Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Read Free Novels Online: BATTLEFIELD EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard


Book Summary:

In the year AD 3000, Earth has been ruled by an alien race, the Psychlos, for a millennium. Humanity has been reduced to a few scattered tribes in isolated parts of the world while the Psychlos strip the planet of its mineral wealth. Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, a young member of one such tribe, lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Depressed over the death and disease affecting his tribe, he leaves his village to explore the lowlands and to disprove the superstitions long held by his people involving ancient gods and monsters. However, he is captured in the ruins of Denver by Terl, the Psychlo chief of security. The Psychlos, hairy 9-foot (2.7 m) high, 1,000-pound sociopaths, originate from a planet with an atmosphere very different from that of Earth. Their home world is in fact located in a different universe, and follows slightly different physical laws, with a slightly different table of elements. As a result, some interactions between the two worlds are problematic. Their "breathe-gas" explodes on contact with even trace amounts of radioactive metals, such as uranium. Terl, a Psychlo, had been assigned to Earth, and he eventually learns that his term has been extended with no word of relief. Fearful at the thought of spending several more years on Earth, he decides to con his way off the planet and return home a wealthy Psychlo. Terl has discovered a lode of gold up in the Rocky Mountains that he wants to get his hands on "off the company books". Unfortunately it is surrounded by Uranium deposits that make Psychlo mining impossible. Terl captures Jonnie while searching for "man-animals" that he can train to mine the gold for him.

After a time, Terl captures Jonnie's childhood friend Chrissie and her little sister and uses the threat of their deaths to ensure cooperation from Jonnie. Jonnie is afterwards free to move around the mining area. Shortly thereafter, Terl and Jonnie travel to Scotland and recruit 83 Scottish youth, old women, a doctor, and a historian to help with the mining. Jonnie, however, has different plans. Because Terl does not understand English, Jonnie is able to convince the Scots to help him overthrow the Psychlo rule on Earth.

During the next months, Jonnie and the Scots try to mine the gold as well as develop a means of defeating not only the Psychlos on Earth, but also nullifying the threat of counterattack from Psychlo (the Psychlos' home planet). During the semi-annual teleportation of personnel, goods, and coffins (all dead Psychlos are shipped home for burial) back to Psychlo, Jonnie and the Scots manage to pack several of the coffins with "dirty nukes" and "planet busters" in hopes of destroying the Psychlos' home planet. After the teleportation firing, the humans use the Psychlos' own weapons against them and regain control of Earth.

This is, however, not the end of the story. Unsure as to whether the bombs sent even reached Psychlo and under the imminent threat of counterattack, Jonnie must now defend his newly-retaken planet against the predatory interests of several other interstellar races, including a race of intergalactic bankers seeking to repossess the Earth in lieu of unpaid debts, as well as a long time rival seeking to wrest control of Earth from him. In order to ensure the security and independence of humanity, he does something that no other race in 300,000 years has been able to do: uncover the secret of Psychlo mathematics and teleportation. *from Wikipedia*

About the Author:

Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, better known as L. Ron Hubbard, was the creator of Dianetics, and founder of the Church of Scientology. He was also an American author in numerous pulp fiction genres as well as a prolific writer of non-fiction works.

Hubbard was a highly controversial public figure during his lifetime. Many details of his life remain disputed, with official and unofficial biographies depicting Hubbard in radically different ways. Official Scientology biographies present him in hagiographic terms as "larger than life, attracted to people, liked by people, dynamic, charismatic and immensely capable in two dozen fields. In contrast, unofficial biographies (some of which are by former Scientologists) paint a much less flattering picture which often contradicts official Church accounts. *from http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/33503.L_Ron_Hubbard*

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Read free novels online: A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce




Plot Overview

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man tells the story of Stephen Dedalus, a boy growing up in Ireland at the end of the nineteenth century, as he gradually decides to cast off all his social, familial, and religious constraints to live a life devoted to the art of writing. As a young boy, Stephen's Catholic faith and Irish nationality heavily influence him. He attends a strict religious boarding school called Clongowes Wood College. At first, Stephen is lonely and homesick at the school, but as time passes he finds his place among the other boys. He enjoys his visits home, even though family tensions run high after the death of the Irish political leader Charles Stewart Parnell. This sensitive subject becomes the topic of a furious, politically charged argument over the family's Christmas dinner.

Stephen's father, Simon, is inept with money, and the family sinks deeper and deeper into debt. After a summer spent in the company of his Uncle Charles, Stephen learns that the family cannot afford to send him back to Clongowes, and that they will instead move to Dublin. Stephen starts attending a prestigious day school called Belvedere, where he grows to excel as a writer and as an actor in the student theater. His first sexual experience, with a young Dublin prostitute, unleashes a storm of guilt and shame in Stephen, as he tries to reconcile his physical desires with the stern Catholic morality of his surroundings. For a while, he ignores his religious upbringing, throwing himself with debauched abandon into a variety of sins—masturbation, gluttony, and more visits to prostitutes, among others. Then, on a three-day religious retreat, Stephen hears a trio of fiery sermons about sin, judgment, and hell. Deeply shaken, the young man resolves to rededicate himself to a life of Christian piety.

Stephen begins attending Mass every day, becoming a model of Catholic piety, abstinence, and self-denial. His religious devotion is so pronounced that the director of his school asks him to consider entering the priesthood. After briefly considering the offer, Stephen realizes that the austerity of the priestly life is utterly incompatible with his love for sensual beauty. That day, Stephen learns from his sister that the family will be moving, once again for financial reasons. Anxiously awaiting news about his acceptance to the university, Stephen goes for a walk on the beach, where he observes a young girl wading in the tide. He is struck by her beauty, and realizes, in a moment of epiphany, that the love and desire of beauty should not be a source of shame. Stephen resolves to live his life to the fullest, and vows not to be constrained by the boundaries of his family, his nation, and his religion.

Stephen moves on to the university, where he develops a number of strong friendships, and is especially close with a young man named Cranly. In a series of conversations with his companions, Stephen works to formulate his theories about art. While he is dependent on his friends as listeners, he is also determined to create an independent existence, liberated from the expectations of friends and family. He becomes more and more determined to free himself from all limiting pressures, and eventually decides to leave Ireland to escape them. Like his namesake, the mythical Daedalus, Stephen hopes to build himself wings on which he can fly above all obstacles and achieve a life as an artist.

About the Author

James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish novelist, noted for his experimental use of language in such works as Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939). Joyce's technical innovations in the art of the novel include an extensive use of interior monologue; he used a complex network of symbolic parallels drawn from the mythology, history, and literature, and created a unique language of invented words, puns, and allusions.

James Joyce was born in Dublin, on February 2, 1882, as the son of John Stanislaus Joyce, an impoverished gentleman, who had failed in a distillery business and tried all kinds of professions, including politics and tax collecting. Joyce's mother, Mary Jane Murray, was ten years younger than her husband. She was an accomplished pianist, whose life was dominated by the Roman Catholic Church. In spite of their poverty, the family struggled to maintain a solid middle-class facade.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Best Seller Fiction: David Morrell Extreme Denial

Extreme DenialExtreme Denial by David Morrell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


It's a very good book! Even how gruesome or cruel your former life has been, you can still learn how to love. Love is a very powerful emotion, one does not really know what you can do if you're lovestruck. This book made me a romantic :)



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At forty, Steve Decker is one of America's most accomplished anti-terrorist operatives. Then a bungled covert operation kills twenty-three people and leaves Decker shouldering the blame. Embittered, he retires... and meets a captivating woman named Beth Dwyer.

Suddenly, Decker has the very thing he lived so long without; a beautiful, brilliant woman he passionately loves. But in a terrifying assault, Beth disappears - leaving an agonizing mystery in her wake. Is she still alive? Was she captured by Decker's enemies or her own? Who is this woman he loved so completely, almost to the point of obsession? Did she love him, or use him? For Decker, the stakes are high: Beth's love, Beth's life, and, most of all, the truth.

About the Author:

David Morrell is a Canadian novelist from Kitchener, Ontario, who has been living in the United States for a number of years. He is best known for his debut 1972 novel First Blood, which would later become a successful film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. More recently, he has been writing the Captain America comic books limited-series The Chosen. *taken from http://www.goodreads.com/*





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Book Review: Dan Brown Angels and Demons


An ancient secret brotherhood.
A devastating new weapon of destruction.
An unthinkable target...


When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol -- seared into the chest of a murdered physicist -- he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati... the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has surfaced from the shadows to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy... the Catholic Church.

Langdon's worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican's holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces he has hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival.

Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even to the heart of the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair... a secret location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation.

An explosive international thriller, Angels & Demons careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war. * from http://www.bookbrowse.com*

What I can say?
This is another good book from Dan Brown. I particularly like how I was fooled by the Camerlengo. I thought he was a protagonist in the story and Dr. Kohler was the antagonist but turns out I'm mistaken. So, I actually liked the Twist of the story in the end. It's all convincing and so true. I actually liked what the Camerlengo has said in front of the media and of the world. It somehow also resonates my own point of view. To quote:

" Medicine, electronic communications, space travel, genetic manipulation...these are the miracles about which we now tel our children. These are the miralces we herald as proof that science will bring us the answers. The ancient stories of immaculate conceptions, burning bushes and parting seas are no longer relevant. God has become obsolete. Science has won the battle. We concede."

"But Science's victory has cost everyone of us. And it has cost us deeply."

"Science may have alleviated the miseries of disease and drudgery and provided an array of gadgetry forour entertainment and convenience, but it has left us in a world without wonder. Our sunsets have been reduced to wavelengths and frequencies. The complexities of the universe have been shredded intomathematical equations. Even our self-worth as human beings has been destroyed. Science proclaims thatPlanet Earth and its inhabitants are a meaningless speck in the grand scheme. A cosmic accident. " He paused. "Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us. Each of us is now electronicallyconnected to the globe, and yet we feel utterly alone. We are bombarded with violence, division, fracture, and betrayal. Skepticism has become a virtue. Cynicism and demand for proof has become enlightenedthought. Is it any wonder that humans now feel more depressed and defeated than they have at any point in human history? Does science hold anything sacred? Science looks for answers by probing our unbornfetuses. Science even presumes to rearrange our own DNA. It shatters God's world into smaller and smaller pieces in quest of meaning . . . And all it finds is more questions. "

"The ancient war between science and religion is over, " the camerlegno said. "You have won. But youhave not won fairly. You have not won by providing answers. You have won by so radically reorienting our society that the truths we once saw as signposts now seem inapplicable. Religion cannot keep up. Scientific growth is exponential. It feeds on itself like a virus. Every new breakthrough opens doors for new breakthroughs. Mankind took thousands of years to progress from the wheel to the car. Yet only decades from the car into space. Now we measure scientific progress in weeks. We are spinning out of control. The rift between us grows deeper and deeper, and as religion is left behind, people find themselves in a spiritual void. We cry out for meaning. And believe me, we do cry out. We see UFOs, engage in channeling, spirit contact, out-of-body experiences, mindquests--all these eccentric ideas havea scientific veneer, but they are unashamedly irrational. They are the desperate cry of the modern soul, lonely and tormented, crippled by its own enlightenment and its inability to accept meaning in anything removed from technology. "

"Science, you say, will save us. Science, I say, has destroyed us. Since the days of Galileo, the church has tried to slow the relentless march of science, sometimes with misguided means, but always with benevolent intention. Even so, the temptations are too great for man to resist. I warn you, look around yourselves. The promises of science have not been kept. Promises of efficiency and simplicity have bred nothing but pollution and chaos. We are a fractured and frantic species . . . Moving down a path of destruction. "

"Who is this God science? Who is the God who offers his people power but no moral framework to tell you how to use that power? What kind of God gives a child fire but does not warn the child of its dangers? The language of science comes with no signposts about good and bad. Science textbooks tell us how to create a nuclear reaction, and yet they contain no chapter asking us if it is a good or a bad idea.

"To science, I say this. The church is tired. We are exhausted from trying to be your signposts. Ourresources are drying up from our campaign to be the voice of balance as you plow blindly on in your quest for smaller chips and larger profits. We ask not why you will not govern yourselves, but how can you? Your world moves so fast that if you stop even for an instant to consider the implications of your actions, someone more efficient will whip past you in a blur. So you move on.
You proliferate weapons of mass destruction, but it is the Pope who travels the world beseeching leaders to use restraint. You clone living creatures, but it is the church reminding us to consider the moral implications of our actions. You encourage people to interact on phones, video screens, and computers, but it is the church who opens its doors and reminds us to commune in person as we were meant to do. You even murder unborn babies in the name of research that will save lives.
Again, it is the church who points out the fallacy of this reasoning. "And all the while, you proclaim the church is ignorant. But who is more ignorant? The man who cannot define lightning, or the man who does not respect its awesome power? This church is reaching out to you. Reaching out to everyone. And yet the more we reach, the more you push us away. Show me proof there is a God, you say. I say use your telescopes to look to the heavens, and tell me how there could not be a God!" The camerlegno had tears in his eyes now. "You ask what does God look like. I say, where did thatquestion come from? The answers are one and the same. Do you not see God in your science? How can you miss Him! You proclaim that even the slightest change in the force of gravity or the weight of an atom would have rendered our universe a lifeless mist rather than our magnificent sea of heavenly bodies, and yet you fail to see God's hand in this? Is it really so much easier to believe that we simply chose the right card from a deck of billions? Have we become so spiritually bankrupt that we would rather believe in mathematical impossibility than in a power greater than us? "Whether or not you believe in God, " the camerlegno said, his voice deepening with deliberation, "you must believe this. When we as a species abandon our trust in the power greater than us, we abandon our sense of accountability. Faith . . . All faiths . . . Are admonitions that there is something we cannot understand, something to
which we are accountable . . . With faith we are accountable to each other, to ourselves, and to a higher truth. Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed. If the outside world could see this church as I do . . . Looking beyond the ritual of these walls . . . They would see a modern miracle . . . A brotherhood of imperfect, simple souls wanting only to be a voice of compassion in a world spinning out of control. "

About the Author

Dan Brown is an American author of thriller fiction, best known for the 2003 bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code.
Brown is interested in cryptography, codes, and keys. Currently his novels have been translated into many languages.
Although many see Dan Brown's books as anti-Christian, Brown is a Christian who says that his book The Da Vinci Code is simply "an entertaining story that promotes spiritual discussion and debate" and suggests that the book may be used "as a positive catalyst for introspection and exploration of our faith".
-Wikipedia



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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Book Review: David Morrell Covenant of the Flame


I have just finished reading this book and it is a good read. It's about two groups of people who's been in conflict eversince. The first group, those who believe in Mithraism, is an environment-loving group, that they would kill those harming the earth. The other group is bent on killing them.

I don't find anything wrong with taking care of the environment. However, if it's pushed to the limit like killing those responsible for pollution, I think that's another story. We don't have the right to kill, no matter how just our cause for killing is. Their is a law that will punish these aggressors and we must abide by that law. And, if law will not prevail, then their is a higher law, their is God. His is the revenge, not ours. This is all I can say about this book.

Here is a short summary taken from http://www.goodreads.com/...

For two thousand years a hidden conflict has been waged. Now it is bursting into the open — in a pitched battle over the very future of the planet...

In the Amazon and in Africa, from oil spills to animal slaughters, the earth is being defiled, and two covert armies are locked in mortal conflict — with a woman reporter caught in the middle.

Drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a gray-eyed stranger and his horrific murder by fire, Tess Drake and a veteran New York City police officer follow the trail of blood from Manhattan to Washington to the ancient caverns of Europe. Hunted by both sides, fighting for her life, Tess races toward the dark heart of a secret that will rock the world...


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Friday, September 24, 2010

THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand



Howard Roark, a brilliant young architect, is expelled from his architecture school for refusing to follow the school’s outdated traditions. He goes to New York to work for Henry Cameron, a disgraced architect whom Roark admires. Roark’s schoolmate, Peter Keating, moves to New York and goes to work for the prestigious architectural firm Francon & Heyer, run by the famous Guy Francon. Roark and Cameron create beautiful work, but their projects rarely receive recognition, whereas Keating’s ability to flatter and please brings him almost instant success. In just a few years, he becomes a partner at the firm after he causes Francon’s previous partner to have a stroke. Henry Cameron retires, financially ruined, and Roark opens his own small office. His unwillingness to compromise his designs in order to satisfy clients eventually forces him to close down the office and take a job at a granite quarry in Connecticut.

In Connecticut, Roark feels an immediate, passionate attraction to Dominique Francon, Guy Francon’s temperamental and beautiful daughter. Society disgusts Dominique, and she has retreated to her family’s estate to escape the mediocre architecture she sees all around her. One night, Roark enters the house and rapes her. Dominique discovers that this is what she had needed, but when she looks for Roark, he has left the quarry to design a building for a prominent New York businessman. Dominique returns to New York and discovers Roark’s identity. She realizes that he designed a building she admires. Dominique and Roark begin to meet in secret, but in public she tries to sabotage his career and destroy him. Ellsworth Toohey, an architectural critic and socialist, slowly prepares to rise to power. He seeks to prevent men from excelling by teaching that talent and ability are of no great consequence, and that the greatest virtue is humility. Toohey sees Roark as a great threat and tries to destroy him. Toohey convinces a weak-minded businessman named Hopton Stoddard to hire Roark as the designer for a temple dedicated to the human spirit, then persuades the businessman to sue Roark once the building is completed. At Roark’s trial, every prominent architect in New York testifies that Roark’s style is unorthodox and illegitimate, but Dominique declares that the world does not deserve the gift Roark has given it. Stoddard wins the case and Roark loses his business again. To punish herself for desiring Roark, Dominique marries Peter Keating.

Enter Gail Wynand, a brilliant publisher, who has lost his early idealism and made his fortune by printing newspapers that say exactly what the public wants to hear. Wynand meets Dominique and falls in love with her, so he buys her from Keating by offering him money and a prestigious contract in exchange for his wife. Dominique agrees to marry Wynand because she thinks he is an even worse person than Keating, but to her surprise, Wynand is a man of principle. Wynand and Roark meet and become fast friends, but Wynand does not know the truth about Roark’s relationship with Dominique. Meanwhile Keating, who has fallen from grace, asks Roark for help with the Cortlandt Homes, a public housing project. The idea of economical housing intrigues Roark. He agrees to design the project and let Keating take the credit on the condition that no one makes a single alteration to his plan.

When Roark returns from a summer-long yacht trip with Wynand, he finds that, despite the agreement, the Cortlandt Homes project has been changed. Roark asks Dominique to distract the night watchman one night and then dynamites the building. When the police arrive, he submits without resistance. The entire country condemns Roark, but Wynand finally finds the courage to follow his convictions and orders his newspapers to defend him. The Banner’s circulation drops and the workers go on strike, but Wynand keeps printing with Dominique’s help. Eventually, Wynand gives in and denounces Roark. At the trial, Roark seems doomed, but he rouses the courtroom with a statement about the value of selfishness and the need to remain true to oneself. Roark describes the triumphant role of creators and the price they pay at the hands of corrupt societies. The jury finds him not guilty. Roark marries Dominique. Wynand asks Roark to design one last building, a skyscraper that will testify to the supremacy of man. * from sparknotes.com*




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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald



Nick Carraway grew up in the Midwestern United States and went to school at Yale University. After this, he was stationed in France during World War I. Returning home after travelling a great deal, he is discontent and decides to move to the East at the beginning of the Summer of 1922, renting a ramshackle house in Long Island's West Egg section. He begins working in nearby New York City as a bondsman and it is here that his story begins.

Jay Gatsby is a wealthy neighbor living next door in a lavish mansion where he holds many extravagant weekend parties. His name is mentioned while Nick is visiting a relative, Daisy, living in the East Egg section on the other side of Long Island with her millionaire husband, Tom Buchanan. As it turns out, Jay Gatsby had met Daisy five years before while in the military and was rejected by her due to his lack of wealth and because he had been sent so far away in Europe for the war. Daisy was attracted by Tom's riches and his distinguished family background and married him. Meanwhile Gatsby spent all of his effort after the war to buy his mansion through shady business dealings in order to be nearer to Daisy in the hope that she would leave Tom for him. Nick is chosen to be the "matchmaker" and arranges a reunion for the two at his home. Daisy is impressed by Gatsby's wealth and the two begin spending much time together, raising the suspicions of Tom who had also upset Daisy by carrying on an affair with a gas station owner's wife, Myrtle Wilson. Jay no longer holds his weekend parties since Daisy hadn't liked them and he allows her desires to control his actions. Nick distances himself from this mess by becoming close to Jordan Baker, a long time friend of Daisy.

While in a New York City hotel room one evening late in the summer with Jordan, Nick, Daisy, Tom, and Gatsby, there is a massive confrontation during which Tom exposes Gatsby's corrupt business dealings. Jay and Daisy leave to drive back to Long Island together with her driving Gatsby's car "to calm her down" until she accidentally hits and kills Tom's mistress running out in front of the gas station after her own jealous husband had locked her inside. The car doesn't stop after the accident and speeds on towards Long Island. Gatsby's charm has faded with his exposed corruption while Tom refocuses on Daisy since his mistress has been killed, assuming Gatsby to have been the car's driver. Nick is disgusted by this entire mess of love affairs and even ignores Jordan, worried about Gatsby since he continues to yearn for Daisy even though it is clear that he has failed. While Nick goes off to work in New York City the next day, the dead woman's vengeful husband, assuming Gatsby to have been driving his car that night and told that it had been Gatsby's car by a vengeful Tom Buchanan, shoots Gatsby to death in his own swimming pool and then kills himself.
Gatsby's funeral has few in attendance aside from Carraway and Jay's father who has come all the way from the Midwest where Jay grew up. Disgusted that so few had come, including Tom and Daisy who had abruptly moved away, and the hundreds who had attended Gatsby's parties, Nick distances himself from Jordan for good. Finally, tired of this gross scene of wealth and pettiness , he moves back home to the Midwest. His fond memories of the East remain only of Gatsby, and it is for him that this story is told.  *Plot Summary taken from BookRags.com*





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Sunday, September 19, 2010

James Bond Books: Never Send Flowers


I've just finished reading this particular book and in truth, I am actually fond of watching James Bond Movies, however, I don't usually like the adult scenes because it's not safe for my kids and usually I watch together with them. James Bond movies are surely packed with action and adventure however at times, I don't think it's for young audiences. So, I make it a point to only watch it when my kids are not around.

Believe it or not, it's my first time to read a James Bond book and I can say it's ok! I am thinking the other James Bond books might be more exciting, well, I'm somewhat sure of that so will be purchasing more James Bond books in the future.

So, here's a gist of the story taken from wikipedia...

A murder in Switzerland of Laura March with MI5 connections follows assassinations in Rome, London, Paris & Washington. Left at each scene is a rose with marks of drops of blood on the petal. He also left a branch from an oak tree. Bond is sent to investigate where he meets the lovely Swiss agent Fredericka von GrĂ¼sse whom he later calls Flicka when on better terms.
Trails lead to a former international stage actor, David Dragonpol, a friend of March who lives in a castle on the Rhine called Schloss Drache which he is turning into a theatre museum. They also meet a widow and flower grower, Maeve Horton.



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Friday, September 17, 2010

Read Free Novels Online: ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand



In an environment of worsening economic conditions, Dagny Taggart, vice president in charge of operations, works to repair Taggart Transcontinental’s crumbling Rio Norte Line to service Colorado, the last booming industrial area in the country. Her efforts are hampered by the fact that many of the country’s most talented entrepreneurs are retiring and disappearing. The railroad’s crisis worsens when the Mexican government nationalizes Taggart’s San Sebastian Line. The line had been built to service Francisco d’Anconia’s copper mills, but the mills turn out to be worthless. Francisco had been a successful industrialist, and Dagny’s lover, but has become a worthless playboy. To solve the railroad’s financial problems, Dagny’s brother Jim uses political influence to pass legislation that destroys Taggart’s only competition in Colorado. Dagny must fix the Rio Norte Line immediately and plans to use Rearden Metal, a new alloy created by Hank Rearden. When confronted about the San Sebastian mines, Francisco tells Dagny he is deliberately destroying d’Anconia Copper. Later he appears at Rearden’s anniversary party and, meeting him for the first time, urges Rearden to reject the freeloaders who live off of him.

The State Science Institute issues a denunciation of Rearden metal, and Taggart’s stock crashes. Dagny decides to start her own company to rebuild the line, and it is a huge success. Dagny and Rearden become lovers. Together they discover a motor in an abandoned factory that runs on static electricity, and they seek the inventor. The government passes new legislation that cripples industry in Colorado. Ellis Wyatt, an oil industrialist, suddenly disappears after setting fire to his wells. Dagny is forced to cut trains, and the situation worsens. Soon, more industrialists disappear. Dagny believes there is a destroyer at work, taking men away when they are most needed. Francisco visits Rearden and asks him why he remains in business under such repressive conditions. When a fire breaks out and they work together to put it out, Francisco understands Rearden’s love for his mills.

Rearden goes on trial for breaking one of the new laws, but refuses to participate in the proceedings, telling the judges they can coerce him by force but he won’t help them to convict him. Unwilling to be seen as thugs, they let him go. Economic dictator Wesley Mouch needs Rearden’s cooperation for a new set of socialist laws, and Jim needs economic favors that will keep his ailing railroad running after the collapse of Colorado. Jim appeals to Rearden’s wife Lillian, who wants to destroy her husband. She tells him Rearden and Dagny are having an affair, and he uses this information in a trade. The new set of laws, Directive 10-289, is irrational and repressive. It includes a ruling that requires all patents to be signed over to the government. Rearden is blackmailed into signing over his metal to protect Dagny’s reputation.

Dagny quits over the new directive and retreats to a mountain lodge. When she learns of a massive accident at the Taggart Tunnel, she returns to her job. She receives a letter from the scientist she had hired to help rebuild the motor, and fears he will be the next target of the destroyer. In an attempt to stop him from disappearing, she follows him in an airplane and crashes in the mountains. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a remote valley where all the retired industrialists are living. They are on strike, calling it a strike of the mind. There, she meets John Galt, who turns out to be both the destroyer and the man who built the motor. She falls in love with him, but she cannot give up her railroad, and she leaves the valley. When she returns to work, she finds that the government has nationalized the railroad industry. Government leaders want her to make a speech reassuring the public about the new laws. She refuses until Lillian comes to blackmail her. On the air, she proudly announces her affair with Rearden and reveals that he has been blackmailed. She warns the country about its repressive government.

With the economy on the verge of collapse, Francisco destroys the rest of his holdings and disappears. The politicians no longer even pretend to work for the public good. Their vast network of influence peddling creates worse chaos, as crops rot waiting for freight trains that are diverted for personal favors. In an attempt to gain control of Francisco’s mills, the government stages a riot at Rearden Steel. But the steelworkers organize and fight back, led by Francisco, who has been working undercover at the mills. Francisco saves Rearden’s life, then convinces him to join the strike.

Just as the head of state prepares to give a speech on the economic situation, John Galt takes over the airwaves and delivers a lengthy address to the country, laying out the terms of the strike he has organized. In desperation, the government seeks Galt to make him their economic dictator. Dagny inadvertently leads them to him, and they take him prisoner. But Galt refuses to help them, even after he is tortured. Finally, Dagny and the strikers rescue him in an armed confrontation with guards. They return to the valley, where Dagny finally joins the strike. Soon, the country’s collapse is complete and the strikers prepare to return. * from http://www.sparknotes.com*





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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Read Free Novels Online: Ulysses by James Joyce



Stephen Dedalus spends the early morning hours of June 16, 1904, remaining aloof from his mocking friend, Buck Mulligan, and Buck’s English acquaintance, Haines. As Stephen leaves for work, Buck orders him to leave the house key and meet them at the pub at 12:30. Stephen resents Buck.

Around 10:00 A.M., Stephen teaches a history lesson to his class at Garrett Deasy’s boys’ school. After class, Stephen meets with Deasy to receive his wages. The narrow-minded and prejudiced Deasy lectures Stephen on life. Stephen agrees to take Deasy’s editorial letter about cattle disease to acquaintances at the newspaper.

Stephen spends the remainder of his morning walking alone on Sandymount Strand, thinking critically about his younger self and about perception. He composes a poem in his head and writes it down on a scrap torn from Deasy’s letter.

At 8:00 A.M. the same morning, Leopold Bloom fixes breakfast and brings his wife her mail and breakfast in bed. One of her letters is from Molly’s concert tour manager, Blazes Boylan (Bloom suspects he is also Molly’s lover)—Boylan will visit at 4:00 this afternoon. Bloom returns downstairs, reads a letter from their daughter, Milly, then goes to the outhouse.

At 10:00 A.M., Bloom picks up an amorous letter from the post office—he is corresponding with a woman named Martha Clifford under the pseudonym Henry Flower. He reads the tepid letter, ducks briefly into a church, then orders Molly’s lotion from the pharmacist. He runs into Bantam Lyons, who mistakenly gets the impression that Bloom is giving him a tip on the horse Throwaway in the afternoon’s Gold Cup race.

Around 11:00 A.M., Bloom rides with Simon Dedalus (Stephen’s father), Martin Cunningham, and Jack Power to the funeral of Paddy Dignam. The men treat Bloom as somewhat of an outsider. At the funeral, Bloom thinks about the deaths of his son and his father.

At noon, we find Bloom at the offices of the Freeman newspaper, negotiating an advertisement for Keyes, a liquor merchant. Several idle men, including editor Myles Crawford, are hanging around in the office, discussing political speeches. Bloom leaves to secure the ad. Stephen arrives at the newspaper with Deasy’s letter. Stephen and the other men leave for the pub just as Bloom is returning. Bloom’s ad negotiation is rejected by Crawford on his way out.

At 1:00 P.M., Bloom runs into Josie Breen, an old flame, and they discuss Mina Purefoy, who is in labor at the maternity hospital. Bloom stops in Burton’s restaurant, but he decides to move on to Davy Byrne’s for a light lunch. Bloom reminisces about an intimate afternoon with Molly on Howth. Bloom leaves and is walking toward the National Library when he spots Boylan on the street and ducks into the National Museum.

At 2:00 P.M., Stephen is informally presenting his “Hamlet theory” in the National Library to the poet A.E. and the librarians John Eglinton, Best, and Lyster. A.E. is dismissive of Stephen’s theory and leaves. Buck enters and jokingly scolds Stephen for failing to meet him and Haines at the pub. On the way out, Buck and Stephen pass Bloom, who has come to obtain a copy of Keyes’ ad.

At 4:00 P.M., Simon Dedalus, Ben Dollard, Lenehan, and Blazes Boylan converge at the Ormond Hotel bar. Bloom notices Boylan’s car outside and decides to watch him. Boylan soon leaves for his appointment with Molly, and Bloom sits morosely in the Ormond restaurant—he is briefly mollified by Dedalus’s and Dollard’s singing. Bloom writes back to Martha, then leaves to post the letter.

At 5:00 P.M., Bloom arrives at Barney Kiernan’s pub to meet Martin Cunningham about the Dignam family finances, but Cunningham has not yet arrived. The citizen, a belligerent Irish nationalist, becomes increasingly drunk and begins attacking Bloom’s Jewishness. Bloom stands up to the citizen, speaking in favor of peace and love over xenophobic violence. Bloom and the citizen have an altercation on the street before Cunningham’s carriage carries Bloom away.

Bloom relaxes on Sandymount Strand around sunset, after his visit to Mrs. Dignam’s house nearby. A young woman, Gerty MacDowell, notices Bloom watching her from across the beach. Gerty subtly reveals more and more of her legs while Bloom surreptitiously masturbates. Gerty leaves, and Bloom dozes.

At 10:00 P.M., Bloom wanders to the maternity hospital to check on Mina Purefoy. Also at the hospital are Stephen and several of his medi-c-al student friends, drinking and talking boisterously about subjects related to birth. Bloom agrees to join them, though he privately disapproves of their revelry in light of Mrs. Purefoy’s struggles upstairs. Buck arrives, and the men proceed to Burke’s pub. At closing time, Stephen convinces his friend Lynch to go to the brothel section of town and Bloom follows, feeling protective.

Bloom finally locates Stephen and Lynch at Bella Cohen’s brothel. Stephen is drunk and imagines that he sees the ghost of his mother—full of rage, he shatters a lamp with his walking stick. Bloom runs after Stephen and finds him in an argument with a British soldier who knocks him out.

Bloom revives Stephen and takes him for coffee at a cabman’s shelter to sober up. Bloom invites Stephen back to his house.

Well after midnight, Stephen and Bloom arrive back at Bloom’s house. They drink cocoa and talk about their respective backgrounds. Bloom asks Stephen to stay the night. Stephen politely refuses. Bloom sees him out and comes back in to find evidence of Boylan’s visit. Still, Bloom is at peace with the world and he climbs into bed, tells Molly of his day and requests breakfast in bed.

After Bloom falls asleep, Molly remains awake, surprised by Bloom’s request for breakfast in bed. Her mind wanders to her childhood in Gibraltar, her afternoon of sex with Boylan, her singing career, Stephen Dedalus. Her thoughts of Bloom vary wildly over the course of the monologue, but it ends with a reminiscence of their intimate moment at Howth and a positive affirmation. * from http://www.sparknotes.com/*



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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Review: Dan Brown Digital Fortress

I've just read Dan Brown's techno-thriller book entitled Digital Fortress and I thought that it can really happen. With all the advancements in technology nowadays, computers, communication satellites and everything, it is not far from happening.


However, I still believe that governments as well as social bookmarking sites like Facebook should respect other people's privacy. In the story we'll see how the government can have the ability to read every's individuals email  and I don't think that is good. Privacy is an individual's right. This is the reason why we can't just go inside the room of our sons or daughters, isn;t it? Young as they are, they already know privacy and we as parents respect it and so should everybody else respect one's privacy.

Here's a gist of the book., which I got from Wikipedia...

When the United States National Security Agency's code-breaking machine (TRANSLTR) encounters a new and complex code—Digital Fortress—that it cannot break, Commander Trevor Strathmore calls in Susan Fletcher, their head cryptographer to crack it. She discovers that it was written by Ensei Tankado, a former NSA employee who became displeased with the NSA's intrusion into people's private lives. Tankado intends to auction the code's algorithm on his website and have his partner, "NDAKOTA", release it for free if he dies. Essentially holding the NSA hostage, the agency is determined to stop Digital Fortress from becoming a threat to national security.

When Tankado does indeed die in Seville, Spain, of what appears to be a heart attack, Strathmore asks David Becker (Susan's fiancee) to travel to Seville and recover a ring that Tankado was wearing when he died. The ring is suspected to have the code that unlocks Digital Fortress. However, Becker soon discovers that Tankado gave the ring away immediately before his death. Each person he questions in the search for the ring is murdered by Hulohot, a mysterious assassin.
Meanwhile, telephone calls between "North Dakota" and Numataka (chairman of a large computer company in Tokyo, Japan) reveal that North Dakota hired Hulohot to kill Tankado in order to gain access to the passcode on his ring and speed up the release of the algorithm. At the NSA, Fletcher's investigation leads her to believe that Greg Hale, a fellow NSA employee, is North Dakota. Phil Chartrukian, an NSA technician who is unaware of the Digital Fortress code breaking failure and believes Digital Fortress to be a virus, conducts his own investigation into whether Strathmore allowed Digital Fortress to bypass Gauntlet (NSA's virus/worm filter). However, Chartrukian is murdered in the sub-levels of TRANSLTR by an unknown assailant. Since Hale and Strathmore were both in the sub-levels, Fletcher assumes that Hale is the killer; however, Hale claims that he witnessed Strathmore killing Chartrukian. Chartrukian's death by falling off a balcony also damages TRANSLTR's cooling system.

Hale holds Fletcher and Strathmore hostage to prevent himself from being arrested for the murder. It is then that Hale explains that the e-mail he supposedly "received" from Tankado was actually in his inbox because he was snooping on Strathmore, who was also watching Tankado's e-mail account. After the encounter, Hale's name is cleared when Fletcher discovers through a tracer that North Dakota and Ensei Tankado are actually the same person, as "NDAKOTA" is an anagram of "Tankado". Strathmore's role as the primary antagonist is revealed when Strathmore fatally shoots Hale, and arranges it to appear as a suicide. Susan later discovers through Strathmore's pager that he is the one who hired Hulohot. Becker later kills Hulohot in a violent confrontation.

Chapters told from Strathmore's perspective reveal his motives. By hiring Hulohot to kill Tankado, having Becker recover his ring, and having Hulohot kill him, would help facilitate a romantic relationship with Fletcher, regaining his lost honor, and enable him to unlock Digital Fortress. By making phone calls to Numataka impersonating as "North Dakota", he thought he could partner with Numataka Corporation to make a Digital Fortress chip equipped with his own backdoor Trojan so that the NSA can spy on every computer equipped with these chips. However, Strathmore didn't know that Digital Fortress is actually a computer worm once unlocked, "eating away" at the NSA databank's security and allowing "any third-grader with a modem" to look at government secrets. When TRANSLTR overheats, Strathmore commits suicide by standing next to the machine as it explodes. The worm eventually gets into the database, but soon after Fletcher figures out the password, and is able to terminate the worm before hackers can get any data. The NSA allows Becker to return to the United States, reuniting him with Fletcher. At last it is revealed that Numataka is Ensei Tankado's father. Numataka left Tankado the day he was born since Tankado was a deformed child.

About the Author: Dan Brown is an American author of thriller fiction, best known for the 2003 bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code.
Brown is interested in cryptography, codes, and keys. Currently his novels have been translated into many languages.
Although many see Dan Brown's books as anti-Christian, Brown is a Christian who says that his book The Da Vinci Code is simply "an entertaining story that promotes spiritual discussion and debate" and suggests that the book may be used "as a positive catalyst for introspection and exploration of our faith".
-Wikipedia

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