Archive for July 2010
It’s been coming up a lot lately for me and I’m really annoyed by the whole idea. They’ve taken childhood classics and revised them to bring them into the modern world. They’ve done this with Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and The Three Investigators and are about to do the same with the Famous Five books.
With the Famous Five books they’re taking out all the old phrases such as, ‘mercy me’ and ‘awful’ swotter’. You can see the article Lashings of editing jolly bad for Blyton books and get more details for yourselves. I don’t understand why everything has to be revised and dumbed down. I think it would be better for the child’s understanding of the world to have them exposed to as much as possible and then explain to them what it used to mean and then relate it to a phrase in today’s language rather than just changing the book. I know they want more money and if they can publish another series of books then that equates to a lot of sales, but my personal belief is that it’s better to publish them as they were. I wouldn’t mind if they proofread them properly and edited out the few typos that are there, though.
The Bible is the world’s most read book. I’m sure therefore it is the world’s most discussed book (that is discussed not disgusted, although if a book could speak it might tell us it was disgusted but that’s another story). Squid Ink seems to have the water and the fish, but is missing the loaves. Does it matter if Squid Ink is missing the loaves, does Squid Ink eat bread? I will have to ask the artist.
Pulp fiction was of great importance to the working classes. These were people who weren’t earning a lot of money and they couldn’t afford to buy many magazines until pulp fiction arrived. 1896 was when Argosy Magazine was first published, it was published on cheap wood pulp paper as opposed to the glossy magazines which were published on glossy paper. Pulp magazines cost 10c and glossy magazines cost 25c. Published by Frank Munsey they introduced cheap entertainment to the masses.
If you browse this Wikipedia article you can find the names of many magazines which gave so much pleasure to so many. They covered so many different genres including detective, fantasy and science fiction, they were the precursor to the penny dreadfuls and short fiction magazines in the nineteenth century. This wonderful era was phased out during the 1950s due to heavy competition from paperback novels and television.
So many writers got their start writing for pulp magazines. A number of them made a good living from this writing. Edgar Rice Burroughs (John Carter of Mars) was very conscious of the money to be made from writing for the pulps and wrote for maximum financial reward. Max Brand wrote mostly literary westerns under 26 different pen names. Jack London, author of Call to the Wild, was threatening suicide and receiving rejection after rejection when his story was accepted by The Black Cat. Dashiel Hammet was a private detective before becoming a crime writer for the pulps.
Frank Munsey was often quoted as saying ‘the story is more important than the paper it was printed on’. This was a fantastic idea in any age and current publishers could take note and learn much from Frank Munsey. Munsey was ruthless and eager to make money due to an upbringing in poverty, he started magazines and finished them abruptly when they didn’t make money.
I could go on forever, but I’ll come back next week with a little more about the writers.
I was invited to a media screening of Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, I took with me a good friend and her young son. They’re in the right demographic and didn’t want to go alone. I’m not excited at attending movies by myself, I’ve done it on occasion and it just hasn’t felt right.
Anyway, it was a lovely little movie and it will be released in cinemas on the 5th of August and then to DVD and Blue-Ray on the 15th September. The story is about Tinker Bell and how she meets a human, or maybe it’s about how humans meet Tinker Bell the fairy. Anyway, it’s a feel good story with some gorgeous graphics, Disney has taken great pains to ensure it looks just fabulous, they have paid great attention to detail. I didn’t know any of the voices, but I should have as Lucy Liu was in it, she’s the only name I recognised but if you’ve seen some recent children’s movies you’ll recognise more than me. The problem when your kids grow up is you don’t get to see many kids movies unless you take someone else’s children.
There are a couple of issues they deal with in this movie. The issues of friends and helping them when they’re in trouble is pushed quite a number of times throughout the movies, in big ways as well as small ways. Comforting friends and also fixing things and making them work are also in this movie.
You will find the usual spinoffs that come with movies these days. Last night I saw the ad for the figurines so your child can play fairies and the Disney website shows the books and colouring books you can buy if you haven’t had enough of fairies after a couple of days.
I’m just going to go down memory lane for a few moments. The first thing I noticed was the Disney logo, not the little logo but the big one which has expanded many times over the years. I remember watching many Disney movies when I was young and seeing the latest logo and how it’s changed but still has enough of the same characteristics that I remember from watching Disney on a Saturday afternoon really took me back. I loved Disney in those days and would watch as many of their movies as I possibly could. Kurt Russell was gorgeous and young when he played Dexter Riley in a series of movies: The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes; Now You See Him Now You Don’t and; The Strongest Man in the World. I loved those movies.
The greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes has been parodied and made into so many movies. He stayed at a non-existent address which has since been ‘located’ and created into a shop. I’ve been there and could have had my photo taken with the cap that he supposedly wore.
I almost didn’t finish this book. Kristen Morrison makes me feel totally inadequate, she is the best mother around and totally puts me to shame. I was feeling incredibly inadequate and depressed about it, but I managed to soldier on and I’m glad I did.
Morrison was a fashion designer and designing a range of women’s wear for pregnant women when the family decided to have another child. Gryffin was born with Down’s Syndrome and Morrison decided to give up her career and spend her time researching the best ways to help him and then putting them all into place. With a loving, but often absent, husband and two very helpful girls, Morrison put together a programme and then put it into action, she continued her research and continued changing the programme as it needed as well as putting together a medical team consisting mostly of alternative approaches to medicine. At the end of the book Gryffin is three and a half and has the outcomes of a normal child for his age; except he can read.
Morrison sent me this book to review and I’d read her website before I agreed to this so I had some idea of what to expect, but while reading the book I was totally taken aback by the enormity of the task she’d set herself. When Gryffin was born there were very few cases of positive outcomes for Down’s Syndrome people, Morrison was told to buy a decent television and ensure Gryffin was comfortable, it’s such a good thing she didn’t listen. She and her mother spent enormous amounts of time on the internet combing through so much chaff to find the wheat. She was not medically trained and had to learn and understand many, many medical terms. She had to learn and understand the programmes she was putting into place and in so many cases she had to devise her own programmes and document them. Gryffin has a regime that would daunt most people and he just meets it all head-on as does the rest of the family. The older girls helped out a lot and their school friends would come around and help fill in the gaps in the programme.
So, that’s the content of the book and the content just blows me away. I don’t think I can say enough nice things about it. Morrison has defined most of the medical terminology she uses, she has written in simple language so anyone can understand what they’ve done and she’s written it all quite simply and in a straightforward manner. She’s given examples of the programmes and detailed the medication/dietary supplements both she and Gryffin took. There is one little problem and that is the editing, it would benefit from a good editor but it’s still quite easy to follow and understand. I can honestly say I understand the problems families with Down’s Syndrome people face far more than I did before.
I’m going to recommend this book for anyone, not just for parents who are faced with the challenges that life holds for those with a Down’s Syndrome baby. I think it’s about time we all learned a bit more respect for these families.
Kafka was an interesting author. He wrote a number of manuscripts and asked his friend, Max Brod to burn them all after his death, he didn’t seem to have any interest in having them published. I can’t begin to speculate on why this is so and I’m hoping some articles will come to shed some light on his reasons. Brod didn’t honour that request, he believed Kafka made those directions specifically because he knew Brod would ignore them. I suppose that’s a reason, ensuring your friend would keep them and publish them but I just don’t buy it.
I’ve read The Trial and I suspect it hasn’t translated to English very well. One article I read talked about the incredibly long sentences Kafka wrote, with some of them going over a whole page with the impact coming just before the full stop, this is made possible due to German sentence structure where the verb is positioned at the end of the sentence. I just found the English translation to be unwieldy and hard to keep track. I would love to read the original but my German is almost non-existent.
Until recently many of Kafka’s manuscripts were stored in bank vaults in Switzerland. You know the vaults, harder to open than a macadamia nut. They’re being opened now and the contents are being read and examined by a team of lawyers, literary experts and Brod’s secretary’s daughter. You can read the article here.