Author Archives: ptdiscbk

Why Basement Waterproofing is Important

Basement waterproofing involves different materials and techniques used to keep water away from a home or a commercial building’s basement. Waterproofing a basement usually requires the application of special sealants, the proper installation of drain cleaners and sump pumps, and many more. Although waterproofing a basement doesn’t solve all basement problems, it can help to significantly reduce the chances of flooding or other costly problems. When waterproofing a basement, there are also two kinds of basement waterproofing options: exterior and interior. Exterior waterproofing is best for basements that face on a scenic landscape such as a lake, river, or even a beach. Interior waterproofing is preferred for basements in areas prone to heavy downpours.

A number of things can influence whether waterproofing should be done inside or outside the home. This includes soil condition, type of foundation, age of the home, the amount of water and humidity in the area, and the type of structure located within the basement. If soil is wet, for example, it may be best to waterproof the basement by installing a sump pump. If there’s little to no water in the basement and the soil is dry, a sealant may be sufficient. Otherwise, the area will just need to be excavated and repaired or otherwise treated with a waterproofing product.

When waterproofing an indoor area, there are a few factors that should always be considered first. First, it’s important to determine which type of waterproofing is best for the area. In most cases, it’s recommended that a waterproofing product be applied to the entire basement, including the exterior and interior walls. However, if the foundation of the home is not stable, a waterproofing system should be applied as a precaution. Interior waterproofing is a little bit different than the exterior waterproofing, as it only works where pipes, ventilation systems, and vents enter the home.

Regardless of whether the waterproofing process occurs indoors or outdoors, it can negatively affect mold growth. The truth is, mold can’t flourish without moisture; therefore, any part of the basement that doesn’t have a sealant or drain is a likely place for mold to grow. Unfortunately, mold is resilient and persistent. Even if a waterproofing project has been completed and the area is drained, mold will still continue to grow in areas that haven’t been flooded.

If you have an existing mold problem inside your home, waterproofing may be necessary. Once the basement has been sealed, however, you can be sure that your mold problem won’t return. A basement environment that has already begun to develop mold is more likely to attract mold spores and allow them to reproduce once the conditions are right. This will lead to a resurgence of mold within your home, so it’s very important to make sure that your basement is sealed off from the outside environment.

While a basement waterproofing project cannot solve every problem with mold, it will prevent your basement from becoming another feeding ground for mold. Mold begins to grow after moisture enters the basement and begins to percolate down into the other rooms of the house. This is why sealing the basement is so important. Not only will it keep mold from growing, it will also help prevent the basement walls from developing holes or cracks. This will stop basement water from leaking out and creating problems with the structure of your home.

Another benefit of sealing your basement is the fact that it will prevent mold from occurring in the first place. Without a basement waterproofing project, you could end up with cracks and holes in your foundation. This not only ruins your basement, but also your house. For these reasons, you should waterproof your basement as soon as possible.

Don’t put off waterproofing your basement because of all the costs associated with it. A waterproofing contractor can perform the entire waterproofing process in just one day, while some people may prefer to take on the job themselves. Whichever way you choose to go, waterproofing your basement is not a difficult or time-consuming job. By doing it yourself, you can save a significant amount of money, while also avoiding a number of unnecessary and unpleasant side effects from the mold and mildew growth. To learn more about waterproofing visit Weather-tite Waterproofing Inc.

Chemicals Used in Home Cleaning

Most chemicals that we use in our daily life are produced by man. Most chemicals have a definite purpose and can easily be categorized as either organic or inorganic. Organic chemicals are chemicals that are produced naturally. Some examples of organic chemicals are gasoline, sugar, electricity, natural gas, air fresheners, rubber, paper and many more. Inorganic chemicals are chemicals that are produced artificially. Examples of inorganic chemicals are pharmaceuticals, pesticides, antifreeze, detergents, paint thinners and thousands of other chemical products.

The most common chemical that is produced by man is hydrogen. Hydrogen is usually found in the form of water and is necessary for life. Water itself can’t do anything without oxygen, which comes from the atmosphere. But water cannot exist without an inert gas or in the presence of other inert gases. In order to have a paperless life, it is best to use a vacuum cleaner that uses water. Chemical cleaners that use water, however, don’t work. There are several ways that you can use chemicals to clean and preserve your belongings and your environment.

One of the most common forms of chemical cleaning is the use of liquids. These include shampoo and dish washing liquid. There are also numerous types of chemicals that can be used to clean and restore things, such as concrete and ceramic tile, old wood, metal and glass. If you would like to restore and preserve your environment, consider using the environmentally friendly and non-toxic chemicals found in Patina Chemicals. Patina Chemicals has a wide selection of chemicals that are safe for your family to use at home and around the office.

Some of the other chemicals that are purchased for industrial use are Acetone Sodium Bisulfite (540-92-1), Aluminum Fluoride (7784-18-1), Ammonium Carbamate (1111-78-0), Ammonium Iodide (12027-06-4), Ammonium Fluoride (7784-18-1), Barium Cyanide (542-62-1), Clerici Solution (61971-47-9), Cobalt Carbonyl (10026-22-9), Cupric Oxide (1317-38-0), Dichlorophene (97-23-4), Diethylsilane (542-91-6), 3,3-Dimethylnaphthidine (13138-48-2), Germanium Disulfide (12025-34-2), D-Glucosamine (3416-24-8), Hexamethylditin (661-69-8), Humic Acid (1415-93-6), DL-Iso-Citric Acid Sodium Salt (1637-73-6), Lead Thiocyanate (592-87-0), Molybdenum Dichloride Dioxide (13637-68-8), Nickel Monoxide (1313-99-1), Primuline (8064-60-6), Quininic Acid (86-68-0), Silicon Tetraiodide (13465-84-4), Silver Nitrate (7761-88-8), Tantalum Ethoxide (6074-84-6), Tetraethylgermanium (597-63-7), Tetraethylsilane (631-36-7), Triethylsilane (617-86-7), Zinc Chromate (13530-65-9), Zinc Silcofluoride (16871-71-9), 1,4-Naphthoquinone (130-15-4), 2,5-Dimethylindole (1196-79-8), 4-Chloro-2-nitrophenol (89-64-5), Antimony Trioxide (1309-64-4), Barium Manganate (7787-35-1), Benzyltrichlorosilane (770-10-5), Dibutyltin Sulfide (4253-22-9), Diphenic Acid (482-05-3), Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid Tetrasodium Salt (13235-36-4), Ferric Benzoate (14534-87-3), Ferric Oleate (1120-45-2), Gold Resinate (68990-27-2), Octachlorotrisilane (13596-23-1), Palladium Resinate (68425-21-8), Pangamic Acid Sodium Salt (77700-02-8), Platinum Acetate, Platinum Resinate (68916-35-8), Potassium Metaborate (16481-66-6), Potassium Thiosulfate (10294-66-3), Retene (483-65-8), Silicon Acetate (562-90-3), Silver Arsenate (13510-44-6), Silver Difluoride (7783-95-1), Silver-2,4-Pentanedionate (15525-64-1), Triolein (122-32-7), Zinc Oleate (557-07-3), Zinc Salicylate (16283-53-0). To learn more about chemicals visit

Discount Old Marvel Comic Books For Sale

Comic books may be one of the most misunderstood mass culture art forms to emerge during the twentieth century. Commonly associated with juveniles and cheap story lines, comics have often been cast aside by more high-minded art critics. But like all art forms, comic books offer a wide range of content, style, and depth—it’s just much easier to read the shallow, inane offerings in the Sunday paper.

The history of comic books resembles that of a person, beginning with its childish antics in the beginning of the twentieth century and leading to the eventual blossoming of adult-oriented content found in contemporary artists like Frank Miller.

The publishing of Richard Felton Outcault’s Yellow Kid is often cited as the first comic strip. Even though there were comic strips published prior to Outcault’s, he was the artist to create the balloon type element that contained the words the characters spoke. Most comic books, the first of which were called The Funnies, were humoristic in their content. But the crash of the stock market in 1929 altered the content of comic books. The depression was like the loss of a parent causing a child to turn its attention to more mature themes.

The 1930s’ saw the emergence of adventure and superhero comics. The most famous of these were Superman, Captain Marvel, and Batman—all of which featured muscular men with an alternative identity. It should be no surprise that the style of comic books would be altered by the greater social landscape. The United States was entering a period of social fragmentation and the glory days of the twenties were nothing but a fading memory. The humor comic books no longer spoke to people about their everyday situation. But the idea that any man can turn himself into a cultural superhero resonated with a culture experiencing a catastrophic World War and a devastating economic depression.

After what is commonly referred to as the Golden Years of the 1930s’ and 40s’, comic books entered the Silver Age , headed by Marvel Comics Universe. Marvel brought the world of comic books to another level. No longer were characters perfect men with toned bodies, intent on ridding society of its gangsters and mad scientists.
The characters created by Marvel Comic Books were often by-products of failed science experiments and they often had to deal with an unwelcome reception by the human population. This confrontation with scientific inquiry by Marvel Comic Books was a reflection on the overall, cultural questioning of scientific expansion after the dropping of a nuclear bomb.

The end of the Silver Age of comics brought on the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age of comics saw artists develop characters and themes in a more mature, in-depth manner. Eventually the Bronze Age would move into the present, Gimmick age. The Gimmick age saw the leaders in industry devise a number of gimmicks as a way of selling more comics. The most famous of these gimmicks is the killing off of characters, only to bring them back a few issues later—remember the Superman fiasco? The gimmick age also saw comics really move their influence to the big screen. Titles such as Batman, Terminator, Spiderman, and The Incredible Hulk have all become blockbuster hits.

The evolution of comic books is intriguing in that it often reflects the greater social landscape in which it exists. The old comic books glitter with a sense of innocence found in the burgeoning of a new country and culture. But as that country began to questions its beliefs and ideas, so too did comic books alter their content and style. Today, comics find themselves being adapted to the big screen and enjoying the lavish, opulent media attention that comes with being a celebrity in the 21st century.

Finding old comic books for sale has been made much easier by the rise of the Internet. Popular sites such as eBay and Amazon offer a wide range of comics for sale. But one can still venture to the traditional comic book shows—found in community centers and city halls across the country—as a way to purchase and discuss both contemporary and old comic books.

Comic books have become a thriving industry and an international, cultural movement. They come in such a wide range of style and content that it’s surprisingly simply to find a particular character, or villain, to suit one’s taste. It will be interesting to see how comics confront the age of the Internet and how it may affect their characters.

Coville, Jaimie. “History of Comic Books.” Geocitites.1998. 23 April 2007.
Coville, Jamie. “The Silver Age.” 23 April 2007. s/Comicstrip/HistoryofComics/TheSilverAge/TheSilve />Lalumiere, Claude. “A Short History of American Comic Books.” January Magazine. April 2000. 23 April 2007. .

Speculative Fiction

Science fiction, horror, fantasy, alternative history and dystopia all share common characteristics. The most common characteristic is that all of these genres present a ‘what if’ premise. In other words, they all ask their readers to speculate. Speculative fiction is a term that encompasses all literature that is speculative in nature.

Speculative fiction is very wide in scope.

It doesn’t fit neatly into any specific genre. Instead, it blends and mixes elements of different genres in order to create stories that challenge reality. Writer Orson Scott Card defines speculative fiction as “stories that take place in a setting contrary to reality. ” Speculative fiction seeks to provoke thought about human existence by basing stories about alternative realities.

Speculative fiction doesn’t fall neatly into the category of science fiction because it is not always based on science. Many writers find the science fiction genre too limiting, and speculative fiction allows writers to work with elements found outside the arena of science fiction. For example, the speculative genre can include stories that present an alternative reality that may reverse traditional scientific laws.

Speculative fiction can be about dystopic futures such as Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” This story is about a future in which Christan Fundamentalists take control of the government. The group then creates a caste system for women in which some women are designated to be wives and others serve as handmaids, or surrogate mothers.

Speculative fiction also includes stories about alternative versions of historical events or fantasy worlds. The genre also contains stories that contradict historical or scientific evidence, and social conventions. In order to enjoy reading stories that fall under the speculative genre, a reader must be willing to suspend any feelings of disbelief and open themselves up to possibility.

Many writers and stories may be labeled under speculative fiction. Some popular examples include Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game,” Ray Bradybury’s “A Sound of Thunder,” J.R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia,” Stephen King’s “The Stand,” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” All of these stories contradict reality and challenge the audiences’ ideas about human existence.

A great resource for finding a large collection of speculative fiction online is the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Currently, the database contains 38,858 authors and 196,368 titles. The most searched for story is Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game.” The novel is about a future in which Earth is under threat of attack from an alien nation. In order to prepare itself, the leaders of the Earth have resorted to testing and selecting child prodigies and enrolling them in battle schools. The story centers around one particular prodigy, Ender, and his experiences in battle school.

Speculative fiction is popular because it contain the best elements from a wide range of genres. Writers enjoy the label because it doesn’t limit their creativity. Instead, the speculative genre allows writers to break outside of the mold of science fiction and create stories that speculate on whatever subject they imagine. Speculative fiction is the ultimate escape from reality.

Shade, D.D. What is Speculative Fiction? Lost Book Archives. 2007. Hatrack River Enterprises, Inc. 16 Mar. 2007.< br />Speculative FAQ. 2005. 16 Mar. 2007. at_id=1#q2
Category: Speculative Ficiton.Wikipedia. 2 Feb. 2007. 16 Mar. 2007. fiction.
The Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Al von Ruff. 1995-2007. 16 Mar. 2007.

Short Stories

The short story is basically a miniature novel. It relies on the same literary devices that are used in the novel such as character, plot, theme and language. However, due to its length, the short story must use these devices more effectively. Although the length of a short story is not restricted, most are between 1,000 to 20,000 words long.

The general rule of thumb is a person should be able to read an entire short story in one sitting.

A short story revolves around a single plot consisting of a small amount of characters. The plot occurs over a short period of time and little exposition is given. In addition, a short story begins almost instantaneously and the only information that is relevant to the story is revealed. The action moves rapidly and literary devices are arranged to achieve a single lasting impression in a short amount of time.

The origins of the short story, can be traced to some of the first forms of written poetry. One well known example is Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” However, most historians agree that the progenitor of the short story was Boccaccio’s “Decameron” in 1351 along with the French translation of “The Thousand and One Nights” in 1704.

The short story as a literary form really began to flourish during late 19th century. This was mainly due to the growth of print magazines and journals. Their wide circulation enabled authors to reach a wider audience, which created a strong market demand for short fiction.
Short story masterpieces include “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner and “The Tell-Tale Heart “by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is recognized by many writers and critics as the master of the short story.

Perhaps the short story that came the closest to achieving a Poe like effect is “The Lottery ” by Shirley Jackson. The story is about a small community that gets together for a lottery drawing. Jackson creates the perfect amount of suspense as readers are led to believe the lottery is something that every person is the community is hoping to win. It is only within the last few paragraphs that readers learn the grim truth that the lottery is really about a community sacrifice.

Presently, there isn’t as much demand by magazines and journals to publish short stories. However, this shouldn’t suggest that short stories are no longer being written or published. Many magazines including the The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker still publish short stories. Quite a few writers also submit their short stories to be published in anthologies such as The Best American Short Stories series.

In short, short stories are an entertaining form of literature to read, especially for those pressed for time. This particular literary format is ideal for amateur writers that may not be experienced enough to complete a full length novel. Short stories are also a great format for experienced writers to test their creative skills. Investing in a collection of short stories is an ideal way to fill small pockets of time.

“The Lottery.” Wikipedia. 7 Mar. 2007. 14 Mar. 2007 .
Short Story. Wikipedia. 28 July 2006. 28 July 2006 .
Charcteristics of the Short Story. Higher Results Consultancy. 28 July 2006 .

Free Audio Books: IPOD, MP3, Download, On Cd

As busy as Americans are these days, most people don’t have the time to sit down and read a book. Books on CD or tape are a better option for those individuals who prefer to listen to a book than read it. Books come in many formats such as CD, cassette, and mp3.

Audio books are a great way to experience novels without actually sitting down to read them.

The classic place to purchase audio books on CD or cassette is from local bookstores. Booksellers such as Barnes & Noble and Borders have large selections to choose from. They usually average at around $20 per audio book, although it usually depends on the length and popularity of the book. Examples of recent bestsellers include James Patterson’s “Step on a Crack,” and Sophie Kinsella’s “Shopaholic & Baby.”

Audio books that can be purchased in bookstore chains are normally created with vocal professionals and tend to be voiced by celebrities or voice over specialists. They’re sometimes even voiced by the author. The person that provided the vocals should be listed on the front cover.

Local libraries also carry books on CD and cassette. They can be borrowed for free or for a small fee. Check the local library for their prices. Even though some libraries charge for rentals, they are still much cheaper than buying them in a store. If the reader intends to only listen to a book once, borrowing it from a library is a good choice.

Audio books can also be rented online. provides a subscription renting service for its members. For a low monthly fee, users can receive audio books in the mail. They can keep them for as long as they like since the company doesn’t charge late fees.
When finished, simply pop the audio books in the mail. Shipping is free. Once the company receives the book that was shipped, they’ll send another from the patron’s list. Subscriptions start as low as $11.95 per month.

Another way to listen to books is to download them. Mp3 audio books can be searched for and purchased on many Internet websites. is a popular audio book download site. They offer low prices on mp3 audio books that can be used with the latest mp3 players. This is a great option for people who enjoy listening to books during jogging or other types of exercise.

There are services that also provide iPod audio books for download. Apple iTunes, the mp3 downloading program for iPod owners, provides a large selection of popular iPod audio books such as Michael Connelly’s “The Lincoln Lawyer.” The best part about this service is the price. Users can purchase and download audio books for as low as $2.95 per book.

There are certain audio books that can be found for free on the Internet. provides free downloads of public domain mp3 audio books. Public domain means that the books are old classics that are now free to use. Most of the books are very well known, such as Charles Dicken’s” Oliver Twist” or Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Each book can be downloaded in either mp3 or ogg file formats.

Audio books can be listened to while on a road trip, on the treadmill, or while working in a cubicle. Busy people can get more reading done if they fit audio books into their routine. They can be bought at a store, borrowed at a library, or purchased on the Internet. Audio books are a convenient way to get reading done without the hassle of a physical book.

SimplyAudioBooks.15 Feb. 2007 . 1997-2007. Audible, Inc. 15 Feb. 2007
One for the Books. Apple. 2007. Apple Inc.15 Feb. 2007
LibriVox. 15 Feb. 2007 .

Discount Cook Books: Cooking, Dieting, Betty Crocker

The genre of cooking literature has expanded significantly to include every facet of gastronomy. With this expansion, cook books are published on every diet, lifestyle, budget, skill level, and preference imaginable. From learning to boil water to the more advanced Austrian fondant, there is something for everyone to learn from cook books.

Cook books are focused on any need, from the beginner to the professional chef.

Regional and national cooking, dietary constraints, time saving meals, main ingredients, and ‘how to cook’ basic cooking book publications are available at any book retailer. These different specializations help every cook find the perfect book. From “Apocalypse Chow: How to Eat Well When the Power Goes Out” to the “New Classic Chinese Cookbook,” there is a cook book for every lifestyle, situation, and taste.

One of the most time-honored publications is “The Joy of Cooking,” first published in 1931, recently republished in a 75th anniversary edition. This cookbook “remains one of the greatest teaching cookbook ever written” by having chapters that have evolved with time, such as the addition of 30 minute meals and an encyclopedia-like Know Your Ingredients section. The book is a family affair: Erma Rombauer originally authored it in 1931 and all subsequent editions until 1975, while her daughter and son, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker, have been authoring revisions since 1975.

Betty Crocker cook books were once considered the gold standard for cooking. Betty Crocker is still a brand that means quality food, and the “Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book,” the first publication under Betty Crocker, is owned by more than 25 million cooks.
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Other Betty Crocker cook books focus on specializations such as diabetes diets, healthier choice meals, Christmas and quick meals, all of which range in price from $15 to $25. Betty Crocker’s line of books can be found at most any book retailer.

Dieting cook books have become a sub-genre of cook books. Nearly every diet plan has its own cook books. Atkins, South Beach, and the Hamptons diet all have cook books. Lower fat, sugar or sodium, high protein or low carbohydrate – there is an dieting cook book for every diet that has been invented.

Medical related cook books make life much easier for many who have diabetes, cancer, or are concerned with Alzheimer’s or pre-mature aging. “The Diabetes and Heart Healthy Cookbook,” “Eating Well Through Cancer,” and “Super Foods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life” are all major sellers and have helped many battle, beat, and live with the a variety of health issues.

Wherever recipes are found, the written word will transforms a few ingredients and instructions into the art of cooking. The amount of specialized recipes and cook books available appeals to every taste, budget and skill level. By choosing cooking books that fit lifestyle, diet, and time, anyone can take control of their own health and well-being, while becoming an expert cook along the way.

Sources: 1997-2007., Inc. 25 Jan 2007 .
Betty Crocker. 2007. General Mills. 25 Jan 2007 .
Cookbook. Wikipedia. 25 Jan. 2007. 25 Jan 2007 . Wikipedia. 25 Jan. 2007. 25 Jan 2007 .
Joy of Cooking. 1997-2006. Simon & Schuster. 25 Jan 2007 .

Discount Harry Potter Books: Audio, Online For Sale

Before the rise of Harry Potter books, there was not a whole lot of excitement in the world of children’s literature. Parents and teachers would beg children to read their daily amounts for school. Today children are begging to stay up all night and read the newest Harry Potter books. Parents wait in line for hours in order to be the first to get the newest release at midnight.

Book stores are having sleepovers to honor the book series. So, what happened? How did the world go from non-interesting, uninspiring children’s books to the billion-dollar machine of Harry Potter books?

J.K. Rowling began the story of Harry on a train years before she finished the first book in the coffee shops of London. Unemployed at the time, she wrote “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in between nap times, while single-handedly caring for her daughter. The first of the Harry Potter books was published in 1997, and the craze began.

The Harry Potter books are based on the life of a young boy wizard and his classmates as they attend a school for wizards. The series begins with Harry Potter living with his Aunt and Uncle in London. Harry Potter is not treated nicely in his home and longs for a way out. This way out comes in the form of a mysterious letter from a place called Hogwarts. Harry’s special powers, that he soon finds to be magical, get him introduced into a world of witchcraft and wizardry that he could have only imagined. He begins school at Hogwarts soon after his eleventh birthday, and the Harry Potter books tells of his trials through eight years of Hogwarts.

Since 1997, Rowling has published six of the seven Harry Potter books. The quick releases of the second, third, and fourth books kept Harry Potter books at the center of fans’ minds. Books from the series including “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” broke sales records – each selling at least 12 million copies, making J.K. Rowling the richest writer in literary history.

Harry Potter books are written in 63 languages.
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A person looking for Harry Potter books for sale would be hard pressed to not find one, as they are literally in nearly every country in the world. The popularity of the books can be attributed to word of mouth praise; however, the series seemed to catch a second wind of success when it was added to the list of banned books because of its witchcraft focus. The fifth book, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” sold 14.3 million copies – nearly as many as the first book. In spite of the ban, Harry Potter books continue to be best selling books.

Harry Potter books online are at, Barnes and Noble, Scholastic, and most book retailer websites worldwide. The soft cover Harry Potter books are around $10, while the hard cover is $20. The final book, which will be released in July 2007, will likely cost $27-29 for the first weeks, as all others have when newly released. Harry Potter books online can be pre-ordered at Amazon, Borders, and Barnes and Noble.

Not long after the release of the sixth book, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” Harry Potter audio books were made available through iTunes. The release of audio books was made in an effort to quell illegal audio and text downloads of the book series. Surprisingly, Stephen Fry voices all of the characters for the Harry Potter audio books, which are available in CD, cassette, and digital format for about $35 each. Harry Potter audio books made Stephen Fry a household name with the eight and under crowd, but the world knew him before Harry Potter as a prominent BBC writer, novelist, and movie actor.

The big question is what will take the place of Harry Potter books once his story is complete? Within such a short span of time, Harry Potter books have changed the culture of children and adults. Rather than begging for TV or video game time, children begging for reading time. Sometime in 2007, the seventh and final Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Death Hallows,” will be released. Millions of people will be waiting for the modern golden ticket into the final chapters of Cowling’s exceptional world.

Harry Potter. Wikipedia. 23 Jan. 2007. 23: Jan. 2007 .
J.K Rowling Official Site. 2006. Warner Bros. Ent. 23 Jan. 2007 .

Discount / Cheap New And Used College Text Books

College students go through many text books each year. Every semester they need several new books, all of which can cost over one hundred dollars each. Since most college students are poor, it’s imperative that they find new and cheaper ways to buy college text books. By buying discount college text books, the average student can save a lot of money.

If the student insists on buying their text books at the school store, there are still cheaper options.

Most school stores carry used college text books in addition to the new ones. These are books that were bought back from students at the end of the previous semester. They are usually only slightly worn and still in good condition. Students can save a portion of their money by buying all of their school store’s used text books. Still, there are even cheaper ways to acquire the books.

Another way to get cheap text books is by buying them back from fellow students. This ensures that the student is buying the correct edition. Most times the fellow students will sell them on the cheap to help out their classmates. It’s wise to befriend people who are in the same degree program so that they can swap college text books or sell them at a lower price.

A great way to find discount text books online is by searching comparison websites.
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Enter your college text books’ titles into the search engines at or to receive a list of the best prices on the Internet. These websites search all of the best Internet booksellers and list the results starting with the cheapest offer. They list both used and new college text books to satisfy the tastes of the student. Some people prefer their college text books to be brand new, but still want a good price. Using these websites can accomplish this.

There are websites that allow students to browse through their selection of cheap text books before making a purchase. The website provides listing of both new and used college text books. If the student is unsure of the quality of sites that the comparison websites return, they can use a normal discount college text books store instead. This way, if they feel like the site is trustworthy, they can use them for all their college text book needs.

Students can save a lot of money by buying discount college text books. College students are often low on funds because they have little time for work while attending school full time. For this reason, it’s imperative that they save money on their college text books.

Sources: 2006. 16 Feb. 2007 .
campusbooks™. 1999-2007. 16 Feb. 2007 . 1999-2007. 16 Feb. 2007 . 2006. 16 Feb. 2007 .

Discount Books: Entertainment, Christian, Child, Audio

Reading is important. Some people think that books are boring, but that’s not the case. Most people become educated by reading books and take great joy in the process. As a result, books can be a pricey investment. Fortunately, many books are available at discount prices.

There are several ways to find discount books. Big chain stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders carry discount books sections in addition to their regularly priced books. These sections hold brand new books, but at incredibly reduced prices. They usually have a large selection to choose from and in many different categories.

Another way to find discount books is to search the yellow pages. There are often many locally owned bookstores that carry discount books. The great thing about locally owned stores is that they often have a selection of hard to find books; ones that the big chain stores don’t carry.

Discount books can also be found online. There are many online booksellers, so it can often be a hassle to search them all. Use a comparison website to search all of the websites instead. Sites like will search through all major book websites to find the cheapest deal. They often give results that provide a discount of more than 50% off the retail price. And that’s on new discount books, not used. Comparison sites are a great way to find the best deals on discount books.

Discount entertainment books are a must-have for readers who enjoy movies, games, television, or music. Entertainment books usually cover the visual and audio arts that are popular among the majority of the population. For example, there are discount entertainment books that cover popular television shows like Lost and Survivor.
They give tips, facts, and behind the scenes information about the shows. These are discount books that the entertainment junkie shouldn’t pass up.

Buy Christian books discount if inspiration and faith based writing interests you. These are very popular books for a number of people. is a discount books website that has a section specifically displaying Christian books discount. This is a great site to get recommendations on books and to find the best deals.

Children’s discount books are a must for every family. Reading a great way for children to learn and buying discount books is a necessity for most parents looking to save money. Children’s discount books can be found at any of the above mentioned sites and stores. There are often whole shelves of discount books sections at the big book stores devoted to children’s books.

Another way to find new discount books is to join a book club. These are clubs that offer a wide selection of books for book lovers. Most provide an introductory offer that usually has each book costing less than a dollar. The only catch is that many book club memberships contain contracts that require members to purchase a set number of additional books within a set period of time. As a result, it’s important for potential members to read the fine print before agreeing to a membership. Book clubs are a good deal for those planning to buy more books in the future. Consult for current book club deals.

It’s important to read as many books as possible. The more a person reads, the more he or she learns. Unfortunately, reading can be quite expensive in the continually expanding publishing industry. Luckily, there is the option of finding books at discount prices. Discount books are a great way for book lovers to read and save money at the same time.

Sources: 2006. 13 Feb. 2007 . 1996-2005. 13 Feb. 2007 . 2003, 2006. 13 Feb. 2007 .

Discount Used Books: College, Paperback, Cook

There are many people who just can’t seem to stop reading. They devour every book in sight, finishing even the thickest novels in only a few days. For these voracious readers, buying used is not only a good idea, it is imperative. New books can be expensive. Instead of spending all of their hard earned money on books they’ll complete in a week, book addicts should buy used books.

If the reader already has the book they want in mind, comparison shopping online can save them money and time. Simply enter the book’s title into a site like or to see a list of prices. These websites will search a plethora of online booksellers and return a list of the cheapest deals. This can help save time so that the consumer doesn’t have to look through all of the online used booksellers themselves.

When the reader doesn’t know what they want and would rather browse for books, there are plenty of local used bookstores in most metro areas. Half Price Books is a popular used bookstore that has locations in fourteen US states. Search the local yellow pages to see where great used bookstores are to find the best deals.

Another way to browse used books is by searching online from the comfort of home. Doing a simple search on used books can bring a large list of companies that provide them. has plenty of categories for readers to browse through, as well as great prices on their used book selection.

Cheaper still, the classic way to find used books is at the local library.
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Libraries let readers borrow used books for free for a set period of time. This is a great option for people who don’t wish to keep the books they read. Libraries can be found anywhere, even in most small towns. Search the yellow pages or online to find one in your city.

Used cook books are plentiful when searching stores, libraries, and online booksellers. Since cooks learn the recipes and are able to recall them later, it’s normal for cookbooks to circulate through the used book market. Also, buying a used cook book is a good way to sample recipes.

Used college books are one of the biggest areas of used books. Since most students only need their textbook for a few months, the books go in and out of circulation regularly. Most college students are also low on funds, so buying used college books is very important. This can save a lot of money. New textbooks can go for over one hundred dollars, so buying used college books is the smartest thing a student can do.

Most readers prefer paperback books. They’re easy to carry around and are often a cheaper buy. For those people who like used paperback books, Paperback Book Swap could be right for them. This is a website that facilitates the trading of used paperback books between members. It doesn’t cost any money to receive a book and only costs shipping to send one of your own. This is a great way to read books for those readers who go through books quickly. Visit to join.

Buying used books can save a lot of money for the avid reader. New books are expensive, so buying books used is the best idea. Whether you like cooking, reading textbooks, or just sitting down with a good novel, used books can help you.

Sources: 2006. 14 Feb. 2007 . 2007. 14 Feb. 2007 .
Used Books. 1994-2007. 14 Feb. 2007 .

50% Off Borders Books And Music Store Coupon

Borders is in business to sell stories, but has a story of its own that is rooted in its passion for books. Over 74 years of peddling the written word has established Borders Books and Music as a leader in book and music selling.

Borders is in business to sell stories, but has a story of its own that is rooted in its passion for books. Over 74 years of peddling the written word has established Borders Books and Music as a leader in book and music selling.

Borders officially found its start in Ann Arbor, Mich. when Tom and Louis Borders opened the Borders Book Shop. Together, they spread books throughout the quiet academic community and began the flagship store and eventual headquarters. What began as a passion soon became a literal empire of learning. Borders Books began to prove that it was without borders when in 1997 it established its first store outside the U.S., in Singapore. In 2001, Borders Books formed an alliance with, which erased further boundaries for the reach of the brand.

Borders Books is on a mission: to be the preferred place for knowledge and entertainment throughout the world. Borders Books and Music stores provide over 200,000 titles in books, music and movies. This inventory is not unique in comparison to competitors, but the reach of Borders Books is the key to the accomplishment of their mission.

Borders Books locations are continually expanding. Currently, Borders remains the only U.S. book retailer to go global. After the store in Singapore, Borders Books began expanding further into the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. The newest store is in Dublin and there are plans for one in United Arab Emirates. In total, Borders Books has 1,300 stores around the world, while its’ nearest competitor has only 830.

Borders Books coupons are not needed to save money at Borders. Instead, the company provides customers a program called Borders Rewards that passes on savings and special offers.
Borders Rewards is a free service that enables customers to accrue points with each purchase made. As a customer’s points increase, they can be used for services and discounts at Borders stores.

Coupons, exclusive offers, news, and recommendations are available to Borders Rewards customers. Customers can save 10% on an entire day of shopping with the Personal Shopping Day benefit and have 5% of expenditures at Borders stores go into a personal Borders sponsored account for the holidays called Holiday Savings Rewards.

The digital technology is affecting all book and music retailers. The music industry is undergoing the most major change with the introduction of iTunes, with the book industry following with attempts at digital formats. CEO George Jones isn’t worried about competitors or changing industry. His past work in Hollywood has driven him to take Borders books services to a new level. According to a recent Borders press release, he said that Borders books has to think of itself as more than just a book seller, but as a provider of information and entertainment. Only time will tell if Borders can continue to break through barriers.

Will Borders continue to break barriers in the book selling business? Only the company can answer that question. To be the preferred vendor for books and music throughout the world is a hefty goal, one that requires continual innovation to keep with the changing industry. Based on its track record, Borders is definitely up to the task.

Holahan, Catherine. “Google Download: No iTunes for Books.” 23 Jan. 2007.The McGraw Hills Company, Inc. 29 Jan 2007 Maul, Kimberly. “George Jones Announces Innovative Hollywood Plans for Borders.” The Book Standard. 20 July 2006. The Nielsen Compnay. 22 Jan 2007 /> 22 Jan 2007 .
Borders. 22 Jan 2007 .
Borders Rewards: Program Rewards. 22 Jan 2007 .

Discounted Scholastic Books: Teaching, Catalog

Scholastic books brings imagination to the minds of most Americans. Just about everyone remembers a book fair in grade school where the cafeteria was transformed into colorful chaos of books and magazines. But Scholastic isn’t just about book fairs or books. The evolution of the company and its products is impressive, but the most impressive feat is Scholastic’s ability to appeal to every part of the educational process.

Scholastic books realizes that the first teacher a child has is a parent, and with that responsibility parents need a place to find quality books and materials.

For parents and children, the Scholastic books catalog is available online or through a local representative. The website provides invaluable advice beyond how to pick books for children. Not sure who Captain Underpants is? Scholastic books has got the ever-changing culture of kids covered. Parents can keep up to date on trends in children’s literature through the website, as well as access refresher courses to better help kids with homework.

Scholastic books is also considered a one-stop shop of solutions for teachers.. Scholastic teaching books are available on the Scholastic books website or catalog.
Scholastic teaching books cover a wide range of reading levels from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12, and include the subjects of Reading, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Early Learning and Special Education. The website also separates teaching books by themes, such as Civil Rights and Artistic Discovery, and by price range.

The teacher-focused site holds immense amounts of information and help. Resources available through the Scholastic books website include lesson plans, either by subject or collection, strategies for teaching with technology or motivating readers, and online activities like message boards and blogs. Teachers can also build a classroom website, where homework assignments, schedules, book lists, and projects can all be seen by students and parents.

Scholastic books reach millions of children each year and helps parents and teachers formulate ways to make reading a passion for children. Later this year, Scholastic books hopes to reach millions once again with the release of the seventh and final Harry Potter book, of which Scholastic has exclusive publication rights to in the U.S. After the publication of that book, Scholastic books will be searching for the next big book to influence and inspire readers in continuation with their goal to bring the world to the classroom.

About Scholastic. .1996-2007. Scholastic, Inc. 23 Jan 2007 .
The Teacher Store. 1996-2007. Scholastic, Inc. 23 Jan. 2007 .
La Monica, Paul R. “Magical Help on the Way for Scholastic?” 7 July 2006. 23 Jan 2007 .

Cheap Discount Books For Children And Childrens Book Clubs

Books for children have experienced many changes since the classic era of the Little Golden Books or Dr. Seuss series. Today, books for children are a major industry in the world of publishing. Children’s books are customized to encompass a variety of subjects and multiple reading levels. Choosing a book from such a large genre can be a daunting task for most parents.

Selecting books for children may seem as easy as visiting the nearest bookstore and grabbing a book from the Children’s Literature section. But, with so many options it’s important for parents to select a book that benefits their child’s particular interests. As a result, consideration should be put into finding and purchasing the right book.

Conducting research will ensure that a child receives a great experience with books. However, it can be difficult to know where to begin among such a vast collection. There are even books to help select the right books for children based on age, interest, reading level, culture and genre.

The Children’s Book Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making reading enjoyable for children, is a helpful reference towards finding suitable books for children. They advise that books for children should be chosen according to age, reading level and mental and visual development.

It’s also important to be creative when selecting books for children. Children usually have a favorite author or book series. Check local stores, author websites and local schools for book fairs, book signings or special events featuring those types of books.

One type of special event hosted by bookstores is a book reading. Book readings are fun social events that introduce books to children. For example, the newly-released movie about Beatrix Potter, author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, has resulted in many bookstores featuring readings of her books.

Budget may also be an important factor for parents when selecting books for children. Cheap children’s books can always be found, but it is important to make sure that money is being spent wisely. Discounted prices do not always ensure quality reading material.

Children’s book clubs are a great resource for finding quality discounted books for children. Popular children’s book clubs include the Oprah Winfrey Book Club and Highlights Magazine Online Book Club. However, it’s important to exercise caution before joining children’s book clubs. Some clubs have rules requiring members to purchase a certain number of books at full price.

The best sources to consult about selecting books for children are children. Talk to children about their interests, watch a child at a bookstore and note the type of books he or she gravitates towards. Age, reading skill level, interests and price will all contribute to narrowing down choices for children’s books.

A child’s first experiences with literature will be shaped by how books are presented to them. Parents should demonstrate their own passion for reading to their children. Parents will help make children successful in reading and in life by participating in their reading habits.

Barnes and Noble. 13 Jan. 2007 <>.
Choosing a Children’s Book. 2005-2006. The Children’s Book Council. 12 Jan. 2007 .
International Children’s Digital Library. 12 Jan. 2007 .
Highlights Book Clubs for Kids. Highlights for Children. 13 Jan. 2007 <>.
Oprah’s Books: Kid’s Reading List. 2007. Harpo Productions, Inc. 13 Jan. 2007 .

Censorship And Classic Banned Books

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. And even the recent popular culture phenomenon, the Harry Potter series.

All of these seemingly-unrelated books share a common thread; each has been banned or challenged by conservative literary activists and professional educators.

Each of these significant cultural works metaphorically transcends the written word on a page and respectively represents a different America: one faced with the ugly dehumanization of slavery, a post-bellum country continuing to brutalize their impoverished minorities and a wealthy country recently taking a liking to imaginative coming-of-age epics.

In fact, nearly half of the top ten most-challenged pieces of literature are tenants on the list of primary works of literary art. Including the aforementioned texts, the American Library Association’s Web site lists John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men as another text historically experiencing a barrage of worry and censorship attempts in certain schools and libraries.

Other works suffering separate, but similar, moral criticism includes James Joyce’s Ulysses, Walt Whitman’s collection of poetry Leaves of Grass and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

When advocates for book censorship deem a certain text inappropriate for younger audiences, the conflict becomes a fight against the right to free speech. Freedom of speech, some claim, is as purely and explicitly American as its flag. Others stand beside a strict, conservative moral code, which is implicitly American as well. Those in favor of banning certain books often find these written displays of immorality and promiscuity challenging to the traditional social mores and potentially compromising to their personal values.

The opponents of book banning and censorship contend the action is a direct and blatant violation against the freedom of speech. The result of these two sides is a muddled argument of personal rights versus collective social morality.

In 2005, according to the American Library Association, over half of the most-challenged books deal with sexual themes, including 20th century classics like The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings faced heated debates due to its use of incest within the narrative as well as its profane language. Recently, scholars and critics have argued J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series persuades children to sinfully indulge themselves in black magic and devil worshiping. Opponents of Twain’s still widely-read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are sensitive to Twain’s heavy use of the word nigger and Finn’s lack of moral development throughout this American picaresque novel.

Whether people are advocates for keeping certain books in an uncensored format or banning them, their inability to sit quietly in their corners rightfully exists in a country where intelligent and respectful disagreements are encouraged.

Many major texts have undergone some amount of disapproval and debate; even the Bible’s place in libraries and schools has been vehemently argued about. In a country with a countless number of varying belief and value systems, a book is bound to experience welcoming acceptances as well as bitter reproaches from the world of academia and the general reading population.

The American Library Association continues to fight against book banning and censorship by organizing and instituting Banned Book Week in the last week of September. During this weeklong celebration, the ALA urges people to read historically banned books, utilizing their own discretion and encouraging the right to free speech.

Books are a powerful medium. As we learn in his powerful autobiography, reading permitted the once-enslaved Frederick Douglass to become a free man. While banning books and censorship does compromise the right to the freedom of speech, its value becomes apparent in the American culture’s redefining of right and wrong, good and bad and artistic and unartistic.

Lost In Translation: Book To Film Adaptations

William Shakespeare, perhaps surprisingly, was a literary thief. So were novelists James Joyce and Mark Twain. With a rise in the popularity of movies during the 20th century, film directors and screenwriters also are borrowing examples from literature to create their movies’ plots and characters.

Though each artist uses different mediums to transport their ultimate goal, the two types of craftsmen utilize similar techniques.

Writers and film directors seem to quietly revert, both consciously and subconsciously, to a simple phrase when conjuring up enticing plots and subplots, emotionally and psychologically complex characters and symbolic settings: larceny is genius.

Movie directors may borrow certain elements from famous pieces of literature to strengthen their respective works. While many film plots seem completely unique or innovative, such as The Matrix trilogy, movie buffs may be surprised at how many films subtly steal significant literary or philosophical texts. One of the most successful film trilogies in history employs ideas from one of the most well-known philosophy books in history. The Matrix directors, the Wachowski brothers, created a seemingly innovative story about a man given a chance to view the authentic, yet sobering, reality humanity is kept from seeing. This story strikingly resembles one of ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s most memorable allegories.

In The Matrix, the protagonist Neo represents the epitome of the late 20th century generation man. He receives an opportunity to take a pill and become plugged into the true reality, rather than the dream-like world humans populate. From this moment on, Neo experiences a clear-cut dichotomy of light versus dark, perception versus reality and good verses bad. Similarly, in his famous dialogue The Republic, Plato uses a cave allegory to illustrate a similar point on the difference between the shadows of perception and the light of truth and reality. Like Neo in The Matrix, Plato’s metaphorical character must push through the initially blinding and confusing reality. The Matrix also contains a multitude of biblical plots and characters, such as the crucifixion of Neo as the Savior, the concepts of prophet and the John the Baptist recreation Morpheus.

Artistic thievery, however, is not solely for the films of the creativity-deprived late 1990s. One of the most popular and entertaining musicals of all time derives its plot from one of the most widely read and performed plays in English literature. In 1961, West Side Story took the movie industry by storm and claimed itself the most acclaimed motion picture of [its] time. The story of two star-crossed lovers from opposing New York City gangs won ten Oscars and its lives on in high school auditoriums and stereos across the country. The writers of West Side Story, however, had a plot framework from the late 16th century in mind, nearly guaranteeing the most acclaimed motion picture of their time.

In early years of his career, William Shakespeare wrote a drama people continue to romantically quote. The Westside Story creators used the dramatic demigod’s hit play Rome and Juliet as the blueprints for their modernized version. By changing the setting and the backgrounds of the character, screenwriters Jerome Robbins and Arthur Laurents created a modern day Romeo and Juliet in their characters Maria and Tony.

Ironically, though, even Shakespeare dabbled in the larceny is genius philosophy, for he twisted many of his plots from other authors’ works. Some scholars contend Shakespeare spun Romeo and Juliet from Tristan and Isolde, a romance from the Middle Ages. A Hollywood remake of this play recently was released in theatres. Other movies masking themselves as new ideas include the teen-marketed 10 Things I Hate About You (Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew ) and She’s All That (George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, which also inspired the adaptors of My Fair Lady ).

There are films deliberately and directly adapted from books. Movies such as Lord of the Rings, though abridged for time concerns, keep the same basic plotlines and major characters. Other popular adaptations include Pride and Prejudice and the Harry Potter series. Criticism can justifiably arrive when directors and screenwriters begin to change point of views or personal philosophies take shape in the film, as in Mel Gibson purportedly did in The Passion of the Christ.

The book-to-movie adaptations, whether subtle or explicit, flood the aisles of video stores and attract viewer’s attention with their advertisements in the entertainment sections. Before you visit your local movie theatre, dust off the classic pieces of literature sitting ornamentally on the bookshelf in your living room. You can play detective and investigate the infinite amount of literary crimes in Hollywood.

Across The Blackboard: Commonly Taught Literature

In the midst of sixteen years of schooling, including four years at college, many readers find themselves weary and unenthusiastic when it comes to reading for required literature courses. This exhausted reaction may be attributed to continual re-assignments of classic works of fiction throughout the years.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Scarlet Letter and Of Mice and Men are all commonly taught pieces of literature high school and college students can expect to see on one or more syllabi throughout their educational duration.

While each of these repetitious assignments is culturally relevant and artistically crafted, eagerness subsides and questions begin to develop regarding who authorizes which texts have enough merit to be taught. With an endless array of richly-engaging texts, high school teachers and college professors frequently manage to choose primarily the same novels to teach to their classrooms. Ironically, the word ‘novel’ literally means new, yet academia continues to use the old. Students young and old often have read the same novels as one another during their time in school.

Some of the most popular novels teachers monotonously include in their syllabi every year include Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Each of these famous American novels is centered on major moral American downfalls or notorious scandals in the United States.

For example, Twain’s regionally-guided text has gained academic popularity and canonized literary status because of the author’s use of derogatory slang and the memorably picaresque adventures of his adolescent, morally-ambiguous protagonist. Yet, the most intriguing element of Twain’s text lies beneath the mischievous actions and presence of blatant racial slurs during the 19th century. Huck’s older confidant Jim juxtaposes well with the young Huck, and their relationship is memorable, signifying why many teachers continue to utilize this exciting and morally-relevant journey down the Mississippi River.

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, one of the most popular novels in all of literature, contains a high, but accessible level of symbolism and epitomizes the ubiquitous and unparalleled popular attraction to the American dream. Set during the recognizably money-hungry era of the Roaring Twenties, it dictates the eventual fall of the stock market, the legal implementation of Prohibition and the glitz and glamour of flappers and socialites.
Fitzgerald’s American classic pinpoints the life of a self-made man, Gatsby, and his eventually fatal downfall. Told through the eyes of Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby attracts many teachers and professors because of its classic conflict between moral values and greedy capitalism, its purely American-driven themes and its ironic twists and turns.

Perhaps as popular as Fitzgerald’s tour de force, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has become a reliable staple of educational literature taught in classrooms across the country. First published in 1960 and winner of the 1961 Pulitzer Prize, To Kill a Mockingbird reminds its readers of the disgusting, inhumane nature of bigotry. The story provides a compassionate hero in one of the most memorable characters in literature, Atticus Finch. Lee’s unforgettable novel demands compassion while tragically narrating the violent rippling effects of racism. Its glowing theme reminds readers of the true meaning behind humanity.

Regardless of their merit, some students and tuition-paying parents may still wonder why the same highlighted, note-ridden pages of literature find their ways in thousands of backpacks every year. These novels include Toni Morrison’s The Song of Solomon, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage. It is an issue of power and authority, and the answer lies in the elusive, but omnipresent canon of literature in American academics.

While there are anthologies and lists of works arguing the merit of certain novels, there is not a specifically-designated, singular group collectively deciding which books are included and which are exiled. Who dictates whether students will read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, or whether Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God contains enough literary value for academic instruction? This group of literary authorities is comprised of significant members of academia, publishers and occasionally parents.

A shared thread runs through many of the commonly taught pieces of literature. Like all pieces of art, literature is bound in history. This country’s biography is deeply rooted in strict, moral codes of religion, specifically Protestantism. It should be no surprise then that a majority of our famous works deal with major moral decadence and moments of ethical indifference. The protagonists lose their moral compass and must find their way back to the ethical avenue.

At the heart of each of these commonly taught novels lies the critical reason why teachers across the country choose to constantly assign these masterpiece novels: morality and the hope for an eventual ethical epiphany in the reader.

Creative Inight On Popular Culture: Chuck Klosterman

Pop Culture: Chuck Klosterman’s Wit and Insight

Chuck Klosterman watches a seemingly inordinate amount of television. He also rocks out to Black Sabbath, Radiohead and Fleetwood Mac. He devours all that pop culture indiscriminately puts on his dryly sarcastic, insightful and post-modern intellectual plate.

The senior Spin magazine writer has gained popularity outside of the well-known publication in his lengthy cultural commentary, “Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto.”

Klosterman’s self-proclaimed manifesto can be scathingly funny, occasionally so hysterical readers are prone to lose any audio while laughing (see “Track 7: George Will versus Nick Hornby”), and it will dramatically change the way many view MTV’s “The Real World,” “Saved By the Bell” and the uncool genius of Billy Joel’s music.

Klosterman’s work is not solely a basic satirical summation of why people passionately cared (or for some, still care) about the shallow love triangle between “Saved by the Bell” characters Zack, Kelly and Slater, or a general acknowledgement of the annoyance soccer moms consistently bring to American suburbia. Using post-modernism as his theoretical backdrop, the writer dives into the representations of reality often misinterpreted as insignificant actions and images.

The comedic breadth of this North Dakota native is expansive, and his analysis extends well beyond the superfluous, rudimentary and saccharine spectrum of teen-oriented television or the arguments over the coolness of certain musicians and the reverberations of rock music today.

Klosterman also occasionally writes for ESPN.
His mastery of sports knowledge and its inclusion in the social and cultural paradigm is evident through his writing. He can construct certain cultural tastes based on whether or not a person rooted for the traditional Boston Celtics or the entertaining Los Angeles Lakers during the 1980s. For example, in terms of rap music, if one is a Lakers’ fan he or she is likely to support Ice Cube and NWA, but the Celtics enthusiasts are likely bob their heads to Eminem, “the only white guy who can keep up.”

Klosterman divides “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs” creatively and fittingly into a form resembling a CD. Each chapter represents a track with brief interludes of sporadic and philosophical wonderments. In one of the funniest interludes, Klosterman gives his readers 23 questions whose answers determine whether or not they can love another person. To begin, he narrates a certain dilemma, and while it is atypical, one gets the idea Klosterman has done some serious thinking and moral consideration with these topics. One of these moral, pop culture dilemmas include whether or not a person would allow a gorilla to suit up for the Oakland Raiders if they were the general manager. Absurd? Of course. Intelligent and humorous? Absolutely.

Besides this acclaimed manifesto and contributing to the likes of Spin, The New York Times Magazine and G.Q., Klosterman also has written two other books, “Fargo Rock City” and “Killing Yourself to Live.” While these two works may not be as exclusively aimed to dissect the paradigm of popular culture, they match the same off-tangent humor, insightful wit and naturally inquisitive base “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs” is so strongly founded upon. Chuck Klosterman rarely seems to become full of the buffet of representations pop culture incessantly offers.

Contemporary Voice: Ian McEwan

A master in controlling time and narrative flow. A sophisticated journalistic style that is unrivaled in the 21st century. A Virginia Woolf-like understanding of daily moments of fate within the public sphere.

While contemporary author Ian McEwan does not limit himself only to these effective literary techniques, he has proven himself to be unobtrusively adept in eliciting empathy and emotion from his readers across the globe.

Born on June 21, 1948, McEwan graduated from the University of Essex with a degree in English Literature and continued his education at the University of East Anglia to pursue a Master of Arts in English Literature. During his post-graduate experience at East Anglia, McEwan discovered the creative, boundless vocation of writing, providing him with the ability to emotionally touch and challenge readers across every ocean.

McEwan’s literary career began appropriately in 1975 with an award-winning collection of short stores called First Love, Last Rites. The author’s success has only continued to increase 30 years later. In 1997, McEwan welcomed critical acclaim to his first novel, Enduring Love, and one year later, his novella Amsterdam received the prestigious Booker Prize for contemporary literature.

McEwan also received critical and popular praise in 2001 for his well-crafted and multi-perspective novel Atonement.
Set in the 1930s, McEwan uses a girl aspiring to become a renowned author as his protagonist and, in doing so, explores the difficulty in separating reality from fiction and the muddled consequences in confusing the two. Like famous author Virginia Woolf, McEwan changes narrators, only without the stream-of-consciousness effect Woolf famously utilized.

His latest work has solidified McEwan as one of the most respected and talented contemporary writers. As the winner of the 2005 James Tait Black Award, Saturday resembles Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway in its setting and sense of weary anticipation toward the uncontrollable. Saturday follows neurosurgeon Henry Perowne during one day in 2003, with the unfortunate, catastrophic events of Sept. 11 still lingering in the rearview mirror of McEwan’s novel. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, McEwan has frequently spoken about the global consequences of the attacks, the developing fear of future attacks and the lack of morality and empathy in the zealous religious fundamentalists.

As a self-proclaimed atheist who subtly resembles an agnostic at times, McEwan claims morality derives from the ability to empathize and the power of imagination, rather than a set of supreme laws from what he calls sky gods.

Though he may have involuntarily received the role of the post-Sept. 11 literary voice, McEwan is a writer both readers and literary critics can rely upon for engaging plots, interesting developments and human characters, complete with character insufficiencies and admirable virtues.

His works have already entered the chalkboard-covered walls of many classrooms in both Europe and America, and many of McEwan’s writings will surely find a permanent place in the future academic canon of English literature.

Bridging Cultures: Jhumpa Lahiri

In her first novel The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri writes, “Though they are home they are disconcerted by the space, by the uncompromising silence that surrounds them. They still feel somehow in transit, still disconnected from their lives, bound up in an alternate schedule, an intimacy only the four of them share.”

While The Namesake is not the work earning Jhumpa Lahiri her initial critical praise and the coveted Pulitzer Prize, it does specify the major celebrated themes of her writings.

Born in London, England, in 1967, Lahiri grew up in an academic family with Bengali roots; her parents were a teacher and a librarian, respectively. After enrolling at New York City’s Barnard College, the future Pulitzer Prize winner graduated an English major in 1989. Aggressively pursuing post-graduate degrees, Lahiri earned two master’s degrees, Creative Writing and Comparative Studies in Literature and Arts, as well as a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies from Boston University.

After teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design and Boston University, the acclaimed author wrote The Interpreter of Maladies, a collection of short stories which invite readers to experience the complications of many Indian-Americans and Indian immigrants in America. Lahiri seamlessly guides her reader in the opening story, “A Temporary Matter,” through the ins-and-outs of an Indian-American couple’s courtship, marriage and the inevitable challenges the union brings. In the final story, The Third and Final Continent, she intimately plugs her reader into the budding life of a newly immigrated academic in America.

Lahiri’s unique subjects and distinctive perspectives quickly brought rewards: The Interpreter of Maladies received numerous critical accolades, including the Pulitzer Prize and the 1999 O. Henry Award for her story “The Interpreter of Maladies.”

Lahiri’s highly-anticipated second book was her first novel. Appropriately titled The Namesake, it explores cultural identity, social adaptation and the tension between tradition and youth. The reader witnesses the maturation of Gogol, an American-born Bengali, and his struggle with his familial history and the exciting, luring American culture. Filled with the symbolic disgust of Gogol’s own name and the subtle, but present moments of confinement, Lahiri again has granted her audience an entertaining, culturally relevant and artistically-written and structured piece of writing. The Namesake recently was adapted into a screenplay, opening in theatres by November 2006.

With two best-selling works, Lahiri clearly has emerged as an up-and-coming talent and a young, authoritative voice of the multicultural American. In a March 6, 2006, Newsweek article, Lahiri admittedly professes “like many immigrant offspring I felt intense pressure to be two things, loyal to the old world and fluent in the new, approved of on either side of the hyphen.”

While Lahiri proclaims she often feels torn between the modern and traditional world, the literary world has shown absolutely no signs of being torn about the young talent who continues to provide readers with a significant glimpse into the personal development of a diversifying America.


Historiographical Metafiction Historiographical metafiction is a literary genre derived from the post-modern literature movement. Post-modern literature posits that there is no singular absolute truth, but instead only the existence of multiple truths. The post-modern movement emphasized the subjective experience

Oprahs Book Club

While walking through a grid of aisles encasing stacks of literature, the covers of certain books may quickly catch a reader’s attention, especially if a book is donned with a coveted stamp of approval. Occasionally, a circular golden emblem will symbolize a novel’s great literary achievement. However, it is Oprah Winfrey’s stamp of approval currently validating works of literature.

Labeled the biggest book club in the world, Oprah’s Book Club has captivated an elusive segment of America’s population, an audience generally known to tune into reality television, dramatic hour-long television shows and common thirty-minute sitcoms rather than open a book.

Oprah, arguably the most popular television figure in the world and one of the wealthiest women across the globe, chose a mixture of literary classics and contemporary best-sellers to become inaugurated into her elite book club. Over the span of its 10-year duration, Oprah’s Book Club has popularized reading within her audience demographic.

In 1996, the talk-show host’s loyal audience of mainly female viewers was introduced to Oprah’s Book Club. In its first year, Oprah’s Book Club assigned three books: Jane Hamilton’s “The Book of Ruth,” Jacquelyn Mitchard’s “The Deep End of the Ocean” and Toni Morrison’s critically praised and highly symbolic “Song of Solomon.”

An acclaimed novelist, Morrison is a favorite in Oprah’s Book Club; Oprah has selected four of Morrison’s novels. Other notable selections in the club’s early years include “White Oleander” by Janet Finch, “She’s Come Undone” by Wally Lamb, “Black and Blue” by Anna Quindlen and “House of Sand and Fog” by Andres Dubus III.

The primary focus of Oprah’s Book Club’s selection switched from contemporary to classic novels in 2003. Oprah’s widespread reading group delved into John Steinbeck’s American classic, “East of Eden,” as well as Alan Paton’s work about the apartheid in South Africa, “Cry, Beloved Country. ” In 2004, the talk-show host assigned Leo Tolstoy’s Russian classic “Anna Karenina” and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s groundbreaking work of magical realism, “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

A year later, Oprah’s Book Club ambitiously chose three William Faulkner works, including “The Sound and the Fury,” which is commonly considered the most complicated work of American fiction. Readers soon grew tired of Oprah’s elevation of classic novels over contemporary works. After fans and writers sent a petition to Oprah’s Book Club, it began re-exploring contemporary works.

When Oprah selected James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces” in 2005, the sobering and stunning memoir about overcoming drug addiction catapulted to the top of readers’ lists. After initially supporting Frey despite an aggressive attack on the author’s credibility, Oprah invited Frey to her show several months later and chastised the author for inventing many of the significant details of his memoir. Though the talk-show host revoked her support for the now-infamous author, the hour-long show served as a catalyst for an important discussion on the definition of memoir and the authority of memoirists and autobiographers.

While Oprah has been criticized for choosing only sentimental works, Oprah’s Book Club continues to keep the country moving their eyes across the pages of many quality books. The most recent book, Elie Wiesel’s award-winning biography “Night,” reached the top spot in non-fiction paperbacks segment of the New York Times Bestseller’s List in February 2006. Clearly, Oprah not only holds the eyes of millions of television viewers, but also thousands of consumers’ eyes at the bookshop.

Evolution Of Feminism In Literature

The Life of Dead Paper

In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, an interior decoration color symbolizes the revolt against gender oppression and sparks a wave of early literary feminism.

Gilman wrote the academically-popular short story to show her utter disappointment with a medically-prescribed lifestyle which she claims came so near the borderline of utter mental ruin.

Gilman was given the professional medical advice in 1887 to live as domestic life as possible and to have but two hours’ intellectual life a day…never to touch a pen, brush, or pencil again as she openly admits in a brief epilogue called Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.

Gilman’s literary approach to feminism became a proclamation against discriminating medical assessments and would become crucial in the subsequent feminism movements. Its undercurrents forcefully aimed to level the intellectual and creative playing field between men and women. Gilman’s seemingly unbearable and currently unthinkable lifestyle prescription is the silent antagonist at the heart of her plot.

Written in the form of seamless journal entries, the short story begins with Gilman’s narrator indicating it is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John [her husband] and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer. The reader eventually becomes aware of John’s typical 20th century oppressive behavior toward women. John, a physician and thus archetypically a man of only reason and scientific evidence, hardly lets [her] stir without special direction. Simply put, he deflates intellectual productivity and deters her from any individuality or self-reliance.

The narrator is sentenced to a torturing and repellant yellow-colored room constantly described as a grotesque. By the end of the story, Gilman’s intellectually numb protagonist has fallen stricken to the 19th century illness of hysteria, and began seeing an image of a woman inside the hideous wall’s binding pattern.
However, the repercussions of Gilman’s classic text go well-beyond bashing certain interior designs, into the traditional gender relations in the 19th century and sparking early literary feminism.

Gilman’s story was a defiantly honest manifesto representing the voice of many American women during this period, who were labeled as atypically emotional and deemed to be suffering from hysteria. The Yellow Wallpaper is an artistically-effective attempt to refute these sexually-biased, medical and cultural accusations of American women’s emotional and psychological conditions.

Gilman’s nameless protagonist calls her journal entries dead paper since they are not supposed to exist and because there is only one intended reader, the writer. Her prescription had the opposite effect of its intentions; it fostered critical thinking and creative intellectualism. A century later, The Yellow Wallpaper is far from flat-lining; its cultural relevance continues to breathe, keeping the importance of gender equality alive.

In effect, Gilman’s work is one of the first American texts on feminism, although the term ‘feminism’ had yet to be coined. Since The Yellow Wallpaper arrived, feminism has evolved within American society. Its fluctuating purpose continues to develop. Many American women during the mid-20th century continued to identify with Gilman’s secluded protagonist. Social commentaries like Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and the photography of Cindy Sherman continued to shed the light on the oppression of women and their domestic prisons, paving the way for feminism’s ideals.

In her famous sociological and historical text, Friedan discusses the intellectual and psychological confinement many American females suffered from during the 1950s and 1960s.

Using a plethora of phallic symbols representing the male’s undying presence in every aspect of the female’s life, Cindy Sherman’s photography artistically and, occasionally scarily, portrays the American woman subdued by the dull monotony of kitchen life in male-dominated America. Unafraid of the topic of sexuality, just like Friedan explicitly takes on and Gilman subtly exposes, Sherman paints a sexually-charged, but repressed reality via film exploring the power struggle between man and woman.

Social Changes In Literature

Art aims to move. It is thoughtfully constructed to pull emotions and ultimately inspire some kind of kinesis, whether physical, emotional or psychological. Simple artistic forms can yield complicated, historical social change.

Literature belongs in this artistic class since it often aims for social change. Race, gender and religion are three cultural powerhouses scrutinized by the writer’s pen and its investigative ink.

In American history, race may be the most addressed issue within the realm of literature, especially the institution of slavery, an issue Mark Twain feverishly undertook in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” With his memorable American wit, Twain’s novel forced readers to consider the brotherhood which could exist between two seemingly polarized races. Scholars and critics continue to analyze the relationship between Huck and Jim, who unite two cultures on an epic and symbolic adventure. While Twain displayed the social stratification of a black man and a white adolescent boy, the American satirist wove a heartfelt relationship between two Americans who society thought should never have shared a moment together outside the plantation fields. Twain made this friendship possible based purely on colorblind characters. Later literary works expanded on this topic, such as Martin Luther King’s historically rich epistle “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and John Howard Griffin’s non-fiction expose “Black Like Me,” where the journalist underwent skin treatments to darken his skin, living in the segregated South as a black man.

Race relations in the United States are not the only fight for equality urging American writers to action. In the early 20th century, the oppression of women raced to the cultural forefront, especially after World War II and its subsequent geographical introduction of the suburbs.
Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” chastised the domestic repression of American women, who were prisoners in their own suburban households.

Friedan was not the first female author in the U.S. to encourage social change. Kate Chopin’s classic short novel “The Awakening” awoke many female readers and stunned most of her male audience. Written in the late 19th century, Chopin explored the female sexuality of a southern belle. Her work still has relevance in the 21st century as it is marked with temptations of adultery, the attractions of individual freedom and the imprisoning social expectations women. Other pieces of literature tackling this issue for social change include Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Hurston’s work, which Oprah Winfrey adapted for a television movie starring Halle Berry, focuses on the sexual independence of a Southern black woman.

Uncivil behavior homosexuality marks the repression of the 21st century. It is not yet determined which literature will push for this social change. Writers such as E. Annie Proulx, author of “Brokeback Mountain,” and Z.Z. Packer, author of “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere,” have represented legitimate authors giving this issue momentum in American culture.

Not all socially-charged works require a controversial war or historical rift between two or more American subcultures. Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” has sparked movements in Catholicism. While Brown’s best-seller is far from a classic piece of literature, it undoubtedly questioned which cultural values and traditions will prevail.

A book’s physical simplicity may seem unremarkable, but within the seemingly-bland columns of words lies the possibility for social change. A single page of literature can ultimately change the dimensions of any society. These typed words have ignited revolutions, stormed over oppressive institutions and altered the constantly-shifting shape of the world.

Prestigious Book Awards

While perusing through the collection of books at your favorite book store, you may notice a metallic-colored imprint on the cover of certain works. It is a sign of quality fiction with arresting plot lines, complex characters and culturally-pertinent themes. These book awards are literary badges of honor denoting masterpieces of literature which showcase an author’s fascinating, socially-relevant voice.

With fiction being the largest genre of books, a vast amount of book awards comes with the territory.

Administered by Columbia University, The Pulitzer Prize is often considered the greatest book award an author can receive. The first Pulitzer awards were given in 1917 with the fiction category introduced in 1948. Winners of this prestigious honor include Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Norman Mailer’s “The Executioner’s Song,” Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and Jhumpa Lahiri’s collection of short stories, “The Interpreter of Maladies.”

While most consider the Pulitzer to be the highest honor, the Nobel Prize for Literature does not fall short of prestige and historical achievement. With past winners including J.M. Coetzee, Toni Morrison, Saul Bellow and Jean-Paul Sartre, the list is complete with a dream team of artistic and philosophical writers. According to Alfred Nobel’s will, the Nobel Prize for Literature is selected by a committee of three to five people and receives $10 million for producing the most outstanding work in a chosen field.

The Man Booker Prize, or the Booker Award, is awarded in Britain to the best work of contemporary fiction.
As of 2006, The Man Booker Prize is entering its 38th year and has crowned authors such as Ian McEwan, Alan Hollinghurst, Margaret Atwood and J.M. Coetzee. According to its website, any novel can win this particular book award, but the work cannot be self-published and must be written in the English language.

In America, the PEN Faulkner Award is highly regarded. Sponsored by PEN (Poets, Playwrights, Essayists, Editors and Novelists), the Faulkner Award, named after the classic American author of “The Sound and the Fury” and “As I Lay Dying,” acknowledges an exceptional work of fiction and is selected by a committee of fiction writers. Winners of this book award include Don DeLillo, E. Annie Proulx and Philip Roth.

While authors write the books, critics have the power to sustain or strangle the work’s legacy. The National Book Critics Circle Award is one of the ways to solidify certain works’ deserved recognition. The National Book Critics Circle is composed of 700 book reviewers promoting great works and recognizing literary excellence via its book award. Past winners include Ian McEwan, Ernest J. Gaines, Cormac McCarthy and John Updike.

With an understanding of some of the most significant book awards, you can select your next read with more precision and passion, arriving at your own conclusion as to whether the work deserves critical acclaim. After reading the book, award yourself for pursuing a quality piece of printed art.

Rare And Out-of-Print Books

Though books, including classic works of literature, drama and satire, can introduce readers to different emotional spaces and inspire fresh and seemingly-transcendent perspectives, they ultimately are a product. As consumers in the 21st century, people never completely leave the marketplace. Books are as involved in the overwhelming traffic of the marketplace as gold, cars and real estate.

If a literary product fails to sell and make profit, then the publisher will terminate any future publication of the work, leaving the book out-of-print and left to a limited population.

For example, Madonna’s infamous and promiscuous book Sex was published by Warner Brothers in 1992. Besides the loyal Madonna worshippers able to recite verbatim every lyric from the Immaculate Collection, this provocative take on 20th century sex was a poor seller. Consequently, Warner Brothers, the all-encompassing media mogul, decided to permanently shelve the work and halt any future publication. Since it reached the publication graveyard, Madonna’s Sex has been resurrected to become highly valued as an out-of-print book; the cheapest listing on is $68.

Besides the Material Girl’s photographic thesis on the highest form of physical intimacy, other famous out-of-print books include Winston Churchill’s World Crisis, a personal history on World War I by the famous British Prime Minister.
Even the work of literary giants, such as Hunter S. Thompson’s Curse of Lono and Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here, made the list of popular out-of-print books. Evidently, no author, no matter the extent of his or her critical acclaim, is immune to succumbing to the terminal disease of being out-of-print.

As in the case of Madonna’s book, many rare and out-of-print books can experience a resurrection; however, this will not happen though its original publisher. This revitalization is ironically due to the same powerful, abstract entity responsible for kicking it to the curb years before: the marketplace.

With Web sites like E-Bay and Amazon, no book is ever off of the market and no reader is ever left wondering if their beloved, out-of-print text has disappeared forever. The Internet is the unlikely savior of initial literary failures and has resuscitated the lives of thousands of books, ranging from topics like Irish-knitting to letterpress printing. Other sites to uncover rare and out-of-print books include, and Also, local used bookshops frequently shelve written diamonds in the rough within their dusty, but textually-fertile shelves.

An afterlife does exist within the marketplace of literary products. With the likes of the Internet and quaint vintage bookstores, finding a rare or out-of-print book is a possibility. All it requires is access to the Internet, eager persistence and an ironic sense of gratitude to the marketplace of books.

Online Books In An Electronic Age

Online Books

You probably could have predicted its eventual movement to the ubiquitous, all-encompassing Internet. You can buy groceries, pay bills and even purchase three-bedroom homes online. So, of course, reading an online book or e-book, or downloading and audio version onto an iPod, may not seem as outlandish as it did more than a decade ago.

Reading books has an established place in American normalcy. Readers can peruse their Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer versions of “The Da Vinci Code,” “A Million Little Pieces” and “A Purpose Driven Life” on planes or public transportation, without minor annoyances like torn pages, lost bookmarks and bent covers. You can essentially find any of your favorite books in the form of an online book or audio e-book.

Finding online books and e-books is easy. The simplest way is to use your favorite search engine, or you can visit some of the most popular e-book stores like and To download the audio book onto your Blackberry or iPod, you can visit most music Web sites and download the audio books just as you would an mp3 file.

However, traditionalists and lovers of books may argue against the inherent worth of an online book. While convenience and the quick gratification elements of the Internet are often the arguments supporting the implementation of Web technology, the questions frequently following these assertions are the same for books.

Some believe the Internet is taking away from the most genuine aspects of reading—holding the text itself. Just as some musicians find the power in grasping the album cover, fervent readers and writers find the philosophical, emotional and revolutionary power in possession. Many also find reading online books can create physical discomfort. Researchers have found sitting at a computer screen for an extended amount of time can harm eye sight or create neck and back pain.

Does the design of a computer, its architectural layout—like the one you are currently reading from—affect how one reads? Or does the lack of physically turning a page affect how the reader progresses through and understands the work?


The Novel

A novel is a long fictional narrative prose that is typically more than 50,000 words and contains characters, action, and a plot. Novels are written for various purposes and can be used as a form of entertainment, propaganda, personal expression, and social critique. It is essentially a work of imagination that is grounded in reality.

The novel is a fairly recent genre of fiction that has existed for only the past 300 years.

The word novel comes from the Italian word novella which refers to a prose tale that was popular during the Renaissance. The novel has its roots in past forms of short story prose such as Elizabethan prose fiction, French heroic romance, and Spanish picaresque tales. Cervantes Don Quixote written in 1605 is considered the most important precursor to the novel. The format evolved form the desire to realistically depict and interpret the human character in a social situation. The official emergence came with the appearance of Daniel Defoe’s Robin Crusoe written in 1719. The novel then quickly began to thrive during the 18th century in Europe.

There are several elements that make up a novel: plot, character, setting, and scope. The plot is a story line depicting a series of events involving both the characters and their actions. In order for the plot of a novel to be effective it must have context in the form of character, action, and setting. The characters are personalities in the story with unique qualities. Novels differ from other types of literature in that it places more emphasis on character. The setting is the environment of the novel. Setting not only includes geographic location but also the social climate, historical period, atmosphere, and social traditions. The final element is the scope or length. A novel differs from a short story in that it is longer, more complex, and deals with multiple issues that affect its characters.

There are many different types of novels. Genres range from romance, historical fiction, science fiction, to mystery, thriller, and satire. Novels are also categorized by the literary periods in which they were written in. Although novels contain essential elements, many authors have exercised artistic license by experimenting with certain styles. Authors have experimented with point of view, word play, the passage of time, and other literary techniques. Different forms of literary criticism have evolved to better understand the complexities that make up novels.

Epic Poetry

Epic Poetry

An epic poem is a long narrative poem documenting the exploits of a hero in relation to the beliefs and culture of his or her society. An epic poem serves as a tool to summarize, express, and preserve the ideals and mythical and historical traditions of a nation during a critical period of its history.

Epic poetry always deals with persons and events that are considered to be historically real by the poet and the poet’s audience. The emphasis of an epic poem is national rather than individual in that the quest of the hero serves to gratify a sense of national pride.

For a poem to be considered an epic poem it must contain certain elements. An epic poem is written in a long narrative form that differs from a narrative poem in terms of scale. Epic poems are written in a high style that avoids popular meter and verse patterns and makes wide use of similes. The heroes in epic poems are always gods or goddesses, or extraordinary men or women of great national or cosmic significance. The heroes are able to undertake superhuman deeds involving some sort of conflict or battle. There should also be a main antagonist who is often supernatural as well as various mythical, human, or animal helpers.

The epic poem usually begins with the announcement of the subject or quest that is undertaken. This is followed by an invocation of the Muse by the hero seeking guidance or instruction. The action begins in media res, a literary device in which the narrative starts in the middle of the story instead of from the beginning. The characters, setting, and conflict are then introduced through a series of flashbacks. The hero then begins to make catalogs of warriors, ships, and armies. This is usually followed by formal speeches, a journey to the underworld, and a battle in which the hero usually uses a weapon of supernatural origin. All the while the hero is making use of the epic simile which differs from a regular simile in that is is more elaborate and more ornate.

Epic poems can be divided into 2 classes: oral epic poetry and literary epic poetry. Oral epic poems are the product of preliterate societies and their oral poetic traditions. They were orally designed with specific details and sounds to capture the audience’s attention. Oral epic poems were usually written down after centuries of oral transmission. The first recorded early epic poem is the Sumerian Gilgamesh. Other well known examples of oral epic poetry include Beowulf and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Literary epic poems are literary poems written in imitation of oral epic poems. Writing a literary epic poem requires considerable research and knowledge about the form and style of oral epic poetry. Some well known examples of literary epic poems include Virgil’s Aeneid and Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Haiku Poetry

The Haiku

The haiku is a form of poetry that derives from a 16th century form of Japanese poetry. It is considered a minimalist form of poetry mainly due to its brevity. The structure consists of a 17 syllable verse structured in three lines of 5-7-5 syllables.

The lines in the poem are not rhymed. The purpose of the haiku is to serve as an expression of an epiphany or insight. The poem is designed to take an ordinary moment in time and render it extraordinary.

The haiku derives from a type of Japanese court poetry called a tanka. The tanka was popular during the 9th-12th centuries and was written to explore religious and courtly themes. The structure of the tanka consisted of five lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. The first part of the poem was called the hokku or starting verse . The hokku set the tone for the rest of the poem. The father of the tanka is considered to be a 16th century Japanese monk named Basho. However, it was in 1892 that Masasoka Shiki shortened the tanka up to the hokku which is where the modern haiku primarily evolved from.

There are many different opinions as to what elements comprise a haiku. Traditionally, the haiku was to have a seasonal reference called a kigo. However, most modern day haikus do not contain it. Most poetry experts agree there are two critical components to the poem. One is the turn or shift which usually occurs between the second and third lines. The turn is a shift in perspective that juxtaposes the other images in the poem. Essentially, the poem must have a juxtaposition in which two elements or lines in the poem indirectly relate to the third line.

The second critical component is an epiphany or insight. The content or subject of the poem is something a person sees in everyday life that has suddenly taken on a more important meaning. The poem is supposed to capture a moment in time. Due to its emphasis on being in the moment the haiku is frequently associated with Zen Buddhism. Both place a high value on the present moment and human interactions with nature. However, haiku poetry does not aim to serve a religious or philosophical purpose. Instead, it is spiritual in nature and strives to see beauty and meaning in the ordinary.