World book day in Gib

Gib does World Book Day in fine style; today is World Book Day.

This year’s book day promised the same as last year, a load of free books and author stalls and signings.

And all just over the road from me, a mere skip and a hop. Except, skip, hop and me don’t combine together in the same sentence right now.

The thought of going downstairs without someone in front of me to break the fall, and then limping over the road with a stick was a step too far to contemplate. Vanity is my middle name.

But why worry, because, in the afternoon, my neighbour knocked on the door and handed me a bag of books. Yes! World Book Day comes to me!

I picked out a couple of books from the sack, I’d read them both before. Pullman’s Northern Lights and García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Was this indicative of the rest of the haul?

Some of the books, looking ok to me
Some of the books, looking ok to me

In terms of books I’d previously read, there was Bram Stoker, CS Lewis, and JG Ballard. But others I hadn’t read: Dawn French and Stephen Fry.

My neighbour passes on odd books to us, no rhyme or reason. One minute Tolkien and Austen, the next Ryan and McNab.

It seems pertinent to continue with the book theme, so I’ve been reading a few posts about book reviews. Should reviewers write less than glowing reviews about books, ie less than three or four star reviews, and risk offending an author? Or should they be honest and write less than glowing reports about mediocre to crap books?

Two authors have posted about the different viewpoints. Olga Núñez Miret favours the softer approach, whereas Dylan Hearn suggests that only posting good reviews all the time skews the system and doesn’t present a fair picture (I paraphrase).

I confess to following Olga’s approach for self-published authors. While Pratchett and Rowling may be fair game, I don’t think the average non best-seller who has written one or two books deserves to be trashed from here to high heaven.

Which is just as well for Mr Hearn, as I have read both his books and decided to post a review! Ha!

Second Chance and Absent Souls by Dylan S Hearn

These books are part of the Transcendence Trilogy set slightly in the future, not totally dystopian but not far off. The third book, Genesis Redux is due later this year.

The first thing to say is that both books stand alone. Naturally I read them in reverse order, as you do, but it made not one jot of difference. You don’t need to know what happened in Second to enjoy Absent, nor are you left with a cliffhanger ending if you read Second first.

How to describe them? Futuristic thrillers with an underlay of politics, intrigue, corruption (the three go together, don’t they?), globalisation and a finely understated sense of irony and satire.

Second Chance
Second Chance
Second Chance has a number of strands: a new independent delegate is elected to the governing body in England and gets out of her idealistic depths, a technician at the Re-Life laboratory works to improve the cloning/regeneration process, and an information analyst finds himself alone and betrayed. The seemingly separate strands are brought together with the investigation of the disappearance of a college student.

For me, what made this a great read, was the sheer strength of the characterisation. In the delegate, Stephanie, and the information analyst, Randall, Dylan has created two excellent and credible characters. Plus, some of the secondary characters are equally good, Gant and Sian in particular.

Here’s an extract with Stephanie and the unscrupulous Gant, who is the Prime Delegate’s enforcer.

“So is this business or pleasure?”
“A bit of both, actually.”
Gant was standing close enough for Stephanie to smell the sweetness of his breath. Reaching up, she gently brushed some dust that had fallen on his lapel. “Why don’t we talk business first, then …” She had been looking forward to this moment. A little flirt, a look, a knowing smile …
“I understand that you’re planning to vote against the budget proposals next month, and that you’re actively persuading others to take your side. The Prime Delegate would very much prefer for this not to happen.”
Stephanie froze. This was the last thing she wanted to talk about. She tried to think back to Sian’s briefings. “I’m not sure what you mean.”
Gant pressed closer, his smile gone. “Please, Stephanie. Don’t treat me like I’m an idiot.”
“Come on, Zachary.” She gave him her best impish smile. “You don’t mind if I call you Zachary? I’ve no argument with the government. I’d be more than happy to support the Prime Delegate’s cause if it was in the best interests of my district. As far as I am aware, the details of the budget proposal haven’t been made public, so I can’t form an opinion until they have.”
Gant’s face hardened. “This isn’t a game. You’ve somehow found out that the proposal includes a number of capital projects, so you’ve decided to try and overturn the bill. Isn’t that right?”
The warmth from earlier had evaporated. Stephanie took a step backwards, looking for space in which to think, but Gant followed. Was he was bluffing or did he really know this? And if he did know what they were planning, where the hell had he got his information from?
“Look, if what you say is true I may have a few issues, but I’m sure we can work them out. Why don’t we go back to my office and talk this through?” She looked up at him, smiling. “Then, once we’ve reached a compromise, we can move onto the other reason you wanted to speak to me.”
Stephanie found herself pushed hard against the wall. She tried to move away but Gant’s grip was solid.

And it just gets worse after that … bad move Stephanie.

So, what about Absent Souls?

Well, this one is totally different. Some of the same characters, well, sort of, and a development of others. O’Driscoll, who is basically outside the law, was mentioned briefly in Second, but plays a strong role in Absent. Another great character, bad, but not so bad. Always good to love the baddies and hate the goodies. But, how do we know who is who?

In this book, our heroine is Juliet, yet, as the plot develops she is left not only knowing who to trust, can she even trust herself? And the Re-Life laboratory marches on. Plus, we move out of the UK to America, or something that resembles America, for a little revolutionary action and serious global interference.

But as my fave character was O’Driscoll, King of the Shambles, here’s an extract including him and his somewhat impetuous cousin:


The cellar smelled of mildew and rot. O’Driscoll ducked under an old oak lintel. He wasn’t a tall man but even he had to watch his head in this place. He made his way towards the back of the room where a man sat tied to a chair. The side of the man’s face was swollen, his left hand clamped to a table bolted to the floor. Charlie stood at one side watching, out of the spotlight, invisible to their captive. His cousin, Darragh, stood by the man, wiping a bloodied knife on the apron he was wearing. A fingertip lay on the floor, blood gleaming in the brightness.
As O’Driscoll walked over to Charlie, Darragh leaned towards the captive. “Why are you holding out on us, Sjaak? Who are you protecting?”
The man said nothing, the only sound his breath through gritted teeth. Rivulets of sweat dripped down his waxen face.
Darragh took hold of the wounded finger and squeezed. The man’s screams echoed around the crumbling brickwork. “How long have we known each other, Sjaak?” he asked. “Five years? Ten? Is this a Dutch thing? I heard some of the Rotterdam boys tried to muscle in on the Turks a few months back. Are they trying to do the same here? Is that it?”
The man looked down at the floor, refusing to meet his gaze.

Tough times, and O’Driscoll later finds the tables are turned on him as he is forced to run.

Again, great characterisation, tense and exciting plot, totally unpredictable, leading to a very good ending.

Both books are well thought through and well crafted with some cracking characters. I never could work out what had happened to the missing student, and I found the investigator Nico somewhat bland, but having said that he was almost normal. That’s the nearest I can get to fault finding.

Good books and recommended if you like these sort of reads. Or even if you don’t.

Dylan offers one book free if you sign up to his email list, well worth it. Link to his blog in case you didn’t click above, plus it includes the usual purchase links.

Today was also Purim. A Jewish celebration with singing and enjoyment in the streets. As ever in Gib, tolerance rules. In a small community we live together. Please note rest of the world: it’s not that difficult. Otherwise we could all end up living in some strange dystopian world. Or perhaps we already do …

Edited to add: forgot my easy peasy poll. It’s a multipoll, ie you can vote for more than one answer. And if you vote ‘other’ can you add a comment to say why? It’s anonymous anyway. Thanks for voting. :)

98 comments on “World book day in Gib

  1. Great read as usual. The gruesome photo of ‘lady of leisure’ put me off my oats this morning though. Good grief. Still, I hope all that is in the past.
    The Gib seems to be a great place, thriving community and books galore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Gerard and sorry about that. As you know, I have no control over that. I would have suggested focusing on the Little Rat, but the leg does rather take centre stage. Well, it doesn’t look like that any more, and the scars aren’t particularly bad, but I’ve got others so a couple more don’t make much difference.

      Gib is a strange place. For somewhere so small though, there are a fair amount of cultural events and happenings.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow… books coming to you. How lucky! Now I’ve never seen that Pullman cover… is it a really old one?

    I saw on goodreads not too long ago that you were reading, Absent Souls, and thought then that it sounded intriguing.I’m definitely going to have to put it on my books must have list. :)


    • Our neighbour used to stick them on a bench for someone else to pick up, but when he discovered we liked reading, it was much easier to walk across the landing to us 😀 Same with everything else they don’t want: clothes, bed linen, towels, crockery, pans … checked out the edition, 2001, NL originally published 1995, 20 years ago!

      Both Second and Absent are well worth the read. If you like to read things in order, then start with Second, but as said above, they do stand alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great neighbour… you know what they say, one person’s rubbish is another’s treasure! :D

        It’s hard to believe things were published so long ago sometimes, isn’t it? That just blew me away, I was like, REALLY? :D

        I will get there, eventually. I do tend to read things in order… even when they are not published that way. :)

        Just been sorting my study today… going through my hardbacks and paperbacks. I need to add some to my collection. I used to have six huge bookcases of books and some (Back in America) I’d read them all too. Now I’m down to a measly little cabinet with three decent shelves and a few smaller ones. I have some on top of it too between a couple of nice sturdy bookends. When I do a carboot in spring/summer I might browse around for myself. :D

        God, I miss my old library! (sigh)


  3. I read García Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude a few months before he died. It was the first of his books I’d picked up, and while I found the writing wonderful, I had a bit of trouble with his use of time. Characters seemed to live too long, generations stretched on for what seemed countless decades and time itself appeared to have an amorphous quality. I’ve been meaning to read some of his other books to see if this is a constant within his works, or I simply misunderstood how he used the device.

    And as far as I’m concerned everyday is book day. Real books, too; nothing electronic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m trying to remember what else I’ve read, love in the time of cholera probably, and the seagull one. The seagull one is slightly different, based on a true story, which I didn’t realise at the time, whereas Love is more of a typical García style. As I recall, time having an amorphous quality (lovely description) is very much a part of his style and technique.

      I was very anti ebooks – until I started reading them. But I think there is more enjoyment in really curling up with a physical book, it’s more relaxing. Handy having a load of books at the touch of a fingertip though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The one thing I will say for the ebook format is it’s great if you want to read old historic works that are out of print but can be downloaded. Otherwise, you’ve got to sit in the research section of the library and go over whatever you want to read – if they have it.


        • Gutenberg, yes? I used to love ploughing through old books at the library. Unsurprising given my degree.

          Ebooks do make editing easier and faster in one respect. No bulky manuscripts to send back and forth, although, I would prefer to go through a MS by hand, but edocs it is. Having said that, I still make a load of paper notes anyway.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I have occasionally written a review of a book I didn’t like, but I wouldn’t do it now. Life’s too short – and getting shorter by the day.


    • I think it’s reasonable to discuss best-selling authors and say why their books don’t do it for you. I do have a nag about hitting on some poor soul who’s spent ages creating their baby and telling them to go back to the drawing board, or better still, don’t write again. Seems a bit unfair.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember reading Empire of the Sun years ago and really liking it. Your neighbour sounds really cool!

    I think people should be honest; its not fair to lavish someone with praise they haven’t earned because they won’t improve. When friends who write have penned a first novel or poetry anthology I try to be as fair as possible without being overly critical or rude and I would want the same for people who read my work. Should I ever finish anything that is!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read Empire of the Sun in Sydney. It had just come out. He’s a good neighbour. Treats us like the local poor kids and gives us all his cast-offs of whatever type. A lot of it turns out really useful. They gave us a plastic picnic set. Can’t remember the last time we went on a picnic but the cutlery came in useful when I was making packed meals for Partner to take to work. The cup things are good for a washing powder scoop and putting leftovers in the fridge etc …

      The issue is not about saying something is good when it isn’t, I’m the last to do that. It’s rather whether or not to say anything at all. I was prevaricating between 2 and 3 stars recently (oh for 2.5) and kept changing backwards and forwards, and felt so mean leaving it on two, so back to three it went. It was a decent story, it just needed rewriting.


      • I hate the five star system . . . it offends my engineering sensibilities. Give me a 10-scale any day, or even a 3-scale (thumbs up, thumb down, no thumb).

        The five-level system works if you define each level. I used to have a five level crap system on my blog, but few readers ever used it. Maybe I should switch it on again (Crappy, Less Crappy, So-So Crap, Decent Crap, and WOW! Great Crap).

        If I do review books (rarely) and review movies (less rarely), the rating is based on whether I would ever read the book or watch the movie again (that’s the positive), and crying for having wasted a number of hours of my life (the negative). The middle is I wasn’t crying, but will not read it again.

        Regardless of the rating, you have to explain the why.


        • I hate anything with an odd number anyway as everyone pitches for the middle, eg three. Including me. Although I would prefer 2.5 as being logically more middle than three. Equally four level crap would be better than five level.

          Would I repeat the experience is a good gauge, except of course, there are good books that I wouldn’t choose to read again, however good they are. So even that isn’t perfect.

          The difficulty is explaining the why. To me, ‘I didn’t like it’ ‘it was badly written’ aren’t really enough. Anyway, as I’ve not written any 2* reviews it’s not a worry for now.


  6. No sign of Book Day in the local town…..and we’re p.n.g. with the local expat book group…so I read a few books to celebrate.
    ‘A.A. Gill is Away’ surprised me…the man can actually feel something and I liked his view of travel writing – don’t prepare, just go and then distil what you have seen.

    Margaret Wisser’s ‘The Rituals of Dinner’ was a history cum anthropology of meals and associated customs. I read enough about the Maya to confirm my distaste for the brutes and enjoyed the description of the lengths the self appointed in crowd will go to to keep out the hoi polloi.
    I’m about to start Michael Arnold’s ‘Bodyline Hypocrisy’ which i suspect will reveal all concerning whingeing Aussies.


      • If I weren’t p.n.g. I’d start to worry….
        I order through Better World Books U.K. (I used to use their U.S. branch but parcels of books on offer mysteriously did not arrive)….they offer ex library books at good prices and have free shipping worldwide. Might be worth you having a look.
        If I want something in particular I ask friends to buy it and send it me.


  7. Interesting . . . As for the poll, I voted for yes with explanation even though I don’t personally like reading professional book reviews (or movie reviews, for that matter).

    I prefer making my way to disappointment all on my own.


    • I used to read book reviews in the papers pre Internet days and if I liked the sound of a book, I’d usually go into town on the Saturday and browse around Waterstones. Or Dillons. And usually bump into people from work which was slightly annoying on the weekend. Invariably one of my bosses who now holds the top medical job in the UK.

      Some of the reviews on Amazon/GR are amazingly detailed. I don’t know where these people find the time or the inclination.

      These days I like pot luck books, just reading something however I come across it, yours is a prime example. That way I read books I wouldn’t normally choose, and find things I unexpectedly enjoy. I still like spy/intrigue/thriller/suspense sort of books best, or at the other extreme, humour/satire. And it’s usually fairly easy to decide whether or not something will hold your interest for longer than five minutes.


  8. I’m so glad someone took the time to make sure you at least enjoyed Book Day a little. It’s very difficult to fill a bag with books for someone who is such a prolific reader. By the time you finish going through the bag you sound like a frog, reddit, reddit, reddit.
    At least next year you’ll be able to go yourself and not have to worry about the stairs.
    Keep getting better,
    Cwtch xxxxxx


    • I’ve no idea whether it was intentional. I even wondered if he’d gone over to the hall and snaffled the books from there. Either way, it was nice. I think I’ve only read half a dozen. There’s even an Agatha Christie in there, can’t remember whether I’ve read that. I think I read all the Poirot ones 40 years or more ago.

      Let’s hope so! Thanks. :)


  9. Nothing here about free books or even book day, pity.But I have given most of my (paper) books to an animal rescue shop. I only keep books that I do not have copies of in e version. Maybe I am saving a forest? and yes if a book is really not good write a poor review, The readers deserve it.


    • Shame, I think it is a good day to have and promote with events. I don’t think we have any charity shops here. The shop rental would be too high. Hence people pass books around.

      The nearest I’ve got is writing three or even four star reviews for books that are full of gushing five star ones, and I often wonder if we’ve read the same book. Still Amazon’s love it, like it, it’s ok, don’t like it, loathe it, rating is pretty simplistic. It doesn’t account for not liking something that is well-written, or liking the storyline yet it could be better written or edited.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One tends to forget how shallow some can be if you think of 50 shades which I did not even read. It is the emperor’s clothes all over again. There is a site where one can get free ebooks quite legally with the permission of the author. I think it would be writers who would like to get people to read them. Good idea for a newbie 😊


        • I wait for the latest bestsellers to fall in my lap when their novelty value is over. Ive had. Eyre and Rowling that way, I’m sure James will turn up. I originally thought 50 was some trendy contemp lit book with an interesting title about the nuances of life :D I suppose in one respect it is, just not contemp lit. There are loads of free ebooks. Some are good.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Our local school gave out book tokens for World Book Day but other than that it was business as usual, which is a shame because so many schools now allow their children to dress as a character from their favourite book, which is a great way to install a love of reading at an early age. A few of us parents have already started lobbying the school to do something more for next year!
    As for the books you’ve received, Northern lights is probably my favourite of those I’ve read. Great ideas and an interesting evisceration of organised religion.
    Talking of evisceration, or not in this case, thank you for your lovely reviews. I’m delighted you enjoyed my books and especially your affection for O’Driscoll. He was one of those characters that came to me fully formed, demanding to be heard. How could I resist?


    • Schools are the classes places that should make a big fuss about it. I think last year, there were also special events for children and I seem to remember some dressing up going on. Still a book token isn’t to be sniffed at. They do signings/authors’ stalls as part of the day here, which I think is a great opportunity. I was surprised how many local authors there were.

      I never thought about it on a clever level, I just read it on a fantasy level as I immediately fell in love with Lara’s daemon. As I originally read it from the library, I can read it again now at leisure. On religion, I like MT McGuire’s portrayal of religion in Few Are Chosen (I’ve reviewed it on here somewhere), and still on the topic, Prince Caspisn was included in my goody bag, so I’ll be re-reading that with an adult eye.

      At least with your books I didn’t have the dilemma of whether or not to write a poor review! You worked hard on your characters, either that, or it came naturally to you. I also like Zachary though. I’m a sucker for evil baddies. Did you have the ending planned when you started it? Because when Juliet has that revelatory scene, it was brilliant. I must re-read it as soon as I get time now that I’ve read Second. It will be an interesting exercise.


      • A lot of other schools had dress up days, just not ours. Don’t worry, we’re working on it ;-)
        With endings, I tend to know the ‘what’, but not the ‘how’. In Absent Souls, how the reveal was delivered changed a couple of times and I had to go back and forth within the story to ensure there was enough information so the revelation made sense but not too much so it was obvious what would happen.
        I also tried hard to get the balance between having a satisfying conclusion to the book but at the same time leaving enough to keep readers interested in coming back for book 3. That’s where the advantage of having multiple plot-lines comes in (as long as you retain the reader’s interest in each equally).


        • Nothing wrong with adding something different to a boring school day. Not that I would have liked dressing up, mind!

          I didn’t see it coming at all, one reason why it was so good. I think if the strength of the writing is good enough, you don’t need a cliffhanger. Unlike Dickens and his weekly stories ;)

          Have you thought of doing an outtakes? ie a post about various draft options and why you rejected them or whatever? Or you could stick it in your newsletter so you aren’t putting spoilers in your blog. Not my idea, I read about it on MT’s blog, I add quickly.


          • That’s a great idea (thanks also to my fellow Suffolk writer MT). It’ll take some thought on how to do it without spoilers but I’ll give it a go.


          • Forgot you were from the same place! I think she did a poll and that was the most popular, it was an interesting post about ‘how do I get people to sign up to my newsletter’ and I remembered the outtakes idea thinking it was really interesting, but I’ve read all her books, so it would be to me.

            In terms of Absent and the revelatory scene, it would be great for people who had read it, but def spoil it for those who hadn’t!


  11. How have I managed to float along all this time without knowing there’s such a thing as World Book Day? Oh well. I’ve just finished “The Invention of Wings” for my book group which I’d give a 3 out of 5 rating. Ready to launch into “Outlander” to see what all the fuss is about. I finished the first of the Terry Pratchett “Discworld” series and, while there is much to commend it, it has not made a convert to fantasy out of me. I do plan to read book 2 just to see what happens next to key characters. Is this how you get reeled into these series? And of course a reviewer should write negative reviews if they feel the book is dreck. Why not?


    • Dunno! Too busy reading and exploring old houses? I’m not a fantasy fan per se, boring thrillers, mysteries, suspense sort of person, but I do enjoy good fantasy. I shall have to tackle another Pratchett I suppose, having been supremely bored with the first one I read. Then, I think I can reasonably say I think he’s crap. One Rowling was more than enough.

      Well if you read all the bleating by some authors about why has someone been mean enough to only give me four stars, please make allowances for us new authors, we don’t know what we’re doing … etc etc you’d realise why I asked. And that’s the tip of the iceberg.


      • Yes, well, I don’t give every performance a standing ovation either. Only four stars? Oh, don’t get me started on the whole “everybody’s a winner” mentality.
        I’ve never read Rowling either, Kate, not for any particular reason, just haven’t got around to it.


        • Aaagh! You sound like philosopher mouse (below) who often writes about there are no losers only winners. Not much of an intro to life is it?

          Don’t waste your time on Rowling. Never appealed to me but when it appeared in a goody bag I read it. Took me days. I normally eat books. Yawn, yawn.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. i always like the way you craft book reviews. No blue ribbons for all, but no ugly “how dare you bother the world with your rubbish” either. Honest reviews are good. Doesn’t mean you have to be cruel.
    How thoughtful of your neighbor to bring you books and to share what he’s done with. That’s done a bit here around camp grounds and state/national park areas where there are book shelves in public places and a “take one, leave one” philosophy. I’ve used those on vacation. Sometimes airports, too. “Little Free Libraries” are becoming more frequent even around here. (now a commercial venture for some building a box for you in case you can’t – or want a pretty one, I guess.) It’s even in WIKI – that was a surprise.
    Real books offer a unique experience – and kids especially need to have that. Ebooks have a place – for me, travel and dr. appointments. But I still like libraries and real books. We haven’t heard a peep locally about World Book Day this year. Sad. Way the world has gone, I guess. So glad you reminded me!


    • And I was waiting for you to say, everyone wants good reviews, all five stars, no one should feel left out, no losers, only winners. Trouble with honest reviews is that a fair critical review can be seen as cruel.

      Not heard of LFL. Like bookcrossing but the books are protected. Such cute houses.

      Interesting how many people haven’t heard about WBD this year. Sad indeed.


      • Sadly with the education level now, valid critical reviews aren’t always understood. Lost art along with real debating….and telling truth – with compassion maybe, but telling the honest factual truth.
        Sun! (And Gib often sounds like a haven)


        • I think that’s right. And the fact that spelling and grammar aren’t necessary for ‘good’ writing …

          Well, reviews are relative. But if I can give examples of how prose could be improved, or where mistakes have crept in, I think that is pretty factual. As much as it gets.

          Gib is Gib. Not sure what it is. Just that I’m here so there we are. Windy today. Hope the washing is drying :)

          Liked by 1 person

  13. No mention of World Book Day here either but no matter, for me every day is book day :) I’ve filed Helen’s mention of Better World books away for future reference. I’m trying to borrow from the library more than buy even second hand, or acquire freebies as we’re running out of shelf space… any space.
    Thank you for the multiple choice poll. A couple of recent elsewhere have been single option only, with no Other option… so not me. For your poll, I didn’t need other because the choices were well thought out!
    Tolerance, celebrations and value of reading do make Gib sound attractive. As I mentioned before Mardi Gras here this weekend, and even last night -Friday- going into the weekend many people, lots of visitors, were out and about in our neighborhood. It’s a great vibe when people can celebrate.


    • There’s no way I’ve enough space for the books I’ve got. They need new homes. Well, the ones I don’t want to keep do.

      I normally do multipolls as I usually want to tick at least three boxes, so I figure others might too.

      Mardi Gras in Sydney? Party on big time in my old neighbourhood, or rather just up the road in Paddington Street. Didn’t realise it was though, not noticed anything here. Back in Spain, the school kids in the village dress up and parade around which is nice, I think.


  14. Great writing as usual.
    I think reviewers should write what is in their mind, whether negative or positive. And when negative, I think it best to make suggestions of how the work can be improved. If all they are doing is to present a negative critique and offer no suggestion, they can take a rope for all I care.


    • Well that’s clear then Mak!

      Trouble is, in some cases, the only way a book would be improved is by going back to the beginning and starting again. Or in fact, not even bothering at all. Which, is honest, but hardly helpful.


      • I believe it is best to be honest. If a guy can’t make it in music, we tell them to try another trade, maybe running why not with writing? If a guy can’t write, by all means, tell them to not flood the market with a badly written book, we already have libraries full of such


          • I honestly don’t.
            I think that explains why there are so many bad books that should never have been published in the first place, delicate egos and people ready to assuage them


          • I suspect.
            In architecture school, by the time we left, even delicate egos became resolute. The lecturers would put you down in more ways than one.


          • I was a guest critique for some UK architecture students here in Gib on a field visit. It was a good exercise in constructive commenting. A few students could have done with being ripped into.

            My best training was as a journalist. Nothing like being criticised in a full newsroom. We’re not talking students here, there are working adults, and still getting a strip torn off in public. Harsh but effective lessons.


          • Nah, they are in a competition to be the most righteous and the first in the queue to be more saved than others. Or they have too much time on their hands and need to get a life and or a job.


    • Some of us don’t write every day. And what would you like to see in the follow-up O Wonderful Deity, Peas be upon you?

      PS I see you managed to niggle Wally again with your pestering. Trouble is, his only interesting posts are when atheists visit …


      • When I said follow up, I thought you intending to do an edit regarding the survey, that’s all.
        Wally is a brain dead dick.
        I am busy chatting with your mate Dale.
        Oh, he’s a suave charmer, is he not? Bet he has the woman lining up! lol…


        • Hmm. Still not sure what you mean. I wrote ETA because I’d forgotten to include the poll initially. I’m wondering if this is one of those polls where people answer one way, but would answer differently if it included them.

          Wally is perfectly nice to me. Must be your large stone feet tramping all over the place.

          Dale is your mate. Your pal in fact. I had an outburst of giggles reading your reply … pal. He wouldn’t know his misogynist arse from his equally misogynist elbow. He’s not worth my time for engagement, but I did enjoy your comments.


          • I meant I was expecting a ”This is the result of the poll” type post.
            And I anonymously ticked the first one, in case you wondered.

            On saying this it brings into focus the true value of a review – not to rubbish your creds – you are good at what you do – but personally, I have never found a review influenced me one way or another.
            But that’s me.
            As an example:
            I thought Unseen Academicals (Pratchett) was goddamn awful yet many reviews I read were glowing.
            Either way, I would have bought the book. Because I enjoy Pratchett.
            Once upon a time I was an avid fan of Clive Custler. A while back I borrowed one of his books and quit after fifty pages.
            I couldn’t face another page of bloody Dirk Pitt!
            The point being, of course, subjectivity.
            No doubt reviews work for some folk, but, as a reader, they never have for me.


          • Ah right. Gotcha. Will do, cos I can add it to ‘what books people like’ results. Which surprised me, memoirs and satire! Not necessarily together, but there’s an idea … Roughseas’ satirical memoirs no less. Anyway, I was updating my book review policy to reflect the poll results of what people like, so I shall only feature books on here that people prefer. Unless I think otherwise of course.

            I didn’t wonder. But seeing as I have given you a decent review for Almost and pointed out some errors I think I have ticked that box. I need to find a couple of books of people who don’t read my blog and use a couple of pars as examples of truly awful. One for poor writing, and one for sloppy proofreading. Not that it’s difficult. I’m just not sure who lurks.

            Reviews don’t influence me either. But, they do publicise books in which I may be interested, similarly, I do the same. Some people follow up on the books I mention, so therefore it is of some value. It doesn’t even need to be a good review (not that I write too many of those), it’s just whatever piques someone’s interest. It’s not about accepting someone else’s view of a book, it’s more, does this appeal to me based on what I’ve read? Is it worth parting with my money? is the bottom line.

            Our ever-generous neighbour seemed to go through a Cussler phase. Or one of his mates did. Whatever. I thought the impossible scenarios Pitt got out of became ridiculous, ie even more ridiculous than they already were, and I got totally lost when we had Dirk Pitt and son of Dirk, also called … Dirk Pitt.

            Reviews don’t have to be subjective. That’s the difference between I like a book, and this book is well written.

            Liked by 1 person

          • But this is the point: Pratchett is an excellent writer but there is some of his material that just does not gel with me, while others look at me as if I am mad for not liking this or that.


          • Just because someone writes one acclaimed book, doesn’t mean everything they write is gold. As you may or may not remember I read his Borrowers type book and was left totally unimpressed.

            Anyway, after your acidy comments I am persevering at editing a couple of random extracts I have found to show why they are crap. I mean, could be written better.

            Should be a riveting post for me, if no one else …


          • Acidy? Is that even a proper word?
            I think you made that up, didn’t you?
            A newspaper word right? ;)
            Are you getting crabby again?
            Stop hanging out on religious blogs – seems you can’t handle them.
            You need balls -metaphoric ones of course.
            Go and annoy Wally and get some practice.

            It was my personal take. Which like everything is subjective.


          • I think it’s a nice word :) crab acidy apple huh?

            I don’t hang out on them. But when I do I don’t get banned or get told I’m boring 😛

            Me and Wally are pals. Like you and Sailordale. I don’t annoy pals.

            Anyway, must go back to nicely trying to improve someone’s appalling excerpt that they helpfully chose to post for all and sundry and acidy Roughseas

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, Jesus….nightmares…. But I still think you and Wally tip the scale.
            I can imagine you standing side by side admiring a Nativity Scene ….

            ”Well, Roughseas, what do you think? Isn’t it beautiful? That’s the Lord that is.”

            ”Yeah , pretty. But I thought Jesus was white. Or whitish, how come there’s a black kid in the manger?”

            ”Wha ….!”

            ”Oh, ship. Can someone call 999. This bloke has had an infarction.”

            I need a coffee.


  15. I would not even attempt to top this! Hilarious.
    I must now find an appropriate Wally /Roughseas song t close and then toddle off to read…

    Delete away …


  16. What a lucky lady you are and it’s wonderful that there are still kind folks like that in this world Kate. The books sounds quite interesting but I’ll stick to movies thanks. They should have a World Movie day here. I would love to get some free movies. :lol:

    ♥ Big Hugs ♥ to you, Snowy and Pippa. ♥


    • We try to get on with our neighbours wherever we are, well he does. I’m only interested if they have animals 😀 actually the book neighbour used to lend us DVDs too, but the bootlegger who made them for him stopped doing it. Partner just browses youtube now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hahaha! Sounds like me. Our best neighbours are at the back. Such darlings, just like you. They have 2 Schauzers – totally adorable – and when people treat their dogs like their children, they are on the top of my list and they have all my respect. We don’t do the bootlegged DVD’s. I download what I want and put them on DVD and lend it to them as well. :D

        Liked by 1 person

  17. A wide and enthralling topic. Although I didn’t take that option, I believe that anyone who puts out a book is sticking their neck out, and if the chopper is warranted …
    Some people show a mixture of unwarranted conceit and stupidity even to launch into print. They deserve to be invited to take up knitting. However, if there is an enthralling tale to tell, but they lack the ability to do it, is it really ethical to pay a ghostwriter? Or, to rely on a poor editor to (virtually) perform the same function?
    I must admit that these barely literate celebrities who come across in memoirs as good writers do irritate me.


    • Yeah, it fascinates me. Before self-publishing, books were published and got good or bad reviews. Just like concerts, plays, films, musicals etc.

      If they can’t write, what makes you think they can knit? Luckily I’ve not read any barely literate celebrity memoirs nor am I likely to. Regarding the ethics of ghostwriting, or using an editor, that’s an interesting one. If that’s the deal made and the ghostwriter gets paid what they want, then both sides are happy, even if technically it’s a bio written from the celebrity’s perspective, or an autobio written by someone else :D I wouldn’t mind ghostwriting for the money. Probably wouldn’t want my name on it anyway. The problem with heavy editing is that if you end up rewriting, as you can, it needs to be reflected financially – and usually isn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If a book won universal acclaim for the quality of the writing of the celebrity, I doubt if he/she/it would ever admit that the genius was that of a ghostwriter!
        I can only agree that heavy editing often amounts to ghostwriting – without the rewards.


  18. I heard a comment recently where someone on the radio ( sorry, only one ear on the topic at the time) was bemoaning the fact that to them, there seemed to be no more modern classics being written. All books, or certainly the ones this commentator was coming across, seemed to be written with one eye on the film rights. I have to say, that I know that feeling. I have read new novels in recent years where after about 50 pages I’ve thought that I’m not the audience – the film script commissioner is. “One Day” by whatsisname is a case in point. Sadly, or happily, I keep going back to Garcia Marquez, Salman Rushdie, JG Ballard to re-establish the bar. I haven’t read anyone in a very long time who is raising it.


    • I think that’s a good point. Certainly one ‘how to write’ book I’ve read, told authors to write their novel as though it was a film, to envision the scenes, and remember people these days have a short attention span. Hence tweets I suppose.

      One Day? Not in the life of Ivan Denisovitch? I don’t think Solzhenitsyn could be classed with some of the trite trash that is being churned out now. Is there another One Day?

      Different reads for different times, sometimes I will read a light book to get rid of whatever is clogging up my brain. I’ve also got The Moor’s Last Sigh open for when I want a more thoughtful read.


  19. Are you interested in books set in Gibraltar? I’ve just been notified by Goodreads of the imminent publication of a novel called “A Dangerous Place” by Jacqueline Winspear. It’s the latest in a series of books about private investigator Maisie Dobbs. The earlier stories were set in London, but this one is, I think, about Maisie investigating a crime in Gibraltar in 1937. I’ll come back and tell you what I think when I’ve read it – but it would be interesting to hear a local’s opinion.


  20. I’m re-reading Charles Bukowski at the moment, I like how healthy and sensible his books make me feel… not to mention the fact that they are written in a great, gut-punch style. And my commute these days is being leavened by Jon Ronson’s latest on public shaming – he makes some very interesting points with his usual light touch.


Thanks for visiting roughseas whatever your interest and, if you comment, a bigger thanks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s