November 11th, 2016
First, thanks to Phil for last week’s blog, it’s great to have him as one of the team working in the office.
And he’s absolutely right. One of the best things about working for the Writers Bureau (apart from the Friday cream cakes) is that we’re dealing with students from all over the world. I love reading through assignments, it’s like having a window on the world. Not the world you see in glossy travel brochures, but the world of real people, leading real lives.
Another interesting, but odd, experience is when you get a student writing about a place that you know well. A lady recently described a park very close to where I live and which I visit quite often. It’s just an ordinary, municipal park but I think it’s tranquil and relaxing and she obviously felt the same way. I got a little jolt of pleasure to think that someone else obviously sees it in the same way that I do. Read the rest of this entry »
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December 31st, 2015
It seems to me that the downward slide towards illiteracy started amongst the texting classes in the mid-90s. That probably sounds a little harsh and maybe part of it is down to jealousy, I never did get the hang of predictive texting. I’d take 10 minutes asking my daughter(s) a simple question and would get a novel back in 30 seconds. Must be an age thing?
Let’s roll forward a few years and the little book of faces. To everyone’s kids’ horror, when it ‘went viral’, parents joined in. The accusation was that we were checking up on them but speaking on our behalf, it was a realisation that it was set to be the only means of cross-generational communication left open to us. Interestingly, I used the term ‘went viral’, a term associated with social networks but one that almost describes how they came to be so popular. Life imitating art, you could say. Read the rest of this entry »
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May 26th, 2015
Have you come across Wattpad? I just discovered it a couple of days ago and … I’m in two minds. Where I can see there’s definitely something interesting going on, I’m not really sure it’s for me.
Wattpad is a Canadian based story-sharing website, like a Facebook or Youtube for writers. Stories and poems are shared in over fifty languages, and the stat’s for membership and reading are quite impressive: 40 million users per month with an average user session of thirty minutes. Readers are encouraged to post comments about work they’ve read, writers have profile pages where you can message them privately, and there are a number of Forums where both writers and readers join in extended conversations. Generally, from what I can see, people are serialising novels and putting them up one chapter at a time. Some attract thousands of readers, and one I noticed – Flawed by someone calling themselves bnflan has been read an enormous 2, 410, 414 times. Read the rest of this entry »
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April 27th, 2015
You won’t believe this story, but I’ll tell it anyway because I’m seeing Sally tonight, and that’ll be hard. So, if I try it on you first, I might just get things straight enough in my head to tell her. And then maybe … well … y’know.
Anyway, here it is. Read the rest of this entry »
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April 17th, 2015
First, I’ve got to say I loved Phil’s photo that accompanied Monday’s post. Keswick is one of my favourite places and it’s hard to beat Castlerigg stone circle early in the morning when you’ve got it all to yourself.
Next, Thursday is World Book Night when 20 books are selected and then 80,000 copies are distributed to people who wouldn’t normally read for pleasure or own books. It’s run by The Reading Agency, a national charity, and an army of volunteers distribute books in their communities.
Have a look at the books that will be given out – they’re quite an eclectic mix. So why have these particular books been chosen? According to the organisers they have been selected because they are all ‘good, enjoyable, highly readable books with a strong compelling narrative’. Just the sort of thing to get someone who’s not a regular reader hooked!
Incidentally, you might win yourself a set of all 20 if you tweet them (@worldbooknight #reading journey) and tell them about your own reading journey – the book that first turned you on to reading, the books that have inspired you and how reading has shaped you. Read the rest of this entry »
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