Category Archives: Misc

The Politics Book – DK Publishing

 

images

Series: Big Ideas Simply Explained
Originally published
: 18th Feb 2013
Original Title: The Politics Book
Author: Sam Atkinson ( Senior Editor)Rebecca Warren (US Senior Editor)Kate Johnsen (US Editor)
Page count: 352pages (Hardcover)
Publisher: DK (February 18, 2013)
Genre: Politics
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1465-402-144
ISBN-13: 978-146-540-2141
Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches

 

100 Word Book Review:

An excellent summary of political ideas that have evolved over aeons ago. It beautifully illustrated shadow-like cartoons, succinct quotations, and accessible text that break down even the most difficult concepts so they are easier to grasp. No doubt it has a textbook feel which absolutely aids beginners to gather information. Arranged in a chronological order, it details the birth, development and evolvement of different ideologies. At the same time discussing different perspectives and possibilities. Towards the end, it has a summary page of Terrorism too. A simple, clear, concise yet detailed book for all who are keen in political science.

 

 

Advertisements

The Marriage Market

3134946

 

Originally published: 29th September 2006
Original Title: The Marriage Market
Author: Nisha Minhas
Page count: 485pages (Paperback)
Publisher: Pocket Books (A division of Simon & Schuster)
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Adult
Language: English
ISBN-10: 141-652-256-5
ISBN-13: 978-141-652-256-0
Product Dimensions: 112 x 178mm

 

 

 

100 Word Book Review:

Aaron and Jeena are from 2 different worlds. With no understanding or knowledge of the Indian culture, much less the idealism, they proceed with the marriage of convenience. Written in a light and humorous way, it shows the different perspectives. Alas, it tends to focus more on race than culture with a stereotypical and biased view of males. Towards the end. it is a straight happy ending. Simple and beautiful with no plot twist or unexpected scenarios. A romantic chick lit of 2 unlikely persons who together for a short passion, yet ends up in a lifetime commitment.

 

About the Author:

In her early thirties, Nisha Minhas lives in Milton Keynes with her partner and two cats. A former employee of the Inland Revenue and an avid reader, Nisha couldn’t find any novels that really appealed to her, a young woman born in the UK to Indian parents. So she decided to write a book that she herself would really like to read.

Fridays with Philip

 

Fridays-CVF-100.jpg

Originally published: Aug 2008
Original Title: Fridays with Philip
Author: Philip Lee
Page count: 196 pages (Paperback)
Publisher: Epigram Books
Subjects: Political Science, History, Weekly column
Language: English
ISBN-10: 981-08-1128-4
ISBN-13: 978-981-08-1128-0
Product Dimensions: 133 x 203mm

 

 

100 Word Book Review:

A compilation of weekly column by Philip on Streats during 2000 to 2005. The writings are arranged by subject matter namely, Language, People, Nostalgia, Anecdotes. It compromises largely on local (Singapore) trends and Philip’s observation and thoughts, such as the Speak Good English campaign, American Idol’s William Hung and dignity, why Singapore women go for ang mohs (non-Asians), our youth, local’s perception of foreign workers and etc. The content is very much close to heart, expressed in a sharp witty manner, much from local’s perspectives. It is a great book for short reading and reminisces Singapore in the 2000s.

 

 

 

 

About the Author:
Philip Lee has been a journalist since 1974 when he left the civil service to join The Straits Times as a reporter. He spent the first seven years covering politics, the civil service and reviewed local plays. He rose over the years to become Associate News Editor, News Editor (The Sunday Times) and Chief Copy Editor of The Straits Times.

In 1990, he left for a new life in Vancouver, Canada but returned in 2000 to work again as Copy Editor with The Straits Times. He also had stints as a copy editor with the tabloids, Streats, and The New Paper. He works as a writer with the Special Projects Unit in the Marketing Division of Singapore Press Holdings. He cooks, enjoys The New York Times crossword puzzles and sings the oldies when in the company of songloving friends.

The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew

 

 

51DWYZY76QL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Originally published: 12 September 2012
Original Title: The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew
Authors: Lee Kuan Yew
Page count: 680 pages (Hardcopy)
Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1st edition (October 14, 1998)
Subjects: AutoBiography, Political Science, History
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0130208035
ISBN-13: 978-0130208033
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 2 inches

 

 

100 Word Book Review:

A factual and concise book documenting Singapore’s history from Lee Kuan Yew’s perspective, illustrating his challenges, frustrations as well as personal observations of people and events. From a brief background of his childhood through the colonial days, the Japanese Occupation, then the post war and internal self-government, then finally the merger with Malaysia and subsequent Singapore’s Separation from Malaysia. Each chapter details the dangers and opportunities, the hardship that Lee Kuan Yew and his team faced internally and externally. It brings clarity to historical events during the forming years, documenting Singapore’s arrival in the global village of nations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Books – more is often less and less is more

It is better to choose a small number of good books by good authors and study them intently, than to flit from book to book

When I was younger, I was keen on chess. I took it very seriously and was always looking to improve my game.

Being of a bookish disposition, I surrounded myself with chess books.

Books on openings, books on tactics, books on strategy, books on endgames, books about great players and their games, books on chess psychology.

Soon, I had so many books and spent so much time dipping first into one and then into another, that I ceased to learn anything of any real value from them.

Eventually, I realised that it is better to thoroughly digest the contents of one or two carefully chosen volumes than it is to romp through an entire bookshelf.

I learnt that, as far as books are concerned, more is often less and less is often more.

TOO MANY AUTHORS

In recent weeks, I have been slowly but steadily acquainting myself with the Moral Letters To Lucilius, a collection of letters by the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca, ostensibly written to a younger friend.

In his second letter, entitled On Discursiveness In Reading, Seneca warns against reading too many books by too many authors.

He writes: “You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind.

“Everywhere means nowhere.”

That certainly rings true in my experience.

I suppose that if you are reading purely for pleasure, there can be no harm in reading as widely and as superficially as you like.

I realised that it is better to thoroughly digest the contents of one or two carefully chosen volumes than it is to romp through an entire bookshelf. I learnt that, as far as books are concerned, more is often less and less is often more.

But if you are reading because you want to increase your learning or to improve your understanding, then you have to adopt a more disciplined approach.

You have to resist the temptation to flit from book to book, like a butterfly among flowers in the meadows. You have to choose a small number of good books by good authors and study them intently.

Seneca writes: “When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. And the same thing must hold true of men who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit them all in a hasty and hurried manner.”

Of course, this is far more demanding – and not nearly so much fun as skipping from one book to another.

But when you have a serious purpose in your reading, there is no alternative but to adopt a serious attitude.

Seneca adds: “But, you reply, I wish to dip first into one book and then into another.

“I tell you that it is the sign of an over-nice appetite to toy with many dishes; for when they are manifold and varied, they cloy but do not nourish.”

AN UNCEASING STREAM

Seneca was writing in the first century AD, more than 1,000 years before the invention of the printing press and way before the advent of the Internet.

So if what he said was valid back then, how much more valid is it now?

Today, on our computers and smartphones, we have access to a never-ending stream of words.

Millions and millions of new ones every day, many of them hastily written and ill thought-out.

It is fun and easy to dip into that stream. But if we want to learn anything of real and lasting value, we need to step outside the stream and explore stiller, deeper waters.

•Gary Hayden is a philosophy and science writer. His new book, Walking With Plato, is out at major bookshops here.

 

Taken from: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/living-books-more-is-often-less-and-less-is-more

Badass Hawk Sparks An Action Movie Worthy Photoshop Battle

Hawks are pretty badass on their own, but if you get Photoshop involved they can turn into your next action movie hero. That’s exactly what happened with a picture of this hawk which got into the right/wrong hands.

The picture was snapped by the animal enthusiast Clint Ralph, 53, who was visiting Giant’s Castle in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa, with his son. ‘I loved the attitude and comedy of the shot, I knew it would capture the imagination of the public,‘ Clint told the Metro.

When it appeared online, it took the always watchful army of Photoshop trolls just seconds to lay their hands on it. The results are waiting for your judgement below.

 

Before the Photoshoppers took over:

funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle-9

 

 

 

#1 I Will Find You, And I Will Kill You

funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle-1

Image source: jarjarsinks

#2 Straight Outta Hawkton

funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle-10

Image source: futuneral

#3 Explosion

funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle-5

Image source: bitterjay

#4 Photoshop Battle

funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle-6

Image source: lasrevinuu

#5 Stephen Hawking

funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle-3

Image source: PoW12

#6 High Noon

funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle-2

Image source: photonshop

#7 I Heard You Like Badass…

funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle-4

Image source: tenebris_spiritus

#8 A Real Millennium Falcon

funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle-11

Image source: CleverSpaceMonkey

#9 Trump Hawk

funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle-7

Image source: Sokar1723

#10 Jerry Was Never Quite Like The Rest Of The Other Birds

funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle-8

Image source: LargeBeef

 

By now you should know that nobody can outrun Photoshop trolls. Even the heads of the most powerful countries in the world.

 

 

Taken from: http://www.demilked.com/funny-badass-hawk-photoshop-battle/

Does e-reading affect critical thinking?

Students were able to make more sense of what they read in print rather than digitally

Do students learn as much when they read digitally as they do in print?

For both parents and teachers, knowing whether computer-based media is improving or compromising education is a question of concern. With the surge in popularity of e-books, online learning and open educational resources, investigators have been trying to determine whether students do as well when reading an assigned text on a digital screen as on paper.

The answer to the question, however, needs far more than a yes-no response.

 

READING IN PRINT VERSUS DIGITALLY

An experiment showed that students felt they concentrated better when reading on paper, even though they took a longer time when compared to reading in a digital format. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 

In my research, I have compared the ways in which we read in print and on-screen. Between 2013 and last year, I gathered data from 429 university students drawn from five countries – the US, Japan, Germany, Slovenia and India.

 

The students in my study reported that print was aesthetically more enjoyable, saying things such as “I like the smell of paper” or that reading in print was “real reading”.

What was more, print gave them a sense of where they were in the book – they could “see” and “feel” where they were in the text.

Print was also judged to be easier on the eyes and less likely to encourage multitasking. Almost half the participants complained about eye strain from reading digitally (“my eyes burn”), and 67 per cent indicated they were likely to multitask while reading digitally – compared with 41 per cent when reading print.

At the same time, respondents praised digital reading on a number of counts, including the ability to read in the dark, ease of finding material (“plenty of quick information”), saving paper and even the fact that they could multitask while reading.

MEASURING LEARNING

But the bigger question is whether students are learning as much when they read on-screen.

To become proficient in critical thinking – at least in a literate society – students need to be able to handle text. The text may be long, complex or both. To make sense of it, students cannot skim, rush ahead or continually get distracted. So, does reading in print versus on-screen build critical thinking skills?

A number of researchers have sought to measure learning by asking people to read a passage of text, either in print or on a digital device, and then testing for comprehension. Most studies have found that participants scored about the same when reading in each medium, though a few have indicated that students performed better on tests when they read in print.

The problem, however, with learning-measurement studies is that their notion of “learning” has tended to be simplistic. Reading passages and answering questions afterwards may be a familiar tool in standardised testing, but tells us little about any deeper level of understanding.

Some researchers are beginning to pose more nuanced questions, including one scholar who has considered what happens when people read a story in print or on a digital device and are then asked to reconstruct the plot sequence.

The answer: Print yielded better results.

Another aspect of learning is to see how outcomes differ when students are doing their reading in less prescriptive experimental conditions. One study let students choose how much time to spend when reading on each platform. The researchers found that participants devoted less time to reading the passage on-screen – and performed less well on the subsequent comprehension test.

This finding is hardly surprising, given the tendency so many of us have to skim and search when going online, rather than reading slowly and carefully. In my study, one student commented: “It takes more time to read the same number of pages in print compared to digital.”

Another complained: “It takes me longer because I read more carefully.”

CRITICAL THINKING AND READING

How does the learning question relate to educational goals? There is much buzz today about wanting students to be good at critical thinking. Definitions of that goal are elusive, but it’s pretty clear they involve being able to understand complex ideas, evaluate evidence, weigh alternative perspectives and construct justifiable arguments.

To become proficient in critical thinking – at least in a literate society – students need to be able to handle text. The text may be long, complex or both. To make sense of it, students cannot skim, rush ahead or continually get distracted.

So, does reading in print versus on-screen build critical thinking skills?

The comprehension studies we talked about earlier tell us little about the kind of reading we recognise as necessary for serious contemplation or analysis. An alternative approach, at least for starters, is asking students about their digital and paper-based reading patterns – much as physicians ask for histories to figure out what ails their patients.

While my own study didn’t directly measure learning, it did query students about their reading patterns and preferences. The responses to some of my questions were particularly revealing.

When asked on which medium they felt they concentrated best, 92 per cent replied “print”.

For long academic readings, 86 per cent favoured print. Participants also reported being more likely to re-read academic materials if they were in print.

What is more, a number of students indicated they believed print was a better medium for learning.

One said: “It’s easier to focus.” Others stated that “(I) feel like the content sticks in the head more easily” and “I feel like I understand it more.” By contrast, in talking about digital screens, students noted “danger of distraction” and “no concentration”.

Obviously, student perceptions are not the same thing as measurable learning outcomes. And my research didn’t probe connections between reading platforms and critical thinking.

However, a pattern did emerge: Print stood out as the medium for doing serious work.

DIGITAL IS CONVENIENT AND CHEAPER

At the same time, we cannot ignore other factors impacting students’ decisions about what reading platform to chose for school work.

Convenience is one big consideration: More than 40 per cent of participants in my study mentioned convenience (including easy access to materials) as what they liked most about reading on-screen.

Money is another variable. Students were highly conscious about differential prices for print and digital versions of reading materials, with cost often driving choice. As one student put it: “Cost rules everything around me.”

Many students revealed a mismatch between finances and learning. When queried about which reading platform they would choose if cost were the same, 87 per cent said “print” for academic work.

ADAPTING TO DIGITAL LEARNING

We need to keep in mind the growing trend for universities to adapt their curricula to fit the proverbial “procrustean” bed of a digital world – a world tailor-made for skimming, scanning and using the “find” function rather than reading slowly and thoughtfully.

Professors now toy with ditching long or complex reading assignments in favour of short (or more straightforward) ones, moving closer to digital reading patterns in the non-academic world. This world hypes condensed versions of texts and shorter reading material that is bite-sized to begin with.

The question, then, is how can universities help students read text thoughtfully, reflectively, and without distraction on digital devices?

One key could be adaptation. Research suggests students may be overconfident about what they are understanding when they read digitally. Teaching them to be mindful in their digital reading (for instance, by writing down key words from the reading) may help in learning.

Another form of adaptation is happening in the realm of digital hardware and software.

Modern screens cause less eye strain, and annotation programs continue to improve. Some digital reading devices now come with tools enabling them to digitally approximate physical page flipping and multiple place-marking.

However, in my view, while short-and-to-the-point may be a good fit for digital consumption, it’s not the sort of reading likely to nurture the critical thinking we still talk about as a hallmark of university education.

•The writer is the executive director of the Centre for Teaching, Research and Learning at American University. This article first appeared in The Conversation (http://theconversation.com), a website which carries analyses by academics and researchers.

 

 

Taken from : http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/does-e-reading-affect-critical-thinking