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Showing posts from March, 2013

Why Punctuation Matters

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I have to admit to being one of those really horrible people who go around correcting punctuation mistakes wherever I see them. I'm the militant wing of the Apostrophe Protection Society. I'm a Lynne Truss groupie.

Recently a company posted on my Facebook wall suggesting I order some of its products for Easter. Their post read, "Easters coming, so order you're personalised gifts now." Naturally I felt obliged to point out to them that people might have more confidence ordering "they're" personalised gifts if they felt that someone at the company was actually literate enough to get the text right.

But it's not just online. Oh no. I don't consider it vandalism to correct the punctuation on official signs. There's a local pet shop where I am no longer welcome after being caught annotating a display (in my defence it read "Corn Snake's") and I took a long walk around Thundersley Common with a black permanent marker shortly aft…

Fifteen Reasons Ebooks are Better than Print

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Sitting on the Tube last week (Circle line, St. James' Park to Liverpool Street, if you must know) I was struck by something about my fellow travellers. There were eight of us in the carriage (so, not rush-hour) and six were reading books. But there wasn't a single book. Two had Kindles, one had a Nook, two more were reading on i-pads and one was using a smartphone. The twenty-first century has well and truly arrived in subterranean London.

So I was a little surprised to see certain comments on a competition in which an author was giving away several copies of his ebook as a prize. Many people were complaining that they didn't like ebooks and would rather have a physical copy, so they weren't entering the competition. I was, frankly, mystified by their attitude, because what's not to love about ebooks?

Now don't get me wrong, I love print books too. I love the smell of a new book, and the smell of an old book. I love flicking through the pages to snatch a glim…

My Facebook Fast

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Sitting in a church meeting a few weeks ago the speaker mentioned that many youth today see Facebook as a substitute for real relationships, waste hours each day on it when they should be doing something more productive, and cut themselves off from their non-Facebook-using relatives because of it.

Never mind the youth, I thought, that's me.

Shortly before that my friend and co-author, Hellen Riebold, had told me about a sermon preached at her church on the importance of reading the scriptures. The pastor, Dave Smith, had said that people wake up in the morning and immediately reach past their scriptures to their phone to check Facebook. "It's like he's been in my house!" Hellen commented. Mine too.

So on the spur of the moment that Sunday I decided to do a Facebook Fast and give up Facebook for two weeks.

Now, I've thought about this before but hit a snag: I need to use Facebook for work and to promote my books and blogs. This time, however, I solved the prob…