rhenish writing club

An Author’s Life

There are two things I’m blogging about today. One, my visit to Rhenish Primary School, and two, Somerset West has a new independent book store. So guess where “The Seeing Scroll” can also be found.

Rhenish Primary School Visit

What a privilege it was being invited to speak to the Grade 6 learners of Rhenish Primary School. A stunning facility set in the heart of Stellenbosch, South Africa. My first contact with the school was when they agreed to purchase a copy of “The Seeing Scroll” for their library. Carol Summerton, their librarian, kind-heartedly created a bit of a buzz about the fact that the book was set in False Bay, and that I lived on their doorstep. Thank you, Carol!

Creating a memorable school visit which, oftentimes, is a child’s first exposure to a real-life author is challenging in the sense that it’s about the kids, their parents, the school, it’s staff, and of course, an author with a book they believe in. But each stakeholder wants something different from the same 45-minute presentation.

The children—I guessed—wanted their imaginations WOWED. More so, I supposed, because “The Seeing Scroll” is listed under the genre of fantasy books for kids. The parents, school, and educators no doubt wanted the kids to have fun while learning something useful. Whilst I wanted, in some small way, to help cultivate or deepen a love of reading and writing. Because as the saying goes, a child who loves to read, loves to learn. So naturally, like a duck, a burst of frantic paddling began in the Grobler household.

I’d done school visits before, but until that point, they’d formed part of the “Career day” curriculum and had therefore been entirely verbal. For Rhenish, that restriction was lifted. At first, I considered a recorded reading from “The Seeing Scroll”, but decided against it. And since my next idea – presenting the poor souls with a string of carefully constructed bullet points on multiple PowerPoint slides – lulled even me to sleep, it too was scrapped.

But if this COVID pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how to use technology to our advantage and not only for work or entertainment but also for social engagement. So I imagined that kids would be no different. Which basically means, there was no doubt in mind, that they’d known about things like GIFS (images that move or remain still on my command), Instagram and TikTok long before I did. That being said, thank goodness for my daughter, Jocelyn.

By the time I’d been gifted with a microphone and ushered into a large hall with 85 Grade 6 kids placed meters apart because of strict COVID-19 protocols, I’d decided on a moving visual and sound-based approach simply because they weren’t options that I usually had at my disposal. And I figured that I might as well have some fun. After a brief, and no doubt dreary, run-through of my childhood, I hit the kids with the two most pertinent questions presented within the covers of “The Seeing Scroll”, which is also listed under the category of mystery books for kids.

Can you keep a secret?

and

If you find something that doesn’t belong to you, can you keep it?

So began the re-telling of “The Seeing Scroll” within the context of a Guess-What? game. Every sound clip I selected presents itself somewhere within the realms of the where, what, and how of the story and the manner in which the plot unfolds. I admit, some felt pretty challenging, according to me – and deliberately so. But the kids guessed all of them and were rather insightful with their descriptions, too.

Gosh, what a clever bunch. I might have to up my game 😊. With regards to the video snippets which I used to describe the personalities of my two main characters: I can’t say for sure if they enjoyed watching them more than we enjoyed making them but I can say that there’s something supremely enchanting about making an animal move to the beat of some ludicrous hip-pop tune.

More so when it’s connected to an enormous and blaring speaker. And last but definitely not least, I presented them with Jocelyn’s book trailer. And they liked it. Yay!

rhenish writing club
Pictured above from left to right: Nathan Hoatson, Ivor Wilson, Zeekuh Smith,
Charissa Hendrikse, Henry Woodward, Amy Smith, and J.T. Grobler

Then it was time to meet the Rhenish Primary School’s Grade 6 group of budding authors. What a motivated bunch of children who are avid readers, devoted librarian monitors, and, according to the Head of English, Janet Chapman, they are already great writers with vivid imaginations. So perhaps we need to watch this space.

It’s an extraordinary thing when teachers inspire kids to do what they love and help them dream at such a young age. But when I searched the school’s website, I found that it’s in keeping with the Rhenish Primary School motto.

“Which inspires to provide a diverse educational experience for children to believe in themselves and discover their true potential.”

Wow!

It seems to me that it’s the Rhenish Primary School teachers who deserve the most appreciation.

An Independent Bookstore has opened its doors in the heart of Somerset West.

153B Main Road

Open Weekdays 9am – 6pm. Saturday and Public Holidays 9am – 2pm!

bookworms

BOOKWORMS FANTASY. It’s hard to believe that any booklover would walk past a shop with a name like that. And for this newbie author with a book listed in the fantasy books for kids genre… Oh. My. Gosh.

My first impression: the place is practically a treasure trove. So, how lucky am I to get “The Seeing Scroll” onto such an outstanding spot on the shelf? The atmosphere is laid back and relaxing, with comfy couches to boot. It’s somewhere to go if you have time. But if you don’t, the cherry on top – they also have a Facebook page with links to a Facebook shop. All you’ve got to do is like their page.

They’re still unpacking but open for business with a wide range of both old and new. For more information, contact Waldo Boshoff or Eric Reeder, the Co-Founders. of this little gem. 

Bookworms contact information

Phone: 087 702 3943

Email: info@bookwormfantasy.co.za

Why not get a coffee, take the family for a stroll, and support local?

But if you prefer eBooks, The Seeing Scroll is available to purchase here.

Other bookstores in the Helderberg where “The Seeing Scroll” is available:

  • Liberty Books – Grabouw (Peregrine Farmstall)
  • Stellenbosch Books

The Best Reading Light

It’s hard to disagree that snuggling in bed with a brilliant book is the best experience ever. Or perhaps you’re fond of relishing a refreshing rainy day while cosying up in your favourite spot with a mug of coffee, cocoa, or whatever your favourite drink is… a cosy reading light and a book. It doesn’t matter how you like to enjoy the experience of reading; what matters is that you get an optimal one.


Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light

It blends functionality, creative design, and efficient use.


However, such an experience cannot be made possible on a whim. You have to decide to take action and search for things that would be conducive to your book reading or relaxation experience. The process is a tad bit slow and cumbersome because a lot of careful research is required.

But once you’ve decided on your mood lighting, we of course mean your reading lighting, it is well worth it. Your goal should be to create a reading-friendly environment so that you can enjoy the complete experience… whenever… wherever.

A Classical Bookworms’ Dilemma…

So, we can safely agree that books provide an extraordinary recluse from the mayhem of this world, and bedtime reading is a fulfilling experience. However, imagine having to constantly fiddle with your lamp or being forced to reposition yourself to catch some of the ceiling light! Talk about annoying… The disappointment that lurks is quite unavoidable.

What’s the point of having to move mountains to invest in a few minutes of reading? Where’s the relaxation in that? Inappropriate lighting is not only frustrating but a deal-breaker.

You could choose to ignore the element of frustration and try reading your favourite book in dim light. No doubt you’ll end up with sore and tired eyes. But is it worth trudging along through constant disappointment and eye exhaustion when a straightforward solution for this problem exists?

Get some illumination by your bed! Some people go for table lamps while others choose to have a book light; it is as much a matter of preference as functionality and in this modern age… mobility

What Makes a Book Light Most Appropriate for You?

For me, a book reading light works wonders because the light is soft and it keeps the book well illuminated without putting too much strain on my eyes. Some people don’t consider a book light as necessary, but the fact is that it substantially enhances the overall experience of reading.

The other apparent advantages of a book light are that it would illuminate and provide enough light for focused or intricate tasks such as drawing, scrap booking, puzzle building, writing, or any kind of crafting.

Modern book lights often make use of LED, which is very economical and comfortable for your eyes. These reading lights also protect you from experiencing headaches caused by prolonged exposure to bright light. With some LED-based book lights, you can easily adjust the colour hue or brightness of the light to ensure the most comfortable fit for your eyes.

The Benefits of Getting a Book Light

 Whether you plan to read for an hour or more, you mustn’t underestimate the significance of proper lighting in your reading environment.

  1. Avoid Eye Strain: Although reading in the dark does not damage your eyes permanently, you would be at risk of suffering other problems, including severe eye strain or painful headaches. So, it’s worth having a reading environment that is appropriately lit.

2. Boost Your Productivity: Many people find book reading a fun and relaxing activity. When you are in a well-lit room, your concentration increases, and you would be able to take in a lot more information because of the conducive environment. Therefore, better lighting means an improved experience fully engrossed in your favourite book.

3. Dry Eyes Dread: They should sound scary because they certainly feel so. Many people have their hearts set on reading in a specific chair or designated family room, which often includes cosy couches or darker corners. However, know that eye fatigue caused by insufficient light sets in quickly and you’ll soon suffer from dry, scratchy eyes which imply that your eyes are over strained. Is it worth it? Definitely not.

4. Optimize the Fun of Reading: If you think that the quality of your reading experience depends solely on the type of book you read, perhaps you aren’t considering all the factors. With proper lighting, your eyes can relax too, and you’ll be able to read for longer because they won’t experience unnecessary fatigue.

These are just some of the most obvious benefits of ensuring that you have proper lighting available while reading. However, before you rush to fix the lightning problem, ensure that you have the required basic information about what type of lights you should consider. So, let’s dive in.

The Basics About Book Lights

Now that you know what is uniquely impressive about a reading light, you might wonder what your choices are and which ones enhance the page illumination in order to ensure that you get to enjoy an optimised reading experience with brighter, comfortable and adjustable lighting.

  • Option 1: Small Book Lights

Book lights come in all sizes and shapes. Some of them are pretty handy because of their smaller size, and this portability makes them suitable for reading lovers who like to read on the go, such as on the commute to work. Most of the book lights are light-weighted, and you usually have the option to adjust their position and form.

Some even have quite an impressive stature or a unique design that makes them look nothing less than an aesthetic piece of art. Some small-sized book lights can be attached to your book or clipped on a bed headboard or a table. Such features make them immensely functional.

  • Option 2: Large Sized Book Lights

While there are sizeable reading lights that include desk or tabletop variants, these would have long LED heads or positional arms. Because of their size, they can illuminate quite a large area because they emit more light.

You could change the level of brightness or alter its colour settings. So, with these models, you can enjoy various options. But you cannot easily move them around. However, if you want to keep your reading activity limited to a particular section, this won’t be an issue.

Which Book Light Seems to be The Best for You?

Because there are many options available in the market, it is often hard to decide on a book light that seems to be perfect for you. So, which ones should you go for? Many people feel stuck about decision making and procrastinate on this. Consequently, their reading experience takes a toll. But we have you covered because, in this guide, we have our top three picks for the book reading light.

So, let’s review the top three picks we have for you.

Our top three favourite reading lights

1. Glocusent LED Reading Light

Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light
  • Rechargeable: Yes
  • Battery life: 80 hours
  • Batteries included: Yes
  • Block blue light: Yes

If you are a fan of unique designs and have a soft spot for aesthetics, then Glocusent LED Reading Light is the one you should go for. It blends functionality, creative design, and efficient use. And not to forget that it certainly optimises your reading experience to a great degree, and it is very convenient to use. You can simply wear it around your neck, and it illuminates the area you are focusing on.

It comes with three different colour modes, including yellow at 3000K, cool-white at 6000K, and warm-white at 4000K. Each head of this book light has its switch for operating the brightness levels, and you can dim or increase the capacity as you want. You can select the brightness level that resonates with your work efficiency the most.

It has a rechargeable and long-lasting battery with up to 80 hours of consistently bright functionality. It has a 1000mAh premium battery. Moreover, it offers protection from eyestrain and is also relatively easy to operate because of the ergonomic design.

I find the design of this device particularly interesting, as it just blends in with the reading experience without being in sight. It gives a non-flickering, long-lasting glow and has a blue-light filter as well.

Another outstanding feature is the soft, narrow, and focused beam, which means that if you do not want to disturb your partner in the middle of the night because of sharp light, you won’t. I love its flexible arms, and you can change the shape and direction of the arms to your need. This device also has an anti-slip design and comes adorned with a lattice surface that is pleasantly bright.

I enjoyed reading the meaning of this brand as a ‘glory, moment and focus.’ In the vision and mission sections, the brand declares they aim to provide their customers with functionality and glory and keep the design innovating to help you savour all the amazing moments in your book. We can easily appreciate how their product is adding to the big picture here.

Upon purchasing a Glocusent Reading Light for myself, I received an email from them providing me with some tips and tricks when using their light.

They recommended the following tips for better user experience:

  • Remove the film on the light heads for better illumination.
  • Use only the included charger or certified charging cables with your reading light.
  • They recommend fully charging your light before its first use.

Why should you buy the Glocusent LED Reading Light?

  • It has three different modes and up to six distinct levels
  • It can last for up to 80 hours and has rechargeable batteries
  • It has an innovative design and has flexible arms
  • You don’t need to attach it to anything
  • It is also not bad for your bank

2. Hooga Reading Light

Hooga Reading Light
  • Rechargeable: Yes
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Batteries included: Yes
  • Block blue light: Yes

The prominent feature in this light is an amber-coloured hue and 1600K colour temperature. You could enjoy a warm and gentle light that is very similar to candlelight or fire. Also, you are 99.94% safe from blue light exposure because it filters it out. You should avoid blue light exposure before your bedtime to make sure that you are not disturbing your circadian rhythms. It also does not affect the melatonin levels adversely.

Additionally, this light has been labelled as quite travel-friendly because it is portable and lightweight. Its weight is only around 2.5 oz / 71 grams, which means that you won’t even notice it when attached it to a book. What I like about this light is that it is quite sturdy and has a firm grip. Have you been thinking of reading while camping or in the evenings on the beach watching the sunset? Because this one can easily be carried anywhere you want to read.

A power feature is its extra-long battery life because it comes equipped with a 1200mAH lithium battery. Buying lots of batteries to keep your book light functioning is now a thing of the past. With Hooga book lights, you don’t need them anymore. The best thing is that it is very economical, so you don’t have to worry about it interfering with your book budget.

Why should you buy the Hooga Reading Light?

  • Blue light filter is present
  • It gives an amber-coloured hue and is soft on the eyes
  • It has a long battery life,
  • It does not disturb your quality of sleep
  • It can clip onto your book and light up both pages

3. Vekkia Amber Reading Light

Vekkia Amber Book Light
  • Rechargeable: Yes
  • Battery life: 70 hours
  • Batteries included: No
  • Block blue light: Yes

This book light is absolutely amazing because of all the advanced features it brings along. I adore this book reading light because it has an amber-coloured hue and offers blue light protection for up to 99.95%. Because of this amazingly accurate blue light filter, the Vekkia Amber book light helps in creating a peaceful night’s sleep.

It helps with melatonin production at night, which lets you sleep like a baby. Your sleep quality also improves substantially, because of the decreased exposure to blue light just before sleeping. Moreover, you can choose between three levels of brightness according to your preference. The three levels of brightness are ‘firefly’ with 30% brightness, ‘soft’ with 50% brightness and ‘infinity high’ with a 100% brightness level. It’s great to have choices, isn’t it?

Another handy feature in this reading light is that it has a 360-degree gooseneck that enables you to alter its position as you want. In case you are fond of having a reading light while you’re in bed, this should be a perfect companion because it has a soft light, it illuminates a focused area and won’t disturb someone sleeping by your side. You can also use it as a nightlight with a low brightness that gives an amber and warm glow.

It is rechargeable and has a 1000mAh lithium battery that gives you an uninterrupted battery life of 70 hours! I like this because you no longer have to worry about purchasing batteries to operate it. It’s also very portable, sturdy, and flexible.

It has a non-slip mat at the bottom which ensures that it is firmly placed on a surface. Also, it is super lightweight which makes it carrying around a breeze (it weighs only 2.15 oz / 61 grams). It’s quite small, which makes it great for travelling because you can fit it in your handbag easily.

So, in short, this book light by Vekkia is a superb choice if you are looking for all these extra features without spending too much money.

Why should you buy the Vekkia Amber Reading Light?

  • Blue light filter is present
  • It has a long battery life,
  • It does not disturb your quality of sleep
  • It has three different brightness levels
  • Can use it with Kindle

All About the Reading Light Requirements

Lightning requirements vary from person to person based on their vision accuracy and health. It also depends on the age and eye health of an individual.

  • People who are suffering from photophobia or light sensitivity should take extra caution about not exposing their eyes to unnecessary white light or a sharp light. Photophobia is not an ailment, really, but it is a symptom and may reflect various problems or inflammation. So, make sure that you purchase a reading light that is friendly to your eyes.
  • Those who suffer from Myopia or near-sightedness see blurry objects when they are farther away from them. You should keep the surroundings well-lit, especially when you are reading a book or find yourself in an area where the light is dim because that would ensure that you do not put extra strain on your eyes.
  • Another condition is called hypermetropia, or long-sightedness. As for those who are struggling with Myopia, these individuals should also take extra steps to have appropriate lighting present around them while reading a book. Here, you might need glasses to see correctly.
  • The same goes for those who have 20-20 vision, in which you can see clearly at about 20 feet. Ensure you have the correct lighting when reading or working to protect your eyes from strain and prevent them from becoming impaired.
  • Aging profoundly affects vision accuracy and health. Therefore, you should not compromise. It’s best to pay extra attention to the changing lighting requirements that you have. Ensure that the room is well lit, with a bedside lamp, task lamp or reading light, etc. It is recommended that you select a bulb with a blue light filter and a warm glow. Night lights and feature-optimised book lights are pretty helpful in this regard.

If you are uncertain about your health condition and want to gather accurate information, we recommend that you get in touch with an ophthalmologist.

Decisions, decisions

Which book light speaks to your heart? If you are still unsure, which is absolutely natural and perfectly okay, we have some more tips for you. Below is a brief buyers’ guide in which we have shared about ten handy tips related to distinct features that you should look for in a book reading light.

Top Features You Should Look for in a Book Reading Light

Now that you know quite a lot about book lights and our top three picks, you should be in a better position to decide. However, if you are still unsure on how to figure out which one you must invest your money in, then below is a comprehensive buyer’s guide that we have compiled just for you. So here it goes…

Tip # 1. Is it energy efficient?

The considerably basic fact about lights that you should never forget is that LED bulbs reduce power consumption by about 90%. For example, the level of brightness in a 10W CFL bulk or 5W LED bulb is similar to that in a 40W tungsten bulb. The older bulbs consume a lot of energy and are not cost efficient either.

We recommend you keep it a priority to ensure that the bulb in your reading light is cost and energy-efficient, and LED lights seem to be the saviour. Besides LED, CFL bulbs are also energy efficient and give the same intensity and quality of light as the regular bulbs you usually fix in your house, workplaces, or elsewhere.

Another advantage of going for LED lights is that they are less likely to get overheated. And just because of this characteristic, LED lamps are environmentally friendly because they can last for up to 20 years!

Tip # 2. How Portable is it?

Your book light will stay with you for a long time, so you must make your decision very cautiously. So, another priority feature should be ‘portability’ for you. Your reading light should be lightweight enough that you can easily carry it around from one place to another, without even noticing it taking up space in your bag or pocket.

Tips # 3. How Accurate is Accurate?

Most book lights provide directional, focused, and intense light. Often, reading lights are used in darker rooms or during night hours, because you don’t have the natural light to benefit from. So, you need a light that has a good ‘colour rendering index’ (CRI). The highest CRI value is 100, and this would be equivalent to daylight. Therefore, aim for something that has a CRI value of above 80.

If you are getting this book light for your toddler, you should get one in the 90 CRI value or more because toddlers are still learning and developing, and they would benefit from precision and accuracy in lightning.

Tip # 4. Should You be Worried about the Temperature at all?

If you have ever used incandescent bulbs, then you already know they can get hot. They can cause severe burns and pose a danger of starting a fire. So, it is safer to invest in a book light because most of them have LEDs as a light source, and it is an exceptionally safer option. Go for a book light that is closer to the daylight lighting quality without getting dangerously hot.

Tip # 5. Are they Environment Friendly?

Another important feature is their environmental friendliness. As the J.T. Grobler team, we are environmentalists, and are all for lowering your waste production, and selecting LED book lights is one way to do it. Because LED lights last for a very long time, you contribute to reducing the usage of metal, plastic, inert gases, glass, and more. This feature also makes them environment friendly by contributing less to global warming. LED lights also happen to be quite relaxing to the eyes and do not cause unnecessary strain.

Tip # 6. Is it Convenient to Use?

You won’t be looking for a cumbersome one, right? Well, we guessed that much—a book reading light functions as a task light. So, you are more likely to place it in specific spots, such as near your bedside or by your reading chair, or at your work desk. Make sure that it has various features that make it convenient to use for all your tasks. It could be any feature, from having a light with an arm that’s adjustable or having an LED indicator at the power switch, etc. Anything that makes using the gadget easier to use is good to have.

Tip # 7. Does Your Book Light Have Efficient Controls?

Your reading light should have features beyond just a simple on and off button. One of the key features to look for is having adjustable brightness because it enables you to alter the light as per your needs. You can also go for reading lights with options for night lights. These night lights are a great mood setter, too. So, make your list of what controls you want in your book reading light.

Tip # 8. Are There Any Safety Concerns You Should Worry About?

Many people overlook this factor while buying a book light, based on the assumption that book lights may not even have any safety issue. However, there is always a certain degree of risk involved. Now, the LED reading lights operate on low power and don’t pose a risk of electrical fires. But there are other concerns; for example, you can get stuck in the ‘glare trouble.’ To avoid the bothersome glare eye strain, try to get a book light with anti-glare functionality.

Tip # 9. The Blue Light Filter

Even though we are putting it second last in our buyers’ guide, it is one of the essential features that you should look for in a reading light because blue light is quite harmful to your eyes and may cause permanent damage to your vision. If you expose yourself to blue or white light merely for an hour at night, the level of melatonin in your decreases.

And melatonin is the magic sleep dust! With just 1 hour of white or blue light exposure, your sleep time delays up to 3 hours. Unfortunately, we are overexposed to this type of light via TV, cell phones, laptops, light fixtures, etc. You just don’t want to add another one to the list in the form of a book light. Especially when it’s unnecessary.

Tip #10. Is it Versatile Enough?

Although we purchase book lights for the purpose of reading books, you can put them to other uses as well. If the light has a clip-on design, you can attach it to laptops, books or headboards, etc. If it’s a light that you can wear, perhaps around your neck, then you are good-to-go for any repair work or crafting, etc. The wearable lights can also be used while you are jogging or biking around town.

With the ten tips enlisted above, you should now be feeling empowered to make the right decision. Go for a book light that appeals to you aesthetically, has excellent features, and fits your requirements. However, you should not break your budget on a reading light and carefully review all the options before making your pick.

This is because you won’t be purchasing a reading light every other day. It’s a reading companion that will stay with you for quite a few years while exploring the worlds and uncovering the secrets of your books. So be smart about which one you select.


Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light

It blends functionality, creative design, and efficient use.


Before making the purchase, spend some time going through this guide and gathering more information about reading lights. We recommend you create a concrete list of requirements and preferences that you want in your very own reading light, and try to find a book light that ticks your boxes. Features and cost are essential aspects that you must always consider when buying any product, but the one thing that is desired most is the convenience and functionality of the product.

One thing you should not compromise on is your health and the precious beauty of enjoying a splendid book just before a lovely, long night-time nap. Always ensure that the reading light supports your vision and health of your eyes. 

Radio Helderberg Interview about The Seeing Scroll

When did inspiration strike?

Radio host, Johann Myburgh, and I at Radio Helderberg.

I enjoyed my interview with Johann Myburgh from Radio Helderberg. As it turns out, that mic wasn’t nearly as daunting as I’d imagined. What a friendly host he was, and that, I suspect, made all the difference.

Hands down, the most asked about aspect of my writing to date is – where did I get my idea for The Seeing Scroll from? So it never came as a surprise when Johann asked me the same thing.

And the answer for those who missed it:

My hubby once brought home a book about objects that were discovered along the South African coastline. I mulled over a few of the articles, intrigued, and began thinking – what happens when you find something that doesn’t belong to you? Can you keep it? As per usual, I consulted the oracle that lives somewhere in Google, and what I learned captivated me.

Soon, I began pondering the practicalities associated with such a find because I couldn’t help wondering how someone, anyone, would suddenly stumble across something lost eons ago? Why hadn’t anyone else stumbled across it before? Was the discoverer visiting a strange place, or doing something oh-so-sneaky, perhaps? Before I knew it, I’d come up with an answer and picked a place for my tale to unfold.

False Bay. See below:

View of False Bay.