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There but for the
There but for the
by Ali Smith
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars G R I M, 10 Jan. 2012
This review is from: There but for the (Hardcover)
I generally never buy or read books by women and this book - a Christmas present - reminded me why. I realise that makes me sound like a chuntering misogynist which is unfortunate. The "no women" thing is a personal convention, not a rule.

"There but for the" is absolute twaddle... sadly. I really really wanted to like it because I liked the conceit around which any so-called narrative structure is built - man comes round for dinner (Miles), locks himself into the spare ensuite upstairs, refuses to come out and stays for months. How interesting as an idea thought wrong I was! Ms Smith allows us no insight into Miles' thoughts. There's no explanation as to why they didn't just knock the door down with a battering ram other than the owners felt a bit precious about the outcome. How nice. How very bourgeois. How absolutely absurd. Instead I am led on a bizarre journey to people who I can't relate to and have no feeling for. The third chapter - May's bleurghing onto the page - really swung it for me. The book moved from being "twaddle" to "absolute twaddle".

Like the last two novels by women - by Diane Setterfield and Virgina Woolf - that I've tried to read over the past 5 years this one is destined to remain in a dark, dank corner of my library unloved, untouched and, ultimately, unfinished. Sad. Come on ye lassies!!! Ye can do better than this!
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 26, 2013 9:48 PM BST

All the Plans
All the Plans
Offered by Rikdev Media
Price: £8.35

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant return to form, 27 Mar. 2009
This review is from: All the Plans (Audio CD)
Like everyone else on here I just want to say how freekin fantastic Starsailor's ALL THE PLANS is. Its a much awaited return to form with all 11 tracks offering something and zero fillers. If this album were a sandwich it'd be pretty tasteless. As it is, yum yum, me like very much! BUY it!

iMac 24" Desktop 2.8GHz/2GB/320GB/SD
iMac 24" Desktop 2.8GHz/2GB/320GB/SD

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once you've had mac, you'll never go back, 24 Oct. 2008
Apple are a company at the very top of their game in every single respect right now. They are peerless. They make Microsoft, HP, Dell, Lenovo and all the other laggards out there look PATHETIC!

I bought this machine (actually a 3.06 GHz with 4GB RAM - 2gig upgrade) about 4 months ago and I can promise you that after more than 15 years of using PC, I will NEVER touch the things again. I am a photographer and love it for its big, clear screen to see my work on. I also bought aperture 2.0 which is an apple photo app....NOT as sophisticated as Adobe Photoshop but does 95% of the things I want right now. And does them really really well. I also do freelance work as a business consultant and writing Powerpoint presentations is a complete synch. Vista eat your heart out. The fact that Microsoft and Apple have got together finally and figured out a way of making PPT, XLS & WORD actually work is great. But the thing about Apple's Microsoft Powerpoint? Its sexier. The presentations are more exciting and easier to produce once you get used to it - which takes ZERO time.

I was slightly worried about making the transition after being so used to PC but honestly? It was simply a breeze. Now I go to PC and think.....what the hell was I doing? I mean they lack all the intuitive-ness of Apple's OS. You always hear people say that right. Mac evangelists go on and on and on about how intuitive macs are and the boring thing is not only are they dead right but I am firmly in their camp now. Aesthetically this is a word.... beautiful. Or at least as beautiful as a computer could ever be. Its gorgeous. I have my machine rigged up with a set of Harmon Kardon Soundsticks and they just compliment it perfectly. I find safari (apple's browser) fantastic but also use Mozilla. The "dashboard" function - loads of personalised widgets - is great fun although I do find it a tiny bit of a gimmick (ie; don't use it THAT often - 2/3 times a week). I dunno...i could go on and on about this machine. Surfing the NET? 5 stars Watching DVDs? 5 stars. Speed? 5 stars (get it as fast as you can) Looking at photos? 5 stars. Software? 5 stars. itunes? 5 stars (naturally). And about a hundred other things I could mention. I mean, I've started to worry. Is this machine taking over my life? Is there anything I cannot do on it? Its brilliant brilliant brilliant!

My one gripe is with the mouse rollerball which seems to have a bit of a life of its own. I wish they'd sort it out. The only other worry I have now is how can I afford one of the new macbook pros. Can't wait for that too and then an iphone and having the whole system linked up through mobileMe.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 20, 2009 8:56 PM BST

by Robert Harris
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull as polluted Roman aqueduct water, 8 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Pompeii (Hardcover)
I'm afraid to say its really bad. I was a low-grade fan of Harris after Fatherland and even the underrated Archangel. Pompeii just doesn't work on any level. Its thin. The plot is dull. The Aquarius is about the most tedious hero I've ever had to endure. I would have left it but for the fact that I'd bought the hardcover edition. The climax just leaves one with a feeling of... so what? The fact that the Aquarius gets his girl at the end looks like it was pre-tested in the publishing equivalent of a Hollywood screening room. Very very disappointing after all the hype. I defy you to enjoy this book.

The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq
The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq
by Kenneth M. Pollack
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why was there never an Arabic/French/German/Russian version?, 22 Sept. 2003
It is superb. The only problem was that it was never translated into 100 other languages so that the rest of the world could benefit from its insights, its moral clarity, its even-handedness, its sheer brilliance as an analysis of why Bush/Blair ended up doing the right thing (unfortunately under the wrong pretext) in March. It was a staple on the Bush team's reading list...but I'm not sure that Bush ever read it himself. The Economist said of this book in its double Christmas edition that '(one) shouldn't listen to what anybody has to say on Iraq unless they have read this book'. Having been vaguely anti-war in December 2002 pre-Pollack without really knowing why, I became pro-war after reading this book. Now of course it is just as dated as Magna Carta but if you want to understand why the coalition leaders did what they did in Iraq, Hutton, Kelly etc you should really go back to Pollack. The great pity of it all was that the coalition's entire case rested on WMD (Blair's doing) and (patently false) links to al-Qaeda (Bush's handiwork) and 9/11. When if they had just based their case on the unique nature of Saddam's odious regime as laid out in excruciating detail in The Threatening Storm it would have been that much easier to have made the case, persuaded the public of a noble cause and Blair, especially, wouldn't be in the mess he's in today. On second thoughts, perhaps they didn't read Pollack closely enough?

Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World Before and After September 11
Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World Before and After September 11
by Thomas L. Friedman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply superb - a gift to the world from a brilliant mind, 22 Sept. 2003
Everybody in the West needs to read this book. And every Arab in the Middle East and wider Muslim world needs to read it as well...twice. (Note to Friedman's publisher; when will there be an Arabic translation of the book?) It is urgent. It is brilliant. It demonstrates a mind fizzing with insight, ideas and frustration. Its lessons need to be absorbed and acted upon in every major capital in the world. Whilst the author is openly Jewish he is by no means an unthinking, Sharon-loving Zionist. He cares as much if not more for the plight of Arab peoples as he does Israel. And his prescriptions are bang on the money for me. Said K. Aburish - who I am also a great admirer of - comes to many of the same conclusions as Friedman from a totally different (Arab/Palestinian) perspective, which says a lot. Please buy this book and read it if you want to understand better the mess the world's in today and what we should all be doing and saying to try to solve its problems. When one of the jacket reviewer's says Friedman is, 'America's best columnist.. period,' he is right, but for one thing. He is the world's best newspaper columnist period.

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