In Defense of Traditional Books

In the midst of the digital era, I’d like to step up and defend the traditional book. Don’t get me wrong, I love the latest in book tech, but nothing beats a book in its purest form. Here are a few reasons why.

1. The Feel

There is just something about holding an entire book in your hands and feeling the pages as you turn it. There’s a connection to the material that doesn’t seem to happen when you read on a mobile device. As books age, they also sort of pick up a book-y smell that is quite comforting. The whole process of reading becomes an immersive experience.

2. They’re Better For Your Health

We’ve all heard it so many time before. The eerie glow from our electronic devices is slowly killing us. Sure, that’s probably a little extreme. I mean, just about everything is “killing us” these days, but it really does affect your health. Especially if you’re reading at bedtime with all other lights off. Your body responds to the light your electronic reading device and it can dramatically affect your ability to fall asleep and also how you sleep throughout the night. In fact, the best recommendation for bedtime is to read a traditional book until you get tired. If you’ve been having trouble sleeping lately, just take a week to read an actually physical book instead of looking at an electronic device thirty minutes before you fall asleep. I guarantee you’ll start to sleep much more soundly.

3. The Feeling of Accomplishment

Each books you finish is sort of like a trophy that you can keep forever. You can proudly display it for guests as a conversation started. You can do this with three or four books or you can have an entire room devoted to it. Personal libraries are quite impressive and there is an air of intelligence and sophistication that comes with a room like that. Build it up, take pride, share your favorites with your guests. Good luck doing that with an eReader. Or, if you don’t care to build your collection, you get to pass it along to someone else who will enjoy it.

4. The Ability to Completely Disconnect

This might be just me, but I’m guessing it’s not. If I attempt to read on a mobile device, it takes me forever to get in the zone. I’ll get distracting by every little thing whether it be email, or Facebook, or any other app that is just an easy click away. A physical book allows me to put all of that aside and really dive into the world the author has prepared for me. Number 2 on this list also plays a role here.

5. Nostalgia

A lot of the books I own have a story behind how I obtained them, whether it was given to me by a friend or family member, or is a special edition, or happens to be a signed copy. Nostalgia gets pretty lost with eBooks and I’ll take nostalgia any day.

There you have it. Just a few reasons that I will always, always prefer traditional books over eBooks. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and I welcome yours.

If you’d like to dive further into the world of traditional books vs. eBooks and talking books, please come visit us at Big Books for Big Readers. We welcome everyone who truly loves them and the joys of reading them.

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Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!

I have recently re-read the above book. I was hoping it would deal with phobias like spiders, but it has reminded me it is more about fears that prevent you living life to the full. It is about 20 years since I read it and I had forgotten most of it, but it is surprising the impact it must have had, as it may have helped me bring about changes in my life. As you will see later. Perhaps I should look at NLP to rid me of my dread of spiders!

However what it does cover is finding out what you are fearful about, why and how to eliminate them. Susan Jeffers phD writes of her journey to rid herself of her own limiting fears. Having developed various systems for herself she decided to teach these methods to others. Her methods are to help you gain confidence in all areas of your life.

There is a chapter on moving from pain to power where changing your vocabulary from negative to positive will give you power over various states of mind. By saying, for example “I could”, rather than I should, or “next time”, instead of, “if only I had… “, you change your thinking.

There are many exercises within the pages that can take you from a state of fearfulness to power. These will help you feel “you can handle anything”.

The book helps you take charge of your life and make decisions. It teaches there are no wrong decisions only different results, which can be changed by future decisions. She also recommends a life of balance, making time for all areas of your life, all your needs, to give you peace and satisfaction.

It is an easy to read little book, full of helpful ideas to enrich your future, and although this could mean your changes will necessitate making new friends. As you grow and change, existing friends may drop away. Or maybe you will even change career paths, but you will find out what is really important to you, and have the courage to follow through.

Maybe in the past you have toyed with the idea of setting up your own business, but have resisted the idea through fear of the unknown. The book and the exercises could make you more adventurous, more confident.

The first time I read the book I had no idea of changing careers but it may have subconsciously influenced me as now I have set up an affiliate marketing business, which has enabled me to work anywhere with my laptop. We now winter in the sun in Spain.

If you would like to work anywhere and make new choices it could help you change your life too! If you are interested to find out more about affiliate marketing, which is the simplest starting point online, there are many books on the subject and YouTube videos.

Affiliate marketing with the guidance of a coach, means products are provided, and up-to-date training. This means that you are in a position to start earning as you are learning the techniques and do not have source your own products, test them for best sellers or learn all about marketing before you start earning.

Begin part-time and see if online marketing is for you. I love the time and location freedom of the lifestyle it gives me, maybe you will too!

The book reviewed: “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway! by Susan Jeffers

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3 White Noise Apps for Reading

Reading a good book for a few minutes is the best and fastest way to escape the pressures and unpleasantness of life. It can help relieve stress and leave you feeling relaxed, happy, and refreshed. The atmosphere around you can be important for you to relax, which is why creating a reading corner is such a good idea. But obviously that’s impossible to do on your lunch break or riding the train during your commute. But you can control your atmosphere somewhat. What you hear is the easiest to control. Here are three white noise apps that will help you immerse yourself in your book.

Sleep Pillow Sounds Lite

This is the app I’ve used the most often for reading or studying. Even though you can upgrade to a paid version with a lot more sounds, the free version is still very good. It has a lot of options including fireplace, rain, thunderstorm, and the ocean to listen to. You can also overlap sounds to create your own mix. I like to combine fireplace and rain so it feels like I’m near a fireplace while it’s cold and rainy outside.

White Noise

White Noise has more of a selection than Sleep Pillow for sound. With over 40 different sounds to choose from– and a few mixes provided as well– you’re bound to find one that you like. My favorites on here is the cat purring, Tibetan singing bowl, and boat swaying in water. Some of the sounds on this one seem to cause more stress than relaxation in my opinion, like the vacuum cleaner or the city streets, but there are definitely sounds on here for everyone.

Relax Melodies

This app is probably the best all around deal. You have a variety of sounds to choose from that you can overlap and mix with easily to create the atmosphere you want, or you can choose (and customize) from the variety of combinations provided for you. My favorite is deserted lake. Not only that but it’ll also give you health tips for better sleep and provide guided meditations. Only two meditations are available in the free version and there are a lot of sounds that are only available in the paid version, but it still has a lot of sounds to choose from to help you create an instant vacation on your commute with a good book.

Have a great day, everybody, and happy reading.

If you want to find some excellent reading material to go along with your new app, then please visit my book review website,, for romance novel recommendations, reviews, and more tips for an enjoyable reading experience.

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Book Review: The Cotton Tree by Sahr Sankoh

In The Cotton Tree, Sahr Sankoh uses brutal honesty, sarcasm and satire to bring light to the pressing political issues of our times. The book contains 57 poems filled with wit and sarcasm about things we have all probably wanted to say at one time or another, but wouldn’t dare to put into words. Sankoh’s brilliant use of alliteration brings world events to new heights, poking light fun at a wide array of topics ranging from public transportation to Japanese horror movies to rap music and even touches on controversial topics such as the missing Malaysian flight. Sankoh provides extremely thoughtful, yet humorous insights into pressing issues in today’s society as well as pop culture, using light sarcasm and wit without being distasteful or tactless.

The Cotton Tree is different from most poetry books in that the poems aren’t the typical eight line rhyming poem that we were taught to compose in elementary school. Rather it is a unique collection of poems ranging of various lengths making light of often controversial topics of today’s culture. I especially like how Sankoh is brutally honest in the Forward section of the book, letting us know that we needn’t bother dissecting every line of every poem to find some deep and “hidden meaning.” His poetry is more of “what you see is what you get.” nature. However, there is a brief synopsis of each poem at the end of the book, which in my opinion,, only provides further insight into the brilliant workings of Sankoh enlightened imagination.

One poem that stands out for me is entitled “Starbucks Demeanor” in which Sankoh pokes fun at the popular coffee shop, and the type of clientele that most frequent that iconic coffee establishment, including what type of coffee each “genre” prefers. Another favorite is “The Cassette Tape Culture” which starts out as walk down memory lane about the simplicity of teenage years and how music was such a part of that culture then suddenly takes an unsurprised turn (but I won’t spoil it). If I have to choose a poem I liked the least I would say it would be “God Save the Wolf.” I personally felt this one was just a tad too distasteful and a bit over the top, in my opinion, but then I wouldn’t recommend The Cotton Tree to anyone under the age of sixteen as it touches on some rather adult topics at times.

Overall, The Cotton Tree is a delightfully humorous satirical journey into the world we live in today. One must take these poems with a grain of salt and know that they are meant to shed light and humor on sometimes otherwise dark and morbid topics. This book is not for those who are extremely sensitive or highly moral. It is a brilliant parody of today’s hot topics and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sahr Sankoh has a way of making controversial topics seem less daunting. I definitely recommend this book if you have an open mind and a good sense of humor.

Find out more about The Cotton Tree by visiting

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A Diplomat Who Signed Up to Serve His Country: Part II

A tribute to Professor Austine S.O. Okwu at 92: A look at how a diplomat who signed up to serve his country ended up serving his own people.From a review of his book, In Truth for Justice and Honor: A Memoir of a Nigerian-Biafran Ambassador.

Part II

The relationship between Ghana and Nigeria had hit a new low by the time S.O. arrived in Ghana in 1961. Foreign ministers of both countries came close to fist fights. Nigerian politicians cried that Ghana-trained dissidents were planning to kick them out of power.

Kwame Nkrumah, the then prime minister of Ghana, was at the height of his power. Four years earlier, in 1957 – before any other African colony – Kwame and the Ghanaians had dethroned Britain. Now anybody who wanted to throw British rulers or native despots off their backs came to Ghana to learn from the masters.

If the ten days’ Man-of-War Bay training in Cameroon (before his two-year service as assistant divisional officer in Ahaoda, Nigeria) had infused mental toughness in Austine S.O., it was his ten months’ stay in Ghana that honed his diplomatic skills.

To men like S.O., each day presented an opportunity to showcase Nigeria – not only to the host country, Ghana, but to the world. Love of their country drove the Nigerian diplomats of the early sixties. Even when nobody was watching, they looked out for Nigeria’s interests.


Though designated as Head of Chancery, Austine took it upon himself to wonder why the estimated cost of building an oil refinery in Alesa elema, near Port Harcourt, Nigeria, was many times higher than a similar project in Tema, Ghana, where he served. Following his hunch, the new diplomat alerted the Nigerian Government, which prompted them to renegotiate for a better deal.

Repartee with the Prince

When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip came to congratulate Ghana on their infrastructure, S.O. was among diplomats from other countries selected to meet the royal couple.

‘Folks from Nigeria,’ remarked Phillip, nodding his head multiple times and extending his right hand.

‘Yes,’ Austine acknowledged, ‘my apologies; head of mission Mr. Leslie Harriman couldn’t be here today.’

‘How is that working out, huh, you from eastern Nigeria, and Leslie from the western part of Nigeria?’ Prince Phillip asked.

A twinkle came over the face of S.O., as he locked hands with Prince Phillip.

‘If the English, the Welsh, and the Scottish can exist under British rule in spite of several wars, Nigeria, borrowing from you, can learn how to coexist,’ responded Austine.

Never before had the Prince been diplomatically challenged in that way. Quiet for few seconds, Phillip glanced at Elizabeth, before finally crushing Austine with a two-minute hand squeeze.

After S.O.’s successful repartee with the Prince, he celebrated making a royal impression by attending a semi-diplomatic fanfare that same night. He wore his favorite white caftan and matching pants. On his head he wore a tight-fitting domed hat, decorated with rose petals, leaving a three-month-old growth of black hair on both temples.

Kenneth Kaunda, the future President of Zambia

The crowd spotted Austine. Accra had been buzzing about the extended moment the new Nigerian diplomat had had with the royal couple.

‘You spent more time with the Royals than anybody else,’ said a short, fat-bellied, inquisitive fellow. His Senegalese accent rang out as he spoke.

‘I had to defend Nigeria,’ said Austine, as he continued to follow the train of guests. Close by, bottles of beer, cooked meats, jollof rice and gizzards strung on sticks lay on a wooden table draped with brown cloth.

‘Nice. I wish I were a fly hiding behind your hat, and listening to your conversation with—–,’ the Senegalese began to say. Before he could finish, someone tapped his left shoulder and he turned.

‘Meet a friend, Kenneth,’ the fat-bellied envoy said.

‘Kenneth Kaunda, from Zambia,’ said a coal-tarred youth, blinking rapidly.

‘Austine Okwu, Nigeria, Head of Chancery to the High Commission.’

The two men surveyed each other. They were like brothers of the same age, raised in different parts of Africa.

‘I know, I know who you are,’ replied the Zambian; ‘how can I get in touch with Nnamdi Azikiwe or Tafawa Balewa?’ A sense of urgency betrayed his youthful age.

Everyone wanted a piece of Nnamdi Azikiwe and Tafawa Belewa. The British had appointed these men to be the first President and the first Prime Minister of Nigeria.

‘Find a chicken,’ said Austine to the brother, ‘and tomorrow at 6 pm come over to the house. Don’t fail.’

Kenneth selected a crop of gizzards strung on a greased stick. He bit off the first gizzard and ground it between his right molars. Having given him time to swallow, Austine continued, ‘I’ve been reassigned to Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika. They want me to open a new Nigerian mission.’

‘But Ghana is the center of the African revolution,’ Kaunda argued.

‘My country believes in me, and this is going to be the first ever Nigerian diplomatic mission in East Africa.’

Kenneth Kaunda nodded in silence. ‘I wish I could also do something for my country to help them chase out the British colonialists. You really must put me in touch with Azikiwe or Belewa.’

End of Part II

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