28 Boring Words And What To Use Instead

My friends at Custom-Writing have gathered 28 the most common ‘boring’ words and selected a number of alternatives you can use instead.

Those alternatives could make your spoken and written conversations way more varied and exciting.

You can find all of this goodness in the infographic below:

28 Boring words

Via: https://custom-writing.org/assignment-writing-services#boring-words

How and Why to Use Commas

Using commas correctly is vital for good grammar and is often overlooked.

Adding commas to your writing can change the outcome of a sentence very quickly. In the same way, using your commas incorrectly could have detrimental effects. We know that commas are used to separate a series of words to make it sound more like a person talking. You want your writing to be relatable and engaging and using your commas correctly can create that. If you use the best grammar check tool, you will probably receive some help, but what happens when punctuation software is unavailable? Here are some of the basic rules of using commas correctly.

Connect independent sentences

You can use commas to connect two phrases that are completely independent. When it comes to writing, using short sentences are usually frowned upon. You can quickly eliminate this issue by using a comma to lengthen the sentence while keeping your grammar in check. If you are not confident in your writing yet, use punctuation checker software a few times until you get the hang of things. Here is an example of using a comma to connect independent sentences.

She ran very fast, she was a great runner.

This is a great way of using commas because you can go from one point to another just by using it correctly.

Eliminate confusion

Writing without the use of commas can become a confusing read. Adding commas in the right place can eliminate this confusion. As human beings, we do not speak nonstop without taking a breath. This is how you should look at your comma use. The place you naturally take a breath should be the place you insert your comma. The structure and the meaning of a sentence can totally depend on the usage of commas. Let’s look at an example of how to eliminate confusion in your writing.

For many the end of the month seems far away.

For many, the end of the month seems far away.

Just by adding a comma in the right place, we are able to make the meaning of the sentence more clear to the reader.

Separate items

Use commas to separate several items in one sentence. There has been some controversy about using commas to separate the last item in a sentence, called the Oxford Comma. Some believe it is completely unnecessary to use a comma before the last item if the word ‘and’ is included. On the flip side, there are those who believe it is of complete importance to include a comma to make the intended meaning clearer. Here is a demonstration of this controversy.

For my birthday we ate cake, ice cream and jelly.

For my birthday we ate cake, ice cream, and jelly.

In this example the comma between ice cream and jelly differentiates between having jelly with ice cream, and jelly and ice cream as separate things on a list that were eaten – so infer different meanings with the inclusion or exclusion of the comma.  This is just one example, and it may not be the same in another. Think about the meaning you are trying to convey and use the Oxford comma appropriately.

Introductory adverbs

There are many introductory adverbs that need a comma next to it to make the sentence flow better. These kinds of adverbs include the following.

Finally, I was able to go to the farm.

Instantly, there was a raccoon on top of our roof.

However, I believed that he was speaking the truth.

In our last example, we used the adverb “however” at the beginning of a sentence. This is another controversial topic because many writers discourage using the word to start off a sentence. Standard advice is to use the word within the sentence and not at the beginning, but if you are going to use the adverb to start a sentence, always use a comma next to it.


Commas are very important in our everyday writing as well as our professional writing. You always want to communicate that you have good grammar and language skills and one way to do that is by using your commas correctly. Without the use of commas, we would live in a confusing world because messages would be incorrectly interpreted.

Even if you are writing a quick note to someone, make sure to include commas if you want the note to be understood the way you meant it. Many people use commas incorrectly, but once you know the basic and fundamental rules, you can improve your grammar instantly.

There are many more rules pertaining to commas and you might have to do some research to get them all right. With time and practice, you will be able to write better and communicate more effectively.


Via: https://www.justpublishingadvice.com/where-when-how-and-why-to-use-commas

How to Make Time For Reading | 7 Tips

Reading 3


“Reading for pleasure is so important for emotional health,” says Yale linguistics professor Kenneth Pugh. “It’s good for the soul.” It also strengthens creativity by challenging us to do more “interior” work – Pugh likens it to weight lifting for the mind. (And whose brain doesn’t need a bit of a workout?) “The author invites you into the world they created, but what that world looks, feels and sounds like is totally up to the reader,” says Reagan Arthur, senior vice president and publisher at Little, Brown and Company. “When you connect with a book, a relationship develops between you and the author that then expands to embrace all the readers who’ve shared that experience and form a unique community.”


1. Don’t leave home without it – a book or reading device, that is. Having something on hand means you can sneak in a few pages while commuting, waiting at soccer practice, standing in line at the post office or whenever you find yourself with a bit of free time.

2. Pencil it in. Half your life is scheduled, so be sure to add in the fun things too. Block out time on your calendar, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Think of it as your daily reading assignment and stick to it.

3. Make a swap. Trade an hour of your latest Netflix addiction for some quality book time.

4. Keep a book on your nightstand – and your phone in the other room.

5. Make it a habit to read a chapter before bed. You may even find you fall asleep faster.

6. Always have another book ready on deck so that you can dive right in.

7. Don’t worry about reading in short snatches. It does add up, and those snippets can leave you wanting more.


“A great bookseller or librarian can’t be beat for steering you to the right book,” says Arthur. “Author interviews also often lead me to books I love.”

Check out these helpful podcasts, best-seller lists and sites for inspiration:

The New Yorker Fiction Podcast

Slate’s Audio Book Club

The New York Times Best Sellers


2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge


Via: http://www.familycircle.com/family-fun/books/how-to-make-time-for-reading-7-easy-tips/

Celebrating Works of Queer Fiction

Queer Fiction

In trying and discriminatory times, queer literature can portray lives and loves that might otherwise be forced to remain invisible. Stories written by or for the LGBTQ community are, of course, just as varied as ‘heterosexual fiction’. But they also serve a unique purpose: to validate, explore and challenge ideas about same-sex attraction.

Published in 2015, A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers showcases a distant future where humans are a small part of a vast alien population. Within this sci-fi melting pot of cultures, there’s an acceptance of all sexualities, genders and races. Queer relationships are treated the same as any other, transporting the reader to a refreshingly accepting galaxy that we can currently only hope for.

It’s vital to celebrate works by queer authors

While Chambers’ novel presents a utopian vision of the future, The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurt reminds us just how difficult life has historically been for gay people in Britain. Set in Eighties London with a backdrop of the Thatcher administration and the looming AIDS crisis, it follows young protagonist Nick Guest as he manoeuvres his way through the hypocrisy and prejudice of the upper classes. Elegant and stark, it’s a book that will stay with you long after you’ve put it down.

Young adult fiction also shouldn’t be ignored when discussing LGBTQ fiction, given that many people first question their sexuality during adolescence. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera tells the story of a Puerto Rican teenager who has just told her family she is gay. What follows is a magnificent exploration of issues such as white privilege, the power of the queer community and the process of coming out.

In a world where people are still persecuted for their sexuality, it’s vitally important to celebrate works by queer authors such as Chambers, Hollinghurst and Rivera. They remind of us all that we’ve achieved in the long march towards equality – as well as how far we still have to go.


Via: http://e.stylist.co.uk/2KOH-14CGF-BA6WVAR380/cr.aspx

LGBTQ+ Book Trade Network Launches | Bookseller


Pride in Publishing (PiP), a brand-new networking group for LGBTQ+ people in the industry, has launched on Friday (25th August 2017) to create a way for queer members of the publishing industry to meet up, connect with others and find peer support.

The professional networking group aims to provide a space where LGBTQ+ employees in publishing can find fellowship and air suggestions for how to create progress for LGBTQ+ people and representation in the industry.

“It will be a members-led group, so various initiatives will be proposed and developed by members,” said Maisie Lawrence, one of the group’s co-founders and editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster. “In this important year, 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, we want to do everything we can to support and promote LGBTQ+ voices and books in the industry.”

PiP is open to professionals working at publishing-related concerns, such as publishing companies (from any department), agencies, bookshops and libraries.

Wei Ming Kam, co-founder of the BAME In Publishing network and sales and marketing executive at Oberon Books, said that the group wants to be as inclusive as possible, stating: “We aim to provide a welcoming space for all on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, including trans, non-binary, asexual and intersex people.”

It is hoped that in time the group willl inspire offshoots specialised in specific areas of publishing and where authors, who are keen on increasing LGBT representation in their books, can also get involved.

The idea for the group sprung from a offhand conversation in which several of the group’s co-founders were surprised that such an organisation wasn’t already in operation.

Louie Stowell, senior editor for non-fiction at Usborne and co-founder of PiP, told The Bookseller: “We were just really surprised that a network didn’t exist already. And lots of people had been having the conversation about why isn’t there a network so we just decided to do it.

“It’s less about benefitting us [as LGBTQ+ employees] as about making our output more inclusive and representative, because I still feel we have a long way to go and I think everyone is on the same page about that.”

Penguin Random House this year put on a Penguin Pride event in partnership with Stonewall to celebrate the importance of literature in the progression of LGBT equality at Proud, Camden, during London Pride fortnight, around which time W H Smith Travel ran a promotion dedicated to gay literature to mark 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Stowell added: “In the past few years I’ve definitely noticed a difference in visibility and representation already and it would be really good if everyone had a place to talk about it in the same room; that’s basically what we are after. Then, across publishers, we will have more impact.”

PiP’s seven co-founders – Maisie Lawrence, Wei Ming Kam, Eishar Brar, Louie Stowell, Kate Davies, Nicky Borasinski and Linas Alsenas – hail from publishers spanning Simon & Schuster, Oberon Books, Scholastic, Usborne Publishing, Thames & Hudson and Puffin & Ladybird.

The group will begin with monthly meet-ups. The first, described as an informal get-together, is scheduled for 27th September and will be held at Faber & Faber offices in London.

To join PiP and RSVP to the event, those interested are invited to email prideinpublishinguk@gmail.com with their name, company and job role.


Via: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/pride-publishing-launches-lgbtq-network-book-trade

Book Review: Trust Me by Angela Clarke 


I read this fantastic book review of Angela Clarke’s Trust Me by Sophie Hedley, and now I am even more excited to read the book – I am currently making my way through all three of Anglea’s books and highly recommend them. Read this review and you will totally understand why:

Trust Me is the third book in Angela Clarke’s Social Media Murder series following book one, Follow Me, and book two, Watch Me. I mentioned all three in my Top Ten Social Media Books post because I couldn’t choose a favourite and they are all really credible, smart and up-to-date representations of social media and the dangers it possesses.

In Trust Me, the social media of choice is Periscope, where Kate stumbles upon a live video on her laptop of a girl being raped. Kate is absolutely stunned but knows she needs to do what she can to help the victim, even though she may not have survived the attack. The thing is, the video soon disappears, Kate knows nothing about the people who were in it and nobody really believes Kate can really have seen what she says she’s seen.

That is where Freddie and Nas come in. Though they are busy investigating a missing persons case, Freddie is the first person to give Kate’s story a proper listen. She’s the first person to truly believe Kate, and as Kate goes public about what she saw, Freddie and Nas begin to wonder whether their missing person’s case and the video Kate saw may be linked.

As with the other books in the series, Follow Me and Watch Me, Trust Me is pure brilliance. The author’s grasp on social media and the way she utilises it to create shocking yet realistic crimes with storytelling full of twists and turns – it’s irresistible reading. Even though I still can’t pick a favourite of the series, this one did hook me instantly and I was fascinated by how things would play out. Each book in the series seems to have got darker than the one before and I love how thought-provoking the themes always are. I couldn’t imagine what I would do if I saw something as awful as Kate did through a video on social media, yet it was entirely plausible. There’s all sorts of horrific photos and videos posted up online, and there could be a time when you see one and you can’t just scroll past and try and forget about it. Kate’s story left me thinking even when I’d put the book down.

Putting the book down was something I found difficult though as I was very engrossed in the story. I loved being back with Freddie and Nas and seeing the challenges they faced this time. Their development runs along nicely side by side with the main story and the investigation of the crimes in Trust Me made for gripping reading. With each book in the series I find that I view social media a little differently afterwards. Social media can be perfectly harmless escapism or it can be a grim and dangerous place and the author depicts this well. With short yet perfectly hard-hitting chapters, Trust Me is gritty crime at its best. It’s complex yet convincing, proper edge-of-your-seat reading.

Via: http://socialmediastories.co.uk/reviews/book-review-trust-me-by-angela-clarke/

The Psychological Comforts of Storytelling


When an English archaeologist named George Smith was 31 years old, he became enchanted with an ancient tablet in the British Museum. Years earlier, in 1845, when Smith was only a five-year-old boy, Austen Henry Layard, Henry Rawlinson, and Hormuzd Rassam began excavations across what is now Syria and Iraq. In the subsequent years they discovered thousands of stone fragments, which they later discovered made up 12 ancient tablets. But even after the tablet fragments had been pieced together, little had been translated. The 3,000-year-old tablets remained nearly as mysterious as when they had been buried in the ruins of Mesopotamian palaces.

An alphabet, not a language, cuneiform is incredibly difficult to translate, especially when it is on tablets that have been hidden in Middle Eastern sands for three millennia. The script is shaped triangularly (cuneus means “wedge” in Latin) and the alphabet consists of more than 100 letters. It is used to write in Sumerian, Akkadian, Urartian, or Hittite, depending on where, when, and by whom it was written. It is also an alphabet void of vowels, punctuation, and spaces between words.

Even so, Smith decided he would be the man to crack the code. Propelled by his interests in Assyriology and biblical archaeology, Smith, who was employed as a classifier by the British Museum, taught himself Sumerian and literary Akkadian.

In 1872, after the tablets had been sitting in the British Museum’s storage for nearly two decades, Smith had a breakthrough: The complex symbols were describing a story. Upon translating the 11th tablet, now widely regarded as the most important part of the story, Smith told a coworker, “I am the first person to read that after 2000 years of oblivion.” The U.K. Prime Minister at the time, William Gladstone, even showed up to a lecture Smith later gave on the tablets, whereupon an audience member commented, “This must be the only occasion on which the British Prime Minister in office has attended a lecture on Babylonian literature.”

Humans are inclined to see narratives where there are none because it can afford meaning to our lives, a form of existential problem-solving.

The story on the 11th tablet that Smith had cracked was in fact the oldest story in the world: The Epic of GilgameshGilgamesh has all the trappings of a modern story: a protagonist who goes on an arduous journey, a romance with a seductive woman, a redemptive arc, and a full cast of supporting characters.

Humans have been telling stories for thousands of years, sharing them orally even before the invention of writing. In one way or another, much of people’s lives are spent telling stories – often about other people. In her paper “Gossip in Evolutionary Perspective,” evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar found stories’ direct relevance to humans: Social topics, especially gossip, account for 65 percent of all human conversations in public places.

Stories can be a way for humans to feel that we have control over the world. They allow people to see patterns where there is chaos, meaning where there is randomness. Humans are inclined to see narratives where there are none because it can afford meaning to our lives – a form of existential problem-solving. In a 1944 study conducted by Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel at Smith College, 34 college students were shown a short film in which two triangles and a circle moved across the screen and a rectangle remained stationary on one side of the screen. When asked what they saw, 33 of the 34 students anthropomorphized the shapes and created a narrative: The circle was “worried,” the “little triangle” was an “innocent young thing,” the big triangle was “blinded by rage and frustration.” Only one student recorded that all he saw were geometric shapes on a screen.

Stories can also inform people’s emotional lives. Storytelling, especially in novels, allows people to peek into someone’s conscience to see how other people think. This can affirm our own beliefs and perceptions, but more often, it challenges them. Psychology researcher Dan Johnson recently published a study in Basic and Applied Social Psychology that found reading fiction significantly increased empathy towards others, especially people the readers initially perceived as “outsiders” (e.g. foreigners, people of a different race, skin color, or religion).

Interestingly, the more absorbed in the story the readers were, the more empathetic they behaved in real life. Johnson tested this by “accidentally” dropping a handful of pens when participants did not think they were being assessed. Those who had previously reported being “highly absorbed” in the story were about twice as likely to help pick up the pens.

A recent study in Science magazine adds more support to the idea that stories can help people understand others, determining that literary fiction “uniquely engages the psychological processes needed to gain access to characters’ subjective experiences.” That’s to say, if you read novels, you can probably read emotions.

But why start telling stories in the first place? Their usefulness in understanding others is one reason, but another theory is that storytelling could be an evolutionary mechanism that helped keep our ancestors alive.

Storytelling could be an evolutionary mechanism that helped keep our ancestors alive.

The theory is that if I tell you a story about how to survive, you’ll be more likely to actually survive than if I just give you facts. For instance, if I were to say, “There’s an animal near that tree, so don’t go over there,” it would not be as effective as if I were to tell you, “My cousin was eaten by a malicious, scary creature that lurks around that tree, so don’t go over there.” A narrative works off of both data and emotions, which is significantly more effective in engaging a listener than data alone. In fact, Jennifer Aaker, a professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, says that people remember information when it is weaved into narratives “up to 22 times more than facts alone.”

The value humans place on narrative is made clear in the high esteem given to storytellers. Authors, actors, directors – people who spin narratives for a living are some of the most famous people in the world. Stories are a form of escapism, one that can sometimes make us better people while entertaining, but there seems to be something more at play.

Perhaps the real reason that we tell stories again and again – and endlessly praise our greatest storytellers – is because humans want to be a part of a shared history. What Smith discovered on that 11th tablet is the story of a great flood. On the 11th tablet – or the “deluge tablet” – of Gilgamesh, a character named Uta-napishtim is told by the Sumerian god Enki to abandon his worldly possessions and build a boat. He is told to bring his wife, his family, the craftsmen in his village, baby animals, and foodstuffs. It is almost the same story as Noah’s Ark, as told in both the Book of Genesis and in the Quran’s Suran 71.

Humans have been telling the same stories for millennia. Author Christopher Booker claims there are only seven basic plots, which are repeated over and over in film, in television, and in novels with just slight tweaks. There is the “overcoming the monster” plot (BeowulfWar of the Worlds); “rags to riches” (Cinderella, Jane Eyre); “the quest” (Illiad, The Lord of the Rings); “voyage and return” (OdysseyAlice in Wonderland); “rebirth” (Sleeping Beauty, A Christmas Carol); “comedy” (ends in marriage); and “tragedy” (ends in death).

Helpful as stories can be for understanding the real world, they aren’t themselves real. Is there such a thing as too much fiction? In Don Quixote, Cervantes writes of main character Alonso Quixano, “He read all night from sundown to dawn, and all day from sunup to dusk, until with virtually no sleep and so much reading he dried out his brain and lost his sanity …”

The next morning, however, Alonso Quixano decided to turn himself into a knight. He changed himself into Don Quixote, deciding he would pave his own journey. Then he went off, “seeking adventures and doing everything that, according to his books, earlier knights had done.”


Via: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/11/the-psychological-comforts-of-storytelling/381964/

14 Love Lessons From Jane Austen (who kind of knew what she was talking about)

Jane Austen Article

Even now, centuries after her works were published, Jane Austen’s wisdom remains very much alive, gracing the pages of calendars, postcards, posters, canvas bags… oh, I don’t have to tell you, because you own it all. And some of the best advice Austen ever gave? In the department of love. It makes sense, though, right? Relationships are at the core of Jane Austen’s works, after all: relationships between siblings, fathers and daughters, and friendships. Perhaps the most interesting and memorable relationships in her novels, though, are the romances. There’s simply no author who writes about love quite like Austen does.

Austen’s own love life has always been a bit of an enigma – she never made it to the altar herself, which can often seem at odds with her books. In fact, the writer’s romantic life is a source of fascination, of boundless speculation: numerous works have tried to assign her a romantic history, including the charming movie 2007 Becoming Jane.

Regardless of Austen’s own backstory, we see ourselves in her pages – and her words tell us that she understood deeply the thrills and challenges of falling in love. What is so powerful about the romantic relationships in Austen’s novels is that love is a form of growth and self-knowledge – the experience of falling in love frames her characters’ coming-of-age stories, or prompts their later-in-life reinventions. That’s why the love stories of Darcy and Elizabeth, or Knightley and Emma, continue to feel both so powerful and so relevant. By now, most of Austen’s best romantic couples are household names, and her plot lines have inspired echo after echo of modernized retellings, from Bridget Jones’s Diary to Clueless to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries (PSA: those of you who haven’t yet watched the webseries and its cousin, Emma Approved, do it now. Everything else can wait.)

Even if your copy of Pride and Prejudice is, by now, frayed and over-underlined, it never hurts to revisit Austen’s works – and re-experience the humbling, empowering love stories that drive each of her books. Here are 14 Love Lessons From Jane Austen:

1. Try not to judge at first sight

I’m going to open with the obvious. As any self-respecting Austen fan would know, Pride and Prejudice was initially titled First Impressions, and this is a central theme in the book. We all know how it goes: when Darcy and Elizabeth first meet, they judge one another pretty harshly, but as the novel unfolds, they both come to realise that there’s a lot more to the other — and to themselves — than what first meets the eye. The plot of Pride and Prejudice is, by now, a romantic comedy trope: two people who hate each other realise that they have more in common than they thought and perhaps without really meaning to, fall in head-over-heels in love. Pride and Prejudice follows the internal growth of each of these iconic characters — for Darcy and Elizabeth, the experience of falling in love is humbling and requires a great deal of soul-searching.

2. The right kind of love is the love that makes you want to become a better person

True love does not come easily to Darcy and Elizabeth. Both of them must, in their own way, rise to the challenge. Yes, the book ends in their marriage, but their marriage is only possible because they’ve both grown enough to admire and respect one another, flaws and all.

3. Don’t let a third party meddle in your relationship

Jane and Bingley, I’m looking at you. Even accounting for 19th century social conventions, these two are incredibly gun-shy, and both of them let their flaws get the best of them. Jane allows her shyness and reserve to be interpreted as lack of interest, and Bingley yields to his own insecurities, letting himself be convinced that she doesn’t care for him. (Caroline Bingley: 1, Jane: 0.) Maybe if they had communicated better, this almost-catastrophic misunderstanding could have been avoided — but then again, that would totally ruin the plot of Pride and Prejudice.

4. Don’t marry for money (but having money doesn’t hurt!)

I’ve always loved the passage in Pride and Prejudice in which Elizabeth teases Jane about when she first realised she had feelings for Darcy. “It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began,” she says “But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.” (Sigh. I can almost see the twinkle in her eye.) While Elizabeth is clearly joking, there is some truth to her flippant response. Seeing the place where someone grew up and meeting people who knew them when they were children can speak volumes about their character — and there’s a special kind of affection that comes from learning about how someone’s past has made them who they are.

5. Love isn’t like it is in the movies

Or the novels of the 18th century. Back when Austen was writing Northanger Abbey, novels were seen much the same way we see bad TV (or actually, probably worse). Intellectuals (specifically male intellectuals), worried about what reading novels might do to women’s oh-so-fanciful minds. Austen both rejects and embraces this sentiment in Northanger Abbey, setting out to prove that just because gothic novels like Anne Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho are sensationalist and implausible (but still fun!), doesn’t mean that novels can’t represent and examine reality. In fact, as Austen sets out to prove, true emotion can be as painful and scary as getting kidnapped by a crazy, obsessed suitor. The same is true of love. While Henry Tilney and Catherine Morland’s story is hardly sweep-you-off-your-feet romantic (though it is pretty sweet), it’s based on mutual understanding and shared experiences.

6. Do not trust words over actions

This is a lesson for Catherine as much as it is for her brother James. Both of them are taken by the charming, airy Isabella Thorpe — and it takes them a little too long to realise that she’s only in it for the money. (Boy, does Isabella miss the mark.) Don’t make excuses for people’s actions — more often than not, people’s actions tell you a lot more about their true intentions than their eloquently expressed, oh-so-profound emotions. (And yes, that is Carey Mulligan and Felicity Jones.)

7. Be patient and steadfast

You’ve got to give Mansfield Park’s Fanny Price props for all her patience. She stood by Edmund Bertram through his awkward, misguided crush on Mary Crawford (a fascinating character in her own right.) Yes, some might argue that Fanny is a bit too passive, too willing to wait on the sidelines for her cousin (yes, I know) to notice her. Still, there’s something to be said for the way Fanny allows Edmund make his own mistakes and come to the conclusion that she’s the best person for him on his own. (Right?) To be honest, I’ve always admired Fanny. Like many of Austen’s other heroines, she is strong-minded and stands by her convictions — and these are traits any of us can raise a glass to.

8. It’s OK to be impulsive, but keep a good head on your shoulders

Emotions are as powerful as they are important. But as Marianne Dashwood learns in Sense and Sensibility, when people show us who they really are, we need to pay attention, and not allow ourselves to be completely taken over by emotion.

9. Don’t be so scared to say what you feel

It is a truth universally acknowledged that rejection stings. A lot. But Sense and Sensibility’s Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars would have gotten a lot further if they’d just admitted their feelings to each other — hell, even to themselves. I know, I know, it would have violated social conventions and all that (and Elinor is nothing if not a stickler for proper manners), but come on, they would have saved themselves so much unnecessary suffering.

10. Keep an open mind

Marianne is broken-hearted when Willoughby shows his true colors, but she eventually manages to open her heart to Colonel Brandon — who ends up being exactly the kind of husband that she needs. Still, it takes more than Elinor’s levelheaded prodding to get her to give Colonel Brandon a chance. Keep your eyes open — you never know who you might be overlooking.

11. It’s never too late for a second chance at love

Second chances are, in fact, at the core of Persuasion. When Captain Wentworth reappears in Anne Elliot’s life after eight years apart, she is floored. She and Wentworth have a history: a short-lived romance in their early twenties that came to an abrupt and painful ending. Despite being completely in love with him, 19-year-old Anne rejected his marriage proposal based on her trusted friend Lady Russell’s advice, because Wentworth could not provide her with the life that she was used to — and also, due to fear of holding him back in his career. Though it takes these two some time to make their way back to each other, Anne and Wentworth eventually discover that their feelings have not changed through the years — in fact, getting to know each other again as adults only deepens their love and understanding. Wentworth eventually swallows his pride to ask the woman he loves, once again, if she will spend the rest of her life with him — writing the famously impassioned line: “I am half agony, half hope.”

12. Don’t give up on the person you love

Yes, Anne had said no to marrying him, but even Wentworth admits that he was a fool not to try to find her after he’d established himself professionally in the navy and was able to marry. While he did eventually find his way back to her, he could have saved them both a lot of heartache if he’d held fast to his conviction that they belonged together. Life (or, OK, Austen’s pen) gave Anne and Wentworth a second chance at love, but they very well could have done this for themselves.

13. Sometimes the right person has been in front of you all along

Sometimes you fall in love with your best friend. Emma is a wonderful, powerfully-written character study, among other things. Despite thinking herself above love and marriage, Emma Woodhouse eventually comes to understand that there is and always has been only one man for her. As she tries her hand at matchmaking, convinced that she knows what’s best for everyone, Emma realises that she’s a little more vulnerable and a little more (dare I say it) flawed than she’s ever allowed herself to believe. Her good friend Mr. Knightley, however, has always seen her for who she is — and loves her all the more for it.

14. Often the best kind of love isn’t flashy but steady, loyal, and uncompromising

Mr. Knightley does not subscribe to Frank Churchill’s pomp and circumstance, but he is an intelligent, fair-minded man who is capable of loving passionately — even if his always-calm demeanor suggests otherwise. “If I loved you less, I could talk about it more,” is one of my absolute favourite Austen lines. Austen really gets at just how deeply Mr. Knightley feels for Emma — and how, though he may not be one for big romantic gestures, he truly understands and respects her (sounds boring, I know, but it’s rarer than you might think.) In fact, because of this, Mr. Knightley may just be the all-time best Austen hero.


Via: https://www.bustle.com/articles/62958-14-love-lessons-from-jane-austen-who-kind-of-knew-what-she-was-talking-about-amirite

Print sales might be rallying, but don’t get complacent | Bookseller


A very interesting article by Sam Missingham on the future of publishing:

First off, I feel the need to emphatically state that nobody wants a strong, vibrant book business more than me. I am a self-declared cheerleader for this industry. But it seems the right time to put my pom poms aside for a while to make a more cautionary point.

In many ways, the worst thing to happen to book publishing has been the persistent strength of print books and the drop in sales of ebooks. Namely, the stalling of the digital transformation of the industry.

Yeah, I did say that. Let me explain.

Some might say that book publishing has weathered the transformation very well and is in a strong position. The numbers would tend to agree with that. Print sales up a notch, new bookshops opening, children’s book sales going from strength to strength. Time to put the kettle on then, sit back and put our feet up, yes?

Well, I tend to agree with Andrew Keen, the Internet critic and author who spoke at FutureBook in December. To paraphrase, he said publishing had come through the digital transformation mostly unscathed. However, he went on to say that this was down to good luck and not by any strategic play.

Let’s call a spade a spade. Five years ago publishers had no idea that ebooks would stall or that bookshops would bounce back. Let’s not forget the many predictions that print was dead – not to mention bookshops – and that we were heading for digital obliteration. I had many a conversation with industry folk who said they thought Waterstones would last only a couple more years.

During the early stages of the transformation, publishers threw money at a variety of digital initiatives: apps, ecommerce platforms, their own community websites… even buying the odd start-up. But big publishers spent big and lost big. I could easily list 10 initiatives that were launched with much fanfare, to be left unloved for 18 months and closed with a whimper. The intent may have been there, but the commitment certainly wasn’t. And further, their structures, people and processes did not allow for successful innovation at any scale.

But what does this matter if print sales are up and ebook sales are down? We’re fine, right?

Well yes, if we anticipate no further transformation happening. Or put another way, if we hope nobody else enters the industry looking to disrupt it; if no companies come along with new business models for books; if readers do not change how or what they buy; if no new technology emerges to offer readers a different experience, and if – a big if – Amazon, Google et al don’t come up with yet more game-changing ideas. That’s a future dependent on a lot of unlikely ifs.

Instead, I would argue that this is exactly the time we should be building our own future, aggressively. Creating platforms that give us more ownership of the publishing & bookselling ecosystems. Building businesses which create new revenue streams.

The good news is that there are plenty of innovative models to draw inspiration from if we’re commited to forging ahead.

Wattpad – an online community for writers to post chapters of books, fan fic, poetry and reach engaged readers for feedback – launched in 2006 and now has 45 million users and 300 million stories uploaded.

Lost My Name – the platform for personalised picture books for kids – launched in 2012, has sold more than 2.6 million picture books, and has just signed a deal with Roald Dahl estate.

Scribd.com – a book subscroption service – says it has over 500,000 subscribers paying $8.99/month for ebooks, audiobooks, and now news.

BookBub – a simple daily email selling cheap ebooks – launched in 2012, has 5 million+ registered readers in US and 2 million in the UK, and recently launched in India. And

NetGalley – a blogger and influencer network offering publishers a seamless book review process pre-publication – has grown since 2012 to reach 360,000 members worldwide.

What were you doing when Wattpad launched 11 years ago?

There are many other companies I could have chosen, but these five all offer value and service at different stages of the publishing ecosystem. And all of the founders came from outside of the industry.

There’s plenty to learn, too, from companies that have diversified away from their core businesses to build new revenue streams. Conde Nast, the magazine publisher behind Vogue, now runs its own fashion & design collegeoffering degrees and courses, and has also recently launched a fashion ecommerce site. Sawday’s has transitioned from a travel guide publisher to a luxury travel company (that sells books). Marie Claire, the magazine published by Time Inc, now has its own cosmetics ecommerce platform and a physical shop in London. And Johnson’s Baby products launched a website called BabyCenter in the US nearly 20 years ago offering advice through pregnancy. This has grown to become a comprehensive resource for parents and now has 45 million global monthly unique visitors and generates huge amounts of advertising revenue. Of course, the site also provides Johnson’s with real-time audience behaviour data and a huge email database to sell to as well.

It’s interesting to note that all of the consumer-facing businesses above launched with new names and did not rely on their existing brands – we don’t have Johnson’s For Babies or the Marie Claire beauty shop. They displayed the confidence to build new brands even when they already have exceptional traction and recognition with the old ones – a bold step that was central to their success.

So, are book publishers in a position to diversify in such a way? I simply refuse to believe that they can’t do so, while also maintaining their core proposition: to publish sensational books and nurture authors’ careers. And I genuinely believe we must, if we want to survive long-term. We need to get ahead of the next phase of disruption by disrupting ourselves and innovating with vision and commitment. This is not the time to sit back and hope the status quo will last. We might not weather the next wave with such good fortune.

Via: http://www.thebookseller.com/futurebook/beware-complacency-book-industry-558476