Author Archives: Klaava

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Download free ebook with travel tips to Scandinavia

2018-04-09

Nordic countries are far-away, exotic destinations to many travelers. The northernmost region of Europe has plenty of space, vast wilderness areas, relatively few people, and neatly organized societies. Because of distances, it is a good idea to plan ahead a trip to Scandinavia, and learn a little about the culture as well.

Traveling in Scandinavia ebook is filled with tips to Finland, Norway and Sweden. The book is free to download right away simply by choosing an EPUB or Kindle version of the ebook.

Saltstraumen, Norway. Lapland.
The book has plenty of tips for destinations in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Customs and etiquette in Nordic countries are different from the rest of Europe, and behaving in sauna is easy after adopting a few key lessons from the book.

Klaava Travel Guides that have been published earlier and cultural guides provide the essential information for the book, and select chapters from a cookbook, and a history book. In any case, the book provides an overview on Scandinavia from many perspectives.

Many travelers prefer summer and sun, whereas others like snow and fun. Summer and winter are the best times to visit Finland, Norway and Sweden. A typical summer day is warm but not too warm for outdoor activities, like hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, or whatever your favorite outdoor exercise happens to be. During winter, skiing is the number one outdoor activity, but snowmobile rides are increasingly popular as well.

Book cover image: Traveling in Scandinavia

Singer-songwriter Dolly Parton celebrated the 100th million book her program has donated to children

2018-03-05

Great artists can do great things also outside their primary careers. Singer-songwriter Dolly Parton recently celebrated in the Library of Congress, Washington the 100th book that was donated to a child in the U.S. She is the founder of the Imagination Library program that has already been in operation for 20 years. Every month, the program mails books to children.
Dolly Parton reading a book at the Library of Congress, Washington
Dolly Parton started the program in 1995 with her father, who also was the inspiration for the initiative. Her father missed school, and couldn’t read or write. The Partons wanted to help children in their home region Sevier County, but later the program expanded to cover the nation.

The Imagination Library is financed and run with participating organizations, like libraries and other non-profit organizations. A panel of educators and experts choose the books that are mailed to children under five years of age. Since the children are not expected to be able to read by themselves, it is the parents’ responsibility to take care that the quality time with books happens.

Dolly Parton is proud of her title ‘Book Lady’ that children have given to her.

View a video recorded in the Library of Congress where Dolly Parton tells about the program and her voracious reading habits.

You can view photos from the event in the Library of Congress at the Washingtonian web page.

Author walked 500 miles across Scotland for finding true love stories for a book

2018-02-22

Writers spend most of their time thinking of their work and tapping a keyboard, but that is not all they do. Many writers are more than happy to venture out to the big world for research trips and to talk to people who perhaps know something that is required to complete a planned book manuscript. An author decided to hike 800 kilometers / 500 miles across Scotland in order to discover real life love stories for his book.

Scotland scenery, a castle on a small island
Matt Hopwood hiked five weeks along Scotland’s west coast and on the islands along the coast. His route went through the Borders, along the Central Belt to Oban, across the Western Isles from Barra to the Isle of Lewis. He was on a mission to collect true stories for his manuscript that was published as a book in early 2018 A Human Love Story: Journeys To The Heart. The Sunday Post has published samples of short stories extracted from the book.

Walking as a way of finding inspiration or discovering people who can provide information for a book is an old and tried method.

In the early 19th century, a young doctor Elias Lönnrot decided that he wanted to collect ancient stories from the border district of Finland and Russia. He walked from village to village for years, and managed to put together an epic saga, Kalevala. You may have never heard of it, but J.R.R. Tolkien did, and got inspiration for his saga the Lord of the Rings.

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven was known for his long walks in the woods near Vienna. He took inspiration from those moments. The sixth symphony has so many elements related to nature, life on a farm, and countryside villages that he must have been affected by the walks.

Then, there are artists who write or make films about walking. Keith Foskett, who likes to do long hiking trips, has written many books about those adventures. Also film makers have recently documented long walks. For instance, As It Happens is a true story of two hikers who trekked the entire Pacific Crest Trail. Do More with Less is a film with interviews of people who like to make long hikes.

In Tokyo, book lovers can sleep in a hostel that is designed like a library

2018-02-15

Boutique hotels with design interiors and unique rooms are becoming popular, perhaps as an alternative to global hotel chains. An example is a hotel in Portugal with a vast selection of books, and now, even hostels are adopting the trend. In Tokyo, Japan, a hostel lets you sleep on a bookshelf – literally.

Book and Bed hostel in Tokyo, Japan
Book and Bed hostel in Tokyo opened in 2015. The concept is simple: a massive bookshelf accommodates both the available books and the beds where guests sleep. Sofas and coffee tables in an open space invite people who may want to socialize with fellow book readers.
hostel for book lovers in Tokyo
There are no rooms for guests, but they sleep in capsules located in the bookshelf. A bed, safe, electrical outlet and a reading lamp help travelers to rest in their wooden pods. Two sizes of capsules are available: 120cm x 200cm, and 80cm × 200cm. Claustrophobic tourists will stay away from these beds, but travelers who love books and want to stay a night in a cozy, low-priced hostel in expensive Tokyo, Book and Bed is a choice worth considering.

The concept has already been so successful that owners are opening their fifth hostel in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo in the mid-2018.
hostel where guests sleep in a bookshelf, Tokyo, Japan
The price for a night is about $50. The book selection consists of 5000 titles with a few English books as well. If you want to buy a book for a souvenir, you have to find Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers bookstore, because the hostel doesn’t sell them. The bookstore curates the book selection for Book and Bed hostels.

Free Wi-Fi, showers, bathrooms, basic toiletries, and rentable towels are available for guests as well.

All the photographs by Book and Bed. They have been taken in more than one location.

Book and Bed hostel in Tokyo, sleeping pod
Book and Bed hostel, Tokyo, sofas and coffee tables
sleeping in a capsule in a bookshelf in Tokyo hostel

Despite their strange working habits, these authors became successful

2018-02-12

Writers can have strange habits when they work. Perhaps it is because they often work alone in a room dedicated for writing, or because they really are weird. Who cares, if the results are as amazing as books by Dan Brown, Kafka, or Woolf. Here are the strangest habits (that we know about) of successful authors.
writing during night, cartoon character
I bet that the vast majority of writers are sitting by a desk, tapping a keyboard, and sipping coffee or tea. I can’t remember hearing of any odd habits from colleagues or writing groups, but of course it is possible that someone likes to write naked and another one eats carrots with his or her pet rabbit when working.

Let’s stop guessing and view an infographic produced by Custom Writing about the strangest working habits a number of famous writers have admitted they have.

strange habits of authors infographic by Custom Writing
I wonder how and why the authors have admitted their strange ways. Well, some of Franz Kafka’s stories are pretty weird, but Agatha Christie? Anyway, the authors mentioned in the infographic are:

Jane Austen, Honoré de Balzac, Dan Brown, Anthony Burgess, Truman Capote, Lewis Carroll, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexandre Dumas, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, Friedrich Schiller, Gertrude Stein, and Virginia Woolf.

My favorites from these oddities are Dan Brown who claims his cure for a lack of inspiration is to hang head down (probably a tongue-in-cheek tip). Virginia Woolf wrote 3.5 hours standing which many writers today are doing as well to avoid painful neck and back problems.

A library in Turkey established of books rescued from trash

2018-02-05

It is amazing what people throw away into trash cans, although in some countries, throwing things away only means that the owner wants to get rid of those things quickly and easily. Recycling starts from the trash can. In Ankara, Turkey, municipal garbage collectors realized that all the books thrown away could make up a library. So they created one.

Ankara, Turkey, library of books discovered from trash
The sanitation workers in the Çankaya district of Ankara started collecting books they rescued from trash bins and shared them with their colleagues. It proved to be popular, and as the collection increased, the city decided to sponsor facilities for the initiative.

A library made up of books discovered from trash was established in an empty brick factory building in September 2017. The collection quickly grew to 6000 books, and more titles are coming all the time because residents are bringing their old books into the library as well.

“Before, I wished that I had a library in my house. Now we have a library here and it’s good. I want to read all the books,” 32 year-old sanitation worker Serhat Baytemur said.
Ankara, Turkey, library of books rescued from garbage
The library has hired a full time librarian to manage the operation. As the word has spread in Ankara, schools and educational programs request books from the library as well.

Every new book is checked before it is added to the library. Books have to be clean, and all the pages in them have to be intact.

A video report by TRT World shows the library and the men behind the initiative.

Via Daily Sabah.

The travel destinations and activities that are trending in 2018 according to social media

2018-01-29

In 2017, the travel destination that continuously showed up as a trendy place to go was Portugal. It won so many travel awards that everyone is convinced it really is an exciting destination (if Portugal is a new destination for you, download a travel guide to Algarve, Portugal’s south coast here). The hot travel destinations of 2018 that are trending in social media are located in Europe, America, and in other locations around the world.

river cruise boat in Budapest, photo by Viking River Cruise
Pinterest is a popular social media service for sharing images in albums that may include memories, ideas, plans, wish lists, or product catalogues. Pinterest members save and share tagged photographs on their accounts.

If we search photos on Pinterest that have been saved with a specific tag, for instance, Iceland or Portugal, we get an indication of the destination’s attractiveness. The more photos tagged with Iceland, the more people are paying attention to Iceland. By pinning a photo, Pinterest users are thinking of that particular destination for one reason or another.

According to data listed by Coveteur, the following destinations have seen the biggest increase in photo saves on Pinterest, indicating growing interest for the places and activities.

1. River cruises.
When most tourists think about cruises, they tend to think about the Mediterranean or the Caribbean Sea, but a river cruise along the Nile in Egypt, Rhein in Germany, or perhaps a canal cruise in the Netherlands is certainly a new experience for most travelers.

2. Deserts.
A large number of people are showing interest in visiting a desert, because photo saves have considerably increased for destinations like Morocco, Dubai, Atacama Desert, and Joshua Tree in the US.
Sahara desert. Photo by James Byrum.

3. Mediterranean islands.
The famous islands in the Mediterranean Sea, like Mallorca, Crete, Malta, Sicily and Rhodos are one of the pioneers of mass tourism. Tourists have been flocking to these islands for decades, and still do. The reason is simple, they are still very nice places to spend a vacation. The trending islands in the Mediterranean are, however, the Croatian islands and Mykonos in Greece.
Mykonos island in Greece. Photo by byus.

4. Mexico City.
It is the only city destination that has seen strong growth of interest among Pinterest members.

Mexico City. Photo by Paul Sableman

Via Travel User Guide.

Take the book about movie stunts along on your mobile phone wherever you shoot action scenes

2018-01-22

The book Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts was originally published for the Apple iPad only. The reason was that it was the only ebook system that allowed video clips inside a book at the time. Well, times have changed since the original edition was published, and so has the book, which is now available for smartphones, tablets and computers.

Stunts, Scenes and Safety, book content pagesBook pages on a smartphone.
The concept for the book had been brewing in H-P Virkki’s head, who is an experienced professional stuntman, for a long time. When the iPad started the tablet revolution and Apple introduced the iBooks Author multimedia ebook design software, he knew his vision could be turned into reality. And so we did.

The one thing with Apple is that no matter how great its products and tools are, everything tends to work on Apple devices alone. Since many movie fans and aspiring stuntmen kept asking for the book to be made available for smartphones, Android tablets and PCs, we created a mobile edition of the book that works on practically all mobile devices.

In addition to the iBooks edition, Stunts, Scenes and Safety is also available as an EPUB and Kindle book. It means that exactly the same content can be viewed on a smartphone, tablet or computer, only the layout is different.
Stunts, Sccenes and Safety, book layout on a tabletBook layout on a tablet.
The book is available in all major online bookstores that sell ebooks, for instance:

Amazon.com
Apple iBooks (the iBooks edition comes with embedded video clips – be patient with the download)
Barnes & Noble
Google Play Books
Kobo

If you get your book from the Amazon Kindle Store, download the Kindle reading application from the app store. If you download your book from the Apple store, make sure you have iBooks app on your mobile device. Other bookstores let you read ebooks in a variety of apps. For instance, FBReader, Aldiko, Kobo and Google Books are popular reading apps.

The author of the book, stuntman and stunt coordinator H-P Virkki, has performed in many movies and he has trained actors, athletes and stuntmen at dedicated courses, universities and theaters.

More about the book here.

Below a couple of samples from the iPad edition of the book.
stunts, scenes and safety book on ipad
stunts, scenes and safety - ipad screen shot

A hotel in central Portugal has a library of 40 000 books for its guests

2018-01-18

Portugal is a hot travel destination for many reasons, for instance, because of its south coast beaches that were chosen the best in Europe and its quirky cities, but also a hotel in central Portugal is an absolute delight for book lovers. The hotel library has a collection of 40 000 Portuguese and English titles. Most of the books are available for hotel guests to read.

Literary Man, hotel in Obidos, central Portugal
The Literary Man hotel has been built into an old house located in the ancient village of Obidos. Guest rooms in the hotel are individual and (reasonably) priced according to size and facilities. Books can be found in hotel’s public spaces in the lobby, bar and restaurant.

The hotel has also made available a few book-related activities. Book Romantics is a special dinner, Book a Story follows a story to the wine cellar for tasting, and Book Nature takes guests to a bicycle ride along landscapes of Obidos.

The Literary Man hotelli, Obidos keski-Portugali

For an accidental literary traveler, a hotel located in a small town of Obidos is sort of no man’s land. In central Portugal, somewhere between Lisbon and Porto, a traveler really must have the will and the energy to look for the hotel. The famous surfing beach in the town of Nazare is relatively close to Obidos, but that’s about it.

The public service broadcaster in Portugal, RTP, made a visit to the Literary Man hotel. The recorded video is in Portuguese, but you can see how the hotel looks like.

As you view the interior of the hotel, you may get the feeling that books have only been used to decorate public spaces. So what? Many types of artwork have been used to decorate hotels for centuries, and I haven’t seen any artist complain about it.

Via Klaava.fi.

The Library short film is for book lovers

2018-01-10

Even before the television show The Librarians, many movies and shows have used libraries as an environment for scenes in the story. Few stories, however, tell about a library or take place in a library. Jason LaMotte’s short film The Library is a tasteful story set in a beautiful English library.
The Library, short film
You can watch the 20 minute short film The Library here:

Jason LaMotte tells that all the interior scenes were shot at Bedales School Library in Petersfield, England. The library was built in 1921. Exterior scenes were shot at the Tonbridge School in Kent.

Two poems in the short film are from a play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostrand, and from Love’s Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

A Behind the Scenes video is also available for those who want to see hoe the short film was made. Watch The Library – Behind The Scenes video below:

Via Actualitte.

The Word of the Year doesn’t mean everlasting popularity for the expression

2018-01-08

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2017 is youthquake. The dictionary defines the word as ‘a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people’. We’ll have to wait for a year or so in order to find out if this particular word of the year sticks around any longer because most of the previously chosen word of the year–expressions have quickly disappeared into thin air.

books on a library shelf, boy reading
The Word of the Year is a word or expression that Oxford Dictionary lexicographers identify as something that has attracted plenty of interest during a year. Candidate words are discussed, and the expression that is eventually chosen is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the year, and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.

How often do the experts choose a word that stands the test of time? As a writer, I don’t want to use an expression that is hyped for a few months only, and quickly forgotten when the next popular word takes over. Here is the Word of the Year list from the last 10 years:

2016: Post-truth
2015: [Emoji showing a face with tears of joy]
2014: Vape
2013: Selfie
2012: Omnishambles (UK), GIF (US)
2011: Squeezed middle
2010: Big society (UK), refudiate (US)
2009: Simples (UK), unfriend (US)
2008: Credit crunch (UK), hypermiling (US)
2007: Carbon footprint (UK), Locavore (US)

Only selfie and the particular emoji image are still frequently appearing in many types of writings. The hit rate of the Oxford Dictionary experts could be better, but seeing the future – even when only one word is considered – is not easy.

Perhaps the Word of the Year-committee has better words on its final list, but fails to identify the right one? The shortlist for the Word of the Year 2017 was:

Antifa
Broflake
Gorpcore
Kompromat
Milkshake Duck
Newsjacking
Unicorn
White fragility

YotaPhone 3 smartphone comes both with a color and a black-and-white screen, but why?

2017-12-27

The YotaPhone 3 smartphone that features a 5.5-inch color screen and a 5.2-inch E ink grayscale screen is not the first dual-display phone, but it is the latest, and comes with all the features a typical smartphone user wants. There are two reasons for having a display on both sides of the phone: the E ink screen is ideal for reading, for instance, ebooks or any long texts because it doesn’t flicker, and the E ink screen is very battery friendly.
YotaPhone 3 with two screens: color and e ink
If you like to read, but don’t want to carry another device, like an e-reader with you, a dual screen phone can solve that problem. Especially people who read a lot from a screen benefit from the static E ink display that doesn’t flicker.

An E ink screen doesn’t emit light, so you need an external light source for reading. The good side is that these black-and-white screens consume very little energy, saving battery power.

The YotaPhone 3 smartphone is powered by Android 7.0 software. It comes with an additional application that is used to control what the black-and-white screen displays.

Take a look at a video below where the features and two screens of the YotaPhone 3 are shown from many angles:

The YotaPhone 3 is available at least at this store for GBP548.

Yotaphone 3 key features and specifications

Color display 5.5 Inches, AMOLED (Multitouch).
Screen Resolution FHD 1080 x 1920 Pixel
Gorilla Glas Gorilla Glass 4
Greyscale display (E ink) 5.2 inches.
4G and 3G connectivity: Networks GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz (B5/B8/B3/B2), 3G/WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz (B1/B2/B5/B8), FDD-LTE 1800MHz (B3), TD-LTE 1900/2300/2500/2600MHz
Dual SIM (Dual Standby).
Operating System Android 7.0
Original (ENG/CHN) software from factory comes WITHOUT Google Play Store
Languages English, 中文 (Chinese), Chinese
Processor 64bit Qualcomm Snapdragon, Octa-core
RAM 4 GB
Internal storage space 64 GB.
Camera 12 and Front Camera 13 megapixels
Bluetooth
Wi-Fi 802.11 A/B/G/N/AC 2.4GHz/5GHz
GPS GPS/A-GPS/Glonass
Micro SD memory card slot
USB port (Type-C USB)
Headphone jack (3.5mm)
Shell material Glass and Metal
Size 153.6 x 75.2 x 7.9mm
Weight 172 g
Battery 3,300 mAh
In the Box 1x Smartphone (built-in battery), 1x Quick Start Guide, 1x Data Cable, 1x Charger, 1x Protection Case

Via The Digital Reader.