Wednesday, August 30, 2006

To plagiarise or not to plagiarise, that is the question!

This weekend past I had been given a copy of a book called: How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life by Kaavya Viswanathan.

At the back of my mind I kept on thinking - "self, we know about this book...we've heard about it..." - so tonight, my first night online since the weekend, I googled it and lo! I was correct.

Kaavya Viswanathan is the young woman who duped publishers into publishing a heavily plagiarised book from various authors. Fans of Megan McCafferty who had written Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings noted the similarities to Kaavya's books and immediately raised the alarm by contacting Ms McCafferty directly via email.

Kaavya who had secured a large advance on the book sales at first denied copying anything from Megan's work. Then a revised statement came out citing that Megan's work had been such an inspiration to her during her school going career that she had somehow retained some of the story, structure etc. and stuck it into her own work.

I googled some more and found some utterly astounding similarities, not just with Megan's work but other authors too. Check it out on the Wikipedia site!

I am stunned and amazed that someone could manage to get away with something like this. Even for a minute!

I feel sorry for Kaavya who has gone into retreat since the scandal hit at the beginning of the year. It must be hard to return all that money - not even sure if it got to be returned!?, I would think so, but what do I know!? - and admit to the world that your labour of love was more restructuring paragraphs of already published authors to make it seem like your own. Not just that but the movie deal fell through as did the follow-up novel which the publishers had signed a contract for. Can you say ouch!?

She must have felt awful when Megan's fans started picking up on all the similarities - trust me, they are hugely the same - she no doubt thought that NO ONE would ever sit up and take notice...never mind study the books and point out more than just one or two sections.


Did she think people were stupid? Its not like we live in the back of beyond where ideas do not get swapped daily via the internet, telephone, fax and word of mouth. And even in the back of beyond, you have to be pretty skilful to pull of a trick like plagiarising someone else's work...maybe a long dead author of a hundred or two hundred years ago, when admittedly it can be a "rewritten" piece of work...but ripping off well known authors with a huge fan base is just utterly stupid.... and she managed to get into Harvard?????

I sit here and think to myself that clearly I am doing the wrong thing by actually battling to get my own story out...maybe I can crip something like, I don't know...the previous Harry Potter movie...surely NO ONE has read about a wizard, his mates, his enemies. Yes, fabulous idea.

I'll do that.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Undomestic Goddess, Sophie Kinsella

I picked this up from a colleague at work on Friday afternoon, started reading it on the train on the way home, later the day and finished it this morning after homework was completed.

It is an exceedingly funny book, the character, Sam, is real enough and you can sympathise with her, her situation, but you can see the ending a mile off.

High flying young lawyer, about to be made youngest partner in a large law firm in London...she gets the hibbie jibbies when she discovers a piece of paper on her desk which she had to do something crucial with...this leads to all sorts of complications, ending with her walking out on her job, her life, getting on the train and ending up in the back of beyond where she somehow manages to get hired as a chef and housekeeper for two very sweet people who are a bit tacky, having come into a lot of money through business dealings. Comedic confusion ensues as Sam has no idea how to cook, clean or iron or even she is stuck and some of the situations are hilarious, laugh out loud funny. She however meets the gardener, Nathanial who is devastatingly handsome and she gets naughty thoughts about him...well, need I say more?

I can very easily see this be turned into a rom-com movie starring someone like Kate Hudson, Clive Owen and Matthew Mcwhatisface, he of the bongo drums fame.

A fantastic book to sit back with, to forget the mundane and be swept away with other people's lives. Enjoyable and easily read. If only all of us could walk out of our day jobs, into the countryside and not only not have to worry about money or any bills, but to find our dream jobs...sighs and goes off to check her lottery ticket.