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  • An Enhanced Book Tribute to Christopher Hitchens

    I was surprised and deeply saddened to learn of Christopher Hitchens’ death this morning. I’d known he was sick but hadn’t known his health was so poor. I hadn’t read Hitch 22, hadn’t read his more recent essays. I wanted to read them while he was still living, before he became his admirers.

    Now he’s gone. The first eulogy  I read was Graydon Carter’s, then the piece from Christopher’s brother, Peter Hitchens. Powerful reflections both. Others soon followed.

    In honor of his passing, I pulled together six of the most moving eulogies I found on the Internet and added a video of Hitchens discussing death and the fear of death. The work is the work of others — think of it as a more carefully laid out and curated collection of links for you to read and reflect on in an easily portable format.

    To download the file, click on this link.

    If you click on this link through the Web browser on your iPad or iPhone, you will be able to open the book directly in iBooks. If you click on the link with your Color Nook browser, you will be able to read the book on your Color Nook.

    The book is fully video enabled.

    I made it in about half an hour. Hitchens could write a stellar piece in less time. He is and will be missed.


    Read-Along T.S. Elliot

    TS-Eliot2 As he probably did for many, T.S. Elliot inspired my love for poetry. Reading him twenty five years after struggling through the Wasteland in my parent’s copy of the Norton Anthology, I have new insight into his appeal. While some poets wrote about love or abstract art or the will or nature or romanticism, Eliot articulated a sensation everybody knows: Utter despair in the face of boredom. Before the oppressive office cubicle existed, Eliot wrote poems that instantly transported you into one that did not have an exit and was made of gray carpet.

    What does this have to do with digital publishing? Well — it’s the medium. Poetry can’t be rendered differently to make it more itself, but our reactions to it can be so varied they require other media to express. What Elliot’s poetry has made me feel I’ve always described as, “the feeling you get when you hear Eliot read it.”

    Eliot made a few recordings of the Wasteland. His voice is thin, reedy, and forlorn sounding. He puts a wistfulness into the recording that reinforces its melancholy. Ever since, I’ve read the Wasteland in Eliot’s voice in my head—which makes lines such as “we stopped in the colonnade/And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten./ And drank coffee, and talked for an hour” sound like a pessimist’s summary of the emptiness of life.

    I’ve always wanted to express this feeling to others and now I’m able to realize my dream with Vook: I’ve embedded audio of Elliot reading the Wasteland into an ePub of the poem, creating a read-along Wasteland experience in just a few minutes.

    With Vook, it’s easy to create audio and video enhanced eBooks—which means you can spread your vision of literary despair far and wide, and finally share the little voice in your head with everyone else in the world.

    See what I’m talking about: Get the free ePub here.

    Exposing Prostate Cancer

    One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, resulting in about 200,000 new cases during the next 12 months.

    These astonishing figures inspired Dr. Gerald Chodak to create awareness about prostate cancer in his Vook, “Prostate Cancer: Reducing Your Risks,” which is available in the iTunes App Store and iBookstore.

    “Prostate health and prostate cancer are topics with considerable confusion among men and considerable bias among physicians,” he said. “The Vook was created to help men make choices that reflect their age, health and quality of life.”

    Dr. Chodak has dedicated his life’s work to prostate cancer, which is the most common serious cancer in men and the second most common cause of death from cancer. He has published more than 150 articles on the subject and has been invited to speak about topics in prostate cancer throughout the US and in more than 14 countries. In addition to founding his own prostate cancer support group, Dr. Chodak has also been a medical commentator for PBS channel WTTW in Chicago.

    Dr. Chodak gave us some helpful tips about prostate cancer, from commonly overlooked warning signs to dietary needs:

    Tip 1: Although urinary complaints may be associated with prostate cancer, most men who have the disease will not have any symptoms until it is advanced.

    Tip 2: Eat a healthy balanced diet, have periodic exams including a blood test for PSA beginning at age 50 unless there is a high risk, such as having a brother or father with the disease or being African-American.

    Tip 3: Good studies show that vitamin E, selenium and vitamin C are not effective in reducing the risk of developing this disease but two drugs used to treat and enlarged prostate can lower the chance of getting diagnosed. They do have trade-offs so men should discuss the pros and cons with their doctor.

    And Dr. Chodak’s final tip? Be informed.

    Aubree Munar contributed to this article.
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    Vook fans have spoken! We are very happy to announce that “Yoga in Bed” has been nominated as one of the Reader’s Choice Award Winners for About.com’s Best Mind/Body Apple iPhone App.

    “Yoga has transformed my life, and I am deeply grateful that I cannot only do yoga, but also that I am able to share yoga with everyone through this book and now the creation of the Vook,” author Naomi Sophia Call said about her award.

    We sat down with author Naomi for a couple of questions:

    Q. What inspired your “Yoga In Bed” Vook?
    A. I was inspired to create “Yoga In Bed” by comments from my students. I have taught yoga for more than 15 years and for years students would make comments like, “Once I get out of bed, I’m on the go and I don’t have time.” I also noticed how much I enjoy lingering in the soft warmth of my bed for a few extra moments and that conscious movement simply enhances my natural awakening. As a single parent, I felt a huge difference to my whole day when I began by first taking myself before everyone else. I am simply happier!

    Q. What are your favorite yoga exercises?
    A. Choosing a favorite yoga exercise is a tough question! The reason that I gravitated so deeply to Kripalu Yoga and became certified there was because I experienced their training as the most spiritual, and the style that enabled me to be in the moment in my body. What I would call experiencing the essence of yoga, or the true union of myself. Many other styles of yoga have very structured routines. I love listening to my body and in that moment doing the pose that comes to mind. Having said that, if I had to choose one from my Yoga In Bed Book it would be the single knee twist.

    Q. How were you introduced to yoga?
    A. I had vaguely heard about yoga for some time and finally decided to try it. I had no idea what to expect. I was living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the time and was a brand new mom searching for peace! I was able to get away to a class, the only class that was available at the time, in a church basement and I strongly disliked it! I had been so excited and was hugely disappointed. I went back a few more times and felt the same.

    It wasn’t until I moved to New York, still desperately seeking, that I found a new style existed and I tried that. From that day forward I found myself able to fit in even 15 minutes a day and I was elated! I always encourage my new students to experience many styles, by dropping into as many classes as they can to really feel how different the different styles of yoga are. We are very blessed now to have so many choices. Decades ago it wasn’t like this!

    You can read the full About.com article here and also watch a snippet. Remember to vote for us for the top spot, and happy “yoga-ing!”

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