Modern society is saturated with noise, much of it emanating from technology. I am a huge fan of my iPad. It is considerably lighter than my laptop and I have downloaded many useful apps including one for WordPress. However many of the apps contain a facility enabling the device’s owner to receive notifications when content is updated so, for example a notification is generated every time someone comments on one of my posts on WordPress.
It is wonderful to know that my content has provoked interest and/or likes but not when I am in the midst of a particularly beautiful passage of poetry or I’ve just reached a crucial sceene in the detective story on my Kindle! Of course I can go in and disable the notifications but I’m sure I am not the only one to be driven mad by “jo blogs liked your post on newauthoronline” when I am wrapped up in a good book.
As I said above, I really value all the comments and likes on my blog and I always try to respond to feedback. There is, however a time and a place for everything and this is not, in my view while I am reading a good book! Perhaps this mania for the enabling of notifications stems from a fear that we (the user of technology) might just miss something of importance if we are not always connected to every possible source of information. Like butterflies we flit from flower to flower without ever pausing long enough to truly savour each individual plants nectar. As I write this my e-mail and all other notifications are well and truly disabled!
It is wonderful to receive feedback on my writing and I am grateful to those people who have left reviews on Amazon for Samantha and Sting In The Tail. People have busy lives and it isn’t always easy to find the time to review books (I know from my own experience that this is the case. I have often meant to leave a review but have not always got round to doing so). If you have downloaded any of my books and have not left a review, I would love to know what you thought of my work. Please do consider leaving a review. Many thanks, Kevin
I have happy memories of my grandfather reading Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five as I sat on his knee. As a child it never crossed my mind that Blyton’s books could be construed as being racist. Today however a number of reprints of the author’s works have been published with certain words and passages having been amended to avoid giving offence. Today’s Daily Mail has an article concerning a school who removed Blyton’s books from it’s shelves, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2519806/Enid-Blyton-Famous-Five-childrens-classics-axed-school-win-race-equality-award.html. If you read the entire article it becomes clear that most of the books which where deemed to be unacceptable have been replaced by versions with the language which some deem offensive, having been removed.
Racism is ugly and it is right and proper that children are taught that all ethnic groups possess equal worth and everyone, irrespective of their origin should be treated with respect. Having said that, would it not be possible for teachers, parents etc to explain the historical context in which Blyton was writing to youngsters, explaining that words and phrases which where once deemed acceptable are now (rightly) not so deemed. Blyton as with Kipling was a product of her time. Even great authors such as Dickens used language which we now view as unacceptable, for example his reference to “the jew” in Oliver Twist. I love Dickens, Kipling and Blyton, however to say this does not imply that I or any other reader shares their views on race or any other issue. We need, as I said above to judge authors in accordance with the historical context in which they wrote. Obviously it is easier for adults to make such judgements but, with sensitive and appropriate explanation it ought to be possible for children to continue to enjoy The Famous Five.
Here in London’s Crystal Palace autumn lingers. The perfume from fallen leaves scents the air. How strange that people spend vast amounts on expensive scents when nature produces perfumes more fragrant than anything man is capable of producing.
Autumn is melancholy and beauty inextricably interwoven. The gorgeous smells emanating from the newly fallen leaves make me feel good to be alive. Yet it is, at the same time the dying of the year, the interlude between life giving summer with it’s blooming roses and winter which will, inevitably clasp us to her icey bosom. Yet life continues far beneath winter’s frosty grip and, come the spring we will be delighted by birds building their nests, roses budding and the sound of lawn mowers as the powerful aroma of newly mown grass scents the air. The great cycle, turn and turn again. We are part of something beautiful and a little mysterious.
Boxed in, unable to escape. Dark. I feel wardrobe and door but, no exit. Trapped, I am caught, no way out. Don’t panic of course there is an exit.
Feel, this is the hall, the shape of the storage cupboard. I turn, blessed light, dim but perceptible reaches me from the living room windows. Free!
(I am blind with a small amount of residual vision which means that I can see light and dark. I am also able to distinguish shapes so, for example I can see the outline of a person but I am unable to recognise them. This morning I was in my spare room, the one in which most of my writing takes place. I know the room, as with every other part of my flat like the back of my hand, however, this morning I became disorientated. I have no idea why but perhaps it stems from the fact that I was carrying my iPad and, not wishing to drop it all of my thoughts where concentrated on preventing an accident, consequently the part of my mind which deals with orientation went into slumber mode hence the above. My spare room opens out into the hall. The door is usually open and this morning was no exception. The logical part of my brain told me that the door was open yet, for a moment I was unable to locate the exit).
The clock in Ava's brain ticks over to 6.5 and she woke instantly.
She had not remembered going to sleep, nor did she recall her dreams. Ava never remembered her dreams. Her eyes hadn't come online yet. She was still lying down. All she could see was the time, in small print in the distance. It ticked over to 6.51 and began to flash.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. The old saying seems particularly apt when discussing the issue of trolling and, more specifically it’s relationship to book reviews. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a troll is an individual who makes comments in order to provoke conflict. Here we are not talking about a reader who provides a 1 or 2 star review and furnishes a reasoned explanation for his/her perspective on the work. Authors may not like such reviews (although one can learn from constructive criticism), however they can not be considered as constituting trolling. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and the taking of offence at the expression of opinions with which authors (or anyone else) may disagree is not a valid reason for labelling such expressions as trolling.
Genuine trolling is, however sadly alive and well on the internet. Take, for example the following review and the comments generated by it, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/499148682. The reviewer takes a positive delight in ripping the author’s work apart. It is, to the reviewer a source of considerable hilarity to point out grammatical errors (real or imagined). He appears to revel in making his followers laugh and laugh they do in response to the reviewer’s tearing apart of the author’s work. What should be a serious forum for discussing literature degenerates into an arena in which the reviewer and his/her followers rip their quarry apart. Blood sports are banned or curtailed in many countries but they remain alive and well on the internet.
As a libertarian (with a small l) I am wary of banning activities. There is a thin line between a person expressing their strong objection to a book and an individual deliberately looking to stir up conflict for the sake of so doing. However it strikes me that forums such as Goodreads need to look at whether they have strong enough measures in place to prevent, so far as is possible, unproductive and often vicious attacks on authors.
(Disclaimer: I have not read the book in question nor am I acquainted with it’s author).