I have been without the internet for 2 days. The library has been closed. I arrive at the library today to find my laptop wireless won't work. I attempt a variety of methods to make it work but fail in all. Eventually accept defeat and log on to library pc to find that it blocks Facebook. I would not ordinarily mind this but I am a couple of hundred miles from home and would like to see what other people are up to. In the past two days my adventures seeking the Internet have included a bus ride to a free Wifi location only to discover my wifi won't work. Change of plan. Abandon attempts at studying altogether and go to bookstore involving bus ride and long walk. Get there(carrying laptop)to discover that bookstore no longer exists. Decide to go and buy bag and get halfway up major shopping street before realising that being massively cranky was not conducive to braving the hell that is Primark and stumble back home via Tesco to get junk food. Try to get bus but have run out of money on travel card. Walk. A long way. Get home, lie down. Have got books but nothing I really care to read. Eat. Watch Emma. Go to bed at 8. Get up today and the laptop doesn't work. So I can't do any work because I can only log on to the pc for an hour. I have come to the conclusion that I am a bad planner. Sometimes half of my plan for any given day will work but the failure of the other half is usually what I remember. I also really need have access to the internet at all times and maintain a stack of books that I want to read or I get really really cantankerous. However, my failure to plan well usually precludes this. A conundrum indeed.
First of all let me just explain; I do not know anyone (in the real world) who loves romance novels like I do. I devour them. I maintain an A-Z list of my favourite authors in an Excel spreadsheet (cleverly combining my love of books with my love of Excel) and the day Amazon set up email alerts for new releases is a day I remember fondly. And I re-read them. A lot. The day Nora Roberts stops writing (she'd be in a coffin I imagine) I will go into mourning. I will hop on a plane and go to the inn she owns and stay in the Roarke and Eve room with a copy of Birthright. I can still remember the first time I read Birthright. Nearly wetting myself laughing at the Jaws theme and nearly crying at Callie's birth mom's pain. How many people can say that about the latest Booker prize winner slash displaced refugee from war torn country slash rich white male pretending he understands pain? Not that I am denigrating these, I think that all genres are valid in their own right. Just because seeing the Booker/Orange/Whitbread sticker on a book makes me back away in horror doesn't mean I think you shouldn't read them. I bet most romance readers can remember how they felt reading a particular book. I have yet to be convinced of the worthiness of paranormal romance and Stephenie Meyer leaves me distinctly underwhelmed (Edward & Bella: Infatuation Not Love)but I don't jump on teenagers on the bus reading Twilight and beat them over the head with it.Think of the concussion that 500 pages of will they won't they will they won't they would cause. So why is it acceptable for people to say (and I'm quoting) "I didn't know you liked these types of books" or my personal favourite "I don't read trashy novels, I prefer real books". On seeing my bookshelf (predominately bright colours) one visitor to my home said she couldn't believe that I read such trashy books she thought I was smart (those may not have been her actual words but the implication was there). What kind of arrogance is it to think that romance is trashy? I have read James Joyce; A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man is the worst book I have ever read and the only time I've ever sympathised with book burning. I have learnt more from Nora Roberts than I have ever learned from Gabriel Garcia Marquez (except how annoying badly translated books are). A friend in the pub shrugged his shoulders when asked if he knew what the capital of Madagascar is but I knew (Nora Roberts: Hot Ice). Not that it matters. It is not a book's responsibility to make you well informed, it is yours. The only qualification for a good book (i.e. one worth reading) is an interesting story.
or the potential evil of the Facebook Like Button.
Even if you do want all of your friends on Facebook (your ex-boss, the people you went to school with) to know that you like to spend your day at work randomly visiting websites like www.techcrunch.com and lets, for argument's sake, say that you do... Whats to stop FB or other less scrupulous organisations mining that information for the next generation of direct mailing? As it stands, unless you opt out, direct mailers can get your contact info from the electoral register or from marketing lists 'shared' by companies you have signed up to. The data that FB has tells people what you like and how many of your friends like it so direct marketers can target you according to your preferences. Woo hoo more stuff to buy! What about the Data Protection Act you might say? FB owns your data people. And it is subject to the privacy laws of the country it's stored in which means the Patriot Act is gonna get you...