Twitter focus change

As time goes on, I’m finding Twitter much more enjoyable than Facebook.

But I’ve noticed a change – or, maybe, it’s something to do with how I’m interacting on Twitter – I’m not sure.

People have followed me in the past and I’ve looked at their profiles and not bothered to follow back. After all, I’m not really what you could call a “serious” Twitter user. I’m not really interested in numbers of followers or, that much, in who follows me. I don’t normally tweet very much, just doing the occasional retweets.

But then I started promoting Altern-i-life, the musical film that I helped to fund through Kickstarter. An I was tweeting and retweeting several times per day. And I saw that I was getting more notice and that more people were following me. And I decided to change the way I interacted by automatically following back. Then, after a little while I would see some had unfollowed me (so I would unfollow them since they weren’t that interesting) or my feed would be filled with rubbish or things that I didn’t like, so I would unfollow them first.

But, what I have noticed is some people are using Twitter as a way to promote something they’ve done. I first noticed it with Matt Haig who wrote The Humans. He, unselfconsciously, promoted himself by retweeting short (Twitter) reviews from people who had read the book. It seemed an interesting book, so I bought it. As you may know, I prefer a “real” book, made with paper and this was one of them. It became my favourite book of 2014. I absolutely loved it. So much so that I bought 2 copies (one in Italian) for Best Mate and F as presents and encouraged someone else to buy it.

As a result of that, maybe, I’ve been followed by other authors, each one promoting their book. Some are self-published and others not. And I’ve also been followed by musicians (singer-songwriters), some of whom have “given” me downloads of their stuff. So far, no one has had the impact of Matt Haig (so much so that I will definitely be buying his new book, out very soon) but I’m sure that, somewhere along the way, I’m going to find some more interesting stuff and something like “The Humans” (either song or book) that I will go “Wow!”

But, this was not what I thought Twitter was about, so, for me, it’s an interesting change of focus.

I still follow the people that I know IRL, those that are funny or give me information that I want to know about and, a very few, with whom I disagree with their politics or thoughts but who are interesting enough to keep me hooked. But now I have a load of people on my timeline that also have something to “sell”. If they are engaging enough, I keep following them anyway, even if I’m not that impressed with their product. After all, you never know!

Reading, reading, reading

It seems travel (sort of) books were next. First up, Road to Rouen by Ben Hatch, an amusing book about taking his family around France. Amusing, yes but one of those books I won’t read again. Sorry, Ben. Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids? The stories are mildly funny but I think you have to have kids to really get them.

It was well written and, as I say, amusing but not really “great”. It can’t, for example, compare with The Goldfinch, nor anything by Margaret Atwood. Maybe it should have been the first book that I read?

And then I started an ebook. To be fair, although this IS available on Amazon, it’s a book written by the brother of a friend and ex-colleague and also the son of another ex-colleague, sadly no longer with us. As I don’t have a Kindle, he sent it to me in PDF format.

It’s called: New Zealand Calling by Alex Richards.

He’s not a professional author but he tries to be descriptive. However, it reads much as I assume my blog reads; interesting enough if you know the people involved; a collection of experiences and stories that don’t really hang together with a “plot”. There’s no “conclusion”.

However, some of the stories were interesting and some, amusing.
But I found that just reading an ebook was neither comfortable nor enough and so, at the same time, I started God’s Traitors by Jessie Childs.

I finished it today, so it’s taken about 3 days. This is a history book, about the Roman Catholic persecutions during Elisabeth I’s reign and afterwards, told through the experiences and lives of several generations of one (noble) family.

But it’s history and so full of dates and factual things. Not really a novel, as such but still a bloody good read.

And, for my next book (which I will start in a moment) I’ve chosen A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride. I think this won the Women’s Prize for Fiction but I’ll need to check.

In any event, I’ve read it’s difficult to read, so I have another, just in case.

The Goldfinch

Well, it took me about 3 days (and a bit) but The Goldfinch was, possibly the book of the summer for me.

Stunningly great book. So descriptive, so intriguing, so well written. Loved it. The “official” next book is at the beach. We’re not there because a) it’s raining and b) we’ve both got a little sunburned (and F has some spots he doesn’t like). So, we’re having a “day off”.

Now I have to pick something else. Maybe the ereader would be a good choice? Yes, I think that’s right.

Just like Christmas?

I arrived home on Friday evening, having picked F up from the airport, to find a stack of goodies that had come in the post.

First there was an eBook reader that I had bought at a discount. This is to stop what happened during the summer where I was left for almost a week without a book. In future, I shall have books wherever I am (in theory). It’s taken me most of the weekend to set it up but now I have one book already on and I shall look for more in the coming weeks.

There were also a number of (real) books that I had ordered. Having finished Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel, I am now ready for the next one which is a choice between:
The Tenth Chamber – Glenn Cooper, the third in the series;
The Weekend – Peter Cameron, who I saw this year at the Mantova Festivaletteratura;
The Haunting Of Hill House – Shirley Jackson;
Maddaddam – Margaret Atwood, the third in the series.

I also received a calendar for next year. This, you might think, is not so special except that the first photograph (for January) was taken by Best Mate’s eldest daughter, so rather special.

The weather is quite crap now. It’s much cooler and we had a lot of rain overnight although, in spite of the forecast, it hasn’t been raining all day.

All made up for by the fact that Friday night almost seemed like Christmas :-)

A Free eBook and my very first purchase of another eBook. I am moving into this century … albeit, slowly!

WARNING – This post is wrong – see update below!

This morning I downloaded 2 ebooks from Smashwords.

This is, in my opinion, an incredible site.

The first book is Given Away, A Sicilian Upbringing, by Marianna Randazzo.

Not having read it, I can’t tell you if it’s good or not. But, for a short time, using the code SW100, you can get it for free! And, with Smashwords, you can download it in so many formats that you don’t have to have a Kindle to read it. In fact, I have downloaded it as an rtf file, meaning a Word Document (in effect) and it’s an experiment as with this file, I can read it on my phone – so I can read it on the beach :-)

A second book that I have actually paid money for ($4.50) is The Final Straw, by Ted Taylor.

I haven’t read this one either BUT – Ted Taylor is the guy who wrote The Death Guide To Life – which he put up on the internet and which is in my eBooks section on the right. I really liked it and liked his style so I didn’t mind paying something for this.

Again, I’ve downloaded it in rtf format with the idea of reading it on the beach.

Now, of course, on my phone it will be quite small and, if that becomes a problem, I have two options. 1 – wait until I am at home and read it on my computer OR, 2 – buy some sort of reader or tablet and read it that way.

I have a feeling that, as I really need to replace my phone very soon, I might find myself getting a tablet …… finally :-) Maybe, I can get some sort of special deal if I do the two things together.

We shall see.

Anyway, even if you don’t have a reader, do purchase the free book I’ve mentioned above. After all, it’s free (with the code) and so you’ve lost nothing, have you?

UPDATE. Mr Ted Tayler (the guy who wrote The Final Straw) has pointed out that he IS NOT the author of The Death Guide To Life – which is completely down to me not paying attention and having erroneously “come to the conclusion they are the same person” some time ago – I didn’t check it before I wrote this. However, the book I bought seemed interesting anyway. I hope it is!

Ah well, we all make mistakes.