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  • ChatGPT for book readers?

    I really love new technologies and enjoy using them in my life. AI will change our future - that's for sure. But how we can use this tool today, I will try to tell you from the reader's point of view. ChatGPT uses information already available on the Internet to generate answers to questions. Sure, it sometimes gives weird answers, but given how new this technology is, we realize that the algorithm will only get better over time. What is the advantage of ChatGPT over Google? It accumulates all the information and gives more specific answers, and you don't have to go to a lot of different sites looking for the right information. Besides, you can actually have a dialog with it and clarify some points. Always take into account the fact that regardless of the level of accuracy that ChatGPT gives, it can never replace a review written by a human being and you should always doubt their answers (basically, this applies to any information😎). So, what is the usefulness of ChatGPT for a book lover and how to use it wisely? 1. Get book recommendations based on personal preferences. Sometimes it is very difficult to find a novel of your liking. While there are many options to get book recommendations , ChatGPT can be quite helpful. Just ask the bot to give some tips based on the book you liked. Use prompts like: If I liked reading , what other books would I like? My favorite book is , what other similar books should I read? 2. Make an annotation of the book. You can find out what the book is about before you buy it. And also use annotations in case you don't have time to read the whole book, for example, before a lecture, or just for interest. It's important to remember that ChatGPT can probably give away some spoilers. Write something like: Please tell me what the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is about without spoilers. 3. Find out specific information about books. If you are looking for some specific details about a book, ChatGPT can help you a lot. In doing so, you can ask literally anything. For example: When was The Great Gatsby published? How many pages are in the book? How long would it take the average person to read this book? What genre does it belong to? Write the key points of the book. 4. Ask for an explanation of anything you don't understand. Another great way to use ChatGPT to make it easier to read is to simply ask anything that is unclear. For example: What is transcendent experience? Or if you don't quite understand the meaning of the novel, you can ask for clarification. Can you explain to me the meaning of the plot of the book Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco? 5. Make personalized reading strategies. ChatGPT can make recommendations for you to improve your reading habit. Email it what your current habits are and the specific goals you want to achieve, and it will collect the data and provide you with a personalized strategy. After the initial response, you can continue the "dialog" and ask clarifying questions. For example: I want to read more and diversify my book choices. At the moment I only read 1 hour every other day and I usually read science fiction. Make a personalized plan for me. 6. Create lists of books on specific topics. What ChatGPT is really good at is creating lists in seconds. Whether you want to know which books by a particular author are the best, or books on a particular topic, ChatGPT will create them for you. Let's say you're planning a trip to Italy and want to read atmospheric novels on the topic. Write: What are the top 5 novels set in Italy? Or perhaps you want to read science pop on the subject of the brain - so write that. One thing to always keep in mind is that artificial intelligence is artificial. It can't replace human communication and it can't take into account your personal preferences and tastes the way a friend would. At least for now, every piece of information provided by ChatGPT should be treated with mistrust.

  • How to listen to audiobooks and enjoy them

    Recently in one of the podcasts I came across the phrase "Listening is the new reading". I can say from my book club experience that most of the participants prefer listening to books, and already in second place is reading in hard copy. I didn't immediately embrace this format. I didn't like the mental distraction, skipping and having to listen again. It was mostly because of the monotonous voiceover. Then I realized I was just not listening correctly! Now I have 5 simple rules: 1. Listen to fiction. With a good voiceover, it's like a radio play. With nonfiction it is a bit more difficult, because there you still need to mark important thoughts and quotes, and in audio you need to interrupt for this, which is not very convenient. 2. The second point follows from this: before you buy an audiobook, listen to a few minutes of the trial version. You should like the voice and manner of the voice actor. 3. Increase the speed of listening. I'm so used to getting information quickly that at speed 1.0 I get distracted, fly away with my thoughts and get bored (to be honest, I even speed up interviews on Youtube). I usually listen to books at speed 1.5 at the beginning, and then, when I get used to the voice and get into the story, I increase it by 2. It's comfortable for me, I don't miss anything and I don't get distracted from listening. The length of each book is different: from 10 hours to 30. Accordingly, in accelerated mode you will listen faster. 4. Listening while doing housework or on a walk. Since I have a dog with whom I walk twice a day for an hour, I get to listen to quite a lot. I combine pleasant with useful (or useful with useful). 5. Listen in applications where audio and text are synchronized. I won't recommend anyone in particular, but the point is the same everywhere: you listen to a book, pause it - and in the printed digital version you automatically find yourself on the same piece of text. It's very convenient. What are the benefits of audiobooks? they definitely save time (listen in a car, on a walk and while doing the dishes) no eye strain If a person has ADHD or dyslexia – that is a solution to the problem. audiobooks on good services are read by actors, professional speakers, sometimes even the authors themselves. The recordings resemble a real audio play. Audiobooks I enjoyed: "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese "Two Brothers" by Ben Elton. "The Guest Book" by Sarah Blake. "The Secret History" by Donna Tartt. "Judas" by Amos Oz "Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman. "Stoner" by John Williams

  • The Book Club's Choice of December – "Judas" by Amos Oz.

    "Judas" is a novel of ideas, a discourse on betrayal and its essence, a debate about the dark side of Jewish-Christian relations and a reflection on modern Israeli history. Amos Oz is an Israeli modern classicist, university professor, and journalist. His works have been translated into 42 languages, including Arabic. He has been nominated three times for the Nobel Prize. In the novel "Judah" the author organically weaves into the chamber story of the relationship between three completely dissimilar people in the Jerusalem winter of 1959. Good-natured and impulsive student Shmuel Ash is disillusioned with his life - his fiancée has left him for someone else, his academic endeavours are failing, his father has gone bankrupt and can no longer pay for his university studies. On a notice board, Shmuel sees a strange ad for an uncomplicated job for a humanities student. Gershom Vald, an elderly intellectual, is looking for someone with whom he can have conversations and arguments in exchange for a desk, shelter and a modest allowance. Thus Shmuel becomes the occupant of an old house in one of Jerusalem's ancient neighbourhoods. In addition to Gershom Vald, the house is inhabited by the mysterious beauty Atalia, daughter of the Zionist Shaltiel Abrabanel, who attracts and frightens Shmuel with her cold detachment. And while Shmuel Ash talks to the old man for hours, becoming increasingly fascinated by the theme of betrayal, which somehow ends their philosophical arguments, Amos Oz writes for the reader a melodious Jerusalem nocturne, and in the cold air of a clear winter night, the lonely violin of love sounds shrilly. Quotes The fundamentalist lives with an exclamation mark. I prefer to live with a question mark. Fanaticism is the plague of the twenty-first century. Just as the previous century was ravaged by world reformers and redeemers, ideological movements with magical formulas, this century is dominated by different types of fanatics. We have completely forgotten that there is a place for charity in the world besides principles and ideals. Without Judas, there might not have been a Crucifixion, and without the Crucifixion, there might not have been Christianity. German officers who attempted to assassinate Hitler were executed as traitors. There are plenty of courageous people in the history of mankind who were ahead of their time and were therefore known as traitors or cranks. The truth is that no power in the world can turn a hater into a lover. You can turn a hater into an enslaved person, but not into a loving person. With all the power in the world you cannot turn a bigoted person into a tolerant person. And with all the power in the world, you cannot turn a man who wants revenge into a friend. Judaism, Christianity, Islam - all of them are not stingy in their mellifluous speeches, full of love, benevolence and mercy, only as long as they do not have handcuffs, bars, power, torture cellars and scaffolds in their hands. All these beliefs, including those that originated in recent generations and continue to enchant many hearts to this day, all appeared to save us, but very soon began to shed our blood. Man, as Kant once said, is by nature like a crooked, rough log. And we cannot try to cut it without drowning in blood. Discussion Questions. 1. What is this book about for you? 2. Amos Oz has a mixed attitude in Israel itself. Do you think he associates himself with Judah? And is this book not written as an excuse? 3. Which quotes from the book have you retained, emphasised? Which ones do you agree with and which ones do you disagree with? 4. Why do you think the author placed a failed student writing a thesis on Judah's role in Judaism in a house where people with opposing viewpoints about Israel lived, befriended, and died? 5. Which of the characters in Judah would you yourself like to debate with about the nature of things? Who would be a more desirable interlocutor for you: Gershom Wald or Shaltiel Abrabanel? 6. What do you think of these words, "For without Judas, there might not have been a Crucifixion, and without the Crucifixion, there might not have been Christianity"? 7. Athaliah is a complex and mysterious character, she attracts and repels at the same time. How do you feel about her: do you sympathise, admire, condemn? 8. How appropriate do you think this book would be now, during Israel's war with Hamas?

  • The Incorrigible Optimists Club: Guenassia, Jean-Michel. Discussion Questions.

    - What is the book about? And why is it a good fit for a book club? - Questions for book club discussion - Quotes Jean-Michel Genasse is a writer who has rapidly gained popularity in recent years. French critics have called his book The Club of Incorrigible Optimists a great book, and French lycéeists have awarded the author the Prix Goncourt. The incorrigible optimists club introduces us to Michel Marini, a 12-year-old boy with a passion for reading and amateur photography. The year 1959 is a turbulent time in Paris, as the Algerian War of Independence gathers momentum and Europe is concerned about the East-West divide. Paris becomes a melting pot for freethinkers, immigrants, existentialists, philosophers and artists, but also a refuge for many who have fled their homes in the East, leaving everyone and everything behind. Michel is a genius at table football, or "baby-foot" as they call it in Paris. He plays it with his friends in many venues, but Michel spends most of his time at his local bistro, Balto. "At the far end of the restaurant, across from me, behind the benches, was a door with green curtains... An unshaven man in a stained, shabby mackintosh disappeared behind the curtain. What was he doing in such clothes at this time of year? It hadn't rained for weeks. Driven by curiosity, I pulled back the curtain. On the door, someone had written in large handwriting, "The incorrigible optimists' club." My heart pounding, I moved cautiously forward. I had received the greatest surprise of my life. I walked into the chess club... It wasn't the chess club that was the surprise. I saw Jean-Paul Sartre and Joseph Kessel playing together in the smoky back room of a workingman's bistro..." Can you imagine being in that room? Can you imagine a 12-year-old boy witnessing such a scene? For Michel, this was to have a very significant impact on him, for the men in this room, this almost secret club, were to become his lifeline, his confidants, his friends. The incorrigible optimists club was a motley group of immigrants, people who had left their lives in the communist East for various reasons. With differing beliefs and ideas, these people leave their personal politics at the door and gather over drinks and a chess board. The reader learns the story of a pilot (twice a hero of the USSR), a Hungarian actor, a talented surgeon, and others, but only learns the ending of one story at the end of the book. The stories are written from real Soviet people who had to emigrate The members of this club are a truly fascinating bunch whose stories penetrate to the very heart. The vivid portrayal of their lives before Paris touches the heart with wonderful descriptions and eloquent stories. The references to life in Eastern Europe and the Algerian War are simply mesmerising, compelling the reader to explore and learn more about these dark years of history. Book club discussion questions Please list the historical, social, and psychological problems you see in the novel. Why do you think the author begins his novel with the scene of Jean-Paul Sartre's funeral? How did his thoughts influence some of the characters in the novel? Do you agree with the words of one of the characters: "If a person reads and likes a novel written by a scoundrel, it does not mean that he has agreed with his beliefs or become his accomplice. To recognise talent is not to accept another person's moral principles or ideal of life" How did the war in Algeria affect the fates of some of the characters in the novel: Michel and Cécile, their brothers, Michel's parents, etc. According to the author, he wrote the biographies of the characters - immigrants from Eastern Europe - from real people. What do you think of the emigrant community of Paris in the 60s, and how their problems echo today's wave of emigration. What is your opinion of each of the club members: Leonid, Igor, Pavel, Imre and Tibor? What do you know about the "doctors' case"? What do you think about Sasha? What are your impressions after reading the novel? Quotes "What could be more terrible than to do evil while wishing to do good?" "The cause of all our misfortunes is rooted in one thing: everyone believes that their beliefs are infallible. Those who refuse to change their minds are idiots, as are those who allow themselves to be changed." "I've just learnt that Jules Verne was a rabid anti-communist and an obsessive anti-Semite. Enzo shrugged and nodded at the paintings surrounding us. What do I know about artists whose work is awe-inspiring? If I knew in detail the lives of Botticelli, El Greco, Engra or Degas, would I close my eyes to avoid seeing their paintings? Should I close my ears not to hear the music of the majority?" "If a person reads and likes a novel written by a scoundrel, it does not mean that he has agreed with his beliefs or become his accomplice. Recognising talent does not mean accepting another person's moral principles or ideal of life." "There are impossible tasks. For example, looking at life soberly, telling the truth, or admitting one's mistakes." "Memory is the source of our woes, man's happiness lies in the ability to forget. Memory is the worst enemy of happiness. Happy people forget." "I divided writers into two categories: those who allowed me to get to the lyceum on time, and those who made me late. For Russian authors I was left behind after lessons time and time again. In the rain I would take shelter under the visor and continue reading. "Tolstoy's" period turned out to be a black month. The Battle of Borodino was worth three hours after school. When I explained to the dissertation tutor that I was late because of Anna Karenina's suicide, he took it as a sneer" "There is nothing unimaginable about the gulag, genocide, concentration camps and the atomic bomb. They are the product of human consciousness, they are rooted within us, their monstrosity overwhelms us. They are beyond our comprehension, they destroy our desire to believe in man and bring us face to face with our dark side. In fact, they are the most complete forms of our inability to persuade." "God himself has brought you to our establishment, Mr Tibor," she said in a reverent tone. - Please, Madeleine, leave God alone," Igor interrupted her. - You should thank Nikita Khrushchev for meeting Tibor and Imre, who hardly consults the Almighty when making these or those decisions." "When a person realises a dream, he thinks neither of failure, nor of victory, nor of consequences. The most important thing in the promised land is not the land, but the promise of happiness." "True love is intellectual. It lives in the brain."

  • 5 Tips How To Choose Books For a Book Club

    The Ruah Book Club has been around for over 2 years now, and the membership has not changed much, only increased. Without false modesty, I can say that one of the reasons for its success is the choice of books that I, as a moderator, put up for voting. For the whole history I can remember only a few "failed" books. Most of the time the books cause a heated discussion in the private chat room even before the meeting itself. Therefore, based solely on my experience, I will allow myself to give a few recommendations. I hope they will be useful to you. 1. Democratic choice, but limited. How it works. The moderator proposes 3-4 books on similar topics for voting (more on this below). Conducts an election campaign for each of the books: briefly and as attractively as possible tells what awaits the readers, puts out a photo of the cover and quotes. Participants (voters) can vote for only one of the books. After a few days, a winner is announced by a simple vote count. Why it's the right thing to do. I've met a few book clubs where the moderator nominates the book in an authoritarian manner. As in any autocracy it works, but not always and not for long. People will come for one book and not another. Besides, most still want to be part of the election process. Unless the moderator himself is an Influencer and a very charismatic personality like Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, etc. Then by all means, go! – command and appoint:) 2. How to choose books to vote. There are several ways to do this: The first is to ask club members to send their recommendations. They should be analysed and a few of the most interesting ones should be chosen. The moderator must carefully approach the selection, so that in the end the books that will be liked by the majority will be voted on. The second is to make a selection on a particular topic. For example: - books that have been screen adapted - winners of the Booker, Nobel, Goncourt, etc. prizes. - authors of a certain country (Japan, France, Italy, etc.) - women's prose - psychological novels - travel books - books by one particular author - classics - non-fiction - autofiction - dystopias - etc. 3. Constant monitoring of books. I believe that a book club moderator is a calling. It should be someone who is passionate about books. I am subscribed to all possible book clubs, a community of book clubs moderators, interesting bookstores, publishers, influencers and book bloggers, media who write about books and make selections. Sometimes I go to to see what Sofia Coppola, Sarah Jessica Parker or Bill Gates, for example, is reading. 4. Choose books that are affordable. I often hear requests from book club members: "The main thing is to have an audio format" or "To be able to buy a paper version translated into your native language". It seems that in this age of e-books and Amazon, this shouldn't be a problem, but it's better to consider this point so that the book is available in different formats. Also, if your club, as well as ours, is located in another country that is not native-speaking, it is possible to arrange in advance with a local bookstore for book delivery. 5. Choose books that meet the challenges of the time. I think you will agree that a book found in time can often be therapeutic, can help to understand a difficult situation, explain some phenomena and processes. And it does not necessarily have to be non-fiction literature. Novels about war, about the inner world of a person, about survivors of terrible events and survived, for example, in the Holocaust, about overcoming, about loneliness, about friendship, about noble or vice versa low human actions, about relationships between parents and children, partners. As a moderator, try to be a bit of a psychologist in order to suggest exactly those books that will resonate in the souls of your participants. Photo from Allure Magazine June 1998/Photography Tim Walker

  • Autumn Playlist

    A new playlist for autumn romantic mood. It includes 12 tracks from the most favourite movies and TV series about love: "Big Little Lies", "Notting Hill", "My Blueberry Nights" and others. I wish you a pleasant listening experience.

  • Recommendations of the week: book, film, TV series, app and quote

    Hi, I've decided to share with you short selections of what I've read, watched, listened to lately. I plan to do this once a week. I hope you will find it interesting and even useful. It just so happens that the books and films I recommended in this selection are about overcoming, strong-spirited people, those who are not afraid to change the world. Book Shimon Peres «No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination, and the Making of Modern Israel» The story of Shimon Peres is the story of the State of Israel. Israel's ninth president, prime minister, defence minister, foreign minister - a partial list of all the positions Peres held during his more than 70-year political career. He was one of those outstanding people who, in his lifetime, could see for themselves that what they had created was the new history of their people, their country, their region. A statesman, a fighter for peace, he did everything possible so that the turbulent Middle East could find stability, good-neighbourly relations and prosperity. Willingness to take risks, make unpopular decisions, admit mistakes - these and many other qualities of the leader repeatedly confirmed Peres' sincere desire to do everything possible for the benefit of the State of Israel and his fellow citizens.Nobel Peace Prize laureate, along with the political settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he considered it necessary to develop relations between Israel and Arab countries in the region and in the world. Moovie "NYAD", 2023 is a stunning biopic and a sports drama about overcoming, fortitude and perseverance. This is the true story of Diana Nayad, a 64-year-old American swimmer who decided to do what no one had ever done before – to swim 170 kilometres from the coast of Cuba to Key West, USA. A little spoiler: she managed to do it after 6! attempts. She was supported by a large team of dedicated professionals. The film touches on a lot of psychological moments, and one of them is overcoming the own ego and being grateful to people who are ready to go with you to the end. Documentary "Beckham", Netflix - even if you're not a football fan, it's worth watching this film for the story of a guy from a London suburb's who became a prominent football player, from making his debut for Manchester United and meeting his future wife Victoria Adams to establishing his own club in the United States. The series also shows how the Beckham family was mistreated by the tabloids. The film includes funny scenes where David and Victoria joke about each other. After the premiere, the funniest moment of the show went viral on social media: in it, Victoria tries to reveal that she grew up in a "simple working family". At that moment, David bursts into the room and demands that his wife tell the camera what car she was driven to school in: "Be honest." After several attempts at denial, Victoria admits: "Rolls-Royce". AI application Whisper Memos is an app that records your voice and sends you an email with a transcript in a few minutes. Use it to record quick thoughts, reminders and daily diary entries. Web site is a useful site to help you find a film or a book that match your taste. Click on Ask Pix at the top, enter your query, such as "A book whose events take place in a bookshop", and the algorithm will pick a few options for you. Thought of the Day A diet isn't just about what you eat. It's what you watch. What you listen to. What you read. The people you talk to. Consciously choose the things you let into your body emotionally, physically and spiritually.

  • About book "The Body Keeps the Score", psychosomatics and yoga

    I want to share an amazing book with you. I am still in the process of reading it, but I am ready to give some of my thoughts. The book is called "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk. The author is a psychiatrist who has been researching PTSD for almost 50 years and is the head of the Trauma Research Foundation in Massachusetts. It is interesting that it was recommended to me almost simultaneously by a psychologist I know and a friend who is a yoga and meditation teacher. I have long noticed that the methods used by psychotherapy and yoga to solve different psychosomatic problems often overlap. So, my friend, a yoga teacher, Alyona recently in a conversation touched upon an interesting topic: how sometimes it turns out that some foods or dishes we have pleasant memories and we eat them with pleasure, and some on the contrary - disgust or even allergies and intolerance. I, by the way, have this with porridge, milk and pea soup, because they are associated with the food in kindergarten, where we were forced to eat them all by force. Alyona: Try to remember something pleasant from your childhood that plunges you into a state of calm and safety. For example, the smell of your mother's perfume or carpenter's glue after your father's hobby, or the taste of pies made by your favourite grandmother. Our brain does not remember one thing, it always records the whole picture: a place, its characteristics, colours, sounds, smells, tastes. The brain connects all the elements by neural circuits. Faced with one of the puzzles of that picture, our brain picks up the emotional reaction we were experiencing at that moment. But just as this happens with pleasant moments, in the same way it happens with unpleasant ones. A kindergarten teacher scolded you while you were eating soup - congratulations: soup will forever evoke the same feeling in your nervous system as the attitude of this teacher. You ate fish, and at the same time witnessed a conflict between parents - every time you eat fish, your nervous system will react to it as to a conflict between parents And the greater the impact of the psychotrauma, the more all the elements of this recorded picture will have a negative impact on the organism. Sometimes the negative situation itself is not too traumatic, but it occurs regularly, such as stress at work. In this case, each impact is insignificant, but these impacts accumulate layer by layer in our nervous system, eventually leading to the accumulation of a sufficiently strong level of irritant signal. And this, among other things, is one of the mechanisms that cause food allergies and intolerance to certain foods. Yes, you can avoid these foods, you can take food supplements to compensate for the negative reaction, but, nevertheless, this reaction always sits in our brain. It impairs the nervous system, the digestive system, leads to nutrient deficiencies and through inflammatory processes in the digestive system and deficiencies can lead to more complex systemic diseases. Me: What can be done about it? Alyona: Neurobiologists are conducting studies on mice, but these studies are very complex, very precise, when each neuron is marked, each impact is carried out by electrical impulses, and through this information is overwritten. It is clear that so far this method cannot be applied not only on a mass scale, but even on an individual human being with his complex system of forming reactions to the environment. Nevertheless, both Buddhism and yoga have been using meditative practices that can solve these problems for thousands of years. Now what Bessel van der Kolk says about it in his book: "Yoga, which combines breathing exercises, changing postures (asanas) and meditation, helps with the main difficulty in PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) - teaching the body to relax. The person focuses on what is happening inside him when doing a particular asana, as well as deep breathing. He begins to experiment with his sensations. Will the tension in the shoulder go away if you take a deep breath? Will one get a sense of peace by concentrating on the exhalation? The point of yoga is to look inside yourself. In essence, yoga teaches that even the most unpleasant sensation sooner or later reaches a peak and then subsides. This understanding helps treat the emotional pain associated with trauma in the same way. And ultimately gets rid of it." I would like to point out that there are a few chapters devoted to yoga in the book. After all, the author is a psychiatrist who studies PTSD and uses various methods to treat people with post-trauma. His patients are people who have suffered from domestic violence, the horrors of war, other people's cruelty and indifference. Through their stories, Dr Bessel shows how many different healing practices are available to overcome the condition, from meditation, yoga and sports to theatre classes.

  • The novel "Bella Germania" by Daniel Speck. Book club discussion questions

    "Bella Germania" by Daniel Speck is great German-Italian family saga spanning three generations, two countries, three different attitudes to life, three dramas. A story of family, love, betrayal and redemption set against the picturesque backdrop of the vineyards of Sicily, the turbulent political life of Germany and the glitz of fashionable Milan. This novel by one of Germany's most popular writers today is full of subtle irony about Germans and love for Italy. At our next book club meeting we will be talking about post-war Germany and Italy, generational connection and immigrants. I suggest questions for discussion. 1. The acceptance of the wartime past in Germany and Italy was different. Let us speculate about post-war reconstruction, the changing social map of Europe, the psychology and lives of ordinary people. 2. Immigrant stories like the ones described in Bella Germany are full of hopes and aspirations. Home, moving, putting down roots, social inequality for guest workers. In your opinion, are there parallels between the immigrant movement of that time and today's refugee situation? 3. In the novel Bella Germany, Avor takes us on a 60-year journey through Italy and Germany. One of the central themes is family, the connection between generations. What do you think about this? Give examples from your own life. 4. A close relationship with the family and the resulting sense of responsibility can become a burden, such as unconscious orders and manipulation by parents. Let's speculate on how such a bond affects the lives of children and parents. 5. Let's imagine that we can do this and try to "adjust" the lives of the main characters, if at the right moment they would show their will and act in their own interests. 6. The protagonist Giulia stands between her mother Tania, born in 1968, and her previously unknown Italian family. Her German mother Tania says that true family can be found in friends and mates. Her Italian relatives say that family cannot be chosen, that blood is thicker than water. Which opinion do you agree with more? 7. Daniel Speck shows us different cultures, Italian and German. Which one is closer to you? What positive and less positive features did you notice?

  • Julia Child is the kind of girl you want to drink champagne and make clafoutis with.

    The famous culinary fairy Julia Child (1912 - 2004) was an American chef of French cuisine, author and co-author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, an American television host and an amazing woman who taught all of America how to cook in the 20th century. It was her character played by Meryl Streep in the film Julie & Julia: Cooking Happiness by Recipe. I found the book France is a Feast: The Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child. It contains a unique collection of photographs by Paul Child, Julia's husband, of the couple's life in France between 1948 and 1954. As well as personal photographs of everyday life, holidays and meetings with friends, these black and white images trace Julia's first steps towards fame in the culinary world. Her husband adored Julia and took pictures of her all the time. He was unaware that in his shots he was capturing his wife's culinary development, from novice to established chef to the first star cook on American television. This book shows us a different Julia: young, carefree, stylish and daring. We can look at Julia Child before she became a chef, dressed in aprons, strict blouses and shapeless skirts. Short shorts, open tops and cigarette in hand: this is a culinary douche you definitely haven't seen. Some interesting facts from the biography. Julia was born to a successful Californian landowner. In those days, she could enjoy a life of doing nothing. However, this way of life did not suit her very well Her involvement in the culinary industry began at the age of 37! During the war she joined the Office of Special Services, where she met her future husband, Paul Child, at the age of 34. The couple moved to France due to Paul's transfer as part of the Foreign Service. He became Chief of Visual Presentation at the U.S. Embassy and Julia became a diplomat's wife. Paul was obsessed with photography, he always carried one to three cameras with him wherever the couple travelled. An introduction to French cuisine was a moment of epiphany for Julia that gave direction to her career. Julia had previously worked as a copywriter, a columnist and, in wartime, as a researcher and head of the office secretariat. Given that before her marriage Julia couldn't even cook a sandwich, she began to learn the basics of cookery for her husband. Julia was determined to learn to cook for herself and to pass on the knowledge to American women. To do this, she went to study at the French school Cordon Bleu. She passed her final exam at the culinary school from the second time. In 1951, Julia, together with Simone Beck and Louiselette Bertholle, opened a cookery school for American women in Paris, L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes. It was located in the home kitchen of the Childs' Paris flat. Julia described this experience in both editions of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a book she wrote with her colleagues at the school. She wanted to be just a good wife, but later realised that wasn't enough for her. She went further, found her mission and, as a result, wrote a cookbook and became a TV star. As a result, Julia was able to change the lifestyle of several generations of Americans by teaching them French cuisine. As a result, Julia has received the Legion of Honour, three Amy Awards and several doctorates. JULIA CHILD'S CHERRY CLAFOUTIS RECIPE Ingredients Butter - 20 g (for greasing the mould) Milk 2.8% - 250 ml Sugar - 120 g Chicken eggs - 3 pcs. Wheat flour - 150 g Natural vanilla extract - 0.5 tsp. (can be replaced with vanilla sugar) Salt - 1/3 tsp. Cherries - 380 g Icing sugar - for sprinkling Step 1 Prepare the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a pie mould over 4-5cm deep with butter. Step 2 Pour milk into a bowl, add 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. Mix with a mixer at top speed or hand blender for a few minutes until smooth and frothy. Allowing the dough to stand for 20-30 minutes will make the clafouti more tender. Step 3 Pour half the batter into the mould. Step 4 Spread the berries on the batter and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. You can use any seasonal berries or fruit for the filling: raspberries, cherries, cherries, strawberries, apricots, plums. Step 5 Pour the rest of the batter on top and smooth it out. Step 6 Bake the clafoutis for about 40-45 minutes, until the top is browned and a toothpick stuck in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Step 7 Take the clafoutis out of the oven and cool slightly in the mould. The pie is best served warm. Sprinkle with icing sugar just before serving.

  • The Invisible Women book by Caroline Criado Perez. Questions for the book club

    Even if you are very far from feminist views, this book will surprise you a lot. UK author and a scientist Caroline Criado Perez has collected a huge amount of sociological data from all over the world, which proves that our world was designed to fit the "Reference Man". "The Reference Person" is a hypothetical person meant to represent the average person. He is a white male, about 40 years old, weighing about 70kg" However, given that women make up half of the world's population, that the median age on most continents is below 40, and that the most populous continents on Earth are Asia and Africa, it is clear that the "Reference Male" is actually doing a poor job of representing the average person. "Invisible Women" explores how our reliance on the "Reference Male" has led to a gender data gap and thus created a world that is inherently biased against women. Caroline emphasises that the aim of her work is not to blame anyone, but to show this outdated topic through the lens of data, revealing the hidden places where inequality still exists. Criado Perez has compiled a wealth of statistics, from how blind auditions have increased the proportion of female performers hired by orchestras to almost 50 per cent, to the compelling reasons why women take 2.3 times longer than men to go to the toilet. We learn that it's a man's world because those who built it didn't take gender differences into account. As we learn, most offices are five degrees colder for women because the formula for determining their temperature was developed in the 1960s based on the resting metabolic rate of a 40-year-old man weighing 70kg; women's metabolism is slower. Women in Britain are 50 per cent more likely to be misdiagnosed after a heart attack: Heart failure research tends to involve men. Cars are designed around a 'reference male' body, so although men are more likely to have accidents, women involved in accidents are almost 50 per cent more likely to be seriously injured. The author states: "A major contributing factor to the gender gap is that most people do not realise it exists at all. Therefore, we believe that the first step in solving this problem is to address these issues openly. If you decide to select the book "The invisible women" by Caroline Criado Perezfor discussion in your book club, I suggest the following discussion questions: 1. How do you personally feel about gender bias? Perhaps you are comfortable with the current order and are not interested in women's rights. 2. The author of the book said that she did not experience gender inequality for the first time until she was 20 years old. Before that she was quite anti-feminist and thought that there was no problem with equality between men and women in the modern world and that feminism was a fiction. When have you encountered manifestations of overt or covert sexism? Or maybe you don't encounter them. 3. Also, the writer says, "The situation around feminism is the fault of the system, not the people. And you are not bad if you have an opposing opinion. It's society that teaches these prejudices." Do you agree with this statement? How can this be corrected? 4. The book deals with different industries that do not take into account women's physical and social characteristics. Give examples of those chapters that resonated more within you, maybe surprised or angered you. Or maybe ones that you don't agree with and think are artificial and contrived. 5. Let's talk about the benefits of such research: for women themselves, for men, for the economy of the state, for employers, for the development of humanity, progress, after all. 6. Caroline herself says that there is no shortage of research on women in general. But the problem is that, at a political and technological level, this data is simply not being implemented. Is this always the case? Are there positive examples? In your daily life or work, what can you do to shift the current bias in a male-centred world? In order to remain constructive and, preferably, happy :)

  • How to enjoy and benefit from reading

    In our world full of stress and constant hustle and bustle, reading remains not only a solitary pleasure but also a powerful tool for personal development. I read because it's my way of cutting through the information noise. Books allow me to wipe the glass in my imaginary glasses, to get rid of unnecessary noise. But reading can also be just for entertainment, for escapism, for filling up with knowledge. And all of these purposes can overlap. In this post, I want to share a few principles that can help you not only enjoy reading, but also make the most of it. 1. Sometimes a book can suggest a solution to a problem or support you through a difficult time. I emphasise - sometimes. After all, we learn from experience. But I believe in "book accidents" when you find yourself with a text at the right place at the right time. I had that with Viktor Frankl's "Say Yes to Life!" and Edith Eva Egeroy's "The Choice." As you know, they are autobiographies and both avors went through difficult life stages but managed to survive. Often the answer is unexpectedly found in fiction. And, of course, in non-fiction (on psychology, public speaking, on how to handle difficult negotiations). Choose works that can answer your questions and inspire you. 2. Don't let other people's lists dictate your choices. All those "top 100 must-read books" are just a common marketing ploy to increase traffic. There is no such thing as required reading. It's all left over from school summer assignments. You have already done your "required" minimum, and it is not a fact that you read consciously and remember something from that list. Tailor your choices to you. Not to Oprah's or Reese Witherspoon's or anyone else's book club. If you like a certain genre or author, keep reading it. 3. Quality is more important than quantity. If you don't get paid to read, you don't have to force yourself. For some people, reading is not only a pleasure, but also a job. Authors, podcasters, teachers - they have to read to advance in their field. Don't compare your reading achievement to theirs. Everyone has their own pace and choices. 4. Reread and don't finish. Our perception of a book changes over time. To read the same novel at 20 and at 40 with completely different experiences is an amazing thing. And don't hesitate to toss uninteresting books. Many books aren't "bad" per se; they just aren't right for you. 5. Switch off all notifications while you're reading. Whether you're reading a paper book or an e-book, put your phone in notification-free mode. This will help you focus on the text and avoid distractions. 6. Create rituals. Reading is already a great ritual, similar to meditation. Make time for it if you have the opportunity. I like to read in the afternoon when I take a short break and in the evening before bed. I also like to bring books back from travelling. They remind me of the atmosphere of a place much better than banal fridge magnets. 7. Highlight and take notes. I read in Apple Books on my iPad. It's very convenient to highlight text in different colours, make notes in the margins and leave bookmarks. It helps me to better focus on important thoughts, come back to them, and prepare for book club discussions. 8. Speed reading techniques don't work. Just believe it (I've tried it). People read at different speeds, usually determined in childhood. Those who never learnt to speak the text to themselves will read slower. If you want to quickly familiarise yourself with a text (usually books on self-development or popular psychology) - just read the first and last paragraphs - they contain all the main thoughts. Another good idea is to read book excerpts on sites like GetAbstract or Smart Reading. If you like the main ideas of the book - read the full version. 9. Discuss and join a book club. I am as biased as possible here because I am the moderator of the club. Participants often say that during the discussion they discover such thoughts and horizons in the perception of the text, which they did not notice during individual reading. 10. Use the Feynman Principle. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman formulated a learning algorithm that helps you understand any topic more quickly and deeply. - Take a piece of paper. Write the name of the topic at the top. Try, by drawing diagrams, to explain the topic in a way that is understandable to a child. Not your clever adult friend, but an eight-year-old. - If you begin to use terms that are unfamiliar to the child or cannot articulate any part of the concept, go back to the material (book). - State the topic again, rearranging and supplementing previous notes. - Tell someone about the subject you are studying - so that the person understands and assimilates the information. Reading is not only fun, but also an opportunity for continual growth. Enjoy each book, be open to new ideas, and share your reading experience with others. Photo by Stocksy\Lupe Rodríguez

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