Thursday, 4 February 2016

Writing - Recommendations and Mad Madge

Its like going to the cinema, or a restaurant, or maybe reading a book. It could have been recommended by a friend or acquaintance and in your mind, the secret part that no one else knows, that little voice is yelling at you to avoid it like a plague.

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A friend was advised to read a certain book which took him a deal of time and which he didn't enjoy and he has never let the guy who recommended it forget! Almost like recommending a restaurant and the people who go end up with food poisoning!

We've all had recommendations but its like everything we buy, better to have several points of view rather than just one. I have holidayed in France many times and told people how relaxed I feel when I go there but have had comebacks such as 'the service (in restaurants) is too slow' or 'I don't like the French' and so on. 
A recommendation is only as relevant as the tastes of the person who is being given the recommendation.

On the other hand I recommend my books to anyone who likes action, mystery and a bit of fun.

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Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel is a Man Booker prize winner and surely that should be enough of a recommendation but I read an interesting comment, it wasn't a review as such, about one of her books.
I have read her Wolf Hall which was historically great but I wasn't enamoured with her style, it was a qualified recommendation. The qualification being that her sequel was better. The article I read was about Beyond Black and the author of the article was bucking a trend among acquaintances who didn't like the book. It just goes to show that taste in art is incredibly personal.

Of course there is a very powerful corollary to those who don't take up on recommendations - its good to try something different. We should keep an open mind to the new.

So who was the poet, author and thinker that Samuel Pepys queued for hours to catch a glimpse of and who seriously disturbed the Scientific community of the day.

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Margaret Cavendish 1623 - 1673

Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne is variously described as a revolutionary scientist and prolific writer in many genres. By the 1660s she was often referred to as 'Mad Madge' for her frequent use of oaths and obscenities in her conversations and for the many social gaffs for which she was renowned. Her mode of dress was often deemed eccentric in high society and she published her works in her own name which was very unusual for a woman in the 17th century.
She was the first women to attend a meeting at Royal Society of London in 1667 and she criticised and engaged with members and philosophers Thomas HobbesRenĂ© Descartes, and Robert Boyle. She has been claimed as an advocate for animals and as an early opponent of animal testing. (Nothing new under the sun!)

There is a degree of comfort in discovering that such a lady challenged established ideas 400+ years ago and long may there be divergent thinkers such as 'Mad Madge'.

God Bless