We all know of the "Your Baby Can Read" and Robert Titzer scandal. Right now, the FTC is fighting the organization for false and deceptive advertisements, not only on television, but through websites and giant social media companies. The company is going out of business due to the large loss of profits through complaints. While they say their results verify their research, the FTC says their studies and records are flawed. In short, something like "Your Baby Can Read" won't likely produce a nine-monther who can read. However, it may be possible to teach your young'ns some form of communication which could lead to a higher literacy rate at a younger age.
Like anything else you need to do, distractions can cause you to lose your time to write. The worst part is writers now favor a word processor on their computers over writing by hand, which poses a dreadful dilemma: Should I check my email and Facebook first? The Internet is the enemy to all productive types. It's handy for research and taking a look at real-time trends, but sometimes we research more than we need to. And by research, I mean we roam around the web aimlessly, absorbing snippets of information and entertainment.
In light of the paradox, writers have developed many well-known ways of tricking themselves into writing, like writing where there isn't internet, blackmail (usually a defaming snap shot from a long night), or even leaving threatening or motivating sticky notes around their monitor. There are even cool places to write and brag like 750 Words. But today I want to introduce you to another option. I'm not getting paid to promote this idea, but I think it's interesting. It's earning your internet each time you write.
It's only a few hours since you fell asleep and already you're jolted upright in bed with a sort of panic. Your mind races with all the things you need to complete or improve. While in the story "Sleep" insomnia is entertaining, in real life it's not quite the same. For writers, insomnia and sleep deprivation aren't unusual terms. The sleepless writer is even a stereotype. However, staying awake for countless hours can be detrimental to writing. creative thinking, learning, repair, and concentration.
Before you read this there's a good chance you checked your Facebook. If you scrolled around your news feed, you might've also scoffed at all the wishy-washy relationship nonsense. Let's not kid ourselves. Sometimes you wonder if anyone has a working relationship. But here's the thing: I stumbled across the answer and I'm going to provide the first step towards a working relationship for free. Now, this post has little to do with eReaders (as the title might've implied) and more to do with books, both digital and print. Ladies and gentlemen, future avid No-Injury Policy readers, prepare yourselves for bibliotherapy.
Along with the numerous big-name books coming out this fall, dictionary companies are rolling out their new editions. Of course, every year comes with the addition of new words and definitions. For 2012, some of these words are technical, but most of them are somewhat funny. Here are my favorite 6.
First off, here are my sources:
F-bomb, Sexting Among New Words In Merriam-Webster Dictionary
And the definitions - outside of my interpretations - go to the men and women behind Merriam-Webster dictionaries.
Now then, why are we adding such ridiculous words to the dictionary? Some words are technical and need to be known for the sake of categorization. It's how our minds function. But when you see F-bombs taking a legitimate form in the dictionary, you have to ask why.
It's the same as anything else: ratings. Or in this case, publishers are fighting to the death to have the most in-depth dictionaries out there. Some of them discover new words without publicly releasing them at first. This way other dictionary companies have to create, add, or find their own new words. It might seem a bit over-the-top, but when was the last time you bought or used a dictionary? I don't mean Google search results.
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Admit it. At least once or twice in your life, you've probably put down a book before you finished it. Now I'm not psychic by any means, but my guess is it was a book for school. For a vast majority of you - well, myself included - it was during high school. Don't we all love 19th Century Literature? Of course we do. Do we like a ton of it thrown at us at once with strict completion and examination deadlines? We probably like it a lot less then. So what do you do when you're on a time crunch with a literature assignment? You look online for summaries. What's there to fear? Here's what:
Literary Giants Can Be Trolls Too
At the risk of sounding old, let me say that when I was a kid, we weren't reading contemporary literature in high school. As a matter of fact you born-after-1994 kids, you should thank your previous generations for forcing high schools to offer up a reading list with a modern feel. Or post-modern, if you wanna be a dick about it.
Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Twilight, Crank - These would've never been read in high school during my time. (All right, I'll stop being condescending now.) When I was in high school, we were ravenous for a book printed during the 1990s or 2000s. With that said, sometimes Hemmingway, Hawthorn, Shelley, and the whole gang were a bit tedious to read and test over and over on. Mark Twain wasn't as funny the third time around, and he actually seemed more racist than anything. Sure there were Spark Notes and the like to help students ace through their studies.
Now, of course, we've got Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. You can just search the forums or search your question directly. In most cases, a forum will have the summary of a book and less than intelligent analyses. What you might never expect is a pissed-off writer insulted by a students quest not to read his book.
Although the post has since been deleted, the student originally asked Yahoo! Answers,
"I haven't been able to finish this book. Can someone give me a complete review, including everything important? I REALLY need this! AND it's not because I'm slacking."
The book is The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To. And the author is DC Pierson (who honestly looks fresh out of graduate school), who replied,
Hi! My name's DC Pierson, I wrote the book "The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep And Never Had To." First off, I'm really excited that my book is being suggested for summer reading. On the other hand, I'm bummed out that you don't want to try and finish it, and not even because you think it's bad, but just because it seems like work instead of like fun.
I'm not going to sit here and act like I didn't sometimes not read assigned books for class in high school. Even though it's referenced once in my book, the book you're avoiding reading, I've never actually read "The Scarlet Letter." So I'm sympathetic to your plight. But I think you'll find there's a ton more sex, swearing, and drugs in my book than anything else you have been or will be assigned in high school, and I don't mean in the way your teacher will tell you "You know, Shakespeare has more sex and violence than an R-rated movie!" I mean it's all there, in terms you will readily understand without having to Google them. Plus not once to I refer to anything as a "bare bodkin" or anything like that.
I guess all I'm saying is, of all the books not to read, to beg the Internet to read for you because your library is being remodeled, mine seems like an odd choice. (I recently had to read it aloud for an audiobook edition, and we recorded it in about 10 hours, and I was not reading fast at all. Maybe read it aloud to yourself an hour a night between now and when class starts? Or get together with other kids who have to read it for school and read it to each other? Maybe one of these other kids will be so impressed with your oratory skills you guys will end up making out. That would be pretty cool, right?)
Here, I'll give you an extra hint you'll get to put in your paper if you end up writing it: It was all real. A lot of people have asked me if it was supposed to be real or not, and my feeling is, it was. You won't know what I'm talking about unless you read 'til the end, though. And you might disagree with me on this "it was all real" thing once you get there. Just because I wrote it doesn't make my opinion more valid than yours. Wouldn't it be cool to tell your teacher, "The author says he thinks (it) was real but he's an idiot and I disagree with him and here's why!"
I finished my book. I bet you can, too.
Where They Went Wrong: Student vs. Pierson
Pierson (left) obviously finds time to read between shots.
First off, I think there's a valid shot taken against the student. You should never ask anyone - or the Internet - to do your reading for you. This is a terrible idea, and instead of making your teacher think you didn't read the material, you'll make them think you might need to be held back.
Second, the student does score one on the author. His question was less full of grammatical errors than the author's answer.
Third, the author proposes a strange scenario in which a student might score a little foreplay. The author scores a point for creativity, and the student just scores.
Fourth, the author scores great publicity for answering the question.
Five, both the student and author lose a point for acting on impulse. While going with your gut can often be serendipitous, both participants in this forum lose a point for sounding like high schoolers.
Six, the student scores a point for creative excuses. However, you should never say you're running behind on a book because the school's library is closed when the book is mainstream fiction which can be found ANYWHERE! Let's go with a 1/2 point on this one.
Student - 1 1/2 points
Author - 2
In all seriousness, though, I think an author answering a question like this is beneficial. While at first it seems like trolling or bullying, the author is actual careful with his words and facetious at times. In the long run, however, Pierson provides the student with some comical relief, real-life solutions, a personal challenge, and a slight scolding that might influence him to read books in the future.
If you were in Pierson's shoes, what would you have done?
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