Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

 

41qLU7pCwvL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_
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.

Advertisements

SINGAPORE CHRONICLES: GOVERNANCE

Capture

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

super-freakonomics2-2-555x710

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

 

 

 

Have a Little Faith: a True Story – Mitch Albom

Have a Little Faith: a True Story by Mitch Albom
Have a Little Faith: a True Story by Mitch Albom

In Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds–two men, two faiths, two communities–that will inspire readers everywhere.

Albom’s first nonfiction book since Tuesdays with Morrie, Have a Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom’s old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy.

Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he’d left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor–a reformed drug dealer and convict–who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof.

Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat.

As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds–and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.

In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor’s wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi’s last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself.

Have a Little Faith is a book about a life’s purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man’s journey, but it is everyone’s story.

Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless.

BooksAvenue price: S$20 (Hardcover)

(45% Discount)

With delivery charge of S$3.00 per title,

PLUS,

  • Free delivery for purchase over S$50
  • Don’t forget to ‘Like’ us on Facebook~! :)

Click here to order (Opens in a new window)

Spouse – Shobhaa Dé

 

Spouse - Shobhaa Dé
Spouse – Shobhaa Dé

 

How marriages work and why they fail… Marriage is an adventure, says Shobhaa Dé, celebrity writer, devoted wife and mother of six. It’s about trust, companionship, affection and sharing. It’s also about learning to cope with your partner’s moods and eccentricities. Not to mention the delicate balancing act between parents, children, friends and a career, and the sometimes overpowering need to get away from it all. In this delightful book on society’s most debated institution, Shobhaa Dé writes about how and why marriages work—or don’t. With her usual disregard for rules, she reinvents tradition and challenges old stereotypes, addressing all the issues that are central to most Indian marriages: the saas-bahu conundrum (how to escape the role-trap and enjoy each other), the need for honesty (aren’t some secrets better left secret?), the importance of romance (no, expressions of love are not unmanly!), and not any less important, how to recognize the warning signs in a hopeless relationship and run before it’s too late. Fun, savvy and, above all, pragmatic, this is the ultimate relationship book for all those who want to make the adventure of marriage last a lifetime.*

 

BooksAvenue price: S$15

(35% Discount)

With delivery charge of S$3.00 per title,

PLUS,

  • Book wrap service available at S$2/-
  • Free delivery for purchase over S$50
  • Don’t forget to ‘Like’ us on Facebook~! :)

Click here to order (Opens in a new window)

The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama XIV, Howard C. Cutler

The_Art_of_Happiness
The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama XIV, Howard C. Cutler

Nearly every time you see him, he’s laughing, or at least smiling. And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. He’s the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and an increasingly popular speaker and statesman. What’s more, he’ll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that “the very motion of our life is towards happiness.” How to get there has always been the question. He’s tried to answer it before, but he’s never had the help of a psychiatrist to get the message across in a context we can easily understand. Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement. Together with Dr. Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life’s obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace.

BooksAvenue price: S$15

(50% Discount)

With delivery charge of S$3.00 per title,

PLUS,

  • Free delivery for purchase over S$50
  • Don’t forget to ‘Like’ us on Facebook~! :)

Click here to order (Opens in a new window)

The Weather Makers: Our Changing Climate and What It Means For Life on Earth – Timothy Flannery

The Weather Makers: Our Changing Climate and What It Means For Life on Earth
The Weather Makers: Our Changing Climate and What It Means For Life on Earth

One of our favourite books of 2006

The Weather Makers tells the dramatic story of the earth’s climate, of how it has changed, how we have come to understand it, and of what that means for the future. Tim Flannery’s gripping narrative takes the reader on an extraordinary journey into the past and around the globe, bringing us closer to the science than ever before. Along the way he explodes the many illusions that have grown up around this subject.

BooksAvenue price: S$10

(60% Discount)

With delivery charge of S$3.00 per title,

PLUS,

  • Book wrap service available at S$2/-
  • Free delivery for purchase over S$50
  • Don’t forget to ‘Like’ us on Facebook~! :)

Click here to order (Opens in a new window)