Read these books and you’ll sound brilliant

We all want to sound smart, right? (If you don’t, you probably shouldn’t be reading this.) Well, there are some books that are chock full of fascinating facts that, if you read them, will make you look like you’re a genius.

And, since you have some time off from school, this may be the perfect time to try one of these.

This list comes from the Barnes & Noble Book Blog:

The Private Life of Chairman Mao by Li Zhisui
Did you know Mao Zedong had venereal disease? You’ll learn that and other fascinating facts if you read this.

The Great Cat Massacre by Robert Darnton
There was actually a cat holocaust in the late 1730s in Paris. Who knew? You will if you tackle this tome.

The Bloody White Baron: The Extraordinary Story of the Russian Nobleman who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia by James Palmer
This book features some pretty interesting things, including orgies, murder, corruption and cruelty.

The Fugu Plan: The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews During World War II by Marvin Tokayer
This tells the story of Chiune Sugihara, the “Japanese Oskar Schindler,” who saved thousands of Jews during the war.

Russophobia in New Zealand 1838-1908 by Glynn Barratt
Russophobia lasted in New Zealand for 70 years. Why? Well, you’re going to have to read it to find out. Imagine the conversations you can have at your next party.

Happy Reading, you genius, you.


You need to read these books now

Yeah, we know. You’re overwhelmed with reading for class. But, when you have those pockets of free time, or over the winter break, you can read one of these 65 books recommended by BuzzFeed that will move you, inspire you, make you laugh and make you cry.

Of course, Christmas is coming, so you could put one or more of these books on your Christmas list.

Here is just a sampling:




General Life How-Tos

Happy reading.

Neat kitchen-y gift ideas for college students

Are you trying to figure out what to get your college student for Christmas? Well, there is always the favorite – cold, hard cash. But – and we’re not trying to persuade you not to give cash – there are some other clever ideas out there as well.

PBS Food has a Kitchen Gift Guide for college students that may give you some good ideas. Keep in mind, though, that before you choose one of these items, you’re going to have to make sure that your student is allowed to have it in his residence hall. Of course, if your son or daughter is living on campus, that shouldn’t be a problem.PhotoforDec.11Post

Indoor electric grill
This baby is reversible so your son or daughter can make burgers or pancakes by using the same device.

Toaster oven and broiler
This is perfect for toasting bagels or reheating pizza. (Although, your son/daughter may prefer cold pizza.)

Nonstick frying pan
This is a great gift for anyone, but your college student will likely appreciate that his/her scrambled eggs or burger or grilled cheese won’t stick.

Homemade soda machine
Your son or daughter probably drinks a lot of soda, which can be pretty expensive.  And, all of those bottles and cans wreak havoc on the environment. With this soda machine, he/she can make a wide assortment of flavored sodas, save money and protect the earth.

Family recipe book
This is our favorite. At least once, your son or daughter has wanted to cook something that you have made, but he/she didn’t have the recipe. With this pocket page recipe book, you can add his/her favorite recipes to this book, which includes 40 four-inch by six-inch decorated recipe cards.

If you have any gift ideas, let us know and we’ll share them.

Try these tips to help you rock the multiple-choice test

If you’re not in the throes of Finals Week yet, you will be soon. That means you’ll be taking some pretty important tests. Last week, we shared some tips on how to survive Finals Week. In the meantime, we came across some interesting tips when taking multiple-choice tests from our friends at Hack College that we thought you might find helpful.

Keep in mind that nothing beats studying and paying attention in class. And, none of these helpful hints will work all of the time. But, you never know which one of these might give you a bit of an edge. PhotoForDec.9

Stick with what you heard in class
If there are one or two choices that you never discussed in class, rule those out. Of course, this only works if you’ve been attending class and paying attention.

When there are two choices that sound similar, pick one of them
If two of the choices are almost identical in terms of spelling, one of them is probably the correct answer. Sometimes professors like to give you two similar options.

If two choices say the same thing, pick another answer
You may have on your test a set of answers where two of the choices are basically the same but worded differently. Since both of them can’t be correct, rule them out and choose another answer.

Avoid answers with the words “all,” “every,” never” or “none”
There are few things in the world that are absolute, so you’re pretty safe steering clear of these answers.

Avoid extreme answers
If one of the answers is completely out of place, it’s probably because it doesn’t belong there. Avoid that answer; it’s probably not correct.

If two of the options appear correct, choose “all of the above”
If you’re sure that two of the answers are correct and you have an “all of the above” option, that’s most likely the correct answer.

Don’t overthink it
If you don’t know the answer, not overthink it. Over analyzing it will just make you more confused.

Good luck.

How to survive finals week – Part II

If you’ve already been through Finals Week, then you know it can be stressful. But we’re here to help. On Monday we gave you some tips to help you survive. Today we have more.

These come from the College Survival Handbook and’s college life section:

PhotoForDec.4PostGo see your professor
If you’re not doing well in the class, talk with your professor. Of course, the best time to talk to your professor is at the first sign of trouble in the class. But, better late than never.

Take a break every now and then
Your brain needs time to absorb everything you’re trying to cram into it. So, you’re going to have to give your brain a rest. The best way to do that is find a quiet place and just clear your mind.

Don’t try to do everything at once
You’ll just get overwhelmed. Instead, make a schedule and do a little at a time.

Drink lots of water
Your brain needs to be hydrated. Caffeinated beverages won’t work as well as water.

Don’t waste time
Get off Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest. Stop Googling silly things. Ignore YouTube.  And. Just. Study.

Know what material will be covered
Will the final have everything you’ve covered in class? Will it include only the material since the midterm? These are questions you’ll need to have answers for.

Look at other exams you’ve had in the class
Most likely, your professor has an exam style. So, if you look at the previous tests he or she has given, you’ll get an idea of what kind of material he/she considers will be on the final. Knowing that will help you study.

Ask students who have already had the class
There’s a good chance that you know someone who had the class before you. Ask him/her what the final was like and what you can do to be as prepared as possible.

Good luck.

How to survive finals week – Part I

It’s coming, the dreaded Finals Week. But, it doesn’t have to be dreaded. There are many tools and techniques you can use to survive and even thrive during the week.

We found some helpful hints on SparkNotes  a site that helps students with coursework they may find confusing. Some of the site’s suggestions aren’t really doable – no, you really can’t tattoo the test answers on your butt or your palms – but we hope you find many of the hints helpful:

Start studying now
If you haven’t seriously studied until now, get going. It’s best to hit the books hard before Finals Week then you can more casually review the material during the big week.

Avoid studying with a chatty friend
You won’t be able to remember what you need to remember if you have someone yakking in your ear. Either find a quiet friend to study with or go solo.

Don’t forget to take good notes
If you forgot how, here are some tips:

Download a playlist of motivating music
It doesn’t matter what music you choose as long as it gets you motivated.

Make sure you get enough sleep
You won’t do well if you’re falling asleep during the test.

You may not do your best work if you’re all stressed out. While it may be hard to relax at this time, consider doing one of those things that help you to de-stress, whether it’s going for a walk, meditating, watching a movie or playing a video game.

Next: More tips on how to survive Finals Week