Thanksgiving Books to read in 2017

Thanksgiving Books to read in 2017

What is Thanksgiving? These short reviews of Thanksgiving books will give you a little bit of learning about our history. Know why we are celebrating Thanksgiving and what it can mean for you.  Several are children’s books but adults will enjoy the pictures and clear information.

5 Thanksgiving Books to Read in 2017 – for adults and children

1. The First Thanksgiving Feast – Joan Wilkins Anderson, George Ancona (Illustrator)

Thanksgiving books
This book takes you back in history to the first First Thanksgiving. The original pictures and illustrations taken at the Plimoth Plantation give you an image of how the society looked back then.  The “interviews” with the Pilgrims give this book an aura of authenticity. The First Thanksgiving Feast is a must read for children but not only. Adults who want to learn more about the Mayflower, pilgrims and how the tradition on Thanksgiving started should also read this book, as it gives you essential information and and an easy visual aid.

2. Don’t Know Much about Pilgrims – Kenneth C. Davis

Books about Thanksgiving
Don’t Know Much about Pilgrims is a children’s book about Thanksgiving, Pilgrims and colonization. It teaches children about the life of young pilgrims, how they dressed, what they ate and they did in their spare time. Davis writes an interesting history of the first voyagers to the US and keeps the children interested through images and colloquial language. Your children (and you) will enrich their vocabulary with the Thanksgiving book.  It also has quizzes, which help your child to stay engaged and learn better. Every home library should have this book.  It is highly entertaining for children and adults alike.

3. Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn: The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols – Edna Barth (Author),‎ Ursula Arndt (Illustrator)

Childrens Thanksgiving books
Why do Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving? Why do we have colored corn, pumpkin pies and corns overflowing with fruit on the table at this time of year? Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn explains the symbolism of this holiday and the stories behind the food and decorations specific to Thanksgiving. It also gives you insight on how the Pilgrims lived during the time they came to the United States. This is a children’s book, even though the subject may seem a bit complicated.

The author incorporates the meaning of everything in beautiful and attractive stories. Adults will also enjoy this book for the stories and explanation about why and how Thanksgiving has become the holiday we cherish so much.

4. 1621 A New Look at Thanksgiving – Catherine O’Neill Grace

Childrens book about thanksgiving
The National Geographic book 1621 A New Look at Thanksgiving gives a new perspective to the reader. It talks about the native people that lived in Plymouth before the arrival of the Mayflower.  Whilst 1621 is the year everything changed for them, but everyone remembers it as the beginning of a wonderful holiday. This is a photoessay, so you get a clear picture of the three day harvest celebration that happened in 1621. Even though it is marketed as a children’s book, adults will enjoy it too, because of the well documented and balanced history that focuses on the native tribe, not on the English colonists.

5. Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience – Melanie Kirkpatrick

Thanksgiving books
Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience is a study of rites, rituals and history that mark this American holiday. The author doesn’t only write about Thanksgiving’s history, but what it meant for the American society. She follows the development of this holiday from its beginnings until the current day. Kirkpatrick talks about recipes, family dynamic and football, as all have been influenced by Thanksgiving. This book is more a social study than a history, as it follows the society during this holiday. If you want to know more about this holiday of gratitude, you must read this book.

How to Be a Manly Man – 8 Books for Manly Men

How to Be a Manly Man – 8 Books for Manly Men

What does it mean to be a manly man?  How do you become a manly man?  What about honor, chivalry and heroism?  This book list will help both Men and Women understand what it means to be a man, masculinity and manhood.  From Roman Honor to religious leaders each book covers a different perspective on being a man.  Each book has an idea worth modelling or absorbing into your life.

These are books for the man looking to understand or improve himself and for ladies wanting to help their man be more manly.  Buy one for your favorite man this Christmas.

8 books on Being a Manly Man.

Mansfields Book of Manly Men – Stephen Mansfield

Book of Manly Men
In Mansfield Book of Manly Men the author Stephen Mansfield provides reader with 4 manly maxims:

  1. Manly men do manly things.
  2. Manly men tend their fields.
  3. Manly men build manly men.
  4. Manly men live to the glory of God.

The goal of the book, according to the author is to identify what genuine men do; and that includes his virtues, habits, discipline, duties, etc. The book is full of examples and quotes to help its reader to become a Manly Man. It is interesting book which challenges what it means to be a man in a modern society.
Stephen Mansfield is a New York Times bestselling author. He writes about religion and American culture and he is and author of books like The Faith of Barack Obama, Pope Benedict XVI, etc.

2.Roman Honor: The Fire in the Bones – Carlin A. Barton

Roman Honor for the Manly Man
In this book author Carlin A. Burton provides insight and understanding of the both emotional and spiritual life of ancient Romans. The book is based on extensive research from both modern and ancient sources. It is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on honor and embodiment, the second part is about confession and the Roman soul and the third presents shame and how ancient Romans dealt with it.

Throughout the book the author provides insight into the foundations of modern society by exploring our Roman legacy. Roman Honor is very interesting for everyone, as it brings a new understanding of our society and why we act and think the way we do. Not just for the manly man, smart women will enjoy this for its own sake too.

Carlin A. Burton holds Ph.D. in History from University of California, Berkeley. Her field of interest is Ancient History and her special interests are The Psychological and Emotional Life of the Ancient Romans; World Religions and Roman Religion.

3. Fires in the Belly: On Being a Man – Sam Keen

Masculinity and Manhood for Men
Fires in the Belly is ground breaking book written not just for men. It questions what authentic manhood is and it creates its own definitions of masculinity that are more appropriate to today’s world. The book is divided in 5 parts. First part is about the making of man and how women shape the men. The second part is about the rites to manhood. In the third section the author focuses on manhood, whilst in fourth, the author talks about virtues and soulful quest. In the final chapter Keen brings insight into the relationship between men and women. This book is about journey to masculinity and we found it a good roadmap for the journey to being a more manly man.

Sam Keen got his education at Harvard and Princeton. He taught philosophy and religion for 20 years before he became freelance writer. He writes books in the fields of philosophy, spirituality and religion.

4. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover – Robert Moore & Douglas Gillette

How to be More Manly
Robert Moor and Douglas Gillete are Jungian analysts who in the book King, Warrior, Magician and Lover redefine established concepts of masculinity. They argue that men who beats their wives, who are hot-shot executives, who are emotional distant fathers or who are corporate obedient are not men at all. They are just boys who pretend to be men.

Real men are those who are generative, creative and who empower others, according to these two authors. Moor and Gillette define four male archetypes. These archetypes, listed in the title, represent different types of men. The king represents the energy of just and creative ordering, the warrior represents the energy of aggressive but nonviolent action, the magician represents the energy of initiation and transformation, whilst the lover represents the energy that connects one to another and the world.

This book is must read for both women and manly men to better understand the masculine psyche.

5. No More Mr Nice Guy – Robert A. Glover

No More Mr Nice Guy
Robert A. Glover is a certified therapist who published No More Mr Nice Guy: A Proven Plan for Getting What you Want in Love, Sex and Life as an e-book. After its publishing, this book became controversial media phenomena.

The author explains that men who are trying to please everybody and who are consequently neglecting their own needs often lash out in frustration. In this book Glover tries to explain how Mr Nice Guy can stop seeking approval and find his own happiness and the life he wants. The author presents tools and information that will help Mr Nice Guy to turn his life around, to embrace his masculinity, become a manly man, have quality relationships with other men and women and to open his creative potential.
This is a must read for all men. Those who want a substantial change in their lives will benefit most, whilst women can learn about their man, and whats really going on in that manly man.

6. The Code of Man – Waller R Newell

Code of Man, being a Man
The Code of Man is a book in which author tries to help modern, contemporary man to return to the noble ideals of American manhood. According to author modern young man are in deep spiritual trouble and they need to return to America’s historical ideals.

So what are the ideals of American manhood? Newell lists five of them: love, courage, pride, family, and country. He further argues that modern civilization is so wrapped up in roles of sexes and violence it forgets to look for inspiration in the more traditional values like romance and eros, courage and patriotism. In order for modern man to stop being violent he has to balance these five ideals. That way he will become attached once again to loving and kindness.

7. Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul – John Eldredge

Building a Manly man
In Wild at Heart John Eldredge, as a religious leader, seeks the answer to the crisis question of male identity in many parts of the Church. He argues that God designed men to be dangerous while men over centuries pushed this desire aside and turned to be new age nice guys. Because they suppressed or abandoned their dangerous part men are now bored and they seek validation in a wrong way. Although this book targets men, Eldredge also wants to help women to gain a better understanding of men’s wild side. Eldredge mixes Bible quotes with popular culture references in order to present his point.

This book is quite controversial, but worth reading this somewhat unusual approach to a manly man’s true self.

8. The Compleat Gentleman: The Modern Man’s Guide to Chivalry – Brad Miner

Real Men, Manly Men
What does it means to be a man? How do real men look? According to the Brad Miner, a real man, an ideal man is a gentleman. Thus in his Compleat Gentleman Miner provides a model for 20th century man by reviving traditions of chivalry, honor and heroism.

The real man/gentleman is the one who serves to his family, country, friends and God. He is an aristocrat not by birth or wealth but by virtue. He is neither a bully nor abuser, on the contrary he treats women with respect. He also values learning in order to get to the truth. Miner, through his research on masculinity, defines three archetypes. 1st the warrior, 2nd the lover and 3rd the complete gentlemen. Miner back up all his findings with role models and examples from present and past. Interesting read for those who are on the quest to develop manly men.

Great Gothic Romance Novels

Great Gothic Romance Novels

Does the genre Gothic Romance bring up images of haunted castles? Supernatural horror stories? Dark Mysteries?  Damsels in distress?

Then read on as this short review book list will cover all these and more.  Most of these books were published several decades ago and may be out of print. They are well worth hunting down a second hand copy so you can curl up for Halloween and feed your inner Frankenstein.

Great Gothic Romance Novels

1. Nine Coaches Waiting – Mary Stewart

Gothic Romance by Mary Stewart
It can be said that Nine Coaches Waiting is a Gothic romance classic. It was first published in 1958 and is still a popular novel. This is a story about Linda Martin, a young woman whose father was English and mother French. She is poor. In the beginning she is hired as a governess to teach a French boy, Count Philippe, English. During the hiring process she decides to hide her knowledge of French. Linda and Philippe have much in common so they become close. But suddenly strange and almost fatal accidents start to happened to Philippe. The question is who wants to see little boy dead? His uncle, his uncle’s wife or his uncle’s son Raoul? To make things even more complicated Linda is swept off her feet by Raoul.

Nine Coaches Waiting has it all, suspense, humor and romance thrown together into perfect mix. This is highly enjoyable read.

2. The Mistress of Mellyn – Victoria Holt

Classic Romantic Gothic Novel
The Mistress of Mellyn was first published in 1960. This is a typical across-the-tracks gothic style Victorian romance novel where the poor governess falls in love with her employer.

Martha Leigh is employed by Connan TreMellyn as a governess for his daughter. The young lady is quite spoilt and very difficult to handle. The father is broody and arrogant. Despite this Martha likes him. Since this is a gothic story, The Mistress of Mellyn is full of mystery and tragedy that occurred in the past. As Martha falls deeper and deeper in love with her master she is drawn deeper into these family secrets and tragic history.

This is Victory Holt at her best. The plot is full of twists and turns, mystery and murder. And also romance between two very different characters. A highly recommend read for all who like classic romantic gothic novels.

3. Tregaron’s Daughter – Madeleine Brent

Gothic Romance Novel
Published in 1971 this exciting novel is set in England and Italy in 1910. Tregaron’s Daughter is the story of Cadi Tregaron, a fisherman’s daughter. Cadi moves from Cornwall to Kent. One day without knowing it, she starts to unravel her grandmother secret past. Soon she finds herself in Venice, Italy and there she finally understands the meaning of her two strange dreams. Cadi is amazing character who is independent and smart.
This is very typical gothic romance novel, mostly set in Venice, Italy. It is beautifully written and full of mystery. It is a pure reading pleasure.

4. Smugglers Moon – Sylvia Thorpe

Gothic Style Romance Novel
Alson known as “Strangers on the Moor” This is another typical gothic style romance novel. The story features a dark and mysterious mansion, a young girl, a hero and a lot of mystery and adventure. Deborah Chanterey is the young girl who is one day summoned by her uncle. Her uncle happens to be an owner of this dark and mysterious mansion that is mentioned only in dread whispers. When Deborah is forced to live in it, she slowly starts to unravel the mysteries of this dark mansion.
This story was first published in 1955 and then again in 1974. No longer in print, this book can be hard to get. If you stumble upon it, read it! because it is magnificent in so many ways. The story itself, the mystery and very interesting and well portrayed characters make this gothic romance very special.

5. A Bride for Hampton House – Hillary Waugh

Gothic romance and mystery Novel
Published in 1975, A Bride for Hampton House is about Corrie Haynes. Corrie is a reporter who sets out to investigate the death of famous explorer Jefferson Wainwright. The famous explorer returned from the Amazon and was then almost killed in car accident. After an unsuccessful murder attempt Wainwright was then poisoned by his uncle. Corrie starts an investigation posing as the explorer’s widow and very soon discovers some dark family secrets.

A Bride for Hampton House was written by Hillary Waugh who wrote many mystery novels. He also wrote under different pseudonyms: Elissa Grandower, Harry Walker and H. Baldwin Taylor. This is very suspenseful and interesting novel that mixes the gothic romance and mystery genre.

6. The Dark Shore – Susan Howatch

Good romantic gothic novel
If you love Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca you will definitely enjoy Susan Howatch’s The Dark Shore. There are many similarities between the two stories. In both novels the main character is a young woman, newly married to very successful man, who finds herself on his estate. An estate that is full of secrets, especially those connected with his first wife’s death. But Susan Howatch gives her story a twist, and brings in other characters who had a motive to kill the first wife.
Although some readers might find it a bit outdated, this story is worth reading. Especially if you are fond of good gothic romance novels.

7. The Governess – Elsie Cromwell

historical gothic novel
Also an older book, this story was published in 1971. Unlike many other gothic novels which are typically set in Victorian England, in some old mansion, this gothic story is set in Lebanon, in the Middle East. Although the setting is exotic and a bit unusual for gothic novel the plot is not. The main character is Sari who, like many other heroines in gothic romance novels, takes a job as a governess. During her employment she stumbles onto an international intrigue in the capital of Lebanon.

The story is gothic and suspenseful at the same time and it is very interesting read. The author Elsie Lee wrote this story under her pen name Elise Cromwell. Elise Lee is a popular author of modern and historical gothic novels as well as romances. The main feature of her other novels is kick-ass heroines who resolves issues without a hero’s help. Enjoy an independent heroine with some suspense in the gothic style.

Spooky Books for Halloween

Spooky Books for Halloween

Do you like to read spooky books at Halloween? What sort of spooky books do you prefer? This list of short book reviews includes ghost stories, Gothic and historical fiction, right through to true horror stories.  Hide inside, be scared, be entertained but keep reading.

Spooky Books for Halloween – short reviews

1. The Secret History – Donna Tartt

Spooky oook for Halloween
Richard Papen and his group of intellectual friends, fascinated by old Greek philosophy, are trying to cover up a murder someone they knew committed. When Bunny Corcoran is overwhelmed by the secret, the group eliminates him. This is not only a book about a murder but about what friendships mean and the feeling of loss one experiences when one’s friends decide to break up.

The Secret History is an amazing book that will keep you up until late hours of the night because you will have to find out what happens to Bunny and Richard’s friends. The murder and how the members of the group perceive it, adds an aura of mystery to this already interesting story. Donna Tartt is well known for her craft in describing feelings, states of mind and thoughts, and you will find her signature narration in this book too.

2. The Distant Hours – Kate Morton

Spooky historical romance book
Edie Burchill’s monotone life changes when a letter postdated 50 years ago arrives in the mail. Intrigued by her mother’s reaction, she starts to investigate her past. She finds out that her mother, Meredith, was evicted from London during World War II so the starts her research at the Milderhurst Castle, where Meredith lived during the war. There live three elderly sisters Saffy and Percy, twins, who are taking care of their younger sister Juniper. By befriending the sisters, Eddie discovers the truth about a missing fiancée, a lost love, a crazy author who wrote her favorite book “Mud Man” and the real man who stands behind it.

If you love historical fiction and mysteries with gothic elements, this is the story for you. I loved the scenery and the amazing secondary characters that are the backbone of this novel. Also, the fact that the main mystery is about a book, that Eddie loves, makes The Distant Hours one my favorite stories.

3. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

scary books for halloween
The narrator, a young, 21 year old maid is asked to marriage by the famous and charming Maxim de Winter, the owner of the fabulous Manderley estate. Fascinated to be the woman of such a residence and the wife of a wealthy man, she accepts and moves quickly to his house. But her new life as Maxim’s wife is shadowed by his late wife, Rebecca, who died not long ago.

Rebecca is classic gothic novel that should be read by all who love romance, mystery, suspense and a sinister surroundings. The way Rebecca’s ghost overshadows the narrator’s life is slow and fascinating to watch. Daphne du Maurier created a universe for Rebecca as Maxim built a house. du Maurier treats the reader with a poetic monologue about love, loss and hate.

4. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

scary novels
After his family’s members are murders, a two year old ventures to the graveyard on the hill. Nobody Owens, or Bod, is raised and educated by the inhabitants of the graveyard who are all dead. The story focuses on Bod as he grows up surrounded by supernatural and magic. But the day he lives his home, he discovers that the assassin that killed his family now can trace him and he will murder Bod.

The Graveyard Book is a story about growing up in special circumstances. Bod’s supernatural friends and family are amazing and well developed characters. The setting is colorful and diverse and the characters are quirky and adorable. Neil Gaiman took elements from The Jungle Book and folklore and cooked a fascinating story with a dash of horror. This is the perfect book to read with your children on Halloween.

5. Carrie – Stephen King

Halloween spooky book
Carrie, a bullied teenager with an ultra-religious mother has telekinetic powers. But she can’t enjoy or even master her gift because her mother considers it a shameful thing. The invitation to go to prom with one of the popular guys it Carrie’s highlight of high school career. But her classmates have one last prank for her, on this night she has dreamt of.

Stephen King is the master of horror, so you expect Carrie to be gruesome and scary. But this novel brings something more to the table: a bullied teenager who is wronged by everyone around her. This book will give you chills because of the detail the author puts in the scenes.  Be emotionally drained and heartbroken for Carrie who wants to be accepted and to understand her body. Definitely our top spooky book for Halloween.

6. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir – R. A. Dick

scary ghost story
Lucy Muir’s money problems started after her husband died. So she moves to a cheap Gull Cottage that is rumored to be haunted. Soon after she moves, Lucy finds the rumors to be true, and she befriends the ghost of Daniel Gregg, a former sea captain.  After failed relations with wrong men, the friendship with Gregg develops into something more.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is a book perfect for romance lovers who want to read a spooky book on Halloween. There is the spooky paranormal element: the ghost of Daniel Gregg. But this is a beautiful romance novel. This loves story makes you think that everything is possible, even when the odds are not in your favor. Lucy is an amazing protagonist with who you can empathize from the beginning. Gregg is the gentleman all ladies dream of. Their attraction is not rushed; it blossoms as the novel progresses. This book is amazing and gives you hope that you can achieve the impossible.

Boost your Childs IQ – Best Parenting Books on Child’s Brain Development

Boost your Childs IQ – Best Parenting Books on Child’s Brain Development

Today we review some of the best books on how to boost your child’s brain development and IQ. We all want our children to be as smart as possible, and reading is important in this process. Read how to best help your child develop their full potential through simple games and essential skills.

Boost Your Child’s Brain Development – 5 short book reviews

1. Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs – Ellen Galinsky

Parenting Book to develop your childs IQ
Families and Work Institute President Ellen Galinsky proposes a new point of view when it comes to parenting books. The scientific research is backed up by personal stories which will give you great ideas of how to develop the different parts of your childs intellect. The science is simple without being over simplified. The book has chapters dedicated to each of the seven essential skills. It increases the difficulty of the type of learning as you progress into the book. Ellen Galinsky’s book should be read by all parents (and teachers) who want their children to have the capacity to learn and structure information from an early age.

2. NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children – Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Develop childs Brain Book
Science journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman have written a compelling book on how to raise your child to be socially aware. This parenting book approaches learning from a social and realistic point of view. For example, the writers highlight the difference between good intentions and good ideas. They point out that parents often put more effort in praising the children’s object of labor than the labor itself.  This will then affect the childs brain development and sense of self.

The book gives perspective to all parents about the reasons behind common behavioral worries. It will guide you on how to avoid them with simple activities. The information is sorted into chapters for a better understanding of each problem covered.

3. Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder – Mariah Bruehl

Develop Childs IQ with games
Mariah Bruehl, a former teacher, approaches learning through playing. Children, at a young age, are like a sponge for information. But when they are coerced to learn something with a degree of difficulty, they often resist. By making a game out of learning, the child will feel more comfortable learning about new subjects. They dont realise it is learning and they just see the fun and challenge. This type of learning stimulates curiosity and creativity which are important in boosting your child IQ.

4. Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five – John Medina

Book: Rules to raise your child's IQ
John Medina’s book prepares you for parenting from the day you conceive the baby until the age of five. The book is based on behavioral psychology and neuroscience research. It gives you the scientific knowledge you need to understand why your child acts a certain way and what you should do if you want to change something. The author talks about child brain development, and he puts emphasis on understanding emotions and learning. He believes that a smart child is a happy one. This book also teaches you how to plant the seeds of knowledge and how prepare the soil for your child to blossom into a beautiful, happy and smart adult one day.

5. Different Learners: Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Your Child’s Learning Problems – Jane M. Healy, Ph.D.

Books: Child learning difficulties
Children learn differently, so standardized teaching might not cover your child’s needs. Different Learners helps you understand the challenges your child faces when learning new things. It shows how the brain works.   And how the child’s brain develops based on genetics and environment, so you can understand your child’s problems better.

It talks about common attention disorders and what the best way to diagnose and treat them. Furthermore, some of these disorders may be prevented, as the author explains. This is a practical guide on how to understand, prevent and approach your child’s learning difficulties.


6 Historical Romances for Autumn 2017

6 Historical Romances for Autumn 2017

Historical Romances are always a popular, comfortable, cosy read. This Autumn snuggle down with these romance novels set in times gone by. Let your imagination run wild – its actually good for you.

6 Historical Romances – short reviews

1. The Viscount Needs a Wife – Jo Beverley

Historical Romances - The Viscount Needs A Wife
A historical romance novel in the Rogue Series.  Jo Beverley writes an amazing historical romance which focuses on the relationship between the lovely Kitty and the stubborn Braydon. When he inherits the title of Viscount Dauntry, Beau Braydon finds himself looking for a woman with an iron fist who can manage his real-estate. Kitty is a widow who is trying to get away from her husband’s possessive family. The two protagonists demonstrate that opposites attract and reading their love story develop is like watching a firework show. But  The Viscount Needs a Wife is not a plain love story. It is spiced with the mystery.  A threat is made to the royal family in London and someone is trying to prevent Braydon finding the truth.

The setting of this book makes you feel like you are a part of the noble families. And the language, while modern has a tone of class and elegance that artfully places the characters in the 17th century.

2. Falling for the Highlander – Lynsay Sands

Historical Romances - Falling For The Highlander
Lady Murine Carmichael has had a rough life, living in a house where her half-brother would drown in dept. So when she decides to escape, going alone through the countryside seems the best idea. On the road she is joined by the Dougall Buchanan, a brave Highlander. The chemistry between the two of them is powerful.

This love story is for all those who love heroic men and powerful women. The characters are well developed and the story is beautifully put together. Dougall’s need to protect Murine is emphasized but remarkable is that the heroine wants to save herself. Falling for the Highlander is a sensitive, steamy and full of witty dialogue, that is Lynsay Sands’ trademark, historical romance suitable for all readers who like independent heroines and tormented heroes.

Have you read Outlander, another highlander historical romance, yet? Click here for our short review.

3. The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons

Historical Romances - The Bronze Horseman
Tatiana and Dasha are sisters and best friends who share everything. When WW2 starts, Tatiana meets a brave and handsome solider in the Red Army named Alexander. As her family suffers because of the advancing war, Tatiana finds herself more smitten with the young solider. But life has other plans with their relationship, because her sister is also in love with Alexander.

This book is more than a love story. The historical setting, full of dramatic details, illustrates with accuracy how difficult it was for normal people to live in a crumbling Leningrad. The scenery is a beautiful frame for the love story that might leave you in tears.

4. The White Queen – Philippa Gregory

Romance Novel - The White Queen
Philippa Gregory gives the tumultuous Wars of the Roses a feminine voice through her intelligent and ambitious heroine, Elizabeth Woodville, known as The White Queen. She ascends to royalty by marrying a new crowned king and gives birth to two sons.  These become the missing princes of the Tower of London, and are a great mystery to historians nowadays.

The author fills the gap in history with savvy and intimate stories of the royal court and gives life to one of England’s biggest mysteries. The historical placement isn’t sacrificed by romance.  They are intertwined, artfully giving the reader a taste of pre-Tudors Era and also a page turning love story.

5. The Japanese Lover – Isabel Allende

Historical Romance Novel - The Japanese Lover
The Japanese Lover is a love story that transcends time. A young Alma Belasco is sent away to San Francesco from her native Poland when the Nazis invaded.  There she meets a Japanese boy, Ichimei Fukada and they rapidly fall in love. But after the Pearl Harbor attack, when all Japanese people are relocated to internment camps, they are forced apart. They reunite over and over again, but faith doesn’t want them to end up together.

The story told by an 80 year old Alma may break your heart.  It is not only about the love from far away, about about friendship, loss, fear and in the end, fulfillment as she lived a full life. Allende shows in this book how life is affected by war, even after the last bullet is shot. This is an amazing book that teaches the reader that proximity isn’t the most important thing when you love someone and that you should cherish the moments you are given with loved ones.

6. Princess of Fire – Heather Graham

Historical Romances - Princess of Fire
When the mighty Norman warrior, Alaric saves King Harold’s daughter Fallon, she knows that they are destined to end up together. But they didn’t meet at the battle of Hastings. They have a long history of explosive interactions. Alaric is Fallon’s enemy but the feeling he stirs in her is not of hate. With an alfa-male as a protagonist and a stubborn intelligent woman as the female lead, this novel is steamy and explosive.

Heather Graham stays true to the era and illustrates in detail bloody battle scenes. She knits the social reality of those times with this amazing love story of opposites being attracted to each other, even if their minds and status dictates otherwise.


Technology Books – some History to Stretch Your Mind

Technology Books – some History to Stretch Your Mind

History of Technology Books for Summer 2017.

The history of technology books are great way to keep up with changes in our world. Technology is changing faster than it ever has in the history of man. Which technologies are making major changes? Where did these technologies come from. Who are the interesting people behind these technologies changing our lives.

This list of popular almost historical technology books will update your knowledge and help you understand where some of these changes have grown from.

1. Microcosm – George Gilder

Technology Books - Micrososm
George Gilder is an economist, writer, investor and techno-utopian among many other things. In 1989 he wrote Microcosm, a revolutionary book in which he captures the birth of the computer at the very beginning of their development. This book was revolutionary, and some of Gilder’s predictions came true. In Microcosm he writes about the history of entrepreneurial relationships in Silicon Valley. He also writes about the people, discoveries, and inventions. He puts a lot of emphasis on individual initiative in the development of computers. Readers should be warned, this quite a technical book. Not everyone will find it easy to read – be brave and stretch your mind a little. It is however, a very interesting book about history of high-tech. Have a go and you will learn a lot.

2. Telecosm – George Gilder

Technology Books - Telecosm
George Gilder wrote Telecosm 7 years after Microcosm. In Telecosm he focuses on communication technology i.e. on the birth of the age of the telecosm. World of telecosm is a world empowered and defined by new communication technology that we now know as Internet. But Gilder does not just write about past he also (again) tries to predict what the future will hold. Reading this book from some historical distance it becomes obvious that Gilder was right with some of his predictions (e.g. future of fiber and wireless optics), but others have not yet come to pass. Gilder writes with a passion and his explanations about tech development are fascinating. From a strictly modern technology point of view this book could be updated. But if you are interested in reading about the history of hardware, software, chips, storage, and many other technologies that our lives now now depend on, pick this book.

3. The Wisdom of Crowds – James Surowiecki

Technology Books - The Wisdom of Crowds
James Surowiecki is a journalist and staff writer at The New Yorker where he writes a regular column called “The Financial Page”. The Wisdom of Crowds was published in 2004 and in it Surowiecki explores one very simple idea. He claims that under the right circumstances large groups of people are smarter than the smartest people in them. Throughout the book he explores and give proofs of his theory across a wide range of fields. His knowledge spans popular culture and psychology to military history, behavioral economics, politics and ant biology. He explores the problem through cognition, cooperation and coordination. Throughout this book Surowiecki provides important life lessons and he show us how and why we live our lives. He also demonstrates how we choose our leaders or run our businesses and even think about our world. Not strictly a technology book, these concepts still drive much of the change happening now. This book is well worth reading.

4. The Physics of the Future – Michio Kaku

Technology Books - Physics of the Future
This book has very interesting subtitle “How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100”. It was published in 2011. Its author is theorist physicist, popularizer of science and futurist. He is also professor of theoretical physics at City College of New York. In this book he writes about the possible development of artificial intelligence, space travel, medicine, computer technology over the next hundred years. Although Kaku writes about space elevators and a car that flies, this is not a science fiction book. This book is based on in depth research. While researching for the book Kaku interviewed 300 top scientists who have developed amazing prototypes of things that might be ours in the future. Also he takes into account the principles of science that regulate how quickly technology can advance. Based on these things he outlines the vision of our technological future. Read for the science and fiction part of your brain. Its only science fiction until it’s technology.

5. World War 3.0 – Ken Auletta

Technology Books - World War 3.0
Ken Auletta is American writer and journalist. He writes media critiques for the New Yorker. was published in 2001, and its subtitle is Microsoft And Its Enemies. The subtitle summarizes the theme of the book. World War 3.0 is in fact a chronicle of the conflict between Bill Gates’ Microsoft and the United States Government. The story of the large US Government civil suit against Microsoft for allegedly stifling competition and innovation on a broad scale.

One might think this would be a boring story. But Auletta writes exceptionally well. He has so much knowledge and wisdom, gained through his work as a media, software and communication industry journalist. So this becomes an interesting read and no spoilers – you will have to decide yourself if Microsoft has helped or stifled technology, competition and innovation.

6. The Long tail – Chris Andersen

Technology Books - The Long Tail
Chris Anderson is an editor of Wired Magazine – a monthly American Magazine available online and in print. Magazine focuses on effect of emerging technologies on culture, the economy and culture.
Back in 2004 Anderson wrote an article in Wired about statistical distributions and its potential to revolutionize business. Two years later he further developed this idea and turned the article into this book.

In The Long tail – Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, Anderson explains how to get into new economy of abundance by catering to the tastes and expectations of consumers. He focuses a lot on the rise of digital world and how the digital world has expanded the marketplace open to a business. This is a pretty controversial book and not all readers will agree with author’s ideas. Read this technology book and make up your own mind.

7. The Singularity is Near – Kay Kurzweil

Technology Books - The Singularity is Near
Kay Kurzweil is futurist, inventor and author of books on health, artificial intelligence, trans-humanism and technological singularity. Published in 2006, this book on technological singularity focuses on artificial intelligence and the future of humanity. Kurzweil examines the union between human and machines. Looking at this union of knowledge and skills that will be embedded into human brain. The potential is our brains will have greater capacity, speed and knowledge-sharing ability than ever in the history of man. Although Kurzweil is arguing that this future will come one day, he doesn’t say when.

This is highly provoking book about possibilities of our future. It is also an impact book and it can change the way you perceive the world. Whether one agrees with Kurzweil’s ideas or not, this almost historical technology book should be read by everyone. This technology is almost here, in 2017 and is definitely a technology of the future.

8. The Search – John Battelle

Technology Books - The Search
Subtitled How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture. The Search is as you would expect a book about search engines in our culture. It was published in 2005 by John Battelle who was a founder of The Industry Standard and then editor of Wired. Both of these magazines have had a great influence on perceptions of the world of the Internet.

Whilst this is primary a book about Google, it is not the corporate history of Google. Instead the author wants to explore and understand the cultural anthropology of search. So he analyzes the role of search engines and human curiosity. Although Battelle writes a bit about Google history, he also covers his thoughts on the potential future of this big technological giant. Now 12 years later, Google is one of the largest companies on the planet, driving technological change in many parts of our lives. Understanding how the search engine is behind this makes this a valuable technology book to read for those who grew up in a ‘google world’ and those of us (like WhyToRead Librarian) who are older.

Man Booker Prize ShortList Reviews 2016

Man Booker Prize ShortList Reviews 2016

WhyToRead today brings you  short reviews of the Man Booker Prize shortlist of 6 books from 2016. With this quick glimpse into the contents you can decide if want to try and read further. Push yourself to read something new and stretch your comfort zone. You might find something wonderful.  You’ll have to read to the end to find the prize winner.

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is for English language literary novels.  These can include psychological thrillers and historical novels.

Man Booker Prize Shortlist Reviews 2016

1. Hot Milk – Deborah Levy

Amazon: 3.2/5
Goodreads: 3.4/5

Sofia takes her mother to the coast of Spain to find cure for mother’s illness – an inexplicable leg paralysis. As her mother gets an unconventional treatment, Sofia discovers the pain that caused her mother’s illness. Deborah Levy has written an amazing book about mother – daughter relationship. The novel is full of symbolism, beginning with the title – an ode to the first meal a baby has through to the last phrase. Hot Milk is a book about self-discovery in relation to your mother and what you mean to her. The scenery of the southern coast of Spain, another symbol, is a beautiful detail that crowns the beautiful journey this book takes you on.

2. His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrae Burnet

Booker Prize Shortlist reviews - His Bloody ProjectAmazon: 4.1/5
Goodreads: 4.0/5

Graeme Macrae Burnet takes us back to 1869 Scotland, to a remote community where a brilliant young seventeen year boy murders three people. Now a historian, the author’s double tells the story of the crime, the trial and the boy’s execution with the iciness of historical documents. This is like a true crime novel. But the author transcends the usual recipe for this type of novel. He adds an unusual new character, the community, which awakes from a long dream of rotating crops and holy days after the crime happens. The testimonies, medical files and interviews, all included in “His Bloody Project”, gives this book apparent veracity. You simply believe that it is happening in your reality. Now.

3. Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh

Man Booker Prize Shortlist reviews - EileenAmazon: 3.3/5
Goodreads: 3.4/5

Eileen Dunlop is a twenty-four years old woman who worked as a secretary at a boys’ prison outside Boston during the 1960s. She opens up from the first pages about her life, her fears and her hectic lifestyle. She is lonely and lives with her alcoholic father. And tells us the story of the week before Christmas, when she disappeared. Eileen is a dark psychological novel told from the heroine’s perspective.  So intense that you won’t be able to put it down. The touch of mystery the crime gives this book makes it a page turner. Ottessa Moshfeg has written a book that is a hauntingly accurate description of all women’s’ insecurities.

4.All That Man Is – David Szalay

Man Booker Prize Shortlist reviews - All That Man IsAmazon: 3.7/5
Goodreads: 3.7/5

Short story collections are not that common in the Man Booker Prize. David Szalay essentially decrypts what men are in this beautifully put together collection of nine stories. Nine contemporary stories about men at different stages of their lives living in countries other than their own. The author destroys the common myth that men are all knowing, strong and emotionless human beings. Challenged by life fulfillment, the men in the stories are are flawed and crumbling under pressure. Szalay doesn’t write an ode to manhood, but illustrates how fragile it is. I loved this book because it describes the pain of decision and breaks apart, piece by piece, the image I had about men in general.

5. Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien

Man Booker Prize Shortlist reviews - Do Not Say We Have NothingAmazon: 4.2/5
Goodreads: 4.0/5

Do Not Say We Have Nothing is the kind of novel that will leave you grateful for what you have. Marie and Ai-Ming are trying to put together what happened to their two fathers and their friend. Three talented musicians who lived in China at the beginning of Mao Zedong’s reign. Forced to give up their artistic freedom, the artists try to strive in a country where forced prison labor, mass executions, starvation and fear was common. The historical and social details of China after the 1949 Civil War are accurate and enthralling, which make this story more amazing.

This is not a book about a family, but a glimpse in the recent past of families who tried to overcome a political regime that was draining the life out of an entire country. The musical harmonies make this book not only a story about Marie’s family but a symphony for the thousands of souls who lost their freedom and lives because of totalitarian political regimes.

Man Booker Prize 2016 WINNER review

WINNER: The Sellout – Paul Beatty

Man Booker Prize Shortlist reviews - The SelloutAmazon: 4.0/5
Goodreads: 3.8/5

Acclaimed by many, this book has won several prestigious awards including The Man Booker Prize (2016), National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction and John Dos Passos Prize for Literature.

The Sellout is at first glance a book about a man who ended up in front of the Supreme Court being prosecuted for keeping a slave. But Paul Beatty writes a hilarious and amazing satire about a culture everybody talks about but it doesn’t let anyone in. Bonbon, the main character is a man of color who decides to re-segregate Dickens, a once all black neighborhood now mostly Hispanic.  He also convinces Hominy, his friend and the last of the Little Rascals, to be his slave, reinstating slavery. I loved this book because somehow Beatty touches all the stereotypes on African-American culture with humor while still being politically correct.

A Little History to Improve Your Brain

A Little History to Improve Your Brain

A little history on a topic is all you need to give you a broad idea of what happened. You dont always need to read about something in depth. WhyToRead believes a broad knowledge base is a great help to a great brain.

The series A Little History books do just that.  Give you a little history summary on a wide range of topics. Perfect.

1. A Little History of the World – E.H. Gombrich

A Little History of the World
A Little History of the World, written by Gombrich who has a doctorate in history, is focused on the human experience and not on the little events that a young mind might forget. From the Stone Age until the World War Two, he presents how humanity has changed and developed.

This book shows a simplified history and it is full of charm and humor, so it is not a book that only presents the dates, but is focused on the facts that changed history. In only 40 chapters, the author shows us what humanity has achieved and where it stalled. This is a great book to read if you want a little history to know how the world became as we know it today.

Read a bit more in depth with the general world history books.

2. A Little History of Philosophy – Nigel Warburton

A Little History of Philosophy
Nigel Warburton makes philosophy accessible to everyone with A Little History of Philosophy. He talks about all the major philosophers and their take on the world, from the metaphysics of Socrates to the realist Peter Singer. The author makes note of all the major philosophical currents and figures.

Warburton doesn’t write a history of philosophy with dates and a sterile presentation of the major trends. No, he relates little stories about the philosophers that sustain their thesis, giving them a little bit of life. This is a great book for everyone interested in philosophy and how the ideas changed in time.

Read more easy Philosophy books.

3. A Little History of the United States – James West Davidson

A Little History of the United States
James West Davidson takes to a journey of struggle and success of a country in A Little History of United States. He begins with the pre-Columbus era and walks us through all the major figures that dominated US history along with the struggles the society had at different times, until the current ones.

This is a fast paced book about the development of small communities, the struggle for freedom and equality and the threats the country had to face and overcome in order to become a world power. A Little History of the United States follows the social and political struggle that come from different ages.

Read more books about modern history.

4. A Little History of Economics – Niall Kishtainy

A Little History of Economics
Economics is a subject with difficult to understand words and concepts when is taught in schools. But A Little History of Economics is fortunately different. The author presents economics as the world progresses with fun and relate-able stories that will help you understand the concepts.

He also talks about the big changes that different economics figures brought to the world. The book covers subjects from barter to world economics while teaching us those hard to gasp concepts that make the world run. The light and humorous tone makes this little history book an enjoyable read.

5. A Little History of Literature – John Sutherland

A Little History of Literature
A Little History of Literature is a course taught by a chatty, funny and colloquial literature professor, or this is how we felt reading this book. John Sutherland talks about the importance of literature, the influences it has had, and how it reflects society. He also reviews the major currents from myths to contemporary fiction and the industry that literature sustains.

A Little History of Literature is the perfect book for everyone looking for a next educational read, for literature lovers and all history buffs. It is full of little tidbits about authors and their stories. The take on literature as a way of life makes this book an amazing read beyond its little history book scope.

6. A Little History of Science – William F. Bynum

A Little History of Science
A Little History of Science is, as you would expect from this series, a book about important inventions and how they changed the world. The book is written in a colloquial style and focuses on facts rather than heavy technical terms and dull dates. The author makes note of the major influences in the science community and how their ideas changed the way people looked at the world we live in. The medical field is vastly developed and all its paradigms are discussed.

William Bynum writes a compelling page turner book about the biggest world changing subject: science. The light tone makes this book easy to read.

For more great reading about science try this list.

7. A Little History of Religion – Richard Holloway

A Little History of Religion
Like all the books in this Little History series, the title describes what this book is about – it is about history of religion. It is written by a former bishop of the Anglican Church in Scotland. A man who stopped believed in God and became popular broadcaster and writer.

In A Little History of Religion Holloway paints a linear history of world’s religions. He writes about its growth and in some cases decline. At the same time he tries to answer why it is in human nature to seek religion and where the religion comes from. Why is religion so often associated with violence and intolerance. This is very interesting book that will make reader think. It is an easy read (being a little history book) so it can be read by anyone who is interested in an overview on the history of religion.

Easy Philosophy Books – Getting Started in 2017

Easy Philosophy Books – Getting Started in 2017

Easy Philosophy Books for 2017.

Thinking about philosophy is something we all do whether you realize it or not.   Over a coffee or over a beer we use our mind to philosophize – that is ponder life, the universe and everything. 

At WhyToRead we think reading is one of the most important things you can do for your mind.  Get started reading easy philosophy books and develop your mind and expand your thinking.

1. Letters from A Stoic – Seneca

Easy Philosophy Books - Letters from a Stoic
Seneca was Roman Stoic philosopher from period of late Stoic philosophy. He lived from circa 4 BC till 65 AD. As well being philosopher he was also statesman and dramatist of the Silver Age of Latin literature. Seneca’s writings present typical themes of Stoic philosophy, like that the universe is governed for the best by a rational providence; contentment is achieved through a simple, unperturbed life in accordance with nature and duty to the state; human suffering should be accepted and has a beneficial effect on the soul; study and learning are important.  These letters present ideals admired by the Stoics and they also reveal how Seneca’s ideas were very advanced. They are a relatively easy read leaving you energy to ponder how best to confront life’s problems and one’s own mortality.

2. The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus: A Roman Slave

Easy Philosophy Books - Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus
Publius Syrus was a Latin writer of Syrian origin  alive around 85-43 BC. He was bought as a slave to Italy, but because he was very talented his master freed him and educated him.  Syrus is best known for his sententiae i.e. short moral saying like proverbs, aphorisms, or maxims.
The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus is a collection of various moral maxims. They are written in iambic and trochaic verse. Maxims are actually short verse which are arranged in alphabetical order according to initial letter of the maxima. The number of verses originally written by Publius Syrus was about 700, but during the course of history maxims by other thinkers were added to the collection. This is an interesting read and each reader will definitely find some moral maxima that resonates.

3. Fragments (Penguin Classics) – Heraclitus

Easy Philosophy Books - Fragments of Heraclitus
Heraclitus was a well-known ancient pre- Socratic Greek philosopher from Ephesus. He lived ca 535 – 475 BC. A self-taught thinker,  he was sometimes called the “Weeping Philosopher” because he led a lonely life and was very stressed about the needless unconsciousness of humankind.  Famous for his saying that “No man ever steps in the same river twice”.  In his philosophy he insisted on ever-present change as being the fundamental essence of the universe.  He also insisted on the unity of opposites in the world. He influenced many other famous philosophers like Plato, and philosophical schools like Stoics. Heraclitus wrote a book called On Nature, but the text of that book has been lost over time. The only existing records of his writing are Fragments. This work tantalized many great thinkers for centuries. It is an interesting and deep read that consist of 130 short thoughts – that can be read by anyone. A great place to start your easy philosophy books reading.

4. The Complete Essays – Michel de Montaigne

Easy Philosophy Books - Michel de Montaigne Essays
Michel de Montaigne, Lord of Montaigne, is one of the most known philosophers of the French Renaissance. He was born on 28 February 1533 and died on 13 September 1592. He is best known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. Montaigne had a direct influence on many writers including Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Nietzsche, etc.
His most known work is Essays. This collection of a large number of short, subjective treatments on various topics was published in 1580. The essays are inspired by the works of philosophers Plutarch and Lucretius and his goal in this work was to describe humans with utter honesty. The style of writing is rhetoric and the aim is to intrigue and involve the reader. This is highly satisfying classical read that can be read and reread.

5. Nature and Selected Essays – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Easy Philosophy Books - Nature Essay by Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer and poet. He was born 25 May 1803 in Boston and died 27 April 1882 and led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was a famous for his lectures through which he disseminated his thoughts. During his lifetime he did more than 1500 public lectures across USA. All of his works (essays) were first written as lectures and later they were revised for print. The core of his thinking represents two collections of essays: Essays: First Series and Essays: Second Series. Part of these collections is Emerson’s famous essay on Nature. In this essay Emerson laid the foundation of transcendentalism. In it he tried to solve one abstract problem and that is why humans do not fully accept nature’s beauty.
This essay is a great read for all those interested in an introduction to transcendentalism – the belief system that adopts a non-traditional appreciation of nature.

6. The Essential Epicurus – Epicurus

Easy Philosophy Books - Essential Epicurus
Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and founder of school philosophy Epicureanism. He lived from 341 – 270 BC. During his life he wrote around 300 works, but only few fragments remain today. Most of what we know about him we find out from works of his followers and commentators. Ataraxia and aponia i.e. peace and freedom from fear and the absence of pain are two main ideas in Epicurus philosophy. For him the purpose of philosophy is to live a happy and tranquil life. A life characterized by ataraxia and aponia, and it can be reached by living it self-sufficiently surrounded by friends. For Epicurus pleasure and pain were measures of good and evil.
These fragments are the only remains of Epicurus work, but beside fragments they do contain three letters. They are easy to read but on the other hand as many philosophers’ works they contain deeper meaning and they seek the involved reader. Get started today with easy philosophy books to strengthen your mind and peace.