The Kuwait Urbanization

Post by Mark

One of the rooms inside the House of Mirrors was a private library filled with old books dating back to the early 60s. Amongst the vintage Tell Me Why’s, one book grabbed my attention called The Kuwait Urbanization. It’s an old book published back in 1964 and it was filled with old sketches and photos of Kuwait. Near the end of the book I even spotted artists sketches from the competition to design the Kuwait waterfront (Gulf Road).

I checked online to see if I could buy the book but I couldn’t find it anywhere but luckily a follower of mine on Instagram had a PDF version which she was nice enough to email me. I’ve also decided it’s worth sharing this book with everyone so if you’re also interested in old Kuwait you can download the 166MB PDF file from [Here]


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Download the 2013 Bazaar Dining Guide

Post by Mark

Bazaar released their 2013 Dining guide this month and for the first time ever they’re making it available as a digital download so you can read it on your iPad, computer or any other device that’s capable of reading PDFs. It’s 500 pages big and if you want to download it just follow this [Link]

Note: You need to create an account or login using your Facebook account to download the PDF.


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Tattoo Censorship

Post by Mark

I spotted the magazine above with tattoos marked over with a black marker. Don’t think I’ve ever seen tattoo’s censored before, boobs and ankles yes but not tattoos.


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Multiple Exposure

Post by Mark

Long time photo blogger BuYousef (real name Mohammad Abdullah) has taken his favorite blog posts about Kuwait and put them all in a photo book format. The posts range in subject like gardening, home life, local events, walks, photography and more. According to BuYousef it really is about nothing and everything with a theme of photography. Best of all it’s free so if you’re interested in checking it out you can download it from the Apple Store [Here]


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No More Magazines

Post by Mark

I love magazines ever since I can remember. As a kid in the 80s I had a huge ass collection of Smash Hits and I currently have a huge ass collection of WIRED (dating back to 1994 I think). When I first signed up to Shop & Ship back in 2001 I think I signed up to at least 20 magazines.

Slowly slowly though I stopped renewing a lot of them once the iPad got released. I just downloaded and subscribed to all the magazines using Zinio and just left one physical magazine subscription and that was WIRED. But, I’ve just canceled that as well.

With the Kindle and Zinio App on the iPad it really doesn’t make sense to buy print versions of the magazines anymore. Other than the cost of magazines in Kuwait being a lot more than the US and since the cost of shipping magazines from the States has increased over time I finally decided to go completely digital. I’ve always wanted a large bookstore to open here in Kuwait but I think I’ve finally realized now it’s just too late.

If you don’t know what Zinio is check out my previous post on it [Here]


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New Magazine: The City

Post by Mark

I was having breakfast at The Early Bird when I spotted a new magazine called The City in their magazine stand. I brought the magazine home with me and have been flipping through it and there are things I like and things I don’t like about it.

One of the things I like is their writers. I recognized a few of the contributes including Dana Madouh who I got to meet the first time I visited Hamra Tower, and Ayeshah Al-Humaidhi and John Peaveler both of which are behind the Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and their Habitat (K’SPATH). There were also a few other familiar names as well.

Now what I didn’t like about the magazine is the layout and design. The choice of typefaces, the full forced justification and the very boring grid makes it look too much like a B-rated high school magazine. But, it’s their first issue and maybe the design will improve with the next issues.

One thing I thought was strange is that according to the Chief Editor in his intro column they’re “the fastest growing magazine available across the globe”.

If you’re interested in picking up the magazine I’m guessing it’s available at various coffee shops and restaurants around Kuwait but not sure since they don’t say where you can find it in the magazine. I got mine from The Early Bird.


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Family Bookshop Closing Down

Post by Mark

Family Bookshop in Salmiya is sadly closing down for good. I previously posted that they had a court case against the owner of the building but it looks like they lost because they currently have a closing down clearance.

It’s worth passing by the store one final time as a farewell to what used to be one of the best bookshops in Kuwait. Bit by bit what’s left of our childhood is being eroded away which is depressing.

On a similar note Waleed toy store which is located in the same strip is also closing down. Like Family Bookshop, Waleed toy store has been there for over 30 years.


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My Kindle Review

Post by Mark

I generally read a lot of magazines and a lot of online content but when it comes to books I hadn’t read one since The Lost World back in 1997. That’s why even though the Kindle intrigued when it first got released, I just couldn’t get myself to plunk down $400 for a device I might never use. Then Amazon started releasing newer Kindles and with each release dropping the price down until it hit $79. I don’t read books but for $79 I was willing to give it a shot so while in New York I passed by Best Buy and picked one up.

First thing I noticed once I took it out of the box was how light and small the Kindle was. It weighs just 170 grams which is slightly heavier than my iPhone but feels lighter due to the weight being spread out over a larger surface. The Kindle easily fit into my back jeans pocket and it even managed to fit into my jackets inner pocket. Because it’s so light you don’t feel it in your pocket and it also makes it easier to hold for long periods without your muscles fatiguing.

I carried the Kindle with me everywhere I went in NY since and whenever I found a free moment I would take out the Kindle read as much as I can and then put it away again. Because it’s a device dedicated to reading it makes reading very easy. I don’t need to turn the Kindle off or on and I also don’t have to worry about the battery dying. In just a few days I managed to finish reading my first book in years and I didn’t even charge the Kindle I just used it right out of the box. I didn’t even have to connect it to a computer I just logged into my amazon account from the device and bought my first book. Buying a book is also super easy since you just find the book you want and then click buy and that’s it. No need to log in or enter a password or anything like that.

For readers in Kuwait the Kindle makes a lot of sense since we don’t have a decent bookstore here but even if I lived in the US I would still prefer a Kindle over a real book. For one thing the Kindle is easier to carry around since it’s thinner and probably lighter. It’s easier to read since you can control the font size and most importantly you can carry more than one book at a time and buy a new one right from the device. Actually you don’t even have to buy books since Amazon offers a ton of books for free as well as other books you can borrow. I was going to buy a book called Elizabeth Street but since I’m an Amazon Prime member, Amazon offered me the option to “borrow” the book which I did. I played with the Kindle Fire and it seemed cool but I saw it as an iPad or Galaxy Tab competitor. The main competition to the $79 Kindle is the Kindle Touch and the Nook Simple Touch. Although I liked the feel of the Nook I thought it was bulky plus you can’t buy books from the Amazon Store which I prefer. The Kindle Touch on the other hand costs more than the $79 Kindle but it also has no physical buttons for page turning and I like the buttons as well as the fact that the buttons are located on both sides (useful if you’re holding the hand with just your left or right hand). The touch is also slightly bigger and heavier. The $79 Kindle does come with adverts but they’re not annoying at all since they never show up while reading. You only get to see an ad while the device is on standby or on the main home page but they’re really not intrusive and they don’t bother me at all.

If you haven’t considered the Kindle before or are thinking of buying one I would personally recommend the $79 version. It’s really cheap and has a lot of advantages which makes it a great buy in my book. Check it out on [Amazon]


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Event: The Avenues Summer Book Fair

Post by Mark

The Avenues currently has a small book fair taking place opposite Soccer Scene and That AL Salasil in Phase II. The National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) is showcasing a number of their publications and books by Kuwaiti authors with the aim of supporting the local authors as well as encouraging the reading and purchasing of books.

The book fair is going to be up until this Friday the 22nd of July.

Update: I passed by the book “fair” today and it’s more like a book shelf then a book fair.


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A walk down memory lane – The Family Bookshop

Post by Mark

I passed by Family Bookshop today and took as many pictures as I could. I figured the place might shutdown any day now and so it might be a good idea to document the place. It was pretty depressing. They currently have a court case with the new owner of the building and they aren’t doing well at all. According to the guy I spoke to they get very few customers and those who do come are old customers who used to be young 20 or 30 years ago and now come back with their grand kids to show them the place they used to get their books from. I walked around looking for an old copy of Hardy Boys or Dungeons & Dragons but didn’t find any not even a Peter and Jane book. On the other hand I did find some left over Jughead and Veronica comics in their old comics section. Below are some pictures I took of the place.


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