I Took A Short Break From Everything

As you might have failed to noticed, I took a short break from the blog. It started when things were going a little over my head at the end of month before the previous month and I thought, I am done, with everything. I did not take a vacation to some destination. I mostly stayed home. I did some things, which I generally don’t do and won’t be planning to do anytime in future.

This morning I woke up and decided, I am ready. Thus, I am writing this.

During this span of almost 46 days, I wasn’t roaming on a beach with a paperback in my hand. I was spending the time with myself without a paperback, focusing on some aspects of life, going through some actions I never planned to perform, thus depleting myself of “time to wonder” to write about.

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GUEST POST: Do E-books Allow Us to Read Books Properly?

Do E-books Allow Us to Read Books Properly? by Cassie

The popularity of e-books has grown over the years. It’s no surprise why e-readers have taken off. You can store thousands of books on a single, easy-to-carry device. Top authors now offer both print and digital versions of their novels. Interestingly, paperback sales have increased by 2.5 percent in 2015. In comparison, e-book sales actually dipped 11.1 percent. With that said, many readers have no qualms reading either format. Still there are a few who strongly prefer one over the other. Perhaps you are a die-hard paperback supporter. Or maybe you prefer the digital format. Whichever you prefer, there are definitely positives and negatives of e-books.


Advantages of E-books

There’s no doubt e-books have changed the way people read, both good and bad. On the plus side, the average e-book reader has read more books in the past year than those who only read print. Readers can place digital books on their smartphones or tablets and read anywhere, whether they’re waiting in line or relaxing on the beach. Thanks to the open environment of Amazon and Barnes and Noble, there are thousands of original e-books users might not otherwise find at their bookstore. Bibliophiles can even get access to books not available in their country by using virtual private network (VPN) software to work around geo-restrictions.

One of the biggest advantages of e-books over traditional ones is the ability to customize font size, style and even darkness. This makes it perfect for people with poor eyesight or reading disorders. A study found dyslexic subjects managed much better with e-books as they were able to format text so they only needed to focus on a single line at a time.

Studies also suggest e-readers boost reading confidence among reluctant young readers as they are more familiar with the technology. Since they cannot see the size of the book, it is visually less daunting to read a 300-page e-book than a physical book of the same size. Since many e-readers come with a built-in dictionary, those with lower reading comprehension or ESL readers can quickly learn the meaning of words in context without having to open a separate dictionary.

Disadvantages of E-books

All of these might seem like e-books improve our reading capabilities. It certainly has made reading a popular pastime again. However, it comes with its own set of drawbacks. One of the biggest is in recollection. A 2014 study found e-book readers recalled order of events worse than those who read a print version of the same story. The same study found readers were not as emotionally invested in stories when reading digital versus paperback. While it’s unclear why this might be, researchers suggest it might be due to the lack of tactile feedback. With a physical book, readers must physically turn a page and can see their progress as the pages increase on the left side and decrease on the right.

Other researchers suggest a more straightforward reason: shorter reading time. This is especially true when not reading on a dedicated e-reader. There are so many distractions that direct people’s attention away from the book, whether it’s getting a notification about an email or simply browsing the web. People are so used to multitasking with their smartphones and tablets, this habit carries over when reading.

Even when reading without distractions, the amount of time people spend reading a book has decreased. Before e-readers, many people set aside a few hours to read a book. It provided a relaxing experience or routine to help break up a hectic day. Now, many people read books on the go. Instead of hours, they often read books in fifteen to 30-minute bursts in order to fill time. Unfortunately, this leads to poorer reading comprehension and information retention, both of which require long, undisturbed chunks of time.

In addition, many e-book readers tend to skim and hunt for important words or phrases in an F pattern, a habit carried over from reading webpages. While this might provide the basic idea of the action on page, it leaves out a lot of detail. Interestingly, while skimming certainly occurs with physical books, it’s more common with digital. This might be due to the fact that reading on-screen takes 20 to 30 percent longer than reading on paper. Digital readers could be making up for lost time when reading on-screen.

One reason many people approach digital reading habits more casually than regular books is the concept of ownership. When readers buy a physical book they own it. Once exchanged for money, publishers or authors cannot force readers to give up their copy. On the other hand, readers do not own digital books. Instead, they purchase a license for the text. This means the provider—Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.—controls the book and can otherwise revoke access or simply remove it from devices. If providers can pull books off a device at will, it might not make much sense to many readers to get too invested.

The question of whether e-books are good or bad for our reading habits has supporters on both sides. At the end of the day, it depends on the reader. Some may find their reading habits improve while others might find their comprehension decrease due to distractions. One thing is clear: digital books won’t replace physical books anytime soon. The world will continue to offer paper and pixels for book lovers around the world.

About the Author: Cassie is a technology and entertainment writer. An avid reader, she’s intrigued by how technological advances have made reading more accessible for many while also creating several disadvantages. 

Follow her on Twitter.   


The School of Life

Source: The School of Life YouTube Channel

Recently, a I came across an YouTube channel: The School of Life while browsing YouTube for videos on Stoicism. I was astonished by the content in the channel and variety of topics it consists with enough focus on graphics. It might be not new to many of you but I say its worth of checking out if you are hearing it for the first time.

After some time, browsing through their videos and stuff I went to their website and to satisfy my curiosity to know more. Looks like they have a dozen books published under the succession of The School of Life. You can check the list of books published by them here on Goodreads.com.

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Author Interview: Jean Nicole Rivers


Jean Nicole Rivers

Q. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Briefly, about yourself?

I have always loved to write, even as a child and I always aspired to become a novelist. The Unwanted is the second book in a series called, Black Water Tales.

Q. What genre are is/your book(s)?

New adult, psychological horror.

Q. What draws you to this genre?

To me, horror feels more real than any other genre. I have always preferred real and true, no matter how dirty or uncomfortable. The situations in horror, life or death, kill or die, save them or save myself are the closest we come to seeing who we truly are in the deepest places of our psychic and physical being and this is what produces that oh so well-known adrenaline pump that hooks people to the horror book or screen, not allowing them to look away. Living those moments over and over has the power to give us a true glimpse into the mirror and sometimes, ironically enough, that is the most frightening thing of all.

Q. Briefly, what led up to the last book? Also, please describe the book in one sentence.

When Blaire goes to help the children of St. Sebastian orphanage, it will be her that soon needs the help.

Soon after completing my first book, The Secret Keepers. I found myself watching an inordinate amount of documentaries and I came across one on orphanages in other countries and what I learned was frightening. I don’t much care for jump scare horror, I prefer horror that chills one to the core that makes you question, not what’s in the closet but what’s in the mirror. This documentary on the deplorable conditions of the facilities and the failing health of the children haunted me, how could things like this still be happening all around us? And while I was intrigued, I was not yet fully inspired to write the book, writing the book still hadn’t occurred to me. It wasn’t until one evening after watching this documentary when I woke in the middle of the night and there they were, those children who were severely malnourished and abused among other things, all standing by my bedside looking down on me. When I woke the next morning, I knew that I had to tell their story.

Q. What was the time frame for writing your last book?

There were four years between my last book, The Secret Keepers and my new book, The Unwanted. Writing my outline takes approx. two weeks, then another six weeks to write my rough draft, a couple of months for my first edit and a couple more months for further edits and that is if I am working on my book full time but once you add “life” in, the timeframe can get lengthy.

Q. How much research do you do?

It depends on what I am writing. Many things I write from personal experience. My new book that I am currently working on, The Sandman (working title), is requiring me to do a bit more research than usual and I have purchased several books on the underlying subjects and plan on talking to a couple of health professionals in order to make sure that my characters are authentic.

Q. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I measure more in hours per day than word count. I try to write for at least two hours a day, but I always wish that I could write more.

Q. What is the easiest thing about writing?

The easiest thing about writing a book is coming up with the idea. We all have tons of great ideas for books, right? The issues come AFTER we have the great idea.

Q. What motivates you to write?

I don’t know that it’s a motivation so much as a compulsion. Naturally, I am always composing stories and filling my head with little facts and characters and I have to get them out. I have to tell their stories or they will drive me nuts. I am a writer because it is an inevitable extension of my being. Some people decide to be writers because they want to write; I was never given the option.

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REVIEW: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

I must confess I have never read any book of the Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. And for the time being I cannot confirm to do so. Though I am familiar with Neil Gaiman’s writing which sometimes fascinates me. Coraline and Sandman series are a good place to start with Neil Gaiman, only if you are unfamiliar.

Good Omens is a collaborative work and unlike any other co-authored books (I am pointing to Patterson and Co.), it’s different and points out some good things about society and religion in general. Overall, this book is a piece of fantasy and show signs of humour from the start.

One, if highly familiar with both Gaiman’s and Pratchett’s style of writing might able to point out tiny bit of difference in the text but I think it is not much of a difference. The plot consists of angels and demons, good and evil and a tale of bonding between the two. The demon as we may call some of them, are not different and nor are the angels. In the start, a funny thing happens that develops the whole book and plot revolves around that part.

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Q. Hi Yolanda and thank you for agreeing to this interview. Congratulations on your new book: “Memoirs of I”. Briefly, tell me about yourself?

Hey Aman, first of all.  Thank you for inviting me to your blog and reviewing my new book.  I am from a small town in Scotland but grew up with an Italian/Irish background.  I currently study Classical Studies along side Modern Greek.  I write for pleasure and hopefully teach another, I also find solitude in traveling and do it as much as I can.

Q. What was the genesis for “MEMOIRS OF I”?

I was going through some personal troubles in 2015 and I needed a friend.  My memoir became my best friend and it turned out to be the most therapeutic encounter I have ever experienced.  I wanted to reflect on a daily basis to overcome these troubles in which caused me anguish and confusion.

Q. In “MEMOIRS OF I”, one thing I like most is that you have kept the reader in mystery regarding the place you are currently visiting. This mystery element works well (for me) in your book. How did you manage to create such mysteries for a reader?

I am glad that you liked this element about my book.  It was sometimes difficult to not shout out to the reader where I was in the world but I wanted to keep this very personal to me so that the reader can imagine wherever they wish.  This was all a very natural process during my writings.

Q. How much research do you usually do?

I tend not to do much research when it comes to writings styles and the latest authors as I never want to be influenced from any other.  I want and like to write which comes from my heart and only my soul.  In The Memoirs of ‘I’, I researched subjects such as religion, politics, art, documentaries and peoples beliefs to enhance my awareness of the world around me and to tell others of how it had influenced me in that moment.

Q. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

No, I have never written in this way before unless I am doing essays for university but when it comes to writing, I feel that it should not be forced or commanded in such a way.

Q. What motivates you to write?

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REVIEW: Seneca On Anger

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, or Seneca was a philosopher and is best known for his wisdom that may help one to rethink of his own perspectives on life. Seneca was a stoic and during his time embraced Stoicism. He was also an advisor to the Roman Emperor, Nero, in 54 AD. His essays such as On Shortness of Life, and On Anger clearly reflect his contribution to the Stoic philosophy.

Surprisingly, I was never introduced to the word Stoicism before. Not during my school years, nor my college years. I guess, it is my mistake that I was never curious enough to explore, open to ideas such as Stoicism posses, until recently when I first read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.

On Anger is a book which is further divided into three books in which Seneca reflects how this passion, this feeling can make us endure for the rest of our lives. He describes anger as an emotion, “and under its possession any human being does remain not humane.” We have all felt anger, on various points. Sometimes it us, many a times it because of the others, we may think. Some follow it is quite pragmatically causing terror that reflect up on the rest of the humanity. Some just want to avenge on the injury they have become a victim to:

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