Sunday papers, for once.

I bought a copy of the Sunday Times today for the first time in years, as they are offering a free DVD of a movie that is around 154 on my Amazon DVD rental list, Donnie Darko (director’s cut). All the trendy Time-Outers and other London cool people rave about this movie so I suppose I should see it, or at least Cathy may like it. (A few months ago in the Times, their media columnist opined that it is DVDs that sell papers now. Seems like he’s right.)

So I shelled out one pound sixty and got about 10 kilos of newspaper round the cardboard DVD sleeve. Malcolm read the sports pages so I guess it was not a total waste. I looked at one of the sections called "Culture", with large picture of Dolly Parton on front. (But remembering Jordan on Times book-review supplement the other week, suppressed irritation).

The culture section was predictably rubbish until near the end, after every other possible medium had been reviewed to death, there was quite a reasonable books section. Highlights for me were Brenda Maddox on a new biography of the scientist J C Bernal, a review of a life of Edward III (I usually enjoy reviews of history books without feeling much urge to read the books themselves), and an essay by Brian Appleyard on a Johnathan Glover book about ethics of genetic manipulation. Plenty more (and very varied) to choose from though, but with a more parochial perspective than the Times proper I feel. (The two are quite distinct newspapers.)

I don’t think I’ll be buying the Sunday Times again, though, unless they give away any more good DVDs. It isn’t that good a paper, and I still haven’t forgiven it for its wickedly irresponsible anti-HIV campaign of the 1980s, under the editorship of Andrew Neil.


Microsoft ads

Don’t you just hate those Microsoft ads? They are all over the Nature website, train stations, etc, and drive me to distraction.

To anyone on this planet who hasn’t seen them, they consist of people with dinosaurs’ heads going round making "IT 101" errors, the tagline telling us that with the new MS Office, this wouldn’t happen. Well, I should think not! The level I am talking about is an outbox facility for sending email, or an office intranet so you can find documents "for that vital meeting"….I ask you. The ads will be meaningless to anyone who doesn’t know enough IT to have heard of the features being advertised, most of which came in 10 years ago, or hilarious to everyone else who has long since moved on.

The dinosaur "joke" is on MS, methinks.


Grading books

BrothersJudd.com – Review of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea

I have been taking a look at the Brothers’ Judd website today, an excellent book-review website.

The brothers have grades of review, from A-plus to F. Below F, they have a "to be determined" category, a "toilet paper" category and one "F-minus" category, which is below everything else. As there is only one book in each of these sub-F categories I had to take a look — they are a hoot. The F-minus is Wide Sargasso Sea (on my daughter’s GCSE English reading list).

Here’s the review in full:

Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (94)
Author Info:
Jean Rhys1890-1979
A prequel to Jane Eyre, it tells the story of how Rochester’s first wife went mad. This book sucked. I can not imagine how it made the Top 100. Maybe it’s just such a chick book that it’s inexplicable to men.
If you liked Wide Sargasso Sea, please leave this website.(Reviewed:)
Grade: (F-)

The "toilet paper" book review is pretty good too (a Susan Sontag book). And the TBD (to be determined) is a buisness book where the grading awaits whether the scheme outlined in said book actually works.

Go, brothers!

I have linked to some of the brothers’ reviews on Connotea Detective, now coming along nicely in terms of subcategories (tags), and even, I see, picked up by Timo Hannay, inventor of Connotea. (I know this becuase of following Chicken Yoghurt’s advice as discussed in my post "Blog stats for dummies" and setting up home-made blog tracking for Petrona, so I saw that he has linked to the area himself.)

I think I’m going to start a "Detective recommends" category on Connotea Detective too, inspired by the brothers.