Writing a blog can be hard and lonely work (altogether now, awwwwwwwww!), but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. You get to communicate with amazing people, and get to share your passion for your subject with readers too. But one of the greatest advantages is, I’ll be honest, that if enough people read what you write you sometimes get sent stuff to review.
I’m very lucky to be sent books and other things for review occasionally (and always try to be honest when writing about them, or there’s not much point doing it, is there?) and was recently sent a copy of a 2013 calendar which has been published incooperation with The Planetary Society for review. Very timely that was too, not just because I’ve actually been looking for a spacey calendar to hang on my own wall for the coming year, but because it gave me a kick to knuckle down and write a blog post making a real recommendation for a great Christmas gift for any readers looking for one…!
So, what’s it like?
Well, for a start, it’s big…
…and it is, frankly, beautiful just to hold. Heavy, glossy paper, mega-shiny, with absolutely perfect printing, it’s a very high quality product indeed. But inside it proves itself to be a great product…
Of course, calendars all do the same thing – they give you a table to fill in with personal information about events you have to go to, anniversaries, whatever. It’s what goes *in* that table, and *around* it, that makes the difference, and “The Year In Space” crams so much information onto its pages that it’s a wonder some of the words and pictures don’t come loose and fall out when you pick it up…
(Above: our cat, Chi Chi, sighs “Oh god, not *more* pictures of Mars…”)
As you can see from the picture above, showing November’s spread which focusses on Mars, the actual monthly table has lots of interesting and important space exploration and astronomy dates and anniversaries filled in, and very useful sky notes too, ensuring you won’t miss eclipses, meteor showers and the like. Moon phases are shown too, and interesting ‘random facts’ join in the party.
But it’s what’s around the monthly table that really sets this calendar apart from other “spacey” calendars available for next year. Most of those other calendars are, well, boring. The top page is a big picture, the bottom page is taken up with the monthly table, and that’s it. Opening “The Year in Space 2013” is like opening a scrapbook, or a magazine and finding an article illustrated with beautiful photographs and diagrams (over 100, according to the blurb on the back). It’s just beautifully designed and laid out, too. The pictures have been chosen very well, and are complemented by profiles of figures from space exploration and astronomy, Fact Boxes, trivia, and more besides.
So, ok, a calendar is a calendar is a calendar, but this is a *beautiful* calendar, and a *useful* one too. It’ll not just look great on your wall, but you’ll find yourself using it as a reference too.
Very highly recommended.
“The Year In Space 2013” can be ordered online here…
Unfortunately it’s not available from UK dealers, but the company is happy to ship copies overseas at a discount.