Keep the Literature Fires Burning

September 26, 2022

Read widely.  Do not limit yourself to what is universally regarded as the Classics or a particular genera.  Encourage students to do the same.  Read to young children to stimulate their interest in stories, story telling and story tellers.  Get students to write down their own stories and own ideas about story telling.  Get them writing.  Everyone has a story within their own lives.  Talk to older generations as when they are gone their stories might be lost.  Read poems out loud to get use to the sound of words.  Quote the works of past and present famous writers.

Movie makers are story tellers.  Find out how they get their ideas.  It is usually from books and literature.  There is no original story.  Most stories have already been written.  New stories are re-workings of past tales with spins on them to make them look fresh and appealing to modern audiences.  A reader can draw significance, relevance or profundity out of a story when it understands the deeper implications, reasonings and causes behind it.  The meaning of a story depends on the standpoint, which is  the mental attitude from which a person views and judges things.

When writing get your words down on paper first and worry about spelling and grammar later.  Then check rewrite and revise so that it makes sense to yourself.  Do not let the reader anticipate the outcome of a plot.  Get at least three to five people whose opinions you trust to read your work.  Any more becomes difficult to manage.  If one makes a highly critical point, take note and move on.  If two or more make the same point, make changes.  If you wish to publish your work employ a professional editor.

I like to read the works of lesser known writers.  I review every thing I read and post my reviews on my blog and, if they are published, on Amazon and  I do not post bad reviews.  My reviews tend to be rated four or five stars.  I know how hurtful bad reviews can be.  In my view anyone who writes and finishes a novel is a heroin or hero.  If I consider that it is below par I will try to contact the author directly and give my views privately.  I get sent many stories to read and my reading list is long.  I am a slow reader and an even slower writer.  But if I feel a narrative may have merit I will get to it in the end.


Homer’s The Odyssey.

I have read this several times and consider this the best story about the human condition ever written.

Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon.

I do not read many travel books but this one inspired me to write about my experiences motor cycle travelling.

The Double Helix by James D Watson.

It is an autobiographical account of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.  It is controversial due to Watson’s willingness to appropriate data surreptitiously from others and his sexist attitude towards scientist Rosalind Franklin who, because of the harmful nature of the X-rays she worked with, died early and therefore could not share the Nobel Prize.  Despite these flaws, I found the story fascinating.  It is probably the greatest medical discovery of all time which has lead and is still leading to momentous breakthroughs in modern medicine.  It is the best detective story I have read and is the main reason why I followed a career in biological science.

The Invisible Man by H G Wells.

A classic tale of what can happen when a scientific experiment produces an irreversible result.  Wells was a Master of Science Fiction.  Wells goes into great detail about how to change a body’s refractive index and become invisible  He describes the science of visibility in great detail so that his protagonist’s experiment becomes believable. What I liked about the story was that Wells skill in explaining the science behind the plot makes it seem entirely plausible.  The attempts of the protagonist to regain normality are cautionary and shocking.  This is a tale that has been imitated many times on film and TV but the original outshines all these and remains well worth reading.

The War of the Worlds by H G Wells

It fires the imagination about what may exist out in space and also is representative of an outstanding piece of literature. The author, H. G. Wells, lived in Woking and his nocturnal trips to the nearby common inspired this great story and created a new literary genre.  Like me he was a student of biology which he studied at Imperial College London.  Bacteria have an important role in the plot.  There is a magnicent sculpture in the centre of the town of Woking in Surrey, UK where I lived for over 40 years.  Next to this, is one of The Invisible Man.




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