August 9th is Book Lovers Day!

Good morning, readers! Do you know what today is? August ninth is Book Lovers Day! The great Oscar Wilde once said, “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

Reading is not limited to traditional paperback books filled with words. Now, readers can choose from a wide range of platforms and genres – from e-books to paperback to even recent best-seller coloring books. Coloring books have become popular among children and adults because of their mental-health benefits.

“Coloring also allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate free-floating anxiety,” said Kelly Fitzpatrick of CNN.

Regardless of what kind of book you are choosing to enjoy, at the University of North Georgia Press, this holiday is one of our all-time favorites. To commemorate this magical day, we wanted to share with you some fun, fast facts about books!

The first book ever written was The Epic of Gilgamesh. The tale describes the evolution of the barbaric leader of Uruk, Gilgamesh, who is changed through acts of kindness.

Abibliophobia is the fear of running out of reading material. Luckily, at the UNG Press we will always have an enticing novel for you to read!

It took Charles Dickens about six weeks to write A Christmas Carol, a novel that has remained popular since 1843.

According to Google, there are around 130 million books in existence all over the world. With that amount of books, you should always have something interesting to read!

The UNG Press has several titles for any reader to choose from.

Celebrate today by curling up with your favorite book, whether it be an e-book, paperback or coloring book, and take time to be grateful to all of the authors who help take us to new places and learn new things. Let us know what book you are currently reading and your thoughts about it. We always love learning about new books!


The Basics of American Government

In August, the University of North Georgia Press will publish the 3rd edition of the textbook The Basics of American Government edited by Carl D. Cavalli. The textbook, or BAG, as we like to call it, comprises work from eight current members and one retired member of the UNG faculty. The authors created BAG because of their  shared concern with “the rising cost and lack of academic rigor among American government texts on the market.”

The textbook is thorough yet cost-efficient. It provides a “no-frills” examination of the American political system, while also providing original academic pieces that emphasize the content discussed in each chapter. The textbook also poses questions to the reader to force them to think about the content discussed, and it furthers their involvement with the content through a civic engagement exercise.

The book includes fifteen chapters discussing topics ranging from the U.S. Constitution, to the presidency, and even U.S. foreign policy. The reader will gain an in-depth understanding of American government after immersing themselves in this textbook. For example, in the fourth chapter, Political Socialization and the Media, the importance of understanding government is proved: “Political socialization is a lifelong process” (Maria J. Albo & Barry D. Friedman, 50). It is important to be well-versed in politics as it is an undying aspect of society. The book has been updated to include recent and relevant events in American politics, such as the 2016 election and its aftermath. Carl Cavalli, PhD, explains how another significant addition is the update of the Georgia Public Policy supplement which includes a discussion about the controversial campus carry bill. All of this information is available for only $23.66. E-textbook options are available, as are used versions for a cheaper price. The textbook can be found online using the ISBN: 978-0-9792324-6-6.

The breadth of information concerning American government can be easily understood within the pages of this textbook. The jargon is easy to understand, and the layout of the textbook is neat. This textbook is perfect for anyone taking a course in political science or criminal justice or for someone who simply wants clarification on America’s government.

Today is Franz Kafka’s Birthday

On July 3, 1883, the paramount novelist and short-story writer Franz Kafka was born into an upper-middle class, Jewish family.

However, from the beginning, Kafka’s life was cursed by tragedy. By the age of six, Kafka had lost two brothers and would soon lose three of his sisters to Nazi death camps. The family that was once composed of eight members, dwindled to three.

Kafka became the only child to his parents; however, it may have felt to him as though he lived a life of isolation. The relationship he shared with his parents was turbulent. His mother lacked the intellectual capacity to understand his desire to write. Kafka’s father was erratic and aggressive; he did not embrace Kafka’s creative nature so he attempted to force him to be a man of business.

Kafka’s writing reflects his tumultuous and painful upbringing. The insecurities he developed as a child plagued his abilities to devote his life to his love, writing.

He worked office jobs that often proved to be too sedentary. He eventually found a position at an insurance agency that gifted him the time and freedom to focus on writing after work. However, this balance was cut short when Kafka was diagnosed with tuberculosis and died in 1924.

His writing remained mostly private until after his death. Kafka released only a couple of his pieces throughout his life, one being Metamorphosis. His insecurities deprived him of the confidence to share his work. He instructed his friend, Max Brod, to destroy any of the manuscripts he had ever written. However, thankfully, Brod decided to disobey his friend’s request and release some of Kafka’s best pieces.

Kafka was given his well-deserved fame after his death, and he will live on in the world of literary geniuses. Nevertheless, his story should serve as a lesson to all aspiring writers. Never let the fear of judgment and criticism prohibit you from sharing your work.

What is a fear you face as a writer, and how do you plan to overcome that?

“The Hobbit” Novel and Film Review

The Hobbit 2In Middle Earth there lived a very small hobbit, who was destined for a very big adventure. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit in 1937. The novel is about the adventures of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, and how he joins forces with a band of dwarves and the wizard Gandalf to win back the dwarves’ land and treasure, which is being guarded by the dragon, Smaug. The novel and its heroic characters resonated with audiences of all ages; and the novel has remained wildly popular since its first publication. Following its success, the publishers pushed for a sequel. Tolkien then wrote The Lord of The Rings, which has become even more popular than its predecessor. The epic, blockbuster film: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released in theaters on December 14, 2013, and was released on DVD/Blu-ray on March 19, 2013. The film, which The Hobbit 4had a budget of $315 million, took in a total revenue of $1,016,893,299. Peter Jackson, who directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy, directed this fantasy/adventure prequel to that trilogy also. The novel was broken up into three parts for film, and the two other films in The Hobbit trilogy will be released in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

While the film does stay fairly close to the novel, many changes were made to the script. This could be because the novel was broken up into three parts for film, so some gaps needed to be filled in. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey only covers chapters one through eight, out of nineteen total, of the novel. Most of the dialogue from the script is used verbatim in the film, so the film characters say the same thing as the characters in the novels. Some of the main plot changes are listed in the following paragraphs.

The Hobbit 1The film begins showing Bilbo write the story for Frodo, as a way to tie the two sagas together, whereas the novel gets right down the story and Gandalf appearing to Bilbo. When the dwarves arrive in the novel, it is at teatime, and it is dinner time in the film. The story of the dragon is the same, yet in the novel, Thorin does not see the Elves turn away from him in his people’s hour of need, so he does not hate the Elves. There is not a conflict between Thorin and the Elves in the novel, because the Elves did not “abandon” the dwarves. The film has a much more dramatic portrayal of Bilbo deciding to go on an adventure, whereas in the novel Gandalf tells him to meet in a few minutes and Bilbo just goes off to meet everyone.

Once their adventure officially begins, the group runs into trouble with the trolls. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEYIn the film, Bilbo delays the trolls from eating the dwarves by telling them how to cook them, and then when Gandalf returns in the morning light, the trolls turn to stone. However, in the novel, Gandalf uses different voices to keep the trolls arguing with each other, until they lose track of time and turn to stone when the sun comes up. After this scene, the next thing that happens in the film is the company spends time with Radagast the Brown. This wizard has a chariot of rabbits and leads the orcs away from the company as they make their way to Rivendell. In the novel, however, this scene never takes place and they do not meet him in The Hobbit. In the novel, the company stays in Rivendell with the Elves for fourteen days. In both the film and the novel, the elf Elrond reveals the secret door in the mountain that they are searching for can only be revealed on Durin’s Day. The novel does not show Gandalf meeting with the White Council during their stay at Rivendell, as he does in the film. Also, Galadriel is The Hobbit 8not even in the novel, yet she appears in this scene in the film.

The novel and film show that Bilbo is awake in the cave, which wakes everyone up when the Goblins take them captive. In the novel, right after the goblins discover Thorin’s sword, Orcrist the Goblin Cleaver, Gandalf appears and kills the Great Goblin and leads them out of the mountain. In the film, the Great Goblin wants to hold Thorin captive for the bounty money promised by Azog. Also, in the novel Bilbo is not separated until after Gandalf saves the company. The scene of riddles with Gollum is the same in both. After Gollum realizes Bilbo Gollum in the film of The Hobbitstole the ring, and Bilbo realizes the ring is magic and makes its wearer invisible, he is able to sneak past Gollum and escape. The novel also has Bilbo to sneak past more goblins after he leaves Gollum, before he is safe. In both, Gollum curses the hobbit and vows to hate him forever.

The ending is of course different, because the film ends in only chapter eight of the novel. The novel does not include a fight with the orcs after Bilbo returns to the group. All the dwarves and Gandalf think higher of him after seeing how he escaped and returned to them. The final fight in theThe Hobbit 5 film is with the orcs, yet in the novel, since it is only chapter eight, nothing that dramatic happens. Instead, a pack of wolves chase the company up into the trees. When the goblins and wolves are about to burn the company, eagles save them and carry them to their home. Eagles also save the company from the orcs in the film, but it was not until after that new, dramatic fight scene was added.

Fortunately, the changes to the script do not take away from the incredible plot,The Hobbit 7 instead it only enhances it. The story still has the major themes of courage, growth, adventure, and friendship. Tolkien’s characters are brought from imaginations to life and onto the silver screen. The sense of excitement and adventure is present in both novel and film. Reading the novel is like being completely immersed into another world; and watching the film is like being swept away into a fantasy full of intrigue and mystery. It is rare that both a story’s novel and film can be equally powerful and entertaining; but that is definitely the case with The Hobbit. Tolkien and Jackson have combined humor and action into epics that will forever be a legacy.

Amber Paige Lee

*Images courtesy of New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and Warner Brothers.

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