Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

The 12 year old plastic pre-decorated tree has been assembled, dragged into the living room and the lights flicked on. The mulled wine and mince pies are popping up at every book launch/reading and PR event. The carolers are out in force across Dublin and the charity begging letters are coming in thick and fast.

It must be getting near Christmas. In honour of the season - let’s have some virtual snow.

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Written by david. in: ranting | Tags:
2 | Reading Lamp Interview

I’m flabbergasted - out of the blue hazy mist of the interweb the loverly Colleen from found me. And asked to interview me. (Me?) I thought it was my job to do the interviewings… and then the questions started and my ego adopted this altogether shocking new role of interviewee. And there was no shutting me up.

Go read the results of my Reading Lamp Interview (taster below)

What about a dessert book, a book you could read and then eat?
There’s a series of cookbooks my Nan has from the sixties. They’re covered in splashes, dried up bits of pasta and cookie dough. If I had to eat a book it would be one of those. Tasty.

Written by david. in: ranting | Tags:

billy goat (a tag meme post, you have been warned)

Darren, of fame, has tagged me with a potential rant, I mean tag meme. So here goes:

It’s called Getting Your Goat and the rules are easy enough to follow:

  1. List two things that irritate you for a reason (followed by the reason)
  2. List two things that irritate you for no apparent reason whatsoever (see easy enough to do)
  3. Give credit to the person who tagged you. (That’d be the afore mentioned evil blogging mastermind Darren)
  4. Link your answers to the original blog, that’s here (Say hello to Keiron over at:
  5. Tag four new people to participate (I’m going to skip this part, if you feel like ranting… rant away, that’s why you have a blog - right?)

It is to my own shame that I have let my Irish slip to nearly nothing. I don’t need other people to ashamed of me because of it. So, the first thing I’m going to rant on about are the few unhelpful/snobbish and often blatantly rude Irish language speakers out there. (Not every Irish speaker fits this description - in fact the majority are friendly, helpful and patient as I try to muddle through a chat and most people never refuse a conversation in English) That said - there are those who refuse to help or to speak English no matter how you are struggling.

While I’m on a roll here: take the recently closed Síopa Leabhar on Harcourt Street - they have always been as unhelpful as possible and have occasionally ignored me if I spoke in English at the till. How does that help encourage anyone to learn Irish or to buy books…?!?

That’s as far as I’ve gotten with my rant. I’ll come back to the rest of the tag later - but I thought I’d vent after a frustrating phone call with someone who refused to speak English!!

Written by david. in: ranting | Tags:

on a rainy Tuesday in Dublin

Back to normal service tomorrow.

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John Boyne

More on age branding - this time from John Boyne:

Unlike films, where age guidelines are there to prevent those too young to see specific material from entering screenings, the idea for the books is not to prevent (say) a 9 year-old buying a book aimed at a 12 year-old; it’s there to to suggest that the book should only be read by the suggested age range.

I fear the idea of a child who decides he or she wants to read a book not aimed at their own age-group and having it ripped out of their hands by an adult who deems it “unsuitable”. That’s not what books are for. It’s not what literature is about.

via John’s blog.

Written by david. in: Publising, childrens books, ranting | Tags: ,

breading a new generation

Are new book technology users just growing up?

A few weeks ago I put a computer illiterate five-year-old in front of a keyboard, mouse and monitor. She grasped how to use the operating system (Windows XP) the browser (Firefox) and the Internet (Google, Sesame Street, Nick Jr. and Dora The Explorer) in less than half an hour.

The experience got me thinking.

One of the largest reasons that e-books haven’t become a reality is due to our reluctance to let go of the book. Would gadget savvy young readers be more comfortable using an e-reader than the rest of us?

This isn’t as far fetched as it might sound. Disney, Fisher Price and Hasbro have all released mp3 players for children in the last year. The Fisher Price Kid-Tough FP3 Player is aimed at the youngest audience (3 – 6 year olds) and their online store sells audio books as well as music. While the Disney player is aimed at a 5 - 12 year olds but without the option to download music.

Is it such a leap to imagine a similar device with a large, colour screen* that reproduces picture books? [It could play the author reading the book at the same time through its mp3 player.]

If public libraries and schools supported ebooks then young readers would be encouraged to use them, and be more likely to using them as adults. Some, such as the New York Public Library has already begun to lend copies of ebooks – with certain copyright conditions.

Looking at the conclusions from the research in Bell State (dated 2004) Richard Bellaver concludes:

The children thoroughly enjoy playing and interacting with the eBooks. However, many of the children used the eBook for non-reading purposes because the content was not to their reading level. This was remedied by adding more content geared towards the younger reading level, but at the time of the interviews, that was not the case. The children did grasp the technology, and were able to learn the basic features of the eBook. Only one eBook of fifteen was damaged during the test.

Do you ever wish you see the future??

> Richard Bellaver - Bell State University

> New York Public Library

*One of the most ideal distribution outlets for ebooks is the iPod Touch and the iPhone through Apple’s iTunes.
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hourglass readings | IWC


There isn’t a lot I can ever say about the Irish Writers Centre but their new series looks really interesting.

The ‘Hourglass Readings‘ will pit Dermot Bolger and a series of guests in front of an audience to read and discuss their work. The series begins in May with Jennifer Johnston and continues with Roddy Doyle, Colm Tóibín, Joseph O’Connor, Claire Kilroy, Glenn Patterson and Anne Enright all confirmed.

Tickets will be available two weeks before each event and the details will be up on the IWC website soon.

Written by david. in: Reading, Writing, ranting | Tags: , ,

obsessive blogger | Chapters Parnell Street

Who didn’t know and love Chapters on Abbey Street? It was a powerhouse of knowledge and dust and more than the occasional spider. A children’s section at the very back of the shop that was removed from everything from the main store. A decent, archaic/chaotic secondhand basement. Cheap books and movies and music.

And on top of all this. It had an amazing building:

But the times, they are a-changin’. And Chapters has evolved alongside Dublin. It has taken up residence on Parnell Street and become an impressive book-seller while maintaining some of it’s previous charm. The building is new (and huge) and forms part of the regeneration project around Parnell/Moore/Jervis Street.

The prices are still kept considerably low in comparison to other stores and the massive floor space means that they are very likely to already have what you’re looking for. Much of the chaos is lost in the new shop - bright lighting and considerably more organised shelving makes the experience more shopper friendly. The children’s section is still at the back of the shop, more as a result of neglect than a thought-out feature though.

Chapters’ true saving grace is in it’s second floor. Nearly equaling the size of the ground floor, upstairs is dedicated to secondhand books and you can nearly always get what you’re looking for there at half the price.

Previous posts:
obsessive blogger | Books Upstairs, College Green
obsessive blogger | Hodges Figgis, Dawson St.
obsessive blogger | Reads of Nassau Street
obsessive blogger | Bookshop Map

About obsessive bloggers |

Written by david. in: ranting | Tags: , , ,

Badges of Honour

Badges have hit the blogosphere - first came the Mulley Man’s most sought after Fluffy badge (and Sabrina’s Fluffer badge for himself). Elly created the WWMD (What Would Mulley Do?) stickers for the blog awards and then Tuppenceworth’s Fergal announced the Obbsessive Blogger badges - for blogging with passion, or obsession.

But wait! There’s more - Midget Wrangler has brought us the Filthy badge - awarded to the dirtiest (naughty not muddy) post of the week. And Dr. Fústar-stein has created the Dreadful Thoughts badges (or are they spirits cleverly made to look like badges in a bid to get close your organs?)

Go earn your blogging stripes…

Written by david. in: ranting | Tags: , ,

obsessive blogger | Bookshops

Fergal over on Tuppenceworth is calling for obsessive blog posts - with the promise of a rival fluffy badge if the post is worthy. I have taken ‘obsessive blogger’ to be an open excuse to have a rant about bookstores…

So here’s my plan. I’m going to put together a map, listing all of the bookshops around Dublin initially, and posting a short review with pictures and generally anything that catches my eye.

First up on the block is the new Reads Bookstore on Nassau Street.

View Larger Map

Written by david. in: Reading, bookshops, ranting | Tags: , ,

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