John Shors Literary Travel

John ShorsAs a book lover, the chances are that you enjoy traveling to places you've never been through the books you read, and you probably also enjoy traveling in person, which is why I am excited to update you on John Shors upcoming Literary Tours.

You probably know John from his novels, many of which have been featured on BookBrowse and are bestsellers in the US and overseas (he's been translated into nearly thirty languages). Starting with Beneath a Marble Sky, which transports readers to 17th century Hindustan and the building of the Taj Mahal, to My Midnight Sun (published in 2019 and set in modern day Nepal), John brings his settings to vivid life by drawing upon many years of travel and research.

For the past few years, John has been combining his love of writing and travel to personally lead small groups (average size is just 10 people with two guides) on tours to the parts of the world he knows intimately. Among the tours coming up are a trip to Thailand in January 2022, followed by Bhutan in April 2022, Japan in April 2022 and India in October 2022.

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19 New Words for a New Decade

It's a new year--a new decade--are you still using last century's neologisms? Why not spice up your vocabulary with some new words? Or just learn what your kids are actually saying in their tweets and texts!

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The First (and Last) Lines of Iconic Books

The first line of a book is a written invitation addressed to the reader. If the reader likes the invitation, they read on. If they don't like it, they close the book and read something else. Finding the best combination of words for that first line can take a while. Some authors devote months of time to develop the opening line of their book. Stephen King, for example, recently revealed that he has spent months, even years, crafting his opening sentences.

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15 Grammar Rules It's Okay to Break: Infographic

You are probably familiar with the age old saying, "Rules were meant to be broken." And when it comes to grammar and the English language, people have been breaking rules long before Shakespeare wrote his first sonnet.

Part of this is because English has always been such a fluid language. Just flip through an English dictionary and you'll find words from all over the world: rendezvous from France, rickshaw from Japan, and even jazz from West Africa. And if you were to spend some time with a dictionary from a century ago, you'd find many words we use today but with substantially different meanings.

All of this happens because people break the rules. They start using new words, repurpose existing words, or find new shortcuts to say things the way they want. Maybe another word from another language describes something better than the current word for it in English, or maybe the traditional way of saying something is just too clunky or formal for the modern world. Languages change and evolve, and perhaps none more so than English itself.

But there's a danger to breaking the rules too much. Remember: language is about communication, and the tighter your grasp over the language, the more successfully you can communicate. It all comes down to one thing: You have to be aware of the rules before you can break them.

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How to Write a Manifesto

Women & Power by Mary Beard is labeled a manifesto, which comes from the Latin word manifestus, meaning "to manifest, to clearly reveal, or to make real." It is a broad term for a public statement of intent, belief, or a call to action issued by an organization or an individual.

Most nonprofit and political groups have a manifesto of some sort which states their purpose – why they exist and what they hope to accomplish. This allows them to frame the organization's goals succinctly, be able to communicate those aims, and recruit others to the cause. These declarations are also meant to inspire, to share a vision and excite others. For this reason, some corporations are ditching their mission statements – which have a dry static connotation – for the more dynamic manifesto form.

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Life Lessons from Twelve Philosophers

Philosophy is the ancient love of wisdom, derived from the Greek word philosophia which means just that. Since the 6th century B.C., profound philosophical thinkers from ancient Greece to present day feminists have laid the foundations for modern thinking. The search for meaning in everyday life has been explored by the likes of Socrates, Descartes, and so many others whose names are easily recognized but whose foundational ideas might be more difficult to grasp.

Happily, the auction site Invaluable has created an easily digestible infographic that summarizes the guiding principles of these great philosophers--from Confucius to Simone de Beauvoir.

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