Catching Up Time…


(This post is a little early as I will be out of town tomorrow and thus unable to post. I realize how important my blog posts are for your general wellbeing and the smoothness of your day, so here you go for Wed’s edition. :-} )

So – catch up in my world of books…

Finished up The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin which I almost dropped halfway through due to ongoing and deep confusion about the characters…

I finished it in the end and it was actually pretty good. (It was shortlisted for the Booker in 1999.) This is another Irish author with the story set in Ireland in the early 1990’s. A ruptured and dysfunctional family are thrown together when one of them is found to be dying of AIDS and they all reconvene at Grandma’s house for his final days.

It’s not an easy read – it’s actually quite an uncomfortable read really – but it is very good. Toibin liked to add unpredictable twists in how he explains the characters and as the story changes, so do the names of one or two main characters. Tricky at first but once I understood what was going on, I could pick up on it and enjoyed the sly word play.

For example, the grandmother of the family is called “Granny” for all the first third of the novel. When one of the brother’s friends shows up to help with his health care at home, suddenly the grandma is called “Mrs. So and So” whenever the scene links the friends and her. So when she has a conversation or interacts with these non-family people, she is referred to (by Coibin and his characters) as Mrs. So-and-So. When she’s interacting with her family, she is referred to by everyone as Granny.

So, it’s confusing but worth it when you work it out — like being a member of a secret club idea.

It’s a novel where “nothing much happens”, but with this one, it’s all under the surface. Beautiful writing, tough stuff, good read. I recommend it and I also recommend that you stick with it until at least after halfway. It’s worth the effort.

Additionally, I’ve been reading the 1963 edition of Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy. Ogilvy founded the worldwide ad agency, Ogilvy and Mather, and was considered the “Godfather of Advertising” back in the day. (Bit later than Mad Men if you know that show.)

Written 50 years ago, the advice is still golden and good to know if you’re in a communications field (which we all are as we communicate with other people all day every day in general). It’s written in bullet style, for the most part, and I’m enjoying being reminded of advertising “best practices” ideas and also learning new things.

Speaking of which, I’m learning Twitter (and how to) at work. I already FB, but needed something more immediate to reach our audience. I’ve finally jumped into the world of Immediate Social Media. Does anyone else twitter or Instagram or use any other tool? I’m always up for tips of the trade.

Update about the Ogilvy book: I couldn’t take its dated approach after a few more pages and its discriminatory advice, so I placed in the charity pile unfinished. Bah.

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