What IfTitle: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Author: Randall Munroe

Pages: 321 Pages

Publisher: John Murray

The Blurb

From the creator of the wildly popular xkcd.com, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask.

Millions visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe’s iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions: How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British Empire? When will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than living? How many humans would a T Rex rampaging through New York need to eat a day?

In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations and consults nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.

The Review

I like knowing stuff. I think that is why when I read non-fiction books I tend to lean towards titles that tell me something that I don’t know; a book with facts and figures and maybe pie charts and percentages. However, I think I bit of way more than I can chew with What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. It was just far too scientifically advanced for me.

After reading it my brain actually hurt.

Don’t get me wrong, it is written in a really witty style and Randall Munroe clearly knows his stuff but for my scientifically weak brain it was just too much to handle.

Therefore, my review is not a reflection on the knowledge or the content of What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe but of my failings to understand stuff to do with science.

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe is available now.

For more information regarding Randall Munroe please visit his Twitter page (@xkcd)

For more information regarding John Murray (@johnmurrays) please visit www.johnmurray.co.uk.

3 Stars

The Harm in AskingThe Blurb

Welcome to the perverse and hilarious mind of Sara Barron. In “The Harm in Asking,” she boldly addresses the bizarre indignities of everyday life: from invisible pets to mobster roommates, from a hatred of mayonnaise to an unrequited love of k.d. lang, from the ruinous side effect of broccoli to the sheer delight of a male catalogue model. In a voice that is incisive and entirely her own, Barron proves herself the master of the awkward, and she achieves something wonderful and rare: a book that makes you laugh out loud. Simply put: if you read it, you will never be the same.*

*That’s not true. You’ll probably stay the same. But you’ll have laughed a lot. And you’ll have learned a fun fact about Jessica Simpson’s home spray. See? You didn’t even know she had a home spray! The learning has already begun.

The Review

Admittedly, I bought The Harm in Asking on the recommendation of one of those articles that pop up on facebook. You know the ones: “30 Books to Read Before You Turn 30/Once you have Finished College/If you have Ever…” see you know the ones. I saw the cover of The Harm in Asking and thought it looked interesting. I didn’t know anything about the premise of the book besides the tiny recommendation blurb; I didn’t know the author and if I am really honest I think that to appreciate The Harm in Asking I really should have known more about her.

It isn’t that The Harm in Asking isn’t good; it really is. It is just that reading a memoir of someone that I don’t know makes the writing seem a bit self-indulgent. Books life this have been written before and I have accepted them graciously because I’ve had some knowledge of the writer – Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Amy Poehler etc.

Detracting from my lack of knowledge of the author, some of the stories in the collection are humorous and they did wiggle a little chuckle from me. However, I still was left with the overall feeling of what is the point? I began to feel like The Harm in Asking because an arduous task to read.

Give it a try yourself folks and see if you are of the same opinion.

The Harm in Asking by Sara Barron is available now.

3 Stars

The Josie Gibson DietTitle: The Josie Gibson Diet

Author: Josie Gibson

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Josie Gibson lost over 5 stone in 6 months, going from a size 20 to a 10. She cut out sugar and processed food and created a healthy diet that changed her life. It can change yours too. Today the woman once known as ‘that fat bird who won Big Brother‘ is a slinky mare.

Josie guides us through a simple plan for losing weight, based on the natural food we should be eating, with delicious recipes and meal plans to get started. There are lots of tips on staying motivated, all drawn from Josie’s own experiences – the hilarious, the cringeworthy and the inspirational. She also gives advice on exercise, on adapting to the slim new you and – most importantly – on how to avoid falling off the wagon. As Josie says, ‘If I can do it, then so can you. It’s never too late and you’re never too fat. So what are you waiting for?’

The Review

Everyone loved Josie Gibson, the big bird from Big Brother but when she lost all the weight I was a little bit sad. She always had such softness to her features, especially her face, and now she was all angular and bony. I had to admit though, she looked bloody good and a large part of me wished I could be that skinny.

I read The Josie Gibson Diet – not with the intention to follow her diet because diets don’t work for me, I am a sucker for a chocolate biscuit – but just to see how she did it. What I got was a pretty fascinating and heart-warming tale from a girl who knows the sadness of being the bigger girl in the group, the one who would buy accessories rather than clothes on a shopping trip because accessories are one size fits all.

There are some parts of The Josie Gibson Diet that get a bit tedious such as the recipes – they seem to go on forever. However, if you are not reading the book for those recipes you can just flick the pages. The heart of the book is Josie’s weight loss journey.

After you read The Josie Gibson Diet you do feel a sense of pride for her. She went from a size 20 to a size 10. By anyone’s standards that is amazing. Now if only reading books burnt as many calories as diet and exercise…..

The Josie Gibson Diet by Josie Gibson is available now.

For more information about Josie Gibson please follow her on Twitter (@Josiestweet) or visit her official website www.slimmables.com.

For more titles from Pan Macmillan please follow (@panmacmillan) on Twitter or visit the official website www.panmacmillan.com.

3 Stars

Life Moves Pretty FastTitle: Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons we Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore)

Author: Hadley Freeman

Pages: 311 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

From Vogue contributor and Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman, a personalized guide to eighties movies that describes why they changed movie-making forever—featuring exclusive interviews with the producers, directors, writers and stars of the best cult classics.

For Hadley Freeman, movies of the 1980s have simply got it all. Comedy in Three Men and a BabyHannah and Her SistersGhostbusters, and Back to the Future; all a teenager needs to know in Pretty in PinkFerris Bueller’s Day OffSay AnythingThe Breakfast Club, and Mystic Pizza; the ultimate in action from Top GunDie HardBeverly Hills Cop, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; love and sex in 9 1/2 WeeksSplashAbout Last Night,The Big Chill, and Bull Durham; and family fun in The Little MermaidETBigParenthood, and Lean On Me.

In Life Moves Pretty Fast, Hadley puts her obsessive movie geekery to good use, detailing the decade’s key players, genres, and tropes. She looks back on a cinematic world in which bankers are invariably evil, where children are always wiser than adults, where science is embraced with an intense enthusiasm, and the future viewed with giddy excitement. And, she considers how the changes between movies then and movies today say so much about society’s changing expectations of women, young people, and art—and explains why Pretty in Pink should be put on school syllabuses immediately.

From how John Hughes discovered Molly Ringwald, to how the friendship between Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi influenced the evolution of comedy, and how Eddie Murphy made America believe that race can be transcended, this is a “highly personal, witty love letter to eighties movies, but also an intellectually vigorous, well-researched take on the changing times of the film industry” (The Guardian).

The Review

I love the 80s. Let’s just get that out of the way. I love the music, the fashion and most of all I loved the movies. So when I saw the subject of Hadley Freeman’s book Life Moves Pretty Fast I knew I had a kindred spirit and that I had to read this book.

Life Moves Pretty Fast is a book that not only celebrates cinema of the 80s but it looks at the cultural impact upon those films and more importantly how these films impacted on culture. I, who consider myself pretty knowledgeable on movies of this decade, was impressed by just how many facts and discussion points that I wasn’t aware of. Yet, this makes it sound like this is a stuffy academic text. It really isn’t. Hadley Freeman’s writing is sharp, witty and sassy (especially her footnotes which are delightfully funny). This really is the go to text for the 80s movie buff.

I do have an issue with Life Moves Pretty Fast; one, I am sure Freeman will actually understand and appreciate. That issue is this: some great movies didn’t make the cut. Some of my favourite 80s movies were mentioned but not explored fully. Films such as The Goonies, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Labyrinth among many, many others. Really, Hadley Freeman should rectify this immediately by writing a part two to Life Moves Pretty Fast. Although, if anything from the movies of the 80s has taught us that the sequel probably won’t be as good as the first.

Life Moves Pretty Fast is the ‘go-to’ guide for any 80s movie buff. Go and buy yourself a copy today.

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons we Learned from Eighties Movies (and Why We Don’t Learn Them from Movies Anymore) by Hadley Freeman is available now.

Follow Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) on Twitter.

For more titles from Simon & Schuster (@simonschuster) please visit the official website www.simonandschuster.com.

4 Stars

The Book Blogger Platform

Title: The Book Blogger Platform

Author: Barb Drozdowich

Pages: 120 Pages

The Blurb

Book Blogging – One of the Best Hobbies in the World! Join thousands of book bloggers in expressing your joy of reading! Are you a book blogger or do you want to be one? Are you having trouble handling the technical details of blogging? The Book Blogger Platform can be a “user manual” for your blog! A book written by a book blogger for book bloggers and that answers all your questions!

The Book Blogger Platform covers topics such as: 1. What a book blogger blog needs to contain 2. A description of all the common features hosted by book bloggers 3. A description of the social media aspect to a book blogger platform 4. Over 25 videos that walk you through various technical tasks 5. Being Social – the social aspect of book blogging

If you are tired of always asking other bloggers questions Let The Book Blogger Platform guide you painlessly. Over 25 videos lead you step by step through some of the more difficult technical issues that bloggers face. Pick up a copy today and approach blogging with confidence!

The Review

I was really hoping that The Book Blogger Platform would be a really easy read that would make using WordPress a little bit more easy for me. I won’t lie, I am not the most technologically advanced of people out there. I wanted a jargon free (or at least a book that explained what the jargon meant) book that give me step by step guides on how to spruce up my minimalistic little blog.

I didn’t get that.

Instead, I had another book that bogged me down with words that I don’t understand and to be honest reading about something as technical as how to use a blogging platform is a little dry.

Somewhat ironically, the book comes into its own with the video explanations. Now those I found extremely helpful.

The Book Blogger Platform is not a book for the novice blogger. The technical side of things will inevitably scare you away and lead you into a panic. However, if you are a novice then skip to the YouTube links at the back. They are way more helpful.

The Book Blogger Platform by Barb Drozdowich is available now.

35 Stars