Archive for March, 2013

Ten Greatest Adventure Books Of All Time

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

Whatever your own adventure dream, there are some stories we all can relate to. In a wide spectrum of realistic adventure topics, listed here, in no particular order, are the best of the several adventure novels for seasoned travelers and adventure enthusiasts, that no one should go a lifetime without reading. Though these are a few of all the great adventure novels, so please take help of the comments section to share what other true life stories of adventure our readers would like to recommend that they feel will fit in this category.

1. Minus 148 Degrees- The First Winter Ascent of Mount McKinley

This is a classic mountaineering tale on McKinley climbs that shows the dramatic near-death experiences of three summiteers, which have to spend forty-two days in the harshest of conditions on the highest and coldest mountain in North America. Those who love adventure will surely enjoy this book. It is made all the exciting things by the author’s new afterword, which gives a retrospective of what happened to all those who took part in the first winter ascent of Mt. McKinley.



2. Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger

“Arabian Sands” is Wilfred Thesiger’s story of his exploration through the parched deserts of Arabia, traveling among peoples who had never seen a European and considered it their duty to kill Christian infidels. His book is the classic of desert exploration that offers invaluable information to understand the modern Middle East. Written with great respect for these people, this is a book of touches, little things-why the Bedouin will never predict the weather and how they know when the rabbit is in its hole and can be caught.



3. The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin

The Voyage of the Beagle refers to the second survey expedition of the ship HMS Beagle, which set sail from Plymouth Sound in 1831 under the command of Captain Robert FitzRoy. Not only would the journey last five years and take the biologist- Charles Darwin to the farthest reaches of the globe, it would also inspire his incredible observation and theory of evolution by natural selection. The Voyage of the Beagle details and catalogues Darwin’s notable theories and gives the reader the unique opportunity to observe the natural world unfold through his eyes.



4. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

The Right Stuff is a 1979 book by Tom Wolfe, which he began to wrote at a time when it was unfashionable to mull over American heroism. He was inspired to write this book by the desire to know why the astronauts accepted the danger of space flight. Based on extensive research by Wolfe, this story is about the pilots engaged in U.S. post war experiments with high-speed aircraft as well as documenting the stories of the first project Mercury astronauts chosen for the NASA space program.



5. The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger

The Perfect Storm is a real life thriller written by Sebastian Junger leaves us with the taste of salt on our tongues and a terror of the deep. Published in 1997, this book is about the storm that hit North America in October 1991. Working from published material, radio dialogues, eyewitness accounts, and the experiences of people who have survived similar events, Junger attempts to reconstruct the last moments of the Andrea Gail as well as the perilous high-seas rescues of other victims of the storm.



6. Grizzly Years by Doug Peacock

Alone and unarmed, American naturalist, outdoorsman and author Doug Peacock traverse the rugged mountains of Montana and Wyoming tracking the magnificent and the endangered grizzly bears. Breathtaking memoir of his experiences, Grizzly Years, takes us into the wilderness of the western United States, where we can keep a close-up look at the lives, hunting strategies, habitat, mating patterns, social hierarchy, denning habits, and relationship with humankind of grizzly bears.



7. Journey Without Maps by Graham Greene

Journey Without Maps (1936) is a spellbinding record of Graham Greene’s journey through the interior of Liberia, a remote and strange republic founded for released slaves. Crossing the red-clay terrain from Sierra Leone to the coast of Grand Bassa with a chain of porters, his mind crowded with one of the few areas of Africa untouched by colonization. Western civilization had not yet impinged on either the human psyche or the social structure, and neither poverty, disease, nor hunger seemed able to suppress the native spirit.



8. Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins

In this outstanding book, Michael Collins expresses, in a very personal way, the drama, beauty, and humor of that adventure. He also traces his progress from his first flight experiences in the air force, through his days as a test pilot, to his Apollo 11 space walk, presenting an evocative picture of the joys of flight as well as a new perspective on time, light, and movement from someone who has seen the fragile Earth from the other side of the moon.



9. K2, The Savage Mountain

The Classic True Story of Disaster and Survival on the World’s Second-Highest Mountain. This is a gripping story recounts the myriad of detail which went into the formulation of 1953 American expedition to the world’s second highest mountain peak in the world. Whether you are a climbing enthusiast or a nostalgia buff, this is a gem of a book that provides everything one may have ever wanted to know about what goes into mounting an expedition. This book offers a series of appendixes, which lists in minute detail a day-to-day travel chronology of the expedition, a list of all essential equipments, the medical supplies needed for the venture, the breakdown of the various foods taken, and a list of financial expenses and transport requirements.


10. Running the Amazon by Joe Kane

Began in the lunar terrain of the Peruvian Andes, Joe Kane’s first expedition to travel the entirety of the world’s longest river is a riveting adventure in the tradition of Joseph Conrad, filled with death-defying encounters: with narco-traffickers and Sendero Luminoso guerrillas and nature at its most unforgiving. Not least of all, Running the Amazon shows a polyglot group of urbanized travelers confronting their wilder selves — their fear and egotism, selflessness and courage.


These books are just a drop in the bucket, there are available a plethora of Adventure novels at our store. Click here to get through our extensive selection of both old and new Adventure Books. Plus: support us update this list by nominating your favorite adventure book/s in the comment section below.

Top Meditation Books For Beginners

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Author : Sherry Helms

We tend to lose touch with the peace that is present in every moment due to rush and pressure of modern life. If one wishes to discover the truth of their self-being and live in the experience of it, then meditation is a valid approach. It is a metaphor of enlightenment in self that enhances our focus on one point, reduces stress and overwhelms our lives with general feelings of happiness.

As per the surveys of Times Magazine, over 15 million Americans now do meditation regularly. Meditation techniques were in existence since years, but it is most widely come in use from the past few years after seeing its astonishing results in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Now, these practices can easily be personalized to the needs of clinicians and their patients.

But, meditation is not as simple as it looks; one has need a correct guidance and support to meditation. Because, those who have tried meditation tell that keeping mind still and concentrate on one part is the toughest battle one will have to face. Therefore, I have enlisted here some books on meditation that are written by great people- who have attained success in meditation by meditating for years. These scholars are very well conscious about the problems that people have to face while starting meditation.

Meditation For Dummies by Stephan Bodian

Meditation For Dummies

This best-selling guide is very well written by Stephan Bodian, which has long been a favorite with the meditation newcomers. This book contains a newly recorded audio CD in which there are more than 70 minutes of guided meditations that are keyed to topics in the book, from tuning in to your body, transforming pain to grounding yourself and finding a peaceful place in the chaos of world.


Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English (An Introductory guide to Deeper States of Meditation)

Beyond Mindfulness

Written in plain English this book explains about the Vipassana meditation through concepts that could be applied to any tradition. The erudite Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka has written this step-by-step guide to meditation in which he concentrates on the Jhanas, those meditative states of deep tranquility and awareness in which the mind becomes fully immersed and absorbed in the chosen object of attention.


The Miracle of Mindfulness (The Classic Guide to Meditation)

The Miracle of Mindfulness

By the World’s Most Revered Master by Thich Nhat Hanh: A best-selling author and a great teacher of meditation- Thich Nhat Hanh has explained in this beautiful and lucid book that mindfulness means being awake and fully aware. One can do this while doing daily activities like eating, answering the phone, washing the clothes, etc.


Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness for Beginners

Perhaps no other person in America has done more to bring mindfulness meditation into the mainstream than Jon Kabat-Zinn. He has done an excellent job in bridging the gap between the meditation and modern science. With Mindfulness for Beginners, he provides insights and instructions that help in making loving connection with the world and ourselves. This book comprises a CD with five guided mindfulness meditations to help people in reducing stress and alleviating pain, and more.


8 Minute Meditation Quiet Your Mind by Victor Davich

8 Minute Meditation Quiet Your Mind

As interest in meditation continues to grow, this book offers a simple, no-nonsense program to help beginners experience reduced stress and increased focus in only eight minutes a day. Designed by meditation expert and bestselling author Victor Davich, this program teaches the basic principles of meditation while clearing up the misconceptions and myths that too often get in the way.


Chakras for Beginners (A Guide to Balancing Your Chakra Energies)

Chakras for Beginners

Chakras for Beginners will convince you that all the difficult situations and emotions you experience are not caused by random events or situations in the outer world—instead, your imbalances create the situations that interfere with your sense of well-being and peace. With the help of this book, you will learn how to align your energy on different levels to attain balance and overcome imbalances that block your spiritual progress.

Meditation is a simple and life-transforming way, where we can really experience our full being, beyond all customary patterns. Therefore, meditation is indispensable for complete accomplishment in life. I hope that all these books will instruct beginners the method of developing understanding about self and improving innate potential.

Click here to grab more books on meditation

Pulitzer Prize winning Biography or Autobiography Books, 2000-2012

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

The Pulitzer Prize is the most prestigious literary U.S award named after Hungarian-American publisher, journalist, and philanthropist- Joseph Pulitzer- given each year for achievements in journalism, literature and musical composition by Columbia University in New York City. There were only eight categories when first Pulitzer prizes were awarded in 1917. Now, almost a century later, Pulitzer prizes are awarded annually in twenty-one categories (14 for journalism categories and 7 for letters, drama, and music).

The most powerful and influential publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, specified History and Biography or Autobiography as two categories he wished to honor in his 1904 will. Since 1917, each year a winner has been announced, with the exception 1962 when 89 different authors awarded with Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.  In this category, four authors Douglas Southall Freeman, Allen Nevins, David McCullough and Robert A. Caro have twice achieved a Pulitzer Prize.

Dedicating to all the book lovers, we’re presenting here a list of the “Pulitzer Prize winning books for Biography or Autobiography” from the years 2000-2012 in descending order.  Take a look:

2012 >>

George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis : Selected by the nytimes as a notable book of the year, Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis delivers a revelatory biography of the most influential American diplomat of the Cold War era. The author began this magisterial history almost thirty years ago, interviewing Kennan frequently and gaining exclusive access to his voluminous archives. This is a landmark work of history and biography that reveals the vast influence and rich inner landscape of a life that both mirrored and shaped the century it spanned.




2011  >>

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow : A well-received biographer Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of the Father of our nation-George Washington. In this unique biography, author takes us on a page-turning journey through his troubled boyhood, his achievements in the French and Indian War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, his heroic deeds with the Continental Army, his creation of Mount Vernon, and his splendid performance as America’s first president.

2010 >> 

The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T.J. Stiles: This groundbreaking biography is thoroughly researched and gracefully written by the T.J Stiles that presents the dramatic story of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, an aggressive American man who, through his intelligence and strong determination, did more than perhaps any other individual do to make modern capitalism. This award-winning book explains a dubious life, from Vanderbilt’s humble birth during the administration of George Washington to his death as one of the wealthiest men in the history of America.




2009 >>

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham : One of our most noteworthy yet hazily remembered presidents, Andrew Jackson was an orphan who rose from nothing to found the Democratic Party and create the modern presidency. With his influential personality and his mystical connection to the public, Andrew Jackson gave voice to the expectations and the intimidations of a restless, changing nation facing challenging times at home and threats overseas.  Jon Meacham in American Lion has delivered the definitive human portrayal of a prominent president who forever changed the American presidency–and America itself.

2008 >>

Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson: This biography is a remarkable, clear, colorful and insightful story of Bronson and Louisa’s tense yet loving relationship. Won Pulitzer Prize for this groundbreaking book in 2008, John Matteson   described in this book that how Louisa challenged her father who desired perfection, for the world and from his family with her mercurial moods. This amazing story adds dimensions to Louisa’s life, her work, and the relationships of fathers and daughters.

2007 >>

The Most Famous Man in America by Debby Applegate : Debby Applegate has written the definitive biography of the blithe, energetic and mercurial son of the last great Puritan minister, he seemed destined to be overshadowed by his brilliant siblings—especially his sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who penned the century’s bestselling book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Even currently, when religion and politics are again colliding and adultery in high places still commands headlines, Beecher’s story of how he found international fame and became the fathers of modern American Christianity sheds new light on the culture and conflicts of contemporary America.

2006 >>

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin : One of the iconic figures of the 20th century, J. Robert Oppenheimer was a brilliant physicist, who led the attempt to make the atomic bomb for his nation in a time of war, and who later found himself facing the moral consequences of scientific advancements. In this deeply informative, magisterial and finest biography, the author capture Oppenheimer’s life and times, from his early occupation to his vital role in the Cold War.

2005 >>

de Kooning: An American Master by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan :  The first major biography of de Kooning, one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, is a trustworthy and brilliant exploration of the art, life, and world of an American figure. Ten years in the making, and derived from formerly unobserved letters and documents as well as on hundreds of interviews, this is a fresh, richly detailed, and masterful portrait that inspire many artists.

2004 >>

Khrushchev: The Man and His Era by William Taubman :  This is the definitive biography of the first mercurial Soviet Union ruler after Stalin’s death- Khrushchev- who became the one of the most complex and foremost political figures of the 20th century. Combining a page-turning historical description with incisive political and psychological analysis, this book brims with the life and experience of a man whose story personified his time. Shortlisted for the National Books Critics Circle Award, this book shows the life of Khrushchev who left a contradictory stamp on his country.

2003 >>

Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro : Brilliantly weaving rich element into a fascinating narrative, this biography is the continued part of riveting political biography Robert A. Caro’s life. Caro fives a galvanizing as well as definitive portrait of Johnson’s brilliance, charm, and ruthlessness that enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful Majority Leader in history. Moreover, it also shows how he used his incomparable legislative genius–seducing both Northern liberals and Southern conservatives–to pass the first Civil Rights legislation since Reconstruction.

2002 >>

John Adams by David McCullough : David McCullough’s enthralling and powerful biography unfolds the adventurous life journey of John Adams, the brilliant, ferociously independent, often quick-tempered, always honest Yankee patriot. An amazing, often surprising story of a man who rose to become the second president of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an avoidable war and who married to the wise and brave Abigail Adams is one of the most touching love stories in American history.

2001 >>

W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and The American Century, 1919–1963 by David Levering Lewis : Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize biography by Lewis treats the early and middle facets of a crucial fifty-year long and intense period that shows how Du Bois changed forever the way Americans feel about themselves.

2000 >>

Vera, Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov by Stacy Schiff : Set in prewar Europe and postwar America, this is the Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Nabokov’s’ fifty-two-year marriage. Stacy Schiff’s Véra is hailed by critics as both “monumental”(The Boston Globe) and “utterly romantic”(New York magazine), brings to shimmering life one of the greatest literary love stories of our time.


10 Amazing Facts You Should Know About Albert Einstein

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Sherry Helms

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”-Albert Einstein.

The epitome of genius, Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the world most famous formula E=mc2. Born in a middle-class Jewish family on March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein is best-known for his general and special theories of relativity. In 1921, he received the Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the law of photoelectric effect that was pivotal in quantum physics.

Einstein is widely regarded as the Father Of Physics, who published over 300 scientific papers including  Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, Investigations on Theory of Brownian Movement,  and The Evolution of Physics.  And, Out of My Later Years, and Ideas and opinions are possibly the most important among his non-scientific works.

Many people know him as only world-renowned physicist, but there was an exceptionally complex person behind that bushy mustache. Today, we have dug out little known facts about the life of the world smartest genius that we think every fan of Einstein would love to know about. Have a look:

10. Einstein Had Speech Difficulty As A Child

Albert Einstein did not start speaking until age 3. His parents were worried why he never spoke and thought that he was retarded. Actually, their apprehension was baseless.  As per the accounts, he was a late talker who started speaking fluently after age 9. Einstein muttered every sentence in his head until he got them correct before he spoke aloud. Thomas Sowell called this form The Einstein Syndrome and used Einstein’s name in his book Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late. He wrote this book for children, who experience a delay in development of speech and who are often misdiagnosed as retarded.

9. A Pocket Compass Shaped Einstein’s Career

Einstein’s father, Hermann Einstein, gave him a simple compass when he was five years old and ill in bed. His insatiable curiosity in the unidentified things thus began. The thing which sparked his interest in science was whichever the case was turned, the needle always pointed in the same direction. He assumed that there must be some external force in the empty space that acted on the compass.

8. He Never Wore Socks

Perhaps no part of Einstein’s undeniable appeal is quite as identifiable as that of his uncombed hair, disheveled look, and pipe in his mouth. In addition of all these, one of his most weird habits was to never wear socks. He went everywhere without socks even when he was invited to the White House or to out sailing. According to him, he never had the time to put them on. Moreover, he found socks wearing a pain because they often would get holes in them.

7. Einstein Flunked Math: A Myth

One most popular rumor about Einstein is that he failed math as a student. To be honest, however, for such a great theoretical physicist, Einstein’s math was average. But, he never failed math all of his life. His school papers–while brief and clean-often contain some simple mistakes. However, here it must be kept in mind that the level of math he was doing is far beyond two-plus-two.

6. Einstein Failed His University Entrance Exam

In 1895, when Albert Einstein was 17 years old, he rather than finish his high school applied directly to the prestigious Swiss Federal Polytechnical School. Although he failed the University’s entrance exam on the first attempt, he then preferred to study at a local high school, retook the exam in October 1896, and was finally passed.

5. Einstein The Patent Clerk

Einstein had a good knowledge of patents and licensing. He got a job as an assistant patent examiner through his friend in Swiss Patent Office. His work there was to examine patent applications for electromagnetic inventions and then determining whether they were feasible or not. If they were feasible, he had to check that nobody else had been allowed a patent for the same purpose.

4. Designed An Eco-Friendly Refrigerator

In 1926, just twenty-one years after writing his Special Theory of Relativity, Albert Einstein and his former student Leó Szilárd invented a refrigerator that uses green technology. The refrigerator was patented on 11 November 1930. Their invention never went into commercial production, as the advancements in technology made it unnecessary. He decided to invent such non-toxic refrigerator when he read about a family in Germany was poisoned by a sulphur dioxide-emitting refrigerator.

 3. Einstein Married His Cousin

Einstein was married to his college girlfriend and classmate, Mileva Maric who was three years older than him. They had two sons: Hans Albert and Eduard. He estranged from his wife in 1919 and then married with his cousin- Elsa Lowenthal. For a moment, the couple tried to work out their problems: Einstein sent his wife a  strange “contract” that included autocratic demands for living together with Mileva.

2. Presidency Of Israel

He was offered the Presidency of Israel just a few days after the death of Chaim Weizmann, Zionist leader and first President of Israel, on November 9, 1952. 73 years old Einstein declined the offer stating that he was getting too old and had not enough ability and experience to deal properly with public.

1. Einstein’s Brain Was Kept In A Jar For 43 Years

After his death in 1955, his body was cremated, as was his wish. However, before the cremation of his body, the Princeton Hospital pathologist, Thomas Harvey removed Einstein’s brain- without any permission of his family- while conducting autopsy. He decided to keep his brain ostensibly for study.  He chopped up the brain into 240 pieces and stored in two mason jars. Later, he was fired from his job for illegally keeping Einstein’s brain and refusing to hand over the organ. Some days later, Harvey convinced Einstein’s son that it would facilitate science.

Top 10 Controversial Books Of All Time

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

Undoubtedly, manuscripts have always been a great source of knowledge. In ancient time, people wanted to invent something that could keep their writings secure for centuries. When writing systems were invented in ancient civilization, people used to express their feelings by writing on stone, clay, bark of trees, metal sheets. With the advent of technology, there comes a drastic change in the reading patterns in human beings. However, still people find books reading entertaining.

Some books proved to be very helpful for humans whereas some books always rattled the cages of the censors.  These books even calls for banning the book from members of the community or those in religious or political group. Though there are number of books that have caused a stir due to the themes contained in them or the excessive use of expletive language, violence, religious degradation, extreme political views or blasphemy that have caused trouble.

Below we have mentioned ten such books that have added fuel to the flames of controversy ever since they were published.

#10 Brave New World By Aldous Huxley: One of the most controversial and popular works by Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, has been banned for evidently being anti-family and anti-religion. Part of what has made this book controversial is the language it contained. This book was removed from classrooms in Miller, Missouri in 1980. American Library Association has scheduled this book at 52nd position on their list of 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books.

# 9 Lolita By Vladimir Nabokov : Published in 1955 in Paris, Lolita has been one of the most notable and controversial novel written by prolific author Vladimir Nabokov’s. Many literary critics admired this novel because of its innovative writing, but it was always remained under the scrutiny of the censors for its volatile topic of child molestation.  Despite of major controversy, around 100,000 copies of this novel sold in the first three weeks of its release.

#8 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain: Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is considered as one of the challenged novels of all time. This book is famous for its colorful descriptions of people and places along Mississippi river. The book was also appeared on public school banned-book lists throughout the U.S due to the use of coarse languages and implementing the use of the racially abusive word ‘nigger’. This book was also placed by the American Library Association on its list of ‘Most Frequently Challenged Books.

# 7 The God Delusion By Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion is the bestselling book by Richard Dawkins, denies any existence of a God and advocates the nature of morality. His book openly contends that a belief in a personal god qualifies as a delusion and more like an attack upon mainstream religion. This book will certainly offend those who firmly believe in their religion and the existence of god but it will also bring relief to many skeptics as well.

# 6 The Catcher in the Rye By J. D. Salinger: Claimed at times to be one of the finest works about adolescence ever written, Catcher in the Rye has also been included in the 100 best English novels by Times magazine. This book was banned in many countries for its liberal use of profanity, portrayal of sexuality, alienation, rebellion, and lots and lots of smoking and drinking. Some of the critics demanded to censor the book because of its anti-Christian sentiments. Even after controversy, around 250,000 copies were sold each year with total sales of more than 65 million books.

# 5 The Color Purple By Alice Walker: Considered as one of the greatest novels ever written Alice Walker’s The Color Purple has also won 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. Moreover, this book has been positioned at number 17 on the American Library Association’s list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books in 2000-2009. The book gave rise to controversies because of its extremely controversial topics like sexual abuse, racial abuse and domestic violence. Some of the critics condemned it for its ostensibly indecent language and its representation of violent events.

#4 Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell: George Orwell wrote this novel when he was on his death bed. A classic book has received mixed responses where on one hand many fanatics claim that when the novel was written Orwell was not of sound mind due to ill health and so the novel should be banned. On the other there are many who consider it a masterpiece. The novel moves around United States and Soviet Union and surrounds topics like totalitarianism, torture, mind control, invasion of privacy, censorship, organized religion, sex and a lot more gave rise to controversies related with the book.

#3 The Satanic Verses By  Salman Rushdie: Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses  greeted with a heated and frequently violent reaction of Muslims who accused this novel of blasphemy and mocking their faith. As the controversy increase, the book was challenged in India and burned in demonstration in the UK. Even mid-February 1989, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death.

#2 The Anarchist Cookbook By William Powell : The plot of the book revolves around the protest United States involvement in the Vietnam War. When published in 1971, the book was quick to receive International acclaim and controversy due to its information on the home preparation of explosives, basic telecom phreaking devices and other tools, and weapons used in wars.

#1 The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown:  A popular suspense novel by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code created a great deal of controversy since its publication in 2003. The controversial factor related to this book is the inaccurate descriptions of European art, history, architecture and misrepresentation of the history of Roman Catholic Church. This book enlightens an unconventional manner, the life of Jesus Christ and how he got married to Mary Magdalene.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of some of the controversial books that have been published despite of many protests and have lead to all sorts of issues. These books have been randomly selected by our editorial team and we would invite you to share any other book that you believe will fit into this category.

Let’s Commemorate Douglas Adams 61st Birth Anniversary

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”

Today, we are celebrating the 61st Birth Anniversary of a renowned author,  amateur musician and terrific satirist- Douglas Adams, who was recognized for his cult classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series for the radio. His book was published in 1979, which was adapted from the first four episodes of this series, topped the chart only in second week of its release.

Born in Cambridge, England on 11 March 1952, Douglas Adams started his career as a BBC radio comedy, and produced an astounding number of incarnations like Television series, comic books, a towel, stage plays and a “trilogy” of five books, which sold over 15 million copies worldwide during his lifetime.

After completing his graduation in English Literature, Douglas Adams moved back to London with an aim to break into TV and radio as a writer. Here, he met Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, and the two formed a brief writing partnership. Adams was credited with writing in episode 45 of Monty Python. 

During his lifetime, he wrote a variety of mind boggling novels.His second book, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, in the five classic novels from Douglas Adams’s beloved Hitchiker Guide to the Galaxy comic science fiction pentalogy series was at first published by Pan Books as a paperback.

The third novel of the famous ‘trilogy’ Hitchhiker’s Guide (actually consisting of five books), Life, The Universe and Everything, was originally intended to be a “Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen story”. Adam dedicated his book Life, the Universe and Everything to the novelist Sally Emerson with whom he was romantically involved.

Besides his literary power, he became known as an environmental activist who campaigned the cause of wildlife conservation, which included the development of the non-fiction series “Last Chance to See,” in which he and Zoologist Mark Carwardine recorded some of the most exotic, endangered creatures throughout the world.

In between his trip to Madagascar, Adams wrote two other novels- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, which was a kind of humorous-detective-time-travel-romantic-comedy-novel and the other is a sequel novel The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

Adams was also a staunch atheist and an aficionado of music, cameras, and cars. He was an ardent technologist, who was the first person to use Macintosh from the time the original Mac came out in 1984 until his death in 2001. His posthumously published work, The Salmon of Doubt, shows several articles by him on technology that initially published in MacUser magazine, and in The Independent.

His style of humor in his comic science-fiction series “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” has left a long lasting impression on other authors. He also wrote TV: The Pirate Planet and TV: Shada and worked as a script editor for Season 17. Known as Bop Ad to some of his fans, Adams died of a heart attack on 11 May 2001.


International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women Who Changed the World

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Celebrated for more than 100 years, International Women’s Day is the day to recognize the social, political, and economical accomplishments of women all around the world. Also, this day gives us all a space to check and reflect on the great efforts that innumerable women all over the world are forced to endure – and there are many of those, too.

To commemorate this very special day, we look at some of the World-famous women who blazed a trail for other women and who have shown that women are on par with men on every field. I hope my dear readers will take it as an opportunity to tribute some world influential women.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962) –  Born into an affluent and well-connected

New York family, Eleanor Roosevelt was known as a shy child who experienced the deaths of both parents at a young age. The niece of President Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor was named “First Lady of the World” by President Harry S. Truman in honor of her human rights achievements. In 1905, she married to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Columbia University law student.

Her long and hectic life was full of courageous actions. After the death of her husband in 1945, she served as a Unite Nations delegate, human right activist and diplomat. Moreover, outside her political carrier, she was internationally acclaimed as a prominent author. She wrote various books about her life and experiences such as You Learn by Living(1960), This I Remember (1949), On My Own (1958) and  The Autobiography (1961).

Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867–1934)-  Marie Curie was the first woman

who won noble prize in physics for her revolutionary research of natural radioactivity. One of the great scientists of the twentieth century, Madame Curie was the sole winner of two noble prizes in Physics and Chemistry. In the first year of World War, she endeavored to donate her Nobel Prize medals to the war effort but French National Bank declined to accept them.

She devoted her whole life to promote the use of radium to alleviate suffering during World War I. She shared her war time experiences in her book “Radiology in war (1919). Eve Curie, daughter of Marie Curie has compiled her mother’s outstanding life, from her early days in Poland, to her Parisian marriage with associate researcher Pierre Curie, to her tragic death, in a book Madame Curie: A Biography

Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) : One of the most dominant and determined political figures, Indira Gandhi was the third prime minister and the first woman prime minister of the World’s largest democratic state- India. Born to politics and power, Indira Gandhi was the only child of first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Throughout the period of her political involvement with her father, she encouraged Social welfare work. She got the membership of Youth Advisory Board and became the chairman of Congress Woman’s Department.

The  most powerful lady, Indira Gandhi, considered as an idol by her followers and cursed by her opponents, paved the way for Indian democracy during the twentieth century. Katherine Frank wrote Indira Gandhi’s biography: The Life of Indira Nenru Gandhi in which she highlighted all the inside details about Indira’s life from her birth in 1917 through independence to her assassination in 1984.


Margaret Thatcher-  Popularly known as “Iron Lady”, Margaret Thatcher

was the daughter of a grocer. Studied in Oxford University, the longest-serving prime minister of the UK got this title by a Soviet journalist due to her uncompromising political views, iron will and leadership approach.  Married to a wealthy businessman, Denis Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher is one of the most essential and controversial political figures of our time.

Her book Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World was serialised in The Times in which she claimed that Britain should renegotiate its terms of membership or join the North American Free Trade Area.

This list highlights just some of the influential and inspiring women from across the continent that empowers other women. There are many more women including Jane Addams, Julia Child, Mother Teresa, Hillary Rodham Clinton to name a few who impact the world. Those readers who want to read about the lives of other influential women who have risen to the top of the social, political, economical and cultural landscape can find the biographies of such popular figures in our store.

Top 10 BestSelling Cookbooks of All Time

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

Learn to cook the healthiest and tastiest food for your family with the bestselling cookbooks of all the time. Here is a list of the top 10 highly sold cookery books by the acclaimed chefs around the world. Pick these titles and get ready to serve the best on table.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by  Julia Child, and co-authors — Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle

An NY Times bestseller, this is a cookbook of sophisticated French cuisine for mainstream Americans. “Anyone can cook in the French manner anywhere”, wrote mesdames Child, Beck, and Bertholle, “with the right instruction.” And, this is the book that, for more than fifty years, has been teaching Americans how. Meant for both the seasoned cooks and beginners who love good food and long to reproduce at home the savory delights of the classic cuisine, this book is packed with sumptuous recipes with detailed instructions.

Joy of Cooking by  Irma S. Rombauer, and Illustrator –  Marion Rombauer Becker

One of the United States’ most-published cookbooks and an NY Times bestseller, this book has sold more than 18 million copies, till date. Today, nine revisions later, the Joy of Cooking — selected by The New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important and influential books of the twentieth century — has taught tens of millions of people to cook, helped feed and delight millions beyond that, answered countless kitchen and food questions, and averted many a cooking crisis.

Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes by Giada De Laurentiis

Offering the fresh, simple Italian recipes that are quick and accessible, and also utterly mouth-watering, this book is focused on the real-life considerations of what you actually have in your refrigerator and pantry (no mail-order ingredients here) and what you’re in the mood for, whether a simply sauced pasta or a hearty family-friendly roast.

Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

Considered as the “ultimate vegan cookbook”, this groundbreaking book offers more than 250 recipes with soy-free, gluten-free, and low-fat options. Who knew vegetables could taste so good? Authors, Moskowitz and Romero have brought you a delicious collection that makes it easier than ever to live vegan. All the recipes in Veganomicon have been thoroughly kitchen-tested to ensure user-friendliness and amazing results.

New Cook Book from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

Cookbooks from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine have been American’s favorite since 1930, sold 40 million copies through fourteen editions. And, now this updated and revised 15th edition has come with plenty of new chapters to meet the needs of today’s everyday cooks, including new chapters on breakfast and brunch, casseroles, and convenience cooking. This wide selection of recipes cover everything from Pad Thai to a Thanksgiving turkey along with 1,000 of photos to allure a foodie head.

How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman, and Alan Witschonke (illustrator)

A one-stop cooking reference for today’s generation of cooks, this book offers classic recipes in simple and accessible manner. It is written clearly and concisely, and takes a relaxed, straightforward approach to cooking, so you can enjoy yourself in the kitchen and still achieve outstanding results. Nationally acclaimed cook Mark Bittman shows you how to prepare great food for all occasions using simple techniques, fresh ingredients, and basic kitchen equipment.

I’m Just Here for the Food: Version 2.0 by Alton Brown, host of the popular Food Network television show Good Eats

Winner of the 2003 James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award, this book covers world polpular recipes with excellent cooking techniques for searing, grilling, roasting, frying, braising, brining and boiling. The book now combines more than 90 recipes with a wealth of information that allow anyone – at any level of expertise – to understand the whys and wherefores of cooking.

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson

This cookbook brings a plethora of fun in kitchen with amusing recipes and writing. Filled with more than 220 lavishly illustrated recipes for cakes, pies, pastries, and breads, this special cookbook makes cooking and baking as luxurious as they should be, and feeds our fantasies of making sumptuous treats at home.

Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats: A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners by Rachael Ray

Even your favorite dinner can lose its appeal when it’s in constant rotation, so let’s mix it up with this groundbreaking cookbook by Rachael Ray, Food Network’s indefatigable cook. With her largest collection of recipes yet, Ray guarantees you’ll be able to put something fresh and exciting on your dinner table every night for a full year, without a single repeat. It offers utterly mouth-watering dishes like Southwestern Pasta Bake, Smoky Chipotle Chili Con Queso Mac, Spring Chicken with Leeks and Peas, etc., for each nights in a year.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman

Hailed as “a more hip Joy of Cooking” by the Washington Post, this book covers the whole spectrum of meatless cooking –including salads, soups, eggs and dairy, vegetables and fruit, pasta, grains, legumes, tofu and other meat substitutes, breads, condiments, desserts, and beverages. It offers more than 2,000 simple and quick recipes for vegetarians.

5 Well-received Teen Books About Real Problems

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

Here is a list of 5 well-received fictions that deal with the teenage issues happen in the real world. If you are a teen, must read and share them among your friends. Or if you’re a senior then just don’t let the teenage folks who you care about untouched with the following titles.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, which brings her isolation from friends and hate from people she doesn’t even know. The safest place to go is to be alone, inside her own head. But, even that’s not safe because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then, she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This is a novel about the coming of age of a young boy named Charlie. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is typical of a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; as well as the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

This is a book that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

In this groundbreaking book, the author Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the “monster,” the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or “crank.” Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne’er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree. There is no perfect daughter, no gifted high school junior, no Kristina Georgia Snow; there’s only Bree. Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.

This is a must read book for everyone at the vulnerable teenage, spreading a message against drugs abuse.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Macy’s boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Now, she’ll have days to spend at a boring job in the library, evenings to fill with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time to pass with her mother; the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father. But sometimes unexpected things can happen — things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

Review of The Rise of Silas Lapham: A Tribute to William Dean Howells

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

The Rise of Silas Lapham” is a masterwork of the realist literature, written by a man of letter who is commonly known as “The Dean of American Letters”. Yes, we are talking about William Dean Howells, one of the widely-acclaimed realist authors and literary critics in the American History. Today is Howell’s 176th birth anniversary, and so, we’ve thought of paying tribute to him by reviewing his best-known work The Rise of Silas Lapham.

A subtle classic of its time, The Rise of Silas Lapham is an elegant tale of Boston society and manners, published in 1885. It follows the story of the materialistic rise of Silas Lapham from rags to riches, and his ensuing moral susceptibility. Silas earns a fortune in the paint business, but he lacks social standards, which he tries to attain through his daughter’s marriage into the aristocratic Corey family. He loses his money but makes the right moral decision when his partner proposes the unethical selling of the mills to English settlers. But, life has decided something else for him. Silas’s morality does not fail him.

The moral rise of Silas after his tragic downfall and her daughter Irene’s similar realistic maturity after her unsuccessful love are somewhat parallel. While Silas does not save his business by continuing to extort money from unknowing parties, Irene compensates for her lost love by supporting her father at the time of his financial crisis.

The novel focuses on important themes in the American literary tradition–the efficacy of self-help and determination, the ambiguous benefits of social and economic progress, and the continual contradiction between urban and pastoral values. It provides a paradigm of American culture in the Gilded Age.

Being realistic, the novel enlivens characters who boast both the tragic and comic qualities and fates, reflecting personal thoughts and comments of Howells on society and art. Also, the love triangle of Irene Lapham, Tom Corey, and Penelope Lapham highlights Howells’ views of sentimental novels as unrealistic and deceitful. An example of tragicomedy, romanticism, realism, morality, society, and art, plus isolationism and social adaptability, this book investigates all of these aspects in relationship to the plot and characters.

Unambiguously written, this book has complex yet page-turner story. It is a must-read for everyone who thinks they have a grip on the American society.

Do you find this story an interesting one? If yes then what are waiting for, go and grab a copy of “The Rise of Silas Lapham” from

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