Category Archives: books

What a Cloudy Day

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With over 100 different types out there, clouds are probably one of the most overlooked elements in nature, yet the information they hold within their shape and formations can be both interesting and useful. Now, a new ebook for children by author and entrepreneur Monique Chambers, called What a Cloudy Day, aims to teach children about the most common ones in a fun and interactive way.

“The idea came to me a few years ago when I read a book about clouds,” Monique says. “I remember flicking through it and thinking it would be the most boring read but ended up being fascinated by the fact that, by being able to tell the difference between clouds, I could tell whether it was going to rain anytime soon or not,” Ms Chambers explains.

Narrated by actor Thomas Camilleri, the app sees children follow Cumulus, a good-natured cloud, which usually appear in the sky like puffy pieces of floating cotton, travelling through Cloudland trying to make friends. On his journey, Cumulus meets a variety of different clouds, including the nutty Professor Cirrus – thin and wispy clouds that are formed of ice crystals – and the Mackerel Family, which are characterised by their rippling pattern caused by high-altitude, atmospheric waves.

“The story is as much about friendship and being a good judge of character as it is about clouds,” Ms Chambers continues. “But, unlike so many children’s books out there, the story also has a very concrete scientific element to it. The last thing I wanted was to make learning about the weather and the scientific meaning of clouds boring, so each variety of cloud has a very individual and recognisable character.”

With the sky becoming a playground for Cumulus, children go through the story learning how different clouds anticipate rain, sunshine or evenhail. The app also inspires children to want to head outside and have fun cloud-watching – a pastime which, as Ms Chambers herself explains, “is both free and loads of fun!

What a Cloudy Day is available on the iTunes App Store, as well as on Google Play, for just €1.99.

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Martin Meredith: Mandela A Biography

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Today is Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela Day).  An annual international day celebrated each year on 18 July, which was Mandela’s birthday.

The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010. However, other groups began celebrating Mandela Day on 18 July 2009.

Jason McCrossan spoke to one of his biographer Martin Meredith about a biography which was published in 2010. Also broadcast on http://www.sfmradio.com 106.9 SFM in Sittingbourne.

 

 

 

 

Rolihlahla Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in the village of Mvezo , Transkei, on 18 July 1918. His mother was Nonqaphi Nosekeni and his father was Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela, principal counsellor to the Acting King of the Thembu people, Jongintaba Dalindyebo. In 1930, when he was 12 years old, his father died and the young Rolihlahla became a ward of Jongintaba at the Great Place in Mqhekezweni 1 .

Hearing the elders’ stories of his ancestors’ valour during the wars of resistance, he dreamed also of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle of his people.

Mandela, while increasingly politically involved from 1942, only joined the African National Congress in 1944 when he helped to form the ANC Youth League (ANCYL).

In 1944 he married Walter Sisulu’s cousin, Evelyn Mase, a nurse. They had two sons, Madiba Thembekile “Thembi” and Makgatho, and two daughters both called Makaziwe, the first of whom died in infancy. He and his wife divorced in 1958.

Mandela rose through the ranks of the ANCYL and through its efforts, the ANC adopted a more radical mass-based policy, the Programme of Action, in 1949.

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Nelson Mandela on the roof of Kholvad House in 1953. Image courtesy of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

Did Shakespeare write shakespeare?

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A new book launched this month, entitled ‘Shakespeare Unravelled. Court plays: the 1623 deception’ delves into the rich history and controversy surrounding William Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623. The book argues that the plays in this publication were brought together because of their significance for the Sidney-Herbert family, patrons of poets and playwrights over many generations.

Pauline Black, researcher and co-author says “A key point here is that these plays were produced for Elizabethan and Jacobean court entertainment not the popular stage. These thought- provoking dramas were written for the intelligentsia by well-educated writers –certainly not by the attributed author, Shakespeare.” The book launch coincides with William Shakespeare’s Anniversary (April 23rd) throwing new light on a highly contentious issue subject.

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Macbeth – the play which actors dare not name…

The book looks into the reasons which prompted the concealed authorship, principally the fear of Spanish domination at the time because of the impending royal marriage of Crown Prince Charles and a Spanish Princess. This outcome could incur severe repression of English freedom of expression. The Protestant aristocracy, led by William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, were determined to preserve their literary and historical heritage. This included the Tudor royal legitimacy dramatised in the English history plays. The deceased Shakespeare was chosen to avoid potential punishment of writers and editors (a duty of patrons) since he was beyond retribution for heresy or unorthodox writing by a tyrannical power.

Laurenceolivierham_2890472b.jpgShakespeare Unravelled presents a detailed portrait of William Shakespeare and the period. Shakespeare’s parents were illiterate, so were his children. The Bard had limited local schooling and no higher education. Yet the claimed author, a tradesman’s son, wrote almost entirely about royalty and the courts of Europe while displaying detailed knowledge of aristocratic life and the law. Without visiting Italy he was aware of the country’s history, geography and language. Shakespeare’s comprehension of classical texts is another mystery. For centuries there have been doubts about the authorship of the First Folio. Alongside the profile of Shakespeare, play-broker and money lender, the book throws a new spotlight upon popular theatre and its great contrast with entertainment for the court.