Thursday, December 26, 2013

Auckland is even better when many people leave for the holidays!

I love to be in Auckland when those who can, travel to other destinations. The roads become more sensible and you get a sense of what it used to be like generations ago. Of course it has many new attractions but some remain the same. I shall let the picture speak for itself. Look at the beautiful volcanic island (Rangitoto Island) behind us. The picture was taken from North Head.

Turkey needs to make up its mind about where it belongs!

We have all seen the terrible pictures of nations been torn apart by religious (or is it just power- hungry politicians?) violence and failed governments. The same can be said for parts of Africa. The proud nation that has given much to the world, Turkey is also at risk of sliding into this position, if things go much further there.
Turkey is moving away from the vision of its modern founder and many in the country must be worried about the direction of its present leader.
Turkey has aspirations to be part of Europe, yet it gives all the signs that it wants to be a' regional power' in the Middle East. The problem is and will continue to be---can it do both? It will not belong in any EU organization if it travels more along the road to being an Islamic Republic, at least not a 'fundamentalist format. Many of its citizens support the direction its leader is travelling but there is a large section of the population that wants something more balanced; a nation that takes into account the aspirations all of its people. It is becoming obvious that trouble is brewing at the upper levels of the Governing party and one has the sense that a 'tip-point' has been reached. The nest few days will tell us much about the future of Turkey. My hope is that Turkey does not descend into the hellish scenes we are witnessing in its near neighbours. Go well, Turkey and may you have the peace you so desperately need.We need you to be a strong and stable influence in the vitally important region you control; but, your direction is just that---YOURS!

Kindle versus the 'real thing.'

As some of you may know, I have been pushing the merits of Kindle and other reading Apps of late, mainly because one of my books, ROSKILL, is available on that platform. You know how to download it, by going to my website at the bottom of the page and following the links. I thought it would be timely for me to launch a discussion about the merits of using these electronic readers, as many of you may have received one in your Xmas stockings. Let's look back at my experience with my Kindle.
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of 'The Luminaries,' by Eleanor Catton,' the Booker Prize winner from New Zealand. The book is a paperback version and the first thing I noticed was the shear size of the book. It comes with a flimsy cover and holding it while reading in bed is quite  task. It flops around and getting used to this medium again is 'interesting.' Yes, I like the feel of a real book but when they come at 700 pages plus, it takes the shift getting used to it. The convenience of using a Kindle or other reading App has some distinct advantages. However, I am not aware of being able to access this wonderful book in an electronic format, as yet. I am sure I would have found the accessing much easier if it was. Maybe if The Luminaries came with a hard cover it would be better, but obviously more expensive.
So would I still recommend that you all go out and buy a Kindle? Of course I'd like that, especially if you then down;loaded my book(s) but I am trying to present an unbiased case here, so I would settle on a position that goes like this.
We are all different and I would never say that an electronic format suits everyone. Indeed I would hate to see the hard copy version of books taking a back seat and despite what some commentators say, I do not believe that Kindles and their like will ever replace the hard copy so many of us swear by. There is a place for both and the future may yet throw up other platforms that exist only in the brains of those who will hoist them on us at a later date.
I will use both formats re my books and those that I read from other authors. You will make up your own minds.
One things I must say is that having started The Luminaries, I have been blown away by the story and the style of this fantastic new author. She has a style that draws you in to the inner workings of the characters. Eleanor taker us to a place where language is king and time is needed to fully enjoy her incredible use of the English language. I have not yet downloaded any Kindle book that is quite so deep and wonderful. Maybe that is because I have been locked into a particular genre; one that lacks the depth that she has uncovered for us. It is a reminder that there is a huge and creative world out there in the books available. I shall continue reading Eleanor's book and then return to a more varied menu on my Kindle, once I have finished.
You----go and try the Kindle books but never forget the libraries and bookshops that overflow with the hard copy versions of the stories we all love.