RSS

Category Archives: Blogging

Logrolling

Do you ever read the cover of a book and see all those great quotes; then after reading, wonder what those people saw in the book that you didn’t?

Now I am not saying either of the above comments are engaging in logrolling (the art of individuals agreeing to promote each others work) but they certainly read a different book to that which I did.

My source for the below examples of blatant (and of course, it must be said alleged) logrolling is the proper journalism and satire magazine Private Eye (issue number 1460, the last issue I got my sticky mitts on before leaving home shores).  It does go a long way to explaining how so many glowing reviews for average – or bad – novels come about.

  • David Krynaston selected Joining the Dots by Juliet Gardiner in The Guardian. The two share an agent in Georgia Garrett of Rogers, Coleridge & White.
  • Debut novelist Sally Rooney ‘loved’ The Idiot by fellow first-timer Elif Batuman, with whom she bonded when they were paired in a Foyles reading.  A fortnight after the plug, Batuman was one of the judges who chose Rooney as Sunday Times/PDF young writer of the year.
  • Hollie McNish picked a book edited by Sabrina Mahfouz – not only are they pals on the spoken word circuit, but McNish and Mahfouz also write a play together.
  • Craig Raine, both a Faber poet and a former Faber poetry editor, chose Simon Armitage’s The Unaccompanied from Faber, and ‘another terrific Faber poet’ Matthew Francis as his sole TLS picks.
  • Little known Bojangles Books seems to have only published two titles, both by the investigative journalist Bob Woffinden.  Both were picked out (and nothing else) in a Spectator contribution by Richard Ingrams.  Ingrams’ book about another righter of judicial wrongs Ludovic Kennedy, (Ludovic and the Power of the Book) was by coincidence praised as ‘an important book’ in the Catholic Herald by…Bob Woffinden.

When you have to research the links between book  and critic to get a clear picture of their affiliations, it doesn’t seem worth the effort, which is where we bloggers come in.  Giving honest feedback with no agenda makes such reviewers much more compelling to read.  I only read reviews on WordPress from my fellow bloggers these days, whose opinion I hold in high regard, and appreciate the fairness with which the subject matter is treated.  Not only are the reviews thorough and engaging but when a book does catch my eye it remains in my mind due to the hard work and no compensation that being a reviewer brings.  Keep up the good work of sharing the love of books and informing potential readers of what’s about. With Amazon’s new review restrictions squeezing the field for honest reviews even more, it would seem we could have a potentially bigger role to play with authors (and maybe publishers) in the future.

Advertisements
 
30 Comments

Posted by on 07/05/2018 in Blogging, Journalism, My Writings

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Thoughts on synchronicity, Elizabeth Lesser’s book “Broken Open,” and a poem inspired by two near-autodidacts

As I’m still working on post Bali posts, here’s another reblog from Victoria’s site, that deserves the love.

creativeshadows

Recently, I have been feeling out-of-sorts more than usual, and sunk in a sort of spiritual case of the doldrums.  So, I figured I needed to return once again to my old habits of reading more, crocheting less (though I’m backed way up with craft projects!), and writing poetry again.  As it so chanced, I got Elizabeth Lesser’s book Broken Open:  How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow off one of my library websites.

Now, when I read a self-help book, even a more spiritually-inclined one, it’s a rare day.  I automatically have my critical claws out for grammar and punctuation and style errors, since many such books are self-forgiving in their copy editing.  And as expected, I found a number of mistakes and one nearly unforgiveable error–to an English teacher, anyway–in which T. S. Eliot was quoted or referred to knowledgeably, apparently, but spelled T. S. Elliot.  These sorts…

View original post 1,126 more words

 
8 Comments

Posted by on 02/05/2018 in Blogging, Essays, Poetry

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Value of a Dime

A reblog for Mike, partly because I am still finishing the review of his novel The Singularity Wheel, and partly because his posts are a really good read.

Eye-Dancers

In both The Eye-Dancers and The Singularity Wheel, Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski can’t help but notice how inexpensive things are in the variant town of Colbyville.  In The Singularity Wheel, in fact, Ryan manages to secure a room in an inn for just $5 a night.  Prices like that make the boys think of period-piece movies, Beaver Cleaver, black-and-white still lifes from a bygone era, speckled with cobwebs.

Indeed, I once worked with a woman who, every year, upon receiving her annual “cost-of’-living” raise, would grouse, “Well, three percent of nothing is still nothing!”  Many of the other employees would nod their heads in agreement.  We all notice the increase in prices ($4.49 for that box of cereal?  $10 for a standard book of twenty stamps?) and are caught in the current of escalation as it continues along on its…

View original post 1,021 more words

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 30/04/2018 in Blogging, Book Memories, Graphic Novels, Life

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Taking Flight

By the time you read this I will already be in Bali for the week. I will be checking in when I can so bear with me if I don’t get around to your blogs for a while or indeed any comments you are kind enough to leave on my upcoming posts which should be scheduled at decent intervals.  I will bring photos and stories back and hopefully, the odd book too.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on 19/04/2018 in Blogging, Travel

 

Tags: , , , ,

Paid Book Reviews on Amazon? Yes, If You do the Paying

Once again, digressing from my original blogging plans and adding more and more to my nearly 200 drafts, this one needed to be spoken about.  Thanks to Michelle’s post, a reblog of the original post from Barb for bringing this to my attention.

Battle of Greeks and Amazons. Marble sarcophagus. Pio Clementino Museum; Octagonal Court. Vatican Museums.

Rarely do I bother with Amazon, only going there to add the odd book review but now it appears that that won’t be happening; unless I want to fork out £40 a calendar year for the .co.uk, or $50 minimum for the .com sites.  That’s what it takes to be eligible to give your opinion on books (or anything else you wish to review). It will go some way to stopping fake or biased reviews but will put off the honest reviewers but you can still post biased or fake reviews if you like but now you have to pay Amazon for it.  It renders the drive for honesty a bit pointless. Here’s the fine print from the .co.uk site in full:

Eligibility

To contribute to Community Features (for example, Customer Reviews, Customer Answers), you must have spent at least £40 on Amazon.co.uk using a valid payment card in the past 12 months. Promotional discounts don’t qualify towards the £40 minimum. You do not need to meet this requirement to post Customer Questions, create or modify Profile pages, Lists, or Registries, or to read content posted by other customers.

We’re all familiar with the mix of reviews on the site, from the one star one, one word review, or the one blaming the supplier. The badly written rant that just attacks the author or makes clear to the reader they haven’t read or understood the book; and then at the other end of the scale the blatantly biased and/or overly gushing writes ups.  Rare is the well written, thoughtful review, with which to base your buying on and now it will be as rare as a coelacanth in Slough bus station.
Read the rest of this entry »

 
14 Comments

Posted by on 17/04/2018 in Blogging, My Writings

 

Tags: , , , ,

Working the Space

At the moment I am attempting to be a lot more proactive with my writing as you may have noticed, although today is one of those days when I want to post but writing feels like a bit of a challenge today so here’s a look at the workspace I fashioned for myself.

From left to right:

  • A Test of Time is the latest book I am reading, which is a look at the Egyptian chronology, a rethink and an attempt to sync it up with Biblical archaeology.  I’m also reading The Singularity Wheel, kindly sent over by Mike (see last blog post) as well, to keep my days varied.
  • To the right is my Green Apple notebook which contains my notes for a novel, unlike past efforts this time it is not only going well but in an order hitherto unseen in past attempts.
  • In front of these is my Tagalog notebook, in which I am writing words lists and attempting to get down the grammatical rules so ease me into this foreign language which doesn’t (thank goodness) have masculine and feminine words to remember.
  • The laptop which, other than helping realise these blog posts also keeps me up-to-date with all the big news, like the football scores, which is a welcome tonic to the morning’s TV catch up BBC Worldwide and CNN Philippines.
  • Lastly, behind my coffee cup which is the best jump-start for the day is my trusty notebook which has been to three continent with me and is rapidly filling up with all my notes for reviews and various other blog posts.
  • You may have noticed 10 month old Rambo (guess who named him) who when not happily biting various items of footwear is keeping alert for any move made for food.

It’s amazing what a simple zone for working can achieve, especially when one is in the mood for work, which it seems, I now am.

 
31 Comments

Posted by on 15/03/2018 in Blogging, Life

 

Tags: , , , ,

Starting Again

I have returned after a long journey and internet connection problems and it is great to finally make it onto the blog in another continent.  Hunting out photos for this post from Crissy’s Facebook, it came to mind that there is still a post or two that needs chronicling from my last trip out here, namely a beautiful place called Batanes so here is a teaser photo for what is to come in the future.

Image may contain: sky, mountain, ocean, outdoor, nature and water

Getting back to this time though and within a week and a half the first cold of the year had already found its way to me, not bad for a country with weather that resembles a pleasant Summer’s day most of the time. After plenty of wedding planning – the busy nature of which meant that I didn’t get any jet lag whatsoever (which is a pleasant surprise) – I’ve also been catching up with the fam bam over some wonderful meals as well.

Image may contain: 11 people, people smiling, people sitting, table and indoor

In the dark time of no internet service, I have been reading plenty of books (twice in the offices of Philippine Airlines) and also have two more on the laptop from authors regular readers will be familiar with, namely Indrajit Garai and Nicholas Conley.  Lots is happening and this is going to be an exciting year so a belated happy new year to you all, may you all have an exceedingly good year.

 
47 Comments

Posted by on 17/01/2018 in Blogging, The Philippines, Travel

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: