World Book Night

Over 1 million books will be given away in the next 24 hours to celebrate World Book Night which is being held this year in Ireland, the UK and the US.

Today, April 23 is also UNESCO’s World Book Day, chosen due to the anniversary of Cervantes’ death, as well as Shakespeare’s birth and death.

The aim of this initiative is to reach ‘reluctant readers’ so each year 25 titles are chosen and the 1,000,000 books are distributed throughout the community with half donated directly to hospitals, prisons and care homes, and the other half distributed amongst individuals in communities.

Titles on this year’s list include: Room by Emma Donoghue, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Misery by Stephen King and A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.

The full list and more information on how to get involved is available here

Real time captioning for theatre

A really good idea from Australian based The Captioning Studio who have released a new app that delivers real-time theatre captioning on smartphone and tablet devices. While captioning has been available for some time on films and TV, theatre has always been trickier.

To use the app, theatre goers simply register to access the list of upcoming events and select the performance they’re attending. Then, during a performance, actors’ lines appear on-screen as the actors speak them. Also included in GoTheatrical’s captioning are ad libs, asides, song lyrics, musical descriptions and other sound effects. The app is currently priced at US $1.99 on Apple’s app store.

A really innovative way of making performances more accessible to larger audiences.

The many faces of coconut oil

Coconut oil was recommended to me by a nutritionist as a substitute for cooking oils so you can basically fry or cook anything in coconut oil instead of sunflower, olive or fat. I bought a big tub in a health food shop for about €3 but found when I cooked with it that I could still taste traces of coconut through my food which wasn’t so great. So it sat in my cupboard for another few months.

Then I read online about how good it is for skin especially dry skin. The weather has been up, down and around in the last few weeks and my skin is certainly getting dry as a result. So I tested the coconut oil and well….it really works, really!

Just one go and that was it, dry skin was banished. It is quite hard in the tub so you have to warm it between your hands and it quickly becomes an oil but for anyone looking for a cheap and natural moisturiser you should try it. It patricularly works well for psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin conditions too.

Apparently it is also great as a hair oil for healthy locks, as an anti stressing massage oil, it can also be used as a healing agent on minor scrapes and bumps and it aids digestion and metabolism when incorporated into diets in smoothies and salad dressings.

So whether you fry or apply, the tubs last forever and are great value, it’s my skincare pick of the week.

Post apocalytic panda packs a punch

I came across this beautifully put together three min prologue online of Wastelander Panda – a live action series that tells the story of the last remaining panda in a post apocalytic world.

It was developed by Australian based Epic Films who made the prologue and circulated it virally online in a bid to raise enough money through crowd funding to make three more episodes. Channelling Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Mad Max and Gladiator, the short movie packs a punch.

They have succeeded on the back of this of raising AUS $25,000 so the first three series will be rolled out so I’ll be watching this space to see where they make them available.

The short prologue video is available to view here on vimeo and more about Epic Films here

Graham Greene

Graham Greene is one of my all time favourite authors. I absolutely loved The Heart of the Matter, Brighton Rock, The Power & the Glory, Our Man in Havana and The Quiet American. His writing and characters just suck me in and I find myself thinking about them for weeks and sometimes even years afterwards.

So I picked up The End of the Affair recently and was so excited about starting it as it was one of his better known I had never got to read and I have to say – I was so disappointed. It just didnt seem, to me, like vintage Greene. As always the writing and descriptive phrases were excellent but the characters while flawed and interesting, just never seemed to come alive to me.

I read a paper then where Greene admitted that The End of the Affair was his least favourite book and he was never happy with it even though it was very popular at the time of its release. I guess writers like everyone else just have off times but that still wont put me off Greene. In my eyes he is still in a league of his own but I would leave The End of the Affair to one side for now.