.

2. I was also reading another book on writers sharing their experiences of reading. The writer in question mentioned the influences from his reading and I had not heard of even one of the writers he mentioned!! This did not worry me unduly, but it does show that even with avid readers the points of intersection can be minimal or in this case, non-existent.

So we don't have a lot of readers and we have a literature that is so large that we can read all of our lives and still not intersect with what others are reading.

I have great hope that online education and outreach to illiterate areas will decrease illiteracy over time, but the second point about the volume of works will only increase. Writers are readers and more readers means more writers and thus more books written.

Not profound but interesting observations to me.


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Friday, January 25, 2013

A Tool for Bloggers

If like most of us bloggers you are looking for more eyes to your blog try this new tool called BlogClicker. You view others blogs and in return others visit your blog.

Join Here if you are interested in getting more blogs viewers.


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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Some Wisdom from Dr Seuss

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
- Dr. Seuss

As the good doctor says reading helps you to know and knowing fuels a curiosity and lust for travel. I have been lucky to work all over the world and in each place I have worked I have picked up fresh perspectives and new book choices.

Read, learn and travel.


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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book Recommendation - 50 shades of Chicken

It is great to see the cooks hopping onto the 50 Shades bandwagon. Who said that derivative literature was dead.

Try out some of these daring chicken recipes.

Puts a whole new perspective on binding and trussing.


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Monday, January 21, 2013

The Solid Mandala

I have just started reading books by an Australian novelist called Patrick White. He is a recent discovery prompted by someone asking why New Zealanders don't read the literature of our closest neighbour.

The Solid Manadala tells the story of two brothers, Waldo and Arthur Brown, and the mutually dependent butantagonistic relationship they share: Waldo is cold and supremely rational in his behaviour while Arthur is warm-hearted and instinctual, so that together they represent what White saw as the two conflicting and complementary halves of human nature.Although Arthur would be considered by most in society as slightly "retarded", by the end of the novel he is shown to have a better grip on life than the conventional Waldo.

This is not a novel for those who love fast pace, but it is insightful about human nature and what goes on in our minds.


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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Letter Writing a disappearing genre?

I enjoy reading collections of letters, especially between literary personages. Currently I am reading the letters of Patrick White (Australian writer) and those of Philp Larkin (UK Poet/librarian).

With the widespread use of email these days it appears that the age of the letter is in decline. eMail is no substitute as by its nature it tends to lead itself to short messages. Maybe the pressured lifestyle we live in the 2010's mitigates against the leisure needed to write meaty letters.

Maybe the blogpost with associated comments will take the place of the letter.

I am as guilty as anyone as I have not written a physical letter for some years.

Should we revive this custom of letter writing or move on?


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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Another Hesketh Pearson Quote

Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted.

Hesketh Pearson

I have been having some discussion today with Paul Pindris about another quote of Pearsons which I covered in this blog titled Book Quote: 25 May 2009.

The Saturday Night Read

It's Saturday night here in New Zealand and I'm just doing some reading. Mainly blog posts. The good thing is that no matter how obscure your interest is, you will find a band of people who share it. The Internet is a great tool for bringing like minded folks together.

I'm also reading poetry, one of my favorite occupations. The main poets I'm reading currently are Robert Frost, John Ashbery and Ted Hughes. I love purchasing the Collected works of poets and dipping in and out for enjoyment and inspiration. AS a poet I find that my craft is improved by exposure to the works of others. Check out my blog The MBS Poet for my writings and thoughts on Poetry in general.

I am also reading the letters of Patrick White, an Australian writer and Librarian poet, Philip Larkin. Two sets of letters from two different word crafters. White was predominantly a novelist, and Larkin a poet though he did publish two novels and some collections of shorter works.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cat Connor - Thriller writer

I have just discovered a NZ author called Cat Connor. Her books are excellent and mix computers, poetry, the FBI, love, life and serial killers. The books are fast paced full of surprises.

The herone, main character is a Senior Special Agent in the FBI and over the books we follow her progress.

Gripping and compulsive reading.

Some of her books are:







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Proust on Aristocracy

For aristocracy is a relative thing. And there are plenty of out-of-the-way places where the son of an upholsterer is an arbiter of fashion and reigns over a court like any young Prince of Wales.

In Search of Lost Time Volume II - Within a Budding Grove, p 520 (The Modern Library Classics).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Love in the Library - the great book affair

"Libraries are where most of us really fall in love with books, where we can browse and choose on our own. It's really one of the first autonomous things we do, picking the books we want to read."

Kim Boykin

I still remember the amazement of seeing my first public library. It was not vast but to a seven year old it was a veritable treasure trove. I fell in love with the librarian that day as well. 50 years later I am still a voracious reader - Thanks Miss Arnold.


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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Focused versus Scattered Readers

In my experience there are two groups of readers: Focused readers and Scattered readers.

Focused readers read only one book at a time and curb the temptation to be led way by other books that might enter their reading orbit.

Scattered readers have may books on the go at any one time. I am definitely such a reader and have upwards of 20 books on the go at any one time. I do 10-15 minutes per book and then change out.

People ask me how I can do this and still remember and follow plots and characters. My answer is that I have a trained, segmented mind. In my profession I have directed many concurrent projects and programs and this required the ability to multitask and quick switch.

I have tried focused reading but it hurts my brain...


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