Gideon: The Sound and The Glory

Story Summary:

Unsung heroes and murderous villains, hidden forever in ancient shadows, now leap to life – blazing onto the pages of revelation. Gideon, a lowly woodcutter, is blessed by an angel to be the savior of all Israel. He does not know why or how and shrinks from this dangerous mission. The commandment to conquer the Midian Empire as one man seems all but impossible. But Gideon’s confidence grows as God guides his every step until he stands fearless and faithfully fulfills his destiny as, “A mighty man of valor.” The fierce warriors, burning towers and devastated cities contained in Gideon’s Journey, are but silver threads that weave into a sweeping tapestry of ancient intrigue. Running through and stitching together the entire saga is The Lord of the Covenant, or The Baal-Berith, also known as Gideon’s mysterious Ephod of Gold.

Manhattan Book Review – 4 Stars
https://manhattanbookreview.com/product/gideon-the-sound-and-the-glory/

Barak’s chances of winning the battle of Mount Tabor were slim, very slim. Back in the middle of the 12th century BCE, the Midian Empire with its far larger and stronger army would surely whip the Israelite forces. Then, divine intervention for the worshipers of Adonai, the one God: a mega-storm suddenly appears on the horizon, torrential rain churns up the dusty plain. The idol-worshiping Sisera’s horse-drawn chariots are stuck in the mud and vanquished.

Ganci’s retelling of the biblical Book of Judges is a page-turner. Generals and kings highlighted in the book’s five sections leap off the pages of the Old Testament, usually acknowledged as a collection of rules and extraordinarily long lists of names.

While the author’s forward suggests the realm of science-fiction, within a handful of pages the saga’s origin is revealed. After Barak’s demise, his successor, Gideon, the title’s namesake, takes on leadership of the Israelites. Gideon is a complex character. Physically almost a head and shoulders higher than the other “pesky Israelites,” (Joseph Ganci has a wonderful turn of phrase), he is humble and lacks self-confidence, characteristics which enhance his appeal. Hopefully it is not sacrilegious to compare him with Kirk Douglas in his heyday. He falls deeply in love with Drumah, despite being forbidden to consort with a daughter of the Canaanite enemy. After he “harvest[s] the fruit of her passion” and she spends time hidden in a cave, eventually the rules are bent and she becomes his concubine.

Gideon’s strength and reputation swell until, when he dies, he is mourned by his seventy sons. Abimelech takes the reins. He is emphatically not a chip off the old block, a thoroughly nasty bit of work who kills all but his youngest brother (who escapes) and tries to unite in one kingdom both the idol-worshipers and the Israelites, an absolute travesty.

This is ancient history from a twenty-first century perspective. And it works! Once Abimelech is decapitated, the story accelerates. Further intrigue culminates with the leadership of Eli, the young high priest, who takes the reader from the final pages of the Book of Judges to the first Book of Samuel.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N4LNPMU

Gringo By Dan “Tito” Davis

Story Summary:

Dan “Tito” Davis comes from a town in South Dakota that’s so small everyone knows their neighbor’s cat’s name. But once he got out, he made some noise. While at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, he started manufacturing White Crosses, aka speed, and soon had the Banditos Motorcycle Club distributing ten million pills a week. After serving a nickel, he got into the weed game, but just when he got going, he was set up by a childhood friend. Facing thirty years, Davis slipped into Mexico, not knowing a word of Spanish, which began a thirteen-year odyssey that led him to an underground hideout for a MedellIn cartel, through the jungles of the Darien Gap, the middle of Mumbai’s madness, and much more.

5 Stars San Francisco Book Review – http://sanfranciscobookreview.com/product/gringo/

https://www.amazon.com/Gringo-Life-Edge-International-Fugitive/dp/1938812840

Can this slow dating app work in our modern, fast-swipe era?

Image: appetence / mashable composite 

Speed is of the essence in our modern age of fast-swipe online dating. So much so that the process of swiping, matching, and chatting can feel like a race to to that great (or not so great, depending) finish line we call a date.

But a brand new dating app wants people to take things slow real slow, in fact using the ancient art of conversation to seduce matches. It’s pretty groundbreaking stuff for those getting by with the odd “DTF?” message on Tinder.

Appetence, which is free to download on iOS from the iTunes store and claims to be the world’s first “slow dating” app, forces users to talk to each other before they can see each other’s profile pictures.

How so? Upon downloading the app, users are asked to select a bunch of their interests and tastes relating to music, gastronomy, movies, TV, books, and even pets. The app’s “slow matchmaking” algorithm then shows you compatible profiles based on your interests and search settings.

Unlike Tinder, Bumble, and basically every other dating app out there, the app won’t just show you photos of your match. You have to earn that privilege by talking to them. When you first start conversing with your match, your profile photo appears entirely covered by a pattern.

Image: rachel thompson / mashable

Image: rachel thompson / mashable

As you chat with your match you have the opportunity to like the messages or “encounters” they send you. The more you like, the more pieces of your profile photo are revealed. But it’s not easy. Your match needs 50 likes in order to see your full profile photo. And you, in return, need 50 likes to see theirs. Which means you’ll both need to have some serious banter.

This slow approach to dating is certainly novel in a world where speedy swipes are based largely on profile photos, and you can kind of see the point: “Unfortunately, our society today promotes relationships with increasingly fragile ties. ‘Fast Dating’ has made many women and men tired of not feeling special,” says Appetence founder Camilla Forsell.

“The conversations have become monotonous and similar, and having a ‘Match’ is no longer as exciting as the first few times,” Forsell continues, adding that she wants people to “seduce” one another using just “their way with words.” Hmmm.

But, the real question is: Do people really have the time and patience to invest in a protracted conversation with someone you might not actually fancy? In the age of fast swiping, most of us just want to get in and get out of dating apps as soon as possible. And for most of us, actually seeing someone is part of that equation.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/10/slow-dating-app-appetence/

The Uncanny Valley by S.W. Campbell – Interesting Book

Story Summary: We all know a Paul. A person who seems to see stuff that isn’t there. The type the polite call quirky and the blunt call nuts. Conspiracies? He’s got a few. He’s got his finger on how the world really works. He knows what kind of shit is coming down the pipe. Flee across the West Texas desert to Mexico? Makes sense to him. Feel like you’re being watched? You bet your ass someone is watching. Best turn off your cell phone. Troubles? Of course, that’s just part of life. Doubts? No time for doubts. Shit is getting real. Get in, buckle up, crack open a beer. The only real question is, how far down the rabbit hole are you willing to follow? Paul is an every man gone off the rails. Fearing the tightening noose of government surveillance he sets out with his family on a twisting psychological jaunt to break free of society’s restrictions, no matter what the cost. Hero and villain. Culprit and victim. Paul is stuck in a world he wants no part of. Sacrifices are made and connections are severed. As his world collapses around him, Paul perseveres in his quest, unsure about his way forward, but increasingly feeling that there is no way for him to turn back.

5 Stars Seattle Book Review https://seattlebookreview.com/product/the-uncanny-valley/

Amazon Link – http://amzn.to/2rfCeGx

book reviewing for fee

Vanity Reviews Versus Fee-For-Review

Probably one of the most controversial topics still in the book publishing industry is the idea of an author (or publicist) paying for a review of their book. It’s an offshoot of the self-publishing versus publishing industry argument that comes from the old vanity presses of the past.

A vanity press, for the younger readers, was a publishing company that would charge an author for the entire print run of a book. The publisher might make attempts to sell the book, but their profit had already been taken in the print run of the book (and sometimes ongoing storage fees of the unsold books). The publisher often kept rights to the book, provided little to no support (cover design, marketing, etc.), or charged excessive fees for those services. The books usually didn’t go through an approval or editing process, the only things required being a manuscript and the money to pay the publisher.

So, the stigma of the vanity press was a hold-over into the era of self-publishing. While many of the vanity press companies morphed into self-publishers, other companies truly did provide a cheap, effective way for an author to get a book into print and platforms to sell it to an audience apart from the traditional publishing route. And even with many self-publishing authors reaching best-seller status with their books, there still is, in the book industry, that same lingering stigma of the vanity press for self-publishers.

Leading from that is the issue of paying for reviews. As more print publications reduced or eliminated their book sections, the competition for authors and publishers to get attention for books escalated. So, in 2001, ForeWord Reviews launched Clarion Reviews, which charged a fee to provide a review for a book. From there, fee-for-review services popped up, and with the rise of Amazon, services that would provide as many 5-star reviews for your book or product as you could afford.

Over the years, paid review services have become more acceptable, though still controversial to some. Even Kirkus Reviews, the oldest book review service in the U.S., has a paid version for authors or publishers that can’t be reviewed through general submission. But the sigma of the vanity press has also rolled over into the fee-for-review programs. And in some cases, for good reason.

For every professional review company offering a neutral, professional review for a fee, there is another company offering a glowing 5-star review for a fee. While they couch their program in vague generalities about placing a book with the perfect reader or that they only release 4- and 5-star reviews, they’re really just going to write up a review guaranteed to make the author happy. Kirkus reviewers have always been anonymous, so they have the freedom to say what they think without potential retribution, and because fee-for-reviews isn’t the primary income stream for Kirkus, they also don’t need an author to be happy with a glowing review so they’ll come back with the next book the author writes.

Publisher’s Weekly moved away from their old PW Select program where self-published authors had to pay a fee to get a chance (25%) of a review, and now just charges authors for a database listing and some general promotion of their book within the PW and BookLife ecosystem.

One good sign if a review program is more “vanity” than “fee:” does the company review any other books or only books they’re paid to review? Much like the vanity publishers whose only business model was being paid by authors to publish their book, not sell the book to bookstores or the public for the author, vanity review services only review books they’ve been paid to review. That creates both the impression that they’re only in the business of providing “feel good” reviews for authors and getting them to come back book after book, but also reduces the credibility of the review to bookstores, libraries, and other readers.

Reasons to pay for a review:

1. It can get you that first review to kick-start your marketing and to give you something to include on your book cover and media kit (if you get the review done pre-publication).

2. You’re looking for an independent, critical look at your book, outside of your friends and family who have read it so far.

3. Your local newspaper or media outlets don’t do local book reviews (or any book reviews).

4. You need a professional book review (or several) to get your local bookstores or libraries to carry the book or set up a local author appearance for you.

Things to watch out for:

1. The fee-for-review service only reviews books they’ve been paid to review, or the majority of the books they review are paid reviews.

2. They don’t review books and authors you don’t recognize (all of the books reviewed are self-published or very small press).

3. Industry professionals recognize and recommend the service and don’t get a referral fee for sending business to them (not something easy to discover, but an important issue).

Make sure you get a review that is accurate, honest, and reflects a good general view of the book and isn’t a generic three-sentence review that could have been generated by reading the back cover or a couple of other reviews online.

The only companies that I can find that do more than just fee-for-review, i.e. the majority of the reviews done are not paid for by authors are (in order of when they began offering the service as far as I can tell):

1. Forward Reviews
2. City Book Review
San Francisco Book Review
Manhattan Book Review
Seattle Book Review
Kids’ BookBuzz
3. Kirkus Indie Reviews

Places that only review books for a fee:

1. Indie Reader
2. Self-Publishing Review
3. Blue Ink Reviews

How much would fictional houses cost in real life?

(CNN)From Great Gatsby’s luxury estate to Count Dracula’s Transylvanian lair and Amelie Poulain’s tiny Parisian pad, the houses in which our favorite fictional characters reside are often inspired by real-life properties.

CNN tracked down some of literary and cinematographic history’s most famous post codes and calculated their value in today’s property markets. Use the slider tool to reveal their prices.

The Great Gatsby (1925), F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Great Gatsby’s home in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novelis a symbol of1920s wealth in America.
    “In his blue garden men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars,” the narrator says of Gatsby’s buzzing property.
    One of the properties thought to have inspired Fitzgerald — and director Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 film adaptation, the source of the image above — is the Beacon Towers in Great Neck, Long Island, near where the author lived between 1922 and 1924, and wrote the first three chapters of the novel.
    Demolished in 1945, the Gothic building had belonged to suffragette and architectural designer Alva Belmont, who threw opulent parties for the city’s elite.
    All this history combined with literary fame, would have further upped the mansion’s price today, says associate broker Maggie Keats of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

    Master and Margarita (1967), Mikhail Bulgakov

    The famous, morbid ball scene in Bulgakov’s novel was partly inspired by wild parties held at the Spaso House, the US ambassador to Russia’s residence since 1933.
    Bulgakov and his wife attended one such revelry in 1935, where live pheasants, baby bears, goats and roosters mingled with guests in smoking jackets and ball dresses.
    According to Savills global real-estate agent, the value of the Spaso House today puts it in the top 5% of Moscow’s real estate.
    Despite this, the US government paid $3 per year between 1990 and 2004 to rent the building — this fixed price was set by a Soviet-era contract, which devalued after the collapse of the USSR. The rent has since changed but is a secret.

    Sherlock Holmes,Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    When Conan Doyle wrote his detective series, the real Baker Street in London stopped in the 100s — 221B didn’t exist.
    When the street was renumbered in the 1930s, the Abbey National Building Society bank was assigned the notorious number 221.
    The bank received so many letters addressing the famous detective that it hired a secretary to respond to the queries.
    A dispute over whether the Sherlock Holmes Museum — located at 239 Baker Street, and opened in 1990 — or the bank should receive such letters was resolved in 2002, when the bank left the building.
    The Holmes Museum, which emulates the detective’s home, is technically located between 237 and 241 Baker Streetalthough special permission from the City of Westminster allowed it to list its addressas 221b.
    The property’s current exorbitant price tag may have proved challenging even for the celebrity detective, due to the explosion of London’s property market over the past 20 years.

    Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren

    The nine-year-old Swedish children’s book heroine Pippi lives in Villa Villekulla with a monkey, Mr Nilsson, and a horse who is usually found on the porch. One of the house’s main treasures is the tree that grows Swedish soda water.
    The house pictured above, built for the 1969 Swedish TV series based on Lindgren’s books, is now the Pippi Longstocking Museum located at the heart of an attraction parkin the small town of Kneippbyn on Sweden’s Gotland Island.

    In the Mood For Love (2000), Wong Kar-wai

    The two small flats where this movie plays out shape the plot and atmosphere of this classic romance, as neighbors Chow Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen learn that their spouses are having an affair.
    The typically cramped Hong Kong properties reflect the characters’ lack of privacy — they are constantly spied upon by other neighbors and their landlords — and are a catalyst for them falling in love.
    But there is also a political context. By the early 1960s — the era depicted in the film — thousands of Shanghai exiles had moved to Hong Kong, especially to the North Point neighborhood.
    Many of them were wealthy business people (like Su’s husband) and intellectuals (such as Chow), and expecting their move to be temporary they led a separate life to locals, which explains the characters’ sense of alienation.
    Engel & Vlkers estimated the value based on the cost of an average 861-square-foot (80sqm)flat in a traditional walk-up in North Point, Hong Kong.

    One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Gabriel Garca Mrquez

    The house in which generations of the Buenda family live, love and die in the fictional village of Macondo was inspired by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s grandparents’ home in Aracataca, Colombia, where the author grew up.
    “Neither my mother nor I, of course, could even have imagined that this simple two-day trip (to sell my grandparents’ house) would be so decisive that the longest and most diligent of lives would not be enough for me to finish recounting it,” Marquez wrote about his trip to the house as a young man in his autobiography “Living to Tell the Tale”.
    Based on Marquez’s writings, Colombia’s Ministry of Culture in 2010 spent $350,000 reconstructing the house — which had been demolished — and opened it as a museum in the author’s name.

    Dracula (1897), Bram Stoker

    The Bran Castle in Brasov, which is now owned by the Romanian royal family, is generally associated with the famous vampire Dracula, and consequently receives 800,000 visitors a year.
    But there isn’t any historical evidence to support the myth around Bran. Built in the early 13th century by the Teutonic knights, the castle has no concrete link to Vlad Tepes — the Wallachian medieval king who inspired Stoker’s vampire. While Tepes ordered the killing of many Saxons in Brasov, it is not known if he ever stepped foot in the castle.
    Nevertheless, Forbes magazine deemed the property to be the most expensive European home in 2007.
    Romanian real estate agents Transylvanian Properties used that figure to make their estimate, taking into account subsequent renovations and extensions.

    Amlie, (2001), Jean-Pierre Jeunet

    This film’s whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life revolves around Amlie Poulain, a shy waitress who lives in a tiny Montmartre flat.
    With its crimson walls, replica Renaissance paintings, and pig-shaped bedside table lamp, the flat reflects Amlie’s cheekiness and charm.
    The neighborhood is part of the 18th arrondissement, in north Paris, near the Sacre-Coeur basilica, the Moulin Rouge cabaret and a Dali museum. Montmartre became famous as an artists’ hub, where the likes of Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh lived, attracted by the cheap rents.
    But this is not the case anymore — the general increase in property prices across Paris, as well as tourism and the municipal renovations in the area, led to a 260% increase in property prices from 2000 to 2016, according to MeilleursAgents.
    Amlie set locations are part ofthe tourists’ route, and the film might have played a role in the neighborhood’s property price rise.

    Out of Africa (1937), Karen Blixen

    In her memoir, Danish author Blixen described in detail the Nairobi farmhouse in which she lived from 1917 until 1931 — a description which later informed the 1985 film of the same name starring Meryl Streep.
    After Blixen’s return to Europe, the house had multiple owners until in 1964 the Danish government bought it and gave it to the Kenyan government as an independence gift.
    Initially, the government used the building as a college principal’s home, but it opened it as a museum in 1986, after the success of “Out of Africa” the movie.
    The film, however, was shot in a different house in Kenya, which had previously belonged to Ngina Kenyatta, the widow of the east African country’s first President Jomo Kenyatta.

    And one that really is fictional…

    Hogwarts is the center of the Harry Potter world. Built in the Scottish Highlands in 993 AD, according to JK Rowling’s texts, this old ruined castle features 142 staircases, ample towers, turrets and forests, as well as a quidditch field and lake.
    The Harry Potter films usedseveral locations in England to recreate the magic of Hogwarts, including the banquet hall at Christ Collegeand the Bodleian Library in Oxford, Gloucester Cathedral and Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.
    Because of this, CNN asked a real estate expert to estimate the approximate value of thefictional building only, excluding fields and forests, and assuming it were located in the Scottish Highlands.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/26/architecture/famous-fictional-houses-one-square-meter/index.html

    The Salad Oil King New Book Review

    From the San Francisco Book Review:

    There’s something about criminal stories that commands our attention. Maybe it’s the chance to look behind the curtain of illegality and see just how someone can manage to pull off a wild scheme. Maybe it’s the curiosity of wondering what goes through someone’s mind and brings them to commit actions the rest of us would never dream of. Whichever the case, the story of Alfonso “Fonso” Gravanese has all the elements needed to be a classic tale of American crime, and it spins out from a master storyteller.

    Full Review Here – http://sanfranciscobookreview.com/product/salad-oil-king/

    Get The Salad Oil King HERE

    The Hunger Saint by Olivia Kate Cerrone

    Hunger Saint is about Ntoni, a twelve-year-old boy forced to labor in Sicily’s sulfur mines to support his family after his father’s untimely death. These child laborers were called carusu or “mine-boy”, a labourer in a sulfur mine who worked next to a picuneri or pick-man, and carried raw ore from deep in the mine to the surface.

    Seattle Book Review gave it 5 stars and a great review here – http://seattlebookreview.com/product/the-hunger-saint/

    A historical story of child labor, but not from all that long ago.

    Get the book here http://amzn.to/2pJjHOJ

    More book reviews

    How to photograph Hanoi like the city’s Instagram stars

    (CNN)From food-fueled itineraries to quiet cultural corners, Hanoi is a photographer’s dream destination.

    With a penchant for side streets and quiet lakes, these Instagram stars explore the city’s rooftops, coffee shops and the French colonial Old Quarter.

    The night owl

      March 22, 2015. Hanoi, Vietnam. A couple poses for pre wedding photos at sunset on the side of Hoan Kiem lake. #couple #pose #photoshoot #hoankiem #lake #sunset #preweeding #wedding #groom #bride #kiss #intimacy #cinematic #fun #travel #documentary #hanoi #vietnam #ReportageSpotlight #everydayvietnam #everydayasia #everydayeverywhere

      A post shared by Linh Pham (@phamhaduylinh) on

      With more than 70,000 followers on Instagram and a career as a photojournalist and documentarian, Linh Pham is among Vietnam’s most talented photographers.
      After studying graphic design in college, Pham spent two years traveling the world as a freelance photographer.
      But he felt a lack of connection to these places and soon returned to find his roots in Hanoi.
      In 2015, he began photographing the city, capturing its energy, people and social issues — re-exploring his hometown through oft-overlooked details.
      “I want to tell the world about contemporary Vietnam through my photos,” says Pham.

      Test post here. The cool folks at @instagram just allow us to post landscape photos along with the same old square starting from today. Instagram created a new shooting habit for me as I'm shooting 1:1 with the phone exclusively these days. Let see what people come up with this new (to Instagram) tweak! March 22, 2015. Hanoi, Vietnam. Police officers watch over the crowd attending Earth Hour in front of Hanoi Opera House. #landscape #police #officer #policeman #crowd #flare #night #opera #theater #earthhour #travel #documentary #hanoi #vietnam #everydayvietnam #everydayasia #everydayeverywhere

      A post shared by Linh Pham (@phamhaduylinh) on

      “It’s not just the kind of postcard landscape you would expect from the guidebook. As a developing country, Vietnam has a lot more stories to offer.”
      As a local, Pham says he knows many “backstage” shots and alternative angles to show Hanoi from a fresh perspective.
      “I love photos with layers — the kind of photos that make you stop and look more closely to really figure out what’s going on in the scene,” he adds.
      He gravitates to the Long Bien Market at midnight to capture night-shift workers in action, walks around at 5 a.m. before sunrise to enjoy the silent streets and climbs to rooftop apartments to see the city from above.
      But even if you’re not quite so committed to roaming the streets from dusk to dawn, Pham suggests a few more accessible photography opportunities.

        #MyHanoi: Photojournalist Linh Pham

      MUST WATCH

      “In Vietnam, life happens on the streets — just walking around provides you with glimpses about how people are and have always been living,” he says.
      “It’s heaven for street photography because of the vibrant activities outside.”
      He suggests stopping to try the local sweet soup — a glass of crushed ice with tapioca balls and grass jelly — while watching the city come to life.
      “To some people it’s a noisy and congested city, but there are secret quiet corners right at the heart of Hanoi,” he says.
      “On the surface it looks old, chaotic or plain dirty, but with patience and empathy, one can surely find beauty and order in every frame.”

      The peace-seeker

      Lm sao thi bay thnh ph nhu nt c k Nhng ngy bt nhp ph khn Thng 2, c iu chi i ti

      A post shared by Lan Chi (@caracat) on

      A Hanoi native, 30-year-old Lan Chi Tran has a deep connection with her hometown — evident on her vibrant Instagram feed, where she has 9,000-plus followers.
      “Hanoi is a dreamy city,” says Tran. “Some people say that my images are simple and touching. It makes them miss Hanoi, or makes them really want to go to Hanoi.”
      The graphic designer doubles as a street photographer, chronicling her favorite teashops, streets and moments in Hanoi.
      Tran pursues photography as way to relax — even in busy Hanoi, she finds peace through her practice.

      Ch khu nh rn rng nng lung linh

      A post shared by Lan Chi (@caracat) on

      “I often go around by myself, and when I observe slowly and feel it with all of my senses, I see beauty everywhere,” she explains. “It’s a way of meditation for me — a way of mindfulness.”
      Tran says every corner of Hanoi is inspiring — from coffee shops to trees, people, architecture and old-world charm.
      For colorful and calming surrounds, she suggests Phan Dinh Phung Street, a tree-lined avenue dotted with French villas and Chinese mansions.
      She also recommends Ly Dao Thanh Street, in the old quarter behind Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and, of course West Lake, the city’s largest freshwater lake.

        #MyHanoi: Street photographer Lan Chi Tran

      MUST WATCH

      “I always feel calm when being at these places,” she says. “The streets are always crowded but when you are there, it’s somehow very quiet and peaceful.”
      When showing friends around town, Tran skips the big-name restaurants and heads instead to her favorite local coffee shops and cafes.
      She likes to tuck into lunch at Crab Noodle along Nha Tho Alley or sip on soup at Sweet Soup on Hang Bo Street.
      “When I am taking pictures, I want something colorful,” she says. “I like to play with the colors — and I want happy photos.”

      The culture hound

      Ao Dai in the traffic. #vietnam #vietnamese #ig_vietnam #everydayeverywhere #everydayvietnam #everydaysoutheastasia #usa #ig_worldclub #wanderlust #aodai #hanoi #picoftheday #lensculture #lensculturestreets #streetphotography #streetphoto #viagem #viaje #travelgram #natgeotravel #asia #streetstyle #ig_respect #igturko #us #nightshot #igglobalclub #photooftheday #condenast #ig_spain

      A post shared by Javier Puig Saura (@javierpuigsaura) on

      Originally from Minorca, in Spain, 42-year-old Javier Puig Saura moved to Hanoi in 2014, when he was posted at the Spanish Embassy in Hanoi.
      A career diplomat, Javier says he was immediately blown away by the energy and color in Hanoi — so much so, that it inspired him to resume his long-neglected hobby of photography.
      “I was so surprised by everything I saw — the traffic, the buildings, the people, the food — that I wanted to share it with family and friends back in Spain,” Javier tells CNN Travel.
      “After a year in Hanoi, one of my best friends came to visit us and talked to me about Instagram, encouraging me to post my pictures there.”
      The more he shot, the more Javier wanted to see and discover — all the while posting on his dynamic Instagram feed.
      “Life, from birth to death, happens on the streets,” says Javier. “And there is also this fabulous mix of tradition and modernity, European influence and Asian character.”

      Chc mng nm mi Once again thousands of kumquat trees are being delivered all around Hanoi by fast and somewhat rash motorbikes. Kumquat is a symbol of luck, wealth and hapiness. Tt, the new lunar year, is getting close! Get ready for the year of the Rooster!!! #vietnam #vietnamese #hanoi #hanoianstotravel #everydayvietnam #everydaysoutheastasia #everydayeverywhere #ig_vietnam #ig_spain #picoftheday #photooftheday #travel #travelgram #travelphotography #wanderlust #tet #buddhism #natgeo #natgeotravel #asia #photojournalism #nikon #streetlife #viajar #streephotography #visitvietnam #bike #newyear #travelasia #lensculturestreets

      A post shared by Javier Puig Saura (@javierpuigsaura) on

      When Javier sets out to shoot, he typically avoids landscapes and food, gravitating instead towards people.
      But street photography is tough. He says it’s akin to going fishing or hunting — luck must be on your side.
      Instead of simply snapping away, Javier usually begins with a conversation.
      “Basically, taking pictures is an excuse to meet people so I use the camera as a pretext,” says Javier, who regularly sits down to share a beer with his subjects and even delivers printed photos later as a gift.
      “For me to trigger the camera is the last act on a long series of actions. I like to find a true little story, something unimportant but real as life.”
      A few of his best fishing expeditions have occurred in the Old Quarter, which Javier says is endlessly photogenic with its yellow facades, French colonial architecture, and bustling motor traffic.

        #MyHanoi: Javier Puig Saura

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      He often visits Hoan Kiem Lake, where he finds Hanoians of all ages exercising, performing Aikido — a Japanese martial art — or just taking a stroll, ice cream in hand.
      On the first and 15th day of each month, Javier visits major pagodas and temples — like the Tran Quoc pagoda or Phu Tay Ho temple — to take portraits of the calligraphers who work there during the busy holidays.
      “Their job is to write in old Vietnamese characters the wishes and prayers of the worshippers in papers that they will then burn in the fire of the pagoda,” explains Javier.
      “The smoke is supposed to convey the wishes to the heavenly gods. They wear long beards and are dressed in colorful robes — it’s a beautiful sight.”

      The coffee connoisseur

      I used to love all the ghost stories in this book! Classic! #lieutrai #ghoststories #cafe #reading books #coffeebreak #vietnamesecoffee #lieutraichidi #nhanam #iphonography

      A post shared by Bien Nguyen (@bienontheroad) on

      Although he grew up in a small village, just outside of Hanoi, Bien Thuy Nguyen didn’t feel any connection to the city until he moved there as an adult.
      The Instagrammer — who shoots under the moniker Bien on the Road — relocated to Hanoi eight years ago to attend university.
      “I am not a city boy, but Hanoi is always my city, and my favorite city,” says Nguyen.
      “I got my first camera in 2008. I was shooting in my free time with friends … I fell in love with Hanoi and all its charms. All the historical and cultural layers inspire me.”
      Now a full-time liaison officer at the UN International School in Hanoi, Nguyen says photography is a hobby — not a profession.
      He snaps photos while traveling or wandering around Hanoi, focusing on people and street scenes.

      T tm #playingcards #hanoi #vietnam #instatravel #travelgram #instadaily #wanderlust #instagram #ig_travel #ig_hanoi #ig_street #ig_myshot #ig_vietnam #travel360 #travellife #travelphotography #traveladdict #travelling #tourists #oldmen #hanoistreetlife #hanoipavements #littleplasticchairs #hiddencharm

      A post shared by Bien Nguyen (@bienontheroad) on

      “The people and their daily life in the city are like watching a film — lively and interesting,” he says.
      “I take photos of whatever happens on the streets, or at secret corners, quiet alleys, beautiful architecture such as temples, churches, castles… of course coffee shops too.”
      Nguyen captures cafes for his side project Hanoi Hideaway — a site and app dedicated to finding Hanoi’s rich coffee culture.
      “You can also find many interesting stories about the city and its history in coffee shops.”
      Nguyen recommends Loading T, located in a French villa featuring exposed brick walls and mosaic tiled floors, the coffee shop is known for serving one of Hanoi’s best “egg coffees.”
      The thick coffee drink is a local staple, made with egg yolk in lieu of milk, coffee powder, condensed milk and butter.

        #MyHanoi: Bien Thuy Nguyen

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      Then there’s Nhac Xua Cafe, a historic music spot, which began as an amplifier and speaker repair shop.
      “When he first opened (the repair shop), the owner would serve customers green tea and play old music — mostly Vietnamese pre-war songs — while they waited,” explains Nguyen.
      “People loved it and asked the owner to turn that shop into a coffee shop. Sitting on the tiny bamboo chairs by Westlake in the evening and listening to old music will bring you back to the old days of Vietnam.”

      The storyteller

      Hng nc tr huyn thoi #teashop #hanoi #hometown #vietnam #travel #dailylife #nov2016 #ricohgr

      A post shared by Hai Thanh (@haithanhptw) on

      A Hanoi-born documentary photographer, Hai Thanh keeps a “visual diary” of day-to-day life in Vietnam on his popular Instagram account.
      Formerly a photojournalist, working at local newspapers and magazines, Thanh has been photographing the city since 2004.
      “In the early years, I used street photography as a tool to develop my own voice,” says Thanh.
      “The city is an eternal inspiration of mine — it’s kind of like my big house. I have everything here: family, job, friends, foods and love.”

      #streetvendors #flowers #oldquarter #hanoi #hometown #vietnam #dailylife #travel #streetphotography #nov2016 #instagram #ricohgr

      A post shared by Hai Thanh (@haithanhptw) on

      The self-taught photographer turns a lens on the city’s social issues, including living conditions and the evolution of the city.
      “I try to capture the emotions inside the pictures,” he says. “When I’m on the street and taking photos, it keeps me motivated.”
      “I never expect the perfect picture — I just enjoy photography and finding one moment at a time.”
      For Thanh, the most interesting aspect of photographing Hanoi is its people — around Hoan Kiem Lake, in the Old Quarter or around the markets to see everyday life in the city.

        #MyHanoi: Maika Elan and Hai Thanh

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      “I love taking photographs of crowds — it’s a lot of fun,” Thanh says. “For travelers, I would send them to the narrow alleys, where residents live and share a public space together. It is so Hanoi!”
      Of course, a trip to Hanoi isn’t complete without sampling the city’s diverse street eats — think ph b (beef noodle soup), bn ch (grilled pork with rice noodle), and bnh m pate (goose pate sandwiches).
      “You must taste the local food in every corner of the Old Quarter,” he says. “You don’t know anything about Hanoi if you never try the street foods.”

      The activist

      #cafe #tit #17months #kycon #saigon #family #travel #stair #apartment #oldhouse #maikaelan

      A post shared by Maika Elan (@maikaelan) on

      Married to Hai Thanh, Maika Elan is a documentary photographer who tells intimate stories through her lens.
      She picked up a family camera in 2006 and started experimenting while studying sociology in university.
      At the time, Elan focused on the villages and farmers in the countryside. But as she advanced, she took interest in city life and issues closer to home.
      “For me Hanoi is always full of positive energy and almost everything is on the street so you really can see the real life here,” she tells CNN Travel.
      “I love to take picture in the small alleys. They look very small and dark from outside, but when you walk in, its very long and often open up to stairways or kitchen, with lots of sunshine. It always takes me by surprise.”

      A ceramic seller stand in front of her shop. #portrait #hanoi #vietnam #market #maikaelan #photography #viiphoto #viimentorprogram #ceramic #woman #vietnamese

      A post shared by Maika Elan (@maikaelan) on

      Sporting a shock of blue hair, the Hanoi-born photographer says the city’s positive energy never ceases to inspire her.
      “With photography you will see the small details,” she says. “I live more in the moment with photography. You see more, talk to more with people. It changes you day by day.”
      But her real passion lies in documenting the everyday struggles facing Vietnamese people.
      In 2012, she won a World Press Photo award for an image depicting an LGBT couple in bed.
      The photo was part of Elan’s “The Pink Choice” documentary project, where she spent two years traveling across Vietnam to explore the lives of same-sex couples.
      By the end of the journey, she had taken hundreds of intimate photos in the homes of more than 70 gay couples.
      “People showed me their love and how they survived, how they stand together,” she says.
      Love the music from CNN’s #MyHanoi videos? Here’s a full list of featured tracks:

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/05/travel/myhanoi-instagram-insider-guide/index.html

      Arthur Blythe, acclaimed jazz musician, dies aged 76

      Blythe was at the vanguard of jazz in the 1970s, when his Lenox Avenue Breakdown album from 1979 described as a masterpiece

      Arthur Blythe, the jazz musician and composer who was a key part of the genres experimentation in the 70s alongside the likes of Don Cherry, has died at the age of 76.

      A short post left on his Facebook page said he died in the early hours of Monday morning and mentioned his Parkinsons disease, which he had since 2005.

      Early this morning the great Arthur Blythe passed, it read. As many of you know he was a gentle soul and a musical genius. He had been fighting Parkinsons disease for several years. His spirit will live on in his unique music, which he humbly gave to our universe.

      Blythe was at the vanguard of jazz in the 1970s, with his Lenox Avenue Breakdown album from 1979 considered to be a key release of that period and was described as a masterpiece in the Penguin Modern Guide to Jazz.

      He continued to release music until relatively recently, and his performances on his 2003 album Exhale, which would be his last, were described as absolutely devastating by the Guardians jazz critic John Fordham.

      Born in Los Angeles, Blythe made his name playing with Don Cherry alongside blacklisted musician Horace Tapscott before becoming part of the second wave of avant garde jazz players of the 70s in New York, where he was known as Black Arthur Blythe.

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/mar/29/arthur-blythe-jazz-musician-dies-at-76