Tag Archives: Shakespeare

To Follow, Or Not To Follow

A post from the Hamlet series*

So many blogs, so little time. And everyone wants followers and likes. So do I.

When, in the course of a recent #wpad blog challenge,  I increased my blogging frequency, I was thrilled to see that the number of my readers went up significantly. (Okay, that was from five to forty-five, but hey.) But then I began to be suspicious.

Some likes and follows hit my inbox within two minutes of posting. Not only did this seem too short for anyone to have actually read the post. But some of the likes came from halfway around the globe, time-zones where it was 3 a.m. at the time of my posting. Now there are many night-owls out there, and I do apologize to my “serious readers”. But I began to wonder whether, just like in twitter, these were automatic follows. You know, some sort of set-up that trawls blogs for keywords and hits the “follow” button without reading the actual post. (I am fairly ignorant about the mechanics and tricks of social media – there probably is a proper term for this.)

That wouldn’t matter so much – other than deflate my recently puffed-up blogger’s ego – but herein lies the rub: it is netiquette to like or follow back, right? Well, I always go to the pages of my new followers and I read some of their stuff, and I am happy to write “thanks for posting / liking / following”. But I will only follow back if I intend to read their blogs on a more or less regular basis. No offense, but I simply do not have the time to read all, and I find it dishonest to hit “follow” just for the sake of netiquette. I do not want to receive dozens of notifications about new posts every day, because I will feel obliged to follow up, and there aren’t enough hours in the week to do my “professional” reading and my own writing to start with.

So I will not always follow back if you follow me.

Have I just lost half of my readership? I hope not. (And if my theory is correct, they don’t read this anyway, he he.) Rather, I hope that people will engage with me. Comment if and when they have actually read my post, which will always prompt me to go to their blog and check it out – and perhaps to follow. Or not. Honestly.

*This post is the first of a series where I plan to use bits and pieces from Hamlet – and perhaps other Shakespeare plays – as prompts.



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Second-hand or new? Antique, please!

Just another #wpad blog challenge. Twenty-one down, ten to go!

Second-hand… what are we talking about here, books? Husbands? Hedgehogs? Don’t laugh, until recently we had a second-hand hedgehog – inherited from a school-friend of one of my daughters. He has moved on now, which I guess that makes him third-hand. But for the purposes of this post, I’ll settle for books and films.

Film is easy. Second-hand whenever possible. Why pay 21,99 for a DVD when you can have it for 5,49? Actually, I always try the local library first – the gentleman in charge is a true film lover and consequently there are currently around 1,200 films available, numbers rising. They will even order almost anything I suggest to them.

For books, I’ll give the lawyer’s answer: it depends.

Anything I need for study or business purposes I will get second-hand, provided it’s in decent condition and up-to-date. I’m going to be scribbling in the margins anyway.

Books I intend to read for pleasure I sometimes get second-hand, but only the holiday-read type of books – no offence to Kate Atkinson, but I just got three of her novels second-hand for the beach. Other than that, I usually go for new – although I am beginning to consider second-hand, in order to save some pennies for the kind of books I really like most:


I love rummaging around in antique book shops. A visit to London is incomplete without a few hours spent in Cecil Court. My dream is to have a bookshelf full of old editions – The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, anything by Dickens, Henry James, Mark Twain, Jane Austen in three volumes, all those wonderful authors bound in leather with gold-rimmed paper, exuding a slightly musty smell… heavenly.

antique travellers in egypt

You can make the most delightful discoveries in antique book shops. The one pictured above I found online; the full title is A Handbook for Travellers in Egypt (including descriptions of the Course of the Nile through Egypt and Nubia, Alexandria, Cairo, the Pyramids, and Thebes, the Suez Canal, the Peninsula of Mount Sinai, the Oases, the Fayoom etc) by Murray, John; Eaton, Frederick Alexis. Beat that!

A few years ago I came across a philosophical gardening book printed in the 1870s, an absolute gem. On the same trip, I found the most stunning edition of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, with delightful woodcuts, beautiful type-setting, a huge heavy book for a mere £ 400. Same price for a gorgeous two-volume edition of the Pickwick Papers I ogled in Cecil Court last year.

And therein lies the rub. I’d have to buy a lot of second-hand books to come up with enough of a price difference to afford that one Shakespeare play.

Or I will simply become a rich and famous author myself just so that I can afford my own personal antique library.

PS I would, however, not go for an antique husband or hedgehog. The upkeep is just too much.

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