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There are a couple of points which I need to make before I begin. By Kindle I am referring to e-book devices. This includes Kindle, iBooks etc. By paperback I mean all paper books (including hardback).

The Kindle is becoming a very popular piece of technology. But is it replacing the paperback book? 28% of Americans were using a Kindle in 2012 (factbrowser.com). 39% of young people in the UK use a Kindle daily (kindleebooks.wordpress.com). From these statistics it looks like the number of Kindle users is rising. But why do you want to buy one? And why are paperback books still popular?

Reasons Kindle is Better Than Paperback

Short answer: portability. The Kindle is far more portable than paperback books. But a Kindle is about the size of a small book, so how is it more portable?

The answer is you can fit hundreds of books on a Kindle. And it will not get any bigger. So you can carry your books with you anywhere.

The Kindle also has 3G and wifi. So it serves as a tablet and an e-reader.

Reasons Paperback is Better Than Kindle

I grew up without the option of reading books on a Kindle. It is partly for sentimental reasons that I prefer paperback books. Buying new paperback books at shops like Waterstones is a great experience in itself. You can also buy second hand books from charity shops. These are cheaper, charitable and eco-friendly.

Paperbacks are also more hands-on than Kindle books. I recently read War and Peace, Master and Commander and The Last of the Mohicans in paperback form. I also read Percy Jackson on Kindle. I have reviewed these books elsewhere on Negau Blog. I enjoyed Percy Jackson, but felt more of a connection to the others. With paperback books you are physically connected to the story. You literally hold the narrative in your hands.

Conclusion

There are benefits to both Kindle and paperback books. I personally prefer to read in paperback. But it may be that future generations will grow up reading Kindle books. And they will not have the same sentimental attachment to paperback. It looks like the Kindle market will continue to grow. And it may leave paperback books to become a rarity.

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war and peace

Why are we reviewing War and Peace again?

 

Last week Negau published a review of War and Peace, and here we are writing about it again, why? There are a couple of reasons why we thought a follow-up needed to be written:

 

-The review was our most popular article and we want to give our readers more of what they like. It’s all about you guys here at Negau, so we’ll keep writing about the articles you enjoy.

 

-There has also been a lot of debate about violence in society following the George Zimmerman trial, our coverage of which can be found here and here, with opinions from my blog partner Alina here. The rationality and morality of violence are considered throughout War and Peace. It seemed to us that if people want to know why lives are being taken in the present, they need look no farther than a book describing one of the most bloody periods of history.

 

Why is War and Peace still relevant today?

 

War and Peace is a historical novel set during the Napoleonic Wars, for a full plot description see our previous article. The Napoleonic Wars saw countless people killing others and losing their own lives attempting to satisfy the ambitions of powerful individuals, or so the history texts tell us, but was this due to the whims of the social elite or the unavoidable instincts of the masses? Answers to questions such as these would help us to understand why members of one social/racial/political group kill people who they see as belonging to the ‘other’.

 

What are Tolstoy’s views on war in War and Peace?

 

Tolstoy does not present war in the same way as conventional histories or historical novels. His view of war and human violence is that it is the product of irresistible movements by the masses, one group of people moves in one direction and if another group opposes that movement violence results. Tolstoy uses the Napoleonic invasion of Russia as an example of this. The people of the West (Napoleon’s armies) were driven eastwards by an unknown force acting upon their collective subconscious, and at first the people of the East (the Russian Tsar’s armies) gave way before them. Later, however, the people of the West grew fatigued, lost the desire to move eastwards which had motivated them and the people of the East turned to oppose the West’s advance. At this point bloody conflicts resulted and the tables were turned, with both the people of the East and West advancing towards Western Europe at a frantic pace.

 

the union

 

George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, racial tension in the US

 

Tolstoy’s views in War and Peace go some way towards explaining the violence taking place in the US this past year. The actions of George Zimmerman in 2012, when he fatally shot African American teenager Trayvon Martin, could be explained by this shared subconscious and mass-movements theory. The US is a country with a history mired by racial segregation and discrimination. There is still a large amount of underlying racial tension in US society to this day. Trayvon Martin was shot under unknown circumstances while walking through a gated community where he was staying. In recent years, due to reductions in racial segregation, young African Americans have begun to fill professional roles in the US economy. As a result of this, the numbers of African Americans living in communities such as the one in question have increased. Twenty, thirty or forty years ago such figures would have been almost non-existent. Therefore, one can say that there have been the beginnings of a mass-movement of African American people to what were previously segregated areas. George Zimmerman’s subconscious opposition to this movement (it has been argued that he racially profiled Trayvon Martin) might have motivated the violence which took Trayvon’s life.

 

Conclusion

 

The truth is that nobody will ever know what really happened on the night when Trayvon Martin was killed. Only one person survived the encounter and he has every reason to lie, while we have no way of knowing whether he is telling the truth. It is therefore important that we focus on understanding the underlying issues rather than the isolated incidents which they produce. War and Peace is a fantastic book for fans of history or literature, but also an important work to read in attempting to understand the world better.

 

Joe Malpas

 

Other articles you might enjoy: Public Transport Dos and Don’tsWar and Peace book reviewFreelance Writing OnlineThe US gun laws debateGTA 5The Great GatsbyNCIS news and reviewTrayvon Martin caseBritish SummerGeorge Zimmerman verdictRome 2Iron Man 3

What is the law on gun control in the US?

 

This is a simple question, but one which has a complicated answer. The law on gun ownership varies from state to state in the US. Some states allow only the possession of firearms in one’s own home. Others allow the possession of firearms and their being carried in public, but their concealment is forbidden. Therefore, in some states carrying a hidden weapon is illegal but owning that weapon is legal. There are also states where carrying concealed weapons is legal. A licence is needed in order to legally possess a gun in any state.

 

What is the gun control debate about?

 

This month the US state of Illinois became the last state which permits ‘concealed carry’ – carrying hidden firearms in public. The US gun laws have become the focus of media attention and political debate due to recent gun massacres in the US. The December massacre at a Connecticut primary school and July cinema shooting during a Batman film release caused a public outcry against US gun laws and global media coverage. The argument for gun rights centres on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. The Second Amendment is the part of the constitution which gives US citizens the right to own and carry weapons. Many Americans, particularly members of the NRA (National Rifle Association), therefore see the possession and bearing of arms as a constitutional right necessary to their freedom and safety. Gun control advocates counter this position by suggesting that guns make the US a more dangerous place, citing recent massacres involving guns as evidence. Some also argue that the Second Amendment was appropriate to the period when it was written, but is not suitable for the modern world.

 

Why was the Second Amendment written?

 

The Second Amendment was written so that US citizens would have the right to arm themselves. This right was important at the time for many reasons. It was considered essential for the citizen’s duty to fight in defence of the state. The right to bear arms also allowed people to defend themselves in the inhospitable environment which was colonial America and the early United States.

 

Should the Second Amendment be repealed?

 

Some gun control advocates and other interested parties argue that the Second Amendment should be repealed or revised. They argue that the modern US citizen does not benefit from the right to bear arms. Defence of the state is now carried out by professional soldiers, armed by the state, unlike colonial America and the early US, when armed militia took part in conflicts. Gun control proponents also suggest that if the US today is as dangerous as it was when the Second Amendment was written, it is due to the legality of guns coupled with problems in society. Therefore, weapons are no longer required for personal protection.

 

Recent developments in the gun laws debate…

 

There have recently been two shocking developments in the US, the release of the 3D printable gun and possible threats made against President Barack Obama. It has been confirmed that a letter sent to President Obama, ‘similar’ to poisoned letters sent to the New York City Mayor, was intercepted. Poisoned letters to Mayor Bloomberg referred to his support for gun control reforms. It is yet to be seen how these developments will affect the gun control debate, but expect us to continue to post and respond to your comments on the US Gun laws debate.

 

Other articles you might like: What not to do on the tubeWar and Peace book reviewFreelance Writing Online

 

Joe Malpas

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