Top 7 Books to Read Before Traveling to Turkey

I like to read several books before each trip to have a better understanding of the culture and the local life of my next destination. Of course there are the travel guides I read before leaving or even before choosing my next destination, but my favourites are fiction novels. I like to read stories that take place in that country or whose authors are from that country.

Below is a great list of non-travel books about Turkey, some from Turkish authors. If you are considering travelling to Turkey soon, create time to read at least few of them, perhaps they will make you realize your dream trip sooner than expected.

1) Yasar Kemal, The Birds Have Also Gone

A short novel from one of Turkey’s internationally recognised and widely read authors who has also been a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature. In this book, author tells the story of three boys who are struggling to survive in the constantly changing environment of the big city: Istanbul.

2) John David Tumpane, Scotch and Holy Water

Entertaining book on Turkish people and life in Turkey written by American author who lived in Turkey for 10 years. From the view of a Turkish person you may find the author arrogant and the observations exaggerated but it will surely be helpful to Americans in understanding Turkish thinking. “We arrived in Istanbul via Pan Am after midnight. On the way into the city, all the neon signs looked so strange to me: Tuzcuoglu, Haci Bekir Lokumlari, Koc. I thought, I’ll never be able to learn this language. Then I saw a sign reading Is Bankasi and I was sure the word “bank” was lurking somewhere in there. Since I knew one word of Turkish already, I decided to stay”

3) Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul Memories and the City

The Nobel Prize winner recalls the Istanbul of his youth. Istanbul’s melancholy enriched his childhood and continues to inspire him. “… the melancholy of this dying culture was all around us. Great as the desire to westernise and modernise may have been, the more desperate wish, it seemed, was to be rid of all the bitter memories of the fallen empire: rather as a spurned lover throws away his lost beloved’s clothes, possessions and photographs”

4) Mustafa Ziyalan and Amy Spangler (editors), Istanbul Noir

Comprised of by 16 stories, all original, some of Turkey’s most exciting authors; the result is an underground portrait of the city and of Turkey, told in evocative, often poetic, and powerful language.

5) Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings

Birds Without Wings is a novel by Louis de Bernières, telling the tragic love story of Philothei, a Christian girl and Ibrahim her childhood friend and Muslim. The story is set in Eskibahçe, a small fictional village; although fiction, the setting of Eskibahçe is based upon Kayaköy village near Fethiye, the ruins of which still exist today; a beautiful historic romantic novel.

6) Elif Safak, The Flea Palace

Safak is a young Turkish novelist, writer of best-sellers in Turkey, France and Bulgaria. The Flea Palace is a novel about daily routines of the inhabitants of an apartment building in Istanbul named BonBon Palace, miniature representation of the city itself, the city of contrasts and contradictions, the city where East meets West. Here is an extract from The Flea Palace: “Istanbul was under a heavy fog that morning, and as all Istanbulites knew too well, during foggy days even the city herself could not tell what her colour was. However, Agripina Fyodorovna Antipova had always been pampered with great care since birth and had been subsequently led to presume that others were to blame whenever she could not obtain anything she desired…”

7) Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey

A nonfiction anthology created and edited by Anastasia M. Ashman & Jennifer Eaton Gokmen. The collection includes the life experiences of 32 expatriate women from seven nations and five continents, whose collective experience spans over the past four decades. These diverse women describe religion, culture, conflicts, traditions and customs with the perspective of foreign women living and working in Turkey. They will take you to Istanbul’s narrow streets, to warm homes, and to steamy Hamams. If you are planning to visit Turkey soon this book is a great read to warm your heart to Turkish people.

Top 5 Marketing Tips for Real Estate Agents in 2015

"All failure is failure to adapt; all success is successful adaptation." Max McKeown

Here’s a simple truth in real estate: what worked yesterday won’t always work today or tomorrow. A perfect example of this is marketing. Some marketing techniques you used a few years ago likely aren’t working as well for you today.

I hope you’ll agree with me when I say reaching prospective buyers and sellers via marketing is essential to your livelihood in real estate. So making the necessary changes in how you communicate with them is a must.

In short, you have to adapt because in the span of just a few years we’ve witnessed a wide-ranging revolution in the way consumers get and interact with information. The internet, e-mail, mobile phones, social media, wearable technology — the list grows longer every year.

So what kinds of marketing should you consider for 2015? Here are five that’ll put you on the right path to connecting with (and persuading) prospects:

1. Share helpful content – Because information is so prevalent, only the most relevant communication reaches consumers’ brains. Messages that simply tout how great you are will fall short. Before you send information, always ask: "Will this help prospects in their real estate affairs?" If not, rework it until it is helpful, informative and interesting.

2. Make social media work for you – When you share helpful information, you have a much better chance of it getting shared on social media outlets. When that happens, your name rises on the ladder of respectability in the world of real estate. Social media allows people to communicate with each other more than ever. Some studies say 75 percent of a real estate agent’s business comes from referrals and word of mouth. And half of Americans said they have received a good suggestion on social media, according to a new Harris Poll, including 16 percent who frequently receive suggestions and 35 percent who said they receive suggestions on occasion.

3. Refresh your testimonials – Staying with the theme of consumers sharing information via social media, consider adding some pizzazz to your testimonials to boost referrals. You might want to turn them into 15 to 30 second videos you can post on your website or social media outlets to create some buzz and trust and at the same time, give people something talk about and share.

4. Become ‘mobilized’ – Can consumers read your website and e-mails on their mobile devices? If not, you’re losing potential customers. Research now shows that people spend more time browsing the web on mobile devices than they do on their desk and laptops. Some studies suggest that upwards of 66 percent of emails are opened on a phone or tablet. And 650 million people access Facebook daily via – you guessed it – their mobile devices. Today people want immediate, quick bites of information wherever they happen to be. When you can offer that, you’re putting yourself ahead in the game.

5. Use videos – Consumers are watching videos on the internet in record numbers. Facebook reports that since last summer, it has averaged more than 1 billion video views per day. Think about how you can start using video on your social networks, YouTube and website to capture the attention of prospects. Yes, certainly post listing videos, but also consider community tours, client testimonials and expert interviews about real estate. For inspiration, visit and type in homes for sale in the search option to see how real estate pros are using YouTube these days.

Let me hear from you. Is your marketing keeping pace with all the changes taking place in today’s real estate market? Are you willing to change your marketing in 2015? Do you know where you need to begin?

Top Three Exciting Summer Vacation Travel Books

The summers are perfect for vacations. With the kids at home and weather getting sultry by the week, this is when you should be packing your bags and heading out for the countryside for a perfect weekend getaway experience. This would be the best thing to do, unfortunately sometimes we have to settle for second best. And, if you can’t physically be vacationing you can surely buy cheap travel books online and slip away into your own personal vacation to the wonderful places and relive the experience through the author’s eyes. To all you hardworking folks who can’t be on a vacation this summer, here is a list of 3 wonderful travel books that you can order for cheap online right away. Let’s get started.

Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story

If you live travelling you must have heard of the world’s most renowned travel guide brand – The Lonely Planet. The company started back in 70s and this book chronicles the story of the founders when they began their journey from England and travelled throughout the world until the 21st century gathering vital tourist information and growing their business all along. This is a book that mixed travel pleasure with business struggles and overall is a fascinating story that you can pick up for your summer reads.

Eat, Pray, Love: Elizabeth M. Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love is not your usual out travelogue, but we can’t talk about travel books and miss this one out. The book is a memoir of a woman who refused to be crushed by her divorce and subsequent depression. Elizabeth Gilbert sets out on a worldwide trip to explore three distinct aspects of her nature – pleasure, devotion and balance between worldliness and divinity. The books takes you to Italy where Gilbert explores the country known for its romantic proclivities. Then she heads to India where she comes closer to her inner self, and finally she lands in Bali, Indonesia where she balances her life out. Gilbert is an honest author and she makes no fuss about exposing her human weaknesses. If you want an honest memoir of a woman who ventures out on an exotic trip to find her identity, you should be ordering this book online right now.

In a sunburned country: Bill Bryson

If you have never been to Australia, this amazing book by Bryson will sure as hell have you planning for a trip to the land of kangaroos. Bill Bryson is a prolific travel writer and almost all of his books are superb so picking up one of them all is a challenge in itself. This one stands out because there aren’t many Australia specific travel books that are as good as this one. Turn the pages and you will find yourself mentally Down Under alongside Bill going through the awesome and sometimes intriguingly fearful experiences of jellyfish encounters, dealing with frauds, crossing ravines, overcoming fear of snakes, crocodiles and spiders! Australia is a giant country filled with great people and beautiful natural vistas that Bryson takes you through. You can buy this book for cheap online at any stores today.

We are sure these books will make it up for your lost summer vacation. Check these books out at your local book seller or buy cheap travel books online. Also let us know if we missed a travel book that you think should be on this list.