The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The decline of books.

Recently, I have noticed something rather worrisome about what is on the bookshelves of modern bookshops. It is not what you might think. I am not concerned about violence, or explicitness...for they are in no more generous supply than they ever used to be – no, what concerns me is just what kind of books are available. If you look at the teen section of a bookshop, or, indeed, the science fiction/fantasy section of many bookshops, you might be as disturbed as I was to note that almost every book seems to be about vampires or werewolves, or other supernatural phenomenon. 

It is really very boring.

In fact, that is just what Ainan said recently, looking at the selection of books available, in the bookshop we were in: “How boring.” Now, this is from a young boy, who has read much less than me – yet even he is tired of the repetitiousness of the offerings available.

This is a very real problem – one of a lack of imagination, and creativity in publishing. It seems that just because Harry Potter and The Twilight Series have done so well, that publishers want to copy these two series, hoping for similar success – so they “greenlight” anything about the supernatural, particularly vampires and werewolves – and refuse to publish anything about anything new, for that might be seen as “untried” and “risky”. The result is bookshelves heaving with vampires and werewolves – and nothing else. It is unutterably dull. I, for one, couldn’t find a single book on those shelves that I would want to buy and read. So, I didn’t. Neither  did my son. We left empty handed – because there really was no choice, every book was basically telling the same story – a love story around vampires and werewolves – in different words. How crass.

Modern publishing is at risk of killing itself off, ironically, through the avoidance of risk. By not trying to bring new works to the market, with novel ideas, styles or perspectives, but repeatedly pushing the same limited kinds of works, they are creating a market without any real choice. If there is no choice, eventually there will be no readers.

Now, I can’t be sure that this is just a publisher's problem. Perhaps the bookshops are being selective in what they order and are targeting werewolves and vampires and the like...yet somehow I doubt it. You see, when I was a teenager there were no stories about werewolves and vampires – apart from Bram Stoker and the shelves seemed to have much greater variety. Modern publishing has become a business in which everyone is trying to do and sell the same product. They are “playing safe” to the point of self-destruction.

I don’t really buy books anymore, from my local bookshops. Well, I do...but only very rarely. Certainly, the fiction shelves are not as interesting as they were when I was a child. Looking at them, you would swear there was only one story and one writer in the whole world – because every book is much the same. There is no longer any reason to read anymore, because there is no longer anything new to read, being presented to us. I do hope this is just a publishing problem and not because every writer on Earth thinks it clever to write about vampires and werewolves. In fact, the problem has become so obvious that it really is dishonest to call the sections in the bookshops “Teen” or “Science Fiction and Fantasy”...they should just be called “Vampires and Werewolves” – because that is basically all that is on offer.

It is no surprise to me that bookshops are closing down. Readers no longer have interesting books to buy. They just have the same old same old. So why should they buy anything in these moribund bookshops? As long as publishers compete to be the same as each other, producing the same products, by different authors (who might as well have the same name), then readers will no longer have anything worthwhile to read, or any reason to frequent a bookshop.

Publishing will only thrive if there is true diversity. Once publishers start behaving in a herd like manner, that is the end of the road for them. Unfortunately, they became a herd long I don’t see much future for them, unless they change soon.

Let us have bookshelves teeming with variety. Let vampires and werewolves become a rarity again – because, frankly, I am beyond bored with them. If you are writing a vampire and werewolf book, please stop writing now. The world has more than enough of them. In fact, why don’t the world’s publishers start UNpublishing vampire and werewolf books? That would be progress, because then they would have to publish something else.

Future eras will laugh at the “culture” we produced over the last decade or so. They will laugh at the advent of idiocy so revealed. In fact, we might one day be known as the time of vampires and werewolves. It might be one of the most obvious facts about our culture in this time. How stupid is that?

Everyone reading this can do something to encourage more variety in the books stocked on bookstore shelves – simply stop buying vampire and werewolf stories. Eventually publishers will get the message and start publishing something else....hopefully lots of different things. As for me, I have only bought myself two fiction books in the last year. The first turned out to be rather unreadable, and ineptly written. The second I have yet to try.  I will comment more later.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

(If you would like to support my continued writing of this blog and my ongoing campaign to raise awareness about giftedness and all issues pertaining to it, please donate, by clicking on the gold button to the left of the page.

To read about my fundraising campaign, please go to: and here:

If you would like to read any of our scientific research papers, there are links to some of them, here:

If you would like to see an online summary of my academic achievements to date, please go here: learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 7 and Tiarnan, 5, please go to:

I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

There is a review of my blog, on the respected The Kindle Report here:

Please have a read, if you would like a critic's view of this blog. Thanks.

You can get my blog on your Kindle, for easy reading, wherever you are, by going to:

Please let all your fellow Kindlers know about my blog availability - and if you know my blog well enough, please be so kind as to write a thoughtful review of what you like about it. Thanks.

My Internet Movie Database listing is at:

Ainan's IMDB listing is at

Syahidah's IMDB listing is at

Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 3:08 PM 


Post a Comment

<< Home

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape