All posts by BooksAvenue

BooksAvenue is the FIRST Singapore online book blogshop for book lovers! This project is started by 2 Singaporean book lovers, Adam and Alexa, rendering a service to the reading community. Started in February 2012, the 2 founders strive hard to materialize this dream, bringing people closer to literature and art. Feel free to write to us through Facebook, and be sure to bookmark us for regular updates! https://www.facebook.com/BooksAvenue http://booksavenue.co

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

 

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Originally published: 1997
Original title: Чернобыльская молитва
Authors: Svetlana Alexievich
Page count: 256 pages (Paperback)
Publisher: Picador; 1 edition (April 18, 2006)
Subjects: Political Science
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312425848
ISBN-13: 978-0312425845
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
Awards: National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction

 

100 Word Book Review:

 

An extremely depressing and devasting book that compiles 500 eyewitnesses, including firefighters, rescuers, cleanup crews, politicians, physicians, physicists and ordinary citizens over a period of 10 years. The author has effectively captured the details of misery, confusion and misinformation on the effects of radiation from the terrible disaster. From the narrations from various parties, it gives different experience and perspectives through the victims/survivors’ eyes. It is clear at that point of time that there was a horrible lack of information of radiation effects on humans. Lives were lost right after the explosion, and many, many, more after that.

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SINGAPORE CHRONICLES: GOVERNANCE

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Originally published: 21 December 2016
Authors: Ho, Peter / Shroff, Anuradha / Tan, Codey / See, Hazel / Leong, Lena
Page count: 136
Publisher: Straits Times Press
Country: Singapore
Subjects: Political Science
ISBN: 978-981-4747-19-6
Size: 129 mm x 196 mm (portrait)
Estimated weight: 175 grams

 

100 Word Book Review:

This is a 50 volume series documenting the challenges that Singapore faced after Independence, shaped by its leaders’ long-term vision. The main key aspects of Singapore’s governance – incorruptibility, pragmatism and meritocracy. It also elaborates the roles played by institutions, strategies and policies in place to counter check any deviations. While Singapore has inherited part of the British System, it poses pragmatic problems too. There is a need to depart from welfarism because it saps people’s self-reliance and the need to excel and succeed. A good concise reference book for understanding the basis of Singapore’s public policy and principles of governance.

 

 

 

 

The Authors

Mr Peter Ho was Head of Singapore’s civil service, concurrent with his other appointments as Permanent Secretary (Foreign Affairs), Permanent Secretary (National Security and Intelligence Coordination), and Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) in the Prime Minister’s Office. Before that, he was Permanent Secretary (Defence). He is now the Senior Advisor to the Centre for Strategic Futures, where he continues to pursue his interests in good governance and strategic foresight. He is also Chairman of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore, and a Senior Fellow in the Civil Service College Singapore.

Ms Anuradha Shroff is a Lead Researcher in the Institute of Governance and Policy in the Civil Service College (CSC) Singapore. She is also a facilitator and trainer for the CSC’s leadership and public policy programmes. Her current research focus is on the relevance and application of complexity theories to public policy and leadership. She was previously a lead strategist and facilitator with the Strategic Policy Office, Public Service Division.

Mr Codey Tan is an Assistant Manager in the Institute of Public Sector Leadership in the Civil Service College (CSC) Singapore. He is also a facilitator for the CSC’s public policy programmes. His research interest lies in public sector governance and the application of complexity theories to public policy. He was previously with the Centre for Public Economics, CSC.

Ms Hazel See is a Senior Manager in the Strategic Planning and Development unit in the Civil Service College (CSC) Singapore. Besides writing thought articles and case studies, she has led training consultancy projects for public sector organisations and regularly facilitates leadership and policy milestone training programmes. Her research interests include public-sector governance, policy and service management. She has been with the CSC since 2010 and was previously with the Ministry of Education.

Ms Lena Leong is a Deputy Director and Principal Learning and Development Specialist in the Civil Service College International in the Civil Service College (CSC) Singapore. She has facilitated Public Administration and Reform programmes for international participants. Her research interests are in public administration and management, organisation change and leadership. She was previously with the Institute of Leadership and Organisation Development and the Centre for Governance and Leadership, CSC.

Sex at Dawn

sex-at-dawn

Originally published: June 29, 2010
Authors: Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jethá
Page count: 384
Publisher: HarperCollins
Country: United States of America
Subjects: Human sexuality, Anthropology

 

100 Word Book Review:

Humans evolved but primal instincts remain. Men and women are wired to seek different objectives. Sex is viewed differently across societies, cultures and species; chimpanzees, gorilla, orangutan and gibbon. Sex was an expression of friendship, with no coercion and was offered willingly. For some, it is a transaction, a barter trade by sex as a means to gain access to resources and/or social standing. ‘Make love not war’ is especially true for bonobos who have sex to ensure close bondings among the group. A light-hearted book that explores sexuality from then till now across all human and apes.

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

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Originally published: October 20, 2009

Authors: Stephen J. Dubner, Steven Levitt

Genre: Non-fiction

Publisher: William Morrow and Company

Country: USA

100 Word Book Review:

Economics is the science which studies human behaviour through motivation and choices. Through the authors, economist Levitt and journalist Dubner, they explore and demystify social issues that yield bizarre and interesting results. Social questions such as how are street prostitutes like a department-store Santa, why blow jobs are much less expensive now compared to the past, why terrorists are usually from middle class but not from the poorer families as commonly thought, and etc. These issues are presented in a concise yet detailed manner, allowing anyone with zero economic knowledge to understand the possibilities, and rationale behind such societal phenomenon.

100

The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

Originally published: April 6, 2010
Author: David Remnick
Page count: 672
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Nominations: Goodreads Choice Awards Best History & Biography

 

 

 

100 Word Book Review:

The Bridge refers to the police attack on demonstrators at at Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965, during the marches of Selma to Montgomery. Some viewed as a bridging of people of different races. Detailing key people (Jack Ryan, Blair Hull) that contribute to the outcome.  It describles the course of campaigning, networking, and every challenge that comes along the way. At the end, a reader will get a sense of elation and epiphany of how things come to fruition. Giving birth to a first African American, born outside the contiguous United States, serving as 44th President of the United States.

Genres

Came across this list of genre definitions. It is very concise yet detailed. This is by far one of the most accurate and summarised versions of the literature genre.

Taken from: https://catonthebookshelf.wordpress.com/genres/

 

LITERARY GENRES

(California Department of Education)

All Fiction

  • Drama — Stories composed in verse or prose, usually for theatrical performance, where conflicts and emotion are expressed through dialogue and action.
  • Fable — Narration demonstrating a useful truth, especially in which animals speak as humans; legendary, supernatural tale.
  • Fairy Tale — Story about fairies or other magical creatures, usually for children.
  • Fantasy — Fiction with strange or other worldly settings or characters; fiction which invites suspension of reality.
  • Fiction — Narrative literary works whose content is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact.
  • Fiction in Verse — Full-length novels with plot, subplot(s), theme(s), major and minor characters, in which the narrative is presented in (usually blank) verse form.
  • Folklore — The songs, stories, myths, and proverbs of a people or “folk” as handed down by word of mouth.
  • Historical Fiction — Stories with fictional characters and events in a historical setting.
  • Horror — Fiction in which events evoke a feeling of dread in both the characters and the reader.
  • Humor — Fiction full of un, fancy, and excitement, meant to entertain; but can be contained in all genres.
  • Legend — Story, sometimes of a national or folk hero, which has a basis in fact but also includes imaginative material.
  • Mystery — Fiction dealing with the solution of a crime or the unraveling of secrets.
  • Mythology — Legend or traditional narrative, often based in part on historical events, that reveals human behavior and natural phenomena by its symbolism; often pertaining to the actions of the gods.
  • Poetry — Verse and rhythmic writing with imagery that creates emotional responses.
  • Realistic Fiction — Story that can actually happen and is true to life.
  • Science Fiction — Story based on impact of actual, imagined, or potential science, usually set in the future or on other planets.
  • Short Story — Fiction of such brevity that it supports no subplots.
  • Tall Tale — Humorous story with blatant exaggerations, swaggering heroes who do the impossible with nonchalance.

All Nonfiction

  • Biography/Autobiography — Narrative of a person’s life, a true story about a real person.
  • Essay — A short literary composition that reflects the author’s outlook or point.
  • Narrative Nonfiction — Factual information presented in a format which tells a story.
  • Nonfiction — Informational text dealing with an actual, real-life subject.
  • Speech — Public address or discourse.

FILM GENRES

(Dirks)

Main Genres

  • Action – Usually include high energy, big-budget physical stunts and chases, possibly with rescues, battles, fights, escapes, destructive crises (floods, explosions, natural disasters, fires, etc.), non-stop motion, spectacular rhythm and pacing, and adventurous, often two-dimensional ‘good-guy’ heroes (or recently, heroines) battling ‘bad guys’ – all designed for pure audience escapism.
  • Adventure – Exciting stories, with new experiences or exotic locales, very similar to or often paired with the action film genre.
  • Comedy – Light-hearted plots consistently and deliberately designed to amuse and provoke laughter (with one-liners, jokes, etc.) by exaggerating the situation, the language, action, relationships and characters.
  • Crime & Gangster – Developed around the sinister actions of criminals or mobsters, particularly bankrobbers, underworld figures, or ruthless hoodlums who operate outside the law, stealing and murdering their way through life.
  • Drama – Serious, plot-driven presentations, portraying realistic characters, settings, life situations, and stories involving intense character development and interaction. Usually, they are not focused on special-effects, comedy, or action.
  • Epics/Historical – Take a historical or imagined event, mythic, legendary, or heroic figure, and add an extravagant setting and lavish costumes, accompanied by grandeur and spectacle, dramatic scope, high production values, and a sweeping musical score.
  • Horror – Designed to frighten and to invoke our hidden worst fears, often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time in a cathartic experience.
  • Musicals/Dance – Cinematic forms that emphasize full-scale scores or song and dance routines in a significant way (usually with a musical or dance performance integrated as part of the film narrative), or they are films that are centered on combinations of music, dance, song or choreography.
  • Science Fiction – Often quasi-scientific, visionary and imaginative – complete with heroes, aliens, distant planets, impossible quests, improbable settings, fantastic places, great dark and shadowy villains, futuristic technology, unknown and unknowable forces, and extraordinary monsters (‘things or creatures from space’), either created by mad scientists or by nuclear havoc.
  • War – Acknowledge the horror and heartbreak of war, letting the actual combat fighting (against nations or humankind) on land, sea, or in the air provide the primary plot or background for the action of the film.
  • Westerns – A eulogy to the early days of the expansive American frontier.

Sub-Genres

  • Biopics. . These films depict the life of an important historical personage (or group) from the past or present era. It covers many other genres.
  • Chick Flicks. Include formulated romantic comedies (with mis-matched lovers or female relationships), tearjerkers and gal-pal films, movies about family crises and emotional carthasis, some traditional ‘weepies’ and fantasy-action adventures, sometimes with foul-mouthed and empowered females, and female bonding situations involving families, mothers, daughters, children, women, and women’s issues. These films are often told from the female P-O-V, and star a female protagonist or heroine.
  • Detective/Mystery. Focuses on the unsolved crime (usually the murder or disappearance of one or more of the characters, or a theft), and on the central character – the hard-boiled detective-hero, as he/she meets various adventures and challenges in the cold and methodical pursuit of the criminal or the solution to the crime.
  • Disaster. Big-budget disaster films provided all-star casts and interlocking, Grand Hotel-type stories, with suspenseful action and impending crises (man-made or natural) in locales such as aboard imperiled airliners, trains, dirigibles, sinking or wrecked ocean-liners, or in towering burning skyscrapers, crowded stadiums or earthquake zones. Often noted for their visual and special effects, but not their acting performances.
  • Fantasy. Fantasies take the audience to netherworld places (or another dimension) where events are unlikely to occur in real life – they transcend the bounds of human possibility and physical laws. They often have an element of magic, myth, wonder, and the extraordinary.
  • Film Noir. Strictly speaking, film noir is not a genre, but rather the mood, style or tone of various American film. Noirs are usually black and white films with primary moods of melancholy, alienation, bleakness, disillusionment, disenchantment, pessimism, ambiguity, moral corruption, evil, guilt and paranoia.
  • Guy Films. Composed of macho films that are often packed with sophomoric humor, action, cartoon violence, competition, mean-spirited putdowns and gratuitous nudity and sex.
  • Melodramas/Weepers. Characterized by a plot to appeal to the emotions of the audience.
  • Road Films. An episodic journey on the open road (or undiscovered trail), to search for escape or to engage in a quest for some kind of goal — either a distinct destination, or the attainment of love, freedom, mobility, redemption, the finding or rediscovering of onself, or coming-of-age (psychologically or spiritually).
  • Romance. These are love stories, or affairs of the heart that center on passion, emotion, and the romantic, affectionate involvement of the main characters (usually a leading man and lady), and the journey that their love takes through courtship or marriage. Romance films make the love story the main plot focus.
  • Sports. Films that have a sports setting (football or baseball stadium, arena, or the Olympics, etc.), event (the ‘big game,’ ‘fight,’ ‘race,’ or ‘competition’), and/or athlete (boxer, racer, surfer, etc.) that are central and predominant in the story.
  • Supernatural. They have themes including gods or goddesses, ghosts, apparitions, spirits, miracles, and other similar ideas or depictions of extraordinary phenomena. Interestingly however, until recently, supernatural films were usually presented in a comical, whimsical, or a romantic fashion, and were not designed to frighten the audience.
  • Thriller/Suspense. They are types of films known to promote intense excitement, suspense, a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty, anxiety, and nerve-wracking tension.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

 

 

The 100 Words Book Review

This idea went into cold storage about 3 years ago. Back then, we were focused on book sales, book swaps, sourcing and delivering books. And being a uber small team to run BooksAvenue, we didn’t want to burden ourselves with additional tasks. After all, there are sites like goodreads.com and the local SG review site, singaporereviewofbooks.org.

Now that we have revamped the model to focus on book swaps only, it’s the right time for us to do up an additional section for book reviews. Getting book reviews from international sites gives an assurance and a certain degree of preview and expectation of a particular title. Wouldn’t it be better if there is another local perspective for consideration?

Indisputably, it is not our aim to compete with international major sites as mentioned above. It is, however, our humble efforts to contribute and to give everyone a great reading experience.

And so we started this 100 Words Book Review today. This 100 words Book Review allows everyone to contribute and write a review on any titles that you have finished. Certainly, this is not revenue or sales driven. Our fans can be assured that all the reviews are unbiased and not motivated by publishers or whatsoever. The only condition is it has to be 100 words. Literally.

As usual, we do not ask anything in return. We only want you to have a great and terrific reading experience. Afterall, BooksAvenue is all about bringing people closer to Literature and Art.

Peace.

 

To read or post a book review, go to:

booksavenue.boards.net/board/11/100-words-book-review

Reviews will be subsequently posted on this website Booksavenue.co

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading. Fake news. And Donald Trump.

Reading is often recommended as a good pastime and a way to widen one’s mind. Sadly, though, today’s world is so filled with other alternative forms of recreation that people rarely have the opportunity to pick up a book and spend a couple of hours devouring its contents.

What we have plenty of, we take for granted. In earlier centuries, reading was confined to a priestly elite, with the rest of the laity deprived of even the skill of recognising letters. This was due in part to the cost of book-making. Early books were made of leather and parchment. They were sewn by hand and the words copied manually by meticulous scribes. Hence, owning a book was beyond the means of all ordinary folks.

In the past, unscrupulous political and religious leaders made use of the ability to read, or the lack of it, as a short leash with which they tyrannised the masses. Those who took up reading were punished, most times with execution, for fear that they might actually start thinking for themselves and expose some shortcoming of the governmental powers.

Latterly, comes about a problem of fake information being disseminated virally, misleading and misinforming the masses. Questions about Facebook’s role in spreading fake news were raised almost as soon as Trump shocked the world with his victory. BuzzFeed and other news sites began publishing reports about how a small town in Macedonia turned fake election news into a cottage industry.

It appears the authors of the fake news reports had no partisan agenda. They were just in it for the money. One creator claimed he could make US$10,000 per week in ad revenue from stories that were shared among Trump supporters.

US$10,000. Think about that!

Not to mention, during the campaigning with all the noises around, it’s not too difficult to get bits and pieces of truth, concocting all into something believable and official.

With no direct censorship or any authorities answerable to, this is very good money. Maximum benefits with minimum effort. Simply send it out, watch the numbers grow and count the advertising revenue increasing at an exponential rate.

BooksAvenue started as a site to garner all book lovers to come together, sharing interesting articles, videos and titles. And in the recent years, we have also started a forum with humble intentions to provide an avenue for the reading community to do book swaps and other related interests.

Although the team behind BooksAvenue are a group of non-US citizens (Singaporeans here), we do follow the recent US elections with great concerns and zest. Whether it fake news got a role in tilting the odds in favour of Trump, it is not important anymore.

What more important are 2 things of greater importance; political stability and economic progress. Not just for US or Singapore, but in terms of the regional and global context. We would be happy to elaborate more, but perhaps in another post in another day.

Peace.