Archive for November, 2013

20 Famous Mark Twain Quotations

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

Mark TwainToday is the 178th birth anniversary of Mark Twain. A genius American author and humorist who is best known for his masterpiece, The Adventures of Tom  Sawyer (1876), and its follow-up, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). Known for his excellent works, sharp wit and brilliant quotes, the author inspired many great authors, including Kurt Vonnegut and Ernest Hemingway.

To celebrate Mark Twain’s birthday today, we have compiled here 20 dazzling quotations by him.

 1) Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

2) Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

3) It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.

4) Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.

5) Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

6) If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

7) Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.

8) I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

9) A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

10) In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.

11) Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

12) The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.

13) The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

14) Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.

15) I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.

16) Honesty is the best policy – when there is money in it.

17) Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

18) The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you figure out why.

19) I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.

20) Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

Tell us in the comment section if we missed your favorite that continues to motivate you.


Worthwhile Thanksgiving Recipe Books

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

thanksgiving recipe

Thanksgiving is a time of the year to offer thanks, of family gatherings, good health and delicious food. It is a perfect holiday because it allows you to relax with a plate stacked high with turkey slices, stuffing and pumpkin pie. If you are looking for the healthiest and tastiest Thanksgiving menu to enhance the holiday spirit and to make your Thanksgiving shine for all your guests, look no further. This post contains all worthwhile books that will help you to prepare a stunning meal, or just supplement your side dishes, main dishes, desserts, and appetizers. These books will bring you an opportunity to impress your family and friends with crowd-pleasing and healthy recipes.

Feast your eyes on these Thanksgiving recipe books to make your holiday dinner memorable.

Quick and easyQuick & Easy Autumn Recipes More than 200 Yummy, Family-Friendly Recipes for Fall…Most in 30 Minutes or Less! by Gooseberry Patch: From the mouthwatering Cherry-Pecan Turkey Breast to delicious Thanksgiving side dishes to phenomenal holiday dessert recipes, Quick & Easy Autumn is one cookery book you will not want to miss. It is full of more than 76 easy and quick recipes; each is ready in less than half an hour or is cooked with just 5-8 ingredients or less. With this stunning cookbook, you have all the tools for a memorable Thanksgiving celebration!

Thanksgiving Recipes by Ronnie Rooney: Native of Mthanksgiving recipies newassachusetts Ronnie Rooney brings fun and easy to follow recipes that anyone from a beginner to a veteran cook can use. From turkey and cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and spiced apples, this book contains everything that anyone needs for a delicious holiday gathering.

AutumnAutumn in the Country Cookbook  by Gooseberry Patch: Harvest hayrides, pumpkin picking and warm comforting dishes make us ready to enjoy fall fun! This trusted, well-thumbed resource, presents delicious recipes, is inspired by our desired harvest activities. Packed with easy to follow instructions, Autumn in the Country Cookbook is an ideal book to prepare a full –course holiday meal. With tried & true favorites like pumpkin patch stew, autumn apple-walnut pancakes, and candy apple cheesecake, you’ll like to enjoy these flavorsome recipes all year long.cookery

Thanksgiving Cookery by Elizabeth Brabb: With Thanksgiving Cookery, the author takes the reader to the dinner table with a striking collection of much loved traditional recipes. If you are feeling any nervousness about cooking your first turkey, or if you want to know how to put together a delectable Thanksgiving feast for your family and guests, then enjoy Elizabeth’s collection from basic apple pie to hot apple cider to leftover turkey corn pudding.

Kristen Suzanne's EASY Raw Vegan HolidaysKristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Holidays: Delicious & Easy Raw Food Recipes for Parties & Fun at Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Holiday Season by Kristen Suzanne: Whether your tastes run to the  conventional or audacious, this Thanksgiving can be the healthiest and tastiest one ever with the help of this Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Holidays. This one-of-a-kind guide helps raw vegan enthusiasts to make their holiday eating rich and satisfying. Kristen provides great information about raw foods with how-to tips and delectable and decorative recipes for holiday season festivities.

Hope, these thanksgiving recipe books bring enjoyment to you and your family and friends for years to come. Tell us your favorite thanksgiving cookbook in the comments section below.  


Monday, November 25th, 2013

Guest Author: Anne Cassidy

Anne Cassidy publicity photoKilling Rachel is the second book in the Murder Notebook series. It continues the story of Rose and Joshua whose parents disappeared when she was twelve and he was fourteen. Rose’s mother and Joshua’s father lived together for three years as a family and one night, they went out for a meal at their favourite restaurant and never returned. The four books take place five years later when Rose is seventeen and Joshua nineteen and they begin the difficult search to find out what happened to them.

This search has its ups and downs. In Killing Rachel they are given evidence from an ex senior policeman that their parents are dead, killed by gangsters years before. It’s a terrible blow but one that turns out not to be quite what it seems.

I’ve written many teenage novels. One of the things I’ve always tried to do in my story was to get rid of the parents. This might mean sending them away for work, or on a holiday. I might have to send one of them to prison or put one in hospital. I may split them up thereby halving their power or jurisdiction over the main character, the teenager.

In the Murder Notebooks I decided to literally get rid of them. Instead of making their absence a kind of backdrop to the story, IKilling Rachel decided to make it the story.

I had another reason for getting rid of them. When I was a teenager, I was an only child and desperately wanted to grow up and be older than I was. My parents were loving and protective and kept a careful eye on me. At the time, it was purgatory. My friends all appeared to have more freedom than I did and I struggled against their rule. And I used to fantasise about what it would be like to live on my own, in a flat, away from them. I wanted to be in charge of myself.

So in this book I got rid of the parents and saw Rose and Joshua grieving and lost without their family. They had all the freedom they wanted but it made them desperately unhappy.

What happened to Kathy Smith and Brendan Johnson? This is what the Murder Notebooks series is about. Are they alive? If so, what would make them abandon their children and leave them isolated and in grief?

Killing Rachel gives more clues to this. The third book Butterfly Grave in published in Britain in Nov 2013.

About Author:

Anne Cassidy was a bank clerk and then a teacher. She has published thirty novels for young adults and is best known for Looking For JJ. She lives in Essex with her husband.

Write Like A Woman

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Guest Author: Namita Gokhale

Namita Gokhale 2011priya “The Habit of Love” is a collection of stories about the inner lives of women, their vulnerabilities, their vanities, their assertions. I put these stories together over a long period of time. Some of them were written during periods of creative silence, while lying fallow between books. Others were pursued on impulse and inspiration even while I was working on a quite different book. They are quite different in length, and the period when they are set, but they are all in the voices of women, or about the worlds that women inhabit.   

Some of the women I write about inhabit the ancient past, some the present, but they share the resigned laughter with which they tell their stories. Whether it is Kunti grieving her lost son, or a requiem for Qandhari by her handmaiden, or the story of a middle class woman in an AIIMS ward, the territory of these tales is feminine experience.   The habit of love new

The authors note at the close of “The Habit of Love“ says: “These stories were written, on and off, over several years. They have been imagined in airports, scribbled during flights, corrected in traffic jams, deciphered from the backs of envelops. Be it ancient myth or modern malaise, the narrative voices seem to carry an imprint of anxiety and resignation. They are meant neither to amuse nor to instruct, but if the reader flips through them and nods in occasional sympathy, their tale is told.”

It has taken me some time to accept that I am woman writer. ‘Paro’ was written in the first person feminine, as were most of my subsequent novels. ‘Gods Graves and Grandmother’, ‘A Himalayan Love story‘, ‘Shakuntala’ and ‘Priya: In Incredible Indyaa’ carried the voices of very different women protagonists, with varyied b'The Book of Shadowsackgrounds and situations. ‘A Himalayan Love Story‘ had a male narrator, Mukul Nainwal, telling the tale. The story somehow carried no conviction until I brought in the counterpoint feminine voice of Govindi to balance it. Then, in The Book of Shadows‘ I tried to break out of gender boundaries; this time I told the story through the perceptions of a ghost, trapped in time and place in an old bungalow in the Himalayas. The disembodied ghost was neither man nor woman, but the spirit within this lurking presence was more male than female. Once again, a women’s voice, the wounded first person narrative of Rachita Tiwari, had to be stitched in to complete the book.

Do women write differently from men? Do they perceive differently, in nuance, subtlety, the angle of their perceptions? I pondered this when I wrote ‘Mountain Echoes – Reminiscences of Kumaoni Women’ which compiled oral biographies of my grandmother and three grand aunts, all four highly individualistic, vibrant and feisty women.ShakuntalaThe Play of Memory

As a writer, my interests moved to mythology and its living manifestations in India. Four books, The Book of Shiva, ‘The Mahabharata for Young Readers’, ‘Shakuntala: The Play of Memory’ and ‘In Search of Sita: Rediscovering Mythology‘, emerged from this quest. I learnt a lot from the Mahabharata. Unlike the Ramayana, the women of this vast epic negotiated their lives outside as well as inside domestic spaces. Be it Kunti, Draupadi, or Hidimba, Amba, Ambika or Ambilika, queen, demoness, or transgender, these women demanded agency and lived life resolutely on their own terms.

Based on flashes of past-life memories, my novel Shakuntala: The Play of Memory was set in the late seventh century. It took up the fictional story of a stubborn rebellious woman who tried to strike out on her own, and yet, despite the historical The book of Shiva newtimeline, it could be happening today.

The figure of Sita stands as an archetype for most Indian women. Dr. Malashri Lal and I set out to co-edit an anthology of essays and creative interpretations of the enigmatic figure of Sita, and to study the collective wounding that Indian women have vicariously suffered through the centuries on her behalf. Sita, the first single mother, emerged as a symbol of our times, strong and resilient behind the superficial veneer of misinterpreted victimhood.

Researching and writing The Book of Shiva rewarded me with a deeper understanding of the androgynous nature of Lord Shiva and forever altered my perspectives on the nature of male and female energies.

What I learn afresh, every year, is that there is a man in every woman, and a woman in every man. It is our life situations that demand different roles and perspectives of us.   

About Author:

Namita Gokhale is the author of seven works of fiction and several non-fiction books. Paro: Dreams of Passion, Gods Graves and Grandmother, A Himalayan Love Story, The Book of Shadows, Shakuntala: the Play of Memory, and Priya In Incredible Indyaa and the landmark anthology In Search of Sita. Her recent, much acclaimed collection of short stories, The Habit of Love, was published in January 2012.   

Namita Gokhale is also co-director of the famous Jaipur Literature Festival and of Mountain Echoes: the Bhutan Literary Festival. To know more about Namita, visit her website

The Future of Religious Freedom: A Global Challenge

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Guest Author: Allen D. Hertzke

Allen_2x3-3546_Vitale_Dec2011In 2009, I was recruited by the John Templeton Foundation and given a simple but daunting charge: organize a global symposium in Istanbul, Turkey, by assembling top scholars from around the world engaged in questions of religious freedom, constitutionalism, and flourishing social life. Frankly, I was not sure I could pull off this global challenge, but the scholars came and eloquently addressed many of the critical issues we face in the contemporary world:

What is the status of religious freedom today?
What are the different constitutional models that govern religious life?
How do governments or societies repress religious practice?
What are the consequences of that repression?
What are the frontiers of law on the freedom of conscience and religion?
How does religious freedom contribute to peaceful thriving societies?
How does it address the challenges of resurgent religion around the world?
What are the realistic prospects for improvement, and why does this matter?

Inspired by that landmark discussion, I enlisted symposium speakers and other contributors for a book-length survey of the global religious scene. The product of that effort, The Future of Religious Freedom, was published by Oxford University Press this year. 

The book addresses these critical questions by assembling in one volume some of the best forward-thinking and empirical research on religious liberty, international legal trends, and societal dynamics. Leading scholars from law, political science, diplomacy, sociology, and religion explore the status, value, and challenges of religious liberty around the world – with illustrations from a wide range of historical situations, contemporary contexts, and constitutional regimes.Allen

The book features up-to-date treatments of such pivotal nations as China, Russia, and Turkey and illuminates new threats to conscience and religious autonomy in the United States and other Western democracies. It also demonstrates the vital contribution of religious freedom to inter-religious harmony, thriving societies, and global security, and applies these findings to the momentous issue of advancing freedom and democracy in diverse Islamic cultures. Contributors provide bold, lucid, and soundly-reasoned arguments that build on and sometimes challenge each other. For a complete list of chapter topics and authors, Click here

As editor, I strove to blend academic sophistication with accessibility and relevance, so this work could inform scholars, students, and policy makers alike. As is evident in my introductory chapter – “Advancing the First Freedom in the Twenty-First Century” – this book marries passionate conviction with rigorous scholarship. Profound and practical, the book will help leaders and citizens alike navigate the crucible of resurgent religion in a shrinking world.

The Future of Religious Freedom reflects a long-term scholarly quest – calling is perhaps a better word – so I welcome critical feedback. 

Allen D. Hertzke is David Ross Boyd Professor of Political Science and Faculty Fellow in Religious Freedom for the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage, both at the University of Oklahoma. He is also Distinguished Senior Fellow for the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University and Senior Scholar for Georgetown University’s project on Christianity and Freedom. An internationally recognized scholar on religion and politics, he is author of Freeing God’s Children: The Unlikely Alliance for Global Human Rights. In 2012, he was selected to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

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