Dancer By Colum McCann – Book Review

What a terrific book this is. It tells the story of the Russian Tatar dancer Rudolf Nureyev. He was purportedly born on a train, rumbling down the trans Siberian railroad, and somehow that encapsulates his wandering life.

The story opens with the boy Rudi entertaining the mentally and physically scarred troops returning from the Nazi front. His father returns too, a political officer who takes a mighty dim view of his son's chosen career path, something that dogs Rudi's progress at every turn.

Yet he is not to be denied and slowly eases his way up the greasy rungs, and he is not beyond the occasional dirty trick to help him on his way. He is quickly marked out as a rebellious character and is subsequently carefully watched. But not carefully enough it seems, for he manages to defect in Paris from under the noses of the KGB officers. Rudi is on his way, hurtling toward the hedonistic lifestyle of New York, London and Paris.

Personally I found the passages set within the Soviet Union of far greater interest than those in the West. The book moved me to tears on several occasions; such is the power of Mister McCann's writing. It often comes across as a biography, but as he is at pains to point out, this is a work of fiction. Sometimes you have to remind yourself of that, though it never once detracts from the enjoyment it offers.

The book is written in the first person and some people have found that irritating because that first person often changes with every chapter, and sometimes on every page. It is a device that keeps the reader on their toes, yet is does not hinder the writing, or the enjoyment.

It does not matter if you have little or no interest in ballet or dance, or the Soviet Union, or the Cold War, or the Sixties, or World War II, or homosexuality, for this book has the power to grip the reader whatever their interests.

I have just taken a peak at Amazon's ranking for this title. Amazingly it was 486,350! If that is true there is no justice in the world because this is the best book I have read this year. The work in hardback form can be bought for the cost of the postage alone, and that is ridiculous.

Do yourself a favorite and read this book, heck, go one step further, treat yourself, and buy a copy. The book and the writer deserve it, and so do you.

Best Way to Download Audio Books Free

In the past there was no concept of internet and computers but nowadays the arrival of internet brought so many advantages. In olden times, people had to visit markets and bookshops for the purpose of purchasing a book and in return they also had to spend their precious time for it. Now, with the help of internet you can get book of your choice free of cost while sitting at your home. How? This piece of writing will provide you sufficient information in this regard.

First and foremost thing is the connection of an internet. When you have the connection of internet, the second step is you have knowledge about those websites from where the books are downloadable. The procedure of downloading a book from any particular website is very simple. The first step in the procedure of downloading a book is filling a form. After that the whole procedure is very easy. All you have to do is follow the given instructions.

Now, you must check that whether you are choosing a book of our own choice or you are restricted to purchase a book which is available. Of course you can select the book before downloading it. The selection of a book can easily be made through the list of books that are available on the website. The selection must be done carefully because after downloading the book, you have no choice rather than listen the same downloaded book or download another book of your choice, it will take time.

This method is considered very much helpful because it saves time and a significant amount of money which you have to spend on purchasing a book. It will provide you an ease of having a book of your own choice while sitting at your home place. One more thing that should be considered while downloading a specific book from a particular website is this that you should check the terms and conditions of that website carefully. The terms and conditions must be checked because after downloading a book from any particular website, you cannot claim anything from that website by saying that you were unaware of the terms and conditions etc.

Although websites, that are providing the benefit of downloading a book, are great but sometimes people have to face a trouble by purchasing a defective book with respect to its title. You should check the book carefully before downloading it by listening the trail of that particular book.

Book Review: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl begins with Leo Borlock, the narrator, receiving a porcupine necktie from his uncle as a farewell present. This is the only porcupine necktie he owns until he received his second porcupine necktie as a birthday present from an anonymous sender. The mysterious gift sender turns out to be Stargirl, and although this fact is told only during the latter part of the story, it can be easily inferred at the first few chapters.

Susan (Stargirl) Carraway is homeschooled for most of her schooling years and when she enrolled at Mica High, everybody noticed. It is because Stargirl is not just new. She is different. She wears different clothes, she decorates her desk, she plays the ukulele (what is a ukulele, anyway?), and she sings Happy Birthday during lunch hour, among many other oddities.

This is my first time to read a book by Jerry Spinelli and I think I now understand the raves and positive accolades he has received for Stargirl. The writing is simple and comfortable, and the characters are easy to get acquainted with. I find it easy to fall into the sympathetic character of Leo and I can understand how the entire student body try to figure out (though failing) the mystery that is Stargirl.

Stargirl may be a short read, but it is pregnant with relevant themes and lessons every teenager can learn from. Being different is indeed a rarity especially in a high school environment and I can truly relate with Leo as he struggles between his feelings for Stargirl and his feelings about being disliked by his classmates. High school is where most normal teens start to discover their identity and to crave for belongingness. When I was in high school, I remember begging my mother to buy me a pair of sandals exactly the same as that of my peers. I felt at the time that having a different footwear would affect their acceptance of me and the possibility of being banished (shunned is the term used in the book) from my barkada seemed to be the most devastating tragedy. Of course, my outlook has changed through the years but I think I understand how everybody in high school looks upon somebody different.

I do not know what religious views Jerry Spinelli has but the part where Stargirl brings Leo to the enchanted place and teaches him to “connect with the earth” makes me uncomfortable. This New Age idea is somehow contrary to my own religious beliefs but other than that, I still find the book very engaging and inspiring.

I like how Stargirl encourages the reader to be comfortable with himself and be proud of his own identity. These are lessons not only teens should learn, but adults as well. Like Stargirl, let us live in the present, enjoy life’s little blessings and be a blessing to others with random acts of goodness.

I can’t wait to read the sequel, Love, Stargirl.

4 stars.

Pros and Cons of Downloadable Audio Books

Many people assume that downloading audio books is too complicated for them to handle. In this article we will discuss what the pros and cons of downloadable audio books are. You will also be able to figure out when it may not be the best choice for you. The popularity of audio books is increasing due to the new downloadable format but audio books are still popular on CD and even on audiocassette.

CD formats can be very convenient especially for those traveling in a car. Typically if you look at the costs of a book paperback is the cheapest followed by downloadable audio books, then by hard cover and lastly by CD audio book. This is due to the obvious convenience factor that is offered by CD and the fact that you don't have to buy the discs and burn them yourself. The older you are (like me) you may still have an audiocassette Walkman or car stereo. This is why even though this format is bulkier and doesn't allow you to skip forward and back on tracks there is still a demand for books on audiocassette.

So let's list out the pros and cons of downloadable audio books.

Pros:

1) Instant access to the audio book upon download

2) Ability to move to formats that will fit your plans, if you want to use it for commuting burn it on an audio CD, for exercise download it to your MP3 player etc.

3) Formats like WMA and MP3 allow you to minimize the space requirements for your collection, whether they be in physical or digital form

4) Cost to produce audio book downloads is low.

As convenient as downloadable audio books can be there are some cons associated with the format.

Cons:

1) Bandwidth Problems When Downloading

2) Learning Curve for New Users

These cons can be stumbling blocks and barriers to experiencing the benefits of downloadable audio books but there are solutions and workarounds to help you.

Bandwidth problems stem from the fact that files for audio books are bigger than the 4 minute music download that some of us may be used to. Audio books can be an hour long or even more than 6 hours long depending on whether they are abridged or unabridged. Even if you have a DSL or Cable connection they will take some time and if you have dial-up it will definitely be a challenge.

The main solution to this problem is planning ahead. If you have a slow connection you should plan your download during your free time or time away from the computer. You can start the download and go do something else. You can start it before you go to work or before you go to sleep. By the time you wake up or return your download will be complete. If you don't have the patience and your employer allows it you can download it at lunch or break from your office since they usually have faster connections. After downloading the audio book you can then take it with you on a zip disk or a flash disk to listen to at home.

At CreateTimeAudio you have the option of downloading different sizes based on your connection. There are three sizes that allow you to trade off download speed versus quality. The smallest option is for people who have low-bandwidth Internet connections. These formats are usually those with the highest compression ratio – thereby making the download lighter and faster.

Lastly as a new user downloadable audio books may be a little intimidating because of the formats involved and issues like Digital Rights Management (DRM) that enforce restrictions on what you can do with the downloaded audio books you purchase. This is similar to restrictions on downloadable music. When downloading audio books be sure that the store you buy it from provides support and a guarantee. At CreateTimeAudio we provide video help, a support desk and a money back guarantee in case the experience just doesn't work for you.

Is It Possible to Download Audio Books Free?

Books are considered the best friend of humans. Books can provide you the deep information about anything. Books are playing very vital role in the development of personality of any person. But nowadays because of busy routine of people they haven’t sufficient time for reading books. For those people who have no time for reading, audio books are introduced for them. People who are busy with their routines and busy in managing their social life can hear these books easily anywhere while traveling, jogging etc.

Audio books are recorded in very simple words and everybody can understand it. While you are reading a book it is very important for you to understand the context of that book otherwise you cannot understand what the author wants to say, or you may perceive a wrong message from that book. Some books have very duplex context which you cannot understand easily. While when you hear same context in easy words you can really perceive the message of that book. This technology is very useful for those who have low vocabulary because for reading purpose your vocabulary must be good enough.

These are available in market with different prices but if you have the facility of internet you do not need to purchase it. Through internet you can download it free of cost. There are many websites which have an option of downloading complete audio book on any topic free of cost. These sites are designed to develop the habit of listening because listening is the most important in developing an individual’s personality. That’s why these sites are offering books on different topic free of cost. The trend of reading books are decreasing nowadays that’s why free audio books are offered free of cost on these websites.

Many persons have habit of reading stories and they can spend their free time in reading stories. Free online stores are providing you the facility of downloading, a bundle of stories written by different authors are available free of cost. You can enjoy the story of your favorite author free of cost which will save your time and you can do some work in your free hours, the other advantage of audio book is you can hear it anywhere like in bus, in car and anywhere where you want to hear it. There are many people who are good listeners and bad readers. Free online audio books are very helpful for such kind of people.

Just What a Think Tank Ordered – A Book Review

Do you ever wonder what think tanks talk about? Do you ever wonder what scientists talk about when they get together amongst themselves and discuss intellectual topics? Do you ever wonder what the geological society was all about in past periods? It is interesting how society evolves and how we've come to our modern age. Humans haven't changed very much in their physiological, social, and philosophical needs over the past many centuries, but our technology has completely changed the way we live, work, and think. Okay so let's talk about this shall we?

The reason I bring this up is I just finished a very interesting book, one that I think you might like as well if you have an intellectual thirst for knowledge and scientific venues. This is a book I do own, and one I'd like to recommend to you, as it sits on my personal scientific bookshelf. The name of the book is;

"Scientific Conversations – Interviews on Science from the New York Times," by Claudia Dreyfus with the forward from Natalie Angier, New York Times Book Publishing, New York, NY, 2001, 250 pages, ISBN: 0-7167-4661-1.

This book is filled with scientific notables such as Sir Martin Rees, Sir Arthur C Clarke, Freeman Dyson, Robert Zuber and Stephen J Gould, also Marvin Minsky Sir Roger Penrose and Stephen Straus amongst others, including a large number of Nobel Prize winners. Each of these men and women came from slightly different backgrounds, many of them ended up in academia, perhaps only because their superior intelligence made them a standout. Their contributions to humankind and the forward progression of the species are well known.

What may not be well-known are the thoughts from their inner mind, how they see the world, and often it's much different than you and I. Perhaps it is from these various perspectives which allowed them to make incredible discoveries. When you get to know the people, the real person behind the famous name and the words, and achievements, as well as their personal philosophies, you start to understand why and how they were able to bring us so much in their areas of expertise.

This book is very well written, in fact, as you read the interviews and the words from these famous scientists, it's as if they are speaking to you personally as their words and ideas fly off the page into your own mind. It would be nice if everyone read this book to get a better perspective on what science is, and what type of thinking and mind it takes to lead the world forward in the human scientific endeavor. Please consider all this and think on it.

Tips On How To Download Free Books Online

Technological progress has rendered conventional books less popular as more people embrace the convenience that come with the developments. With the help of an e-reader device, you can read all the books you can handle without having issues with your sight, especially because e-ink does not glow and you can also set contrast to comfortable levels. There is even more convenient because you can carry as many books with you as you want on the devices something that would prove cumbersome with paper bound books.

Free books can be found online so you get to enjoy your read without really spending much on the books that you prefer. But to have an even more enjoyable time with the free books, you need to be cautious with the book downloads so you end up with genuine deals that match your reading preferences every way possible.

Tip 1 – Select reputable and reliable sites to download your eBooks from. There are so many sites out there offering free books, but only the best will contain all relevant books for your reading preferences. A good site should not solely deal with one genre, but should at least offer you variety so you have the freedom to choose the books that you can download and read for free instead of being limited to options just because you are getting the books free. A good site should also offer books that are written by professionals and recognized authors for that matter. It would be even more convenient to choose a site that sends you updates once new books have been uploaded on the site. Find out what you can enjoy from the site before subscribing so you get better value.

Tip 2 – Choose the download format carefully. Free books downloads can be in RTF, TXT, EPUB, PDF and MOBI formats. PDF book format is probably the best that you can settle for. It is a format that contains texts complete with drawings, formulas and any other graphical information the book may have. Most books actually look very appealing in PDF format and even the tables are clearly displayed to give you the most pleasant time reading your selected books. You will find the format especially impressive with books that touch on fitness and health and come with lots of graphics to take the message home. There are very good sites that offer free eBooks in PDF formats only.

Tip 3 – Go through any book review before downloading. It is one of the best ways of understanding what the book is all about and deciding whether it is something you would enjoy reading. Reviews can be from readers who have already read through the books or you can also rely on book previews that give you a summary of what is behind the story. The books may be free, but that does not mean that you should be stuck with a boring book simply because it is free. Find a little about it before going ahead with the download.

Book Review – ‘Why Marriages Succeed or Fail And How To Make Yours Last’ By Dr John Gottman

Dr. John Gottman says: ‘If there is one lesson I have learned from my years of research it is that a lasting marriage results from a couple’s ability to resolve the conflicts that are inevitable in any relationship’. The following book is not just a couples therapist’s opinion but a compilation of the findings of the work of a relationship expert and scientist who researched his topic over the past 40 years.

Summary

In this book, Dr. John Gottman gives his readers the ability to find out more about their relationship through self-tests and evaluations. Beyond that this book also provides practical exercises, quizzes, tips, techniques and proven strategies to improve your relationship or marriage.

More in details

Based on his years of research with real-life couples, Dr. John Gottman first answers the question ‘What makes marriage work?’ By reading this book you will learn that there are significantly different marriage styles, which he calls ‘The Good, The Bad and the Volatile’ and that frequent arguing doesn’t necessarily have to lead to divorce if other factors are in balance.

Dr. John Gottman is famous for ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’, the warning signs in every relationship tumbling towards martial disaster. Dr. Gottman argues that these pitfalls – criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling – can be observed in couples who are moving towards less and less satisfaction in their relationship.

This book is not just another set of opinions of a relationship therapist, instead this is the result of his work with thousands of couples over many years of empirical study. This research has enabled Dr. Gottman to predict which couples relationships will last with 94 percent accuracy where normal relationship experts are only able to predict this in 10 percent of their cases.

About the author

As mentioned above Dr. John Gottman has collected significant amounts of data researching couples in what he calls ‘The Love Lab’. He has also written and co-authored 40 books and published 190 academic articles. He has appeared on television in shows like Good Morning America, Today, CBS Morning News and Oprah and published some of his work in various publications like The New York Times, Women’s Day, Reader’s Digest and Psychology Today, just to name a few.

Together with his wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, they founded the Gottman Relationship Institute; they schedule appointments for marathon therapy and lead relationship workshops.

Recommendation

This is a ‘must read’ if you are interested to improve your relationship and really, who doesn’t? The best case would be if both, husband and wife, would read the book, but it is already very beneficial for one to read and introduce the concepts to the other.

Personally John Gottman’s work forms the basis of my work with couple clients in my practice and his concepts work with great success.

How to Get Free PDF eBooks – Download Free Books Now

Today, the world is going at such a pace that it is difficult to find time for sitting on your desk and going through a book in finding particular information. Now, we are so much dependent upon the internet that we prefer spending more time on the web reading eBooks, then checking out the glossary of a physical book. And who would blame us? With the scarcity of time, the requirement of specific information and user-friendly approach used on the web, e-books clearly have the edge. However, it was difficult for everyone to access eBooks for either of the following reasons:

  • Too Expensive (there are some eBooks, which are actually costly)
  • Not available in other form of payment methods, but credit card (Some people either do not have a credit card or are skeptical of leaking such personal information)

So, what are we supposed to do? This is where the free eBooks come into picture! Yes, Free eBooks! Previously, such a concept was nonexistent, but today, there are a number of websites, which offer top e-book access to all the users without any cost. If you wish to know How to get free PDF eBooks, read ahead!

In case you are looking to know how to get free eBooks, you must go thorough research on popular search engines with the keywords download free PDF eBooks in order for you to only get PDF formatted books to download which are safer and virus-free you will find an array of websites catering to your needs. Most of these websites have a huge collection of free PDF eBooks which you can use to your advantage. Some of them require you to pay a paltry sum at the time of registration. Once the sum is paid, you get an unlimited access to some of the most searched-for eBooks on the web. Again, there are websites, where you do not require any payment, but you can access a huge collection of free eBooks. Free Books, whether free PDF eBooks or in other format, are available in a heap on the web.

Most websites, which do not require any one-time fee, do not have all the eBooks available with them. However, most of the websites, with such fees, have almost every eBook available to them on the subject, on which they are based. This is why apart from knowing how to get free eBook you should also know your own requirement too. If you require information, which is rarely available, going for the latter is advisable. Picking the latter option allows you to have access of almost all such details. Since it is a one-time cost, you do not have to worry if you need any information in the future as it will be available to you for free.

So, what are you waiting for? Now, you know how to get free eBooks and the importance of free eBooks in the modern world. You can get registered to a website today and have an access to a huge library of knowledge.

Green Mama by Tracey Bianchi – Earthly Book Review – Compassion Fatigue, Eco-Language and Eco-Snobs

Going green encompasses many different aspects. Included are companies that want to cash in on the eco-friendly movement. They advertise that their products are environmentally sound, when in fact they're not (Greenwashing). Going green involves its own language as well as different perceptions of those who practice its teachings. With all of the worthwhile causes available to support, it's easy to experience "compassion fatigue."

Tracey Bianchi is a married mother of three young children, living in Chicago. Her environmental concerns for both her family and future generations inspired her to write Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Children Save the Planet .

Bianchi earned a master of divinity degree and is a frequent speaker and writer on topics of Christianity. Regardless of your religious beliefs or denomination, and whether or not you have children, Green Mama is an enlightening read. The state of the Earth's natural resources and how you can make a difference are the book's central themes. Here, compassion fatigue, eco language, and eco snobs are highlighted.

Compassion Fatigue. The world is full of needy causes, and it's easy to become exhausted by all the options to help. When this occurs we can develop "compassion fatigue," and stop caring about any of them. To offset this occurrence, discover your "one big thing." It's the ecological issue that moves you to action, including praying about it and learning about it.

Bianchi discovered an eye-opening flyer that read: "Your kids need to love the environment before they will want to save it." Like yourself, don't exhaust your children in your effort to make them more eco-savvy. Start small to help them discover their own "one big thing." Suggestions include joining a conservation organization and "adopting" an endangered species and promoting its survival. Converse with your children to unveil their environmental passions.

Eco Language. Green living, like anything in American culture, has its own vocabulary. Learning to navigate it is essential to joining a conversation about any of its pursuits. It's one part of the green journey that takes some time and is worth the investment.

Greenwashing . Greenwashing refers to a company's marketing that entices you to believe that the planet benefits from your patronage when in fact, there's little or no benefit. To avoid deceptive advertising, ask a few questions before purchasing, including:

  • Does the product you're about to buy explain how exactly it's green or simply look green?
  • Do front packaging claims match the ingredients listed on the back?
  • Is the product certified by a reputable organization such as an organic or fair trade company?
  • How much of the product is made from fillers (food industry additives to reduce costs and bulk up products)? Fillers can alter
  • Does the company use the future health of children to sell products (ie commercials featuring children running through green fields, with hands up and smiling faces)?

MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). Manufacturers aren't required to list all their ingredients on a label. Legally they must identify all of them on their MSDS. Originally designed to aid medical professionals in determining possible allergens, you too can request access to these documents.

Organic. An organic item is grown and manufactured in a way that respects the land, people and animals that produced it. It's minimally processed and any wastes generated from manufacturing or farming methods are either reused or disposed of in an earth-friendly way.

Natural Organic Program (NOP). Currently, NOP is the only nationwide organic labeling system backed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The highly recognizable green and white label is based on the percentage of the product that is organic:

  • 100 percent organic = 100 percent organic in its agricultural origins.
  • Organic = at least 95 percent organic material.
  • Made with organic materials = at least 70 percent of the material is organic.
  • No USDA label = anything less than 70 percent organic material.

Eco Snobs . Bianchi acknowledges that, "without a doubt there is a sort of eco-superiority that outdoorsy, eco-savvy people can emit." She describes her observations at a Denver airport en route to Chicago, including "fleece wearing locals, sporting high-end technical backpacks. They sipped from bulky Lexan water bottles that were often hooked on their packs by a carabiner."

Living a sustainable life is more about an open mind and heart; and making life work in a simple, responsible, cost-effective way. The green life is open to all regardless of current eco awareness, eco status or location.

Bianchi considers three quick categories when making green choices for her family: Once they're ranked, she determines their financial, ecological and social benefit before pursuing them. Those classifications are:

  1. Conservation resources. Water and electric are examples, as monitoring their use typically begins to trim bills and save energy.
  2. Earth-friendly substitutions . Food choices, cleaning and personal care routines full of chemicals or ones originating from a company with shabby environmental policies, can be replaced with more eco-friendly options.
  3. Indirect financial benefit options . Making a contribution to an environmental organization may help both your family and society at large.

If you're interested in environmental issues, you're bound to learn something new by reading Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet.

To see if goods and services you use are listed on the Green Washing Index, visit http://www.greenwashingindex.com .