Tag Archives: books

Top Ten Books I Recently Added To My TBR Pile

31 Mar

842e0-toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday challenge from The Broke and the Bookish is to list ten books from my to-be-read pile. My TBR pile is huge, I’m even doing a challenge this year focused on clearing some of it, so making this list was a good way of focusing my mind on why I want to read some of the books loitering in that pile.

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Top Ten Books From My Childhood/Teen Years That I Would Love To Revisit

24 Mar

842e0-toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday challenge from The Broke and The Bookish is to list ten books from your childhood and teen years which you would like to revisit. This was a tough challenge for me because I spent most of my time reading until I hit university and found that juggling work and a social life left less time for books.But eventually I narrowed it down, and now I just want to ignore my giant TBR pile and re-read all of my childhood favourites.

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Book Review: The Old Man and the Sea

12 Feb

Back to the Classics Challenge: Classic Novella

Title: The Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway

I picked this book up on a whim in a shop near my office, attracted only by the fact that it was a small slim volume which would fit neatly into my bag for the train journey home. But I am very glad that I did. Continue reading

Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When it Comes To Romances In Books

11 Feb

I’m trying out something new today, the Top Ten Tuesday meme from The Broke and The Bookish. There’s a new top ten list challenge posted every week, all of them related to books and reading. Now, I love lists and I love reading so what could be better? Today’s challenge is to list ten things you like or dislike when it comes to romances in books. It should have been finished by midnight to make it a proper Top Ten Tuesday, but I’ve been out this evening at a creative writing night and have only just been able to put the finishing touches on my list. Will try harder next week!

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Book Review: World War Z

24 Jan
World War Z cover (Sergey Galyonkin)

Image: Sergey Galyonkin 

Title: World War Z (An Oral History of the Zombie War)

Author: Max Brooks

I definitely got out of my comfort zone with this book. I’m not a fan of horror in general, and zombies in particular are at the top of my ‘Things Julie Doesn’t Read About’ list. But my housemate convinced me that World War Z was not your average zombie novel and I was certainly pleasantly surprised. Continue reading

Festival of Education – The Facebook Generation

13 Jul

This will be my final post on the Festival of Education, so I thought it would be fitting for it to be about the closing debate, which was on the so-called ‘Facebook Generation’. As a member of this generation, or at least of the Internet Generation (as the panel agreed that, at only seven years old, Facebook is not yet old enough to warrant a generation), this was particularly interesting to me, although as none of the panelists were of the generation themselves I was prepared to hear some not exactly flattering things about us.

And this was partially true, but the panel (which was composed of Niall Ferguson, Sarah Churchwell, Harvey Goldsmith, Ben Hammersley and Jenni Russell) did at least have the decency to be divided on the issue. So while Harvey Goldsmith argued that the Internet has produced a generation who are “tech-savvy, but don’t read and certainly can’t spell”, Ben Hammersley countered that learning to use the never-ending stream of technological gadgets will teach us to adapt to our constantly changing world. But is Facebook, and indeed the Internet in general, a help or a hindrance to our education?

Of course, it does take up vast amounts of our leisure time (and, as any university student knows, large amounts of the time which should not be used for leisure). Niall Ferguson told the room that one quarter of university students read for less than one hour per week, but he was making an important distinction: between reading books, and reading online. This naturally opened a debate on whether reading onscreen is an acceptable substitute for reading traditional books. Harvey Goldsmith again took the hard line, with his belief that “if you read something on a screen, you won’t remember it ten minutes later”, which was opposed by Sarah Churchwell arguing that there is absolutely no difference between screen and paper.

Most of my funds being placed straight into my travel kitty, I haven’t yet forked out for an e-reader, but many of my friends are Kindle converts, and they all say that it’s just as good as reading normal books. Better, in fact, because the e-books are cheaper. Now, never having used one, I can’t speak for the Kindle, but I find that reading for too long on my laptop swiftly gives me a headache, and so I’m reluctant to start singing the praises of e-readers. However, I also believe that any reading is better than none, and I’m a firm advocate or the Internet as a research tool – I certainly wouldn’t have got very far in my degree without it!

The one point raised in the debate that I definitely took umbridge with was the idea that the Internet is stifling creativity. From the number of fantastic writers’ blogs that I’m subscribed to, I can tell you that this is definitely not the case. If anything, it provides an extra outlet for creativity, giving young people places to hone their writing skills (whether that be through original fiction or, dare I say it, fanfiction – which, love it or loathe it, is an excellent way to practice writing for an audience) and receive feedback in a relatively anonymous setting. And it’s not just limited to writing. My younger brother, a keen artist, recently set up an account with deviantART, and it’s a real boost to his confidence to have people comment on his drawings (if you want to check out his stuff, his username is Effervescentshark). So while a lot of our time spent on the Internet may be time wasted, it can be used productively if we set our minds to it.

This, indeed, is the main problem with the Facebook Generation, not that we use the Internet, but how, and especially how much, we use it. And it all boils down to the topic I discussed in my last Festival of Education post, discipline. Self-discipline, when it comes to university students like myself, and parental discipline with the younger Facebook-ers. We need to learn to be less distracted by the Internet, and to keep at least a portion of our lives offline.