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The good old fashion book vs the kindle!

Let’s make one thing clear straight away. I love reading, big time. There is very little literature out there that I actively dislike, (George Elliot’s Middlemarch being the number one (and two if I’m honest) on my hate list,) I love classics, historical fiction, (although as a history student I am prone to spend 95% of my reading time arguing with the book) Sci fi, fantasy, murder mysteries, thrillers, romance (don’t judge, who doesn’t love a good romance?!) you name it, I’ll have read at least one book of that particular genre, I may not have loved it, but I have read it. And that is one of the main reasons I’m writing this particular post.


As an obsessive reader, (there really is no better word for my reading habits) I own a variety of methods through which I can indulge in my addiction, which is a fancy word for saying I have a Kindle, and a tablet with my kindle on, and the app on my phone, so even if I don’t have a book on me or in my bag, I have reading material with me in one form or another, at all times.

When I got my kindle on my 18th birthday, many years ago, I thought that would put a stop to my book buying addiction, a very expensive side effect of my need to read constantly, and from then on I’d buy all my books as E-copies, much cheaper, and much more sustainable way of reading and owning every book ever published (A feat which is at the top of my bucket list) after all, physical books take up A LOT of space. Don’t believe me? Let me present Exhibit A:


This would be my bedroom book collection, I specify it as ‘bedroom books’ as I also have 3 boxes under my bed, a third book case containing Uni books, a variety of books stashed in various corners of the house, and a whole bunch of book boxes sorted in the loft. That a whole load of space being taken up by books. My Kindle currently contains 245 books, and do you want to know how much space it’s taking up?

That much. Well kind of, that’s a piece of paper wrapped around my kindle to make it easier to see in the picture. But the point is, in comparison to the sheer volume of books, the amount of space, and storage required by a kindle is tiny.

Now translate that into the amount of paper required to make all the books on the bookcase, and the amount of time and resources it took to create each of those books. That’s a whole lot of tree and time and energy, just to make a single book.        In the grand scheme of things it’s not just a single book though. I’m a Harry Potter fan (Just in case the Diagon Ally sign hadn’t given that away already) The Harry potter series is the most published book in the world at the moment. 450 million copies of Harry Potter are currently in circulation. 450 million!!!! But to make those 450 million (!) books it took approximately 10 million tree’s. I have not calculated this number in an entirely scientific manner so I may be out a bit, but I’m not far off. 10 million trees. For one book series. Ouch.   Each year 4 billion trees are cut down just to satisfy the world paper needs. 4,000,000,000 trees. For paper.
Now I don’t know what you think, but to me that’s not a very sustainable way to read, especially when you consider that figure is recent, meaning despite all the recycling we do, we still need 4 billion trees to produce all the paper required. Sad times to be a tree my friends, sad times.

Especially when you factor in the life expectancy of a paper book, exhibit B:






My much loved and over read copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire. (I will change book examples next time I promise.) Now before you all get out the pitchforks and torches and chase after me through the village for torturing a book. I did not do this intentionally. I was given this book not long after it was published, way back in 2000, and I’ve read it over, and over, and over, and over again. To be honest I could probably read it to you with my eyes closed, but as a consequence it’s a little bit dead, and has a page missing (but don’t worry, I know it virtually word for word so can recite that bit when you reach it!) therefore it never comes off the shelf. Bit pointless for a book really, books are made to be read, not to be dust collectors, so I’m going to have to buy a new copy to replace it, when I can finally work up the courage to take that step and dispose of it (responsibly. Always recycle kids.)

But wait, I hear you yell, that’s not very sustainable, by replacing that book I’m only encouraging publishers to publish more copies. More trees, I’m a bad, tree hating person, I know, I know. But a book cannot be read if it’s broken. Meet my second favourite series of books:

10887838_10203776473317569_460898631_nDavid Eddings, world’s best fantasy writer, if you haven’t read anything by him, do it! You’re missing out. Any way back to the point, as you can see this book is much loved also, not to the extent of Harry Potter, but still a bit battered, so no doubt in 5, maybe 6 years I’m going to have to buy another copy to replace this one when it’s pages start going AWOL. Not very sustainable.

The problem with books is they’re not built to last, they’re made out of paper, not the sturdiest of materials. It bends, it rips, it tears, and it absorbs spilt drinks then sticks all the pages together or all the ink runs making it impossible to read. Also they’re not massively child/dog friendly. My puppy, the really cute coffee addict over there pup


LOVES to eat my books, a habit I don’t find at all cute

Or adorable, in fact it’s irritating, upsetting, expensive and most importantly, not at all sustainable.

Kindles on the other hand are made of much sterner stuff. So far mines been thrown across a room (accidentally) sat on (accidentally) slept on

Had a box dropped on, been dunked in a coffee and temporarily stored in a fridge, (don’t ask, that’s a whole new story) and there’s not a single scratch on it. Well, there’s a teeny tiny one but it’s barely noticeable. I’ve had my kindle for three whole years and not had to replace it once, I’ve just bought book, after book, and it’s showing no sign of wear as of yet.

Much more sustainable, and tree friendly. But. What about the other sustainable issues with kindles?


Such as charging. Kindles, being electronic obviously require charging at some point. Obviously. Now I only charge mine about every other week, (when I remember to turn the wi-fi off otherwise its weekly) sounds pretty good right?


Because, like millions of others I don’t unplug the charger once my kindle’s charged, nor do I turn the plug off, the same goes for my tablet, my phone and my laptop, all of which I use to read books on. So that’s 4 chargers plugged in and turned on 24/7 for the last three years.

Oops. Not very sustainable. Well actually it’s nowhere near as bad as you may think. Plug sockets use energy, but not as much as you may think. In one year having all those chargers plugged in and on, you’re only going to be paying about £10 in energy. (Actually I think it’s a bit less, I got the figure off a US site so I had to convert energy and currency and all sorts of mathematical wizardry.) For a poor student like myself, £10 is a lot of money, that is 5 pints of beer a year down the SU that I’m missing out on! Sad times. But my eco-sustainable credibility isn’t going to be flushed down the toilet because of questionable charger usage.


Moving away from saving trees and energy for a moment, I want to talk about money and tax. (don’t stop reading, I promise this isn’t going to be depressing, well maybe a little but not much I promise!) When I buy a book, which by the state of my bookcase you can see I do frequently. (Here’s another picture for you to admire)


Now when I buy these books, I typically go to a book shop, sounds like an odd fact to state, but stick with me. I go to the book shop, I browse, I find the book I was looking for, and normally 3 or 4 or 10 others that I wasn’t planning on buying, I take them to the till and I buy them. By doing this I’m helping sustain local business and putting money back into my community, helping create a sustainable economy.

But when I buy an e-book, I shop on Amazon. Amazon don’t pay their taxes, (naughty naughty amazon) Amazon are not helping create a sustainable economy, they’re just taking all my money. No one else benefits from my money. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop using amazon, I’m not that morally righteous, nor am I willing to sacrifice my Amazon prime. (Free one day delivery for the win!)

But when comparing physical books to downloading e-books, economically physical books are a more sustainable method of reading. Which is good news for people like me who do things like this


The two on the left were presents, but didn’t match books 3, 4,9,10 and 12. So for no good reason other than I wanted the bookshelf to look prettier, I re-bought books 1 and 2. 

So to conclude my rather long (sorry about that) post on the Books v. Kindles, I feel that both Books and kindles have pro’s and con’s when it comes to sustainability, but at the end of the day it’s down to you to choose a method which works best for you, and just make sure you do so responsibly!

Personally, I’m going to carry on buying books, but am going to make an effort to read more on my kindle in order to preserve the books I have, so that way I won’t have to buy replacements every couple of years. Oh, and I’m also going to try to remember to unplug my chargers, as I could definitely do with that extra ten quid!


Charlie & The SGO

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Dawn of the planet of the apes – Film Review

Hey All,

It is that time again, when myself and Jess have seen a new movie and would like to share our reviews with you J we would love to hear from you as well and find out your perspective of the films we have watched.

The film choice for this week was “Dawn of the planet of the apes”, which is a sequel from the 2011 “Rise of the planet of the Apes”. This film is much darker and is set 10 years after its predecessor film. The film outlines how humanity is at the brink of extinction, a world in which humans are not on top, but the Apes are.

Watch the trailer via the below link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sHMCRaS3ao

Here is our review on the new film:


Having watched the first part of this sequel, I was excited to see the second film. I had great expectations, and I felt these were met. The film had a great combination of CGI, action, emotion, love, family, revenge and betrayal. I felt at times I was at the edge of my seat wanting to find out what was going to happen next.

Seeing Ceasear (the main character) lead a growing nation of evolved apes was really interesting as he showed great leadership, and I did not look at him as though he was an ape, the film really did humanized the apes. So I felt throughout the film I wanted the apes to always win against the humans or at least live in unity and peace.

Emotional plights are shown in the film, both from the apes view and the humans, together it delivered a very inspirational storyline. (Without giving too much away) When things then go wrong, you can’t help but think everything would have been fine if it wasn’t for particular people/apes destroying the peace. The film really allowed you to capture the soul of every character and connect with them. It also showed the difference between war and peace.

The film grips you to the characters, building a connection and investing in the story emotionally, while allowing the action scenes to excite you. The only negative I would say about this film, is its lack of reference to the first film and explaining what happened within those ten years, and what happened to the main human character in the first film (did he die?).

Overall – I recommend for people to watch this film, if you haven’t seen number 1 (watch that first). This film met my expectations and I look forward to seeing how this sequel evolves further (I hope they make a number 3). I give this film 5/5 film reel.

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To be honest I did not want to see this film when I first saw the trailer but my partner did. So we brought the first film on DVD so I could watch how it all began and my views on the film changed quickly and I could not wait to see the next one.  The first film ‘The planet of the apes’, for me was an emotional roller-coaster from having me in tears to sitting on the edge of my seat.

‘Dawn of the planet of the apes’ did not disappoint in my eyes, you are told right at the beginning what happened when the virus struck in a news report, which follows on from the ending of the first film. We are then introduced again to Caeser (the main character) and his family. Through the amazing CGI the apes are brought to life and humanized successfully.

The film  hits the criteria for an action film; the right about story telling which connects the audience to the characters, the right amount of suspense and ACTION scenes!

Overall I would recommend this for anyone who loves a good Si-Fi or action film. If you haven’t seen the first one I would recommend seeing it before hand as it makes the plot a little easier to understand. You can buy a copy here.

I give this film 4/5 reels.

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Cineworld & Transformers Age of Extinction Film Review.


Both Michaela and I are massive movie lovers and you can’t beat watching a good action film on the big screen. However cinema trips are no longer seen as a weekly treat but more as a monthly or family treat or even date night due to the expense of going to the cinema. But if you are like Michaela and I and love going to the cinema. Cineworld have created an unlimited card. This card will allow you to watch as many movies as you like for an amazing monthly cost of £16.40.  This cost also includes 10% discount on those lovely cinema treats, gives you access to unlimited screenings or special screenings. My local Cineworld is Rochester which has amazing restaurants around it.  Michaela’s local Cineworld is Ashford which is a similar complex to Rochester. As a student, money is tight for both of us but this small cost of £16.40 allows us to still get out of the house and enjoy a nice day or evening out with the girls or with our partners..  To find out more about the Cineworld Unlimited Card or where you’re local Cineworld is please visit. http://www.cineworld.co.uk/

Myself and Michaela went to see the new Transformers Film last week. We were completely blown away by it.

‘Years have passed since the devastating battle of Chicago and humans have turned against the Transformers. Then widowed inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) uncovers a beat-up old truck that turns out to be none other than Optimus Prime. Arrogant government agent Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) promptly arrives with a large military force demanding to know the whereabouts of the reactivated Autobot. Meanwhile, scientist Joshua (Stanley Tucci) isolates the unstable metal from which the Transformers are made. Little does humanity anticipate that this will attract a terrifying new menace!’

Here is our review on the new film:


I have always been a fan of the transformers films since they hit our screens back in 2007. I am a huge action film fan anyway and hearing that another transformers film would be gracing the big screen in 2014 I couldn’t wait.  As the last Transformers film, Dark of the Moon was a little bit of a let-down. So I was hoping this new one wouldn’t disappoint. I was not wrong.

Michael Bay was once again the director and has been for all the Transformer films. However we were introduced to new characters, such as Cade Yeager & Tessa  Yeager played by Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz, the amazing Stanley Tucci played Joshua Joyce and Kelsey Grammer took centre stage as one of the films villains – ‘Harold Attinger’. Bumblebee and Optimus Prime are the only characters that have had a key part in all of the Transformer films and I was very pleased to see them once again in this film.

The film started off at a good pace and had me hooked all the way through, had a good amount of humour which had the whole cinema laughing and the action scenes did not disappoint. Overall, I loved this film and couldn’t wait to get home to start the transformer series from the beginning. I give these film 5/5 film reels.

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I haven’t always been the keenest fan for the transformer films, since I felt number 3 wasn’t so great. However my faith has been restored in the  films, there was a mixture of humour, romance and action and I was hooked as soon as the film started.

It felt as though there was a different combination of storylines occurring within the film, which made me feel intrigued throughout and eager to find out more as the storyline progressed.

The CGI within this film was ‘out of this world’ giving you a real sense of realism within the film, I would recommend this film to anyone as I really feel it is a must see! Without giving too much away, I liked the concept of the storyline with dinosaurs (I bet that has caught your attention), well if you want to know what I mean watch the film and let SGO know what you thought of it.

One negative thing I can say about this film is, they didn’t really explain further the storyline of the dinosaurs and ended that part of the film unexplained, which was a bit disappointing.

However overall this film was a fantastic watch, with action, CGI and humour that will not disappoint you. I really enjoyed it and hope you do too! I give this film 5/5 film reels.

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Transformers Age of Extinction is in cinemas now, http://www.thetransformersmovie.co.uk.

Myself and Jess are always at the cinema, so if you want us to watch a film before you head out to see it for yourself, let us know and we will review it for you!



Jess & Michaela





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Book Club – Banished



This months book club book, is the amazing action-packed story, Banished by Liz De Jager.

Full of mythical creatures, suspense and of course magic, a great read for anyone, especially those who love to lose themselves in the world of magic and mystery. You can purchase this book on Amazon in paperback or for kindle.




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Top tips: Housing and questions to ask your landlord

Okay! So now is about the time a lot of us students will be moving into our new houses, either going from halls to rented accommodation, 2nd year moving to your 3rd year accommodation or even renting for ‘Life after uni’!

Either way our top tip guide on what to look out for and what to ask your landlord is critical, because you don’t want to risk getting charged at the end of your tenancy and you want to get value for your money 🙂

Top tips:

  1. Firstly ask if there is an inventory check list you need to tick off and you and your landlord need to sign, you don’t want to be told at the end of your tenancy that a lamp is missing, that wasn’t even there to begin with!
  2. I would recommend taking as many pictures as possible, showing the state of the property when you first moved in. I did this and was shocked at what I found:


Lucky for me my landlord is a nice lady and is fitting a new carpet and removing the damp/mould! having photographic evidence of the house will go in your benefit for any disputes.

  1. If your accommodation is not all bills included, make sure you arrange with your housemates a standing order in a shared account. This will help with managing money, I suggest all having online banking! It is a life saver.
  2. DONT forget you need a TV licence if you are streaming live TV, without one you could face a £1000 fine!
  3. You are within your rights to refuse your landlord to enter the property if in unsociable hours or they have not given you at least 24 hours’ notice.
  4. Also you can SAVE! So much money and help the environment at the same time if you remember to turn the lights off when not in use or not needed and turn the tap off when brushing your teeth.

Questions to ask your landlord?

  1. Do all the rooms have locks?
  2. Ask for the inventory check
  3. Do you have TV points in all the rooms?
  4. Ask is there any changes you can make to the house, i.e. putting up a mirror with a nail.
  5. If you have a car, ask is there parking facilities?
  6. When is the rubbish collected?

You can find out more information on what to ask or look out for using google search, one I found particular useful was the guardian newspaper, which also gives you tips on handling tricky situations!


Keep a copy of your contract, and don’t lose your key! I got charged £150, unlucky. If you have any concerns or need advice, please just ask. I now have three years of experience living at different rented accommodations 🙂


Make the most of your time at university and in your accommodation! These will be one of the best times of your lives!


Michaela & SGO



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Book Club – The Fault in our Stars Review Review.

The Fault in Our Stars - book cover

The fault in our stars – By John Green

This months book club book was the insightful and bold ‘The fault in our stars’ by John Green.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.


The storyline follows the basic romance novel – meeting a boy, Augustus Waters, and falling in love; though with the twists and turns that involves support groups, ‘cancer kids’ and wishes, this book will leave you with a rollercoaster of emotions, deep thoughts and overall, inspired.

The book is turning into a major film picture, and due to be released in UK cinemas on 20/06/2014; however, I would suggest reading the book beforehand.

Watch the offical trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ItBvH5J6ss 

My rating: 4/5 Bookmarks

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I’m still making my way through this book, at first I was unsure whether or not I would like this book, as most of the books I read are usually easy reads as after a year of history books I like a book that takes me away from the real world. Yet, I am pleased to say this book grips you and doesn’t want to let go.

I really connected with the characters, even though John Green states this book is fiction and not based on anyone particular you draw a connection with the main characters, and you go on a rollercoaster ride of emotions with them.

When reading this book, make sure you keep a pack of tissues to hand.

My rating: 3/5 booksmarks (as not yet finished the book)


If you have a book you think the SGO should read please leave a comment and we will be happy to read it and give our thoughts.




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Book Club – Divergent Review


Divergent by Veronica Roth

So for this month’s book we decided to review Divergent – a three series book created by the author Veronica Roth. The motion picture film was released late March 2014 – though be aware that this review is solely reflecting our perspectives on the book.


I thought this was a good read. If you love the hunger games trilogy you will love this book. However I did this book a little annoying in places.

This book written by Veronica Roth is the first in the trilogy and is very much intended for teens (young adults). The story follows Beatrice Prior a 16 year old girl. This series has an unusual concept which I haven’t seen before in a book and very much enjoyed this. The book does contain a few plot twists which keeps the mind guessing, something I really enjoy from a book.

This book I feel would be suitable for any boy or girl, covering a variety of different areas such as science fiction, Romance and action.

I would recommend reading before seeing the film. http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1999677465


My Rating: 4/5 Bookmarks



Honestly, I was a bit reluctant to read this book at first; after it having reviews claiming it to be a knock off of The Hunger Games – but I was hooked from the start.

There is a comparison: focus on one girl, different districts (in this case faction), and at a certain age (16) you have to undergo an aptitude test to determine which faction you’re meant to be in: similar to ‘the games’, each district is kept to themselves, so if you chose to move to a different faction – you are essentially leaving your old life and family behind.

One major concept I liked about this book was how the factions are based around personality types:

Amity – Peaceful

Abegnation – Selfless

Dauntless – Dangerous

Candor – Honest

Erudite – Intelligent

Take the quiz to see which faction you’d be in here: http://divergentthemovie.com/aptitudetest


In my opinion, if you liked The Hunger Games, you’ll love this set of books. The body and content is hooking, visual and graphic – exposing your imagination to this perplexed way of life that seems all so realistic.


My Rating: 4/5 Bookmarks


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