Staying Healthy as a Writer Can Help You Manage Stress

People running on treadmillsAs an writer, things tend to be a little more difficult to manage, especially when it comes to our surroundings. A typical day may begin very early, but depending on the agenda, could easily fizzle out. This is not necessarily the kind of occupation that should be considered as laid back, although when you stop by the doctor for a regular check up it could mean a stern warning about getting out a little bit more and burning some calories, here are a few ideas about doing just that.

Poetry in motion

Nothing spells writers block more than downtime with no incentive. An author spends a considerable amount of time sitting behind his desk, with little more than the thoughts in his brain and the family photos in front of him. Note to self, time for new pictures! Whether you stand up and touch your toes a few times to get the adrenaline moving, design a desk that allows you to run in one position, or do some exercises with your thumbs, most of your daily exercise routine will probably take place right behind the desk.

Tools of the trade

For those who don’t know any better, authors are not handcuffed to their desks, in fact, they can get up and visit the bathroom a few times a day, a little more often for some authors. Think about using the desk as a prop to stretch, then take a walk around the block a few times. This would also be a good opportunity to grab a cappuccino.. Read more…

How to Start Your Career as an Author

Turning a love of writing into a career is difficult but not impossible. A writing career, however, require commitment, dedication, and a serious work ethic. One fallacy to avoid is thinking that writing is all about inspiration. If you only write when you feel inspired, you will end up wasting lots of time. Successful authors tend to treat writing like a job. John Updike, one the America’s most proficient authors has a very strong work ethic. His goal is to writer two finished pages every day. He starts in the morning, takes a lunch break, and then writes until late afternoon. His polished pages quickly add up day after day and week after week.

 Authors Are Well Read
Almost every good writer has an insatiable thirst for all sorts of literature. Writers tend to be well-read and to have an innate curiosity for ideas. Inspiration does not occur in a vacuum. Most writers develop their voice and sense of style by imitating their literary heroes. For example, the 19th century playwright Henrik Ibsen was a major influence on James Joyce. Joyce’s influence, in turn weighed heavily on the 20th century playwright Samuel Beckett. Digesting the literary classics, from the Greeks to the contemporary, provides a firm foundation for all aspiring authors. Writers, however, absorb ideas from other sources as well. Ibsen and Joyce were avid newspaper readers.

Don’t Write In A Vacuum
Join a local writer’s group. Writing can be a very lonely activity and it is difficult to view your own work objectively. Interacting with other writers has a number of advantages for the aspiring writer. A writer’s group provides a sounding board for your work. Sharing work and ideas with other writers provides important feedback and constructive criticism that will help you develop as a writer. An additional benefit is that working with a group of writers is a good way to stay up-to-date about writer conferences and contests and the professional world of writing in general. Read more…

Read to Your Children as Early as Possible

Getting children interested in reading is a very important part of parenting.  It is never too late to develop good reading habits and to instill reading values on children.  There are so many benefits to having a child who is interested in reading books.  Reading for pleasure is something that many find enjoyable and a way to relax.  Pleasure reading will help all through school, into college and even into adulthood.

It is not disputed that a child should be read to every night.  A child that is read too on a regular basis will most likely learn to read earlier and will have a better success rate at an earlier age.  Children whose parents read to them on a regular basis connect better to their parents and are able to openly talk about more subjects.  A night time reading ritual opens the door to better communication with the child.

Why Is Reading to your Child Important?

Children whose parents read to them at an early in age have a much stronger imagination overall than those that don’t.  Once their imagination is developed and they want to explore new places and adventures they will begin to do it on their own.  A child who finds things that they really enjoy will seek out new books and authors to read.  Taking a trip to a library to discover new books is a great way to open up new worlds of reading.
A parent needs to make reading as fun as possible.  Some kids just don’t naturally want to read and explore but a gentle nudge sometimes help them to pick up a book and just read it.  Parents that use different voices and interact with the story characters will inspire a child to want to do it more and more.  Using sounds, gestures and funny voices all help in making reading fun and exciting. Read more…

Fighting Childhood Illiteracy Through Education

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIlliteracy is a major problem in the educational system. Many children have very low reading levels that often lead to their becoming adults who can’t function well in the workplace, in the home and in society. Despite the efforts to remedy the problem, there is still a lot of work needed to be done.

  • Role of the Parents

Parents are a child’s first instructor. They have the responsibility of exposing their children to reading and vocabulary building. Unfortunately, many parents cannot read or speak intelligently themselves. Schools should find a way to become involve before the child enrolls. One way to do this is to allow schools to reach parents through hospitals and clinics where mothers receive prenatal medical care. Here representatives of the school district have the opportunity to explain to parents the process of helping their child learn. For example, they can explain that reading to their child and talking with their child will help build vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. If parents cannot read, the representative can provide them with a list of schools or literacy centers in the area that can help them learn to read. By learning to read themselves, the parent will become qualified to help the child with learning throughout their academic life.

As the child grows, parents should take them to the library during story time. They can also allow children to check out books and read the stories with them. After the stories are read, parents can ask questions to build reading comprehension.

  • Role of the Teacher

Once children enroll in school, the teacher becomes a partner with the parent to help a child continue to learn and grow. Unfortunately, many children start school without knowing the alphabet and without proper vocabulary skills which are mandatory for reading and writing. Teachers must implement teaching strategies right away to deal with these issues before the child becomes disheartened with school. For example, teachers can spend extra time tutoring students after school or recommend that parents get a tutor.

As students transition to higher grades, the work may appear harder for them if they can’t read. Schools can hire tutoring companies to help students after school. Although some schools have hired companies, the services have not targeted students who really need the help. New policies must be developed to target struggling students. For example, students whose test scores fall way below the average should be the first group to be assigned a tutor. Also, students should attend summer school to get the extra help they need.  If they have dreams of advancing their careers, they will study hard and take the advice of someone that is paid to help them perform.

If parents and teachers ignore the problems of dealing with a child’s illiteracy, it can cause great harm. Students may give up on school and decide to drop out. Or, they may be pushed through the education system and graduate without the proper skills to live a productive life or start a productive career. Unfortunately, their job opportunities will be very limited without a high school diploma or college education.

Literary Terms: Chekhov’s Gun & Foreshadowing

Literary terms are devices in literature which are used by an author to achieve certain effects in the reader’s perception of a story. While the list of literary terms is ongoing, it is necessary to understand these principles in both reading and writing literature. This article, will discuss only two of the many literary terms: Chekhov’s Gun and foreshadowing.

What is Checkhov’s Gun??

Chekhov’s gun is a literary term used mostly by writers, as its principle is related to the science of writing fiction. The idea is simple: include only necessary details, trash the rest. This principle comes straight from Anton Chekhov’s, playwright, mouth.  Chekhov asserts that “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, [sic: You should keep guns in a gun safe...] then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.”

guns and literatureThere are multiple variations of this quote, but Chekhov’s point remains solid throughout all of these: details included in writing should be poignant. The name of this idea becomes relevant from Chekhov’s actual quote, and though the quote refers to acts in a play, it can be applied to many types of narrative writing. This article discussed reasons both to employ, or not, Chekhov’s gun.

And, Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing, on the other hand, is a literary device used both by readers and writers alike. Like the term itself implies, foreshadowing refers to an author providing a hint in the story which lends a clue to what is going to come. This is a loose term which can be employed as a subtle hint, such as a bright sunny day suggesting that something good is about to happen. The term can also lend itself to more blatant hints, like a wife holding her husband’s hand just a moment too long as she tells him her last goodbye (because he ultimately dies later in the story).

Powerful Use of Foreshadowing

Regardless of its noticeability within a story, foreshadowing is a crucial element of the narrative. Foreshadowing is a tool which adds a certain tension to a story by making the reader curious about the events to come. This suspense also helps to propel the story’s plot while simultaneously keeping the reader interested. Foreshadowing is usually easy to spot within literature for a reader, especially after the reader has read the story in its entirety. However, creating foreshadowing can present certain obstacles for the writer. This article, from Author’s Craft, does a wonderful job detailing how to employ foreshadowing in your writing, without becoming too obvious or cliche.

 

Top Outdoor Cooking Guides

GrillingWith the summer approaching, the 85% of Americans who love to cook outside will be dusting off their grills and cleaning up the cooking utensils. Or they may be looking hard to decide which grill is best for them for a new purchase or a replacement for the old faithful grill.

There is a wealth of grills made from gas to charcoal and even electric ones if your space is small or you face restrictions, and they are made by all the recognized brands. For some ideas of which may suit you, check out http://www.grillreviewguide.com

What to cook

Let’s start with the basics; burgers. It isn’t a complicated thing to cook a burger on the grill for majority of people but sometimes you might crave something more. A new release for this April is Weber’s Big Book of Burgers: The Ultimate Guide to Grilling Backyard Classics which is created by the people that make the Weber grills. The chef behind it is Jamie Purviance who is recognized as one of the top grilling experts in the country, so should have some experience with burgers! The book is aimed at taking the favorites of every barbecue and giving them a modern and updated option, as well as some good, everyday tips for all areas of grilling.

Big Green Egg Cookbook: Celebrating the World’s Best Smoker and Grill is a book aimed at a particular grill, the Big Green Egg. This is a charcoal grill that comes in five different sizes and can grill, smoke, roast and even bake. Here are selections of ideas aimed at the specific product that are proven to work and has been written by Ed Fisher, the founder of the brand. It is available in paperback and hardback and also in a Kindle version for e-readers.

Regional specialties

If you want to taste authentic cuisine from different parts of the country or are planning a visit and want to eat like the locals, there are some good books that cover a particular area.

Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything comes from Donald Link, an award winning chef who is behind some award winning restaurants in New Orleans. This book features 110 recipes so has a little of everything from grilling to dessert and drinks so is a good all-rounder.

If you fancy something from even further afield, check out The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables which come from chef Tadashi Ono and offers grilling with Japanese flavors such as soy sauce and miso. They cover recipes to use with gas or charcoal grills and everything from healthy meals to entertaining specialties. It too is available for Kindle and similar readers.

Something novel

Ever tried pizza on the grill? With 100 recipes around the subject, Pizza on the Grill: 100 Feisty Fire-Roasted Recipes for Pizza & More has a range of ideas for charcoal or gas grills. From Pulled Pork Pizza to classics like Margherita and Pepperoni pizza, this book from Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer provides a new insight into the world of grilled food. There are even dessert pizzas!

Many people use sauces when cooking on the grill and a book which gives a wealth of ideas of sauces as well as recipes to use them in is Hot Sauce!: Techniques for Making Signature Hot Sauces, with 32 Recipes to Get You Started; Includes 60 Recipes for Using Your Hot Sauces written by Jennifer Trainer Thompson. In the book, there are suggestions for chowders, ribs and even salads as well as sauces ranging from mild to very, very hot.

 

The Top 5 Hairstyle Books

HairWhen changing your look it can be as simple as changing your hairstyle. Getting your hair to look as sleek and stylish as the celebrities it is necessary to know how to get the look without having to pay the hairdresser price every day. There are as many books out on the market that can help you solve your hair dilemma as there are styling tools these days. Following is a list of the Top 5-hairstyle books that can get you looking your best.

“The Ultimate Hairstyle Handbook: Everyday Hairstyles for the Everyday Girl” is a 400 page paperback book. It is written by Abby Smith and it focuses on the up do’s of long hair that one can create with pins and little curling. With versatile looks that can take you from daytime office to night club hopper, this book offers tutorials with over 40 pictures on how to create braids, knots, and buns. It explains step by step how to achieve great looks and offers advice on hair care as well.

Another top hairstyle book to have is the “Braids, Buns, and Twists! Step-by-Step Tutorials for 82 Fabulous Hairstyles” by Christina Butcher. This paperback book has over 80 unique hair do’s for teens and adults alike to create a great look. Featuring top knots, Heidi braids, and French twists, this book will have your hair styling experience transforming you into the envy of your friends.

For the younger trendsetters, the paperback book “Fabulous Teen Hairstyles: A Step-by-Step Guide to 34 Beautiful Styles” by Eric Mayost shows the most recent teen hair trends. From total up do’s to long and flowing curls, Eric shows off these simple and easy hairstyles that teens are sure to enjoy. This book also offers hints and supply ideas for the reader to make their hairdressing experience a great one with ultimate results!

From the creations of Nicky Pope comes her book entitled, “Step-by-Step Hairstyles: 85 Salon Looks to Create: A comprehensive guide to styling your hair for stunning results, with more than 80 complete looks shown in 500 how to-photographs.” This paperback book is jam packed with ideas and visual enhancements for any taste of hairstyle. With 500 photos to work with, any hairstyle can be yours with the help of this book.  Don’t forget to pick up some great styling products (like these here) in order to style your hair along with the step by step.

If vintage hairstyles are your focus, the book “Vintage Hairstyling: Retro Styles with Step-by-Step Techniques” by Lauren Rennells is the paperback for you. It offers the reader the instructions and photos of hairstyles from the 1930′s through the 1960′s. This 200-page full-color book also offers advice for makeup, nails, and accessories to top off your new vintage hairstyle. With these easy to follow instructions, you will find yourself quickly transformed to another era.

When you are looking to find a great instructional book to create your unique hairdo, these 5 books all offer the reader easy to follow instructions and tutorials with pictures to help create your fabulous runway worthy look. These hairstyle books will have you in the latest fashion from your toes to your “buns”.

My Favorite Sports Books

The Game Ken DrydenIf you’re a sports fan, this list of books are all must reads. I’ve listed a book from various sports in hopes to pique your interest.

 Basketball Book: Heaven Is a Playground

I personally don’t care for the NBA. I grew up playing basketball, I love watching March Madness but the NBA is a lousy product in my opinion. But regardless of whether you’re a basketball nut or would rather watch paint dry then the 26th dunk in an NBA game, this book is a must read

Heaven is a Playground is the story about the legendary courts at Foster Park. It highlights the struggles off the courts of many of these inner city kids looking for a way out.

 Football Book: Friday Night Lights

Most of us know about Friday Night Lights because of the major motion picture that was release several years back. If you’ve never read the book, I would suggest doing so.

 Hockey Book: The Game

Being a hockey fanatic I’ve read a lot of books on it’s history and the stories surrounding the game’s history. “The Game” is a personal memoir that digs into the life of an NHL’r who backstopped one of the greatest teams in league history.

Having pucks fired at you at 100MPH has always required a different breed. It’s well known inside of hockey circles, that goaltenders are a strange cast of characters. This is a well written book by one of the greatest goaltenders to play the game and probably one of the most intelligent as well.

 Soccer Book: Fever Pitch

Growing up in North America, you’re probably not a die hard soccer fan. Fever Pitch is an intense look at why the rest of the world loves and cherises the game so much. It documents an obsessed fan, who any die hard sports fan can at least somewhat relate to.

After reading Fever Pitch I started to watch bits of games, slowly developing a new found respect and intrigue for the game.

 Baseball Book: Moneyball

As is the case with Friday Night Lights it became a major motion picture and is widely known.

As a fan of advanced statistics, (and not just in baseball – hockey, basketball and football) I loved Moneyball. It didn’t just change the way that baseball was played and managed but it also opened the door for other sports. Hockey for example now has advanced stats, which dig deeper into the relationship a player has with winning on the ice. Less nonsense about tangibles and heart and more facts about why teams win.

Moneyball changed the way we watched and played baseball.

 Did I miss any?

This list is by no means complete, it’s just a handful of my favorite sports books of all time. Truthfully, there are dozens if not hundreds of great sports books. I didn’t even list a single boxing book and those are some of my favorites.

 What’s your favorite sports book of all time?

 

Best Money Spent on Books in University

College BooksTextbooks are a necessity in order to perform well in university but they cost a great deal of money. There are options wherein you can find cheaper alternatives than buying a brand new textbook that you are only probably going to use for one semester.

College textbooks cost a significant amount of money. Because of this, a number of college students choose not to buy the required textbooks for classes due to high costs. Low performance rating in some classes can be attributed to this lack of access to textbooks. However, there are alternatives than buying these expensive new textbooks.

The Facts on Textbook Costs

The average textbook costs around $200 each. However, a student has to buy several textbooks for his/her subjects. The average number of required textbooks in a year can amount to as much as 10 textbooks a year. With this amount of money to be spent on textbooks, a student can already buy a year’s worth of groceries or the equivalent of one high end laptop, which is as well helpful in studying. The high cost of textbooks can be attributed to the fact that students do not have the power of choice as to what reference or textbook to use in their classes. Textbook publishers can then charge how much they want, disregarding students’ budgets. Because of this, university students resort to taking a student loan in order to support them through these expensive textbook prices.

Tips on How to Save Money when Buying Textbooks

Textbooks are an essential part of college education and students who forgo using these required textbooks are at a disadvantage. These students lack the main reference for their courses and have to exert extra effort just so they can dodge the insane costs of textbooks. However, there are workarounds to this expensive system without having to resort to additional student loan. Here are some alternatives to buying new textbooks.

  • Buy secondhand books.

Most books used in university are used for one year at the most and then are left unused for the rest of college. Because of this, there has been an increase in the availability of secondhand books. In buying used books, a student can save up to 50% of the price compared to that of a new textbook. However, these used books sell faster as they are the most affordable option. This is the strategy Edgar from DegreesandDebt.com recommends.

Most university stores add profit to textbooks and thus they cost more. Buying textbooks from online sources such as Amazon can save you up to 40% of the original price. Moreover, these online sites also sell used books at even lower prices.

  • E-book alternatives.

Most college textbooks are already available in e-format and since no printing is necessary, these e-books are almost half the price of physical books. However, not all students are comfortable with using e-books and an e-reader may be needed in order to read these e-alternatives.

The Demand for Cheaper Textbooks

Textbooks should not be a luxury, especially to students who are still finding ways to pay off their student loan. A concerted effort must be done by the government, publishers and universities in order to help provide textbooks at more affordable prices to students.

The Best Firearm Safety Education Books

- Best for Guns at Home:

“Keeping Your Family Safe: The Responsibilities of Firearm Ownership.” by Timothy Wheeler and E. John Whipfler. $15.71 for paperback.

BookstotheskyThis books is written by two physicians and they set the tone of caring family doctors. Topics include firearms training, safety rules, storage and self-defense tactics. They also bring in some medical aspects as they cover treating gunshot wounds and first aid kits for the home. While the doctors are clearly pro-gun, they do not shy away from discussing the ethics and laws in use of deadly force and heavily emphasize that gun ownership comes with serious responsibility. This book is a good basic text, extremely readable, with balanced viewpoints from men of credibility.

- Best for Hunters:

“The Field & Stream Firearms Safety Handbook” by Doug Painter. $46

Doug Painter, a well-known writer for Field and Stream magazine compiles many of his articles along with additional information in this comprehensive book. Safety is placed paramount for all things related to firearms. The writing is interesting with true stories of hunting accidents interspersed. Topics include the mechanics of firearms, accidents, information for all types of hunters, and more. This is a must read for any hunters and it gives a great insight on all types of rifle accessories like those at perfectaim.net.

- Best for a Thorough Education

Canadian Forearms Safety Course (CFSC) Student Handbooks. Prices vary.

In Canada, citizens wishing to own firearms must complete a firearms safety course or pass a test showing equivalent knowledge. The textbooks from the courses are available for sale. The books are very thorough, cover many topics related to firearms, and are as close as you can get to attending a course in person thorough a book. Warning – the material is quite dry.

- Best for Women Gunowners

“Taking Your First Shot: A Woman’s Introduction to Defensive Shooting and Personal Safety.” by Lynne Finch. $13.31

This books gives a good overview of firearms safety and personal safety overall. It can apply to anybody but it is written especially for women. The tone is personal, funny and interesting. It treats women intelligently, but does start with all the basics, like holding a gun, gun store etiquette, gun types, ammunition, range safety, storage and more. It also addresses some personal safety tips for unarmed women. The overall experience in reading this book is to feel empowered and confident in owning and using a first gun.

- Best for Gun-Owners With Children

“Gun-Proof You Children/ Massad Ayoob’s Handgun Primer” by Massad F. Ayoob. $5.

This book could be considered by some a controversial choice for a “best of” list as not all folks will prescribe to this style of introducing children to gun safety. But thousands of gun-owning parents have sworn by it since it was released in 1986. This gets back to the age-old concept of teaching children to respect firearms, to recognize them as dangerous tools – not as toys. It goes beyond just locking up a gun to protect children, to training them on how to react if they were to encounter a loaded weapon. For fans of the book and author but looking for something more current, Ayoob will have another book released in March 2014 titled “Gun Safety in the Home.”

Whether you are looking to get information on how to keep your firearms safe or how to properly equip your firearms with the right equipment, these books we have covered today are a “must have” for any firearms enthusiast.

How I Kicked Nutrition’s Butt by Reading

Jason - Booksofthesky.com (img)I’ve have a disease. No, no. Not like that. Not, like an actual, serious disease. I’m not sick. What I really mean is that I have a compulsion. I call it the “curiosity compulsion.” What is it? It’s this little thing inside my head that latches onto an idea – even if the idea is a tiny little idea at the back of my brain. And then my compulsion tells me that I absolutely, positively must know more about it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what it is (I once spent hours at the library researching the influences of Mediterranean botany in the Blithedale Romance; no joke). It’s like this weird OCD urge to stuff knowledge into my brain at all costs.

Now, sometimes, it’s just kind of pointless. Like the botany thing. That didn’t help me at all, really. I just ended up with a bunch of useless trivia in my head about botany. Who cares, right? But other times… other times, I start researching something really awesome that can really help me learn something useful or cool. For example, I once taught myself how to juggle with a book, and now I always have something to impress people with at funerals.  Joking. But I did teach myself how to juggle.

Lately, though, I’ve been learning about health. Nutrition, exercise – all that business. Like, I’m learning about it compulsively. And it’s awesome! After all my reading, I’ve made some truly significant life changes that are really starting to shape me as a person. So I wanted to share with you the beginnings of my findings. Mostly because I love talking about what I’m reading, but also because some of these things may help you too.

For now, I think, I’m only going to share one fact with you. But I’ll be sure to share more as I dig deeper into all this nutrition stuff.

Fact one: Paleo diet rocks. There are tons of fad diets out there, and most of them are full of crap. However, the Paleo diet is legit. If you don’t know what it’s all about, it’s basically a nutrition plan that says we should only be eating foods available to us pre-agricultural era because that’s all our digestive systems are equipped to deal with. Stuff like bean, grains and sugar have been processed to help our relatively mild digestive systems move them through our bodies. This causes lots of irritation of all types. Paleo, if nothing else, is an anti-inflammatory diet.

What is that cool? For starters, inflammation is at the root of basically all diseases – especially stuff like heart disease. It also causes joint pain and acne. Oh! That’s one of the coolest things! Paleo is so good for your skin. I’ve combined it with my daily routine of organic skin care products, and I’ve seen a major difference. Eating paleo, wearing sun screen and using a good moisturizer has totally obliterated my blemishes. This is worth it in itself.

Also, of course, I’ve lost some weight. That’s why most people do it, but I’ve never been super concerned about how I look; I mostly just want to feel good.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed factoid numero uno! Keep your eyes peeled for more, and keep reading!

 

Read Your Favorite Book In Bed Comfortably!

It has become commonplace for people to retire to bed and watch TV, do some work on your laptop, browse the internet on your tablet, read a book on your Kindle and hold your breath , actually read a hard cover book. I know, shocking isn’t it?  A hard cover book on the night table beside your bed.  Every night you crawl between the sheets, get cozy, reach over and pick up your book.  You immerse yourself in a deep mystery, a sultry romance, a fact filled historical account or any topic that tickles your fancy.  As you disappear deep into the pages, your enjoyment increases due to  the comfort level achieved by using the best pillow.

Different Types of Pillows for Reading in Bed

Wedge pillowThere are many different types of reading pillows.  They have all sorts of gadgets and attachments.  The process range from cheap to very, very expensive.  As with all things concerning your body, comfort should always be of primary importance.  If you do not have the proper reading pillow, you can develop bad habits like slouching or hunching leading to bad posture.

Over time, bad posture may lead to more serious injuries to your head and neck.  That is why it is crucial to select the proper reading pillow.

Proper Type

One such type of reading pillow is the Bed Lounge or Bed Rest reading pillow. There are many factors to consider when reviewing these types of pillows.  In order to increase enjoyment, make reading more pleasurable while in bed, and make your night’s sleep more restful, you must consider them all.  An internal  framework  is critical for support of your spine and back.  The lack of an adequate frame will  not give proper support to your neck back, and spine.

It also eliminates a variety of reclining and sitting positions, which enhance comfort.   An adjustable headrest that can cradle your neck reduces strain and eases tension as you read.  Armrests add to the stability of the reading pillow, and allow for proper support of your arms as you read.  Altogether the frame also provides the appropriate amount of lumbar support to  help avoid any lower back issues.

Many Options

Reading PillowSome of these pillows have internal massagers.  These can help relieve tired,  aching,  sore muscles as you read.   Other attachments and options include a reading light, a pocket in the armrest, color choices, fabric choices,  and removability of the cover for cleaning purposes.

Another type of reading pillow is the wedge pillow.  Which is exactly like it sounds, a wedge laid on your bed.  It raise your neck and upper body into a comfortable position to enable you to read.  These pillows do not come with the gadgets such as a light, pockets, speakers, and in most cases no massagers.  However, the remaining factors mentioned above are just as crucial for a wedge pillow.  Does it provide adequate support for your neck, back and spine?

While a wedge pillow will not have an internal framework per se, to evaluate its shape you must consider its durability, stability, firmness, widespread lumbar and neck support.  One advantage of the wedge pillow is that you can use it in two ways.  One, on its flat side for lower elevation to sleep on. Two, sitting up on its long side, for a higher elevation to allow you to read.

After a long hard day at work, you are ready to unwind by slipping into the world of you favorite reading topic.  You are prepared to become enthralled once again by the pages of your favorite book.  To maximize your enjoyment and reduce your discomfort, you must select a proper reading pillow.

My Writing Career Versus My Husband the Firefighter

As a writer it gets really hard to stay motivated sometimes, but at the end of the day, the workload always falls on me and me alone to stay motivated to get new writing and scripts out to my publishers. It’s really always up to me to keep things on task and on schedule, and nobody else besides the people I write for who push me to develop new material for them at a very consistent basis.

That’s not like my Husband. It’s hard sometimes when he gets home from a long day at work because he sits down and often times he wants to compare notes about what he did during the day versus what I did during mine. I struggle a lot because I feel spoiled when I hear some of the stories of what he has to see and do every single day. He tells me what he can, and most times I don’t even want to know when he can’t tell me about what he did. It makes me not only grateful but very ashamed when I sit here just writing new material and only worry about motivating myself. He has to worry about someone motivating him whose life may be on the line.

I often wondered what it is that makes up a firefighter and what kind of training they have to go through to be as hardened as my husband is. While he’s incredibly gentle, there are many times where he’s as firm as an oak and nothing could ever pass him by. It almost seems to me that they have to have some type of emotional training to endure the rigors of the everyday life that they have to live and live in fear. I know when I’ve talked to a few of my husband’s friends, there is a growing concern about the mental state of many young firefighters these days. Many of them feel they have to be strong and aggressive, and while that’s the case most of the time, they don’t realize that they also are human and need a release. Without finding something that will make them relax, they will hold in all the pent up aggression and stress.

My husband is planning on retiring as soon as his 20 years with the city are up. He’s always practicing safety tactics to prepare himself for his next daily outing and I’m just hoping that he doesn’t encounter something that would impact him and our lives forever. I keep telling him to just prep his resume and apply someplace else and that no job interview or resume coaching experience will ever be as hard as it was when he joined the force (the firefighting application process is very hard let alone having someone properly structure a firefighter resume which I did for him).

Until that day comes, I’ll keep praying for him to return home safely each day and try not to think too poorly about my own self-reflection when I really feel what he has to go through each day. I need to start putting together a great reading list for him so when his 20 years are up, he and I can spend some quality time together doing what I love most… reading and writing. If you want to know what a firefighter does on a daily basis, more detailed information is directly below.

One Book To Make You A Better Camper

Looking to get more out of camping and the outdoors? Have you gone out a few times but are ready to make it a regular occurrence, but aren’t sure what you need to start? Did you go out and buy all of the camping gear you could find, but now realize you’re a bit lost as to how to use it?

Outdoor Life’s Ultimate Survival Manual shares 333 skills that will “get you out alive”, or at least make you a better survivalist, which includes camping.

If you could choose one book to make you a better camper, this is it.

Why, you might ask, do you need a survival manual to become a better camper, especially if you just prefer to car-camp (drive in and set up near your vehicle like at a campground)?

One Book To Make You A Better CamperBy learning tips, tricks, and other information that goes above and beyond what you expect you need to know for any given situation, you will always be prepared. If you know how to make a fire in winter conditions without any matches, surely you’ll be able to build the best fire imaginable on a dry summer morning before your family wakes up.

Similarly, if you are in a situation where you need a knot to secure something, you’ll want to have a selection to choose from, not just that one you think you learned in Boy Scouts 30 years ago, but can’t actually remember all the time.

The more you know, the less likely you are to run into problems, so it is highly recommended that you dive into deep resources such as this so that by the time you’re comfortable with these tips and tricks, you will be prepared for hundreds of other situations.

Some of the things you will learn in this book are:

  • How to stay safe in a cave
  • How to stay safe in a tornado
  • Common poison information
  • How to soak up poison with charcoal
  • How to make a fire (4 ways)
  • And more.

There is even a particular section on equipping yourself for the mountains, which is especially helpful if you are planning on doing some hiking before you set up camp, in order to be away from it all.

Some tips that we found useful are things like bringing all of the gear you might need for a more extreme trip (harness, ropes, carabiners) so that you are prepared no matter what happens. Also important are things like bringing an insulated pad for sleeping on snow, as one thing many campers tend to forget is that the reason they are so cold in their sleeping bag is that they have not separated themselves from the ground, which gets very cold and sucks the heat right out of you, even if you have the best sleeping bag.

The book reads well, as it has short sections dedicated to a specific idea, which means you will be able to get through it quickly, and find exactly what you are looking for without reading pages and pages to find it. Brilliant pictures take up a lot of room in the book, which adds to the enjoyment (while this is not always the case, obviously, in a book like this with practical tips and this type of subject matter, seeing photos and guides is actually very helpful) of reading this book.

It is at home on the coffee table as much as in your survival kit, and will give you so much information that will make you a better camper.