Americans’ appetite for reading books — ones you actually hold in your hands — has not slowed in recent years, says a Pew Research Center survey.
Claire Harman says several of the Wuthering Heights author’s character traits – including a dislike of leaving home and bursts of frustration – could indicate autism
This morning I got an email:
Dear Derek Knight,I just saw your book “Sittin’ On The Dock Of King’s Lynn”. I would love to write a post about it and list it on my website http://bookblow.comOne more thing, if you are running a promotion for “Sittin’ On The Dock Of King’s Lynn” then you can use our service called – Book of the Day to promote “Sittin’ On The Dock Of King’s Lynn” to more than 400,000 readers across the globe.Check it out here http://bookblow.com/submit-book/Thank you & all the best
ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR BOOK PROMOTIONAL SPACE
The next thing I did was a quick Google search, and I found nothing but comments from authors who had received the exact same email about their book, and were wondering if it was a scam. Further investigation of the site shows that since October 2014 they have, indeed, been publishing a “review” of a book a day – although it looks like the review is actually the “about this book” wording from Amazon. There is nothing obvious to indicate that anyone has actually read any of the reviews, and there don’t appear to be any reader comments.
Is it a scam? In that they do what they say they will do, then “Scam” is not really a word I would use. Is there any point in using this service? That is the question we authors have to answer for ourselves.
Over on my Author Blog I’m taking part in a Haiku challenge. In case you’re not aware, a Haiku is a form of poetry which originated in Japan, and is composed of 3 lines, the first with 5 syllables, the second 7 and the third 5. I don’t pretend to be a great exponent of the form, but I thought I’d try it and see how it went. Here’s one example:
Summer fun becomes
Winters cold and short dark days
now a 5-7-5 format is not much to look at, so I thought I’d make it pretty by taking those English words, throwing them through Google Translate, and paste the result into the post. Here’s what the above Haiku looks like in Japanese:
Now, however, when I look at this post in another browser, it asks if want to translate the page to English. Just for the fun of it I said yes, and Bing tells me it says:
Makes summer fun
Winter cold and short dark days
Some interesting changes there, especially the last line; by changing the order of the words the meaning has been radically altered, as it seems to now say that it is the winter cold that changes everything And what is it that makes summer fun? We are left in suspense here, not quit knowing to what that first sentence refers.
The next step was obvious – take those words, and translate to Japanese:
and then back to English again:
Stay tuned for the summer
Cold winter and short in dark days
Stay tuned for the summer? Where did that come from? Instead of the statement “changes everything” we now have an imperative; “Change Everything!” But I really like the middle line. Although its meaning isn’t totally clear, there is now a greater prominence to the “dark days” in which cold winter (as opposed, one assumes, to the other, warmer, winter) is short.
Running it through one more time came up with:
Continuation of the summer
Cold winters, short dark days
Continuation of the summer
Dark, cold winter‘s short days
We are still “continuing” with the summer, but we have a possessive appearing for the first time. Now we are talking about have the short days that belong to cold winter, which are dark.
Yes, I agree, a pointless exercise, even though an interesting one. But it does show how simple changes in words can make a big difference in meaning.
“No one knows where our journey will lead us – all we know is that we walk it one day at a time.”
Life happens. Just when you think that you have it all planned out and that you can clearly see the way ahead, something comes along that totally changes everything.
Some may complain about that fact of existence, but I believe it can be looked on as a wonderfully exciting thing. Not only that, but it is a comfort when times are hard to know that we do not know that the road will always be this tough, stuff happens.
Just in living a day it has changed, we are one day nearer a change, whatever that change may be. Most humans like to plan, few of us are totally free spirits without any sense of the future. And planning is good of course, as long as we remember that whilst we can plan, we cannot guarantee the results of our plan.
We are not omnipotent, we cannot control the world or others in it. And, frankly, if I were God, and I did have control of the world, I’m fairly certain that it would turn out to be a far worse place than it already is.
Each of our journeys is unique, and each one takes twists and turns we could not have imagined. Sometimes we find a travelling companion for part of our journey, sometimes we walk alone, but always we are moving, even when it does not feel like movement.
When we think we are settled, it is then that we are most likely to find a new bend in the road, one that takes us in an unexpected direction. When we most want to move in one direction, even when all else is against us, we fight along the road, and often find allies in unforeseen places.
We hear so many times of people fighting against adversity, and winning out to greater glory, and these stories can give us hope in our own struggles.
What we hear less of are the more common stories, or struggle that continues and does not end is success; rather it ends in resignation. These stories of everyday struggle show us that the journey is not a predictable thing, and it is easy to think that no progress can be made.
But even here, the fact that the journey continues can give us hope. We will not necessarily win through in the way that we dreamt of, but we will see a change in the road, and we will be able to move in a different direction.
Each day takes us forward on our journey, and at the end of each day, we can see the distance travelled.
How does it feel to move to a town that you’ve never even been to before? Find out when Derek reads the beginning of his book “Sittin’ on the Dock of King’s Lynn”.
The book is available from Amazon in both eBook and print versions.
The new is but the old come true; each sunrise sees a new year born.
–Helen Hunt Jackson
In my part of the world, we have just come out of a celebration for the New Year. It’s a time when people look back over the past and make resolutions for the future. Most of the reflections are viewed either with rose tinted spectacles or with a jaundiced view that it had been the worst year ever. Most of the resolutions are made in the expectation – the hope, even – that they will be quickly broken.
Is it really true that something remarkable happens at the turn of the year, is it only then that we have to opportunity to reflect and change?
In this quote from Helen Hunt Jackson, we see a deeper truth.
Every day is a new start and every moment an opportunity to reflect on the past that has just gone.
The resolutions made on New Year’s Eve are so easy to break because they are too frightening to consider doing forever. Once broken, the whole year is considered spoiled, and so there is no point in trying again until the next New Year.
But if we look at each new sunrise as a new start, then the task is no so daunting. This new day I can try a new thing, a new action, a new way of acting. Even if I fail, I can try tomorrow again because tomorrow starts a new year.
We can learn, not only from our distant past, but the day just gone. We can look at yesterday’s successes and failures to make today a better one.
This is what the nineteenth-century American poet and writer is suggesting, but I would go further; we do not have to wait for a new dawn to start again, we can start afresh from where we are.
Let us say that I have made a resolution to always be positive, but find myself sharing a negative thought, do I have to wait until the next day to get back on the positivity train? Should I carry on with that negativity until evening, and then realize what I have done wrong, resolving to do better tomorrow?
I think not. There is much we can do in every moment to reflect and change. We can look at that negative comment as something past from which we can learn. It is past, gone, and we do not need to wait for some arbitrary “new beginning” to start again.
I made a negative comment, or had a negative thought? I can learn from that action just completed, and activly seek to be more positive, maybe even say or think something specifically to negate the negative!
Every moment is a new year born.