First up? The nice people at Virgin Books sent me a copy of Myleene Klass' baby diaries ' My Bump and Me' to read and review.
Now, I have to admit that I did not have high hopes of it (this from a person who devours chick-lit by the bin bag-full, who on earth do I think I am?). But, actually - as a person who has left the baby-jungle behind her and has sworn never to pick up a machete, or put on a safari suit and a pith helmet again - I enjoyed it.
It is very readable, written week by week, with each entry including useful information about the baby's development and pregnancy in highlighted boxes, along with Myleene's own helpful tips. It also includes diary entries from her partner; it's not so often that these books - and believe me, I used to read a lot of them - bother to do that. I mean, once you get pregnant, the men's work is done, right?
Not right if you are normal person and need the help and support of your significant other to get you through it, and Myleene, it turns out, is just that; 'normal' (or as normal as it's possible to be having been able to wear that infamous white bikini in 'I'm a Celebrity...'. Grrrr).
It also has a useful glossary in the back to help explain those terms which, first time into pregnancy, sound like a foreign language, and an index to help you reference how Myleene dealt with different situations at different times.
In brief, then, whilst this is not a book which gives you full chapter and verse, or which will replace the 'What to Expect When You're Expecting's of this world, I would say that this is easy to read, gives you an unsantised version of what pregnancy can really be like, and would be a good present for girlfriends who are thinking of / have just become pregnant. Even as a 'graduate' of the baby years, I quite enjoyed it.
Though I still don't want to go back there...
Ah yes. The Rant...
I was contacted by a website which shall remain nameless last week, one that specialises in adult clothes from both designer and high street labels, and which has just introduced a kid's range to their offering. They wrote: 'We have spent a lot of time researching blogs relevant to our Launch, and have cherry picked your blog and feel it would be a wonderful platform in which we could build a relationship.'
Fancy words, huh? Ever-susceptible to flattery I took a look, liked what I saw, and wrote back to tell them so. I then asked what kind of 'a relationship' they had in mind...
'We would be very pleased for you to use the press release for the launch in any format with in your blog and we’d like to keep in touch for any possible partnerships with your self in the future, once the range is up and running.'
And I would do that, why, exactly?
I wrote back and pointed out that -no offence - in a world where we are constantly deluged with marketing messages, I wasn't sure what benefit simply writing about their new site would bring to either me or anyone reading my blog. If, however, they want to offer discounts, competitions, or some other incentive, then of course that would change matters.
To give them their due, they did respond, and stated that actually they thought my position was quite reasonable, which brings me to the point of all this rambling. We might 'only' be bloggers. The posts we write might 'only' be our musings. But they have value, and worth, if only to us, and we should take care that we maintain that. I don't know about you, but why on earth would I want to write about a new website just because someone asks me to? Am I that short of subject matter? (Well, clearly I am because I just wrote about it now...)
But still, I think it's about time that 'Respect the blog' - as Expat Mum posted on a week or so back - became something more of us do. Here's another example of what happens when people don't...
A couple of weeks back The Times featured comments from various bloggers in an article about privacy. I was one of them, and despite the fact that the excerpt they used from my e-mail wasn't the main point I had made to them at all, I stand by what they printed. I mean, if you swim with sharks (not that I'm calling either of the writers who wrote the article 'sharks', far from it, it's just a euphemism etc etc) , you have to be ready to be bitten, right? But it then turned out that some of the comments attributed to other bloggers, whilst written / said by them, had simply been lifted from other articles, interviews, or even the blogs themselves, and no permission (as I understand it) was ever requested.
That's a bit shabby, don't you think? Especially since British copyright rules state that 'when a work is fixed, in writing,... copyright automatically protects it.' Hmmm. 'In writing'? Like, say, on a blog? And just in case that's not clear enough, what does that actually mean? Well, that means: 'You should only copy or use a work protected by copyright with the copyright owner's permission.'
And the copyright owner, if you blog, write letters, send e-mails, write novels - in fact, the moment you put pen to paper - is you.
If you were a published writer in whatever form, you can bet that permission would be asked before someone else reproduced your hard work elsewhere. And I really don't want to get arsy about this. Hell, I only write a blog; I like it, but it's nothing special, so I'm delighted if anyone else pays me enough attention to want to quote me elsewhere. Be my guest. Just ask me first, please?
Now that's out of my system I feel so much better... Back to tales of pussycats and puppydogs tomorrow...