Tuesday, December 5, 2017

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9 Perfect Gifts for Austen Fans



Great gifts for fans of Jane Austen's writing


For those of you who can't have enough of Pride and Prejudice and any other novels written by Jane Austen, we have compiled a short list of several gifts you'd like to receive. Wink Wink - maybe suggest them to your friends and family so they know what they can get for you when your birthday or Christmas comes around?

If that's what you are doing, which is to say that you're on the hunt of the perfect gift for an Austen fan, perhaps you should consider having a look at the next items. I know I have enjoyed them and would love to get my hands on them! There's a bit of Elizabeth and a bit of Darcy in all of us, after all.

Marrying Mr. Darcy Board Game

If you really love Pride and Prejudice, you're going to love this game! Players have to go through two stages to finish the game. The first, as you might have guessed, is the courship stage, and the second is the proposal stage. In short, it's a simple card game that won't raise any difficulties to anyone, nor will it bore the life out of those who dislike playing board games, in general.


The Complete Novels of Jane Austen

There are two ways of going about if you want to give a nice present to someone who loves Austen's writing. In many cases, even hardcore Austen fans haven't had the opportunity to read absolutely all of her novels. So giving them a collection such as this one is a good idea. Plus, if the person you intend to surprise owns an e-book reader, you might want to know that the collection is available for free in the Kindle Store. Most Austen's novels aren't protected by any copyright anymore, having been published so long ago.


Socksmith Women's Jane Austen Socks

I think I've mentioned another pair of literary socks in one of my older posts, from last year or so. The design of those made me burst out laughing as they actually featured about a dozen miniature Edgar Allan Poe head figures. These socks are a bit more classic, as is pretty much anything related to Austen, right? They're made from cotton, nylon, and spandex, which means that they're going to last for a decent amount of time. Besides, they're available in two colors -- steel blue and lavender -- so you can choose the one you like most. The best thing about socks is that you can get enough of them!


The Unemployed Philosophers Guild Austen Coffee Mug

This microwave and dishwasher-safe mug is, without a doubt, a great gift to give to someone who likes Austen quotes and wants to have them close all of the time. The 14 oz capacity is great for someone who drinks tea or coffee. We suggest offering this type of present to a person who spends a lot of time in front of the computer or at the office. Perhaps these Austen quotes might be able to improve their mood once in a while.


Out of Print Pride and Prejudice Pouch

The coolest thing about this pouch is that it actually looks like a small handbag. It's sizeable enough to be used for storing and carrying various essentials such as a smartphone, a lipstick, house and car keys, and anything else that one might need when one's out and about. It features a typical zipper enclosure, so there's no point wasting time trying to open and close it up. Besides, it is made in the United States.

Pride and Prejudice Book Scarf

There's really not that much to say about this product, and that's because it's a scarf on which some of the most memorable Austen quotes from her best-known novel have been printed. Thanks to its color and design, it goes well with any attire. Every scarf is gift wrapped and comes in a zipper pouch that can be reused. Most of those who have purchased it seem to be pleased with its quality and the fact that it's made from a soft jersey fabric. By the way, this one's crafted in the U.S., too, in Los Angeles, to be more specific.


Classic Coloring Jane Austen

It's no wonder coloring books have become so popular in recent years. After all, the activity has a beneficial effect on anyone's stress levels. Through the pages of this book, you'll get to experience a bit of the age that Austen used to live in. There are fifty-five removable coloring plates within the covers of the book, and they can be used with watercolors, markers, as well as colored pencils. They'll hold quite well, based on what some of those who have bought this item have to say about it.

Tea with Jane Austen: Recipes inspired by her novels and letters

You know how the British love their tea? Well, back in Austen's day, they used to love it even more. While these days it actually means dipping a teabag into hot water, they used to make a grand ceremony out of it every day at about 5 in the afternoon. Aside from the actual tea, they got to enjoy cakes and pastries, so it was more of a #drunch. And then they ate their dinner, too. Amazing. Well, if you've ever wanted to make any of the tea recipes showcased in Austen's novel, here's your chance. With this book, you can. It comes with a good deal of original recipes ranging from plum cake to good old gingerbread.

Jane Austen Books Coaster Set

I've decided to end this selection with a coaster set because these designs are those of Austen's most famous book covers. Besides, these coasters have a permanent matte finish, so they will withstand the test of time even if you clean them by hand and using a mild detergent. You do have to be a bit careful if you want to extend their life, though. Some of the customers describe them as soft and earthy while others say that they were bothered by the strong rubber smell when they took them out of the box for the first time. Fortunately, the scent disappears over time.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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Best Christmas Books

Great Christmas Books


It's often challenging getting the right Christmas book. On the one hand, you have to consider the age of the recipient. On the other, not all titles are the same, which means that they can be different in terms of design, as well as a variety of other factors. To make it easier for you to decide on something, in particular, we've put together a short guide you might want to check out.

Buying guide


The age matters quite a bit


It goes without saying that you want the title to address the needs of the person getting it, which is to say that some books are excellent for adults, but they might make poor choices for toddlers. If you're getting a Xmas book for a kid and have none of your own, perhaps it is a good idea to have a talk with one of his or her parents so as to find out what their passions are. 

The same rule applies to adults, which is to say that you first have to learn a bit about the person you are getting the bookish present for, and only then select a title in particular. Some people might be more impressed by a New Yorker subscription instead of a novel, and that's because literary tastes differ largely from one individual to the next.

Happy or sad?


The neatest thing about Christmas books is that they often have a story behind, and they leave you with a conclusion that could help you with your life. However, not all are the same. Take A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, for instance. It's pretty obvious that it has a certain meaning, and it revolves around the fact that friends and family are far more important than amassing a great fortune. 

But A Christmas Carol isn't the most optimistic book in this category, at least to some point in the storyline. Usually, Xmas books for kids have to be optimistic and fun so as to stimulate the child in an educational and happy manner. That doesn't have to be the case with adults. I remember looking through some recommendations last year and seeing The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins featured in one selection on a website. 

It just so happens that I read that book myself, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a Christmas gift. It's not exactly positive, although one can learn a bit of things from it. 

Format


Something other you may need to address before making your final choice is how you want the book to be. For instance, some people have e-book readers such as the world-known Kindle, one of the most useful gadgets ever to have seen the light of day (in my opinion). Typically, readers can be split up into two categories -- those who prefer pixel and those who prefer paper. 

It goes without saying that the e-book reader will never be capable of creating the scent of a newly printed or battered book. Nevertheless, it is far more convenient, and e-books are usually cheaper compared to their printed counterparts. Plus, you get to keep them for life and organize your notes as efficiently as possible.

Here are some titles I thought you might enjoy. 


For kids:


Nothing beats the Grinch when it comes to ruining Christmas, and we all know it! I remember seeing the movie starring Jim Carrey when I was about twelve, and it absolutely rocked my world. Dr. Seuss's characters are funny, quirky, and full of interesting stories, and the best thing about these picture books is that they always have a meaning. 


Compared to other books I've come across, The Polar Express might be a little more difficult to read, at least for some ages. It tells the story of a boy who gets to meet Santa Claus and who experiences a wonderful train travel to the North Pole. There, he gets to make a wish that makes him learn a lot about the spirit of Christmas. 


Some books are magical mostly because they tell the amazing story of Jesus Christ and his birth. The characters in this book aren't represented by humans; instead, they are the animals that witnessed the birth of Christ. On that special night, the Kind Ox shares his stable with some of the other animals so as to keep them out of the cold. Once the Donkey makes his appearance, we all know what's bound to happen -- and the animals get to witness the magical wonder of Christ's birth. 

For adults:


This year, I watched the final installment from the Bridget Jones film series. While it wasn't as charming as the first one, I have to say that I indulge in the novel and the movies from time to time. I can't seem to have enough of Darcy and of this modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Bridget is funny and silly, and she makes a quite unnatural pair with the serious barrister Mark Darcy. Check it out or get the DVD, if you aren't into reading.


Another literary passion that I developed in recent years is reading Young Adult fiction. Somehow, these books make me feel a whole lot better about how awkward I used to be in my teens as they finally allow me to understand that everyone was awkward in their own way back then. This exciting adventure story is like no other, and I honestly think you'll love it if you're into YA. 


Graphic novels are the best if you want to meet your Goodreads challenge and have no more time on your hands. I read a series of excellent graphic novels just because I didn't want to ruin my challenge, and they range from Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi to All my friends are dead. by Avery Monsen and Jory John. 
Blankets really has it all. From a coming-of-age romance that'll take your breath away to a classic sibling rivalry we've probably witnessed in other novels -- you name it; it's likely featured in this book.

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I hope you've enjoyed this short selection of Christmas books. If you have any other recommendations, feel free to leave a comment!
Wishing you happy holidays!
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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Best Books About Power

Great Books About Power


Every so often, a political figure enters our World and never leaves. Years pass, yet they stay part of our lives. Worse still, our kids learn about them at school making us feel old!
Here are some examples and a few books you might enjoy: -

The Motorcycle Diaries
Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

Most people have heard of Che Guevara. His iconic image appears on T-shirts and posters everywhere. But what do we know about him? This book, plus Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War, and The Bolivian Diary detail his mission as a guerrilla and freedom fighter alongside Fidel and Raul Castro. His journey to fame begins in 1952 when he sets off with his friend Alberto Granado on a motorbike journey, a journey that will change the world.

The Struggle and the Triumph: An Autobiography
Lech Walesa (Author) translated by Franklin Philip and Helen Mahut

In 1980 Lech Walesa encouraged Polish shipyard workers to strike for extra pay and rights. He formed the movement Solidarity and later became the first elected President of Poland. The Road to Democracy (Rebecca Steffof) details these extraordinary events which provided hope and inspiration for many countries in the Eastern Bloc. The Struggle and the Triumph update us on Walesa’s recent years, the goals he has achieved and his visions for the future.

A Long Walk to Freedom
Nelson Mandela

Readers of a certain age will remember the day Nelson Mandela walked free from jail yet at that time, little was known about him. A Long Walk to Freedom tells us all we need to know. It is the dramatic story of Mr. Mandela’s remarkable life and achievements. An epic tale of hardship, strength, and courage it recounts the life of one of the World’s most controversial leaders.

The Kennedy Half-Century:
The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy
Professor Larry J Sabato

An article about books on power would be incomplete without a reference to John F. Kennedy. Assassinated in November 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK remains a fascinating figure. This book looks at his effect on the media, public, and presidents of the United States over the last fifty years. The subject of many conspiracy theories, JFK is one of the most discussed figures today. The Kennedy Half-Century brings a fresh insight into his life and events leading up to his death.


Margaret Thatcher: A Life and Legacy
Sir David Cannadine

Margaret Thatcher, or The Iron Lady as she was often known, is the subject of much debate. Like her or loathe her, she cannot be ignored. Her contribution to British politics is outstanding. As the United Kingdom’s first female prime minister, she is also UK’s longest- serving PM (1979 – 1990) of the twentieth century. This book charts her progress, detailing her upbringing as a grocer’s daughter, through her rise to fame and highlighting her political career. Although her policies outraged many voters, respect for her has not diminished, and her ability to stand by her resolutions is admirable.


*image credits: pixabay

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

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3 Best Reading Sunglasses

Great reading sunglasses

If you’re an avid reader, there are two situations you face with regards to reading. One is when you need light where it’s dim, and the other is when you need shade where there’s too much light. You simply cannot stop reading what come may, therefore, there are reading night lights and reading desk lamps for your reading convenience at night-time, and there are reading sunglasses for the day-time. Yes, you read that right, there are reading sunglasses to protect your eyes from the harsh glare of the sun! Why not just go for the regular shades you ask?

Buying guide

We will be discussing exactly why you should consider buying reading sunglasses rather than sticking to the regular ones. Below are some important features to keep in mind while searching for the best sunglasses for reading:

Eyesight

The whole point of good reading sunglasses is to provide protection to your eyes from the sun, all the while making sure you don’t need to wear prescription lenses behind them. Did you reading sunglasses have magnification strengths? If you are bifocal, meaning when you read, you need focus for the near sight, however, when you look up, your vision is back to normal or vice versa. This is where the bifocal sunglasses play a role. Your reading sunglasses should have a bifocal lens with two focal lengths, one for the distant vision and one for the near vision.
However, if you have prescription glasses and you’re not bifocal, you can simply go for the full frame prescription. If you have perfect eyesight and love to read, there’s reading sunglasses for you as well!

Style

When it comes to sunglasses, we can be picky for the latest trend, something different, and something stylish. There is no rule with sunglasses and the primary desire when you wear them is to look your best! We wear sunglasses outdoors and want them to complement our features. There are different styles available from the classic aviators, cat eyes, club master, wayfarer, round, and more.

Color

Sunglasses these days come in different colors, and they are no longer limited to the dark black shades we are used to seeing. Nowadays you will find sunglasses in any color of your choice, along with different colored frames!

Quality

We have discussed the eyesight, style, and color for your sunglasses, and there remains nothing else except for the quality. When it comes to eyewear, you must make sure that the quality is excellent and lasts long. A good quality product will serve the purpose without further damaging your eyes. Therefore it is very important that you select the best quality for your eyes. Simply opting for regular sunglasses off the shelf can do your eyes more harm than you can imagine. A simple reading sunglass will have different types of coating on its frame to ease your reading journey, i.e., polarized, UV protected, magnifiers, anti-reflective, anti-fog, and more!

Here are some models you might want to consider if you're in the market for something worth the investment.

Aviators are the most classic style of sunglasses out there. They look amazing on almost everyone, and better yet when they come with four different magnification strengths, and eye caring features, they are even more worth the buy. This aviator comes in 3 colors, gold, pewter, and pewter-brown.
The lens is polarized and designed especially for bifocal readers. It comes with a UV 400 protection and is made of good quality. The lens is also optically decentered to ensure sharp and clear vision. With these sunglasses, you can easily read without having to switch to regular glasses.
Apart from outdoor reading, these sunglasses can be used for any outdoor activity like fishing, driving, outdoor sports, and such related activities. The UV protection coating on the lens saves your eyes from the harsh glare of the sun without compromising the clarity of your vision. One thing with bifocal lenses is that they have a fine line dividing the lens however with this particular aviator, the lines are there but barely visible.

This unisex, full rim frame, nylon sunglasses come in 2 colors, dark tortoise, and shiny black. It has an anti-reflective coating. An excellent feature of these sunglasses is that the lens is oleophobic and hydrophobic meaning the lens will repel any marks from fingers and water stains.

The lens also has anti-fog treatment which makes it a must-buy product! The nylon frame is durable, lightweight and flexible. The nose pads are designed with comfort in mind and are firmly fixed in place without causing marks on the nose bridge. These sunglasses are perfect for those with thin and medium face structures.

If you have a wider face structure, these may be a little on the tight side. The tint on the glasses is comfortable, and you won’t have to squint your eyes, the quality lens makes it easy to read and gives a clear vision without eye strain. The price is quite reasonable for reading sunglasses with so many features. This super stylish reading sunglass is a great gifting option too.


This 4.5 star rated classic wayfarer sunglasses by In Style Eyes, come in 3 different colors, black, blue, and light purple. These are full-reader sunglasses with different magnification strengths. If you are not too sure which magnification strength suits your needs, you can always check with your doctor.

These sunglasses are designed for the readers who are not bifocal. However, anyone can use them. The lens is shaded, darker on the top and gets lighter gradually till the bottom. The lens width is 52 millimeters and is UV 400 protected.

This product is accompanied with a case and cleaning cloth. The spring tension earpieces make for a comfortable wear, so you won’t feel pain at the back of your ear when the shades are on for too long.

You can now relax while driving, at the poolside, beach, or at a park and read your favorite books while looking stylish. If you are bifocal and not comfortable with it, you can switch to these full-readers and notice the difference!
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

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6 Best Books Under A Hundred Pages


Great Books Under a Hundred Pages


Most readers love a big thick book. Lots of pages equal a good story, right? Well, yes, but some of the World’s greatest literature is less than one hundred pages.


Here are a few examples:



This famous book is a satire on dictatorship in which the animals on a farm drive out the owners and run the farm themselves. However, every society needs a leader and the responsibility falls to the pigs. A huge story packed into a one small volume. Writing at its best.




A masterpiece for which Hemingway received the Nobel prize for literature. The tale is very simple. A Cuban fisherman who has failed to catch any fish for eighty-four days, takes to the sea in search of marlin. His companion is a boy, Manolin.  There are no superfluous words in this story, the prose is stark and effective, the characters simple, yet vivid and memorable, gradually drawing the reader into the tale.




The book that spawned a thousand films! Ebeneezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future are giants of literature, as are Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit. Reading this short book is more satisfying than watching one of the films as the homeliness, tradition and true meaning of Christmas are portrayed though effective us of the English language.




Daisy Miller is a young feisty American woman visiting Europe. With no money worries, she is free to do exactly as she likes and sets about challenging European etiquette and protocol. Attracted to her flirtatious nature, Frederick Winterbourne, eager to protect Daisy’s reputation, is unsure how to handle her precociousness. The story centres on differences between European and American culture, the disapproval and censure of unsuitable friendships, and shows that freedom comes with a price.




Gustav von Aschenbach prides himself on being a well-ordered and disciplined author. But on a trip to Venice, he is aware of decadent changes within himself. Unable to fight these changes, he falls in love with Tadzio, a Polish boy. The city is full of cholera victims but Aschenbach’s love of Tadzio means he is unable to leave. As the title suggests, the story centres on death and dying, plus the age-old conundrum of an older man trying to recapture his youth.



This may not qualify as one of the World’s greatest works of literature, but it is a charming and warm read. Through letters to an English bookshop, the author orders rare second-hand books. Frank Doel, the bookshop manager, and his stiff-upper-lip British staff, supply them. This arrangement lasts for over twenty years. As friendships develops, Helene becomes infatuated with everything British and longs to visit the bookshop in person. The sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, is an account of her visit to London.
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