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Read this Christmas with December Book Bingo

december book bingo


december book bingo

This has been a wonderful year for And As If By Magic. It’s December now and our blog for literature lovers has blossomed into a brilliant but easily accessible resource.  We have a portfolio of suggestions, reviews & literary studies of which we are very proud. And we hope that you, the reader, have enjoyed learning from our posts as much as we have creating them. What’s more, we hope that you will continue to join us next year. We have a lot of special plans for our little blog. But more about that next year.

In order to celebrate this milestone in our history, we are looking back as well as looking forward. We wanted to think of a way to use everything we’ve written this year, and take it with us into 2018. What did we come up with?

December Book Bingo!

december book bingo

We want everyone to pick up a novel this Christmas. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brand-new book, or an old favourite that you simply want to rediscover. And As If By Magic has put together a literary bingo card, with help from bingo comparison website wdwbingo.co.uk, that sums up some of our favourite musings in one place.

As you read a book this December, we want you to mark every point that you notice in the novel from our Bingo Card. We hope that this will be a bit of fun, and a way to cement your new literary learning. Then, when you’ve finished reading, we want you to send in your bingo cards with the title of the book and the name of the author. You can do that via the contact icon on the top right-hand corner of the page.

In the new year, we’ll post our favourites right here. Perhaps it will give us a whole new lens into how we read our favourite novels. Or perhaps it will confirm the very things we always thought.

Have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year! From all of us at And As If By Magic.

december book bingo

“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway: A Story of Hope

A beautiful tale written with such charming simplicity, Ernest Hemingway’s classic tells an inspiring message: in this highly unpredictable world, hope is what sustains us through our ups and downs, and from the day we’re born until our last breath.

A multi-layered story

On the surface, “The Old Man and the Sea” is a simple story. But if you look at it deeper, you will find a lot of layers. First, it tackles what life was like during the old times when humans thrive on their own without help from others. On the second layer is a story of a man and a fish. It is also a tale of man versus nature. And ultimately, it showcases courage amid the most difficult and seemingly hopeless circumstances.

Celebrating grit and resilience

The most striking element in Hemingway’s world-renowned short novel is the theme of courage as seen from Santiago, an elderly fisherman who battles it out to the sea, struggling to catch a decent fish. This idea of humans being brave in the face of uncertainties and trials is what Hemingway successfully portrays through his protagonist. I could not help admiring the characterization that Hemingway created in his novel.

Relatable characters

However, the lead character turns out to be not alone. There is this young boy whom he has forged a working relationship and a good friendship with since the kid was only five. The boy has moved on to another boat. Even if Santiago has the courage to face the challenges in the sea by himself, there is a point when he wishes that the young boy were by his side. I am deeply moved by such longing for the company of a long-lost friend.

Concise writing style

Hemingway is known for his economy of words, and this power of concise writing draws the reader into what is happening in the story. Despite the simple writing style, Hemingway effectively drives home the important message: that inner strength makes a man, or rather a fisherman, the toughest being in a territory that is unforgiving like the waters.

Top 3 Lessons You Can Learn from Having Book Lovers as Friends

Reading is good for the mind and soul. I say this not because I am a book lover myself but also because I have seen for myself how some of my book-loving friends, colleagues, and students have become very knowledgeable, mature, and successful in their respective undertakings.

Do you read a lot? Good job! Let me give you a virtual pat on the back. If you do not like reading books but somehow, you have found yourself reading this piece, then I would like to commend you for having a curious mind. Also, let me give you a good news: it is never too late to start developing your love for books and reading.

I will not talk about the benefits of reading in terms of science, like how it affects your brain and your well-being. Rather, I will take a philosophical approach to inspire you to read and make time for this worthwhile activity.

To inspire you to read more, let me share with you the top lessons you can gain from interacting with your book-loving friends. For sure, you have at least that one friend who cannot live without his or her books.

Books can effectively kill boredom

Stuck in traffic? Waiting for someone or something and it already feels like forever? Yes, your mobile devices can keep you company, but nothing beats the feeling of flipping through pages of a book, immersing yourself in a story that takes you to places and into the minds of its interesting characters and plot.

When you have a book in your bag, on the shelf, or anywhere within easy reach, you know you will never be bored.

You learn a new word every day

Updating your vocabulary is a breeze if you make reading a habit. Need I say more?

You can view things from another perspective

And when you broaden your perspective, you get to develop your ability to empathize even with people whose opinions and viewpoints differ from yours.

Top 3 Books to Read about Loss and Illness that will Change Your Life Perspectives

andasifbymagic 2

Dealing with the pain and grief that comes after a loss—such as the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or a simple job loss—can be such a harrowing experience. But there is no escaping the roller-coaster of emotions. If you find yourself in a situation when you feel like there is no way to get back on your feet, know that you can have a friend and companion in a book, especially when you would rather not interact with another human being for the meantime to have quiet time all by yourself.

I am listing here my top recommended books for when you need time to heal and for helping you become grateful for the past while being hopeful for the future.

“Wishful Drinking” by Carrie Fisher

The actress who gave life to Princess Leia shares her personal life, including her struggles with substance addiction and manic depression, in this memoir published in 2008.

“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi

This book documents the author’s journey from being a medical student to being a young neurosurgeon at Stanford, to facing the possibility of his own death after being diagnosed with terminal stage lung cancer.

“You Don’t Look Sick!” by Joy H. Selak and Steven S. Overman

Geared towards readers confronted with a chronic illness, Selak and Overman’s work is a self-help book that offers tips for patients on dealing with doctors, insurance companies, and other concerns from the moment they are diagnosed with a chronic disease.

The 4 Iconic Self-Help Books for Self-Improvement

Before the onset of the digital age, people had no Google to turn to when they need to find answers to important questions such as how to become better workers, leaders, spouses, or parents. Self-help books were the reading materials of choice among men and women who want to improve themselves in whatever aspect they choose, like love, career, and relationships.

While these self-help books are considered old-fashioned already, they still have stood the test of time. Here are the world’s most iconic self-help books that you might want to have in your physical library.

“Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson

Who would have thought that a simple story involving cheese, mice, and mazes could make such an impact to millions of readers worldwide? A motivational business fable, “Who Moved My Cheese?” is a great read for dealing with change that happens in your personal and work life.

“What Color is Your Parachute?” by Richard Nelson Bolles

First published in 1972, this book provides wise advice about job hunting and making career choices. Even if it has been revised multiple times, the premise of the book still holds true to this day.

“The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck

This self-help book focuses on love and relationships, and how to find fulfillment in your life. Peck believes that love should be all about making an effort to understand and nurture another person rather than expecting to receive something from a relationship.

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Need expert advice on becoming a great leader, making friends, or being successful? Then you need Dale Carnegie’s influential book by your side.

Upcoming Comic Book: “How Comics Work” by Dave Gibbons and Tim Pilcher

Comic book fans out there, listen up! Dave Gibbons, the artistic genius behind the “Watchmen series,” and pop culture expert Tim Pilcher collaborated to produce a new book that details how comics are made. Titled “How Comics Work,” Gibbons and Pilcher’s work will be released in September 2017.

What to expect from the comic book

Aspiring comic book artists will find a gem out of this upcoming comic book. This will be the perfect opportunity to get to know how Gibbons worked on his 3D modelling and computer colouring for “Give Me Liberty,” a comic book mini-series published in 1990. Gibbons shares how he prepares his work for print and online, as well as how he achieves effects like neon glows and flares.

“How Comics Work” also showcases Gibbon’s personal creative processes, including designing covers, lettering, scriptwriting, and page layouts.

In essence, the comic book is a compilation of Gibbon’s unpublished artworks that reflect his more than 40 years of experience in the comic book industry.

“How It’s Done” series

Gibbon also offers insider tips and tricks in his own words about his hand-drawn and digital design techniques. Known as one of the early adopters of computer design in comic book creation, Gibbons offers examples that are scanned from his original artwork and sketches.