Wednesday, May 30, 2012

BOOK(S) IN PARADISE

Ever so often we all need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We all choose to escape in someway and that's what I did. So what is your perfect get away spot? Think of it! Is it a cold wintery setting like Colorado or is it a tropical setting like the Caribbean? Well just think of it and imagine what book would you take with you to any of these places you can imagine. Well my favorite place in the world to escape too is Port Royal, Jamaica.

For those who don't know about Port Royal here is some general information. Located on the Caribbean island of Jamaica at its southeastern tip, Port Royal was established in 1518. The city was the commercial center for shipping commerce in the Caribbean sea during the latter half 17th century. The town was labelled "The Wickedest City" in the Caribbean also called "Sodom of the New World". It was a hot bed for pirates, prostitutes, and any cutthroats sailing the Caribbean Sea back then. The city was once considered the capital on the island since much of the countries business was done there. In the year 1692 the city was hit by a massive earthquake and half the city shank to the bottom of the Caribbean Sea. After Port Royal was hit my the earthquake the capital of Jamaica was now Kingston and the once great city had lost its luster. This piece from Wikipedia sums up what Port Royal is today to most:

Today, Port Royal is known to post-medieval archaeologists as the "City that Sank".[18] It is considered the most important underwater archaeological site in the western hemisphere by Robert Marx, yielding 16th–and-17th-century artifacts and many important treasures from indigenous peoples predating the 1588 founding, some from as far away as Guatemala. Several 17th and early 18th century pirate ships sank within Kingston Harbour and are being carefully harvested under controlled conditions by different teams of archaeologists. Other "digs" are staked out along various quarters and streets by different teams.
Port Royal has been featured as a location within Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean film series, though much of the location work for Port Royal was actually done on the island of Saint Vincent, not in Jamaica.[19] Michael Crichton's posthumous novel, Pirate Latitudes, has extensive scenes taking place in Port Royal in the mid-1660s. Port Royal is also the "City Beneath the Sea" in the 1953 film of that name.
But I know Port Royal for what it really is. A city filled with interesting and beautiful people that welcome you with open arms. The towns present economy depends on the in flow of tourist that come to see the old fort and to view its most popular attraction the Giddy House. Another large part of the economy of the town is fishing, since this is how most living their make their living. Most tourist and locals also end up at Gloria's which have two locations in the small town. This restaurant is the only one in the town and its a great location to great some wonderful seafood. Another source of business for the town is ferrying tourist and locals to and from the small cays located off its coast.

Lime Cay this is where I spent one of the loveliest day on my vacation and where I enjoyed my new Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stackhouse novel entitled "Deadlocked". Sitting on a white sand beach reading about your favorite fae/human waitress and her vampire husband is a great way to relax in the sun.  "Deadlocked", picks up with Sookie and Eric's relationship on the ropes and her cousin Claude being very mysterious. The latest work like all the others leaves you wanting more after every page of reading. We see characters return that we thought we wouldn't see again and yes I am speaking of Sookie Fairy Great Grandfather Niall. After closing the portal to the Fae world we thought that Niall wouldn't be heard from again, but as we all know from the last novel Sookie was in position of a magical fae object that everybody wanted.

The way that Charlaine let us know that Niall knew that the Cluviel Dor was in Sookie's position wasn't very clear in the last novel, but when he returns to make sure that his favorite human grandchild was okay we see another side of Niall and also of Claude and everyones favorite uncle Dermot. Claude who we thought loved Sookie (spoiler) turns out to be one of the villains in this chapter of Sookie's life. But we I am not going to spoil the book for those who haven't read it yet. (Yes I know I told you who the villain was but there are things you still don't know so you have to read the book-lol). All in all I give the book a 8.5 out of 10, just because I felt she left me hanging as far as Eric and Sookie goes.

So by the end of my wonderful day on the beach I finished my novel and enjoy the wonderful town. So if your on a tropical island and you forget your book and your looking for something to read make sure to checkout the islands local books stores. But don't forget to take in the history and beauty of where every you are. For more information about the town of Port Royal, checkout Google, or you can get more info on Wikipedia. For information on where you can find Charlaine Harris latest novel checkout your local bookstore or Amazon.com.  Check out my pics of paradise


Lime Cay, Jamaica

Canon boat off the coast of Lime Cay, Jamaica

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Lime Cay, Jamaica

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ARE YOU A PART OF "THE WAVE"?

  High School arguable the most clique dominated place around. Everywhere you look when the time comes your being recruited into something. Join the baseball team, join the football team, join the debate team, just join something. You can go all through high school and not join anything, but are you weird or are you constructing your own isolation. Sometimes when you aren't in one of these cliques you are looked upon as a loner. Me myself I wasn't in a clique, but I had a very good amount of friends. But what happens to the students that don't have a clique and really don't have that many friends? They are the outcast that are banished to the outer reaches of the lunchroom.

  But those loners are not a lone, all most all students in high school has something they fear something they hide and wish they could change. Not being popular, not being the most beautiful, or not being the most brightest sets each student a part from each other. But what if this wasn't so? what if there weren't any cliques and everyone was on the same level? Jocks, Cheerleaders, Nerds, even the Loners all on the same level. All of them equal when they are part of one thing that makes each of them feel special as much as the other. All these fears that students have of not being accepted and  not being treated equally like their fellow classmates can lead them a stray if the right situation presented itself.

  In Todd Strasser "The Wave", we see how an innocent idea can lead the smartest of kids a stray and how things can get out of hand very fast. Based on an incident that happened at a Palo Alto high school in 1969. Students in a senior history class were made part of an experiment by their teacher that wanted to teach them about why it was so easy for so many Germans in WWII to say they didn't know about the events that transpired during the holocaust. The lesson was also a lesson in blind obedience and how far members of a charged group will go to protect it.  Strasser brings the story to life of how a seemingly harmless history class experiment took on a life of its own and almost turned into something very ugly. The incident that happened at the Palo Alto school was readily stopped before it really got out of hand.

  Strasser brings to life the characters and events that sparked The Wave. The book starts off introducing us to one of our central characters Laurie Saunders. Laurie's character is what you might call the over achiever. She is head of the school paper and gets good grades. Laurie ever the free thinker is like most students in her history class she was pleased with her teacher Mr. Ben Ross, who brought the class to life.  When the idea of this experiment was first introduce to her and her fellow student, including her boyfriend, David Collins, they were all excited to be a part of what their teacher called The Wave.

  Laurie and David have a strong relationship and are both excited about being in the organization, but Laurie starts to notice the change that the wave has brought on to her fellow students. She attempts to show the truth to her friends and her boyfriend, but is ignored and this thinking places her in danger.  As the book moves along we see that not only is this Wave organization changing the students, but it also begins to change Mr. Ross.  Ben Ross is the teacher of the history class and also the leader of the wave. When we first meet Ben's character we perceive him as a laid back teacher that is very progressive. Most of the other teachers think that he is idealistic and that he should stick to the traditional way of teaching, but that isn't been. We learn from his wife Christy Ross, that Ben has a tendency to get over involved in things that fascinate him. He dives head first into projects/experiments without fully mapping out the consequences.

Mr. Ross leads his students in a history lesson about World War II, and figures that making up a make believe organization called the wave, would teach the students what he was trying to explain to them about other Germans staying quiet during World War II. Thinking that this experiment would only last a class period or two, Mr. Ross thinks nothing of his actions. When he introduces the idea to his class the students are all excited to be a part of something they felt was just a game, but it soon changes. The Wave has Mr. Ross class no longer acting like students, but acting like soldiers. He then introduces a motto for the organization " Strength Through Discipline, Strength Through Community, Strength Through Action."

  The idea of The Wave soon takes over. Not only were the students in Mr. Ross class into but they had started recruiting other students into the organization. At first people saw positive changes in students, they were getting their homework and reading assignments done. They were working as a group and now no one was superior over anyone else. This is where the book takes off and moves at a pace that you like. The Wave movement starts to take on a life of its own. More and more student join the organization because like some many others they thought it was a fad that everyone was getting into and that would fade a way. But it didn't fade away the movement gets larger and we see what happens with a group mentality.

  The students being to pressure other students to join the organization and this is were we see the true evil of this experiment. Mr. Ross is so caught up in his own experiment that he ignores the facts that students are bending to his every word. When they are in class they sit like the little soldiers that they have become and do what they are told. They don't debate anything with him, nor do they ask question. By the middle of the book Laurie Saunders decides that she wasn't going to be a part of the organization and writes an article about how The Wave was corrupting the students. After publishing this article Laurie's boyfriend confronts her and tells her to stop writing what he and the other Wave members are calling lies. When he tries to talk to her and she would not listen he grabs her and ends up pushing her to the floor. After realizing what he has done David, sees the truth behind Laurie's words and joins her against The Wave.The book comes to its climax when Mr. Ross decides that The Wave movement has to come to and an end and he gathers all its members and what happened leaves them shocked and confused.

  The Wave is a great read for any young reader. This book shows what danger lies in conforming and trying to be a part of something that you don't know about. It's a bold lesson in the art of peer pressure, mind control, and the corruption of power, and the weight of being ones self in a place where your individuality can get you excluded or even harmed. The book which was written in 1981, was made into a one hour television show for ABC. The book called DIE WELLE in German was also made into a movie . Students, parents, and teachers can learn a lot from this book, because it shows that one should always question what is going on around you. For students it shows that you don't have to be down with the in crowd. The students that wanted to be a part of The Wave ultimately did bad things to those that didn't want to join their organization. They say that everyone was equal but in the end they had form an organization that excluded those that didn't agree with them. Individuality is not a bad thing nor should you be ridiculed or should you intern ridiculed anyone for being different. Everyone has the right to be who they are and as long as they don't force their ideas on people or you then them being who they are is fine.

  For Parents the lesson from this book is to always question the activities that your child is participating in. It can be hard for a parent to get through to their child sometimes, but you have to keep asking and reminding them, that they are their own persons and that they don't need to be in a group or an organization to validate their identity. But for the most this books also gives a strong lesson to teachers. Being that they are in charge of the minds of so many young people, they should know not to let things like this incident happened. When your performing anything like this experiment you have to give the students the choice of whether or not to participate. You also have to say that the experiment should last only one or two class periods and no longer.

So pick up this great read for yourself or your young read and join The Wave or Not.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

EBOOKS OR TRADITIONAL BOOKS

  With the human race ever evolving so is our way of doing things. When man first started writing he took chalk to the wall of caves. From there we've moved on to paper, but we did not stop there. The way of spreading the written word has evolved beyond what any prehistoric man could dream. From chalk, to the pencil, to the printing press, to the typewriter, and now to the modern computer. We have surely come a long way and with these leaps we have moved forward with the way we entertain, horrify, and thrill the modern reader. Since technology has made it so easy for use in developed countries to have access to books are we going to evolve pass the traditional book? Will we no longer need to feel paper under our finger tips with the introduction of the eBook?
Paper or Plastic
  Not everyone has a computer, Ipad or an ebook reader (Nook, Kindle, Kobo). So is it safe to say that the traditional paper books that we've grown up with are not endanger? I think not! I say this because nowadays you are able to get ebook readers for a very reasonable price. For instance you can acquire a Kindle for $79.00, and your able to by digital versions of the books you want to read for a much lower price. So there is no walking to the car, no driving to the book store (if you can find one nowadays), or hoping that they have the book you want in stock. Ebook readers give people a form of instance gratification. They are able to pay for their book and download it right away and start reading with out all the hassle of leaving their house.
academic,books,clouds,females,lying,nature,parks,people,persons,plants,readers,readings,recreation,trees,women
  Most people I believe would rather have an ebook reader, with the price of gas as high as it is going out and buying a physical book seemingly out weighs the cost of the book. Also there is less clutter around ones house, since you are able to store a large amount of books on your ebook reader. When asked this question (Do you prefer paper books or ebooks?), all the people that took the poll said that they loved paper books, but they had no room for them so they prefer the ebooks.  But at the same time there are a couple of problems with the whole ebook reader. Unless your single and live by yourself you have to figure that someone will want to borrow the book your reading. With an ebook reader that is virtually impossible, unless your willing to lend your ebook reader to someone else.
  Some companies such as Amazon gives you the ability to lend the ebooks that you own on your kindle or whatever device you have your ebook stored for a short period of time. Mind you during this lending period you are unable to read the book yourself.  But if you are a large family and you aren't able to buy everyone an ebook reader, nor do you have more than one computer the traditional book would seem to be the way to go.
  Traditional paper books to me are a staple in human life. Even though we've invented the computer and these ebook readers, people still love feeling paper on their finger tips. I don't believe that we can really ever leave the physical book behind. I say this because in less industries countries, where access to computers are limited to the middle class or the upper class, the physical book is the only source of knowledge and entertainment. We will also have the physical book because most school don't have the budget like some to provide their students with ipads or personal computers to use at home. So text books will always be made readily available in the paper version.

  Another reason that the paper book will always be available is that the production of traditional books keep a lot of people employed. From the writers to the publishers, to the printers, bookstore owners, to the loggers who cut the trees that are needed to produce the books the business of producing textbooks is a very lucrative one. In Texas a lone $600 Million is spent on the purchase of textbooks, with numbers like those the sale of physical books will forever keep the book selling industry alive. Also another reason for that is that most textbooks are not available in ebook form. If these books that are used by most school were available in ebook form publishers would stand to lose a lot of money world wide.

Environmental Impact

   Even though people nowadays are more environmental concious and are aware that to make all thees copies of these books, we need to cut down more and more trees, the physical book will survive. In an article by Paul Biba Ebooks Saves Millions of Trees, published in 2009 he layed out these figures given by Michael Pastore who stated: 

In just over three years (the 37 months from July 4, 2006 to August 4, 2009) more than 200 million free ebooks were downloaded from two websites: Project Gutenberg (PG), and the World Public Library’s annual event, the World eBook Fair (WEF).
Had these 200 million books been made made of paper, how many trees would have been saved?
Let’s do some math. In the USA in one year, 2 billion books are produced. To get the paper for these books requires consuming 32 million trees. We can estimate that one tree yields enough paper for 62.5 books. (Of course, these numbers vary depending on which expert you choose to believe.)
The 200 million free ebooks downloaded from Project Gutenberg and the WEF saved three million and two hundred thousand (3,200,000) trees.
This number (200 million free ebooks downloaded) is from two free ebook sources only; there are many other sources of free ebooks, including Google Books, the Internet Archive, Feedbooks, Manybooks, Scribd, and many more.
 This information is from 2009, considering that we have made much more advancements in  ebook technology the ebook reader has save  more than the 32 million trees that were save in 2009. So moving towards ebooks seem like a very great idea. Not only does this save 32 million plus trees, but you also have to consider that with saving these trees you are ultimately saving trees that can possible cure diseases and advance scientific research. The ebook reader saving so many trees also saves the habitat of many animals that would be displaced or run the possibility of going extinct.

You Pick

  So in the end the decision is yours. Its all up to what you would prefer as a reader. Do you like the feel of a book in your hands? Do you like the smell of  the ink on the paper? Then you like the traditional paper books. I myself have more books in my home than I have room for so moving towards ebooks is a logical choice.

  For those that don't have the time, nor the money to buy a physical book, nor do you have the room to store all of them, then the ebook is for you. Your able to download a lot of new and interesting books. The introduction of self publishing means that there are a lot of books out there for less than a dollar. Buying an ebook also saves a tree or two.

So which one would you go for?


Monday, May 7, 2012

WHERE ARE ALL THE BOOKSTORES?

  When I was younger I remember being able to go to the mall, 2 bus rides later I was at my local bookstore which was Walden's. But like I said that's when I was younger. That Walden's is gone now and was never replaced. A bookstore is where your suppose to be able to go to checkout the latest books, magazines, manga, and other sort of things. But what happens when the only bookstore you know closes down?

  It's been about ten years since that Walden's closed down and nothing has replaced it since. Unfortunately the same thing happened to its parent company Borders last year, after it declared bankruptcy. This is where my question comes up, where are all the bookstores? Living in Brooklyn you would think that their would be a vast amount of bookstores since this is where everyone is supposedly moving too since the city it self is vastly expensive. If you were to look around my part of Brooklyn you would find not one bookstore. Sure you will have Target which sells some books and you can pop into your local Walgreens, Rite Aid, or CVS and pick up your romance novels, but where are the actual bookstores.

  Seemingly they are nowhere to be found. You would have to travel away from you local neighborhood to downtown Brooklyn or Manhattan to go to the big chain store Barnes & Nobles. If one was looking for a particular book you have no choice but to go here or order it online. Even though I am a fan of the ebook and even an author of two not every can stand staring at a computer all day. Barnes & Nobles seems to be the only book store in Brooklyn sometimes. On many of my visits their you will find it loaded with a lot of people. Being located in Downtown Brooklyn it is around the more well off Brooklynites, so it is not just a bookstore, but a common area where bother well off and not so well off people can mix over their common urge to read.

  Wanting to answer my own question I took to Google and asked my question of how many bookstores where in Brooklyn? So with the help of Yelp.com, I got a number of 35 bookstores said to be in Brooklyn. So with those numbers you would think that they would all be easy to get to, but no you would  be wrong. All of these bookstores that were listed on Yelp all had the same thing in common, they were located in what I will call the better parts of Brooklyn. 20 out of the 35 bookstores were located in Williamsburg, Borough Park, Cobble Hill...etc. So what about us in parts way out? Why is it that we have to travel so far to get our literary entertainment? Well I don't have an answer for you there, but maybe in those neighborhoods there is less of a chance that the lonely bookstore will get robbed. Maybe there is more business because people in those neighborhoods read more.

  Those thoughts are all maybes. I can't say that people in particular neighborhoods read more than others, although I'm sure if you did some research we would find evidence to prove that, but this isn't about that. I want to know why there aren't more bookstores in neighborhoods like my own. The particular part of Brooklyn I am from isn't Willamsburg, but it's not the ghetto either. It's filled will middle class hard workers and yes it also has its problem with hooligans, but nonetheless its mainly middle class. So why can't my middle class neighborhood has a posh bookstore like Barnes & Nobles or any bookstore as a matter a fact?

  The truth is that people don't get what they don't ask for. Ten years ago when Walden's closed down and the only convenient bookstore in the neighborhood was gone, no one said a thing. I'm going to give my excuse of that I was a child when this happened, and I'm sure some of my fellow bookies out there made a quiet noise about it, but not enough to save it, nor get us a new one. One would think that in this neighborhood which I will reveal to be Canarsie, a bookstore would want to set up shop. Their is virtually no competition, unless you count Target, and like I said Target isn't a bookstore. This neighborhood is also safe and if established on Rockaway Parkway, the amount of foot traffic up there alone will generate a good amount of business.

  Hopefully someone out there is listening to me and see the wisdom in my words and say you know what she's right. Canarsie and a lot of other parts of Brooklyn have no bookstores and have to travel for an hour or more to get to one. Even with all the traveling you also have to hope that the bookstore actually have your book or has the means to order it for you and receive if in a timely manner. So hope the next time I ask where are all the bookstores, I can give you a good answer and a lengthy list of place you can pulp yourself down on the floor and catch a glimpse of your favorite book before be told to buy it.