Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

The Best Spring Break Beach Reads: Your Official Vacation Reading List

best-spring-break-books

by Jessica Tholmer

Thank goodness spring is almost here! More importantly, TGISB… thank God it’s (almost) spring break! Sure, the best part of spring break is the sunshine and revelry far from the strenuous day to day of college life. But to us, reading books is the best part, especially the kind that are not assigned to you.

If you plan to catch up on some leisure reading while you’re spring breaking, here are some great reads that will keep you entertained while you lay on the beach.

The Mortdecai Trilogy

If the name “Mortdecai” sounds familiar, it is because Johnny Depp recently released a movie based on the novel. Though the movie flopped, the Mortdecai Trilogy has everything a spring breaker needs: romance and mystery.

Where Rainbows End

The novel written by Cecelia Ahern, author of PS, I Love You, is the perfect spring read. Follow the tale of best friends Alex and Rosie as they maintain the balance between romance and love when Alex moves from Ireland to the US. Maybe that’s the inspiration you need to plan your spring break trip!

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances

Crowd favorite Neil Gaiman’s newest novel is perfect for a week-long vacation. Trigger Warning features stories, poems, and even a Doctor Who episode. What else could you need you? Read the rest of this entry »



“Hacking Your Education” Smartly Challenges the Benefits of a College Degree

“You wasted $150,000 on an education for $1.50 in late fees at the public library?”

In Dale J. Stephens’ book Hacking your Education, he makes a case for an alternative post-high school route. The book is his love letter to other free thinking people who have ever questioned their college education. It begins with a disclaimer: This is not a book about dropping out but rather about becoming empowered to make your own decisions. For a college dropout who bucked educational convention, he sure did his homework.

Stephens, a 20 year old wunderkind, has taken the time to productively analyze the quandaries frustrated college students have, but are too lazy to take to task.

The author has taken the principles of the unschooling movement, a philosophy started in the 1970s that encourages learning through real life experiences, and ushered them into the Internet and social media age. He has oodles of thorough advice on how to connect with like minded individuals in an attempt to foster your passions. Stephens accurately points out the loads of free, open to the public presentations on a wide variety of topics at university campuses everywhere. “Hacking Your Education” is all about identifying resources and sapping them dry. Read the rest of this entry »



Amazon Textbook Rental Races to Save Students Serious Coin

I saw a Tweet roll by last week that mentioned a mother who had a $1000 bill for textbooks. I think I actually blinked twice to confirm. It was true, she’d spent a grand on textbooks for her daughter’s first semester of college!

Chloe of @ChloeCardash had a high bill, too, Tweeting, “Spent $500 on school textbooks #highwayrobbery.” And while not as transparent in the final cost, @IyanaNicole is handing over an entire week’s pay, Tweeting, “Yay my last paycheck of the summer is getting spent on these damn textbooks. Yea nothing better than that.”

I don’t recall ever spending more than $500 in a single semester, which even 10 years ago felt painfully high. It wasn’t until my last two years of college that buying books online really became a thing, and then I discovered used textbooks on Amazon. My textbook bill dropped to a mere couple hundred dollars each semester, and on a student-loan driven budget, that was a major win.

Amazon was my go-to for selling textbooks, too. I was always astonished when I’d spend $75 on a brand new textbook in August, and then have the bookstore offer me $12 after finals. At Amazon, I was able to recoup almost all of my expense selling the book myself.

The leading online book retailer is stepping up again for college students, launching a textbook rental service just in time for fall semester. Remaining competitive with other book rental services, like Chegg, Amazon will cover the shipping cost for the books’ return when you’re finished with them. If you have an Amazon Prime account for students, the purchase shipping is free, too! All you’re left to pay is the cost of the book that Amazon advertises at up to a 70 percent discount. Read the rest of this entry »



It’s Fun to Raise Bilingual Kids with Chungaboo’s Language Learning App

“I want to play Chinese!” is a phrase my two-year-old daughter often shouts out. I’m never sure if she really wants to play with Chungaboo’s iBook “Words: English to Chinese” or if she knows it’s a sure-fire way to gain access to the iPad. Either way, I call it a win. These books are so engaging with vivid illustrations by artist Miles Wisniewski and expert language translation voiceovers that even my toddler is picking up pieces of the Mandarin language and inserting it into every day conversation. Earlier this summer we introduced you to Chungaboo in a feature at Yahoo! Shine, Parents Should Load iPads with Chungaboo eBooks for Summer Learning, and we think no matter the season these books should be in your kids’ hands.

An article about bilingual children at Parents.com said, “The earlier you introduce a second language, the easier it will be for your child to pick up its unique sounds.” It went on to say that ages 2 to 3 are ideal for introducing a second language because it’s at this time that the “ability to hear different phonetic pronunciations is sharpest.”

We all know that children are sponges and are at the peak of learning ability in their earliest ages, so my husband and I loved finding Chungaboo (disclaimer: created by friends we met in college) for our daughter. She thinks it’s a game, we know she’s learning, and according to an article in the New York Times this past spring, each time she plays and picks up a new word she’s getting a little brighter. Read the rest of this entry »



Save on Textbooks with a Chegg Coupon for Book Rental

Paying for college tuition alone is enough to break the bank. Add the cost of textbooks on top of room and board and tuition and it’s enough to make anyone scrape for pennies hiding between the couch cushions. When it comes to saving money on college necessities, like books, students can’t afford to pass up those opportunities.

College campuses advise students to buy or rent books from the campus bookstore. However, there are plenty of other places to buy or rent textbooks from. I used to rent my textbooks from the campus bookstore, because I was lazy and did not feel like looking for books online. When the price of books started climbing at a rapid rate I had to find new places to purchase books.

The first time I started looking for low prices on books I didn’t know where to shop. Many websites offer textbook purchases that are cheaper than campus bookstores. Most college students do not like to buy books, because there is no use for them after classes are over at the end of the semester.

The word around my college campus was that Chegg.com had the best savings deals for textbooks. Chegg.com offered students the option of purchasing or renting books at the lowest price possible. I started to compare the price of textbook rentals of Chegg to my college bookstore to see if the website was worth a try. The low prices reeled me in. I save $100 to $200 when I rent my books from Chegg. I’ve been renting my books from Chegg for two years and pleased with my purchases and savings. Read the rest of this entry »



Tony Hsieh’s Career Has Delivered Happiness to Himself and Inspired Others

By Samantha Bandasack

Tony Hsieh is an Asian-American, of Taiwanese decent, who was born on December 12, 1973. Growing up the eldest of three boys in California’s BayArea, he attended the prestigious Branson School in Marin County. Like his career now, Hsieh was able to make the make the grades, but still know how to have fun. After high school, Tony attended and graduated from Harvard, where met Alfred Lin, who would become his business partners.

After graduation Hsieh went to work for Oracle and five months later found he was not a fit for the corporate world. Soon after leaving Oracle, he founded LinkExchange, which was a popular internet advertising cooperative. By 1997 the company had received $3 million in funding from Sequoia Capital. The company was growing at a rapid rate and in 1998 Microsoft bought it from Hsieh and his partners for $265 million dollars. Read the rest of this entry »



98-Year Old Learns to Read and Writes Autobiography

Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks had never met Jim Arruda Henry. Henry spent the first 91 years of his life illiterate. However, when he turned 92, Henry decided it was time to learn. Henry said that the tipping point for him was when he heard about George Dawson, another elderly gentlemen who learned to read when he was 98-years old.

“I said if he can do it, I’m going to try,” Henry said.

For many years, Henry hid the fact that he could not read from most of his family and friends. It makes sense that the career fisherman who only had a third grade education would be able to cope with this problem, but some of the ways he did so are quite interesting.

For example, when he went out to eat with his family, “he would wait for someone else to order and say, ‘That sounds good, I’ll have that,'” his granddaughter, Marlisa McLaughlin said. “Or if he had a bill, he’d just requisition the guy and say, ‘So how much do I owe you?'”

Finally, Henry decided it was time to learn to read when he went through a painful family situation. Read the rest of this entry »



Libraries Swap Stacks of Books for Robotic Retrieval Programs

girls in a libraryWhat do you expect to see when you enter a library on an university campus? Besides dozens of students cramming information into their brains in the hours before an exam, I expect to see thousands upon thousands of books. However, as part of its overhaul of its library, San Francisco State University is going against the norm and has hidden away 75 percent of its books in favor of digitizing its collection.

This school is not alone. In fact, many schools are digitizing their libraries in an effort to make it easier for students to find the volumes they are looking for. At San Francisco State University, the old library was a “rabbits’ warren,” according to the librarian, Deborah Masters. Now, after its “facelift,” the library has put an emphasis on open spaces, more computer and technology available for students’ use, and areas where students can study in groups or grab a coffee in the new cafe.

Some books will remain on display where students can access them on their own. These books will be the ones that are in highest demand, were published recently, or are recommended by a specific department. If a student wants to reach one of the many other books that are not currently on display, he can enter his query in a search engine, which will then cue a robot in another building to retrieve the book and delver it to the student in the library. This entire process is expected to take less than 10 minutes.

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College Students Hold First Midwest Quidditch Cup

2011 Midwest Quddich CupWho says you have to be a British teenage wizard to enjoy a good Quidditch game? Last weekend, 300 college students from the Midwest USA proved that these traits are not at all a requirement to participate in a Quidditch cup. The students were from various universities, including Purdue, Ball State, University of Michigan, and Ohio State University.

“I was going to be in club soccer, but when I heard about Quidditch, I wanted to try it,” said Michael Koester, a freshman at Ball State University. “The great thing about this you don’t have to be a great athlete. I’ve made so many friends, and we have lots of fun together.”

It seems that Koester isn’t the only one who now prefers Quidditch, a fantasy game with players who ride on broomsticks, to other sports.

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“College Is Yours 2.0” Offers More Great Advice

College is Yours 2.0 by Patrick J. O'ConnorCollege admissions is a shifting landscape: from the tests you need to take to the ways you apply. That’s why we’re delighted that an updated edition of our favorite college guide, College Is Yours, is now available.

College Is Yours 2.0 is written by Ph.D. Patrick O’Connor, a college counselor and past president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. He lays out a plan to help students stress less over the application process, while still reaching for their highest aspirations. The book also offers advice on how to highlight high school achievements, fund your education and tips for parents.

The new edition is not only updated to reflect recent changes in the process of applying to college, but also includes nearly twice as many chapters. Don’t worry, College Is Yours 2.0 won’t add to your workload. It’s written like a good admissions essay: easy to read, on topic and in 600 words or less.

“Some information about testing was out of date, since nearly every college now accepts the SAT and the ACT, and I went into much more detail about what to keep in mind when applying online,” explains O’Connor. “There’s also significantly more coverage on writing essays, applying for financial aid, and how to make sure you make it through senior year in a healthy state of mind, ready to make the most out of high school.”

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