Archive for April, 2006

child’s play revisited

In a previous post about Children's Literature I used my first meeting with Larry O'Loughlin to describe how authors for Children seem to have a stronger connection and vulnerability with their audience. In O'Loughlin's book 'Is Anybody Listening' he details both the everyday trauma's of seventeen-year-old Laura and the horrific scenes of children working in forced labour factories. This is a book for Young Adults and contains details that are both emotional and terrifyingly true.

Reading it when it was published in 1999 'Is Anybody Listening' was not an easy book to read. It is an honest depiction of cruelty and deprivation against children that is harrowing to read and even more difficult to acknowledge as truth. Irish Children's Literature is filled with books for Young Adults that go further than the Harry Potter stereotype. There is a great number of books for Young Adults by Irish writers that are encompassed by the genre 'Children's Lit' and often overlooked as a result.

Looking back on some of the best on offer I came up with a list of recommended authors, in no specific order; Larry O'Loughlin, Tom Lennon, Siobhán Parkinson and Aubrey Flegg. Additions to the list are welcome, or arguments against some of those included. 

New Irish and Scottish Gaelic poems are wanted for the next issue of the celebrated anthology An Guth 4. For more information, please contact Rody Gorman at anguth[AT]btinternet[DOT]com. (via Poetry Ireland)

if Stowe can do it, why can’t I?

Stowe Boyd's t-shirt experiment has ended, with great results. Boyd has sold his torso to the highest bidder on ebay for a shocking $15 per day! He has made a total of $3600 for just wearing a corporate t-shirt. If Stowe can make this much for simply offering to wear a t-shirt on his blog then there is still hope that I will get a job interview or two from my own.

Anything is possible online, I think that it has been proven by now!

Little, Brown and Co., the publisher of How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, has removed the book from shops. (Full story via The Crimson)

regularity and thanks

Thank you to everyone that emailed links/suggestions to me since yesterday, and to Damien for the link which probably resulted in most of those emails. No news yet on any interviews/offers. Back to regular posting, with a quick link dump:

Robert Scoble's link to the Make Me Switch blog has come under heavy fire in the comments, a lot of people arguing that the money should be used for better causes. I agree in principle, but Make Me Switch isn't a bad idea either.

One such better cause is available at WanderingScribe. (via Bill Dyke) WanderingScribe is a homeless London blogger who has lived in her car for five months and was featured on the BBC on Monday. Bill is also homeless, an Englishman in Amsterdam, who has a very interesting blog about his own experiences.

A more pessimistic view on Kaavya Viswanathan, That Girl Who Writes Stuff. (See earlier post) And lastly, the DaVinci Code courtcase judgment code has been broken – details via The Guardian.

anything is possible, apparently

Following on from recent successes, two short-term job offers, Tom Rafferty's job experiment and the evolving discussion around the web after the boston.com article I found Scoble's link to Stefan Constantienescu very interesting. Steve wants a new Mac, and has so far raised $1000 towards his goal. Steve has come under a lot of fire as a result of his virtual 'begging' – and has defended himself by linking to other projects before his: here. All of those mentioned in the post have been successful.

I'm beginning to believe that anything is possible on the web… and as a result I am going to try a few experiments of my own over the next few weeks. I am about to graduate, hopefully, from the University of Wolverhampton with a BA in Journalism and Editorial Design and with several years professional experience as a journalist, designer and now, as a result of this blog, in marketing.

I'm moving back to Dublin in the beginning of June and I hope to start out on a large creative project after I get settled, find a job and design a website for the new project. I think I have sorted somewhere to live, so next on my agenda is a job. So here is my unashamed grovelling: Can anyone help me with this?

All of my details are available on the blog, here and here as well as on the main site. More detailed information is available by request, along with professional and academic references. If a kid can get a psp and free games by just drawing pictures of one, then anything is possible.

double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

plagiarism n.; The act of plagiarizing, something plagiarized. From plagiary. Plagiarist n., plagiaristic adj.

In the wake of the Da Vinci Code court case another plagiarism accusation has been raised, this time against 19 year old Kaavya Viswanathan. Viswanathan was offered a two book contract at 17 by Little Brown & Company two years ago – the first novel being How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, about a girl living in the suburbs of New Jersey. Viswanathan made history as being one of the youngest authors to seal a two novel contract and have the rights to her first novel bought by Dreamworks.

However, earlier this month, fans of Megan F. McCafferty noted strong similarities between McCafferty's two novels Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings and Viswanathan's Opal Metha. The young author claimed her innocence in a formal statement earlier this week: "I am a huge fan of her work and can honestly say that any phrasing similarities between her works and mine were completely unintentional and unconscious."

The statement was later rejected by McCafferty's publishers upon revision of the similarities: "The extensive taking from Ms. McCafferty’s books is nothing less than an act of literary identity theft. Based on the scope and character of the similarities, it is inconceivable that this was a display of youthful innocence or an unconscious or unintentional act." McCafferty's agent, Joanna Pulcini, said that she had found 45 similarities between the two authors. (source: The Harvard Crimson)

The Harvard Crimson, which broke the story on Sunday, has recorded at least 12 strong similarities between the two novelists: here and further similarities here. In comparison to Dan Browns' case, Viswanathan has indisbutably used large pieces of text that are almost identical to McCafferty's original manuscripts'. Not surprisingly, the novels involved in the dispute have experienced a large surge in sales – with Opal Metha jumping from 178 to 90 on amazon.com's bestseller list.

'Cryptomnesia'

It will always be difficult for anyone to be completely original when creating a literature, art or music but the similarities between the two texts are undeniable. Whether Viswanathan's plagiarism was intentional or not, cryptomnesia, can be heavily disputed however. Cryptomnesia is defined as the 'appearance in consciousness of memory images which are not recognized as such but which appear as original creations'. (Webster's Third New Int. Dict.)

Although idea and plot borrowing can occur unknowingly it is difficult to believe that Viswanathan was unaware of what she was doing, although not impossible.

LINK: The 71 page judgement from the Da Vinci Code court-case has a code of its own: Yet to be broken, the Guardian have full details.

two blogs, one post and a hat trick?!

Just a quick and final note for the day – this being the third post since this morning. A quick and unapologetic link list:

Tuppenceworth.ie has temporarily picked up on the Disillusioned Lefty's Culture Monday until the Lefty's are back at least. Starting with Larkin and an introduction to Ginsberg the unsatisfied cultural void has been filled with Poetry Monday. Second on the link list is Paul Sweeney's From Boston To Berlin – who has interesting criticisms and insights into Irish and American poetry. There are some really interesting things to note – honest and forthright there is a lot to be read!

That is it from me – three posts in one day, I think I have more than made up for previous discrepancies. The blog-guilt became too much for me and now I am even starting to make excuses. Time to stop typing.

a heartbreaking blog post of staggering genius

Following the manic, exciting and fast-paced biography that was 'A Heart Breaking Work of Staggering Genius' I have finally just read Dave Eggers' second novel – 'They Shall Know Our Velocity'. Discovering Eggers' by accident, the best way to discover any author, his first novel was an electric retelling of his own life after his both his parents' died of cancer. Dave Eggers' was left to bring up his eight-year-old brother while he was only twenty-one. And yet with all this tragedy, death and upset the book is a perfectly humourous and well-written, albeit highly self-critical, work.

'They Shall Know our Velocity' surrounds death, and mourning again. As two friends, Will and Hand, mourn the loss of their childhood friend the decision is made to take in a one-week world tour to give away the money that their friend left to Will. Choosing destinations randomly the pair dispense as much of the $32,000 as fast as they can to people who need it.
Surrounding the death of their friend, Will relives many childhood memories as they travel, and imagines conversations with both of his friends. Trying to come to terms with the loss of someone so close both characters push the boundaries of their own physical existence and mental strengths. The novel follows Will as he tries to find answers and a new noise to fill the hole that was left after his friend died, travelling the globe in a week to find inspiration. Or intervention.

Death, humour and pain mangle themselves together to create a well of mixing emotions in the book – both characters are well developed while simultaneously being malnourished and indeterminable. Dave Eggers has a narrative style that is highly original and ledgible while being very recognisable, descriptive and highly charged. He also possesses' that very rough cool that surrounds the gen-x generation – a witty, dry and energetic humour that can engage almost anyone. He uses the energy of his experience, and of that decade, to create a strong and unique voice. Somber, brilliant and impossible, 'You Shall Know Our Velocity' is a triumph for the voice of a time I wish I had been part of.

LINK: Unphotographable.com – for those pictures that you wish you had a camera for.