How to be a smarter reader

There’s plenty of advice out there to help you read more – but what about how to get more from what you read? Here’s how

Article by  from The Guardian

How to be a smarter reader

Pursue ‘targeted serendipity’

Pick each new book at random, and you’ll end up with plenty of duds. But if you stick religiously to the same authors or genres, or rely on Amazon’s recommendation engine, which makes suggestions based on past purchases, you’ll never expand your horizons. Choose a middle path: use a recommendation site such as Whichbook, which filters books based on numerous sliding scales – “funny/serious”, “optimistic/bleak”, “no sex/lots of sex” – without knowing which specific titles you’ve previously read.

Stick to print

Quite apart from the romanticism in the smell and feel of “real” books, there’s some persuasive psychological research to suggest that we grasp their content of paper books better and faster than ebooks’. This could be because we subconsciously use physical cues to store information: whether something’s on the left or right page; how many pages are under your right thumb, still to be read, etc.

In one British study, children who read only on screens were three times less likely to say they greatly enjoyed reading. It’s also been argued that the blue light emitted by tablets may seriously interfere with sleep and health.

Read first, talk later

The web offers countless opportunities to join a worldwide, 24-hour book group, such as Readmill, an e-reader platform that lets readers have conversations in the margins. But there’s much to be said for more limited devices – paper books, say, or basic Amazon Kindles – that make it harder for your attention to wander.

As the new media thinker Clay Shirky, no Luddite, puts it: “Tell me later who else liked it. Show them to me, introduce them to me, whatever – not right now. Right now I’m reading.” Make reading and discussing two distinct activities.

Keep it literary

Last year, a controversial but well-designed study at the New School for Social Research in New York, found that reading literary fiction (Don DeLilloAlice Munro) enhanced the capacity for empathy, and that the same didn’t apply to popular fiction or non-fiction. One hunch is that literary fiction leaves more to the reader’s imagination, forcing you to work harder to enter the emotional worlds of others. “What great writers do is to turn you into the writer,” explained one researcher. “In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the characters turns your mind to trying to understand the minds of others.”

Split your time: have a few books on the go

While you’re best advised not to try to read 20 books at once, there are definitely advantages to choosing three or four at once. Have a mix of fiction and non-fiction on the go, each suited to different moods and contexts. Even bad books can help – by sending you back to the good ones. “When you’re not feeling the book in front of you, pick up something else,” writes one blogger, Leigh Kramer, an advocate of the multi-book approach. “This will either make you want to go back to your original choice or press forward with one of your other options.”


Educational Blogging: The Case of Graduate MLIS Students in Kuwait

Libri. International Journal of Libraries and Information Services

Volume 62, Issue 4 (Dec 2012)

Educational Blogging: The Case of Graduate MLIS Students in Kuwait

Dr. Taghreed M. Alqudsi-Ghabra1 / Mohammad Al-Bahrani2

1Founding Chairperson and Former Founding Programme Director, Department of Library and Information Science, College of Social Sciences, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait

2Head of Promotion and Advertisement Section, Ministry of Communication, Kuwait

Citation Information: Libri. Volume 62, Issue 4, Pages 389–402, ISSN (Online) 1865-8423, ISSN (Print) 0024-2667,DOI: 10.1515/libri-2012-0030, December 2012

Publication History:

Published Online:


Blogging has been well-established as a communication tool, yet the literature documenting its use in education is still developing and lacks the theoretical underpinning to back it up. Blogging in education and for education has critics as well as promoters. This research is a phenomenological study that aims to create a framework and rationale for the use of blogs in higher education. It is a comparative descriptive analysis of two educational blogging experiences in Kuwait: one is a blog used by a faculty member in the Library and Information Science Department at Kuwait University that is shared with graduate students attending the courses of that faculty. The second is administered by a former graduate student of the MLIS program at Kuwait University and is open to both faculty and students. A comparison of the two experiences is the basis for the analysis and generalizations provided about the use of blogs as an educational tool and for drawing a framework for using blogs in education.


Read full article EducationalBlogginglibri-2012-0030

Article: The Internet in the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC): Vehicle of Change

International Journal of Internet Science

A peer reviewed open access journal for empirical findings, methodology, and theory of social and behavioral science concerning the Internet and its implications for individuals, social groups, organizations, and society.

The Internet in the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC): Vehicle of Change 
Taghreed M. Alqudsi-ghabra1, Talal Al-Bannai2, & Mohammad Al-Bahrani3 
1College of Social Sciences, Kuwait University, the State of Kuwait, 2Kuwait Fund for Economic Development, the State of Kuwait, 3Ministry of Communication, the State of Kuwait

Abstract: The Internet start was somewhat slow in the Middle East, but the twenty-first century witnessed its rapid spread across the Middle East, especially in the Arab countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, known as the AGCC. Even though these countries share political, geographic and economic commonalities, a level of observed and documented disparity exists among them. This paper is a comparative descriptive profile of the start of the Internet in the six countries of the AGCC, the laws and regulations that govern the flow and control of information, and how the spread of revolts affected the information flow in these countries. As changes in the Middle East are very much enabled by the Internet and its various tools, studies such as this one that attempt to organize scattered information are very important, timely, and needed.

Keywords: Internet, AGCC, Information control in AGCC, ICT infrastructure in AGCC

pdf Download full paper

How to Increase Traffic to your Blog

In 2004, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary named “blog” its word of the year. The growth of blogs has been impressive. In 2010, Hat Trick Associates estimated that every one in six people in the world had a personal blog. Sites like WordPress, Drupal and Blogger make it easy for just about anyone to create a blog on a wide variety of topics. While it may be easy to set up a blog, coming up with fresh posts and engaging an audience requires research and additional work. To increase traffic to your blog, you need worthwhile content, a focus on cross-promotion and marketing, and a willingness to engage with your peers and readers.


    • 1

      Plan out and create quality content. As a March 2010 article in “Technorati,” points out, without quality content, you have very little chance of keeping, much less increasing traffic to your blog. Develop a schedule for your posts and incorporate photos and videos when appropriate to enhance your content.

    • 2

      Develop one high quality post a week. “Intense Blog” suggests in a July 2011 article that bloggers write at least one post a week that is focused on a special topic. You should spend five to 10 hours researching these special posts to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge of your subject matter.

    • 3

    • Post consistently. Once you have traffic to your blog, your audience will expect and seek out new content. As you plan out your content, also consider when you will post it. Try to post at least once a day to really encourage new traffic.

    • 4

      Respond to readers. Interacting with your existing audience is key to retaining traffic and gaining more visitors. Be respectful of all commenters, answer their questions and clarify content when needed.

    • 5

      Familiarize yourself with other bloggers in your field. Blogger Chris Brogan suggests getting to know 20 to 30 blogs that are focused on the same topics as yours. Leave meaningful comments on their posts and link back to your own blog when appropriate. Take this one step further by reaching out to a few bloggers and introducing yourself and your blog. You may even be able to submit a guest post to another, more visible blog, thereby bringing new traffic to yours.

    • 6

      Cross promote your blog on other social networking platforms and websites. Use your personal or company Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to link back to your latest blog posts. Create an intriguing status update or message to draw users in and to the blog. Bookmark your posts on Delicious and add your blog to online directories for greater visibility.

Read more: How to Increase Traffic to your Blog |

Collapse of Shark Tanks in Scientific Center in Kuwait

Many people sent me this image over wahtsapp that shows sharks swimming inside a building and claim the Shark Tanks in Kuwait Scientific Center has Collapsed. Here is the truth about that fake image from

Just Because It’s Online, Doesn’t Necessarily Mean It’s True

The collapse of the sharks tank in the Scientific Center in Kuwait. Which caused chaos between staff and visitors !

Caption on Facebook: “The collapse of the sharks tank in the Scientific Center in Kuwait. Which caused chaos between staff and visitors!”

The first time the image above was shared on Facebook, there were some immediate comments and shares with some people who appeared shocked based on their comments when they saw the caption of the photo. The last time I checked it, the image had 5,419 shares last Friday, June 15, 2012.

Shark Tank Hoax - Scientific Center in Kuwait Shared more than 5000 times

Shark Tank Hoax – Scientific Center in Kuwait Shared more than 5000 times

This is not really true, read more details about it below.

First thing I noticed was the escalator. Clearly the rails are made for escalators, but the steps are green tiles. That looks like they were made for swimming pools and bathrooms. Clearly this was made to be underwater. So this may be some amusement park of some sort.

UPDATE (6/17/2012): After further staring at this picture… the escalator does look real, the tiles idea came from the greenish hue of the steps. And looking at some areas of the railing, also have this green coloration. Probably caused by the photo editing of the file when trying to match up the colors of mixed images. Which made the dark black escalator steps look like green tiles.

Upon searching some images online, it appears like the sharks have been “photoshopped” into the image. Since the shark on the left is a popular shark used in many photo edited images.  (source)

Popular Photoshopped Shark

Popular “Photoshopped” Shark

Upon researching further, it appears this image first came out on an internet meme site, where users upload funny pictures relating to basement floods that happened in Toronto. The photo above was said to be taken at Toronto’s Union Station during a recent flood last June 1, 2012.

Update (6/18/2012): The Inquisitr posted the original image without the sharks. And as they were explaining this was a hoax, they were also talking about other people referring this photo as “Sharks at the Mall”. The original “photoshopper” was also found to be Jamie A. King and confirmed by a tweet to Mashable writer Christine Erickson that he made the image.

Original image used before the sharks were edited to be included in the photo.

Original image used before the sharks were edited to be included in the photo.


Borrow a Book from Maktabaa’s Blog

Borrow a Book from Maktabaa’s Blog

Have you ever wished you could read a book but you cannot find it anywhere? Or maybe you don’t want to spend money to purchase a book you are hesitant about?

If you just want to read a book, not own it, they you will like the service provided by Maktabaa blog. You can browse through the books available, drop a comment asking to be lent the book, and it will be delivered to you within 48 hours.

The fees per book is 2 KD plus 3 KD refundable deposit to be given back when the book is returned.

If you are interested go ahead and start browsing through the books here (link). Best of luck Maktabaa, I really like your services!

P.Mumtaz Ali Anwar

I sent an email for our dear P.Mumtaz regarding our visit to London. It seems that i’ve sent the email message to the wrong email address. This was his responce:

I never opened this mail after I left Kuwait. I saw this address in my drawer today as I was searching for something else. I found several messages in my inbox.
I read the postings in your blog and was glad to see Saleh’s photo. I am glad that you are pursuing your ambition. I am sure you will succeed. You need to pay visit to Malaysia also. If you go there, see Prof. Zainab in the University of Malaya.
Please pass my good wishes to all of your friends and use for contacting me in future.
Best wishes again,
Mumtaz Anwar
Dear P.Mumtaz, Thank you for your kind words and i hope you visit us one day in Kuwait.