October 31, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - Disney During World War II

Disney During World War II: How the Walt Disney Studio Contributed to Victory in the War (John Baxter)
October 28th 2014, Disney Editions

Disney During World War II encompasses the full range of material created by the Disney studio during the war, including ground-breaking training and educational films for the military and defense industries, propaganda and war-themed shorts and features, home front poster art, and the stunning military unit insignia that provided those serving the in the armed forces with a morale-boosting reminder of home. The book makes it clear how deeply Walt invested himself in the cause by patriotically placing his studio at the disposal of Uncle Sam. Replete with period graphics, Disney During World War II showcases Walt Disney's largely unheralded sacrifices in the pursuit of Allied victory, showing the inner workings of a wholesome family entertainment studio transformed almost overnight into a war plant where even the studio's stable of established characters were temporarily reinvented as warriors and team-oriented, patriotic American citizens.

October 27, 2014

Monday Five's - My name's Bridget!

Well, actually, it isn't. But close enough, seeing how it's simply the English version of my name. What this has to do with books? Easy. Ever read a book with characters whose names reminded you of, say, someone you once had a crush on, or a little bit less fun, someone you despise? It happens to all of us from time to time. Still, even stranger than that are the moments when you read about ... yourself, sort of. Seeing how I mostly read English books I've never stumbled across my name, but nevertheless I thought long and hard about Bridget as my English alter-ego making some appearances between the pages.






Admittedly I haven't read any of these books and to add insult to injury I had to browse on Goodreads for a little while to complete this list as I only knew of the first two books. Still, it was fun to go off the beaten path and throw in a children's book and a non-fiction-esque parody of sorts too. And come to think of it, the last one's theme being "Thelma and Louise on mobility scooters" kinda makes me want to read it. One day. When I am of a certain age, that is.

Have you ever read books with characters who have the same name as yours? How do you feel about literarily sharing a name? And does it dampen the reading experience for you if there is a character who shares the name with your arch-nemesis? Please share.

October 24, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - I Think You'll Find it's a Bit More Complicated Than That

I Think You'll Find it's a Bit More Complicated Than That (Ben Goldacre)
October 23rd 2014, Fourth Estate Ltd

The very best journalism from one of Britain's most admired and outspoken science writers, author of the bestselling Bad Science and Bad Pharma. In 'Bad Science', Ben Goldacre hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks and journalists use to distort science. In 'Bad Pharma', he put the $600 billion global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. Now the pick of the journalism by one of our wittiiest, most indignant and most fearless commentators on the worlds of medicine and science is collected in one volume.

October 22, 2014

How long would it take you to read [insert title of a really huge tome]?

As much as I love to throw in the occasional blog post about bookish quizzes, I will share a different kind of thing today. More precisely, a test to find out just how long it would take you to read, say, Game of Thrones. Sounds daunting? It is, even when you're heavily into epic fantasy novels. So as not to steal too much of your precious reading time (you'll need it, trust me), how about finding out how long it'd take until you could finally close the last page of the last book and release a long deep sigh ...

Take what presumably is an average reading speed and an hour a day and barely 15 weeks later I've shown those tomes who's the boss. And when I'm done I will continue to tick the following books of my list. Just kidding. Seriously. I'm joking. Big tome time.

How long would it take you to plow through Game of Thrones? Are you generally a speedy reader or more the average kind like me?

October 20, 2014

Monday Five's - The (un)fun of working at a bookstore! (Part II)

Last week I shared all the fun that working in a bookstore can be in Part I, but you know how it is, inevitably there is a dark side too. As much as I do think fondly of those book selling days, I never forgot that there were a select few downsides to it as well. Not enough to spoil the whole experience, but still making for cautionary and somewhat entertaining blog post material ...

Empty bank account
Now that might be exaggerating things a little, but being constantly surrounded by book-shaped temptations I left a fair share of my wages right in the store. Not exactly a complaint, more of a fact, really.

Battered hands
As much as hauling around books did for my upper arm muscles, my hands embraced *haha* what I jokingly refer to the well-read construction worker look. I was covered with paper cuts and other book-induced nicks and dents all the time.

The mess
It was all a never ending cycle of people going through the shelves and stacks leaving an incredible chaos behind. My favorite pet peeve was that it was never enough to have one sample copy open to browse through. Nope, some folks had to tear at least three copies out of their original plastic wrapping which consequently no one wanted to buy as they all soon ended up looking as if someone had dragged them across half the continent.

Brain-dead customers
There will always be people who assume that working in retail means you're an idiot. The fact that working at a bookstore requires the ability not just to read but also to have a grasp of books in general has sadly escaped the notice of some customers who'll treat you like imbeciles. They will spell out what to them is a rather complicated book title (erroneously, but don't tell them, because they usually do not appreciate being corrected by someone who they consider to be an idiot) while you've already typed it into the computer and are half way to the correct aisle to fetch a copy for them.

Dreadful fatigues
Many shops will not just put a name-tag on your shirt but require you to dress in company wear. (Un)luck would have it that during five years I progresses from a grey vest to a red one straight to the unspeakably ugly neon-colored shirts we had to wear one summer. Neither option did anything for my complexion.

Have you ever worked in a bookstore? If so, can you relate to some of the things mentioned above? Which of them is the worst downside in your opinion? Please share.

October 17, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - Stargazers

Stargazers: Galileo, Copernicus, the Telescope and the Church (Allan Chapman)
October 17th 2014, Lion Hudson

Stargazers presents a comprehensive history of how leading astronomers, such as Galileo and Copernicus, mapped the stars from 1500AD to around 1700AD. Building on the work of the Greek and Arabian astrologers before him, church lawyer Nicholas Copernicus proposed the idea of a sun-centred universe. It was later popularized by Galileo – a brilliant debater whose abrasive style won him many enemies – who presented new evidence, which suggested that the earth moved. This thorough examination of the work of both men explores both their achievements and influences. It then traces the impact of their ideas on those who followed them, including Sir Francis Bacon, Dr John Wilkins, Dr Robert Hooke, Sir Isaac Newton and Reverend Dr James Bradley. Chapman investigates the Church’s role and its intriguing relationship with the astronomers of the day, many of whom were churchgoers. He rebuts the popular view that the Church was opposed to the study of astronomy. In reality, it led the search to discover more. In 1728, Copernicus’s theory of the moving earth was finally proven by the young Reverend Dr James Bradley.