Archive for June, 2011

Improved Search Result Quality on our Online Bookstore

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

Since we launched our revamped website for our online bookstore this year on 17th March, we have been observing search behavior on the site. We found that many of the search term used by site visitors were yielding results which can be better if we tweak our search engine algos.

After a careful planning, Printsasia team unanimously decided to change the search engine algos to give better results to our users.

After testing this over a period of one week, we officially integrated this improved search engine on our online bookstore. We expect better conversion post this integration as we would be showing more relevant results to our users in comparison to previous search.

We would really appreciate and be delighted to hear feedbacks from you on the quality of search results shown by our improved search engine.

Why Fantasy and Science Fiction Matter

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Author: Brenda Cooper

I stood in a small crowd at a local book store’s 25th anniversary party a few weeks ago, wandering around with my author badge on, nibbling on small snacks, and talking to people who showed up for the party.  Many of them would come up and ask – in a kindly and rather interested way – what I wrote and were my books there?  I’d smile and say, “I write Science Fiction.”
And they’d say something like, “That’s nice dear,” look away, and wander off to find an author more likely to be writing something they wanted to read.
Part of that was surely the crowd, which was more middle-aged and less “geeky” than the folks I usually talk to about my writing.  Nevertheless, I found it a little sad. Many books that helped define modern society came from the speculative fiction genre.  Classics like 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Stranger in a Strange Land, and Flowers for Algernon are all solid science fiction.  There’s fabulous current work in the genre.  Anything by Paolo Bacigalupli (including many short stories), Ted Chiang, Nancy Kress, Ursula LeGuin, or Connie Willis is likely to explore issues at least as socially relevant as the classics I just mentioned.
Even more important, especially to readers like the local crowd at the bookstore party with me, there is nuance and a strong literary spicing in today’s F & SF.  A lot of our work is very character driven, accessible, and definitely not just for men who like rockets.   In other words, it’s readable.  Maybe even fun.  The writers – and readers – are women as well as men.
The most compelling reason to choose some science fiction is the time that we live in.  We are almost choking on change.  Whether it’s the rise of robotics, the fact that we all have near-analog to Star-Trek communicators, the glory and dangers of the internet, or the threat of climate change, the world that we live in is changing today, and tomorrow, and the next day.  We may not recognize the world our children will be our age in, and we almost certainly won’t recognize the one our grandchildren will see at our age.  But it’s up to us to explore and understand the many technologies changing around us, and up to us make choices today to create a livable future.  For almost every new technology or big social shift, there is a science fiction story or book or series.  An accessible, character-driven and entertaining way to explore change.  Maybe even to embrace it.
Teenagers are reading science fiction and fantasy in droves.  So hopefully if I’m there for the 35th anniversary of the local bookstore, people won’t look away when I say “science fiction.”   But in the meantime, I can’t imagine that all of middle-aged folk want to be left behind. Be brave.  Be curious. Pick up a good science fiction book today.

About the Author:  Brenda Cooper writes science fiction and fantasy.  To start her current science fiction series, pick up the award-winning book, “The Silver Ship and the Sea.”  Her next novel coming out is “Mayan December,” a smart, suspenseful read about the end of the Mayan Calendar, but not the end of the world.

You can find more of these science fiction and fantasy books over here.

Popular books on Environmentalism.

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

Here is a list of five books that will teach you why and how can you save your planet and yourself by growing green. These books have inspired and influenced me a lot and so I found it extremely necessary to share it with my readers. If anybody has any suggestion or wish to share any other name of the book that they think will fit in this category are invited to share it with us.

1. Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco friendly Choices for you & your Home by Renee Loux:  This book encompasses pretty much everything a person needs to know to “go green”. Renee Loux is clear, thorough, detailed and inspiring as she explains how to live our lives well and green. Each category based chapter explains-what is best for that category and why, digs deep identifying choices and explains why each choice is either healthy or hazardous.

2.Like a Tree: How Trees, Women and Tree People can Save the Planet  by Jean Shinoda Bolen: The book is poetic, educational, inspirational, spiritual and down to earth, covering the subject of trees from anatomy to physiology to trees as archetypal and sacred symbols. The author does an excellent job in connecting the dots between respect for trees and the survival of the planet.

3. Raising baby Green: The Earth-friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth and Baby Care by Alan Greene: It is a very thoughtful and immensely practical book by Dr. Greene that offers sound advice on how to raise healthy children while treading lightly upon earth.

4.A language older than Words by Derrick Jensen: The book seems to ask different questions about why the majority of humankind is destroying themselves and the world in which we live. Jensen asks these questions through recounting his own life experiences and explaining how he has come to feel the way he does about the world.

5.World changing: A user’s Guide for the 21st century by Alex Steffen: The book is the second edition of the bestselling book that is extensively revised to include the latest trends, technologies and solutions in sustainable living. This book will help you find the resources to get started and the inspiration to make your earth day resolutions bigger, better and greener.l

Book Review: I Know why the Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angleou

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

The first in the six volume series, this book tells a coming of age story that illustrates how strength of character and love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. The book begins when 3 year old Maya and her brother are sent to Stamps, Arkansas by their divorced parents to live with their grandmother and uncle.

The book is the 1969 autobiography about the early years of African-American writer and poet Maya Angleou. During the course of the book, we see Maya getting transformed from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex into a self possessed, dignified young woman capable of responding to prejudice. In a poetic yet detached way, Maya Angleou captures the heart of the readers with her account of struggles she went through growing up as a black female during the Depression. She uses her autobiography to explore subjects like identity, rape, racism and literacy. The character of Maya which is the younger version of the writer has been called a “symbolic character for every black girl growing up in America”. Young Maya turns to education to cope with her bewildering world. Books become her refugee as she works through her trauma.

The book is an American Classic that shows that beyond the darkness of some of those experiences such as discrimination, humiliation, rape and fear lies a sense of hope, dignity, determination and resilience. One of the most important aspects of the book is its emphasis on the power of education, language and literacy.

Book Review: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Author: Sherry Helms

A Bestselling novel by Barbara Kingsolver is about a missionary family, the Prices who in 1959 moved from Georgia to the village of Kilanga in the Belgian Congo.  The Price’s story is narrated by the five women of the family: Orleanna, long suffering wife of the Baptist missionary Nathan Price and their four daughters- Rachel, Leah, Adah, Ruth May.

The overzealous Baptist minister named Nathan Price in drags his wife and four daughters deep into the heart of the Congo in 1959 on a mission to save the unenlightened souls of Africa. From the outset, the attitudes of these five women cover a wide spectrum of the novel. The mother Orleanna passively accepts the turn of events as he accepts everything her husband tells her. Rachael, a 15 year old beauty queen resents her separation from normal teen life. Adventurer Ruth May who is just five years old is both excited and frightened. It is only 14 years old Leah who shares her father’s ardent religious faith is enthusiastic.  Leah’s twin Adah, a cripple and mute by birth but also a brilliant observer, merely views the move as she does all of her life with a wry and cynical detachment.

One thing that the women share is the unwavering faith that they are carrying with them a culture far superior to the one that already exists in the village of Kilanga and that they will therefore will be masters of their new domain. Kingsolver does a good job in differentiating the voices of all the five female characters. Her fully realized three-dimensional characters make the book a compelling read, especially the first part when the Nathan Price is still at the centre of the action.  The Poison wood Bible is  arguably the most ambitious novel by Barbara Kingsolver.

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