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BOOKENDS May 2023, Volume 6, Issue 3

FEATURE ARTICLE: Highlights of Reading Month 2023

The Reading Month is an annual occasion of celebration literature that held every March in the UAE. The month is designated to motivate everyone to read daily. The theme of this year was ‘UAE Reads’, acknowledging that reading is a crucial part of learning and professional growth.

Anyone who reads a lot will tell you that reading is enjoyable. But not only is it fun, it has many benefits for individuals. Reading regularly increases your vocabularies and builds empathy by helping you understand other points of view. Reading has been demonstrated to improve memory and to decrease levels of unhealthy stress.

This year as every year, the Khalifa University Libraries collaborated with several departments to promote and encourage effective reading. Among our partners in the Month of Reading activities are the Communications Department, English Department, Center for Teaching and Learning, Student Life, Student Success, and student organizations such as the Literature Club. Together we hosted and organized a variety of events and activities to all the University’s communities. Among them were book discussions (Why We Sleep), book talks by students (A Thousand Splendid SunsHow to Win Friends and Influence PeopleDoes My Head Look Big in This?), talks given by authors and KU professors (Rehan Khan, Dr. Li-Chen Sim, Nada AlAwadi, Haya Alkasem, Dr. Athol Yates, Dr. Glenda El Gamal, Dr. Stuart Gietel-Basten), positivity corner contest (#kureads2023), library games and so much more.

Click here to find all the events and activities that ran during the Month of Reading.

FACULTY CORNER - Dr. Jamal Alsawalhi, Assistant Professor

Dr. Jamal Alsawalhi is an assistant professor at the department of Electrical Engineering at Khalifa University. He shared his thoughts on “Wireless Energy Transfer for Electric Vehicles”.

According to the best estimates, our planet is close to 4.5 billion years old. This number is so big that it helps demonstrate how significant the finals week you are currently stressing about really is. While many questions will remain subject to uncertainty, one thing is sure: Earth has always been powered by a single large energy source, which generously sends the power needed for survival, free of any costs (talk about capitalism!). This energy source is the Sun, an extremely hot, burning star 150 million km away.

Quoting a reputed colleague in my department, “last time I checked” there’s no wire connecting the Earth and Sun. So how have the billions of living organisms here been getting this free energy?

Electromagnetics provide the answer. The solar rays we experience daily are nothing but electromagnetic waves, with different frequencies that carry energy. The interaction of these waves with matter produces the heat that makes Earth habitable. This connects nicely with the title of this section: “Wireless Energy Transfer for Electric Vehicles”.

Partially motivated by this wireless power transfer happening constantly between the Sun and Earth, there have been efforts for several decades to power electric devices wirelessly using this same method: electromagnetic waves. If you are a graduate student struggling with your thesis, chances are good that you survive on microwaved food. The microwave oven is one just example of many that successfully replicates the solar power transfer system, but on a much smaller scale, and of course with some major technical differences. 

In my research, I try to extend this concept to electric vehicles (EV). In less than 10 years, EVs will be the only type of vehicle produced by most major car manufacturers. Instead of charging these vehicles with wires, imagine a world where no chords are needed, and where the charging is done without any effort from the driver, because everything is automated. This adds two major benefits to the customer experience: convenience and safety. The former is made possible by automating the charging process, while the latter is accomplished by the elimination of cables that carry large currents and present serious safety concerns.

There remains, however, challenges that require novel solutions to make this concept feasible. To understand these, consider the figure below, which shows a typical wireless charging system. The transmitter coil emits electromagnetic waves beneath the vehicle that interact with the secondary coil within the car that produces electric power and charges the vehicle battery. In an ideal world, and to make the system as efficient as possible, we would like to both eliminate the air gap between the systems and perfectly align them in the xy plane. However, this is impossible, as an air gap will always exist and misalignment is probable. Therefore, much research is aimed at finding novel shapes and topologies that acknowledge these realities but still maintain a high charging efficiency. One of the major misconception about wireless power charging compared to the wired charging is that it is inefficient; however this has been proven wrong by numerous published research studies.

In summary, electric vehicle wireless power transfer systems are “Key Enablers”. Moving to wireless power transfer will open many new doors that are currently locked and will enhance the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, which serves the larger goal of extending the life of our very precious 4.5 billion year-old home.

LIBRARIAN CORNER - Open Access Publishing

There is a revolution taking place in academic publishing.

The traditional model of journal publication, which restricts access to academic material to subscribers, is being replaced by the Open Access (OA) model. In OA, access to download and read academic articles is available to anyone for free and with no geographic restrictions. This means that scientific knowledge is being shared further and faster than ever before. Studies have shown that OA articles are generally viewed and cited more often than comparable closed access articles. These studies show that this increased readership is especially present in populations that have frequently been excluded previous, such as patient groups, independent researchers, and scholars in the developing world. 

This revolution is being embraced by researchers at KU, as can be seen by examining the rapid growth in OA publishing here. Just ten years ago, there were only 27 OA articles published by KU authors, which accounted for only 6% of the university’s scholarly output. In 2022, however, the output had grown to 645 articles, just shy of 42% of the total output of KU authors.

The university has established a program to encourage and support OA publishing by KU authors. You can find out more information about this project at the KU OA website here: If you have any questions, please contact our Librarian Walter Brian Hall or email us at

BOOK REVIEW - Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Adiche, C.N. (2007). “Half of a Yellow Sun” New York: Anchor Books ISBN-13 978-1400095209

This award-winning classic tells the too-often forgotten story of the tragedy of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-70). The novel tales the tale through the lives of five characters: twin sisters, Olanna and Kainene, their respective romantic partners (Odenigbo, a Nigerian intellectual and Olanna's husband, and a Richard, British writer and lover of Kainene), and Ugwu, young man who leaves his country home to become the servant of Odenigbo and Olanna.

Adichie uses the interlocking lives of these five people to tell the story of the emergence of an intellectual circle in the aftermath of Nigerian independence in 1960 and its dissolution in the maelstrom of the civil war that tore the country apart and resulted in the death of at least 2.5 million civilians from starvation.

The novel masterfully weaves multiple themes into this tale of terror and atrocity. Adichie delves into the family and the emerging empowerment of women. She examines how academics sometimes make themselves irrelevant through arguments over pointless theories. Through Richard, Adichie subtlety examines the role of Westerners in post-colonial Africa, and how the western media frequently cared more for how expats were effected than for the millions of Africans.

But the largest them is the utter tragedy of war. This is best illustrated via the character of Ugwu. At the beginning of the novel, he is the most sympathetic character. But he involuntarily becomes a soldier in the Biafran army and is forced to commit atrocities by his comrades, illustrating the dehumanization of violence and warfare. And the conclusion of the novel shows the pointlessness and cost of the war that accomplishes nothing.

The book by Adichie is incredibly moving. The characters are intriguing and deeply human. Because of how captivatingly the author has told this crucial story, I highly recommend this book.

If you are interested to read the book, it's available at both libraries.

TECHNOLOGY BYTES - O'Reilly Books Online


If you have ever wanted to learn more about Information Technology, a great place to start is O’Reilly Books Online. This resource has over 60,000 books and 30,000 hours of video tutorials that cover IT and business topics. All this information is free to everyone in the KU community and can be accessed anywhere. Whether you want to find out more about developments in AI, learn how to code in Python, become an expert in project management, or anything in between, O’Reilly Books Online has you covered.

To access this resource, visit the library’s E-resources page and jump to the Os. When you click on the link for O’Reilly, you will be taken to the website where you can quickly set up your account by using your KU email address. Simply click on the “Institution not listed?” link to register. Make sure to use your KU email address to create your account so that you will have full and free access. After you have logged in, you can search for the area that you are interested in learning more about, or you can browse the list of topics that the site has created.

If you run into any problems with this resource (or any others), please contact us at or via the AskUs library chat (during normal working hours).



  • Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America once started his own lending library in 1731 in Philadelphia called the Library Company, but it required a subscription fee of 40 shillings.
  • The Joanina Library at the University of Coimbra in Portugal has a number of bats in residency, but no one is calling for an exterminator. The bats prey on insects that could damage book pages. Staff drape tables with coverings overnight and clean up the guano in the morning.
  • The Boston Public Library has a machine dubbed the Depulvera that acts like a miniature car wash for books, using a conveyor system to blast dirt from volumes
  • In 2016, the granddaughter of a man who had taken out The Microscope and Its Revelations from Hereford Cathedral School in the UK returned the title 120 years after it had been “borrowed.”
  • In the 18th century, at Marsh’s Library in Dublin, Ireland, visitors hoping to peruse rare books were locked in cages until they were done reading. This is presumably to prevent theft of the precious books.
  • The New York Public Library offers up more than just books. Members can borrow accessories like neckties and briefcases, making it ideal for people looking to complete an ensemble for a job interview.