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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Procrastination and Challenges

So here I sit in front of the computer, supposedly working on my last Linguistics assignment for this semester, in reality writing this blog. I got a fabulous mark for my first Linguistics assignment – 86%, a high distinction. It should spur me on to writing another wonderful essay but I would rather be doing almost anything else.

On the bright side my topic is about blogging, so perhaps I can count it towards my assignment. But no, to be honest that won’t cut it. I’m writing on Gender and online participation, particularly on how many men comment on female blogs, using my blog as an example. The answer is not many - not on my blogs anyway. Luckily I only have to write an essay and not do the actual research. I haven’t been able to find much research in this area. There is a bit on blogging itself but not much on commenting.

Apart from the challenge of finishing this assignment by tomorrow night, not to mention just trying to start it, I’ve set myself another challenge. I’ve decided it’s well past time for me to walk the walk as well as talking the talk and write a novel with a view to publish, perhaps an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical novel. In order to do that, I felt I should really read the novels out there that have won the big prizes, the ones considered to be worth reading, good literature.

So, I’m going to read through at least the last ten Miles Franklin Award winners and the last ten Man Booker prize winners. I’m not reading for pleasure, I’m reading with a view to working out why they won. I’ve started on Peter Temple’s “Truth”, winner of the 2010 Miles Franklin Award.

To be honest the first sentence of “Truth” threw me. If I wasn’t reading for a purpose I probably would never have continued to read. I’m halfway through the book now and I can say the language confuses me, the characters confuse me, the plot (or plots) confuse me and I feel as if I’m lost in some sort of maze which is blanketed by fog, however I can’t put the book down. I mustn’t be the only reader confused by the characters as some previous reader has scribbled the names of the main characters in the blank pages at the back of the book with a description of who they are next to their names. I find myself regularly flicking to that page.

There is a lot of dialogue in “Truth”. I’m not comfortable with writing dialogue. I prefer descriptive writing but perhaps I should practise more with dialogue. Temple’s dialogue is just baffling. I often can’t make out who is talking or indeed what they are saying. He uses plenty of slang and innuendo, most of which is incomprehensible to me. But it does make me stop and think. This is a book I can’t just dart through. I actually have to read every word, or I find myself having to go back and re read passages.

I guess “Truth” is not the type of book I envisaged being chosen to win a literary prize. I’m now very interested in reading the other winners to see if there is a pattern in choosing winners. Will keep you updated!


  1. I don't know of the book you are reading but i get what you mean about confusing dialogue. Can be very off putting if your not sure who said what.

  2. Gaz - that is exactly what I mean! I've finished the book now but I had to concentrate way too hard to work out who was talking. When I finished I even had to go back to a few chapters to remind myself who characters were.

  3. I would bet about 80% of my blog comments are women, but to be fair, about 80% of the blogs I comment on are ALSO women. I think there are just more women bloggers. I have days with some beefcake, and oddly, the men may say they don't like it, but if that is the day they hit me, they still comment. MOST of my stuff, as you know, is peripherally writing-related and on the humorous side, so I think i don't too often stray into the content men fear (feelings, relationships, female bodily functions)...

    As to prize-winners... Better you than me... I feel like MANY prize winners are awarded those because pretentious awarders like being in the elite few who can understand the darned book. Not all prizes, and not all winners, but I don't think I have the mental capacity for a lot of literary fiction. That doesn't mean I don't like a complex story, but in my opinion, if the LANGUAGE is complicated, it should be a simple, elegant story, and if the STORY is complicated, it needs to be told fairly simply. Choose your poison on the complexity thing, or lose ME as a reader...

  4. I hate when I have to read things that don't thrill me. If you are only going to live once, and life is short, it should be filled with excellent literature.

  5. It sounds like literary prizes don't necessarily go to books the general population enjoys. The elite choose the books, right? If you can't understand it, most people wouldn't. I may be talking off the cuff out of jealousy. But I like writing that's easily digestable (e.g., your style). Oh, I see that Hart basically feels the same.

    Your linguistics paper topic sounds interesting. Good luck plugging away at it.


  6. I just finished reading the Stieg Larsson trilogy..the first book in the trilogy is the best selling book of all time. Totally engrossing...give them a read. He took all three to the publisher at once ....died soon after...and never knew how popular they became. He was Swedish and I really enjoyed delving into a different culture. Modern, captivating story with great characters that I could relate to. ....that works for me....

  7. Hart - having just done the statistics - and let me tell you there are very few of them! I can let you know that most teenage bloggers are female, but more adult bloggers are male. There aren't many statistics out there about the gender of those who comment tho. I totally agree with you about books - plenty of them have lost me as a reader!

    lovinangels - Me too! I guess I'm as picky with my literature as I am with my men - and thats not a good sign for me! lol

    Robyn - That could be very true. And thank you for the compliment! I wonder if its better to win literary prizes or be popular - will have to ponder on that one. I plugged away and finished it - yay!

    Mermaid - I've read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and was enthralled - found it difficult to put it down. I must read the rest of them.

  8. You are seriously ambitious!

  9. I've noticed that men commenting on blogs is still a lower amount then women. But I've also noticed the ones who do, are big bloggers themselves.
    And I've only noticed this in the last two years.

    Reading books I would not have normally read... that's my job. Sometimes I wonder how certain things ever made it to print.

    Good luck on your assignment and the challenges you've set for yourself. Goodreads has a reading challenge that you can set your reading goal for the year and it helps to track your progress.

  10. You are right, more women comment on my blog then men. You are smart reading those books for research. I can't wait to read about your findings. I like your goal.

  11. You really found in research that most adult bloggers are male? That seriously surprises me.

  12. Kristy - I always seem to bite off far more than I can chew or even digest!

    Domestic - I found my research into blogs to be quite fascinating, but very limited. I'm not sure I envy your job - I don't think I could read a book all the way through if it didnt interest me in some way. Will check out Goodreads, thank you!

    Marnie - There is just not enough research out there on blog comments, however I'm not tempted to do any myself lol! I've started the second book, hope to post soon.

    Kazzy - It surprised me too! But out of all adult bloggers there are supposed to be more males than females. Remember the statistics take into account all the professional bloggers as well as amateur ones.

  13. your idea was so serious but very interesting keep up the good work,,,

    Procrastination Free Living