Elementary my dear Watson

I have visited Baker Street for work on a quite a few occasions for work, but on my most recent visit I was quite surprised to see Sherlock Holmes looking down on me quite close to the tube station.

Sherlock Holmes

I’ve not noticed him before, most of the time I am trying to avoid the crowds outside Madam Tussauds. Though I think a more realistic Holmes and Watson would be fun. Though a bit of a fan of Sherlock Holmes books, TV and films, I have never bothered to visit 221b Baker Street, in the main as I believe it is not a real address and is in fact a bank!

Illustrated Harry Potter

If your reason for not buying (or reading) the Harry Potter books was, there wasn’t enough pictures, then you will be pleased to hear that there are now new fully illustrated versions of the books.

Harry Potter

All seven books will be made available. The first is the first one… and Amazon have it for half price.

I read them many years ago now, I found the first few books quite lightweight and actually didn’t read them until the films started to come out.. I did enjoy the later darker books which had more depth.

Looking over the samples, I am not sure how much these illustrated versions add to the originals, but I suspect if you are a Harry Potter fan, a completists, you will buy these copies to go alongside the different print versions you already have…

These versions are also available as digital versions from iBooks. These Enhanced Editions include J.K. Rowling’s full original text, with animations, beautiful artwork and interactions, bringing the unforgettable moments from the stories to life.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Cinematic Advent Calendar #15 – Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Now it has to be said that I was never a fan of Tolkien’s writing. Now I also know that this will upset a few people as he is well loved by many. I had read a fair few of Tolkien’s novels, but I didn’t like them, in the main as Tolkien loved to be overly descriptive of stuff in his novels. I always felt it left little to the imagination.

When I first hard that Peter Jackson was going to make three films to cover the three books of Lord of the Rings I was intrigued, but not overly excited or impressed.

I think the big difference between this film and other films was that this was a film that was promoted heavily using the web. There was lots of online video and stills from the making of the film. This it has to be said did spark a little excitement.

I did wonder how Peter Jackson was going to make this film, complete with hobbits, dwarves and elves. In the end with a combination of special effects, forced perspective and CGI I did feel he was very successful in creating a magical and fantastical world.

Though I had read the book, it was a fair few years before seeing the film and as a result I knew the book was about a ring, but didn’t remember much more. Jackson created an incredible feat, this was an exciting, thrilling film with lots of superb action sequences.

I also really liked the camaraderie and relationship explored between the four hobbits. The phrase “second breakfast” is now a standard saying in our house. During the course of this film we see the friendships grow and develop and this follows on in the next two films.

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

I remember coming out of the cinema, wanting to not only see the film again, but also wanting to see parts two and three immediately. In the end I had to wait for the sequels and of course the Hobbit (in some ways the prequel) is now out in cinemas. I did buy the extended Director cuts of the three films and this was something I remember as been very different experience to DVDs I had bought before with deleted scenes as extras. These deleted scenes were integrated into the films complete with special effects and music. In many ways I prefer the extended films, even though they are much longer than the original cut. Having said that the experience of seeing these films in the cinema is much more preferable than watching it on the small screen at home. One of the reasons I have called this a cinematic advent calendar, is that many of these films are cinematic and to really appreciate them you need to see them in the cinema. This is of course is not easy and usually impossible, as cinemas rarely show stuff that has been out before.

Out of the three Lord of the RIngs films, I have put the first one as my choice for the calendar. I do think that the other films are very good, what they didn’t have was that impact the first one had, which is why I have chosen The Fellowship of the Ring for the calendar. I did enjoy Return of the King, this was an incredible visual feast, likewise The Two Towers has many incredible elements within it. However they did follow the first film and the impact of that first film shouldn’t be ignored.

So what of the books, well I’ve not read them again (yet), but have recently re-read the Hobbit and I’ll be honest and say I did appreciate it much more having seen the Peter Jackson films, I think he added to the worlds of Tolkien and in my mind that has to be a good thing.

Download Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring from iTunes.

Get Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring at Amazon.

Reading about Steve Jobs

I have been thinking about buying the recently published Steve Jobs biography (or maybe asking for it for Christmas).

From bestselling author Walter Isaacson comes the landmark biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. In Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs’ professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs’ family members, key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.

When I started work in my current job I was interviewed for the staff magazine and was asked which three people I would have round for dinner, I think I had alongside Steve Jobs was Terry Pratchett and Captain Blackadder. Though having since then read various articles on Steve, he may have been a visionary with regard to consumer electronics, when it came down to dinner conversation, he didn’t really do that small talk thing.

One thing is which format do I go for, well if it’s for Christmas then I’ll probably go with the hardback, which has a RRP of £25 but is just £12.50 on Amazon. If I am buying it myself then I may go with the Kindle edition… The Kindle version is £12.99!

Now I know that the Kindle price includes VAT at 20% so the “actual” like for like price is £10.83, but even so, you would think that Amazon would price the Kindle version lower than the print version. I sometimes wonder if Amazon think that consumers see the Kindle version as a luxury version of the book and therefore deserving of a higher price. Then I think it probably is nothing to do with Amazon whatsoever and it’s all down to the publishers who want to set prices (and probably earn more from the print version than they do the Kindle version).

I will probably go with the print edition as I can either then sell it on, once I have read it, give it away to someone after I have read it, or keep it on the shelf!