Tuesday, March 26, 2013

10 Reasons to Read the Book Before Seeing the Movie

Are you a fan of books as movies? If that's the case, you understand that the inevitable question between book lovers in addition to cinema fans is if you should read the book or see the movie first.

I hope this list encourages you to read books that are movies before seeing the book on the big screen!

1. Imagine the people as you want
While reading the book the movie is based on initially one can bring the cast to life in whatever way you want. You are able to picture the characters in whatever way works optimally just for you.

2. Escape into a novel for a little while
While watching a movie you often can't free yourself as easily as when reading a book. That means reading the book before with will provide you some time off from the difficulties within your everyday life.

3. Put together Possibilities and Opinions on the Story
Every time we see books as movies we are basically told what we should think. When reading a book it is more simple to keep the plot open for interpretation and take pleasure in the pondering a bit more.

4. There is usually some more to the history
When we watch movies that are books usually we miss out on a lot of world development. Through a book we obtain the entire back story on the characters, the world, and the story all around.

5. Fall within the Characters' Minds
When we read the book the movie is based on, we will be able to read one or more of the main characters' thoughts. This inner-dialogue we don't hear in the movie typically allow us to sympathize with the characters easier.

6. No Worries Related to Arriving Below Cost and Duration
Production companies secure dedicated financial constraints and they need to squeeze the book into a movie that's at most a few hours long. Now and then these type of things will certainly detract from the story we are expected to imagine.

7. Love the Tale Even More
A powerful novel will rein you in and keep you there. With books as movies you may be merely dedicated to it for a couple of hours at most. Jump into the book initially, then the film can make one all the more invested in the story.

8. Read Those things the Author Intended Us To
With movies based on the book we may be seeing half the story a lot of the time. Diving into the novel first will allow for us to realize the tale as the writer hoped us to.

9. Brag Liberties
You know those people who say "the novel was a great deal superior compared to the movie". You can be that person if for no other rationale than to show them up first.

10. Use Your Creative imagination
One doesn't need creative thinking to see a film, and in the event you watch the movie first, then you will be visualizing the film elements the whole book. Then you definitely won't be able to workout that gorgeous mind of yours!

If you're a fan of books that are movies then check out the Books as Movies news blog for the most recent and up-to-date news about movies from books.

Monday, March 25, 2013

3 Good Christian Children's Books About Death

There are several appealing children's books on the market either helping parents to explain death to young children, or targeted directly at children for their reading pleasure, which incorporate an explanation of death. But surprisingly few of these are specifically Christian books. However, I am able to recommend three such books which are very engaging.


1) Water Bugs and Dragonflies by Doris Stickney was published by The Pilgrim Press in 1982. This is a very small, slim book, containing a story which starts below the surface of a quiet pond among a little colony of water bugs. The story finishes with the transformation of a water bug into a dragonfly and illustrates beautifully the fact that the dragonfly cannot return below the surface of the water to tell the water bugs what has happened to it, and what life is like in its new body. A prayer follows, which the child reader may use as a guide when praying for the person whose loss he or she is mourning. The book then gives notes for parents advising them on what they can say to a child about death, and backing this up with quotations from Matthew and Mark showing the way Jesus approached little children. The book ends with a prayer for parents. I think this is an ideal resource for parents who might be unsure and insecure about how to handle the subject.


2) Will I Live Forever? by Carolyn Nystrom illustrated by Jo-Anne Shilliam was published by Lion Hudson in 2006. Told in the first person through the viewpoint of the young child, it directly addresses the reader with a question about sad, scary thoughts, and then relates those questions to the child's world. The story encapsulates the Christian understanding of why we die, starting with the story of the Creation, and of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It goes on to incorporate quotations from the Gospels. It is also very honest and straightforward about the physical processes of death - the corruption of the body, the reason why it must be cremated or buried, etc. It goes on to reflect upon heaven - once again answering the kind of direct, logical questions a young child will demand to be answered. This is an excellent book, one you will wish you'd had access to when you were a young child.


3) Grandma's Party by Meg Harper, illustrated by Paul Nicholls, was brought out by The Bible Reading Fellowship in 2003. This is a delightful book centred around the funeral of a grandmother, and it offers practical ways to help children be part of the grieving process when a loved one dies. It includes a story and also creative craft ideas for how a child may become involved in preparing for a tea following the funeral; recipes; instructions on calligraphy to make place cards; and how to make picture frames, books of memories, and paper water-lilies. The book has a solid Christian base, explaining the resurrection from the dead, and finishing with prayers which may be read by a child at the funeral. This is a lovely, practical book, helping parents to understand how to involve and include children at every stage, so they may live out the truth that death is a part of life, not something alien and taboo and frightening, to be hidden behind a wall of silence and mystifying rituals.


S.C.Skillman is the author of mystery romance novel "Mystical Circles" in which Juliet, concerned that her younger sister has fallen for the charismatic Craig, leader of a dubious New Age spiritual group, sets off for the Cotswolds to see the situation for herself. She arrives at Craig's community hoping to rescue Zoe. But intrigues, liaisons and relationships flare and flourish or fizzle out quickly within this close circle and, despite her reservations, Juliet is drawn into the Wheel of Love... with completely unforeseen consequences.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

5 Great Fantasy Book Series for Tweens

If you're looking for just the right book to give your child, and he/she is interested in heroes and battles, magicians and sorcerers, hidden worlds or unique twists on old fairy tales, these five authors have series that will provide your child with hours of enjoyment and excitement. And I know, because not only have my kids read and delighted in them, I have too.

1) Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan: Rick Riordan presents an interesting twist on the old Greek and Egyptian mythologies in his two series. The stories really appeal to any kid who may have considered themselves different or outcasts, but have a bit of the undiscovered hero inside. The main characters of Riordan's stories discover that they are children of, or can channel, the Gods. Because of their abilities they face many enemies out to destroy them. And ultimately, it is up to them to lead many quests to help win the battle between good and evil.

2) The InkHeart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke: Anyone who has ever become immersed in a book, or dreamt of joining their favorite characters, will love the InkHeart series. Meggie, a young girl whose father repairs books, discovers that he has a secret talent to bring book characters and scenes to life by simply reading a book aloud. The book he read when Meggie was a toddler, InkHeart, had the unexpected consequence of causing her mother to disappear into the world of InkHeart, and some unsavory characters to be released into the real world. Years later, the characters return to seek out the InkHeart book so that it can once again be read aloud.

3) The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series by Michael Scott: Josh and Sophie Newman are twins that appear by chance to meet the immortal Nicholas Flamel, the Alchemist, and his wife. They are sucked into a battle of good and evil that will determine the fate of the world they know, and the worlds they have not even imagined. In order to fight this evil, Josh and Sophie will have to be taught all the elemental magics, and will discover that many Gods and Immortals move freely about the world as they know it. Parents will love the role that many historic figures play in this series.

4) Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins: Like the InkHeart Trilogy, the Underland Chronicles focuses on a child who has had a parent disappear early in his life. Gregor and his younger sister, Boots, accidentally discover a world underneath New York City, where humans and giant creatures coexist. Gregor will learn of a prophecy and more importantly he will learn about the whereabouts of his missing father. This series, written by the author of the Hunger Games, has some dark themes that may raise some discussion with your child.

5) The Sisters Grimm Series by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson: The Sisters Grimm is a great combination of fairy tale and detective series. Sabrina and Daphne Grimm go to live with their mysterious grandmother and learn that they are descendants of the Brothers Grimm and live in a town where fairy tale characters exist. They run into a series of events that require their detective skills to solve, such as the kidnapping of their grandmother and the murder of a teacher. A fun ride for both boys and girls with some strong female characters for the girls to relate to.

C. J. Mackey is a working mother of three, balancing a full time career while taking an active role in her children's lives. She has an advanced degree in engineering and over twenty years making technology decisions for fortune 500 companies. For more information on Great Fantasy Books Tweens you can visit Great Book Series Tweens.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Brief Overview on the Life of Classic Author, Charles Dickens

His rags to riches story began on 7 February 1812. At the age of nine he was sent to school only to be taken out again shortly after due to his father being jailed for bad debts. The young Charles was made to work in dreadful conditions in a blacking factory, where he remained for a further 3 years. He returned to school after that but never forgot his experiences in the factory and drew upon them to write two of his better known classic fiction books of all time, David Copperfield and Great Expectations.


As a small boy, barely 12 years old, Charles Dickens spent days of humiliation and neglect pasting labels onto jars of black boot polish, in a rat-infested London warehouse. He saw his relatives only on Sundays, when he visited Marshalsea, a debtor's prison where his whole family, with the exception of one sister, resided. During these years, Dickens swung back and forth between what friends and acquaintances later recounted as either an overwhelmingly cheery disposition or crippling depression.


During the course of his life, Dickens never told another soul, other than his wife and his best friend, about those years of poverty, abandonment, and fear. This period of his life defined him and his books and it is absolutely essential to know this in order to understand the author himself. This period seemed to put a stain on Dickens who was a clever and sensitive boy, that coloured everything he accomplished, though as previously mentioned he never told the story except obliquely through his fiction.


Some little known facts about Dickens are that when he was a young boy he saw a beautiful house and was enchanted by it. His father told him if he worked hard he could one day live in a house like it. Charles went one better and actually purchased the same house he'd seen all those years ago.


Some of the characters in his books, Monks from Oliver Twist; Guster from Bleak House and Bradley Headstone from Our Mutual Friend, suffered from epilepsy and it was believed that Dickens himself suffered from the condition also. Experts came to this conclusion after reading some of Dickens' journals in which he describes the symptoms of epilepsy accurately.


Dickens is well-known for his books about Christmas but despite his efforts couldn't get anyone to publish the very first one. Nevertheless, at a considerable loss to himself he published it on his own. Published in 1843 it is now a Christmas classic - A Christmas Carol.


Many of the characters in his books often have rather peculiar nicknames like Sweedlepipe and Pumblechook to name but two. Dickens was also known to give nicknames to his own children, of which there were 10, for example Boz and Skittles.


Dickens began his literary career as a journalist which allowed him to publish his works on a regular basis, starting with the very successful Pickwick Papers which was just the beginning...


As well as a large number of novels Dickens also wrote travel books and plays, edited periodicals and was an administrator of some charitable organisations. Dickens died of a stroke in 1870 before the completion of his novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood (which has just recently been finished and made into a TV series) and was buried at Westminster Abbey.


Today these novels, many of which closely mirrored Dickens' own life, continue to have a powerful emotional impact on readers.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A New Frog Species From Western Ghats

The word amphibia means dual mode of life. Just like the name the members of class Amphibia are adapted for living both on land as well as water. Salamanders, frogs and toads are the important members of this class loaded with magnificent features that enable these creatures to survive in diverse array of environments. Frogs and toads are very closely related but have striking differences. The purple frog is an astounding species of frog placed in the family Sooglossidae. Scientifically this species is known as Nasikabatrachus sayhyadrensis which prefers to dwell in the Western Ghats of India. The common names of this frog are purple frog, Indian purple frog and pignose frog. The frog has been discovered recently in October 2003 by S.D. Biju and F. Bossyut. This species is very remarkable among all the species of animals inhabiting Western Ghats. Its closest relatives are Seychelles and it is believed that Nasikabatrachus sayhyadrensis have evolved separately for the millennia. Its evolution provides strong evidence to the clue that Madagascar and Seychelles got separated from the Indian landmass when Gondwanaland started separating. Due to its ancient lineage the purple frog is also known as coelacanth of the frogs.

Ecology

The body structure of Nasikabatrachus sayhyadrensis is built on the same plan like that of the other frogs but is somewhat more rounded and dorso-ventrally flattened when compared with other frogs. The arms and legs follow the basic pattern of anuran body plan. The head is somewhat small with a pointed snout. The color of the adults is generally dark purple. The specimens generally measure seven centimeters from the tip of the snout to the tip of the urostyle. The sound produced by this species of the frog resembles like that produced by the chicken.

The frog spends most of the time underground but comes on ground only for two weeks during the monsoon season for the purpose of breeding. The unique life cycle of this species is responsible for late discovery. Unlike many other underground species that come on land for the purpose of feeding this species of frog prefers to feed on underground food materials like termites and dead leaves captured by its long, protrusible and sticky tongue. The tongue is lodged in a special buccal groove. Mating is known to occur in temporary rainwater pools by inguinal amplexus.

Distribution

The frog was first discovered in the Idukki district of Kerala by S.D. Biju from the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute in Palode, India and Franky Bossyut from Vrije Universiteit Brussel. But the frog species was known to the local people and the earlier specimens were ignored by biologists due to misunderstanding. Earlier it was thought that this species was restricted to the Western Ghats south of the Palghat gap but new records have further extended its distribution.

The genus name has been derived from a Sanskrit word Nasika meaning nose applied to the pointed nose of the frog and the word batrachus comes from a Greek word while the specific name has been derived from the local name of the mountain in the Western Ghats. The frog is a living fossil.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Perfect Square Written By Vannetta Chapman

An excellent story including Amish and English as they mix together in mystery, love, religion, and find their social differences and how to blend all of these together in areas possible. I have read quite a few Amish stories over the past year and I have enjoyed them all, possibly because of the peaceful, but mostly private, lives the Amish live. This story is set in Shipshewana, Indiana, a city that is factual but while the characters are fictional, they represent a cross section of an Amish-English community when the English generally come to the Amish community for mainly business purposes and blend in as well as possible. A wedding is coming up soon to unite Esther and Tobias in marriage and Esther, along with her friend, Deborah and her two children, are riding in their horse-drawn buggy through the area taking in the so well described scenery, all the time discussing the many details of the wedding. Their conversation topic changed abruptly when they found a young girl floating dead in the pond of the property owned by Tobias and his cousin, Reuben. Something had told them to stop their ride and get out and stretch while observing the wonderful nature in the area.


The news of the dead girl got to town requesting the police to come to the pond and investigate. The women that found the body left it in the same position so the police could take it from there. Another person, Trent, a photographer for the local news, also heard the news and of course he had to rush to the scene. Callie, an Englisher, had taken over the Daisy Quilt Shop in town and it was a local gathering place for the women. The news spread. The police arrested Reuben when they found some evidence that implicated him and Rueben would not tell anything about the entire situation. He was in jail until hearings could be held. This sort of infuriated the locals as they knew Rueben would not kill anything or anyone, but the police had no choice since Reuben would do nothing to help himself. When an older gentleman from a nearby city searched for his missing daughter, the police and the people from Shipshewana started to connect their dead girl to this mans search.


This sets the story for you to enjoy. The descriptive phrasing is fantastic throughout the entire book. The characters are very real, both the Amish and the English, as is the blending of their lives together. You will meet many characters, both Amish and English, and into their lives you will go. You will go through an Amish wedding, an English trial of an Amish man, hunts for evidence, chase for some people needed for the trial, learn of the details of a tornado that went through this area years before, use your judgment as to who should marry who, and enjoy the best character in the entire book, Max, Callie's yellow Labrador. Near the end of the book, you will share a running search in a brutal cold rainstorm Enjoy this wonderful story. I sure did!


 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Short Summary of Frederick Douglass' Narrative

Frederick Douglass was born in 1818? (like many slaves he was unsure of his exact date of birth) in Tuckahoe, Maryland and died on February 20, 1895, Washington D.C. As one of the main precursors of Afro-American writing he was a self-taught scholar and a self-made man par excellence for his time. He was the author of the "Narrative", "My Bondage and My Freedom" and essays on slavery while his Narrative on his real life incidents is his masterpiece. Later after his emancipation Frederick Douglass became a social reformer, orator and statesman and the charismatic leader of the abolitionist movement.

Like all slave narratives Douglass' was no exception and begins with the following lines: "I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot County". The story portrays his personal experiences, struggles and his unfortunate daily encounters with his masters and expresses the story's hopeful message that there would be hope in the future. In the first few chapters he gives ample accounts of the lives of other slaves in the Great Farm House describing in a clear engaging manner the brutality, starvation and the dehumanization of these people under servitude. He has used these themes to a stunning effect to illustrate and condemn the abominable practice of slavery. Though these real life incidents were written very much later after his emancipation they are told convincingly and emotionally by Douglass who conveys his pathos and sympathy for his brothers under bondage. He begins with a tableau of shocking violence, when as a young boy he watched the whipping of his aunt by the master that reflected the white people's sordid savagery who did not accept slaves as genuinely human. They are also filled with extreme anger and incomprehension with the dehumanization of the whole system and structure of slavery.

This autobiographical account in itself is written in a language easily readable with just eleven chapters filled with details tracing his life as a young boy and ultimately a self emancipated adult. For the epoch it was a daring work and is considered even today as one of the masterpieces of this genre. The book also outlines the literary elements of the story, which is a first-person recounting of the life of a slave and these anecdotes were very popular with the Northern white population who was more or less against this cruel institution. These writings in general greatly influenced writers like Harriet Beecher Stowe and her "Uncle Tom's Cabin". Later Mark Twain's masterpiece "Huck Finn" with the colorful character of the fugitive slave Jim who was directly inspired by these people who ran away from the South seeking freedom in the North. These slave narratives were written with a certain purpose for they were meant to depict and describe the evils of slavery that existed in the South of the United States. They were also meant to touch and inform certain of the Northern audience who were skeptic of the existence of this barbarian institution.

This literary form which grew out of the written records of enslaved Africans in the United States were prefaced by white abolitionists to prove the authenticity of their writings for many refused to believe and accept that black people could read and write. They were published in the 18th century by white abolitionists and soon became a mainstay of African American literature.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Albatross: Birds of Flight

The Albatross, an image that appears in Samuel Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," represents the salvation of the soul; the free flight of a body no longer bound by the laws or limits of the human world. In his novel Albatross: Birds of Flight author J.M. Erickson uses this literary symbol to signify the life promised to the protagonists of the story if they will only 'stay the course,' and ride the rough waves of outward circumstance to the safe haven in the distance.

In Coleridge's story a literal storm, one of vengeance emanating from the spirit of the fallen Albatross, arises to threaten the lives of those responsible for killing the bird of freedom. Similarly, the leading characters of Erickson's narrative are being pursued and punished due to the death of innocent individuals. Although not shooting an albatross with an arrow (like the sailor in Coleridge's poem), Alexander Burns has shot and killed countless people while employed as a field operative for the Department of Defense Foreign Intelligence Agency.

However, Burns is no longer the callous cold-blooded killer who once performed the government's dirty work without asking questions. After undergoing an experimental form of psychotherapy with Dr. David Caulfield, the former government operative has developed a conscience and a keen sense of compassion. In addition, the therapeutic process has accomplished what his former employer feared the most: Burns has recovered from his temporary amnesia and remembered highly sensitive (and strictly classified) details regarding his past missions and the logistic weaknesses within the Defense Department.

Concerned that Burns has leaked top secret data, the Department targets all those who have come into contact with him of late. In a savage bombing, a special operations unit kills Dr. Caulfield's family, leaving the doctor blinded by the explosion. And the nurse that introduced Burns to Caulfield is also being hunted because of her association with the former agent. Previously, as a government pawn, Burns would have simply escaped to a foreign country, assumed a new identity, and blended into the scenery -- spending the rest of his days at large (in hiding). But now the lives of several people he cares for are in jeopardy due to his violent past.

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Burns wonders as he faces the possibility of killing those who are out to murder him. Clearly Burns is now somebody new; a man imbued with a profound spiritual perspective. Yet has his transformation into a compassionate human being made him vulnerable to his enemies? Or does he still possess the killer (survival) instinct necessary to beat the government at its own game, and thereby save the lives of his newfound friends? These are questions the author poses in the narrative; even as Burns and his friends execute their ingenious plan of attack against a hostile government agency.

In Albatross: Birds of Flight J.M. Erickson demonstrates a sharp understanding of both human nature and the interworking of government departments. Combining insights into criminal psychology with his knowledge of law enforcement, he has penned a realistic thriller replete with unexpected twists and cathartic turns. The story of Burn's dramatic development -- a physical-psychic journey that requires him to bear the symbolic (and slain) Albatross around his neck (until his deeds deliver him from this heavy burden) -- reveals the extreme suffering and ecstatic joy a soul experiences on the road to redemption. I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates carefully crafted psychological thrillers.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Are Books Turning Into Movies a Positive or Negative Thing?

A lot of books as movies are being optioned and produced lately. But with the increasing number of movies from books, is the quality lacking? Should we be happy or nervous about seeing books that are movies on the big screen?

Usually it's a case-by-case basis, but for the most part there are a few different things that can make books as movies a good or a bad thing.

The first positive thing is definitely getting to see the story and the world come to life. Especially when you are talking about a book that is magical and has a lot of fantasy elements to it, sometimes seeing that world come to life can be an incredible experience. But such a wonderful concept also comes with big risks. Perhaps the budget left a lot to be desired and so the sets and effects are not all they could be. This can really ruin a story and unfortunately the visuals the movie provides become ingrained when you read the book again.

Another thing that is really exciting about seeing books as movies is getting to see the characters we envisioned while reading come to life before our eyes. It can be really cool to see new and established actors make our favorite characters a reality. But again, if an actor just doesn't fit the role physically and as far as skill level is concerned, then movies from books can be more of a letdown than a positive experience.

The most wonderful thing about books hitting the big screen is that it tends to have this effect on the masses, drawing in people to read books that are movies because they enjoyed the film. A lot of times these people are not normally readers and it's definitely a positive thing any time something gets people reading and exercising their minds. The only negative effect this has overall is that the supply and demand of books must be met. So we tend to see an increase in books that are cranked out too fast and end up being low quality and copycat storylines of other books.

No matter what though, the nice thing about getting to witness books as movies is that it entails more exposure for the book, author, and reading in general. If it's a story we love, then it's nice when a lot of people know about it and you can talk about it with them! But it also can be a little annoying when fans from the movie crossover to being fans of the book and claim to be the biggest fans, when in reality the biggest fans are those who increased the exposure of the book itself to the point of it being optioned as a movie.

Whether you're a fan of books as movies or not is something we all must decide on our own. But either way, the incredible world of movies from books is becoming more popular every day and something that will hopefully only increase in quality to the satisfaction of both book lovers and movie buffs alike.

Are you a fan of movies from books? Then check out the Books as Movies blog for the latest news about new and upcoming movies based on books!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Audiobooks for the Multi-Tasking Reader

Living in the fast lane can be pretty stressful, especially for an avid reader who struggles to find time to sit down and enjoy a good read. When you find yourself needing that special "me"-time amidst tons of schoolwork or house chores or corporate reports, perhaps it's time to go digital with your favorite pastime.


Audiobooks grew in demand after the technology of recording audio had been discovered and cheaper means of sound recording had become available in the market. The first recorded audiobooks were intended for the visually-impaired; most of these early audiobooks were education-related, standing in direct competition with radio programs which were audio media but intended for entertainment.


At present, there are three major formats for audiobooks, each with its own relative advantage:


>> Cassette Tape audiobook - these are the first audiobook formats to be mass-released. While their use have dropped in the years following the rise of the digital age, cassette tape audiobooks are still in circulation and are considered rare finds for serious collectors.


>> Compact Disc audiobook - CD audiobooks have become a highly-marketable add-on to most books that were published in the late '90s and early 2000s. Most books that were translated into audiobooks were nonfiction works spanning topics from business to personal development.


>> Downloadable audiobook - the newest format of audiobooks to be released, these digitally-formatted versions allowed the production and distribution of major works of fiction in this format.


Of the three formats, the most popular and most convenient version is the third one. Among its greatest appeal is its convenience.


Digital audiobooks win, hands-down, over other formats in terms of getting hold of a copy, using it, and storing it. There are many ready-to-download audiobooks online, and the first place you can go looking for an audio version of your favorite book is an online bookstore. Most publication houses also release audiobook versions of their latest bestsellers...speaking of which, you can also check the websites of publication houses since they usually have online catalogs where you can see the availability of any particular book's alternative format that you can purchase. Alternative formats like eBooks and audiobooks usually cost more than the print copy, but they pack the punches, so to speak, because of their additional features not present in your traditional paperback.


You can download audiobooks to your iPhone, iPod, or other audio-playing devices. Storing your audiobooks is also easy considering its size (which rarely reach gigabytes) and ease of indexing. Basically, you can treat your audiobook downloads the way you treat your music files on your computer or audio-players. This means that, much like books, you can have the option of rewinding and replaying the book to suit your needs. Also, depending on the memory size of your device, you can save up to hundreds of books that you can listen to whether you're on travel or while getting some routine chores and errands done.


An extra bonus for readers: once you start listening, you will be amazed at how your favorite literary works come to life as voice acting adds another rich story-telling layer to the narrative. Download audiobooks now and experience a new way of getting through your reading list!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Basics of Book Reviews

For many, reading is a part of our everyday life. We use it to get from one place to another, to contact one another, and many others. Books, however, can be one of the most fun, educational things that we read. It allows us to take a moment to step out of ourselves and see the world in a way that we haven't before. With that, I find that it is important to write book reviews as well, especially if you have strong feelings for the book. If people didn't write book reviews, then no one would know about the new and amazing books to hit the market and these talented authors would never become known or continue their journey of writing amazing books. The idea of writing an actual book review may seem challenging to many for you don't know where to start. It is because of this that I have decided to dedicate this page as the "How To" of properly writing a book review. With this guide you can go out there and let the world know what you feel and think of that piece of literature that you cannot put down.

Step one of writing a review, is pick out that book that you have been dying to read. If you already have the desire to read a certain book, your feelings and expectations of the book will be more defined, making it all the easier to put into words and write a review. If you have no idea where to start, trying going to your favorite book section, young adult for me, and take a look around. Pick something that interests you, but if possible, isn't all that widely popular. By picking a less heard of book, you won't be as likely to let other's views influence you during the review process. Also, your review will most likely be more helpful since there won't nearly be as many out that as the top sellers.

The next part is the most simple. Now that you have your book, read it. Try not to get too caught up in the fact that you will soon be writing about this books. Read it for enjoyment. If you find yourself laughing, crying, cringing, or many of the other emotions books can bring to us, write that page down. That part of the book obviously got a reaction out of you, so you may want to mention it later on in your review.

Once you have finished the book, take a moment sit and really think about it. Think about your favorite parts, your least favorite parts, and compare what you thought of this book to what you have thought of others. Now that you have your mind working, create a pro and con list. If your pros dramatically outweigh your cons, chances are that you really enjoyed this book. On the other hand, if your cons outweigh your pros, you most likely did not care for this book at all. If both sides are about even, then this book was nothing that you felt too passionate about.

From this point, you know exactly what you thought of the book that you just read. It is at this point that many people will rate the book on some sort of scale such as one to ten. This part is completely optional. If you find that you can easily pick a number to fit the book, then I suggest you go ahead and do it. I, on the other hand, find that picking a number can be quite hard, for all books are so different that I have a hard time categorizing them under one number. Instead I choose to just write down a very short phrase that sums up my feeling for the book, such as "Loved it", "Don't Bother", "Couldn't Put it Down", and many others. By doing this, you are basically rating the book, but allowing your readers to view it in a qualitative way.

Next, you will start the actual writing process. The first step is writing down all the important information about the book so that your audience will know exactly what you are reading. During this part the more information, the better. The title of the book and the author must be included; however, you can include other information such as: price, type of book, subject matter, illustrations, and many others. You may include whatever you feel is important to your review.

During the next part, you should give a summary over what happened in the book. This part can be tricky because you want your audience to know what the book is about, but you don't want to give too much away or there will be no point for them to read it. I always start off by telling the main characters as well as the setting of the story. For example, if I was reviewing the book The Hunger Games I would say, "The book titled The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is told through the perspective of a 16-year old named Katniss Everdeen, who lives in what is thought to be a futuristic America, now called Panem." You can then go on to write about what you thought were important parts of the book, but remember not to give away too much. If for some reason you do need to give away some plot changing facts, it is always courteous to write the word "Spoilers" in the heading, so your readers will know that important information is discussed and allow them to decide whether or not they want to read it.

In the very last part of the review, you should give your opinions. Tell the readers what you thought of the book and why. Now is a very good time to list some of your pros and cons that you previously wrote down. When writing down your thoughts, remember to be courteous to the authors. You may not have cared for the book, but someone took a lot of time writing it so never insult anyone and refrain from using vulgar language. Once you are finished writing your thoughts, look over your work and check for any misspellings. If everything is in its proper place, then you are done and have written your review!

In conclusion, reviews may seem hard to write, but they are actually very easy once you have your thoughts organized. Without them, books may never see their full potential Book reviews allow you discover what you truly loved about a book and they also help others share in your love of reading.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Behind The Smile - A Review of This New Book

'Behind The Smile: the story of Lek, a Thai bar girl in Pattaya' is the first novel of a new author. It became available on April 19th. 2012. Behind the Smile is a book that Mr. Jones says he has been trying to write for several years. It is set in Thailand, but the sort of people involved are to be discovered in most countries in the world.

The story is not an atypical one in richer as well as poorer countries: a young woman gets married but her husband soon realizes that he is too young to become tied to one woman and live a life of drudgery. He begins carousing and sleeping around. His wife, not being prepared to put up with this, separates from him.

The difficulty arises in Third World countries that people have no social security to fall back on, which is why family ties are so all vital. You could easily die without the support of your family. This normally works well, but not always.

In Lek's case her father dies at an early age and leaves enormous debts to the bank with the farm as security. The future looks bleak as Lek's mother cannot do more than she is already doing. Lek could begin to help out, but a farm girl's wages are low. One brother is already working, but the other is too young.

At a family conference, they unwillingly make a decision that there is no option but to send Lek away to a big city to work, where she will at least be able to pay the bank's repayment installments off every month.

Lek goes to Pattaya where a relative owns a small bar. She is given a job as a waitress and she loves the thrill of the job. The dazzling lights, deafening music and attentive men are new to her.

A month or so later, she realizes that she is pregnant with her ex-husband's child. That is a total disaster, because it threatens her capacity to pay off the bank, which would bankrupt her mother and siblings.

This book, 'Behind The Smile', looks at Lek's life from her own standpoint and follows her through her fun and frustrations. It tries to demonstrate her thought processes and tell you, the reader, why she does things and what she may rather be doing instead.

You get to be privy to Lek's hopes and fears as the book takes you through a very important part of her life. You meet her friends, family, work mates and boyfriends and you get to see what makes Lek tick

A central theme of this book is not to judge a book by its cover; not to be to quick to judge at all, in fact, and above all, to be careful of what you wish for in case it comes true and there are unforeseen consequences

The title of the book, 'Behind the Smile', derives from the fact that Thailand is famous as The Land of Smiles.

Owen C Jones has just published his first book which is entitled Behind The Smile: the story of Lek, a Thai bar girl in Pattaya in Thailand.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blueberry Solution

"The Blueberry Solution" is a home distilling book.

Anthony: Your current book "The Blueberry Solution" says on the front cover that it's "a better investment in hard times than gold or silver" How so?

Argyle: There is no better investment right now than a still for both survival and for return on investment (ROI). It was so in Colonial times and it is so again today. For less than $1,000 you can put away a tool that will not only assure your survival in case of a societal breakdown but will also provide up to 2600% immediate return on your investment, a much higher and more certain ROI than gold or silver.

Anthony: That is a bold statement, I know to be true. What exactly is "The Blueberry Solution"?

Argyle: It's a play on words. You can legally make blueberry brandy using store bought vodka and fresh blueberries or other fresh fruit so it is an easy way to for novices to get started making their own high quality and inexpensive alcoholic beverages at home. It is also an excellent survival strategy should the worst happen. With a good still you can purify water from any source and make fuel for your vehicles, or in a crisis you can make alcohol for medicinal purposes or booze that you can trade for any goods or services that you might want or need.

Anthony: Why is a still such a good investment?

Argyle: "The Blueberry Solution" tells the history of distilling which is also the history of money, and of course that is also the history of tyranny and taxation. Tyrants have always tried to control the production of alcohol and taxed it heavily to finance control over their subjects. Even today, the Citizens of most states are forced to purchase booze from the state and pay upwards of 2600% for the privilege. There are few if any investments that will immediately offer such a potentially high rate return on investment should Citizens choose to make their own. Washington State for instance currently charges $26.03 per gallon of spirits that cost less than a dollar to make (2600%) for instance. While we are not advocating the making of illegal moonshine we are pointing out that there is a growing trend by those that want to make a political statement andt hose that want to make their own high quality beverages themselves much like craft brewing and it is often done by the same folks.

Anthony: How did you come to write "The Blueberry Solution"?

Argyle: People who read my last book "Self Reliance" were emailing me to ask if they should be buying gold? "Self-Reliance" (now out of print) was written before the last Presidential election and was about living off the grid if Obama was elected and the Democrats gained control of both houses of Congress. Of course that happened and now the country is a mess and readers are even more concerned. My response was that if they could afford to park money in precious metals then they should, but if they were concerned about survival and are already putting away a generator, food storage, etc. that they should buy an emergency refluxing tower still, a "survival still", so that they could cheaply and easily produce a commodity that they could trade for any goods or services they might need in a financial meltdown.

Anthony: Why do you feel purchasing a still is important?

Argyle: Whiskey was money in Colonial times, and could become money again if our government continues to print paper money around the clock, spend money it doesn't have, and devalue our currency. Rising prices are the response of commodity suppliers (like oil producers) who are simply trying to maintain the value of their products in the face of rapidly declining purchasing power of the dollar. Simply put, inflation is a direct result of the devaluation of our currency and runaway inflation is a distinct possibility although it is ignored by the mass media. This pending financial crisis is examined in the book and exposed as the most important issue of our times. The upcoming election is probably the most important since the Civil War and prudent people are beginning to realize this and to do something about it.

Anthony: How does owning a still provide a survival strategy?

Argyle: An emergency still is a relatively inexpensive investment (less than a thousand dollars) that allows the owner to produce a commodity that is in high demand no matter what happens (it's also fun to use). When you can cheaply and easily produce a commodity that has such widespread appeal you assure the survival of your family and even a way to prosper in very hard times. In Colonial America a man's still had more value to him that anything else except his rifle, his knife and his horse. With it he could get anything that he couldn't make himself, he could escape the rigors of a rough existence, and he could entertain his friends, especially members of the opposite sex.

Anthony: Why do you recommend a copper reflux tower still and what are its advantages?

Argyle: A tower still can produce alcohol pure enough to use as fuel (ethanol). Other types of stills will make whiskey but not ethanol fuel. You can obtain a free permit to make up to 10,000 gallons of ethanol fuel a year to run your vehicles, cook with, light your home, etc. and in an emergency you can cut that fuel in half and have white whiskey to barter with or use yourself.

Anthony: Can you legally make alcohol?

Argyle: Yes, the making and use of ethanol fuel is actually encouraged by the government and you can also legally make other useful products like fragrances, solvents, vinegar and especially pure water from any source. A reliable source of pure drinking water is probably the most essential part of any survival plan. Alcohol is also valuable for medicinal uses and of course alcoholic beverages are an excellent barter medium and always have been.

Anthony: What all is covered in "The Blueberry Solution"?

Argyle: The book explores the history of distilling and especially the history of distilling in America, the reason that we are in our present economic predicament and what we can do about it, and it also explains the different types of stills and how they are used to produce various kinds of alcoholic beverages and other products. It is a simple step-by-step approach to distilling at home and even offers recipes. It is an entertaining and practical look at a survival strategy that is overlooked by most including survivalists, the so-called "preppers" and many others.

Anthony: I see you updated your book recently to second edition of "The Blueberry Solution" so what is in it and why did you update the book?

Argyle: The 2nd edition places more emphasis on alcohol as a fuel because the price of oil and gas are rising and will inevitably rise as our currency is devalued. There may be temporary relief until after the election as Obama and the Democrats try to hold down gas prices in order to help their reelection chances but their stated goal is to drive up the cost of fossil fuels in favor of s-called "green" energy but the reality is that we are a petroleum based economy and we have plentiful fuel resources right here at home, enough o last for hundreds of years and certainly until we have the technology to make the transition. These "green" solutions are more about control than anything else. Meanwhile we are essentially broke and our government is so corrupt that it is doing nothing about it.

Anthony Zaca: Are you working on anything else?

Argyle: Yes, my next book is called "Whiskey Farm" and is the logical next step in home distilling. Just as "The Blueberry Solution" is about having and using a survival still, "Whiskey Farm" is about using a larger still and having a small farm to produce enough ethanol to run an enterprise. As a real estate developer and builder I am using my experience to help others to locate, obtain, set up and operate a small farm to not only live off the grid but to thrive no matter what happens in the outside world. It also provides an excellent lifestyle for those that are so inclined. Even if we somehow manage to survive the mountain of debt that is crippling our economy, we need to consider going back to the farm and technological innovation now provides us the means to live easily and very well with all of the modern conveniences without the necessity of living in the city. Satellite broadband, television, and data transfer means that we can telecommute and make a good living without the problems inherent in city life, especially if there are dislocations in the economy, supply and delivery chains, critical services, etc.

Anthony: Where can people buy "The Blueberry Solution"?

Argyle: The book is available everywhere such as Amazon.

Anthony: Is there anything that you would like to add?

Argyle: Yes, the past is gone and the future will likely take care of itself so long as we seize the day and prepare. I like the Latin phrase Carpe-Diem which literally means "seize the day" and because I write books on distilling I also like to offer "Cheers".

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Book Review - Bringing Up Brits

I am an Australian woman, married to a man who was born in England and now holds three passports. Given our recent decision to move to England, this book seemed like an essential read for me, as it is of paramount importance to my husband and I that our kids settle in sooner rather than later.

I loved this book from the first page and I read it in one afternoon.

There were so many places in the book that I found myself nodding my head, realising that I have had so many experiences similar to Peterson Fenn, including when I lived in England in 1999 before I met my husband.

One of the first things she mentions is the distance factor, being far away from family particularly parents not being close enough to share and participate in her life and that of her children. So thank goodness for Skype, and Facebook and other forms of communication; but as Peterson Fenn points out there is no physical contact. You can't reach through the computer to give your parents a hug, or hug your sister's newborn baby son.

I thought her comments on belonging were most interesting. Sometimes non-British parents find a sense of belonging through their children, or their British spouse, perhaps even through friends or work, or it is something that remains difficult to achieve.

On page 83 she covers the issue of changing perspective and the importance of fitting in:
'On the other hand, I have found my perspective has changed because I live here and I have definitely somewhat assimilated into the British way of life. In a way, it is imperative for me because of my children who are half British and who are growing up here. I think it's natural to want to fit in and to do so almost seamlessly'.

I really identified with her comment about accent making you stand out a lot. Having just lived in Italy, people could tell that I was not a native speaker, and now that I have moved to England, many people can tell straight away that I am not English, and some can even pinpoint what country I do originate from. However like Peterson Fenn I also cherish my accent because it is a reflection of where I originate from.

I found the section from page 94 onwards very interesting about languages other than English in the home. It made me reflect on the past six years of our lives and how English has taken a back seat to Italian. Meghan reiterates a point that I was aware of already, that children who have more than one language are at an advantage and some of the children profiled in this book have two, three or four languages.

I will not give any more away in terms of the contents of this book. I simply believe if it is relevant to you, you will find reading it to be of great assistance, or even comfort.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review of "The Codependency Conspiracy"

I was glad to find a book that I could align my thoughts with regarding the self help movement. For friends who benefitted from active participation in the self help tradition, I respect their experiences.


However, I have not always agreed with all the tenants of the traditions but never felt that I could discuss the topic in order to avoid arguments. In "The Codependency Conspiracy", Dr. Stan Katz and Aimee Liu thoroughly compare the positive and negative thought processes of step programs.


One example of practicality is this: if you were having marriage problems, would you want to be counseled by someone with years in a healthy marriage or by someone who's been divorced five times? The idea of associating with others who can understand your experiences because they've been there is understandable but should not be replaced by the counsel of someone trained and licensed in the field.


Another area for thought is that initially, the sell help groups were to be voluntary. In my prior work in the criminal justice field, offenders were court ordered to attend AA and submit signed slips for verification of attendance. Religious versions were not always accepted. If this was a first offense or experience with drugs or alcohol, does that automatically make a person an addict or alcoholic. If an individual is court ordered to attend meetings, will they benefit from it if they don't want to be there?


As for assigning the disease label to crimes such as sex offenses, I believe that is very dangerous. There has to be accountability and consequences for actions.


I have never agreed with the concept of Codependency. Just because you have a family member who has addiction problems, that does not make your family dysfunctional by association. You may be an upstanding citizen, active in church, volunteering in the community and reaching goals and not be able to live someone else's life for them.


Dr. Katz presents eight points to assist those seeking recovery to let go of the past and take control of their choices so they can have a brighter future.


When in a position to consider both positions of the self help/Codependency topic, I would refer others to this book. It is well written. I strongly recommend it as an educational supplement in the counseling or addictions field.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Book Summary: Hacking Work - Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results by Bill Jensen and Josh Klein

In business, infrastructure equals money. In order to scale, you need a flexible infrastructure to handle the growth. With that said, when centralized infrastructure turns into bureaucracy and slow response, the company becomes lethargic. Hacking work examines these problems from the workers standpoint and outlines things you can do to get your work done by working smart.


Why is this important to me?


I am not doing this summary to waste your time. It is my vision to provide concise action steps that you can adopt right now to reach your entrepreneurial goals. Most companies today trust their vendors and customers more than their employees. This is a real problem because brilliant results require team work and you cannot have a cohesive team if there is no trust. Companies want transparency and centralization similar to command and control systems. This is not a bad thing until it takes a sales man 2 hours to enter an order or if the company blocks Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. Stupid actions like this kill results.


Results are the name of the game. If you do not get results NOW, you are dead. The hub and spoke model for business is not a bad model just as long as the spokes have autonomy to deliver to the customers and are not tied up by bureaucracy.


Hacking work is broken down into four sections. For the sake of time, I will highlight one point from each section.


1. Engaged Team Members - This one point sums up the whole book and separates great businesses from crappy ones. Engaged team members are four times more productive and profitable than disengaged team members. This statistic if focused on can transform any business.


2. Slaves to Infrastructure - I understand the need for procedures and infrastructure because you cannot scale without it. With that said, I know that larger companies handcuff their employees with ridiculous rules and procedures that ultimately kill the creative spirit. Hacking Work is all about working around these ridiculous rules and procedures. A simple example of this would be locking down file transfer access from one computer to the next. People today can have access to everything outside their work from their phone. Having stupid policies in place to limit creative freedom for the illusion of security is bad policy.


3. Three Types of Hackers - Black Hacks are the ones that steal, cheat and create havoc. These are the people who have given hacking a bad name. This book does not advocate black hacks. Grey Hacks and White Hacks are what are necessary to get the job done in a more efficient manner. These types of hacks are simply clever work around that save an enormous amount of time and allow workers to use their creative freedom for profit and customers loyalty.


4. Clarity - This one is a big deal. Take a look at the stats: one, three of the top five time wasters all relate to communication. Two, information in companies doubles every 550 days. Three, once every three minutes, the average cube dweller accepts an interruption and shifts her focus, consuming 28% of the day. Creating clarity and simple communication and information sharing networks can cure all of this.


Hacking Work is a good book that every company leader should read. I personally think that if we could eliminate wasted time on stupid procedures, we could create an additional economy the size of Texas.


I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is "What will it take to go great work? Asking this question of yourself and your team will start to shine the light on the procedural crap that is hampering the creativity of every employee in the company.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Summary: Man's Search for Meaning - By Viktor E Frankel

Thomas Jefferson wrote - Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness seems to be the end game for life, but is it? Viktor Frankel is a concentration camp survivor and goes one level deeper in Man's Search for Meaning.


Why is this important to me?


I am not doing this summary to waste your time. It is my vision to provide concise action steps that you can adopt right now to enhance your life. This book is probably the most important book you will ever read. Finding the true meaning in life is the key to self-actualization. Maslow's Hierarchy of needs really shows that with the correct meaning the WHY definitely outperforms the HOW.


Dr. Frankel quotes the words of Fredrick Nietzsche - "He who has a WHY to live for can bear almost any HOW."


Dr. Frankel reveals what life was like in the concentration camps and also discusses Logotherapy which he created. For the sake of time, I will highlight key thoughts to really crystalize Nietzsche's words that a compelling WHY trumps any HOW.


Dr. Frankel goes into detail on the concentration camps. Life was simply hell on earth. What appeared to him was the mind's power to protect. The longer the stay, the more numbing all human emotion became. There are three behaviors I would like to highlight that are very strong and appeared based on Dr. Frankel's experiences.


1. Hope - People died daily in the camps. The guards played a finger game and if you were picked you were dead. The simply act of being pointed at delivered your fate in an instant. The prisoners that focused on the WHY to live had a better chance at survival. Dr. Frankel figured out that you needed to look young and always be eager to work. This increased your chance for survival. One thought controlled each man which was to stay alive for the family waiting for him at home.


2. Freedom - This part seems very counter-intuitive but there is one thing that nobody can take away from you and that is the freedom to choose HOW YOU REACT TO A SITUATION. This simply power gave the survivors the tools to live and survive. This one lesson can be life changing for anybody that decides to use it properly.


3. Mental Protection - The atrocities in the camps were hell on earth. The mind will protect and build shields for survival. Dr. Frankel discusses the second phase of camp life and that is lack of emotions. After a while the mind became calloused to the atrocities and pure survival ruled. If a dead prisoner was found then they were stripped of clothes by other prisoners. This seems inhuman but pure natural survival dictates these actions and the mind numbs the body to protect it.


Man's Search for Meaning is a life changing book. Most books today talk about being happy but let me paraphrase Dr. Frankel - "For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. Dr. Frankel developed Logotherapy and his meaning in life was to help others find meaning in theirs.


I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is your freedom to choose how you will respond to a situation. Things happen in life and forces outside your control can dictate what you do in an instant. Life can change on a dime and your decision on your response is a freedom that you possess and can never be taken away.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Summary: The Mainspring of Human Progress For Six Thousand Years People By Henry Grady Weaver

A friend of mine recommended that I read this book and it provides a very compelling insight. That insight is simply this, freedom is the reason for our progress. There has been no place in recorded history except the U.S that has harnessed human energy to foster progress. For 6000 years humans have suffered from mass hunger yet in American history, hunger and famine are not problems. The poor in the U.S. today have about the same house hold amenities as the middle class did in the 1950's.


Why is this important to me?


I am not doing this summary to waste your time. It is my vision to provide concise action steps that you can adopt right now to enhance your life. Dictators try to operate and control human energy similar to a beehive. Basically you have the queen bee and all the worker bees creating and sustaining life. With a true Republic, man is free and controls his own human energy. How does this relate to progress? The most effective comparison you can make would be to look at East Germany vs. West Germany after World War II. When the Cold war ended, the Berlin Wall came down and East Germany found itself 40+ years behind West Germany.


Centralized power cannot control human energy. Progress will always be stifled. This is why some of the cruelest dictators are at the heart of poverty and famine. You can simply look at Sudan and Somalia for proof.


The Mainspring of Human Progress dives into history and discusses the problems with centralized power over creative freedom. Henry Weaver looks at the past and shows without a doubt that the most productive and innovative periods in history were garnered under a free society. For the sake of time, I want to profile a few of the salient points.


1. Genius thrives on rivalry - If you look at all great victories in the past, you will agree that rivalry is critical for achieving great success. Here are some examples: Seabiscuit and War Admiral. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Secretariat and Sham. George Patton and Rommel. This also works in business. Sales is probably the best natural competitive field because there is no second place. You either win or go hungry.


2. Human Energy flourishes with free will - We cannot force people to do anything. There is a great debate that the Egyptian Pyramids were in fact created with free labor and not slave labor. Historians know that nothing could be created that perfect under slave conditions. The ingenuity that comes out of the U.S. is still the best in the world. People are free to tinker in their garage and work on what they want to solve problems. Free will is the key to innovation.


3. Ten Commandments - The Ten Commandments are designed to highlight individual responsibility and not centralized responsibility. Without individual responsibility and accountability then there would be anarchy. In philosophy this is known as the difference between self-regarding acts and other regarding acts. Laws exist to set grown rules on other regarding acts. A self-regarding act is when you decide to jump off a cliff. You can die but it is your decision. An other-regarding act is when you push somebody else off that cliff. Other regarding acts need laws and consequences for the actions.


4. Government - Government is not designed and will ultimately fail if they try to support people. Entitlement breads laziness. People support the government. Again this is a balance because when government garners too much power, bad things happen. We are seeing this right now in the U.S. For every dollar the government spends to sustain itself, it borrows 40 cents. This model will crumble in the long run and will change.


The Mainspring of Human Progress is an interesting book and a look back in history. The main point is human progress flourishes under freedom. I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is genius thrives on rivalry. This concept is a good way to rally your troops or your own self-motivation to achieve something great.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bridging The Ancient With The Contemporary

Deepak Chopra's comic fiction: 'Buddha' A story of enlightenment

As we tread along our journey of understanding contemporary literature, we come across new threads that only strengthen our idea of 'evolution' of literature. Deepak chopra's spiritual piece on Buddha reflects a similar rhythm of an idea but with an added streak of ancient history re-defined.

An ancient history brought alive in a language that is simple, colloquial, and dramatic and that which very much fits in to the present time. History transforms in to a colorful story with the prologue describing about the premonitions by Queen Maya (Gautama's mother), pre-birth, birth and the playful childhood of Siddhartha. The author has skillfully differentiated the character of Sudhodhana both as an ambitious king and a miserable father. The story takes a dramatic turn when Siddhartha's cunning and jealous cousin Devdatta comes to stay with the king. It could be an ordinary reader's delight to understand a spiritually charged character relating to their day to day life for Siddhartha is comprehended as a royal prince with humanly and most natural desires such as admiring the beauty of nature, filling the lonely void by making friends and unlocking various kinds of quests that probably each one of us deeply hide in our minds. He desires freedom.

Freedom of expression, freedom to walk barefoot like an ordinary citizen, freedom to treat the slaves as equal and finally freedom from 'monarchy' as a prince to fulfill to discover his quest that is 'life'. The spiritual journey and transformation from a prince, monk to the enlightened Buddha as how the world recognizes him is brought out in an artistically delicate manner in this comic book by the author. The evil work of 'Mara' is shown intricately woven along with the story of Gautama which also symbolizes the balanced forces of good and evil in our lives. The epilogue does bring the evil to an end which takes place after Buddha seeks enlightenment. Deepak Chopra also provides the later years which Buddha spent establishing his philosophies of 'Nirvana' across the country with the help of this disciples. Politics does make itself present everywhere along the story line and its subtle effect for children as readers is very much tolerable. Although the author is widely known for his spiritual works, the contemporary style in which he's re-worked on books such as 'Kama-Sutra' opens a new path towards mythological, historical and spiritual reading.

The author has collaborated with Joshua Dysart to enhance the creativity of his subject.

As we tread along our journey of understanding contemporary literature, we come across new threads that only strengthen our idea of 'evolution' of literature. Deepak chopra's spiritual piece on Buddha reflects a similar rhythm of an idea but with an added streak of ancient history re-defined.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Clicks Versus Bricks - Where Are We Today, Are We Merging the Two With Mobile Personal Tech?

Have you ever wondered how some start-up online businesses go from zero to 1000 in a blink of an eye, while others fall on their face? Do you ever wonder how companies that make no money can get venture capital money, have an incredible burn rate with no income, and still go public garnering 100s of millions of dollars on an IPO? How is it that after all those fake Internet companies bit the farm in the Dot Com crash that, now new companies can still use that old tactic? Well, because some of those Internet companies did turn into something big; eBay, Amazon, Google, PayPal, etc.


Now then, if you are still skeptical about up and coming companies like Facebook and others moving forward into the future, you are not alone, Wall Street mostly agrees with you on even numbered days. Still, perhaps you'd like to know the difference between real companies made of bricks, and Internet companies with nothing more than clicks. I'd like to recommend that you read the book;


"Clicks and Mortar - Passion-Driven Growth in an Internet-Driven World," by David S. Pottruck and Terry Pearce, published by Jossey-Bass, a Wiley and Sons Company, 2000, 257 pages, ISBN: 978-07879-5273-7.


The authors made some great observations back in 2000 stating that the Internet wasn't going to kill the modern day corporation, rather enable it to do more, become more efficient, and those who could harness these synergies best would be the winners. Guess what, they were correct, and here in 2012 we see that reality. Those high-flying days during the Internet bubble are not longer, only a few were able to go to the next level, and enter the real world of corporate financial strength. We all know these companies by name, they are practically household names in fact.


Those companies that stayed the course with their passionate employees increased their brand-names even during the onslaught of new Internet competitors. Although this book at times seemed more like a tribute to companies, firms, and corporations associated in some way with the authors, they still were able to garner a reality check in the case-studies they presented for their main thesis and argument. That, leadership communication and buy-in from the employees as to the mission of the brand is what allowed companies later to win with consumers, which was true both on and off-line, or with clicks or bricks.


The author's insisted that by leveraging your company's voice and your employees passion, it hardly mattered if your company was reaching out to customers on or offline, but hopefully both. The culture makes the difference. It has always been said that good company branding starts at home, with the home team advantage. One of the best ways to get your employees on board comes from promoting your biggest brand-loyalist employees up the top of the ladder.


In the new world of personal tech, the merging of bricks and clicks thanks to mobile devices is going to blur this line completely, thus, I imagine there will be more winners in the future, and less fakery getting by or passing for IPOs, instead companies will need a following, cashflow, revenue, and clicks too. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cruel Harvest: Harsh Life for a Migrant Family

Little Frances was so exhausted from apple-picking she dozed in the trashy camp where her family barely survived. The apple harvesting was over at the orchard and Frances and her family had to move on. They heard the distant whistle of the black locomotive famously called the Virginia Creeper. It had acquired that name because of how it crept up mountains, chugging like crazy to reach the top. When it was at its slowest-that's when the family raced to jump a freight car for a free ride to their next migrant farm destination.


It was a brutally hard-scrabble life made even more unbearable by an alcoholic father who ruled the family with a fist of steel. He had perfected a number of ways to abuse both wife and children and he seemed to gain a significant twisted happiness in inflicting pain of whatever sort.


Next stop, Stilwell, Oklahoma, where they survived in a small shack with no running water and very little furniture. There was one pump where all migrant families got their water and there was one outbuilding which was only an enclosed toilet hole, dug by the farmer. Cardboard was laid down over the open bed springs. The only bright spot that night was when the daddy went out to get drunk and Mama told the kids the story about the princess and the frog.


This new release, Cruel Harvest, has received a number of positive reviews, but the ones the author, Fran Grubb, enjoys the most are candid reviews by readers. For example, here is a reader's review: "Today I am reviewing an exceptional novel by Fran Grubb which was provided to me free of any charges by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion which I freely give.


This is the true story of a young girl who endures the most horrific ordeals through the hands of her father. Suspicious deaths and violent events will take its toll for the young girl but her faith will see her through all events in her life.


I liked this book as it was a page turner, leaving the reader cheering at some points but definitely awaiting the justice due the young girl. I found nothing about this book that I did not like and am grateful to have received it. To sum it up this is a gripping read, maybe not geared for young readers, but a definite must for all adults."


 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Don't Be An Old Fool by Dr Daryl Green

I enjoyed this book very much for many reasons. The chapters are short, but very much to the point. Even the size of the print and the amount of "white space" on the page is user-friendly. The introductory real-life "scenario" gives you an idea of what is to be discussed. By using the scenario, it is possible to relate what is happening in the story to one's own life. The introduction goes on to explain what is coming and then you get to the "meat" of the chapter.

Each chapter is clear and easy to understand. Each chapter contains very specific and very positive ways that one can improve their lives. I especially like the bulleted points or questions that the author gives to make you examine your own life in relationship to the focus of the chapter. The conclusion wraps everything up and gives you food for thought. The chapters almost always include references to other books so the reader can go and research further into a specific subject area. This is very helpful if a certain topic is especially interesting to the reader.

Although religion is mentioned in almost every chapter, it is not in a "preaching" way. It is done through Bible verses that directly relate to the topic, and often there are references to other Bible verses that could help one understand the topic better. The positive focus of the book makes it a good read and after finishing a section, the reader leaves with a happy feeling. The suggestions are very clearly stated and are possible to achieve. The reader does not have to read the entire book, but can concentrate on the section that is most relevant to their live.

I think one of the best things about the book is the fact that all the suggestions are realistic and practical. When one is finished, they feel good about their lives and are ready to go and try some of the suggestions in their everyday life. Everyone reading this book can walk away with some information or thought that help them achieve more in their personal lives. It is apparent the author knows and understands his subject matter as well as the type of reader who needs to read his material and be able to act on his direction and follow through many days after closing the cover. The age limit on readership is easily from teenagers up to senior citizens.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Download EBooks: Your Guide to Green Reading

Have you ever wondered how many trees it takes to print your 300-odd pages of paperback bestseller?


In recent years, the Green Movement has gained momentum to such a degree that green has become, in a word, "in". Different industries have made tremendous efforts to put the environment into their corporate social responsibility agenda.


Environmentalists can enumerate many ways that you can take part in this global movement for environmental awareness, but one major contribution that an avid reader - a certified booklover, bookworm, and bibliophile like you - can do is to begin shifting from paper-based publications to digital ones.


Remember when you first started building your personal library? Starting a book collection of paperbacks, first editions, special editions, hardbound tomes, signed copies, and rare finds is a gargantuan task, and once your collection has grown, it's even more difficult to part with it. Fortunately, this guide is not a die-hard fan of the uber-radical. What this guide suggests is for you to keep your library as it is...as well as to shift your focus from buying printed copies to downloading eBook versions of books that you want to read. You'll be surprised at how easily you can start building an eBook library from scratch - and how convenient the switch would be.


Why download eBooks?
There are other advantages to making the move from printed to digital versions. For one, thereare literally millions of eBooks to choose from, and, depending on the memory size of your reading device, you can own as much book as your public library. All of these books are readily available for you in a format that saves you precious space and waste: no clutter, and no guilt of wasting paper.


Another advantage of having a digital library is that you can organize your collection in an instant. This makes retrieval easier as well; you don't have to go through shelves and piles to look for one title that might have been misplaced. Also, there are no paper hassles, no clutter, no moth-eaten or torn pages, and no more vandalized covers. There will no longer be unreturned, missing or misplaced books. Best of all, no paper trail: you can horde as many eBooks as you like without the guilt of having a tree, or two, or three killed for your reading enjoyment.


Building an eBook Library
The good thing is that building an eBook library from the ground up is so much easier than starting a printed-book collection. For starters, there are millions of ready-to-download eBooks online. The web is replete with eBook versions of classics like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to recent bestsellers like John Grisham and Anne Rice; you just have to know where to look for the best sites that can offer you the choicest versions.


For classics, you can start by checking out Project Gutenberg's enormous collection of fiction and nonfiction works using their user-friendly site feature that works just like any OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog). Bestsellers from major publication houses may be a little bit more difficult to find - difficult, but not impossible. At present, most publications offer digital versions of books that readers can pore over on their eBook reading devices.


Some online catalogs that you can visit include those of major publication houses like Random House and HarperCollins; bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Booklocker; and eBook websites like eBooks.com and Borders.com. Even developers of eBook reading devices like iPad and Kindle offer free eBooks to go with your newly-purchased device.


If you're the kind of reader who wants to explore books without bias towards genre or author, there are several indie publishers and self-publishers who showcase their fiction and nonfiction works in eBook format for little or no cost. There are many sites where you can download eBooks for free. The key is to keep the passion for learning alive and burning.


The trick here is to pick a reading device that allows you to read your favorite page-turner whenever you want, wherever you may be. If you had to spend most of your time on your laptop for work or academic reasons, it might be best to keep it simple: just install the latest Adobe Reader and download eBooks in portable document format (pdf). Portable reading devices like Kindle, iPad, and iPhone give you the same feeling as having a book lying flat open on your lap, but with additional features like digital bookmarks, marking pens, and text-to-speech software to enhance your reading experience.


Now that you know the basics, have fun building your digital eBook library!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Escape From the Land of Snows - A Peak Into the Struggle of Smiling Noble Laurate

A Nobel peace prize laureate, Dalai Lama lives in a compound atop the hills of Dharmasala, India a mountain town dotted with exiled Tibetans. No lama had ever fought a million communist Chinese, who were bent on stamping out Tibetan freedom, but his holiness not only escaped from the clutches of the enemy but he also has been able to set up a government in exile and involve the international community towards the Tibetan cause.

Born on 6-July-1935 as Lhamo Dondrub in a small farming family, at the age of two he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso after subjecting to series of tests by government search parties who used prophecies and omens to identify next leader. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.

At the age of four, he set out on his 3 ½ months journey to Lhasa from his home to learn the secrets of Buddhism and ways of ultimate power. Next 2 decades his holiness gained holy knowledge. The teenaged Dalai Lama remained himself. In 1950, battle trained 80K Chinese soldiers fought against 8500 badly trained Tibetan soldier. Tibet reacted with spiritual rearmament by reading Tibetan bibles at public ceremony. His holiness was ascended the throne at adolescent. He became the leader with no training in politics, leadership.But Buddhist scriptures provided him the inspiration and guidance.

Faith transformed the 14th Dalai Lama just as Tibet entered fatal crisis. There was little/no support from other countries.Eight years had passed by where Chinese were trying to convince Tibetans to accept alien rule. Aided by Buddhist scriptures and religious training, he was negotiating with Chinese and taking help from Americans (CIA). But Atrocities of Chinese army on Tibetans were increasing and all negotiations failed. China started its operations to capture Lhasa.

But his holiness escaped from Lhasa aided by his trusted men through the difficult terrain of Himalayas much to the surprise of Chinese and world leaders. For many days His holiness aided with men were crossing a Himalayan pass, the lower ones covered in thick mud from melting snows and the higher ones frozen in ice and snow. As the news of slaughter reached him, the wild temper he had worked so hard to tame returned to him. He closed his eyes and recited Buddha's teaching 'One's enemy can be its greatest teacher' to calm himself. A mythical solution was not available.

World powers negotiated and it was agreed that Dalai Lama would stay in India. India had granted his holiness the asylum. But his holiness did not want to enter India as a refugee but as a head of sovereign authority. So In front of monks, soldiers, villagers his holiness inaugurated a new government which had no country to administer.

After dropping of his holiness on Indian border most of the men who accompanied him went back to stop the Chinese troops who were coming to the border in search of him. The soldiers never returned. Dalai Lama still remembers the people who gave this great sacrifice. But Tibetans belief in the powers of his holiness, increased after his miraculous escape through the enemy/harsh conditions.

The freedom movement started from India. In exile 14th Dalai Lama modernized Tibetan culture in such a way that 13th daily lama could only have dreamt of. Some of the changes are:

1. Future dalai lama be religious figures and political power be given to elected representatives
2. Next incarnation could be women
3. Tibetan people could vote dalai lama out of office

Dalai Lama of today could be un recognizable to a Tibetan of 1930 or 1850. For centuries/generation Dalai Lama was an occult figure, hidden behind bull shouldered monks and object of extreme reverence. But 14th made himself ordinary and approachable as possible. The world is quite is home now and he travels it in a never-ending service to Dharma. Every refugee arriving in Dharmasala is granted an interview with holiness; it is a policy unchanged since 1959. That means his holiness had consoled thousands of men and women, bewildered, people with stories of persecution and loss

Buddhists believe that Dalai Lama perfected his gift for compassion in the course of many incarnations. Unbelievers may question that. But if you read books such as 'The Art of Happiness in a Troubled Water' authored by his holiness and psychologist, it reveals how his holiness shows that there are no magic bullets or secret formulas to solve problems but there are places to start with which are practical and some of them are proven scientifically..

The Dalai Lama's message of compassion has transcended Tibetan Buddhism and enchanted people of all faiths. For instance he says that spiritual practice does not mean doing an activity like reciting of prayers. But rather he says 'spirituality is a mental attitude' that you practice at any time. What he means is that if you get tempted to hurt someone then you should control yourself. Also if you get tempted to yell at someone or loose temper than we should control our mind and say "this is not the right way". So by doing such small spiritual practices we establish a peaceful mind, be more patient and be optimistic towards things.

Once his holiness was asked a question "If he was a free man after being in exile for 50 years", he replied 'mentally, yes" We can choose our own freedom by being honest within ourselves and expressing that honesty openly with others. Compassion gives you freedom to feel good about yourself and others instead of being a prisoner of anger and negativity. The Dalai Lama can inspire us all to inject some humor into difficult situations and shower compassion on ourselves and others. If at some point in our live, we meet a tragedy we can react in two ways

- We can lose hope. Let ourselves slip into discouragement, into alcohol, drugs, unending sadness

- Or we can wake ourselves up, discover in ourselves an energy that was hidden there and act with more clarity, more force

Whatever I wrote today about his holiness, is thanks to this book. When you find time you can read this book. More books written by his holiness and information about his moment can be see at the website of his holiness

Across the world there are so much problems due to the land for which borders have been created by humans. Human race have come together lot of time to fight problems unitedly. Hopefully Tibet Exile Government and Chinese government forget the past and arrive at a solution that will benefit the coming generations.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Surveillance Isn't Only for Law Enforcement, Government, and Military - Try Business

You hardly have to join the CIA to become tell spy. In fact, these things are going on in all aspects of our overall society where people are using human intelligence gathering to get a leg up on their competition, whether it be in foreign negotiation, military effort, law enforcement investigation, or even in the modern day corporation.

If you are in business you need to keep quite a bit of information very close to the best, meanwhile you want the information about your competitors to flow into your hand. Information as it has been said is much like water, it wants to be free, it wants to flow, and more often than not it has a life of its own. In fact, if you have a few moments I would like to discuss this with you.

You see, there is a very good book that I own on intelligence and information gathering for businesses and corporations. Regardless of the size of your business you can use these techniques to help get a leg up on the competition, and stay ahead of the game. You'll also learn how to prevent information leakage from your organization. The name of the book is;

"Confidential - Uncover Your Competitors' Top Business Secrets Legally and Quickly - and Protect Your Own," by John Nolan, Harper Business Publishers, New York, NY, 1999, 385 pages, ISBN: 978-00666-1984-2.

The author suggests "using a well-planned conversation" to suck out information from competitors. Some of the best sources of information are employees of other companies, newsletters, their marketing material, interviews they give, as well as their vendors and customers. You might also look into their factory workers, sales and marketing teams, minor government employees the do regulatory enforcement, and believe it or not the law firm or lawyers they hire who are busy bragging about their list of clients.

None of this is illegal, and if you aren't doing it, perhaps you should, because your competitors are doing it to you whether you realize it or not. No, most aren't that sophisticated, but many are. And they spend time doing this sort of information gathering. The authors also get into the tactics to keep your competition from stealing your information using social engineering strategies and leading a conversation to their benefit of information gathering.

You might be surprised at fact that the most important information about your competitors whether large or small is some of the easiest to get using simple strategies and tactics. In fact, the authors have a 12 step strategy to getting that information flow through casual conversations. They suggest provocative statements, trading information, simple flattery, and using the instinct to complain to your advantage.

In the category of manipulating conversations they explain how word phrase repetition helps very well, and quoting facts and reports, or even giving criticism allowing the other party to deny, defeat, or help you get to the truth of that criticism. Another strategy is to use incorrect information or false facts, and let them explain why they are false. Further, if you tell them you don't believe them, they might further elaborate giving even more information away as they try to clear their good name, or have you believe them.

Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it, you should own this book just like me if you are in business for yourself.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of Book Reviews. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank; http://www.worldthinktank.net/

Everyone Should Learn To Read!

I can not imagine going through my everyday life and not knowing how to put letters together to form a word or reading that word. Whether reading for pleasure or out of necessity, humanity should be able to read. There are books on all sorts of genres or categories including books to learn to read. All books can be broken down into sub- sections for a more defined reading experience.


My five most important reasons for reading books are fairly self-explanatory. First and foremost is an interest in what I am about to read. If there is no interest or curiosity about the book, the title or the story, then why would I want to read that book? Sometimes there is a need to read a book such as a cookbook or a pamphlet from a doctor that encourages you to read for a particular reason. Mostly books should be read for fun as a way to de-stress. If it is not fun, you probably won't want to read another book for fear that you won't enjoy it. Puzzles books for me can be fun. I like the search and find as well as crossword puzzles. Required reading is a little more difficult. Not because of the words but if it is something that we must read, such as an instruction booklet or assembly instructions, it is important but not truly fun or enjoyable.


Reading is not always from a book. Today's technology has allowed us to read a book digitally so that we don't actually have a physical book in hand. Throughout the course of any given day for most people involves reading of one degree or another. As a child it is our class time and homework. We should be able to interpret our bills that we receive daily. Or what about all of the paperwork that we have to read and fill out when we are at the doctor's office for ourselves or children, to apply for a job, or to write an article that hopefully will be read.


I was raised in a single parent home like a lot of folks and had a great learning environment to help broaden my horizons. My favorite subject was always spelling and perhaps that is why I find reading easier than a lot of people. Unfortunately, I did not learn how to like and appreciate a book and what it can do for you until I was an adult. We did not have books in our home while I was growing up and when I became an adult I mentioned to both of my parents how much I enjoyed reading and both parents asked "Why?".


Reading is a useful tool. A book small or large, thick or thin, with or without pictures can be something of value. Since my husband has taught me that I enjoy a good book, it has added to my life in ways I never could have imagined. Though I do not enjoy a lot of the classics since I am not good at figuring out the moral of a story, I do like an easy read mystery. I have also figured out that I love reading to our grandchildren and sometimes changing my voice to fit the story characters. I wish that I had developed my love for books when I was young enough to share it my children so that maybe they would have a better appreciation for reading a book now.


Board books are a great beginning for toddlers to start their vocabulary and possibly recognize words on sight later when starting school. A book can be a guide to self-help through a time of struggle or a way to pass the time while mending a broken leg. Being able to read a cookbook has helped me to fix more healthy meals at home so that my husband doesn't suffer another heart attack (at least from my no-salt cooking).


Reading has had a lot of clich├ęs attached to it over the years: reading is fun, reading is fundamental; the 3 r's...reading, writing, and arithmetic...that one always confused me. Whatever the reason that someone is reading, it is great and I wish that I could make it as easily available to everyone as going to the store and purchasing it from the shelf.


Pick up a book and read, read, read. Now that's 3 r's!