Friday, December 19, 2014

Popular Ship and Shipwrecks Book List

Are you fascinated by ships and shipwrecks? Want to learn more about them? Check out this book list...


1) "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex" by Nathaniel Philbrick

The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents-including a long-lost account written by the ship's cabin boy-and penetrating details about whaling and the Nantucket community to reveal the chilling events surrounding this epic maritime disaster. An intense and mesmerizing read, In the Heart of the Sea is a monumental work of history forever placing the Essex tragedy in the American historical canon.


2) "The Day the World Was Shocked: The Lusitania Disaster and Its Influence on the Course of World War I" by John Protasio

By far the most controversial sinking during the First World War was that of the Lusitania. As opposed to the loss of the Titanic several years earlier, which could be attributed to nature, the destruction of the passenger-liner Lusitania came at the hands of a German U-boat, one of many which infested the Atlantic at the time seeking destruction.

Over 1,200 people perished in this attack, including citizens from the then neutral United States of America. Although America did not declare war over this incident, the repulsion over needless loss of life put the country in psychological terms on an inexorable path toward intervention in Europe.

Many questions, however, rage to this day. Was the liner armed? Did she carry contraband (munitions) in a secret effort to aid the Allies? Did the Germans set out from the start to sink this ship? Was the Lusitania deliberately allowed to be sunk (by the supposedly protective Royal Navy) in order to draw the United States into the war?

This book answers these and other questions surrounding this emotionally charged sinking. It traces the story from the time of the vessel's construction to her demise, while providing a real-time look at the chaos on board once German torpedoes had shattered the ship. And what of the U-boat commander, who may either have made the greatest mistake in history, or had just been performing his duty? This account deals with the diplomatic repercussions of the sinking while at the same time examines the human side of the story.


3) "The Sea Wolf" by Jack London

Hailed by critics as one of the greatest sea stories ever written, this rousing adventure offers a fascinating combination of gritty realism and sublime lyricism in its portrayal of an elemental conflict. Jack London began his career at sea, and his shipboard experiences imbue The Sea-Wolf with flavorful authenticity.
In the story, the gentleman narrator, Humphrey Van Weyden, is pitted against an amoral sea captain, Wolf Larsen, in a clash of idealism with materialism. The novel begins when Van Weyden is swept overboard into San Francisco Bay, and plucked from the sea by Larsen's seal-hunting vessel, the Ghost. Pressed into service as a cabin boy by the ruthless captain, Van Weyden becomes an unwilling participant in a brutal shipboard drama. Larsen's increasingly violent abuse of the crew fuels a mounting tension that ultimately boils into mutiny, shipwreck, and a desperate confrontation.
Read and loved around the world, this 1904 maritime classic has influenced such writers as Hemingway, Orwell, and Kerouac.


4) "Steel on the Bottom: Great Lakes Shipwrecks" by Frederick Stonehouse

From back cover. Storm, collision and human folly all played a role in sending these big steel ships thundering to the bottom of lakes where the quietly disintegrate into nothing.


5) "Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942" by Ian W. Toll

On the first Sunday in December 1941, an armada of Japanese warplanes appeared suddenly over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and devastated the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Six months later, in a sea fight north of the tiny atoll of Midway, four Japanese aircraft carriers were sent into the abyss, a blow that destroyed the offensive power of their fleet. Pacific Crucible tells the epic tale of these first searing months of the Pacific war, when the U.S. Navy shook off the worst defeat in American military history and seized the strategic initiative.

This dramatic narrative, relying predominantly on eyewitness accounts and primary sources, is laced with riveting details of heroism and sacrifice on the stricken ships and planes of both navies. At the war’s outset, Japan’s pilots and planes enjoyed a clear-cut superiority to their American counterparts, but there was a price to be paid. Japanese pilots endured a lengthy and grueling training in which they were disciplined with baseball bats, often suffering broken bones; and the production line of the Zero— Japan’s superbly maneuverable fighter plane—ended not at a highway or railhead but at a rice paddy, through which the planes were then hauled on ox carts. Combat losses, of either pilots or planes, could not be replaced in time to match the fully mobilized American war machine.

Pacific Crucible also spotlights recent scholarship that revises our understanding of the conflict, including the Japanese decision to provoke a war that few in their highest circles thought they could win. Those doubters included the flamboyantly brilliant Admiral Isokoru Yamamoto, architect of the raid on Pearl and the Midway offensive.


6) "In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors" by Doug Stanton

On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine. An estimated three hundred men were killed upon impact; close to nine hundred sailors were cast into the Pacific Ocean, where they struggled to stay alive, battered by a savage sea and fighting off sharks, hypothermia, and dementia. By the time help arrived--nearly four days and nights later--all but 317 men had died. How did the navy fail to realize the Indianapolis was missing? Why was the cruiser traveling unescorted in enemy waters? And how did these 317 men manage to survive? Interweaving the stories of three survivors--the captain, the ship's doctor, and a young marine--journalist Doug Stanton has brought this astonishing human drama to life in a narrative that is at once immediate and timeless.


7) "The Terrible Hours: The Greatest Submarine Rescue in History" by Peter Maas

On the eve of World War II, the Squalus, America's newest submarine, plunged into the North Atlantic. Miraculously, thirty-three crew members still survived. While their loved ones waited in unbearable tension on shore, their ultimate fate would depend upon one man, U.S. Navy officer Charles "Swede" Momsen -- an extraordinary combination of visionary, scientist, and man of action. In this thrilling true narrative, prize-winning author Peter Maas brings us in the vivid detail a moment-by-moment account of the disaster and the man at its center. Could he actually pluck those men from a watery grave? Or had all his pioneering work been in vain?


8) "Resolute: The Epic Search for the Northwest Passage and John Franklin and the Discovery of the Queen's Ghost Ship" by Martin W. Sandler

Almost everyone knows the photo of John F. Kennedy, Jr., as a young boy, peering out from under his father’s desk in the Oval Office. But few realize that the desk itself plays a part in one of the world’s most extraordinary mysteries—a dramatic tale that has never before been told in its full scope. Acclaimed historian Martin Sandler—a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, winner of seven Emmy® Awards, and author of more than 50 books—finally brings the entire story to light. This amazing high-seas adventure encompasses the search for the Northwest Passage in the early 1800s; a renowned explorer and his crew of 128 men who vanish during an 1845 expedition; 39 incredible, heroic attempted rescue missions; a ghost ship that drifts for more than 1,200 miles; a queen’s gratitude; and that famous desk. Fascinating rare photographs, paintings, engravings, and maps illustrate the book throughout.

It all began when, in one of the biggest news stories of the 19th century, Sir John Franklin and his ships the Erebus and the Terror disappeared while attempting to locate the fabled Northwest Passage. At the request of Franklin’s wife, Lady Jane, the first mission set out from England in hopes of finding him; many others followed in its wake, none successful.

Among these was the Resolute, the finest vessel in Queen Victoria’s Navy. But in 1854 it became locked in Arctic ice and was abandoned by its captain. A year later, a Connecticut whaler discovered it 1,200 miles away—drifting and deserted, a 600-ton ghost ship. He and his small crew boarded theResolute, and steered it through a ferocious hurricane back to New London, Connecticut. The United States government then reoutfitted the ship and returned it to the thankful Queen. In 1879, when theResolute was finally retired, she had the best timbers made into a desk for then-President Rutherford B. Hayes. It is still used by U.S. presidents today...one of the most celebrated pieces of furniture in the White House.


9) "Death on the Black Sea: The Untold Story of the 'Struma' and World War II's Holocaust at Sea" by Douglas Frantz

On the morning of February 24, 1942, on the Black Sea near Istanbul, an explosion ripped through a decrepit former cattle barge filled with Jewish refugees. One man clung fiercely to a piece of deck, fighting to survive. Nearly eight hundred others -- among them, more than one hundred children -- perished.

In Death on the Black Sea, the story of the Struma, its passengers, and the events that led to its destruction are investigated and fully revealed in two vivid, parallel accounts, set six decades apart. One chronicles the international diplomatic maneuvers and callousness that resulted in the largest maritime loss of civilian life during World War II. The other recounts a recent attempt to locate theStruma at the bottom of the Black Sea, an effort initiated and pursued by the grandson of two of the victims. A vivid reconstruction of a grim exodus aboard a doomed ship, Death on the Black Seailluminates a forgotten episode of World War II and pays tribute to the heroes, past and present, who keep its memory alive.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Best Science Book List

Are you interested in science? Want to read about past discoveries? Check out this book list...


1) "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson

In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail—well, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.


2) "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking

A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends?

Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.


3) "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan

Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Featuring a new Introduction by Sagan’s collaborator, Ann Druyan, full color illustrations, and a new Foreword by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science.


4) "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands of readers to rethink their beliefs about life.
In his internationally bestselling, now classic volume, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk.


5) "The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory" by Brian Greene

Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away layers of mystery to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter—from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas—is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy. The Elegant Universe makes some of the most sophisticated concepts ever contemplated accessible and thoroughly entertaining, bringing us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.


6) "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything" by Steven D. Levitt

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?

What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?

How much do parents really matter?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports—and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head.


Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more.


Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.



7) "The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution" by Richard Dawkins

"Intelligent Design" is being taught in our schools; educators are being asked to "teach the controversy" behind evolutionary theory. There is no controversy. Dawkins sifts through rich layers of scientific evidence—from living examples of natural selection to clues in the fossil record; from natural clocks that mark the vast epochs wherein evolution ran its course to the intricacies of developing embryos; from plate tectonics to molecular genetics—to make the airtight case that "we find ourselves perched on one tiny twig in the midst of a blossoming and flourishing tree of life and it is no accident, but the direct consequence of evolution by non-random selection." His unjaded passion for the natural world turns what might have been a negative argument, exposing the absurdities of the creationist position, into a positive offering to the reader: nothing less than a master’s vision of life, in all its splendor.


8) "The Invention of Religion" by Alexander Drake

In this book, the author explores the question of whether religions were invented by humans or given to us by some other means. It is a scientific look at how ancient humans made sense of the world and the phenomena they encountered around them. In the past, arguments against the existence of gods have mainly come in the form of scientific inquiries that attempt to show there is no evidence for their existence. The Invention of Religion, however, investigates the psychological mechanisms that cause religions to originate and it sets out to prove that when humans have neither science nor religion, these mechanisms cause them to invent new religions. It also investigates how the differences (like monotheism vs. pantheism) between religions arise and how probable these differences are.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Best Princess Tales Book List

Does your teen still like princess books? Do you still like princess stories? It's alright. There is nothing to be ashamed about. Check out this book list for your indulgence...


1) "Princess Academy" by Shannon Hale

Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.



2) "Dealing with Dragons" by Patricia C. Wrede

Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart. . . .
And bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon . . . and finds the family and excitement she's been looking for.


3) "The Two Princesses of Bamarre" by Gail Carson Levine

When plague strikes Bamarre, Princess Addie must fulfill an ancient prophecy.

Brave and adventurous, Princess Meryl dreams of fighting dragons and protecting the kingdom of Bamarre. Shy and fearful, Princess Addie is content to stay within the safety of the castle walls. The one thing that the sisters share is their unwavering love for each other.

The tables are turned, however, when the Gray Death leaves Meryl fatally ill. To save her sister, meek Princess Addie must find the courage to set out on a dangerous quest filled with dragons, unknown magic, and death itself. Time is running out, and the sisters' lives—and the future of the kingdom of Bamarre—hang in the balance.


4) "Princess of the Midnight Ball" by Jessica Day George

Rose is one of twelve princesses forced to dance through the night in an underground palace. The key to breaking the spell lies in magic knitting needles, an invisibility cloak, and—of course—true love. Inspired by "The Twelve Dancing Princesses,"this novel is as captivating as it is fresh. Enchanted readers are sure to clamor for the new companion, Princess of Glass, also publishing this season.


5) "Just Ella" by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Being a princess isn't all that....

You've heard the fairytale: a glass slipper, Prince Charming, happily ever after...

Welcome to reality: royal genealogy lessons, needlepoint, acting like "a proper lady," and -- worst of all -- a prince who is not the least bit interesting, and certainly not charming.

As soon-to-be princess Ella deals with her newfound status, she comes to realize she is not "your majesty" material. But breaking off a royal engagement is no easy feat, especially when you're crushing on another boy in the palace.... For Ella to escape, it will take intelligence, determination, and spunk -- and no ladylike behavior allowed.


6) "The Princess Diaries" by Meg Cabot

What? A princess??

Me??? Yeah, right.

Mia Thermopolis is pretty sure there's nothing worse than being a five-foot-nine, flat-chested freshman, who also happens to be flunking Algebra.

Is she ever in for a surprise.

First Mom announces that she's dating Mia's Algebra teacher. Then Dad has to go and reveal that he is the crown prince of Genovia. And guess who still doesn't have a date for the Cultural Diversity Dance?


7) "Princess Ben" by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Benevolence is not your typical princess.
With her parents lost to assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia. Starved and miserable, locked in the castle’s highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire . . . But Ben’s private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat to her kingdom. Can Ben save the country and herself from foul tyranny?


8) "A Posse of Princesses" by Sherwood Smith

Rhis, princess of a small kingdom, is invited along with all the other princesses in her part of the world to the coming of age party of the Crown Prince of Vesarja, which is the central and most important kingdom. When Iardith, the prettiest and most perfect of all the princesses, is abducted, Rhis and her friends go to the rescue.

What happens to Rhis and her posse has unexpected results not only for the princesses, but for the princes who chase after them. Everyone learns a lot about friendship and hate, politics and laughter, romantic ballads and sleeping in the dirt with nothing but a sword for company. But most of all they learn about the many meanings of love.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Movie List #3

Looking forward to Christmas? Need something to boost that festive feeling as you decorate your tree and home? Check out this movie list...


1) It's A Wonderful Life

George Bailey has spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls. He has always longed to travel but never had the opportunity in order to prevent rich skinflint Mr. Potter from taking over the entire town. All that prevents him from doing so is George's modest building and loan company, which was founded by his generous father. But on Christmas Eve, George's Uncle Billy loses the business's $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank. Potter finds the misplaced money and hides it from Billy. When the bank examiner discovers the shortage later that night, George realizes that he will be held responsible and sent to jail and the company will collapse, finally allowing Potter to take over the town. Thinking of his wife, their young children, and others he loves will be better off with him dead, he contemplates suicide. But the prayers of his loved ones result in a gentle angel named Clarence coming to earth to help George, with the promise of earning his...

Director: Frank Capra
Writers: Frances Goodrich (screenplay), Albert Hackett(screenplay), 4 more credits »
Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1946


2) A Christmas Carol

On Christmas Eve, an old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the spirit of his former partner, Jacob Marley. The deceased partner was in his lifetime as mean and miserly as Scrooge is now and he warns him to change his ways or face the consequences in the afterlife. Scrooge dismisses the apparition but the first of the three ghosts, the Ghost of Christmas Past, visits as promised. Scrooge sees those events in his past life, both happy and sad, that forged his character. The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, shows him how many currently celebrate Christmas. The Ghost of Christmas yet to Come shows him how he will be remembered once he is gone. To his delight, the spirits complete their visits in one night giving him the opportunity to mend his ways.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Writers: Charles Dickens, Hugo Butler (screen play)
Stars: Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1938


3) Babes In Toyland

Tom the Piper's Son is about to marry Mary Quite Contrary. On the eve of their wedding, evil miser Barnaby hires two henchmen to drown Tom and steal Mary's sheep, cared for by Little Bo Peep, thus depriving Mary and the children she lives with of their livelihood, forcing her to marry Barnaby. The sheep are stolen, but Gonzorgo and Roderigo, Barnaby's henchmen, double-cross him by selling Tom to a band of gypsies instead, leaving Tom with the opportunity to escape and make his way with Mary, Bo-Peep, and other Mother Goose characters to Toyland.

Director: Jack Donohue
Writers: Glen MacDonough (operetta), Ward Kimball(screenplay), 3 more credits »
Stars: Ray Bolger, Tommy Sands, Annette Funicello |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1961


4) Scrooged

Frank Cross runs a US TV station which is planning a live adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol. Frank's childhood wasn't a particularly pleasant one, and so he doesn't really appreciate the Christmas spirit. With the help of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, Frank realises he must change.

Director: Richard Donner
Writers: Mitch Glazer, Michael O'Donoghue, 1 more credit »
Stars: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1988


5) Mixed Nuts

Philip runs a crisis hotline with Catherine and Mrs Munchnik. That's the easy part, now it gets tricky... Stanley loves evicting people and he evicts Philip. Philip loves helping people and he is loved by Catherine. Catherine is loved by Louie who loves writing songs. Chris loves dancing to songs and loves to wear large dresses. Gracie also loves to wear large dresses because she's pregnant. She loves the baby's father, Felix, who loves to paint. That just leaves Mrs. Munchnik who hasn't been loved by anybody in a very long time.

Director: Nora Ephron
Writers: Nora Ephron (screenplay), Delia Ephron(screenplay)
Stars: Steve Martin, Madeline Kahn, Robert Klein |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1994


6) The Little Drummer Boy

Animated film version of the legendary song of a boy who lets out all his frustrations on a drum, little knowing how significant this drum will be in the birth of the newborn Jesus.

Directors: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr., 1 more credit »
Writer: Romeo Muller
Stars: José Ferrer, Paul Frees, June Foray |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1968


7) White Christmas

Having left the Army following W.W.II, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis team up to become a top song-and-dance act. Davis plays matchmaker and introduces Wallace to a pair of beautiful sisters (Betty and Judy) who also have a song-and-dance act. When Betty and Judy travel to a Vermont lodge to perform a Christmas show, Wallace and Davis follow, only to find their former commander, General Waverly, as the lodge owner. A series of romantic mix-ups ensue as the performers try to help the General.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Writers: Norman Krasna (written for the screen by),Norman Panama (written for the screen by), 1 more credit »
Stars: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1954


8) How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Inside a snowflake exists the magical land of Whoville. In Whoville, live the Whos, an almost mutated sort of munchkinlike people. All the Whos love Christmas, yet just outside of their beloved Whoville lives the Grinch. The Grinch is a nasty creature that hates Christmas, and plots to steal it away from the Whos which he equally abhors. Yet a small child, Cindy Lou Who, decides to try befriend the Grinch.

Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Dr. Seuss (book), Jeffrey Price (screenplay), 1 more credit »
Stars: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Kelley |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2000


Monday, December 15, 2014

Popular Philosophy

Want a book that makes you think? Tired of reading fiction? Want a book with substance? Check out these thought provoking books...



1) "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" by Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche was one of the most revolutionary and subversive thinkers in Western philosophy, and "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" remains his most famous and influential work. It describes how the ancient Persian prophet Zarathustra descends from his solitude in the mountains to tell the world that God is dead and that the Superman, the human embodiment of divinity, is his successor. With blazing intensity and poetic brilliance, Nietzsche argues that the meaning of existence is not to be found in religious pieties or meek submission, but in an all-powerful life force: passionate, chaotic & free.


2) "The Communist Manifesto" by Karl Marx

The Communist Manifesto, originally titled Manifesto of the Communist Party (German: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei) is a short 1848 book written by the German Marxist political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It has since been recognized as one of the world's most influential political manuscripts. Commissioned by the Communist League, it laid out the League's purposes and program. It presents an analytical approach to the class struggle (historical and present) and the problems of capitalism, rather than a prediction of communism's potential future forms.

The book contains Marx and Engels' Marxist theories about the nature of society and politics, that in their own words, "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." It also briefly features their ideas for how the capitalist society of the time would eventually be replaced by socialism, and then eventually communism.


3) "Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse

This classic novel of self-discovery has inspired generations of seekers. With parallels to the enlightenment of the Buddha, Hesse's Siddhartha is the story of a young Brahmin's quest for the ultimate reality. His quest takes him from the extremes of indulgent sensuality to the rigors of ascetism and self-denial. At last he learns that wisdom cannot be taught — it must come from one's own experience and inner struggle. Steeped in the tenets of both psychoanalysis and Eastern mysticism,Siddhartha presents a strikingly original view of man and culture, and the arduous process of self-discovery that leads to reconciliation, harmony, and peace.



4) "The History of Western Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell

Hailed as “lucid and magisterial” by The Observer, this book is universally acclaimed as the outstanding one-volume work on the subject of Western philosophy.

Considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of all time, the History of Western Philosophy is a dazzlingly unique exploration of the ideologies of significant philosophers throughout the ages—from Plato and Aristotle through to Spinoza, Kant and the twentieth century. Written by a man who changed the history of philosophy himself, this is an account that has never been rivaled since its first publication over sixty years ago.

Since its first publication in 1945, Lord Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy is still unparalleled in its comprehensiveness, its clarity, its erudition, its grace, and its wit. In seventy-six chapters he traces philosophy from the rise of Greek civilization to the emergence of logical analysis in the twentieth century.

Among the philosophers considered are: Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the Atomists, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Cynics, the Sceptics, the Epicureans, the Stoics, Plotinus, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Benedict, Gregory the Great, John the Scot, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, Machiavelli, Erasmus, More, Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, the Utilitarians, Marx, Bergson, James, Dewey, and lastly the philosophers with whom Lord Russell himself is most closely associated—Cantor, Frege, and Whitehead, coauthor with Russell of the monumental Principia Mathematica.


5) "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.


6) "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins

A preeminent scientist -- and the world's most prominent atheist -- asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11.

With rigor and wit, Dawkins examines God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong but potentially deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universe's wonders than any faith could ever muster.




7) "The Trial and Death of Socrates" by Plato

The third edition of The Trial and Death of Socrates presents G. M. A. Grube's distinguished translations, as revised by John Cooper for Plato, Complete Works. A number of new or expanded footnotes are also included along with a Select Bibliography.


8) "Madness & Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason" by Michel Foucault

In this classic account of madness, Michel Foucault shows once and for all why he is one of the most distinguished European philosophers since the end of World War II. Madness and Civilization,Foucault's first book and his finest accomplishment, will change the way in which you think about society. Evoking shock, pity and fascination, it might also make you question the way you think about yourself.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Top 100 Romantic Movies Part 1

Want something romantic to counter the overwhelming holiday themes? Don't worry we have something for you to watch on this list...


1) The Notebook

In a nursing home, resident Duke reads a romance story for an old woman who has senile dementia with memory loss. In the late 1930s, wealthy seventeen year-old Allie Hamilton is spending summer vacation in Seabrook. Local worker Noah Calhoun meets Allie at a carnival and they soon fall in love with each other. One day, Noah brings Allie to an ancient house that he dreams of buying and restoring and they make love. But Allie's parents do not approve of their romance since Noah belongs to another social class, and they travel to New York with her. Noah writes 365 letters to Allie, but her mother Anne Hamilton does not deliver them to her daughter. Three years later, the United States joins the World War II and Noah and his best friend Fin enlist in the army, and Allie works as an army nurse. She meets injured soldier Lon Hammond in the hospital. After the war, they meet each other again and Lon, who is wealthy and handsome, proposes. Meanwhile Noah buys and restores the old house and...

Director: Nick Cassavetes
Writers: Jeremy Leven (screenplay), Jan Sardi(adaptation), 1 more credit »
Stars: Gena Rowlands, James Garner, Rachel McAdams |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2004


2) P.S. I Love You

Holly Kennedy is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life - a passionate, funny, and impetuous Irishman named Gerry. So when Gerry's life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. The only one who can help her is the person who is no longer there. Nobody knows Holly better than Gerry. So it's a good thing he planned ahead. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters that will guide her, not only through her grief, but in rediscovering herself. The first message arrives on Holly's 30th birthday in the form of a cake, and to her utter shock, a tape recording from Gerry, who proceeds to tell her to get out and "celebrate herself". In the weeks and months that follow, more letters from Gerry are delivered in surprising ways, each sending her on a new adventure and each signing off in the same way; P.S. I Love You. Holly's mother and best friends begin to worry that Gerry's letters are keeping Holly tied to the past, but in fact, each letter is pushing...

Director: Richard LaGravenese
Writers: Richard LaGravenese (screenplay), Steven Rogers(screenplay), 1 more credit »
Stars: Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Harry Connick Jr. |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2007



3) Dangerous Beauty

In 16th century Venice, courtesans enjoy unique privileges: dressed richly in red, they read, compose poetry and music, and discuss affairs of state with the men who govern the Republic. When Veronica Franco comes of age, she cannot marry Marco Venier, whom she loves, because she is well born but penniless. Her choice: cloister or courtesan. She steels her heart, and with beauty and intelligence becomes the best. She's a heroine when she helps convince France to aid Venice in war with Turkey, but when plague descends, the Church charges her with witchcraft. At her inquisition, she must match wits with an old rival, speak for all women, and call courage from Venier.

Director: Marshall Herskovitz
Writers: Margaret Rosenthal (book), Jeannine Dominy
Stars: Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell, Oliver Platt |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1998


4) Mamma Mia!

Set on a colorful Greek island, the plot serves as a background for a wealth of ABBA songs. A young woman about to be married discovers that any one of three men could be her father. She invites all three to the wedding without telling her mother, Donna, who was once the lead singer of Donna and the Dynamos. In the meantime, Donna has invited her backup singers, Rosie and Tanya.

Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Writers: Catherine Johnson (screenplay), Catherine Johnson (musical book)
Stars: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2008


5) Avatar

When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge's intentions of driving off the native humanoid "Na'vi" in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na'vi people with the use of an "avatar" identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand - and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora.

Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2009


6) Beastly

At the Buckeston Academy High School, the wealthy, arrogant, narcissistic, and bigoted Kyle Kingson is a student who does not respect his classmates. When Kyle is elected representative of the students, he plays a prank on the outcast Kendra, who has a reputation as a witch: he invites her to a party and humiliates her in front of their classmates. However, Kendra curses him with a spell that makes Kyle as ugly as his soul. Further, she tells him that if he does not find anyone who loves him within a year, he will be doomed to that appearance forever. When Kyle's father, Rob Kingson, sees him, he takes Kyle to specialists but the doctors do not know what to do, so Rob hides Kyle in an apartment with a maid and a blind tutor. When Kyle sees his mate Lindy on the streets, he saves her from a dangerous drug dealer and he brings her to his apartment to protect her. Now his only hope is that Lindy will fall in love with him.

Director: Daniel Barnz
Writers: Daniel Barnz (screenplay), Alex Flinn (novel)
Stars: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2011


7) Shakespeare In Love

Will Shakespeare is a known but struggling poet, playwright and actor who not only has sold his next play to both Philip Henslow and Richard Burbidge but now faces a far more difficult problem: he is bereft of ideas and has yet to begin writing. He is in search of his muse, the woman who will inspire him but all attempts fail him until he meets the beautiful Viola de Lesseps. She loves the theatre and would like nothing more than to take to the stage but is forbidden from doing so as only men can be actors. She is also a great admirer of Shakespeare's works. Dressing as a man and going by the name of Thomas Kent, she auditions and is ideal for a part in his next play. Shakespeare soon sees through her disguise and they begin a love affair, one they know cannot end happily for them as he is already married and she has been promised to the dour Lord Wessex. As the company rehearses his new play, Will and Viola's love is transferred to the written page leading to the masterpiece that is...

Director: John Madden
Writers: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1998


8) Notting Hill

Every man's dream comes true for William Thacker, an unsuccessful Notting Hill bookstore owner, when Anna Scott, the world's most beautiful woman and best-liked actress, enters his shop. A little later, he still can't believe it himself, William runs into her again - this time spilling orange juice over her. Anna accepts his offer to change in his nearby apartment, and thanks him with a kiss, which seems to surprise her even more than him. Eventually, Anna and William get to know each other better over the months, but being together with the world's most wanted woman is not easy - neither around your closest friends, nor in front of the all-devouring press.

Director: Roger Michell
Writer: Richard Curtis
Stars: Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, Richard McCabe |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1999


9) A Walk To Remember

In Beaufort, North Carolina, a prank on a student goes terribly wrong and puts the student in the hospital. Landon Carter, a popular student with no defined plans for the future, is held responsible and forced to participate in after-school community service activities as punishment, which include starring as the lead in the school play. Also participating in these activities is Jamie Sullivan, the reverend's daughter who has great ambitions and nothing in common with Landon. When Landon decides he wants to take his activities seriously, he asks Jamie for help and begins to spend most of his time with her. But he starts to develop strong feelings for her, something he did not expect to do. The two start a relationship, much to the chagrin of Landon's old popular friends and Jamie's strict reverend father. But when a heart-breaking secret becomes known that puts their relationship to the test, it is then that Landon and Jamie realize the true meaning of love and fate.

Director: Adam Shankman
Writers: Nicholas Sparks (novel), Karen Janszen(screenplay)
Stars: Mandy Moore, Shane West, Peter Coyote |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2002


10) Memoirs of a Geisha

In 1929 an impoverished nine-year-old named Chiyo from a fishing village is sold to a geisha house in Kyoto's Gion district and subjected to cruel treatment from the owners and the head geisha Hatsumomo. Her stunning beauty attracts the vindictive jealousy of Hatsumomo, until she is rescued by and taken under the wing of Hatsumomo's bitter rival, Mameha. Under Mameha's mentorship, Chiyo becomes the geisha named Sayuri, trained in all the artistic and social skills a geisha must master in order to survive in her society. As a renowned geisha she enters a society of wealth, privilege, and political intrigue. As World War II looms Japan and the geisha's world are forever changed by the onslaught of history.

Director: Rob Marshall
Writers: Robin Swicord (screenplay), Arthur Golden (book)
Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2005