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. 


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.

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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