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July 24, 2014

Facts About Hermann Hesse Which May Make Him the World's Most Brooding Author

Most of the authors we love seem to derive their genius from dark places. It would appear that a fair amount of brooding and sadness goes into creating fantastic works of art, and the ones we remember are usually memorable for the murky life tales which go along with them. siddhartha Hermann Hesse, most famous for his work Siddhartha, is no exception. And since we’re releasing an art print this month based on Hesse’s incredible, soul-searching work, we thought some interesting facts might be appropriate to celebrate the grand reveal. Of course, we didn’t bargain for Hesse’s life being possibly one of the gloomiest we’ve seen so far. Take a look for yourself and judge whether these 5 facts make Hesse a contender for 'Most Brooding Author':   pietism 1. Hesse came from a family of missionaries. Not only were Hesse’s parents Protestant missionaries, but his mother was born in India to missionary parents as well. As a result, religion played a large role in Hesse’s life, in particular Swabian Pietism. Pietism offered a strict view of personal faith which led to small, close-knit religious groups. However, as a result of his extremely religious upbringing, Hesse would experience a constant melancholy turmoil for the entirety of his life when it came to thoughts about his own personal feelings of faith.   HERMANN HESSE 2. Hesse was in constant conflict with authority figures. Possibly due to the rigid nature of his childhood, Hesse often found himself in conflict with his parents, teachers, and other figures of authority. When he was only 15, Hesse began to reveal his rebellious nature by running away from seminary. In that same year, following an attempted suicide, Hesse’s parents had him interred in a mental institution. Upon his release, Hesse further pushed the patience of the authority figures around him by taking up smoking and drinking with older companions.  

peter

3. Hesse had a deep-set love for books. This is probably one of the few happy facts we know about Hesse's life. Before transitioning into becoming a writer, Hesse worked as an apprentice in several bookshops. He garnered his first apprenticeship at age 16 and continued to work until the publication of his novel Peter Camenzind in 1904 allowed him to branch off into living the life of an independent author.   hesse 4. Hesse sought to regain his spirituality by traveling through Asia. In 1911, Hesse went on a prolonged journey which took him through Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Sumatra, Borneo, and Burma. The purpose of the trip was to renew his spirituality, but in reality Hesse only succeeded in further exhausting himself. Having struggled with depression throughout his life, the physical exertion of the journey caused it to resurface and grow worse.   Carl-Jung 5. Hesse had a relationship with renown psychotherapist Carl Jung. 1916 was a notoriously bad year for Hesse. In the span of a single year, the writer watched his father die, his son become seriously ill, and his wife descend into the clutches of schizophrenia. As a result, Hesse became a firm believer in psychotherapy and began receiving treatment. In this way, he came to know Carl Jung personally.   Herman Hesse’s life journey undoubtedly contributed to the breadth of his work. His struggles to find spiritual and emotional peace eventually led him to pen his most popular work Siddhartha in 1922. And it's nice to think that perhaps through the words of his spiritual book, Hesse was finally able to find peace. As he himself wrote in Siddartha: “And all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life.” Be sure to check in with us in two days to get a glimpse of our new Siddhartha literary poster. Reading these very words as they form a breath-taking image will make them all the more unforgettable! Happy reading! :)  
July 23, 2014

Can Kindle Unlimited Stave Off the Death of Reading?

kindle Kindle recently announced the launching of its brand new Kindle Unlimited which offers avid readers the opportunity to read and listen to as many books as they want for the reasonable price of $9.99 per month. In layman terms…it’s a bit like a monthly book buffet. This can sound like a great option for those who think they can make it through several books per month, but if recent statistics have any say in the matter, it seems that most of us simply don’t have the time. Data released just last month showed that the typical American is now working more than ever (around 8 hours per day on weekdays and 6 per day on weekends). Add to that the fact that most of us spend an average of 2.8 hours per day watching television, another hour socializing (both online and in person), and a mere 4 minutes to an hour of reading per weekend day, and things indeed begin to appear a bit grim. tv But the potential death of reading isn’t the only issue Kindle Unlimited will face when trying to get people on board with paying close to ten bucks a month for access to 600,000 books. The bottom line is that the overall cost of $120 per year just may not be worth it if you have admittance to free library systems (as most people do). And, although $9.99 is only a fraction of what you would normally spend purchasing a single book, people need to take into consideration that not all big publishers are onboard with Kindle Unlimited, so you won’t be getting any of the big, new releases included in the membership just yet. In truth, it seems unlikely that anyone beyond the most avid bibliophiles would be able to get full use out of the new Kindle Unlimited system, but, as it’s still a new concept, it’ll be interesting to see how it develops and whether or not people will be willing to join just for the convenience of accessing a library without leaving the house. That being said, Kindle Unlimited will hopefully go a long way towards helping people get interested, and invested, in reading. After all, when you’re paying for a service, you’re much more likely to use it, right? Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think. Is this a service you’ll consider using? Let us know yes or no, and why! Happy reading! :)  
July 22, 2014

5 Books That Will Change Your Worldview

Every once in a while, a reader will come across a literary work so moving, so impacting, that everything around them seems to alter its balance in the face of new knowledge. You’ve seen those. The page-turners which you eventually close with a satisfied sigh, mind awhirl with what the novel has done to change your point of view. We all have our own personal list of books which have changed how we look at the world, but it seems that a lot of readers tend to love similar books and how those works make them think. So let’s take a look at 5 reader favorites which will change how you view the world. Read them if you dare!   giver 1. The Giver by Lois Lowry: This popular book is something most of us have read in our childhood, but a work that everyone should read at least once more as adults. The themes in this book stretch the boundaries of how we view personal freedom. Not only that, it will cause you to rethink how important both pain and pleasure are for us to truly be alive.   animal farm 2.  Animal Farm by George Orwell: Orwell’s book 1984 seems to get a lot of love these days, but most readers look to Animal Farm when it comes to a truly remarkable portrayal of the ups and downs of a utopian society. Orwell’s powerful rhetoric will stop you in your tracks and make you consider how any society, regardless of the good intentions upon which it is founded, can fall to social hierarchy and corrupt power.   hitchhiker 3.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: You might not have expected to see Hitchhiker’s Guide on this list, mostly because this work comes across as more comedic than life-changing. But there are few books out there which can raise the question and foster the answer to humanity’s existence with such charm and playfulness. You’ll find some serious life lessons amongst the rip-roaring cross-galactic adventures of this amazing work.   night 4. Night by Elie Wiesel: Throughout my research, I came across a few surprising titles, but none stood out quite so much as Wiesel’s autobiography. Readers have again and again pointed to this book as one of the most influential works they’ve ever read. This book takes an uncomfortably honest look at despair and the personal death of God. If any literary piece will shock you into awe, it will most likely be this heartbreaking work about a man’s Holocaust experiences.   fahrenheit 5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: Bradbury’s novel is perhaps one of the most famous dystopian works in modern literature and there’s good reason why. Readers seem to love this novel because it broaches a topic which makes book-lovers uncomfortable: the burning of books and literature. We all fear the day when mindless entertainment takes over educational pastimes and this book will change your worldview with its nearly spot-on portrayal of how our modern society can evolve – in some ways for the worst.   Of course, with so many books out there which can change your worldview, it’s difficult to narrow it down to just 5 works. So be sure to share with us which ones you think belong on this list and which don’t as well as your own personal list of books which changed your life and why. Happy reading! :)
July 17, 2014

3 Tips to Help You Become A Better Reader

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA In the age of technology where the internet seems to be at the top of everyone’s mind, keeping up with your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can seem like a fair use of your free time. Unfortunately, this also means that reading habits tend to go by the wayside as people are less and less able to simply sit still and read a book. In a 2013 article, Forbes noted that one of the 9 habits of productive people was in fact to spend some time in the mornings reading as opposed to checking e-mails or looking at social media sites. And whether you’re reading the newspaper, a magazine, or a good book, the act of doing so has healthy benefits not only for your mind but for your emotional well-being. Perhaps some time has passed since you actually sat down and read something cover to cover. Maybe you feel you’ve gotten out of the habit of reading or lost the ability to do so for long periods of time. Like with anything, being a good reader takes practice – and daily practice at that. So to get you started on your path to becoming a better reader, check out these three tips:   1. Pick what YOU like to read. All readers have their guilty pleasures, and you should never be ashamed of the types of books you enjoy reading. Sure, you may think it’s embarrassing to get caught with the latest teen romance in your hands, but at the end of the day what matters is that you like it. Ignore what other people consider to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ literature and read away. There’s a reason why William Faulkner said: “Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad,” (it’s because he knew what he was talking about, people!) reading 3   2. Read aloud. A great way to become a better reader is to work on your comprehension skills. And, according to experts, one of the best methods to achieving this is to read aloud. When you’re reading out loud your complete attention is focused on the task at hand as you sound out the words in front of you. There’s no room for distractions such as having the TV on or playing music. You’re also strengthening the connection between your mind and your voice, resulting in greater cohesiveness. Therefore, it’s easier to visualize what you’re reading – meaning your imagination can truly soar! reading 4   3. Carry your book with you everywhere. Most of us tend to whip out our phones when we’re waiting for the bus or in line at the bank, which is why you should carry that book with you everywhere. Slowly train your mind to want to read by easing into it bit by bit. You can’t expect yourself to be able to read through an hour-long commute if you’re mind isn’t ready. Go half and half; allow yourself to play on your phone only after you’ve read two chapters of your book. More likely than not, you’ll get so interested in the characters of the work that you won’t even remember to pull out your phone again. Waiting and Reading at Bryant Park   Of course, you know what they say, right? The first step to becoming a great reader is to pick up a book. So go forth, find something you love to read, and spend time reading it aloud and training your brain to love it. Before long, you’ll find out you’re the ninja reader you were always meant to be. Happy reading! :)
July 09, 2014

Harry Potter Makes a Comeback in J.K. Rowling's New Short Story

rowling

Yes everyone, the rumors are true! It looks as if J.K. Rowling couldn't bear to leave things be in Potter land and has penned a brand new story! The short tale, which can be found on the Pottermore website, apparently features a now 'graying' 33-year-old Harry Potter as he attends the Quidditch World Final. Written in the form of a gossip column, readers also get a glimpse at what Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger look like as older and wiser adults in their thirties. Sounds juicy! Be sure to pop over to Pottermore to see what the buzz is all about, and don't forget to report back here with your thoughts! Happy reading. :)
July 07, 2014

WSJ: Check Out This Summer's Most-Read (and Unread) Books!

donna tartt As we're entering July, you've probably knocked a few titles off your summer reading list. At this point, it's also a lot easier to judge what is the most-read and least-read book for this summer and The Wall Street Journal is addressing just that with The Summer's Most Unread Book Is.... This list features 9 of this summer's popular books from most to least read. Donna Tartt's novel The Goldfinch  rightfully tops the list, but you'll have to check the article out for yourself if you want to know what is this summer's most unread book. Check it out! You might even be inspired to add one or two of these titles to your own list of summer must-reads!
July 07, 2014

Top Polls from the Goodreads Community - An Infographic by Postertext

View this infographic outside of our blog here: https://infoactive.co/plays/top-polls-from-the-goodreads-community-by-postertext This is our first attempt at designing an infographic. Tell us how we did! Without further ado, here's our Top Polls from the Goodreads Community infographic!   Postertext - Art prints for book lovers   To embed this literary infographic on your own website, use the following embed code:
<iframe width="640" height="7550" src="https://infoactive.co/plays/19752" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><a href="http://postertext.com" target="_blank" style="display: block; text-align: center;">Postertext - Art prints for book lovers</a>
 
July 03, 2014

Books Vs. People

books While it's true that books aren't always better than people, sometimes, just sometimes, reading a good book can be better than a real-life conversation. What do you think? :)
July 01, 2014

"Reading Rainbow" to Make a Comeback With a Little Help From Seth MacFarlane

reading If you were a young reading enthusiast growing up sometime between 1983 and the early 2000s, you probably have watched the popular show “Reading Rainbow” at some point or another. The educational children’s series was featured on PBS and brought the love of reading to children all across the United States. In 2012, in hopes of making a comeback, the show launched an interactive reading app for Kindle and iPad carrying the same name. After seeing the “Reading Rainbow” app launched, host LeVar Burton was inspired by the potential technology has to bring reading to children around the globe and decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to revamp the original series. As you can imagine, the campaign has garnered quite a lot of attention and has been referred to as "the most popular Kickstarter project ever." In fact, the project is such a big deal, that Seth MacFarlane decided to get on board with it and has promised a $1 million donation in order to push the “Reading Rainbow” initiative past its $5 million objective. There’s nothing more heartwarming than seeing people get really excited about promoting reading, is there?  
June 27, 2014

Fun Facts About 'The Lord of the Rings' Book & Movie Trilogies, Courtesy of Buzzfeed

lotr I thought that fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved Lord of the Rings series, as well as Peter Jackson's film renditions of the same titles, would appreciate Buzzfeed's fun "34 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About 'The Lord of the Rings' Trilogy." Trust me when I tell you that many of the items on this list -- both the ones related to the movies and those which talk about the books -- will blow your mind. You'll walk away with a bunch of cool trivia knowledge for the next time you decide to pick up Tolkien's books or get together with friends to re-watch those movies! Enjoy! :)