Book or E-Book?

Hey guys, it’s me & today’s post is about an issue that’s very close to my heart, The rise of the E-Book. Now obviously this is a debate which has raging on since the dawn of time aka the day Amazon was created. Now some people have a stereotype that this is a battle between the Generation WW2 vs Generation Y. But its actually more of a mixed bag . There are some veterans who have sided with the Kindle faction while some new kids on the block are on the side of paper. Each side have their on signature weapons. The Kindlers say this is eco friendly while the paperbacks say that the charm of a book can never be replicated by a cold hard piece of metal & glass.

Now every person who knows me , knows that I am a reading fanatic! If you give me an interesting book , I will forget the whole world & basically turn into a statue! Not even the news that Trump got punched in the face wouldn’t break my trance & that’s something impressive. Now I am the proud owner of 250+ books & 75+ e-books on my Kindle.

2 years ago, I was hardliner of the Paperback faction, spending half my day holed up in the corner of a library, flipping through hundreds of books in under an hour. I was simply disgusted by the invention of the e-book & even spent 3 months trying to convince my friends that e-books were as sacrilegious as converting from a Man Utd fan into a Man City fan!!

Now you may be wondering ” Then why in god’s name did you buy 75 e-books , are you a traitor to the Old Trafford warriors!!!!?” . First no, I’m not a traitor, in fact, I’m as crazy about Man Utd as I am about MSD. But to answer your question, the tectonic shift in my stance occurred due to my dad, the one person who you least expect a teenager to listen to.

It all started with my dad buying the very first kindle & uploading the entire collection of Uncle Scrooge comics into it. I was & still am a Donald Duck family fan. So my dad pulled quite the a smart move. Despite the fact that I was extremely peeved about this, the lure of duck without pants was too much to resist. I tried extremely hard to not like the Kindle but Jeff Bezos was way ahead of me. Not only did the Kindle have access to the entire collection of mankind’s books but it’s compactness also allowed me to smuggle several books into my school , just by slipping it into my pocket!(Yes, I have BIG pockets).

This was a masterstroke by the Kindle faction & boy did it work. Soon I was buying so many E-Book’s that Amazon’s servers crashed through out the entire Asia-Pacific area & they had to send a sea gull that had eaten Tostitos to get me to stop! But what shaped my now middle ground stance? The credit for that goes to an unnamed string instrument teacher who lived sometime in the 9th century.

This may prompt you to ask me” Do you secretly own a time machine?” The answer is no! I do not. But what I do own is 5 page pamphlet on the life of Buddha. I found this pamphlet crumpled outside my school gate. Intrigued, I dusted it off & began reading it. And the part which talks about how Buddha attained enlightenment really had a profound effect on me. I then realised that both factions had equal pros & cons & the fact that I was swinging like a pendulum between both sides was basically driving me insane! I also stumbled upon the fact many people where in a similar situation as me! So like Siddhartha, we realised that the middle path was the best one !

And from this was born the Kindle-Paperback federation or the Kindback federation as it is now referred to by the other factions. And do you know what’s the greatest thing about this? Each member can interpret the middle path to suit their needs. My personal stance is that buy E-Books for most series & paperbacks for sentimental series like Harry Potter.  Now this may not work for most people but it does for me.

So why am I writing this post? To make you, dear readers realise that there is an alternative to these two factions which are tearing at each other’s throats. There is a group which acts as a meditator between these 2 goliaths. We basically do whatever the UN does but for books, instead of countries.

I hope this post gave you an insight into the intricate world of modern day literature & it’s multiple factions. But sadly it’s time for me to bid you adieu, so until we meet again, in this website or the next GM of the Kindback, Farewell!

 

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“Howl” to “Woof”

Hi guys, its me your favourite blogger on the block who’s back with yet another cool post. There are about 7.4 billion people on Earth today & over 200 million dogs! So exactly when where & why did warm-blooded wolves join our fold? And who trained who? So are you a cat person or a dog person? Me, I’m completely impartial! Yeah right! I love dogs more than anything in this whole wide universe(Well maybe except my family), seriously what’s not to love? No matter on which side of the furry border you are on, it’s plain to see that the histories of mankind & dogs are intertwined, maybe like no other two species.

If we take domestication out of the human equation, it’s estimated that just 1 or 2 million of us would be around today & of all those animal alliances, our relationship with dogs is by far the oldest. But figuring out why, when & where domestic dogs originated is still a bone of contention.

Why is by far the easiest to answer. Every continent is home to wild canids like the dingos of Australia or the dhole of India(Yes I know that India isn’t a continent but come on, you can excuse me for being a bit patriotic, right?) but thanks to genetic research, we know that modern-day pups haven’t descended from these local species. Today’s dogs all trace their origin back to ancient wolves.

You may have heard that wolves & ancient humans were hunting Bros, using teamwork to bring down bigger prey. That’s a nice story but wolf packs can hunt on their own just fine & usually aren’t to keen on sharing! Plus, early humans tended to kill off most carnivorous competition. It’s most likely that humans didn’t adopt dogs, Dogs adopted us!!

Any wolves “gone mild” that were tolerant of humans could have scrounged our scraps. They didn’t need us, but our leftovers would’ve made their lives much easier. This habit is still very much present in modern-day dogs, as every Trash Can will testify & every dog owner will confirm this fact 😉 ! But a tame wolf, isn’t a dog & scientists are still trying to figure when & where that change occurred.

Studying living wolves tells us that the line that led to our puppies is extinct today, but we can see still find their footprints in modern dog genomes. Looking at DNA in mitochondria tells us that dogs split from their wolf ancestors somewhere in Europe between 19,000 to 32,000 years ago but genome from dozens of living dogs puts the split somewhere in South Asia at around 33,000 years ago( seriously, that’s a lot of yrs ago!!)

It’s tough to pin down because dog genes have mixed so much. Fossils don’t tell the whole story either because bones alone can’t tell us when the thing that looked like a wolf started acting like a dog. But by combining both fossils & DNA, we’re able to get some hints. DNA extracted from ancient dog fossils has suggested a new story, the spilt happened in 2 places, at least 12,000 yrs ago. And then eastern dogs followed people west & became the dominant ancestor of our canine compadres.

Dogs became useful herders, sled pullers & guards against predators & neighbouring human tribes and in a pinch ,they could have served as an emergency food supply( I know right, disgusting!! And this still continues, China hosts an annual dog eating festival, it’s simply horrendous!!! Join Avaaz , an organization which is striving to stop such atrocities throughout the world!!)

Dogs probably saved us more times than we can count & we’re paying them ,pups now have access to insurance , healthcare, some even have more Instagram followers than you or me! From a wolf mould, we’ve crafted over 340 or so dog breeds, even a few weird ones. It’s hard to believe that every domestic dog is still part of the same species, one whose story is so tightly wound to our own ,that we still can’t quite tell where it begins.

That’s it for today, I hope you liked today’s post. Till next time folks, Adios or as Scooby doo would say “Scooby Dobby dobby Doooooo” !!!

State of emergency-A Book Review

Hi guys, I’m back & welcome for a change, to a book review! So I was casually wandering around one of Chennai’s innumerable Book fairs(yes that’s a real thing!)when a book with a soldier on it caught my eye. I glanced at the first few lines of the summary & was instantly hooked! I just had to have this book!! So I took a look at the price tag & was delighted that it was a steal of just 150 Rupees! 12 hours later under the cover of my blanket, I continued to be enthralled by this masterpiece created by Sam Fisher.

The book focuses on a top-secret team called E-Force whose main agenda is to help save people in disaster zones. Now you may be wondering ” Don’t we have the police & the Fire fighters to take care of such things?” Well to find out the answer, buy & read this book. This book is a must buy for anyone interested in fast paced, thrilling adventure novels which at the same time are highly relatable. The characters(note the word characters) are often confronted with several real world problems from their conscience to the slothfulness & mind games of modern-day bureaucracy.

Here’s how this book stood up to my 3 pillars of a good read!!!
1.Duration– Some people say that more pages mean a better reading experience. I disagree. Sure many of the greatest works in literature are massive, but that doesn’t mean that big is better. A long book, after a certain point in, gets tiresome. It becomes so long that the book seems to drag on forever! Small isn’t the best either, an extremely short book would leave the reader yearning for more detail, for more continuity, would leave them with 101 questions to be answered. There needs to be a balance.
Coming in at 376 pages, “State of Emergency” has slotted itself into, in my opinion, the ideal number of pages any book should have. Why? Not only do such a number of pages keep the reader interested, they also don’t take up much space, thus greatly adding to its ability to be stuffed inside my math textbook, allowing me to smuggle it into school 😉
2.Plot– What good is a book, without a great plot?
“State of Emergency” comes equipped with a plot that is simply sublime!! It appears to be highly straightforward but in reality, coupled with its sub-plots(of which there are several) this book will bamboozle, surprise, delight, enrage & sometimes make you pause & ponder over its subtle but weighty messages.
3.Artwork– The front & back cover & the images within a book are often what prompt people to buy them.

State of Emergency’s front & back covers compliment the words within to the fullest!! Blacksheep-UK, the team who designed these fantabulous covers deserve an Oscar or at the very least, an Emmy!!

Overall, I feel that the author has delivered a power-packed novel that keeps the reader guessing until the very end. The plot twists at first appear to be the same tired & tested ones but they reveal their depth & significance only much later in the story. The explanation of high-tech instruments is lucid & isn’t hampered by lack of detailing nor is it straitjacketed by the use of too much technical jargon( Case In Point, Apple products, they use high fangled terms to trick us into thinking that the new iPhone is better but in reality, it’s worse!! I’m on to you Apple!!, you can’t-fool me!!!)
The book is a beautiful symphony created by a maestro whose name we will all hear more about in the coming years! I’m definitely not qualified to critique this book but I do have one suggestion. A touch more mystery could have launched this already mind-blowing plot into the stratosphere but it isn’t something that has to be considered, it’s just my opinion. I seriously recommend this book as a worthy successor to the vacuum left by the books of Wilbur Smith. Plus, this book isn’t a stand-alone, its part of an ongoing, yes ongoing series!!!!! And you know that means for me, more books to smuggle into to school!!!!
Hope you liked this review & are excited for more, Well, That’s it for today, Until Next Time, farewell!

How I taught my Grandmother YouTube

Hello world, it’s time for my 1st set of weekly posts! And this one is a kicker! The reason for this title is my own grandmother & my desire to create a more modern-day version of  Sudha Murthy’s award-winning book” How I taught my Grandmother To Read”, a delightful book whose rainbow colours were obscured by the monochromatic fact that we had to mug it up, just to get a measly letter on our report cards (Curse you Education System). Aside from the fact that my post which will tear up this decrepit system is on track to get published very soon, the inspiration for this particular post began about 2 days ago.

My Navaratri holidays had begun & I was in paradise, beating my friends in online FIFA 17 matchups, wanting to watch Kingsmen: The Golden Circle, Praying to God that both Lukaku & Dhoni should get an Oscar when I caught sight of my usually chatty & lively grandmother, looking sullen & crestfallen. So I walked up to her & so began the ensuing dialogue:

Me: Patti (Tamil for grandmother), what’s wrong?

Patti: Nothing Vaageesh, I just feel so bored these days (Ok a bit anti-climatic but hey it’s the truth), there is no excitement in my life anymore.

So I thought to myself, how do I bring excitement into the life of someone who had seen more than seventy years of this world, when it hit me, she hadn’t seen the one thing that had turned Homo Sapien (wise human) into Homo Sapien Sapien (futuristic human), The internet! So I bolted upstairs, grabbed my laptop, a chair & prepared to send my grandmother into the world wide web.

This was easier said than done, it was an exhilarating & curious experience trying to explain to her this world which was like second nature to me but a conundrum to her. I enjoyed explaining simple concepts like Google to her & I saw that this was opening new doors for her.

The next step was, of course, the most popular destination in this Universe, YouTube. I was floored by my grandmother’s excitement about a place where she could binge watch just about anything from the weather to Trump’s toupee (I think this was due to the fact that I had used south Indian soap-operas as an example). She made remarkable progress, subscribing to half of South Indian TV’s YouTube channels, getting brand new material to discuss with her friends & generally getting a brand new lease of excitement. She is quite the multi-tasker, watching Big Boss, chatting with my aunts, skyping her relatives all at the same time.  I am astonished that her love of learning hasn’t diminished after so many years, it truly does inspire you to want to be the same when you reach that golden age.

I am planning to introduce her to WhatsApp very soon, but I am currently busy trying to explain to her why a mouse is called a mouse, so I have to go, till next time my people, till next time.

 

Toolkit

Hey guys so as you may have noticed, my blog has gone through somewhat of a sea change from changing the name to a brand-new style. Usually, when this happens, a slew of posts follow & then the blog goes dark. Well, this time I intend to break this vicious cycle. The research for my book is done & the 1st draft is set to start very soon.

It’s been very difficult for me to concentrate on my book & this blog as I have entered my 1st year of high school aka 9th standard. And with the ”reform” by the CBSE, the number of exams & chapters to study is simply mind boggling and is proving to be a serious brain drain for students, I’ll elaborate on this in a separate blog (this subject is a very special one to me so you can expect some in depth details, ideas & comments)

But now since my Navaratri holidays are fast approaching, I have some free time & intend to use it to the fullest! But what after Navaratri? Well, my exams will resume & I will have a shortage of time but rest assured, I guarantee that I will post at least 2 topics during the weekend.

This was meant to just be an update post but it’s starting to go into several regions of interest so I will just roll with it. The reason for the name Toolkit is more of an instinctive one rather than one triggered by an incident. Toolkit represents a desire I have had to make my blog be like a toolkit for life & its posts, various tools which may entertain and or help you.

Well, that’s basically the preamble to what you can expect from this place in the coming weeks & I hope you are as excited as I am for this new beginning!

I would like to finish this update with a quote by Maria Robinson –“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending”