Archive for September, 2011

Popular Biotechnology Books: Follow the Current Trends

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

Are you following the modern trends in the age- old subjects like biology? Modern trends mean applying engineering, technology, genetics and medicine in the study of biology. The whole trend is called bio- technology, giving birth to bio- products or commercial products that are of specific use like manufacturing purposes.

But what are the windows through which you can bring on some more light to study biotechnology? As usual the books are always the most helpful companions in our knowledge- building process on any field. But among so many books which books are going to help the students and scholars the most?

Here are the most required books in applications of biotechnology:

1. Handbook of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology: This handbook is for scholars who are working on pharmaceuticals and applications of biotechnology in discovering and producing drugs. The book written by experienced professionals gives an overview of how to apply biotechnology in drug development process. This book will be of help to various genres of scholars like researchers, molecular biologists, cell biologists and also biochemists. The entire biotech industry gets much assistance from this book’s approach towards the extensive applications, regulations and validation methods.

2. Molecular Biotechnology: This book (running its fourth edition) is continuously updated and revised to follow the day to day developments in biotechnology with almost 500 illustrations of the key concepts. The book deals extensively with how the scientific principles apply “recombinant DNA technology” in industrial, agricultural, pharmaceutical and biomedical fields. The updated book has special chapters on the most current trends like cloning, gene therapy and genetic engineering. This book is specially authored for students featuring end of chapter review questions to assess their gained knowledge.

3. Fundamental Laboratory Approaches: This is a laboratory textbook for students and scientists in biochemistry and biotechnology.  This book trains students how to approach research problems and conduct and evaluate scientific research. There is also a unique chapter on using the web for your research along with a website that supports the book. Have fun and enjoy your modern research work and experiments.

4. Calculations for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: This is the most perfect laboratory assistant for biotechnology students and technicians. There all basic scientific notations, explanations of key concepts and theories for each type of calculation and the recent applications of the procedures in the research laboratories. In the new edition there is an updated coverage of mathematics to measure gene expression and more sample problems for readers. The easy to follow format will surely solve your most frequently faced problems in gene discovery and analysis.

5. Advanced Technologies in Biopharmaceutical Processing: This book describes how advanced biological processes like modification of somatic and embryonic cells are applied to the production of biopharmaceuticals. These advanced technologies produce hormones, modified proteins etc. This book is considered as one of the most user- friendly one ranging from large- scale animal cell bioreactors to patient- customized products.

So just follow the trends and bring a revolution in the life sciences industry. Biotechnology will help you a lot to fulfill your dreams.

I Love Speculative Fiction

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Author: Karen Kincy

Let’s speculate about speculative fiction. Do you dream of unicorns, swoon at vampires, drool over werewolves? Imagine yourself sitting at the helm of a starship, commanding your crew to shoot down alien drones, or living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, slogging through hordes of zombies with a trusty shotgun.

I’m guilty of all of the above.

I’m addicted to speculative fiction. Who wouldn’t be? We all played make-believe when we were kids, right? Let’s pretend we’re older, we’re rich, and we’re riding in a limousine. And let’s not just stick with ordinary fantasies. I want to be a dragon. You can be the pirate, and I’m going to try to steal all your gold. We love to imagine realistic stories, ones that could actually happen to each of us, but we also adore the fantastical.

Here’s the full disclosure: I’m a paranormal young adult author myself—yes, I’m a young adult, though I’m not paranormal. Joking aside, my debut novel, Other (Flux), came out last year. Other is about a half-pooka shapeshifter girl, Gwen, who must catch a serial killer hunting people like her before she’s next.

My second novel, Bloodborn (Flux) came out on September 8 of this year. Bloodborn follows Brock, a teen guy who gets bitten by a werewolf and becomes the very thing he has always hated, in an atmosphere of often extreme prejudice and danger.

We have all felt like Brock: the outcast, the stranger, the one with the secret. It can be both thrilling and enlightening to see through the eyes of someone who’s genuinely a monster—i.e., a werewolf. My theory? The unreal acts as a metaphor for the real, amplifying the mundane into the magical. Bloodborn allows us to pretend we’ve been betrayed by our own beliefs, we’re a werewolf, and we’re going to do something about it. In Other, too, let us imagine we have greater powers—shapeshifting—but we have been punished for them.

Until now, in this world, in this story, we catch the killer. We get to be the hero.

As the author, I will confess to sweaty palms and a pounding heart while writing scenes where Brock battles a pack of wolves or Gwen stumbles upon yet another dead body. I strive for my words to convey the excitement I felt while writing these books, and also the sense of speculation that makes speculative fiction so imaginative—and so fun. Let’s play pretend.

Deadly Senses

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Author: Julie Chibbaro

My novel, Deadly, is about an epidemic that took place 100 years ago, which can seem like forever ago, especially if you write for teens.  How on earth was I going to make this medical mystery real for my readers?

In the process of writing, I realized that the most important thing to remember was:  Make the reader experience the time period, then she can really live it!

Deadly is one girl’s journal of her (and the Dept. of Health’s) hunt for the cause of this typhoid fever epidemic in NYC, which ultimately leads them to the killer Typhoid Mary.  I used Prudence’s diary to help me bring the history and the science to life.

To make it more vivid, I relied on the five senses to help me paint a living, breathing picture.

Smell:  What was the smell of life in NYC around 1906?  Horses dominated the streets, their manure piled high before cleaners could remove it.  Can you smell it now?

Sounds:  What did the streets sound like?  An organ grinder playing right outside the window, the sounds of new inventions – steam-engine car, 20-pound telephone.

Look:  What did girls look like?  Prudence struggles with The Look – Gibson Girls with their feminine ideal, soft hair piled high, waists cinched tight.

Taste:  What was the taste of frustration?  A girl who wants to be a scientist in a room ful of boys with microscopes.  Desire tastes like metal to her.

Feel:  What does Mr. Soper feel like?  Prudence falls madly in love with her boss, the head epidemiologist Mr. George Soper, who’s as handsome as the most gorgeous explorer of her day, Mr. Peary.  When she nears him, she can feel the rough tweed of his coat; when she kisses him, the edge of his moustache.

The senses can bring any text to life, but they’re especially important in a historical work.  I hope, when reading Deadly, you can live this history, and imagine yourself fully involved in the hunt for a dangerous killer.

Smells like Teen Spirit

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Author: Janet Fox

I love writing for teens. Partly that’s because I’m still frozen in those middle teen years (sometimes when I look in the mirror I’m shocked), and partly that’s because teens are such a challenging audience. Yearning, needy, searching for self, searching for acceptance, pulling away from family, making and breaking friendships, defining goals, first love, first loss…the teen years are exhausting and exhilarating.

So it’s surprising to realize that the young adult (YA) genre is only a few decades old. Not until Judy Blume (Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret) introduced discussion on previously taboo topics relevant to teens, did booksellers begin to pull teen books out of the “children’s book” section (what self-respecting teen would shop for a book for “children”?) Today the teen section is vast and glorious and even sports sub-categories like “paranormal”.

And what are teens reaching for when they get to those shelves? Everything. Yes, paranormal (vampires, werewolves, witches, angels) is still hot, but romance, mystery, and stories about difficult topics (sexuality, abuse, suicide, bullying) are also popular – and important. My friends in the industry tell me that historical fiction is experiencing a come-back, which is dear to my heart as my YA novels (Faithful, Forgiven) are historical fiction, and I think historical fiction writers can and should craft parallels between the past and the present that resonate with readers.

A great YA novel must strike a balance between a driving plot and a driven character. But I believe that strong characterization holds the key to the teen heart. Fundamental to all teens is their search for identity, and my readers tell me that they see themselves in my characters, which pleases me no end. Readers can identify their own strengths (and weaknesses) when they find them in Maggie or Kula or Jo on the page. They can model behaviors and outcomes without fear or threat. They can see how choices lead to consequences without having mom and dad tell them so. They can experience and learn yet never leave the safety of their room.

I spend a great deal of time crafting my teen characters. I write pages of diary notes, and ask them questions. I try to picture what they might hide in the bottom drawer of their dressers. I’ve created character scrapbooks and found pictures of my characters in old books. I try to befriend my characters, make them my allies, and make them a part of my life in the hope that they will become a part of my readers’ lives, too.

Thank you, Nirvana and Kurt, for so aptly summing up the teen sensibility. My job as a novelist of teen books is to craft my characters as richly as possible, so that my readers can “smell” their spirit.

Best Web Designing Books: Learn and Progress

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

Are you interested in designing your own website? Or are you interested in improving your skills in web designing? Whatever is your choice, there are many things you can do and go through many methods to have a good command over the skills of web designing.

Along with other methods there are always books and magazines and blogs that give you all valuable and useful information on the field. They help the beginners as well as motivate the professionals by keeping them updated with new trends.

Here is a list of five most useful books for you that no web designer should miss out:

1. Don’t Make Me Think:  This book by Steve Krug has become a bible for a generation of web developers and graphic designers that are looking for the right way to build websites. To ensure that your site provides the best and easiest experience for your website visitors, you need this book the most that guides you on the dos and don’ts of web designing. Steve Krug explains every necessary point in a very entertaining style. This second edition offers three more useful chapters, a new preface and an updated recommended reading.

The main ideas and concepts that are addressed over here are navigation systems, page layout, visual basics, text lengths etc. This book is what we call “usability classic”. This book with all its illustrations, screenshots and diagrams, is highly recommended for anyone who is dreaming to make it big in the web industry.

2. Designing with Web Standards: Jeffrey Zeldman, the designer, web standards rider and bestselling author revisits his own classic, updating it in collaboration with Ethan Marcotte. The standards- based designs are always changing and updating. The author covers all the improvements and challenges of the changes in the industry. This book is the ultimate book to help your website reach more users, load faster and the designing remains cost effective and manageable.

This book is a good read for those who wish to change their websites overall and make them less time-consuming and easier to manage. Written in a very entertaining and witty style this one is quite an easy read and an excellent book for the web users and designers.

3. Bulletproof Web Design: A successful website has some key components like “flexibility, readability and user control”. Dan Cederholm, the web designer and author, outlines some standard based strategies to increase the websites’ adaptability to variety of situations, reaching more audience. Each chapter starts with an example of unbulletproof site employing traditional HTML. Then the author decodes them using XHTML and CSS to explain how they increase the accessibility of the websites.

This book is highly recommended for its practical examples. Read it. Live it.

4. The Zen of CSS Design: The CSS Zen Garden created by author Dave Shea in 2003 already has grown some amazing 150 designs using special CSS skills from all over the world and has set the high- quality standard of web designing. In this book 36 most inspiring designs among them are selected to inspire all for a “visual enlightenment” on the web.

This is a book of art, on the aesthetic beauty of designing. This is a perfect home tutorial for you- a very unique, instructional and inspirational book for an advanced web designing experience.

5. Transcending CSS: In this highly challenging world to pace up with the fast paced work culture is really very tough and requires enough experience. In this book you will learn how to implement advanced designs, how to build prototypes, use grids effectively, and new coding techniques. This book teaches you to build a more artistic, usable and accessible site using transcendent CSS. It includes numerous examples of world-class Web sites, photography, and other inspirations that give designers ideas for visualizing their code.

The book is well written by a highly knowledgeable designer Andy Clarke in a well structured, well paced and very attractive way. This is a great read and a must read.

All these reading materials will not only guide you but also inspire you with the modern web design concepts. Make your life more creative and interesting.

F. Scott Fitzgerald: His Masterpiece The Great Gatsby

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

F. Scott Fitzgerald, a member of ‘Lost Generation’ and ‘Jazz Age’, is one of the greatest 20th century modernist American authors. His novels and short stories treat the themes of youth and promise along with despair and age. Among all his five novels and short stories the most timeless and priceless is The Great Gatsby, which has also been turned into movie adaptation.

The novel takes place following the First World War when America was enjoying the prosperity of the 1920s’ roaring economy. At the same time the ban on sale and manufacture of alcohol by the Eighteenth Amendment jeopardized many lives of millionaires and led to an increase of organized crime. Based on the worldwide readership rating, the novel is regarded to be one of the greatest American novels and literary classic.

As proposed by Fitzgerald he created “something new–something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned.” It is a story of American Dreams- full of obsessions like money, ambition, greed and the promise of new beginnings. The millionaire in the novel, Jay Gatsby is the symbol of the entire country and Fitzgerald himself. Gatsby’s rise to glory and sudden fall from grace makes cautions readers of the vulnerability of American Dreams. At the same time this is also a love story about Gatsby’s Utopian passion for Daisy offering a perfect kind of love poem for readers.

You have to realize the true gravity of the novel. Though at the core of the book it is the love story of Jay and Daisy that is portrayed lavishly, it has a much broader context in the setting of the nature of the American Dream. Nick Carraway is the best narrator any author and any reader can have. You have to follow the journey of Nick to get involved in all the dramas in the novel. The dramas include love- story, danger, suspense, true devotion, friendship, and above all the society of post World War 1 America.

Read the book that lives up to all your expectations. It is a wonderful book that will enrich your soul. It makes you realize the true talent of Fitzgerald as described by Ernest Hemingway as “perfect and delicate as the wings of a butterfly.”

Book Review: Cleopatra: A Life

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety…” William Shakespeare in Antony and Cleopatra.

Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, the reincarnation of the Egyptian God Isis, remains a popular traditional figure in the Western culture. Her legacy survives in numerous works of art and literature including William Shakespeare’s tragedy Antony and Cleopatra and the 1963 film Cleopatra.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff tells us the true story of the life of the powerful and beautiful woman in her new biography Cleopatra: A Life. This 21st century book on the life of the woman behind the myth gives us the clue why to this day her life still intrigues us.

For all her ill-fame along with her glory and honor, Cleopatra has gone down the path of history for all wrong reasons. Incest and assassination seemed to be their family heritage. In her life- span of forty years she was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first one while she poisoned the second. She had unethical relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, the most prominent Romans of the day. Her relationship with Antony endorsed her influential status in the society and their alliance ultimately doomed them to their ends.

Shakespeare has put words to Cleopatra’s mouth; Elizabeth Taylor has put face to her name; but all along the way her true personality has been somewhat lost and forgotten. In her book Stacy Schiff recasts Cleopatra’s splendid life in a new light where fact is boldly separated from fiction.

Readers are bound to be thankful to Stacy Schiff because this book shows that Cleopatra was much more than a seductress. She had excellent wit, charm and intelligence. So far her biography has only been written by patriarchal Romans, her biggest enemies. This biography will bring a major change in your understanding the character of Cleopatra.

Most importantly, Schiff has portrayed Cleopatra’s character in a contemporary way, most relevant to this 21st century. Schiff’s writing style is very subtle, meaningful and full of insight that makes the book a compelling read.

If you want to read the best historical biography of the year, I would recommend you to choose Cleopatra: A life as the best option. It will definitely help you in better understanding of the enigmatic mythical character.

H.G.Wells: The Father of Science Fiction

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

Herbert George Wells (H.G.Wells), referred to as “Father of Science Fiction” together with Jules Verne, is popular all over the world for his tales of science fiction. He is like a boon for the lovers of science fiction for his contemporary nature of writing. His books open up his fascination for the fictional world to his readers. Wells’ reinvented form of literature still creates a deep impact on our society and it has been much more compelling through the film adaptations of his books like War of the Worlds.

The ultimate top three from the pen of H.G.Wells are: The Time Machine, War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man

The Time Machine: The term ‘time machine’ coined by Wells has become a universal term for any machine that is capable of time travel in the contemporary age. This novel is a highly entertaining and fascination creation in the world of English Science fiction.

An unnamed observer narrates the story of the time traveler after his return from the distant future through the help of the time machine. There are some very strange stories about the traveler’s meetings with strange adaptations of humans like Eloi and Morlocks. The book also invents some very interesting ideas and scientific theories that are still discussed today in the world of science. An extraordinary world is discovered in the distant future by H.G.Wells.

This science fiction remains a timeless classic as it does not deal with any difficult technical details but with the hopes, dreams and fears of humanity and human society. This book is the answer to our question ‘What will be man like in the distant future?’ No other science fiction can gift you with a better study of human society’s present and future.

War of the Worlds: Is there any one more powerful than humans in the whole universe? Is there anyone who can challenge our superiority over all other creatures of this universe?

Wells’ answer is positive in his War of the Worlds as the Martian attack on our Earth causes a jeopardizing situation for the humans, pushing them to the brink of extinction. In this technological world of twenty- first century Wells raises some relevant questions on our mortality, on the future of our technology and the evils that are hidden in our scientific discoveries.

This book is a commentary on British imperialism and colonialism. This book stands as a mirror defining that ‘we ourselves are the biggest enemies of us’. It’s rousing drama and suspense is so gripping over so many years that the book is still in print a hundred years later.

The Invisible Man: This is a science fiction tale where Griffin, the scientist puts a self- discovered serum into his body to turn himself into ‘the invisible man’. It is followed by his descent into madness and consequently the queer happenings that occur in his surroundings. Furniture moves on its own, money and food is stolen and strange noises are heard in the night and then The Invisible Man reveals himself. This entertaining science fiction has kept readers engrossed for long hundred years.

This book is highly recommended for whoever is looking for a quick and entertaining read. This parable is always worth reading to provoke your thoughts to a higher level.

Rediscover your urge to read social science fiction with the genius H.G.Wells. Have a great read.

Most Popular Books on Gardening

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

Every crafty person in this world with an artistic vision yearns for a well- organized garden in his dream house. A nicely decorated garden means a lot of gorgeous flowers, trimmed and shaped plants and lots of vegetables. But to begin with the art of gardening and maintaining the garden tastefully, it requires a lot of hard work, sincerity, skills and knowledge.

Books on gardening give us all necessary information on how to begin with it, how to enhance our skills and how to specialize in specific categories of gardening. There are lots of books around us giving us all essential knowledge about gardening. But we need to understand which books are the most popular ones in the particular field.

Here is a list of five most user- friendly books on gardening:

1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: Come closer to Nature. This is an eye- opener book for all types of readers, whether you are interested in gardening or not. Partly a memoir, partly a product of investigation, this book by Barbara Kingsolver opens our eyes to an old truth- “You are what you eat”. Barbara and her family discards the industrial food for a year and starts living a rural life, living on the food they raise themselves in their neighborhood.

The vibrancy of the author’s tone encourages you to change your lifestyle and eating habits. You will realize how much it satisfies you to harvest your daily food on your own. It’s not a book on farming; it’s a book about local food and local farmers and their reliability. This is an inspirational book on gardening and environment.

2. The Botany of Desire: Where from our basic yearning for gardening comes? The answer is our love for greenery, love for flowers that builds a mutual relationship between humans and our favorite plants. Michael Pollan demonstrates this relation in detail in this book, pointing out four main cravings on which the relationship builds and grows. They are “sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control” propagated by plants like apple, tulip, marijuana and potato.

This is a complex idea “Who domesticates whom?”- described in the funniest way. Just walk through your garden and feel yourself within the plants you planted on your own.

3. All New Square Foot Gardening: This is a complete handbook for beginners as well as specialists on the most important features of gardening. Mel Bartholomew improves your skills of gardening through answering the most asked questions like location, soil, depth, fertilizers, seed- saving ideas and more. All the points are explained with instructions, illustrations and photographs.

This is the most helpful book to learn the art of gardening. The updated version of the book is highly recommended for anyone interested in gardening, whatever is the size of your plot. There is no better book than this one that gives an easier understanding of gardening.

4. Wicked Plants: This is a warning call for all gardeners. Beware of the killer plants wrapping you all around. This is a great book that makes you learn which plants to avoid the most, which plants are most unwelcome in your garden and which plants have been serial killers for centuries. History, medicine, and science- everything is bunched up by Amy Stewart in this portrait of the evildoers.

This book is what we call a complete package of entertainment and information. Read it to save the world.

5. Second Nature: Michael Pollan brings another evergreen book for all aspiring gardeners. This book teaches you to meditate on the beautiful relationship between man and nature, between the creation and its creator. It further describes how your passion of gardening impacts the entire environment around you.

Pollan gives an American historical and contemporary view on how our gardening attitude moulds our environment and culture. There is no better book on the philosophy behind gardening.

Now that we have covered all the important titles of the books on gardening, the next step comes to reading them. Make sure you don’t skip any part of any book and follow all the instructions strictly and sincerely. Create a new green world around you.

Agatha Christie: The Legacy Lives On

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

“The Queen of Crime”- Agatha Christie is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records with this name, as the evergreen bestselling author in crime fiction. Her 66 detective novels and short story collections make her the most popular author of suspense thrillers, whom every generation to come will remember with utter respect and honor.

All her books are so highly recommended that it is really difficult to select some of the best ones among them. Her novels are genuine page-turners and her plot settings are absolutely matchless. But there are five novels among all of them in which the ‘wow’ factor and the ‘chilly’ appeal will simply keep you hooked to read more and more from her.

Here are those five novels for you:

1. And Then There Were None: This is the hottest pick among all Agatha Christie mystery thrillers as the book will keep your nerves on hold. Ten murderers in an isolated island on a weekend trip, complete strangers to each other and complete stranger is the host also. What happens when the host doesn’t at all appear to host the gathering? The ten strangers are left to themselves with the shadows of their dark past and the secret that is going to seal their fates. One by one unveils their darkest past misdeeds and one by one dies mysteriously. By the time the weekend ends “there were none” left out.

Experience what is called a non- stop, breathless read. And if you can figure out ‘who’ is the culprit and ‘how’ it does happen before the author says it, then you are much ahead of the author herself. Face the challenge. Wish you Good Luck.

2.Murder on the Orient Express: This is the most complicated puzzle created by Christie.Hercule Poirot arrives to solve the cruel murder of Samuel E. Ratchett, the American Billionaire, inside the luxurious Orient Express, snowbound in middle Europe. The biggest challenge for Poirot remains the variety of the victim’s enemies. The puzzle has to be solved before the murderer strikes again.

What a fascinating ending! I can ensure, at the end, all your guesswork is bound to be spoiled badly. Hats off to anyone who comes out successful in his guesswork.

3. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: Engaging characters, spellbinding plot, full of passion in solving mysteries – all these traits identify with one and only Agatha Christie. Roger Ackroyd knows something is seriously going wrong around him. He knows that his woman is suspected to poison her first husband. He knows that she is blackmailed by someone. But suddenly everything goes terribly wrong. After the news of suicide of the woman, Roger gets a secret letter from her. And before he is done with his reading, he is also stabbed to death. But bad fortune for the murderer, Hercule Poirot is the one who takes up the investigation, once again.

Get shocked with the horrifying ending that unravels the mystery of Roger’s death. This is an essential read for all mystery lovers, all Christie lovers.

4. The ABC Murders: Let us see, Mr. Clever Poirot, just how clever you can be.” – The master sleuth Hercule Poirot is challenged by an anonymous serial killer. The biggest mistake he has done is to undermine the intelligence of Poirot. Poirot easily understands the hidden meaning of the clue ‘ABC’- it means one gone, twenty- five more to go. And the drama begins here.

The novel misleads you everywhere, shocks you with every turn. It is a thrilling read from the first page to the last one. No one else  than Agatha Christie can be trickier in laying out a twisted storyline.

5. Crooked House: This novel is acknowledged to be Christie’s favorite one. She told in an interview she enjoyed writing this novel the most. It is a novel about an aristocratic family and how the murder of its patriarch, Aristide Leonides, impacts the lives of all the family members.

What the mystery unfolds for you and what happens to the innocent suspects at the end of the novel? To get obsessed with Christie and her masterpieces you have to rush through the pages breathlessly and reach the greatest shocker- the ending. But the truth is that the suspense of Agatha Christie’s mysteries are never- ending.

So many years have passed but the legacy of the “Queen of Crime” still lives on. That is why she is called the most contemporary writer of all times. We are grateful to you, Agatha Christie.

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