Happy ‘Bibliodiversity Day’

Happy Bibliodiversity Day!

Arabic Literature (in English)

Although more widely celebrated in French– and Spanish-language publishing circles, Bibliodiversity Day — or El Día B — is a day to encourage the growth of smaller and environment-specific book trends (not the sparrow and the blue shark, but the dugong and broad-snouted caiman). In the words of bookstore owner and editor Guido Indij, it’s also “to counter the North-South current in the spread of books and ideas and to push for counterbalance, from South to North, as well as across the South”:

THE DAY OF BIBLIODIVERSITYIn an editorial Indij wrote for Publishing Perspectives two years ago, Indij said that — echoing biodiversity — bibliodiversity “seeks to guarantee the diversity of editorial offerings available to readers.”

Continuing with the biological metaphor, Indij wrote: “Bibliodiversity is currently threatened by overproduction, corporate consolidation in the publishing industry and the growth of new technologies that seem to benefit the dominance of a few…

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Selfies

reversedI really don’t understand the fascination with people photographing themselves at every opportunity and plastering it all over social networking sites. Without wanting to be a complete hypocrite, I will admit that I am guilty of a couple of ‘selfies’. Occasionally it’s fine. What I don’t understand is why people feel so compelled to photograph themselves daily. It’s narcissistic. Simple as that.

Ask yourself this: is it really that important how many ‘likes’ you get for a photograph of your selfie?

All that is important is that you’re true to yourself and to others around you. The rest is shallow, pointless and insignificant. So beautiful celebrities do it, who cares? They live in a manufactured world. Be bigger than that, don’t aspire to it.

Guys, please, look around you. There are so many more important moments to capture than reflections in the mirror.

The Heir

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There once lived a king and queen with two young children – their prince and princess. The king worked very hard to build an empire for his family and to set the foundations in place for his heir to take reign when he was no longer capable of remaining in control.

The king was tough on his prince; he wanted his son to be a man. But his son was just a boy, experiencing his young life and discovering the world around him. As a result of his hard work the king would often be left in a foul mood. A mood he would often inflict upon his prince. Sometimes the king would inflict this mood upon his queen when the prince was not around or if his son had been good at school. The princess, however, always escaped her father’s wrath. She was the apple of his eye. And though the prince loved his sister dearly, he deemed the contrast in treatment from his father unfair.

And so the prince would seek acceptance and companionship from his schoolmates, particularly so because he was different to them. Over time the boy established strong alliances with his friends. He became popular within the school. But he’d lost some focus. His results were slipping. He was not maximising his potential. When the king learned of this he was furious.

With each passing day his temper grew fiercer. His personality became more aggressive. His voice would shake the palace walls. Everyone lived in fear of him, most especially the young prince. The two found themselves entwined in a circle of conflicting interests: the king wishing the most for his son, but expressing himself through enraged, and somewhat panicked, tyranny; the meek prince wishing to be accepted by both groups of people who were in his daily life, but only succeeding with one.

One day, the king returned to his palace in the worst temper anyone had ever seen him in. He screamed at the top of his lungs at everybody while smashing objects on the ground in fits of rage. And then he came across his son – docile and silent, trying to shirk away from his father’s tornado of fury. The king, at the sheer sight of his prince, exploded uncontrollably. Eyes bulging, spittle flying, veins pulsating at his reddened temples, the king yelled loudly and directly into the young prince’s face.

Never before had the prince seen his father in this state. There was nobody, not even the queen, who could control the king. Screaming abuse after abuse the king’s temper worsened with every remark until his final comment, which was followed by an uncomforting stone-cold silence, was the final nail into the body of his son’s verbal crucifixion: ‘You were a mistake!’

Years went by and the prince grew into a man. His relationship with the king grew amicable the older he got, but memories of his childhood still resurfaced from time-to-time. This particular episode would also sometimes rear its monstrous head – a memory shrouded with the serpent’s tail sting of the harsh words, the watching eyes and the deafening silence. With the acceptance of this incident as a mere heat-of-the-moment statement the prince had grown into a man, yet the impact of these words still carried a heavy weight of despondence that pained him deeply.

Identity

I’m annoyed with myself. I got a new job recently. This is not the reason why I am annoyed with myself. I’m actually really pleased about that. No, what I’m annoyed with myself about is the fact that I took out my ear piercing for the interviews.

Now I know that reading that last sentence may seem ludicrous, that I’m annoyed with myself over something so trivial, but to me it’s a little bigger than that. You see, I really wanted to land this job. It’s a massive opportunity, which I’m extremely grateful for landing. Truth be told, I couldn’t afford to not get this job having witnessed my freelancing life crashing before me. So, in order to cast a good impression of myself I felt compelled to bow to the type of individual my prospective employers would be looking for, i.e. a man without an ear piercing. Still sounds ludicrous? I’ll continue.

When I was invited for an interview for an editor position of a new magazine with a focus on the world’s emerging superpowers I was thrilled. This was big. But then I began to worry myself. The role was serious. The location is in a really posh part of London. I’m not posh. I’m not even serious most of the time. If I was to turn up for my interview with my piercing still in, would they cast judgements on my appearance? Would they fret that I couldn’t possibly represent the magazine when meeting and interviewing some of the prospective individuals who they want featured in the publication because said individuals would cast judgements on my appearance, and therefore cast judgements on the authenticity of the magazine?

Am I worrying over something that doesn’t exist?

Or is this really the sad truth of the world we live in?

Would they care if I were to turn up to the office with my piercing in tomorrow?

Would they even notice?

I got my ear pierced when I was teenager. Now I’m 28, I still don’t regret it. I still wear it. Bottom line is though I removed a part of my identity in order to satisfy the potential stereotype of another person(s). This to me seems really wrong and this is why I am annoyed with myself.