Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Review: English for Writing Research Papers

English for Writing Research Papers
English for Writing Research Papers by Adrian Wallwork

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wanted to write a medical paper and I was totally lost. This book helped me a lot in my mission. This book guided me through every step in the process of writing. What I like most about the book is that it gives a lot of real examples from published papers, gives you the chance to learn by giving you pre- and post-correction versions of texts, and finally, that it has a collection of useful phrases, expressions, and words to use when you feel yourself not able to express yourself. I read at least 2/3 of the book. I am planning certainly to read it all and review it always because I am currently considering it as my “research-guidance bible”. I do not know if there are better books out there.

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A meeting with the author Ali Shakir about his book “A Muslim on the Bridge: On Being an Iraqi-Arab Muslim in the Twenty-First Century”

Yesterday, I had the luck of participating for the first time in my life in a book club. The name of this book club is “JCI Book Club – Amman” (You can read more details about the club and my experience in this post: Are there English Book Clubs in Amman? There is the JCI Amman Book Club and here is my Experience!). At my first participation, I had the luck that the club had a Mr. Ali Shakir to talk briefly about a book that he had recently published.

It was my first time ever to know of Mr. Shakir. Mr. Shakir is a New Zealander-Iraqi author. He recently published a book called: “A Muslim on the Bridge: On Being an Iraqi-Arab Muslim in the Twenty-First Century”. This book is the first book ever written by Mr. Shakir and the JCI Amman Book Club hosted him to talk about his book.

Book's Front Cover - A Muslim on the Bridge: On Being an Iraqi-Arab Muslim in the Twenty-First Century

Book’s Front Cover. Source: Book’s page at

Who is Ali Shakir and what is his book about? These questions are answered concisely and precisely at the back cover of the book:

The Book's Backcover - A Muslim on the Bridge: On Being an Iraqi-Arab Muslim in the Twenty-First Century

The Book’s Backcover. Source: Book’s page at

From the book’s back cover, I just want to highlight that Mr. Shakir lived most of his life in Iraq until 2006 when he moved to New Zealand.

During the entire event of JCI Book Club Amman, Mr. Shakir was very quiet. He spoke in a low voice, which he said he could not “increase”. Mr. Shakir introduced himself very briefly and talked in less than 10 minutes about his book. This was certainly not enough. I liked very much the “etymology” of his book’s title.

He told us that the main landmark in Baghdad is the Tigris river نهر دجلة. He explained that there are many bridges crossing this river to connect the parts of Baghdad at its both sides. When he used to live Iraq, he liked a lot to go above these bridges and watch the city of Baghdad. In his opinion, this gave him a very good view of the city of Baghdad at both sides of the river. He thinks that he could not have got this view were he not to stand on these bridges! In a similar fashion, I understood that he is now lost between his Muslim and Arab identity and western point of views. Therefore, he wrote this book to give a better view of the difficulties that he, along with other Iraqis and Muslims in general, are having (N.B. I am not sure how precise I remember his words).

Tigris River, Baghdad, Iraq.

Tigris River, Baghdad, Iraq. Source: A flickr account of James Gordon.

Tigris Rive, Baghdad, Iraq. Source: A flickr account of James Gordon.

Tigris River, Baghdad, Iraq. Source: A flickr account of James Gordon.

I do not know a lot of information about the author or about the book. Nonetheless, I sensed a tone of sadness in the voice of Mr. Shakir.  I sensed that he had a lot inside of him and he wanted to express it but could not. Could it be that this book was enough? Is there a story of suffering somewhere in the life of Mr. Shakir? This is why I quickly became very interested to read the book.

The floor was opened for discussion. One person asked about the source of Mr. Shakir’s information in the book and whether he depended on certain resources. Then a person asked a question that diverted the conversation to the situation of Iraq and Baghdad nowadays. Finally, I asked the last question 🙂 and gave my opinion regarding what Mr. Shakir had begun his brief talk by. Mr. Shakir had said that “he is against a writer speaking about his/her book” and that “a good book will speak about itself.” I told Mr. Shakir that I would have most probably not known about his book if he had not come to that event. I then told him that although communication skills are important, but that strong ideas can convey the greatest bulk of a person’s opinion. I finished my comment by saying, “If I were you and were invited into an event to discuss my book, I will go.”

Questions ended. Then, a young woman of JCI’s administrative people asked a very interesting question:

“If Mr. Ali Shakir’s book was available today at Book Readers, who will buy it?”

I raised my hand. It was not though a very high rise. The reason is not that I did not want to buy the book. I found the book very interesting. The reason is that I would have bought it not as paperback but as an e-version. I no longer prefer reading paperback books. I then thought very frightened, what if they told us that the book is available and they wanted to make it a surprise? I do not have enough money to buy it. Yes, I did not have more than JD 10 in my pocket. My salary as an intern in the ministry of health is only JD 96.5 ($136.26). “I want 10 people to raise their hands.” The young woman said again and then started counting those who had raised their hands. My hand was not lowered enough and I was counted among those “lucky” people who will have the chance to buy the book that night. However, not for very long: “Mr. Ali,” The young woman said. “We would like to inform you that a secret person has told us that he will buy 10 copies of your book and donate them.” Mr. Ali then immediately asked, again in low voice, “Who is this person?” The young woman refused to answer. Then the beautiful surprise came:

“We want to give these ten books to the ten people who raised their hands.”

I was very happy. This meant that I would have a free copy of Mr. Shakir’s book. What a very good surprise! I think it is the most expensive prize (if I can say) that I have ever won in my life! The paperback version of this book costs $15.19. I have never won a prize that is worth more than 15.19$. The person who decided to donate the books. I really respect him/her. It certainly shows that Mr. Shakir’s book had touched this person’s mind and/or heart!

The book will arrive at Book Readers in about two weeks. I am looking forward to reading it! : Assassination Details Revealed (15.02.2012)


Who or what was responsilbe for causing to shut down? Was it a technical error? Was it a financial problem? Or was it “The International Publishers Association and the German Publishers and Booksellers Association”?

The International Publishers Association and The German Publishers and Booksellers Association

imageToday, the above two association issued the following “victorious” joint press release not only to reveal the reason behind the shutting down of, but also, to officially confirm “the death” of When reading the press release, you can sense how happy and elated are these people about their “important sucess in the combat against internet piracy”.

I copied thier press release from a pdf file posted in their website. Is this considered as a form of piracy? Would this “illegal copying” cause the shutting down of my blog as well?


Joint Press Release of the International Publishers Association and the German Publishers and Booksellers Association

Publishers Strike Major Blow against Internet Piracy

Geneva, 15 February 2012

Yesterday, an international alliance of publishers and publishers’ associations achieved an important success in the combat against internet piracy. Despite significant technical and legal obstacles, the alliance was able to locate the alleged operators of both the sharehoster service and the link library, and successfully served judicial cease-and-desist orders on both.

The two entities created and operated an “internet library” which made available illegally more than 400,000 high quality e-books for immediate, free and anonymous download. The operators generated an estimated turnover of EUR 8 million (USD 10,602,400) from advertising revenues, donations and sales of premium-level accounts, thereby ranking the sites among the top piracy websites in the world.

“Today, the international book industry has shown that it continues to stand up against organised copyright crime.” says Jens Bammel, Secretary General of the International Publishers Association. “We will not tolerate freeloaders who make unjustified profits by depriving authors and publishers of their due reward. This is an important step towards a more transparent, honest and fair trade of digital content on the Internet.”

“This case demonstrates, in particular in the context of current debates, that systematic copyright infringement has developed into a highly criminal and lucrative business. The fight against piracy is not an impediment on one’s freedom of expression, but a necessity to reinstate the rule of law on the internet. It is not only in the interest of the thousands of people who dedicate their working lives to the development of our cultural heritage, but first of all in the interest of the authors who depend on fair compensation for their work. Whoever ignores how these issues are intertwined, seriously threatens the cultural diversity in our country.“ says Alexander Skipis, CEO of Börsenverein (German Publishers and Booksellers Association).

The close ties between a sharehoster service and a link library meant that the targeted entities were particularly harmful as all illegally uploaded copyright works were made immediately accessible to all internet users. The international publishers were able to assert extensive claims against the service providers who had partially concealed their identities. They were able to obtain a total of 17 interim injunctions from the Landgericht (regional court) of Munich I, and successfully served these in Ireland. In doing this, the participating publishers demonstrate their continued determination to not simply ignore copyright piracy, but to fight the large illegal platforms with all available legal measures.

The international alliance of publishers is coordinated by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein), the International Publishers Association and German law firm Lausen. The participating publishing houses are Cambridge University Press, Georg Thieme, Harper Collins, Hogrefe, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., Cengage Learning, Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education Ltd., Pearson Education Inc., Oxford University Press, Springer, Taylor & Francis, C.H. Beck as well as Walter De Gruyter. The legal proceedings are also supported by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Dutch Publishers Association (NUV), the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) and the International Association of Scientific Technical and Medical Publishers (STM).

About the case:

For more information on the legal action, please refer to the background document available here:

About IPA:

The International Publishers Association (IPA) is the global non-governmental organisation representing all aspects of book and journal publishing worldwide. Established in 1896, IPA’s mission is to promote and protect publishing and to raise awareness for publishing as a force for cultural and political advancement worldwide. IPA is an industry association with a human rights mandate. IPA currently has 65 member associations in 53 countries.


*** Note: I arrived at this piece of new because of a comment made in my blog by “

gilou”. Thank you sir!

The above was created automatically by a wonderful site that I always visit whenever I need an e-book. Most of the times, I find my book there. More than 2 years ago, when I first was introduced to this website, it was called “gigapedia”.  This site is now called “”.
Still, you can reach this website by typing in the following URL:

Because I have downloaded tens of books from this website, I am trying to repay them a little.

They either want a donation or “tell a friend”. So, here I am, trying to spread the word.
Thank you very much for the good service that you are providing. I really appreciate and love this website.

http library nu login login closed can not login account closed 

Body Language

“Shaking the head from side to side to indicate ‘no’ or negation is also universal and may well be a gesture that is learned in infancy. When a baby has had enough milk, he turns his head from side to side to reject his mother’s breast. When the young child has had enough to eat, he shakes his head from side to side to stop his parent’s attempt to spoon feed him and in this way he quickly learns to use the head shaking gesture to show disagreement or a negative attitude.”

“Research in the field of linguistics has shown that there is a direct relationship between the amount of status, power or prestige a person commands and that person’s range of vocabulary. In other words, the higher up the social or management ladder a person is, the better able he is to communicate in words and phrases. Non-verbal research has revealed a correlation between a person’s command of the spoken word and the amount of gesticulation that that person uses to communicate his or her message. This means that a person’s status, power or prestige is also directly related to the number of gestures or body movements he uses. The person at the top end of the social or management scale can use his range of words to communicate his meaning, whereas the less educated or unskilled person will rely more on gestures than words to communicate.”

I understand this portion well. That is, an employee would have no objection on the orders of his boss no matter how injustice they might be. His words won’t surely reflect his dissatisfaction, but his gestures will expose him. Surely the manager won’t care about interpreting them.

[Update 23.05.2008: Oh you little psychological analyzer! A good shot, though. You need to work better on your logic. ]

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories

I was at a street bookshop at downtown Amman. I was searching the box loosely put on the side of the pavement for the 5 books I will buy for 1 JD. “Politically Correct Bedtime Stories” This book caught my attention. It was not because of its content but for the idea that came to my mind at that moment. I thought of the usefulness of having some kind of short stories to read before going to bed. I usually take neither a short nor a long time to fall asleep.

The writer of this book wants this book as a message against the wrong concepts that the original adopted stories conveyed the time they were written. There is much talk that I don’t have much time to do now.

I was very excited when I looked up the meaning of the word which I thought it to be wrongly spelled. ‘womyn’. Yesterday evening, I was in the bedroom of my parents when I firstly read parts of this book (God! How quiet the house was when I was the only one in it. During the silent hours I spent yesterday, I realized how great things I can do without being distracted. e.g. I would never see my father entering the room as he did minutes ago asking: “You boy,” He always call me and my brother this way “Where is your mother?” He asked me this question while I was on my computer obviously studying. “Wait father! I will make a ‘search’ on my PC to locate her coordinates.” Maybe this is what will I be doing if they invented such a technology the next time my father interrupts my study and ask me such questions. What is more, I shouldn’t forget to mention that he also entered the room minutes later talking on the phone, I thought that the phone call is from me but soon found out that it wasn’t because I deduced that it is someone from Amman asking him how the journey back home run.)

Back to the word ‘womyn’, I looked up its meaning in my precious Concise Oxford English Dictionary only to find that its spelling is correct 100% and that it carries a deep meaning, at least for the defiance it stands for:

womyn: (plural noun) non-standard spelling of ‘women’ adopted by some feminist in order to avoid the word ending in -men.

What if Arabic women were as free as women in the west, would they make any change to the Arabic word for women? I believe not. Firstly, the Arabic word originally doesn’t have any similarity in spelling with that of a man. Secondly and most importantly, the day when women in the Arab world will have the freedom won’t come because they are who help to keep the men’s dominance on them, the sexism that is certainly seen in our societies is also participated by women. The very clear evidence is the survey that was conducted in Jordan and showed that more than 80% (I rounded it down to the least possible answer because I don’t remember it exactly) of Jordanian women agreed that ‘the husband has the right to hit his wife’.

From my side, I don’t have a problem with this almost general consensus because I am on the dominant side. But will I allow my self to take advantage of this authorization? I believe not but it really depends on my future wife; whether she is a tough or not a tough one. So, if my future wife will be reading this some years later in the future, to her I say: “If after marriage, you, my very dear and beloved wife, turned to be a tough women whom I can’t oppose, I will ask you to have mercy on your husband because I know him to be a good-natured, peaceful guy. Please!”

P.S. Hey my wife, don’t believe yourself. I am just kidding. OK? Be careful not to oppose me. I will be generous enough to add: if I am correct, don’t oppose me. Thanks! Kisses. Your faithful husband, Moabite.

I know of guys of my age, older or younger, who always chat with girls on their mobile phones. Truly, I state, I have never, ever, made such a thing.

It might be because my faculty doesn’t have pretty girls, but rather, because of the straight man I am. You know that by now, don’t you?!

Benjamin Franklin!

Writer, Inventor, Scientist, Humorist, Statesman, Man of courage, charm, and wit… Those words were on the back cover of a book I found by chance today in the university library while searching for travel books about Jordan. The above words were enough to arise my curiosity, they describe a prominent historical figure. Can you think of a person which those words might describe? Do you believe that it is easy to have all of those characteristics in one person?! .
“The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”, this is the title of the book which is sitting on my left leg now. It is not a full book, it is a kind of abridged version of the original one. It is stated in the front cover of this book that it is meant: “..for readers whom English is a second language…”.
Though I am having an English exam tomorrow morning, I couldn’t help my self to put the book down. I have almost finished most of it not only because it is very intersting and exciting but also and most importantly, because it has small pages and its vocabulary is very simplified.
Sentences I liked:

“A hard-working man could stand before kings. I was hard-working. I not only stood before kings in later life but I once sat down to dinner with the King of Denmark.

Last but not least, here is the photo of this great multi-talented man.

*. I don’t know about my Biostatistics Exam! It seems that I have made few mistakes (note: (few) not (a few)!). My grade won’t be more than 28! God knows!.
*. More and more rabbits are coming from the ground. The first mother rabbit has had all of her children out. In a new development, the black one’s children have started coming out today! In contrary to their black mother, George says that he saw 5 all white rabbits coming from that hole. I am not sure whether he is exaggerating or not but the thing that I am sure of is that one of her children is the (most white) rabbit I’ve seen since not a short time. It is very beautiful, “Snow-white”, I believe that such a name will perfectly fit him.
*. Tomorrow is the banquet for the sake of my secret benefactor!
*. Finally, I wish my self much luck in tomorrows easy-hard exam. To be more accurate, I should say, today’s exam, it has just overcame 12 PM… I must go sleep now. I wish my self nice dreams too [ 🙂 ]. See ye.