Category: This and That

The Rise of the Kindle

The enduring debate between paperback and the Kindle is something that I am sure many book lovers have contested at one time or another. So much about the Kindle has changed since it made its way into our lives for just over 10 years now. Perhaps the book world shouldn’t worry about the uncertain future of print just yet?

There are those readers that have migrated to the Kindle, and its ebook relation, and who return to print or they become “hybrid” readers. They juggle between the two, the Kindle and paper. Recently, Arnaud Nourry, CEO of one of the world’s largest book publishers, declared the Kindle to be a “stupid product”.

Publishing is not immune to technical upheaval, and it’s not clear if it will weather the wave of technology better than other forms of media like television and music.  It’s hard to say as the world is changing so fast to declare that this wave of digital technology is waning.

The cost of books is a factor for a lot of people nowadays, and that if you are able to obtain text, it might not matter if you are reading it in paper format or electronic format. Some might prefer the Kindle for a variety of reasons such as convenience, cost-effectiveness, portability, and accessibility.

The Kindle might also be a lot lighter than a pile of books, and might not fall apart so easily, or get dog-eared like one of your favorite books – which just makes a paperback all the more personal or as superlative as it is understated. Another thing is that you can’t dry your Kindle on your radiator after it gets dropped in the bath – which you can safely do with your paperback.

It might not be time to clear your bookshelves of your sentimental and treasured belongings and replace them with the Kindle just yet, or perhaps they can both share a space there. Who knows if the next generation will want to read books on a Kindle or some other form of electronic device. For now, maybe its more about picking what side you are on, or just getting used to both

Art out on the Highway

You may never want to reach the end of the road if you are driving along Sheikh Zayed Road between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The Lourve Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Media have taken art to the roadside with elevated giant images of art – such as a Vincent van Gogh self portrait, that are placed along 10 kilometer intervals. Called the Highway Gallery (10 masterpieces. 100 Kilometers.) these billboards will be showing various treasures from Louvre Abu Dhabi and what artist wouldn’t want to have a giant canvas with a guaranteed audience driving by? Cars pass a trigger a few metres before the billboard, you can then tune into one of three radio stations  – Radio 1 FM (100.5 FM), Classic FM (91.6 FM) or Emarat FM (95.8 FM) and listen to a short squib on the artwork, which plays on the airwaves and gives a whole new meaning to the ‘art of noise’. This form of pop-up roadside gallery art might just grow in popularity in the context of art because they look like outdated mediums in the digital world. Billboard art will never be dismissed as kitsch again.



The Living is Healthy

Christmas has come and gone. Lent is here. In all probability many of the après Festive good resolutions have been hastily abandoned. All good intentions of staying the course once the new gym subscriptions have been paid gradually fade away. Several weeks later, the exercise regime becomes boring and the after-work drinks and nibbles too tempting to refuse. Never mind, it is human to err and fall by the wayside. Fortunately, HELP IS NOW AT HAND to combat all negative fitness vibes. It comes in the form of new book shortly to hit the shelves of a bookseller near you.

Even better still, written by Ireland’s favorite trainer – KARL HENRY!

The title: ‘Karl Henry’s Healthy Living Handbook: LOOSE WEIGHT, GET FIT and Stay WELL with Ireland’s favorite trainer.’


Between the covers are delicious recipes using sensible, every day ingredients easy to find in supermarkets, many of which are probably already in the store cupboard. Among these, the fantastic Chicken Goujons accompanied by a tangy yoghurt dip and for those with a sweet tooth yummy flapjacks. Neither laden with calories! There are many more to choose from, all of which make healthy cooking and eating a pleasurable experience.

Chicken Goujons accompanied by a tangy yoghurt dip.

The latter pages are devoted to Karl’s take on FITNESS and WELLBEING, elements that play a crucial part in such regimes. The reader is never treated as a health freak, as the guidelines laid down in both sections are never ‘over the top’, but practical and achievable. They are sensible recommendations of actions that can be adopted to improve ones physical and mental state. More importantly, is the emphasis placed on ‘it is never too late to start, no matter which age group one inhabits! Finally, the exercises Karl suggests are all well illustrated and ‘doable’ in the confines of one’s home, if not a member of any gym. Although the latter is always good to visit, as it helps initially, to keep up momentum when once embarked on a specific program.

Yummy flapjacks and lots of other delicious recipes for healthy eating from Karl Henry.

The pages of this book ooze with help and confidence building and will further, even in the most sceptical, a newfound determination to embrace a new healthy lifestyle. Get a copy! Find out for yourself how this is possible Good luck with the new resolutions and here’s a toast to a fitter/trimmer you – not just for summer, but for life.

Pre-order a copy of KARL HENRY’S HEALTHY LIVING HANDBOOK to be in with the chance to win a personal training session with Karl!



Writer’s Room

It’s not easy to get into writing mood. Inside your room with some of your things around you, perseveringly visual things: books (unwritten, currently working on, books that have been or being read), keepsakes (sentimental, encouragement, with the belief that they will keep you going throughout the day ), a teddy bear with a crooked eye (that only you can love, brings a smile to your face, devoted iconography to a teddy bear) and paintings (that are threatening to take over the place). I think we all have are ‘things’ our totems, totems of memory and of things that we have achieved. Then again your writers room is not engaged with the real world. Maybe you won’t find the books you’ve written on a Best Sellers Booklist or your art hanging on a well-known Gallery wall. Perhaps you will be gratified that they are not.

Building an Identity


he pursuit of vertical dreams is still alive as far as architects are concerned and their designs are amongst some of the most *anticipated buildings of 2018.


V&A Museum of Design Dundee

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) Museum of Design Dundee is Scotland’s first ever museum that is dedicated to design and opens 15 September 2018. It is being created by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (Kengo Kuma & Associates). The building will be a landmark structure located at the centre of the Dundee City waterfront.

V A Museum of Design Dundee
V&A Museum of Design Dundee, Scotland by Kengo Kuma.

ARC Power Plant

The ARC Power Plant is in Copenhagen, Denmark. The futuristic waste management building that will also have an artificial ski slope and recreational hiking area which opens in autumn 2018. This power plant has a giant chimney way up on top will be blowing noticeable giant smoke rings, which will be emitted and be visible every time 250 kilos of carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere. It’s designer is the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels (Bjarke Ingels Group).

ARC Power Plant
ARC Power Plant, by Bjarke Ingels Group (Copenhagen, Denmark).

Institute for Contemporary Art

The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virgina, is set to open in April 2018. The architect Steven Holl (New York-based Steven Holl Architects) is behind the design of the building which centers around a double-height atrium and consists of irregularly shaped blocks that are also eco-friendly.

Institute for Contemporary Art
Institute for Contemporary Art, by Steven Holl Architects (Richmond, Virginia).

Menil Drawing Institute

The Menil Drawing Institute in Houston, Texas will be the only free-standing building in the U.S. devoted to the study and display of works on paper. The institute is due to open this space sometime in 2018. It was designed by the Los Angeles–based firm Johnston Marklee. The wide roof overhangs and the surrounding trees shade the building from the Houston heat but also allow natural light which is modulated so you don’t get problems with glare but get a pleasant effect of soft gentle light instead into certain spaces through full-height windows.

Menil Drawing Institute
The Menil Drawing Institute, by Johnston Marklee (Houston, Texas).

Nanjing Green Towers

The Nanjing Green Towers will rise above the Nanjing Pukou District in China. These two green vertical towers were designed by Italian-born architect Stefano Boeri (Stefano Boeri Architetti). As designers of the first vertical forest in Milan, they have brought their concept of vertical green towers to Nanjing, China. The intent of the green towers is to provide the city with a breath of fresh air as the region is suffering from some of the worst carbon dioxide emissions on the planet, and should produce around 132 pounds of oxygen every day as they absorb carbon dioxide. These towers are a result of the pursuit of vertical green dreams that have ignored human scale.

Nanjng Green Towers China
Nanjing Green Towers, by Stefano Boeri Architetti (Nanjing, China).


These are just some of the buildings that made the Architectural Digest’s list of “12 Most Anticipated Buildings of 2018.” They are buildings that will create an identity for their home cities. Other buildings will be looked at in a future post.