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Where would we be without the internet?

sin-internet

The other week at work the internet went down for a couple of hours! We were – almost – at a loss! Luckily we managed to find something to do – but we really felt lost without the internet.

Many of us now globally take the internet for granted. Children born today (and before that) will never know a world without it – and for many will never know a world without fast, reliable internet at home, work and at school.

Could I live without the internet? As an individual in my spare time probably yes, I could. It would take some getting used to but I think I could.

At work (my day job) apart from the internet connection we need to run our various softwares – perhaps – but not really.

As a writer – most definitely not. Not just for research purposes, but specifically writers today for networking. For getting our writing out there, our names out there and interacting with other writers and readers. The internet is most definitely a vital tool for building up a network of writing companions – and if you’re lucky – fans!

Of course, the internet poses a lot of dangers (the obvious included – there’s some nasty stuff (apparently) lurking on the dark web); it poses dangers in terms of cyber bullying; it poses a risk to families and friends no longer communicating face-to-face; children spend too much time on the web and on tablet computers; there’s child exploitation and radicalisation…the negative aspects to the internet unfortunately go on and on…

But for the average Joe (if such a person exists) the internet has made life so much easier and access to information easier too. Internet banking, networking tools, online journals and periodicals, shopping, speedy information, TV and films, jobs and recruitment, advertisements…the list for its (more positive) uses also goes on and on…

I’m therefore not afraid, but perhaps a little ashamed to admit, that I couldn’t live without the internet – for the positives of course – and for the great ease it brings to writing and networking and access to information.

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Speed Reading

Just a quick thought and blog for today! There has been several articles and blogs out recently about the amount of books some people, Agatha Christie for instance, have read,

<< http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/blogs/reading-is-bliss/13659451/Will-you-read-more-books-in-2016 >>,

and some people who read hundreds of books in a year. There was a BBC magazine article about how to improve your speed reading skills too.

But is it all that it’s cracked up to be? Is speed reading ruining the joy of reading – are speed-readers missing out on the beautiful words and turns of phrases used?

Sometimes I re-read beautifully written paragraphs or sentences just to appreciate the linguistic beauty a second time. Are speed readers missing out on this? If not and you take every beautiful sentence and phrase in, and can appreciate all the different words that the English language has to offer, then I’m even more impressed with your reading skills!!

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Me and American ‘classics’

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After looking through all the books that I read last year and thinking about the ones that I enjoyed the best, and the ones I didn’t with the exception of Gone With the Wind what I’ve come to realise is that I don’t really like American ‘classic’ novels – The Grapes of Wrath; The Big Sleep; On the Road & The Great Gatsby, and of course Catcher in the Rye.

I thought they were fantastic stories, which were all beautifully written in their own way but still I didn’t really seem to enjoy them. They weren’t my cup of tea. Maybe I was expecting more from novels such as these which have been deemed influential works, especially influential on American literature as a whole. It could have been the case of reading something you know should be good – and being disappointed by them. I don’t really know – I can’t really explain it very well and if I continue to try to I think that I’ll end up digging myself into a hole.

Sorry folks. I wish I enjoyed such classics as these – but I don’t. Not everyone can, can they? I know that I should but….

I will still give them a go. I won’t cut others like them out of my reading life completely and if anyone has any other reads of ‘American classics’ they think I should try – I’m open for suggestions.

Perhaps digging myself out of a small hole – I have enjoyed American ‘classics’ in the past – but I think the vast majority of them so far – I haven’t.

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My Top Reads from 2015

Every year I record what I’ve read throughout the year to look back on it when the year ends as an interesting reminder. (And useful when I forget if I’ve read it already!) And again every year (it’s becoming a sort of tradition) I document my five top reads from the previous year – 2015:

My top five reads from 2015 are as follows – in no particular order:

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (which has I think fast become one of my all-time favourite reads);

the count of monte cristo

 

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (fantastic story and wonderfully written; an epic);

pillars of the earth

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (perhaps a controversial choice given the context – but thoroughly enjoyable – Scarlett O’Hara has real gumption);

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The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (the last in the trilogy of His Dark Materials and equally as entertaining as the others – not your typical ‘kids’ book at all – it can easily be read on so many levels);

the amber spyglass

and

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (a beautiful read and a lovely story).

the thorn birds

I can’t wait for the rest of 2016 to see what great reads and new worlds I’m going to discover.

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2 weeks in…

Well we’re already two weeks in to January 2016! Two weeks! 14 days! Time really does drift away when you’re not paying attention.

I think that it’s high time that I rolled up my sleeves and got down to the business I love – writing.

Here I go…..

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No TV!

no TV

We’re all generally watching more TV than we ever had before. And who can blame us – there’s some amazingly addictive TV shows out there. And anyone who can testify that they’ve been so hooked by a TV show will agree with me that a weekend can easily be taken up by that one TV show watching episode after episode.

But sometimes you get to a point where you have to say – look I watch far too much TV. (Live TV, DVDs/films, Netflix, Now TV, Amazon Prime….) All these different forms of TV count.

As global societies who watch too much TV we’re slowly suffering. Our bodies are getting lazy as couch potatoes, our postures are terrible as we snuggle up on the sofa to watch one more episode. Our minds are dulling. No matter how informative or interesting or intrusive a TV show or film may be it can be nowhere near as stimulating as reading a book. Our social skills are suffering. As a couple who watch TV, while we do talk, sometimes it just tends to be about the mundane topics of work and running the home. (What do you want for tea? Etc)

And that’s why starting today my partner and I have decided to cut TV out of our lives for a week. It may not sound like much but I think we’ll find it much more difficult than we may imagine – for people whose instinct when we come home is to turn the TV on. But this is the habit that I want to get out of. We’ll start out at just a week and see how it goes. Hopefully it’ll lead to us watching less TV – like only switching on the TV set a few nights a week instead of everyday. (This break in TV also includes watching things direct through the computer too.)

Already I’m able to write this as normally I’d be watching the news right now. Of course, it would be nice to be able to cut technology out of our lives completely to switch of entirely for this week – but we both use computers every day at work so that’s not practical.

I’m looking forward to it – let’s see how we get on….

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New Year – New Changes – New Hopes

Wow so I’ve not posted since November 16th 2015!! I knew it had been a while but I hadn’t realised how long it has actually been.

With family visits, Christmas, New Year, leaving my old job and starting a new one, time for blogging hasn’t always presented itself.

New Year and New Year Resolutions:

For me I have personal new year resolutions involving gym targets (I go to the gym all year round and am not a gym new year resolutionist), and completing more targets on my 30 Things to do Before 30 List.

Writing wise: I will (self) publish my current non-fiction project and start a fiction project idea that I’ve been toying with.

Blogging wise: to blog all year round and not taper off just because life is busy or because it’s nearly Christmas for example.

The start of the New Year and with starting a new job (I’m still in my first week) I have – annoyingly perhaps – been reviewing what I’ve done in 2015. The simple answer – or the pessimistic answer is probably not as much as I would have liked. I guess most people would think in this way – and hope that the forthcoming year will bring more focus and more productivity than the previous year just gone by.

Do you have any new year resolutions? What do you think about all you’ve achieved in the last year? Any plans for 2016?

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