Thursday, January 30, 2014

Where Cultures Collide

The literature that arises from the collision of cultures is often referred to as being post colonial. The black longing versus the white longing, the cultural matrix of the old world challenged by that of the new. In this social critique, the western tradition is rightly being diluted, mixed and challenged by the other.

While respecting the canon of the western tradition, I find the new literatures have an energy and newness that excite and challenge my old world view. These writers help us to see european ethnocentricity, cultural hegemony and attitudes through a different set of cultural eyes. This can be a discomforting experience as it brings a personal challenge to take off your ethnocentric blinkers and see the world as it is, rather than through the inculcated lenses of ones cultural upbringing.

Reading writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Jorge Luis Borges opened a window to the Latin American worldview for me. The vitality, warmth and otherness of the writings positively challenged me as I struggled to find pegs for my experience. The cultural dislocation I felt initially was overcome as I read more.

Students today get the opportunity to study beyond the Western canon and also can freely explore the other within their own cultural milieu (gay literature for example). Such exposure helps to give them a global, rather than a constrained view of the human experience.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Joy of Journaling

I have just finished reading a short book by Beth Jones. The Book is called Writing to Glad - How Journaling can Bring you Joy.

It inspired me to start journaling. I have downloaded an App called Journalize on my iPad and started tonight.

Jones shows how Journaling can allow you to write for yourself on any subject you like without constraint. Such a journal is anonymous and is useful for reflection and introspection.

I will see where this experimental writing leads me.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Death of the Book, Long Live the eBook

Well it had to happen. In the last year the tipping point has been reached and now more eBooks are published than physical books. Ten years ago people said that this would never happen, but they were wrong.

The introduction of the Kindle has done much to hasten the decline of the physical book. It is such a convenient device with a long battery life of weeks if not months.

I shed a tear for the death of the book but progress will always win out. Those of you who have been following this blog over the years will remember the various dramas related to my shift to the UK and back from New Zealand related to physical books.

I am now living in Qatar and all my books are on my iPad using the Kindle or iBook readers. Convenient, bulkless and very easy to get new books loaded 24/7.

A great example of a disruptive technology.

Long Live the eBook!

My prediction is that the next casualty will be the higher education sector where so many are blind to the democratization of learning that technology is introducing... A subject for another blog post.


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