Sunday, 5 February 2012

The opposite of a Silent Sunday - Listography's Top Five Phrases that Annoy me.

*Warning: this post contains a fair amount of ranting. 

I've had a bad week. Scratch that, a bad fortnight. This rarely happens and I try not to dwell on it. Events just spiralled over the last fortnight until I had to take a time out on Friday. I switched off my phone, disconnected the internet and gave a proverbial two fingers to the world and sloped off with the family.

In light of my frustration of the last two weeks, I had to participate in Kate's fantastic Listography theme this week: top five phrases that annoy you. So welcome to my version of this list. Apologies in advance for letting off some steam.

1. "He's not really THAT autistic, is he?"
I am sorry, were you expecting Rain Man? The fact that A does not have to be placed in residential care like Raymond Babbit. The fact that I am not driving him from motel to motel via a casino. The fact that he can make eye contact, somehow, to the lay person means that really I have no cause for mentioning A's autism. I am made to feel like I am making a mountain out of a molehill. A is autistic enough to warrant seven years of specialist education. A is autistic enough to have 8 years of speech therapy and music therapy and art therapy. A is autistic enough to warrant constant hospital appointments with specialists. A is disabled, his autism is a disability that affects every aspect of his life. We have worked long and hard to get where we are today, in a mainstream school supported by staff on a one to one basis. Because I refuse to lament his condition to people in real life, because I refuse to feel sorry for myself and for him, I hear this phrase at least once a week.

2. "No offence but..."
By the by people, prefacing your opinion with these words does not excuse you from following it with something really hurtful. I have heard this so many times in relation to A and his traits which can easily be perceived as simply bad behaviour. I have also had this from other people in other contexts too. I chose to live my life a certain way. My life has evolved through a series of events, happenings and meetings and I wouldn't change it for anything. Others disapprove. A friend recently chose to do this by criticising my life choices. Yes, I have kids and I am not married but saying "no offence but I would do things properly" ie. get married first and then have kids, does not make what you said any less hurtful nor dies it make you a true friend.

3. "Funny as."
Funny as...what?! Ending a sentence with a similie or a conjunction is just the biggest crime against literacy ever and all too common in the East Coast of Scotland. "aye but" " that's terrible like". Pah!

4. "Aw. Too cute"

I am a little bit sick in my mouth every time I read this on Facebook. It's just laziness. Economising with words so that they become inane.

5. "Literally..."
This cartoon from the Oatmeal explains why.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

National Libraries Day 2012

National Libraries Day is devoted to all types of libraries, library users, staff and supporters across the UK.

Calling all library users (and non-users) across the UK – what will you do to celebrate NLD12? If you regularly USE one library, why not visit another (see our Events Map for participating venues). If you never visit a library then why not go along, JOIN in and see what your local public or university library has to offer! If you LOVE your library celebrate it in whatever way you think best!
If you’re short on ideas, here are a few suggestions…
  • Make connections: Get in touch with your local library and find out what they are doing for NLD12. If they have nothing planned, why not talk to them about arranging a celebration, party, author event or read-in?
  • Share the love! Introduce a colleague, friend or family member to the library that you love, get them to join and show them why it is so great!
  • Spread the word about why we should all love our libraries. Why not tweet #NLD12 ‘I love my library because…’, ‘like’ NLD12 on our Facebook page or upload a fun picture of you & your library to Flickr.
  • Feeling creative? Why not make a video, animation or song celebrating libraries, librarians and what they mean to you. Post them on YouTube and watch/comment on other people’s efforts!
  • Branch out! If you usually borrow a book, why not access the Internet instead. If you’re always online why not borrow a book? Take a look around and see what other exciting services your library has to offer.
  • Ask! Make NLD12 the day that you put that question’s you’ve always meant to ask to your local library staff! Tell them the subjects you’re interested in and see what they suggest – you might be surprised!

Join in by organising a celebratory event, contributing to our forums, tweeting with the #NLD12 hashtag and visiting your local library on the 4 February or the week leading up to it. 

Also you may wish to take a look at this ePetition in support of Public Libraries. 

How will you get involved?

Friday, 3 February 2012

Which books would you hand down to your children?

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.  ~Francis Bacon

In anticipation of National Libraries Day, a friend and I were talking about the books that we borrowed from the library when we were young. We were lucky enough that our primary school was attached to the local public library and so could while away the hours in there after school.

Something that she read recently had made my friend think about revisiting some of the gems that we read as kids and it got me thinking. My memories of some of these books got me to thinking about whether or not I would want my kids to read them, if these were experiences that I could pass down to my kids. 

A is autistic and really isn't a huge reader although he goes through fit and spurts. He is taking part in a wonderful reading programme called Toe by Toe at school which will hopefully increase his confidence in himself as a reader. I've tried to pass some of my favourites as a child down to him with varying degrees of success. Classics like Dracula and Lord of the Rings haven't gone down well so far.

There were a few series that I read as a child that were gender specific I suppose and so I got to thinking if these are books that I would encourage Boo to read when she is the appropriate age. I loved Enid Blyton as a child. Especially the Malory Towers series. Some of the series I read were gender specific and I may think about introducing Boo to them at the right age.

I liked Science Fiction and Horror and loved adventure role play gamebooks. These were books where you could choose your own adventure and your choices during the adventure dictated how the story progressed. I was a major geek and pretty much still am. I passed down a modern version of these books to A and they have gone down a treat! Because of his reluctance to read I let him take the lead on what books to buy. I hope that when he's older he might approach some of the books I enjoyed and that's something we could share. Boo may appraoch reading differently to her brother. Already at two years old she devours book after book every day. We have gotten into this hair where, as she is eating, I sit and read book after book to her. This morning alone, I read seven books while she sat through her three course breakfast (yes, I am a MUG!). Sharing the experience of reading a book is a truly wonderful thing but there is something special about reading a book that you remember from your childhood.

So my question to you is this: What book or books would you pass down to your children (or future children)?

Please leave a comment below.