Category: Book Culture

Bill Gates Praises This Finance Book as “Thrilling”

When the founder of Microsoft recommends a book, it is likely a good idea to add it to your ever growing wish list.

CNBC reports that billionaire, not-quite-playboy, philanthropist Bill Gates was hosted for a CNN interview and recommended Billion Dollar Whale, by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope.

“It’s a sad story of corruption in international finance, but fascinating. As Bad Blood is to biotech, Billion Dollar Whale is to international finance,” Gates explains.

 

Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope

Image via Amazon

John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood documents the rise and fall of Theranos, a blood-testing start-up valued at $9-billion before being exposed for fraud. Billion Dollar Whale follows Malaysian businessman Jho Low, the mastermind behind the 1Malaysia Development Berhad Scandal involving a complex web of illegitimate offshore companies, A-list celebrities, the Middle East, and Wall Street. He is now on the run.

“Not as profound as [Steven] Pinker, [Paul] Scharre, [Hans] Rosling,” Gates adds, “But a wonderful read, very quick, thrilling.”

Gates has previously recommended books that are known to be comparably more hopeful and enlightening. His latest book recommendation is something of a cautionary tale worth heeding.

Fun fact: Low used some of the money to finance The Wolf of Wall Street.

 

 

 

Featured Image via CNBC

50k Giveaway

Enter Our Giveaway to Win Ten of Your New Favorite Books!

If you love books and free things, we at Bookstr have just the giveaway for you!

In honor of reaching 50,000 Instagram followers, we will be giving away TEN free books and a beautiful tote bag!

You may know about our great website and Facebook page, but did you know that we’re on Insta? Bookstr’s Instagram is one of the best places to see original graphics, art, and pictures made by and for book lovers.

To enter, all you need to do is follow Bookstr on Instagram (scroll down for highlights!) and enter our contest!

Check out the contest here:
Follow Us on IG for a Chance to Win 10 Free Books Plus Beautiful Tote Bag! (Contest on Hive.co)

 

Still need to be convinced? Check out these amazing, unique posts created by the Bookstr team:

 

 

 

 

 

 

'Lord of the Rings' Middle Earth Illustration

There’s a New University Just For Sci-Fi & Fantasy Studies

Students no longer have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to learn all there is to know about science-fiction literature. Instead, they can do it from the comfort of their living room (more specifically, the comfort of their pajamas). Signum University isn’t just an online college: it’s a university entirely dedicated to the study of genre fiction from a literary, historical, and philosophical perspective. Talk about the ultimate fantasy—which, of course, is also a subject. So, congratulations, genre nerds! (Of course, I say that with the utmost affection.) You can now put “majored in Tolkien” in your Tinder bio and mean it.

 

Signum University

Signum University

Yes, Signum University’s logo looks like it should be adorning the cover of a Hunger Games novel. Signum University’s specializations include Tolkien Studies; Imaginative Literature; Classic, Medieval, and Renaissance Literature; and Germanic Philology (the study of Germanic languages). Each of these programs falls under the M.A. in Language & Literature, an accredited program of graduate study. While the degree takes two to seven years to complete depending on the number of credits per semester—which can vary due to work or financial reasons-students are welcome to audit single classes for drastically reduced costs. You may not be able to major in Star Wars, but you can take an academic course on it.

 

'Star Wars' characters

Image Via Time Magazine

Other courses of note include Sherlock, Science, and Ratiocination; Literary Copernicus: The Cosmic Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft; The Potter Saga; and Tolkien’s World of Middle-earth. Though degree credits are more expensive, individual, twelve-week courses can cost as little as $95—for some, that’s a small price to pay for a world of information (or several, as the case may be). Cory Olsen, the university’s founder, said that the ideal students are working professionals who want to take the courses for “personal enrichment.” That enrichment, it seems, isn’t about getting rich—there probably aren’t a lot of entry-level jobs in Tolkien Studies. But you can study the Harry Potter franchise and make your coursework magical.

 

Signum University course catalogue

Image Via Signum University

 

Though early in its certification process, Signum University‘s New Hampshire accreditation is its first step to national official recognition, which would allow the institution to begin conferring master’s degrees nationwide. Let’s hope this degree program also moves out of this country—that would only make sense when it’s already out of this world!

 

Featured Image Via Financial Times

Two New Books to Accompany Gaiman’s ‘Good Omens’

We already know that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s novel Good Omens has been adapted into a show for Amazon Prime, but did you know there are two new books in the works as well?

Neil Gaiman is a literary superstar, writing novels like American Gods and The Ocean at the End of the Lane (both of which I can vouch for—they’re GOOD). If you haven’t read his work, you have to check it out! 

Good Omens promo

IMAGE VIA EPSILON THEORY

Gaiman’s fans love him for the colorful, imaginative worlds he creates, an aspect of his writing which adapts exceptionally well to the small screen, as we’ve seen with the likes of American Gods which was adapted into a successful television program on Starz, and Tim Burton’s take on Gaiman’s children’s book Coraline.

While the prospect of a television adaptation of Good Omens is exciting, there is always the concern that some of the magic of Gaiman’s elegant storytelling will be lost in translation. Rest easy, though, because Gaiman himself wrote the show’s programme and will serve as showrunner!

 

Good Omens promo pic

IMAGE VIA COMINGSOON

Good Omens will also provide much needed representation in its diverse cast, according to what Gaiman disclosed in an interview:

What’s interesting is that there are almost no physical descriptions of anybody in the book, but Pepper is described as having red hair and a face that was basically one giant freckle, and so people are like ‘oh my god, that has to be white’, and… no she doesn’t.

But perhaps even better than all of this: the show will also be accompanied by two companion books!

The first book, The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book, will include the screenplay as well as a foreword from Gaiman and deleted scenes from the show.

 

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
IMAGE VIA THE GUARDIAN

The second book, The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion, will give insight into the production of the show. This companion piece will include photos of the set, cast interviews, costume boards, and more!

Good Omens will arrive on Amazon Prime Video on May 31, 2019, and will later air on BBC.

FEATURED IMAGE VIA comingsoon.net

6 Top Writing Tips from the Best Crime Writer of All Time

Don’t miss your chance to win your name in a Peter James novel, signed copies of Absolute Proof and more thrilling Peter James goodies! 

 

Peter James is the UK’s biggest thriller writer. With more than thirty books under his belt, which have been translated into thirty-seven languages and sold over 19 million copies, James has won countless awards, including the Best Crime Author of All Time, and has had a number of his books adapted for film, television and the stage. Suffice to say, it is not hyperbole to refer to James as one of the the most successful writers on the planet. “How has he done it?” we hear you cry. Well, luckily for you, Peter James was kind enough to provide some terrific advice to baby writers.

 

Image Via PeterJames.com

 

When asked ‘What is your advice to would-be thriller writers, or aspiring writers in general?’ James responded: 

Characters. I think that there’s an inseparable trinity in any great thriller of character, research and plot. I put them in that order deliberately, because first and foremost, we read books to find out what happens to characters we meet and engage with from the first page. They don’t have to be ‘nice’ people, but they have to engage and fascinate us. You know, Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs is not a nice character but he engages.
I put research in second position because people who read are smart. I think when we read we don’t just want to read a great story, we read because we want to learn something about human nature and the world in which we live, and I think you can tell very fast if an author doesn’t know their subject, if an author’s writing about a lawyer but they’ve clearly never sat in a lawyer’s office, or they’re writing about a gun and they’ve never held one, or someone flying a plane and they’ve never sat at the controls of a cockpit, it’s apparent. It’s understanding what you’re writing about.
Plot is obviously important, but if you don’t care about the characters, and you don’t think the author’s done their research, the plot’s not going to matter because you’re not going to read on.
So in terms of the best tips I can give you, these are:

1. Create engaging characters.

2. Research every aspect of what you are going to write.

3. Know the ending that you want to get to – I find this enormously helpful – it may change as I approach it but it gives me a vanishing point on the horizon to aim at.

4. Think of a series of high points for your book – and make sure each one is bigger than the previous one.

5. Write something 6 days a week – it is crucial to get into a flow – find an amount that you can write each day, whether is is 200 words or 2000 words, and rigidly stick to them because that will get you into a rhythm.

6. And finally… Have fun! If you enjoy writing, that will come through in the pages!

 


Want to know more about Peter James? Check out our interview with him, find him on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, and online at PeterJames.com. And don’t miss our Facebook Live interview below!

 

 

Featured Image Via Blake Friedmann / James Clarke