Book review: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman


The DovekeepersThe Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the most mesmerizing reads ever. What an amazing story lines and how they come together. The characters are full of depth, the way they relate to God and the plots are simply beautiful! When some men like to think they are the stronger gender: think again as it is not that clear cut actually. One of my favorite books of all times. Other than the Bible, this was the first book that made me cry ever.

More info can be found at the author’s website>>>

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Iconic Photographer Steve McCurry Talks Blogging and WordPress


A very nice interview with some amazing photographs.

Iconic Photographer Steve McCurry Talks Blogging and WordPress.

Steve McCurry, a professional photographer and author of several photography books, shares his reasons for why he blogs on WordPress.com. His iconic photo, Afghan Girl, graced the cover of National Geographic and was named one of the 100 Best Pictures of the magazine. McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest, to name a few. Read the rest here >>>>

Road Rule Changes per 25 March


More information here >>>

 

A Personal Message from Ian Wishart: “Breaking the Silence, The Kahui case”


Is it not a bit over the top that a social media protest could lead to a book being banned from the stores?  Yet that is exactly what has happened to “Breaking the Silence” the latest book of investigative journalist and best selling author Ian Wishart.

Republished with permission from Ian Wishart.

A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM IAN WISHART
“BREAKING SILENCE: THE KAHUI CASE”

 As you may be well aware, I have written a book on the Kahui twins case called “BREAKING SILENCE”. Its release is now imminent, but I cannot give you an exact date for obvious reasons.

(to read today’s special news release and some extracts, visit http://briefingroom.typepad.com/the_briefing_room/2011/07/breaking-silence-news-release.html)

Normally we alert our customers well in advance of publication so they can get a guaranteed pre-order, but we didn’t because at that stage the Inquest was still holding hearings.

Unfortunately, we were required to give bookshops a month’s notice in advance of the new title, and one of those shops told a journalist at TVNZ and the rest, as they say, is history.

The end result is that major bookstores have chosen to ban this book from their shelves in response to a hastily organised internet protest and misinformation campaign organised via Facebook. It is not hard to see why when you see messages threatening to burn bookstores down.

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND ABOUT THIS BOOK.

Some of you reading this have known and read my work dating right back to The Paradise Conspiracy on the Winebox frauds, 16 years ago. Most of you will be familiar with the kind of investigative work I do and my meticulous attention to detail. This book is no different. It does not “exonerate” or wipe clean Macsyna King’s past, instead it paints a very grim picture of lives far worse than Alan Duff’s Once Were Warriors. It shows you, by following Macsyna King and Chris Kahui’s life journeys, how intergenerational child abuse can manifest.

It also contains fresh information on the case, which I have now formally provided to Counsel Assisting the Coronial Inquest.

Most bookshops are not stocking this book, and to get it you will need to buy direct from our website, http://www.investigatemagazine.com/newshop/contents/en-us/d21.html

 The “answers” that the Facebook protestors claim to want are in BREAKING SILENCE, yet by their actions they have prevented ordinary New Zealanders from easily exercising their right to read this book – you cannot just walk into your nearest PaperPlus, Take Note, Warehouse or other retailer and buy this book.

We are printing $20,000 worth of books and giving them away in low decile areas, as a way of making them more accessible to those who can’t afford them. A portion of the proceeds will also go to charity. These initiatives were planned before Christmas when we began this project, and are not a response to the publicity. But for all these things to happen we actually need people to buy the book, and read it, discuss it with their friends and family.

We need your support, more than ever, to break through this boycott and make sure the information in this book is heard.  The revelations in BREAKING SILENCE are too important to be brushed under the carpet because of an ill-conceived Facebook protest.

Again, the website for a guaranteed pre-order is  http://www.investigatemagazine.com/newshop/contents/en-us/d21.html

FINALLY, have a look at what media commentators have said about BREAKING SILENCE:

“I am curious to read Macsyna’s story. In my work I have read the stories of men and women who have killed children, although admittedly not in a book published by a seasoned journalist. Usually court transcripts and other official reports and the most interesting have always been when the accused themselves ‘find their voice’.”  – Merepeka Raukawa-Tait

“At the risk of becoming the second most hated woman in the country, I will say that when Breaking Silence: The Kahui Case is published, I intend to buy it and read it. I, for one, want to hear what the Kahui twins’ mother Macsyna King has to say. Why would I not?

To suggest, as some in the media have, that Wishart should have turned his back on the chance to gain some insight into a case that, five years down the track, continues to generate such strong public interest and emotion, is frankly hypocritical. Telling stories in the hope of illuminating an issue is what we do. I would have done the same thing in his place.

“I’m inclined to the old-fashioned view that you need to read a book before you can decide if it’s rubbish. There’s a chance we might actually learn something, which I would have thought would be a good thing given our horrifying child abuse statistics” – Tapu Misa, NZ Herald

“Boycotting the Macsyna King book sets a dangerous precedent…Information, written and spoken, is vital for us to understand our society. We learn nothing about how to stop or reduce child abuse by not listening to what Macsyna King has to say. We can make our own decision as to whether we agree with her or not, Trying to ban this book is equivalent to burying our problems like a dog’s bone – saving them up for later. We should man-up and face them head on.

“We should read the book before we judge it – and then voice our own criticism.” – James Murray, TV3

“As the wilder reaches of the boycott campaign site reveal – allegedly extending even to death threats against Ms King – it can also be a rallying point for the angry mob who seem to derive self-worth and importance by seeing their own often strident and often barely coherent views validated in ‘print’. In this milieu, indignation and gossip tend to be the currency of the day. Gut reactions and rumours spread like wildfire. Facts and measured logical response matter little.” – Otago Daily Times

“I think he’s got an ulterior motive in writing this book and I do believe it’s to tell New Zealanders to get them to understand what actually happens in these families. I need to read it just as other New Zealanders need to read it because this is a major problem in our country.” – Christine Rankin

“Banning books is an extreme step that seems more in keeping with the Middle Ages when churches and the state controlled the public mind with fire and torture.” – Nelson Mail

“They become censors. Who, I suspect, haven’t read the book yet. What’s next to be pulled from the shelf because 40,000 people join a social media protest?” – Ashburton Guardian

Please support our efforts to get this book well and truly into the public domain by purchasing a copy, http://www.investigatemagazine.com/newshop/contents/en-us/d21.html

(You can also post a cheque if you prefer for $38.99 to

HATM Magazines Ltd
PO Box 188
Kaukapakapa 0843
AUCKLAND

With major chains refusing to stock it, however, the only way this story will be told is with your direct support. If each of you reading this buys a copy, and you find it informative and important, as we believe you will, then your reviews to others, your comments on talkback or in letters to papers, will help form a critical mass that gets this book back into bookstores. If you think this book is rubbish after you’ve read it, you are free to say that as well. I will take it on the chin.

All I ask is that you give this book – labelled by one critic as the most controversial book in NZ history – a fair chance. Read it, then judge it, then judge me.

Thanks,

Ian Wishart, Friday 22 July 2011

Comment

Now go and order your copy.

Alzheimers: Google+ and Facebook all good


    

In the past weeks I have been discovering Google+ and what an amazing bunch of people I have discovered there. Some of the best photographers in the world, more on that in another post. Some great artists, musicians, worship musicians and leaders, well it is amazing and never before have I found a social network, social networking site, that tickles my creative tingles than on Google+, and with all the other services available through Google, I hope this will quickly integrate into my own social portal.

For those who have not received an invite yet, leave a comment with an email address here and I am happy to send you one.

Google+ v Facebook v Twitter

In the past weeks many have written about Google+ and especially compared to Facebook and Twitter. I have to admit, my preference for several reasons goes out to Google+ over Facebook and Twitter taken together, but that is my personal taste. At the same time like many I am inclined to break away from both of them completely but there are still so many friends on there. I guess I’ll wait a little while but everytime I go to either Facebook or Twitter, I find it less appealing. With developers picking up on the Google+ enthusiasm, almost daily there is a new extension for G+ or an app  to make life on Google+ even better.

Some are more fanatical in their comments and opinions and urge everyone to leave Facebook and Twitter if they have not already done so, exchange your flickr account for picasa and more like that. I’ll just wait and see, and while my preference for Google+ far exceeds Facebook currently, I also remember how I have enjoyed Facebook and remember how it was such a breeze after some of the other network sites I used to be a member of. Just because Google+ is great that does not mean that all of a sudden Facebook is useless, although some recent changes are less favorable.

Google+ and Facebook all good

In the Star ( a local rag) of last Wednesday 20 July, the Health section had an article by Jolene Williams,  on the matter of Alzheimer’s and the importance of a national strategy. In the side bar on the page there were some pointers as to how to reduce your chances on Alzheimer’s and among them were the use of your brain by playing games and to be social which involves both real life interaction and participation and use of social networking sites.

So then it became all clear to me: Facebook for the games and Google+ for the meaningful communications, the learning new things and the being inspired.

Then I also realized how I do not play online games (anymore) and that brought me the last question: what would keep me on Facebook if all my friends would be on Google+ as well? ACTUALLY NOTHING. hmm.

And for the sake of your mental well being, you now have a good reason to go out on Facebook or Google+ of one of the many many others. But to limit myself to these two, just ask yourself, am I a puzzler, that likes his/her little games, sudoku, scrabble, word puzzles etc or am I always keen to learn more?

 

The Book of Books, a history of the King James Bible


The Book of Books: The Radical Impact of the King James Bible 1611-2011The King James Bible has often been called the Book of Books both in itself and in what it stands for. Since its publication in 1611 it has been the best selling book in the world, and many believe, had the greatest impact. The King James Bible has spread the Protestant faith. It has also been the greatest influence on the enrichment of the English language and its literature. It has been the Bible of wars from the British Civil War in the seventeenth century to the American Civil War two centuries later and it has been carried into battle in innumerable conflicts since then. Its influence on social movements – particularly involving women in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – and politics was profound. It was crucial to the growth of democracy. It was integral to the abolition of slavery and it defined attitudes to modern science, education and sex. As THE ADVENTURE OF ENGLISH explored the history of our language, so THE BOOK OF BOOKS reveals the extraordinary and still-felt impact of a work created 400 years ago.

Review

This is a book written by a novelist at heart that is pretty clear. It is great to read so eloquently separated the history and development of the King James Bible and the role of Christianity itself as well as its impact and influence on our Western culture and language.  I love it how this non-fiction historic account of the King James Bible grabs you, if only because of the way the story is told, as if you were reading a novel.

What an amazing job Melvin Bragg did.

The Book of Books: The Radical Impact of the King James Bible 1611-2011>>>

Google+ the first days


For the last few days I have been trying out Google+ and I have to say I am pleased with what I am seeing. That is not entirely fair as I have always been a great supporter of Google. Not that really matters to anyone but I would like to have it said anyway.

Google+ v Facebook?

I see that there is a lot of speculation going on about whether Google+ is going to be the new Facebook. I will not look at this from a business perspective but all I can say is that so far I can imagine both having their own charm. At the same time, looking at all the other tools that Google already has, I could imagine a that in the future this can all be brought together to have yourself you own social portal. A place to share, read, work, be in contact with your friends, follow the news and all the other things that Google has made available.

At the same time, I like Facebook as well and over time it has proven to be one of my sites of choice both from a social and business perspective (although admittedly these two are harder and harder to separate lately). However with the Google+ to Facebook app, I can follow and update everything that’s going on Facebook. The immediate convert can go for even more drastic measures and export his or her photos from Facebook to Picasa for sharing on Google+

Google+ Features

Personally I have not seen anything on Google+ that can not also be done on Facebook, with a little more or less work. Facebook has lists, Google has Circles. Sure enough I am pretty simple when it comes to matters like privacy or being overblown with comments etc, it’s all fine.

Profile

The Google plus profile page is nice and clean, with not to many distractions. I am curious to see how that’ll pan out after the official launch and when the advertisements are incorporated. So far all good.

Circles

Circles is what the lists are in Facebook, a way of organizing your friends business network, family and whatever you may come up with. It is handy and at the same time I can already see how it is very easy to get over the to with. I could imagine some good use for it, but at the same time nothing too new under the sun here.

Stream

Stream shows you what everyone in your network is posting and sharing. I am particularly happy with the ability to filter out according to specific streams and like facebook those that overdo it and crowd your stream too much can be blocked or hidden.

Further Features

Further features include the possibility to share photos, videos, post status updates and more. There is a buzz option which shows you stream from twitter, wordpress blogs etc works great and a +1 button which I do not quite get yet but seems to be similar to a like button.

For the immediate convert there is already a number of facebook related apps available such as the option to see and update your facebook home page, an option to export to your facebook photo albums to (picasa) google+, an app to export your facebook friends to your google+ account.

Looking Back

Looking back on the first experiences I am pretty happy with it and so far Google+ is seems to be the one with the least amount of deep sighs in trying to get things to work the way I want it. Whatever the experts say I could see this proving to be serious competition.

Looking Forward

Given all the other things Google I already use: email, calender, search, specialist search, docs, picasa (as a backup for flickr), google earth, google reader, notofications, google sites, you tube, google talk and translate I could imagine a merge of all these functionality and see myself having one big social portal with everything in there.  For the time being, Google+ has won my heart.

Want an invite? leave your email address as a comment.