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Langston Hughes  

Langston Hughes

Do you all know who Langston Hughes is? Langston Hughes was a poet and great writer whose works have been admired and looked upon by many amateurs. To read more on this famous African -American author and poet, please visit Wikipedia

The great poet, playwright, novelist, essayist or all-rounder in literary luminary, Langston Hughes achieved fame during the Harlem Renaissance. But do you know how or what he did earlier than that? I bet you do not, so I come here today to share some interesting tit-bits with you!

Before he became famous, Hughes was a common struggling writer, doing some or the other small job to support his promising poetry.

A common day in the year 1925, while working at a restaurant in Washington D.C., something got into him and Hughes arranged some of his poems under the dinner plate of then potent poet, Vachel Lindsay. The mesmerized and pleased Lindsay, shared the poems during his reading that night, and in the morning, Hughes was crowned Lindsay's new discovery, the "busboy poet."

By his hard work and talent, Hughes went on to become one of America's most prolific authors.

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Phrases - How Did They Originate?  

You might have often been intrigued by many  phrases. But ever wondered what was the tale behind their origin? I went on a searching spree and discovered some interesting origins of phrases, that you might never have thought of. So keep guessing while you read!

Raining Cats And Dogs

This means raining very heavily Though the origin is still controversial, some say that the abominable drainage system of buildings in the 15th century caused drains to run over, emitting out garbage and a few unanticipated rubbish. Thus, animals might have lived in the thatched roofs and when it rained heavily, the dead remains would fall! And maybe some even had some dead dogs and cats hit their heads, thus giving birth to the phrase. Anyways, this certainly is a strange way to describe the weather, eh?

Bet Your Bottom Dollar

It means to bet your last coin. This phrase may have originated in saloons of the American Wild West where poker players and other gamblers piled their prize/money in front of them as they played. The suggestion was to go ahead, bet the last of your money. Surprisingly, it was first noticed in the La Crosse Independent Republican, September 1856: "I'm goin' to vote for you [James Polk] - you can bet your bottom dollar on that!"

Pushing the envelope

It means to approach or exceed known performance boundaries. It is believed to have been originated from the USAF test pilot program. It meant flying an aircraft at or beyond its known routine restrictions or recommended limits.

Fit to be tied

It means being furious. This phrase originated when the practice of tying irrepressible and often hazardous people was followed.

Wing and a prayer

It refers to being hopeful but unlikely to succeed. It originated during the First World War, celebrating the return of an American Flyer who came back safely in spite of a badly injured wing.

Pass the buck

It refers to passing off responsibility to someone else. It originated from a game of cards. A marker known as a buck is used in card games to mark the player who is the existing dealer. When the buck is passed to the next player, the responsibility for dealing is passed.

Stink to high heaven

It means to have a very strong odor. This expression originated from the well-known Shakespearean play 'Hamlet'. From a dialogue uttered by Hamlet's Uncle, the King of Denmark - "O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon it, A brother's murder."

Face the music

It refers to accepting the truth. It originated from the British Military practice of playing the drums when someone was court marshaled.

I have a bone to pick with you

Which means, I have an unpleasant matter to settle with you. It is believed to have originated when at the marriage banquets of the Sicilian poor, the bride's father, after the meal, used to hand the bridegroom a bone, saying, "Pick this bone, for you have taken in hand a much harder task." Another origin might be from the British where a bone to pick was a profitable appointment given to a difficult opponent in order to silence him. The reference is to throwing a bone to a dog to keep him from barking at you.

To read more origins of phrases, the best site I can suggest is "The Phrase Finder". Do read many more phrases and any more interesting information regarding their origins, is welcome. So all game to share your knowledge with me through comments? Any additions to the list are welcome!

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  5. 10 Tips On How To Write A Book Review

10 Tips On How To Write A Book Review!  

10 Tips On How To Write A Book Review!

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends;

they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors,

and the most patient of teachers.”

                                               - Charles W. Eliot


Books are the life and soul of a writer, author or even a blogger. Life without books seems unfeasible. And every second person reading a website or blog, needs a good book to read. So why not for a change, review a recent book you read and provide your reader with a chance to learn.

Do not know how to write a book review? Do not worry! Here are 10 tips that might help you out!

1. Read your book thoroughly

One cannot become a doctor without having the particular qualifications. In a similar fashion, it is necessary that you have knowledge about your subject before you are keen to write or share about it.

2. Gather more information

Though you might be knowing all about the book that you thought important, before embarking on writing a review, it is always better to read more about the book from Wikipedia or read another review of the book from the net. This help might prove valuable.

3. Make a rough draft

Write a rough outline of the plot, the flaws or anything that you find worthy of wiring. Only then, should you get to editing it and adding the additional information.

4. Be unique

While writing a book review, it is important that the reader is not reading a review of someone else. Often, reviewers tend to find the easiest way out by just copying down the book information/review at the back cover and camouflaging it ingeniously as their own!

5. Never reveal the whole plot

I have noticed often that writers tend to find it exciting to reveal the major or minor secrets of the plot (This applies to fiction stories, novels etc.). My fun of reading the last Harry Potter book had been spoiled for mostly the readers had leaked the secrets of the novel on the net. Please care about the excitement that a reader experiences so do not reveal the whole plot but as much as you think you would have liked to know if you were reading the review. 

6. Add your own element

The main point of writing a review is letting the reader know what YOU think about it. So remember to write down any improvement in the book you think possible and all flaws or good points about the book.

7. Remember the author

I have read reviews where the plot and everything else about the book is mentioned, but unfortunately the reviewer forgets to tell about the author.Be sure to credit or criticize (as you think likely) the author. Whatever you do, do not leave him out….after all, it is he who created the book and some credit is certainly not denied!

8. Be sure you are catering to the right audience

Do not go writing a book review of Harry potter on a technical blog. Though it would be good, if you pointed out or included about the book in a post but try not to completely linger from your blog content, just to fill in posts!

9. Your Judgement

A final verdict on whether you think the reader should spend money on the book is necessary. If you do not think so, please write that aptly in your post.

10. Rate the Book

I do not do this in my posts but now I too have decided to include that. If you are keen on writing reviews, a wonderful idea is the rate the book on a scale of 5 or 10. The audience might get a better idea!

Whether these tips proved to be helpful or not, I would be grateful if you could share through your valuable comments. Any additions or suggestions are welcome.

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Top 10 Tips On Writing For Children  

Top 10 Tips On Writing For Children

A young and vital child knows no limit to his own will, and it is the only reality to him. It is not that he wants at the outset to fight other wills, but that they simply do not exist for him. Like the artist, he goes forth to the work of creation, gloriously alone.
- Jane Harrison

Writing for kids sounds really easy, but those who do, know it is not as easy as one thinks. "Kids are like sponges. They absorb everything you give them and their thirst never ends.

Writing for kids is pretty different from any normal genre of writing. One has to keep in mind that they are dropping flowers in empty baskets and only bright and vibrant flowers will make an empty basket look beautiful.

The various genres of children's books include picture books, baby books, easy readers, transition books, books for middle grade children and young adults etc.

Here are ten tips you should remember to follow while penning down stories for kids:

1. Write With Positive Vibes

Remember, the book you are developing should help the kid to grow up. Keep in mind that the story has positive vibes for a kid, and remember not to use any kind of austerity in the narration. The kids will dislike it more than you think.

2. Easy To Read

Make it easy. Keep the plot uncomplicated and not so intricate and the moral, simple to understand. The language should be easy for a kid to read but remember to use some words here and there which enhance a kids vocabulary.

3. Use Imagination

Try using your imagination. Add fantasy elements. Kids are young and enchanted by the wonders of magic. Try using something, new, unique and innovative in your plot.

4. Interesting Moral Stories

Write moral stories but remember not to make them boring. Kids usually tend to get bored if there is too much accentuation on a particular thing. Tips on how to write children's stories is an interesting arrticle you might find worth visiting.

5. Something To Stand Out of the Crowd

There are many writers in this genre and every one is better than the other. So if you are writing professionally, remember to have something unique that stands out of the crowd.

6. Connect With Kids

Use elements that kids connect to. Write about naughty kids, pranks, teachers, school, nature with fantasy elements and other things.

7. No Sleepy Story

Try not to make the story sleepy. Read it over thrice yourself and think over it again if you have to stifle a yawn! The writing should be visually appealing to children for which you may use plenty of interesting pictures.

8. Use Appropriate, Relevant Story

Remember that you write anything that is appropriate for a child to read. The theme should have relevance to kids.

9. Be the Teacher-cum-Guardian

Try not to forget that you are not giving instructions as a teacher but consultation and guidance as a guardian.

10. Make Them Laugh

Use humor to entertain them and generate interest. Make them laugh, Use humor, is an article that might give you valuable tips.

But remember yourself - the first and foremost requirement for a good writing for children is - be a kid yourself.

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