Category Archives: Side Note

Help with a survey

Hey guys. As you may or may not be aware, I am currently an MA publishing student in the UK and part of my course is to create a new product for the book world. As this is a book review site, I thought I’d see if any of you would complete my survey to help me with market research on the new product.

My idea is based in the French bracelet idea of Cicret. The plan is to put an e-reader in a bracelet that then projects on to your arm. This bracelet would then have a motion detector to see what you are pressing and where to give you the experience of a normal e-reader but on your arm.

To complete my survey click here.

Thank-you to any who complete it!

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The Most Popular Books in Each State

Surprisingly, this blog does have followers from America. I found this post and thought it fitted in well with my blog and hopefully will appeal to all my followers, not just the Americans! Maybe make it into a new book list to read. Happy reading. 

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#NoKidsPolicy

I know you are all probably thinking why a book review blog has a post on this new No Kids Policy and for those who tune in for my reviews I will get back to them soon but this is a serious issue that I feel just cannot be ignored.

As many of you will know from previous reviews, Veronica Mars is probably one of my favourite TV shows and excitingly, the movie is released this Friday. This has obviously lead to a lot of interviews for the cast, notably Kristen Bell, the actress behind the title character. Through her interviews (and twitter feed @IMKristenBell) I’ve learned about her #NoKidsPolicy which is aimed at getting magazines to stop publishing pictures of children against the consent of their parents and the child themselves. To me this seems like a strange policy, not because I think it is a wrong policy but because I cannot believe that we have to need it. In an age where consent forms for a school picture is needed, why do paparazzi (now nicknamed pedorazzi) think that harassing young children is fine? 

We live in a world with a celebrity culture and it seems that being good at your job via music, sport and cinema/tv has meant a journey into this realm. Personally, I do feel that many new and upcoming people within these areas are in them purely for the fame. People who ring the paparazzi, telling them which restaurant they are going to be dinning at are obviously there for the fame. However, not all of them do these jobs for the celebrity status that seemingly comes with it. Cue Kristen Bell and hubby Dax Shepherd who have a young daughter. Their belief is that although they chose the path of actor and have to deal with their choice to be in the limelight, their daughter did not choose this lifestyle. Until their baby girl is old enough to choose for herself, they do not want her pictures to be public.

To me this seems fairly reasonable. In my magazine experience, those selling pictures of their babies tend to be the ‘Z’ list celebs trying to make a quick buck. Yet big companies relying on celebrity gossip feel it is fine to exploit children to sell magazines.

Being English, my earliest memories of the paparazzi was through Princess Diana. She was so hounded by them that as she hurried her driver to escape their flashes, her car crashed and as we all know, she died. Obviously this is an extreme case but if a woman who had experienced the paparazzi for numerous years is so anxious to escape them that it results in her death how should a child react?

These men are attacking children on their way to school, home and parks. Even after parents and children have said no, these animals keep attacking. I ask you a question. Why are ‘regular’ children’s faces blurred by the media when consent has not been given yet celebrity’s children aren’t? Why do they have to get injunctions for this to occur when the common man can take it for granted? Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry's paparazzi battle

People argue that celebrities exploit their own children, not the magazines and I refer to an interview with Kristen Bell where she states “if the parents want to take a picture or bring a kid to the premier or don’t mind that the photo is taken then post it”. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepherd’s argument surrounds the idea of consent and actresses Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner are taking this idea further by asking a law to be put into place in the state of California where if someone “seriously alarms, annoys, torments or terrorizes” children then fines and possible jail time should be considered.

For me this all sounds reasonable and the magazines will still get their baby photos by celebrities who are willing to allow their child to be photographed safely. I agree with this law but what do you think?

 

(Side Note: for me this issue is akin with child abuse so therefore my linked book is “A Child Called It” by David Pelzer. Great book, horrific read!)

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Veronica Mars… THE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!

Apologies for numerous things to start. 1. I am sorry for my three week absence, no excuse just haven’t written anything for a while! 2. I am sorry for the extremely excitable and obsessed version of myself you shall meet in this post. 3. This is not a book review, it isn’t even a review but an excited squeal of something to come!

So, from one of my first ever posts you may remember that I just re-blogged my friends posts. Granted it was to open you to my Rizzoli and Isles reviews but still it was an easy option for my first post. For those of you who did not read this post, it was basically my friend saying how much she hoped that Rizzoli and Isles the TV show would stay on air, especially as some of her favourite shows had been cancelled. Remember? No? Well remember the show that started off this downward spiral into despair of TV show cancellations? Veronica Mars. It was amazing. The dialogue, characters, cases, story arcs and relationships, this show had them all. Rob Thomas had created this being who just amazed and Kristen Bell played her so well that I fully believe there to be a place called Neptune and to have a Mars (driving a Saturn) living there. However, this show

was cancelled after 3 seasons. Yet I don’t feel that Thomas knew this was to happen, mainly as there was a pitch for a season 4, and that the end of season 3 is not how a show should end. Yes there were no real cliff hangers as such but what we wanted for Veronica did not happen. Who wants their heroine’s last moments on-screen to be her walking away, alone, in the dreary rain? No one!

So WB (or rather CW) cancelled the show and there we stood. Bereft of a friend, lost of a show. Then… Thomas and Bell fought for a movie. They fought for years and believed that this should happen. How many actresses fight for their TV character to be resurrected into a film? Along came Kickstarter and this is where the magic began. They went to WB and were told that if they could raise the money and if they could prove they had the fan base for a film then they would help support the films release. The Veronica Mars team decided $2 million was all they needed to be able to make a simple yet excellent film. In 11 hours this happened and was surpassed. After the month that was allocated for backers to pledge their money, $5.7 million was raised. Nearly three times the needed amount. Hopefully we shall see our hard earned money used well.

If this wasn’t all the film needed to prove that it had a strong fan base, MTV created a “Movie Brawl” were people could vote for their most anticipated film of the year. Veronica Mars was put into the mix and competed against The Hunger Games: MockingJay, Divergent, Vampire Academy as well as many others. A hard task for any film, especially one slated to have no fans. Yet it won… How? Because this was a top TV show with top fans and now it shall be a top FILM!!!!!!

The film comes out 14th March in the USA. I have all my fingers and toes crossed that it will come out in the UK and mainly in the North West! I know of at least two backers who want to see it here!

Selfie

 

 

 

Just to prove how obsessed I am over this show a selfie of me in my Veronica Mars Kickstarter Backer exclusive T-shirt!

 

 

 

 

(Side Note: She has been compared to this character a lot so my book linked to this post is the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene)

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Amazing book shelves…

ahamin

You’ll start reading just to have an excuse to get one…

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If you have to pick only one… which one will it be?

~ A. H. Amin

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Kindle

This is a webpage about books so why not a review on how you read them. I have always loved books, the feel of a new book as you open it for the first time and the smell of them (as long as they don’t smell like your incontinent aunty Muriel!) always sent a shiver of excitement down my spine. A kindle brings you non of that book feeling. I have to admit it was my only slight hesitation in buying one but when your taking ten+ books on a 2 week holiday then you begin to see the advantages over the disadvantages.

1) you can store over 3000 books. I worked out that at my 3 books a week reading pace, my kindle’s memory without deletes would take me 20 years to get through all the books. Quite a feat when you think I would be on the faster time than most.

2) it’s a lot lighter than 10+ books. In fact you take it with you in your hand luggage. This means you suddenly have half a suitcase more to fill with clothes or other electronic devices.

3) many books are free. This has meant I can read many many more books and genres that I wouldn’t have really picked up before. Such as “Dick Long: sexual saviour of the universe”. Ok it hasn’t really enriched my life to be able to read this book but I wouldn’t have nor dear readers, enjoyed it if I hadn’t have got it free on kindle. Firm favourites whilst not free are mightily cheaper than in book form obviously due to the cheaper production.

4) the environment. With fewer books needed to be printed to fill demand and even some books being kindle only this means less paper needed so less trees cut down so better for the environment! Good for everyone then.

5) free 3G for only 50 quid more. Anywhere in the world you have access to books and the experimental browser. No pesky and secret fees here. Just what it says on the tin.

6) connection to Amazon. Now this point could be a disadvantage depending on how you look at it. A bit like apple, you can only download your books from amazon. However, amazon has to have one of the best online selections for books. So really you’ll always find what you want.

7) your quality of reading isn’t dampened by slow electronic page turning. You hardly notice the transition from page to page and when absorbed by a book, you aren’t pulled out of the story by dodgy graphics.

8) you can download the kindle app onto your android and apple phones/ tablets. As long as you have a kindle already it will let you use it as if it were a kindle. Those not owning a kindle don’t have the ease of access to the books via the kindle store on the app. The excellent thing about this feature is that all your devices will sync to each other so you can always pick up your book were left it on your other device. Handy.

Overall well worth a buy. If you’re a reader who saviours the feel of a page and the turning of paper then this is not the reading device for you! Or even if you like to take 10+ books in physical form with you on hols I’d urge you to reconsider the purchase of a kindle. However, if your like me dear reader and would want an accessible ans easy to use e-reader, by al means browse the shelves of the copious amount available to you but this one has my seal of approval!

Rating: 9.5/10 (has crashed a couple of times but only when one person used it so I am inclined to blame them and not the kindle but the reason for the loss of a half point.)

(side note: reading on something futuristic… Well “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” is pretty futuristic! Read it. Or watch the film.)

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Snow – love it or hate it?

I am currently sat in a snow storm trying to get home for the night. Why am I out in a snow storm? Because dear readers, I am mad. I follow football and support Burnley Football Club. The super clarets. The Pride of Lancashire. (Unless your from anywhere else in Lancashire). I sat and watched a match in minus degree weather, while snow fell all around us. This should have sent us home. We were late and could still park. This should have sent us home. The people sat next to us left at half time. This should have sent us home. But no. My father and I are “true” supporters. If we can make a game, we will make a game and stay for the full 90 mins and injury time. Today, this was a mistake. Burnley is high up (topographic speaking). Snow falls here even when it doesn’t anywhere else in the county. Plus, it has many hills. Meaning that when it does snow, no one can move as cars can’t get up the hills due to the snow. So now I am trying to get home and we have moved perhaps 2 miles in 2 hours. And half of one of those miles would have been walking to the car from the ground.

 

So back to the question of the title of this post. Snow, love or hate it? At the moment, I hate it. If it’s still here tomorrow and I have no where to be, I’ll love it. At 21, the time I most feel like an adult is when it snows. When it becomes a nuisance to your life and routine. When the first thing you think is “crap” just because it snowed overnight you know your an adult. Children see snow and it’s magic. School is cancelled, parents are at home, sledges are brought out and a trip to the park becomes your main goal in life. The whole world becomes an instant playground and throwing things without major consequence become normal.
An adults view is somewhat different. Schools are cancelled: means you have to pay for a child minder. You can’t get to work: means a day less pay. Sledges are brought out: means you’ll have to lug it to the park and up the hill while your kids throw snowballs at you. Trying to drive anywhere becomes impossible and even if you were kitted out for snow in your car, no one else in England is so you still can’t go anywhere.

For those reading this from outside of the UK, you might be sweetly mistaken to believe that I talk about a few feet of snow. At the moment I see about a few inches of snow and it has as I said, taken two hours to move a few miles. As a country we aren’t prepared, ever, for snow. Our grit doesn’t work below a certain temperature. Our gritters are too few and when they do pass us to grit we complain as they ruin the paint work on our cars. No one owns snow tyres or chains and very few people carry a shovel or grit in their boot in case they get stuck. Our drivers don’t know how to drive in the snow, and as such, accidents and problems occur.

If, as a nation, we could learn to embrace snow, learn how to drive in snow and learn how to handle snow, then maybe the majority of us would say love to my earlier question but until that happens, snow will always be a problem, will always cause accidents and will always be hated by the english!

 

Oh and to top it off, Burnley didn’t even win!

(Side note: not too sure what book would best portray this idea of problems with snow. Maybe ‘Snow Tiger’ by Desmond Bagley. Only because it has a snowy title! If it is snowing near you stay safe!)

 

 

 

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Step-Dad and Niece for Children in Need 2011

I know this is mainly a book review site but this was for a good cause and was rather funny! For a full video, click here.

(side note: This had to be a book that showed how poor kids could be and then how their lives could change with just a bit of help… So “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens. It’s a classic, most people have seen the TV, Film or Stage version and it does have a good message about how a child’s life can change for the better! Read, Watch it.)

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The Big Bang Theory

I love the Big Bang Theory (TBBT) and do think it is one of the funniest shows on TV in the USA. When I was at University, a friend told me about sidereel and I quickly learnt that any shows airing I could now watch (especially as I had no TV for a year!). It allowed you to write reviews on the TV shows and I recently googled myself and found all my old reviews! (sad? Yes. Entertaining? Well depends how you look at it…) So I figured I would bunch them together and add them on to here. This is after all my reviews on books, so why not on one of my favourite TV show too?

Season 2 Episode 11: The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis

Very good episode, extremely good in fact, the last scene is still making me chuckle now.

Overall, The Big Bang Theory is picking up week by week and although it still is not up there with some of my favourite shows; it is definitely climbing the ladder.

Penny is still my favourite character, and although she doesn’t add the element that the others do, laughs at nerds, she brings the show down to earth, and in her own element is funny.

I believe the actress has come a long way from her very dumb Disney star of ‘8 Simple Rules’ and I am glad she is has been able to develop like she has.

The show today had some excellent bits, and at last we see that maybe Leonard and Penny might again have that romance that was so prolific in the first series.

The only down side to this episode for me was the lack of Sara Rue, her character is amazing and its lovely for Leonard to actually find a girl who really likes him. I understand that as she is not a permanent member of the cast, she will not always be in the show, but there was no mention of her character at all – though this was probably needed to show the connection between Leonard and Penny.

Altogether a very good episode, and may the writers keep producing some of the pearls they are giving us in Big Bang entertainment.

Season 2 Episode 15 – The Maternal Capacitance

First off, can anyone tell me what has happened to Sara Rue? She played Leonard’s girlfriend and I don’t recall them breaking up.

Besides this little confusion, I really liked this episode, mainly due to Christine Baranski, playing Leonard’s mum. The Big Bang Theory must have some great connections as both Christine Baranski and Sara Rue are favourite actresses of mine and to have had them both in TBBT is really amazing. Christine Baranski played Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, and played it really well, getting Sheldon type characteristics down to a tee.

As I have stated before, Sheldon is by far my favourite comedy character on TBBT and to have him and Christine Baranski together and the interaction between the two was priceless. It was a very good piece of writing and acting.

The other big event of this episode was the very close sex escapade of Leonard and Penny. Obviously there is still some connection between the two that we saw in the finale of the previous season and Penny drunk releases her inhibitions to allow this close call, plus the fact she felt sorry for him with his ‘hugging machine’ and for her own apparent failure at being an actress, so acutely shown by Dr. Beverly Hofstadter. However, I was cringing when Leonard decided to become Freudian during his hopeful attempt at sleeping with Penny, and I was fully behind her when she told him to shut up.

This episode, although maybe showing the connection between the two, Leonard and Penny, it also probably put their chance of dating again a step or two back, due to Leonard’s inability to shut his mouth.

Funniest scene has to be the last one with Sheldon convincing Dr. Beverly Hofstadter to partake in some act. Due to it being Sheldon we know deep down that it is not a sexual act but the scene when Leonard walks in to the living room has got to be one of the best so far.

Altogether a great episode, though for me, mainly due to Christine Baranski and her character, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter.

The Big Bang Theory: Season 3, Episode 2 – “The Jiminy Conjecture” Review

At last the Big Bang Theory isn’t sweeping the Leonard/Penny relationship under the rug anymore! Last season, we saw how quickly the two of them were prepared to become just friends again and last week’s episode seemed to suggest that they might do that again. I have to admit, I was worried for a second towards the end of this week’s episode that they would become ‘Just Friends’, but the writers must have listened to the outcry of the public over the need to see Penny and Leonard really together.

I loved how Leonard and Penny went with the idea of being friends to lift the pressure off them to have sex, and then they just had sex straight away afterwards. Hopefully, this means that they become boyfriend and girlfriend for real. The writers are obviously going to play around with Sheldon telling Penny things he shouldn’t tell her, and this blowing up in Leonard’s face.

We finally see Sheldon wrong about something as well (other than about social aspects of life). I think for Sheldon to admit he is wrong shows how much more accepting and grown up he is compared to the earlier seasons. He is understanding basic social aspects now – although at the end of this episode, we saw the old Sheldon who doesn’t really care if he did something wrong socially.

My only disappointment about this season so far is the lack of Penny and Sheldon together. I know its only episode 2 and there is a long way to go till the end of the season but last season the writers seem to have grasped that Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco’s chemistry on screen is amazing and they act so well together. Some of the best moments from last season were them two having a general conversation.

Overall, I think this episode was great for the movement of Penny and Leonard’s relationship, but there weren’t many areas of it that I found laugh out loud funny.

(side note: ok so there is nothing book related to TBBT. At all. No books are based on this series nor are they based on a series. SO. I have gone for the brainiest book I know. Charles Darwin and his “On the Origin of Species” book. Creationists will not like. Evolutionists will love. Ok so Albert Einstein would also have worked but I have read bits of Darwin’s so that’s why it has been chosen! Read it. Don’t. S’up to you!)

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War of the Worlds

Well. What a week! I had a car crash this week. We won’t go into the details just to make sure but suffice to say it was scary! I had already been told my contract at work was to end a week early, meaning a loss of 300 quid! AND I had a crap time getting a taxi home on mad friday (45 mins before I gave up on the company I originally booked!). So all in all I think we can guess I had a pretty rubbish week! But I believe myself to be an optimist so… It’s CHRISTMAS!!!!! Whoop! The time when we can be absolute pigs and not feel guilty!

I’d just like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

New posts will appear around the 27th onwards but in the meantime, spend time with your family!

(Side Note: book is: War of the Worlds by H G Wells. Read it. Watch it. Don’t. S’up to you!)

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