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Plan Toys Moving Pull Back Clockwork Wooden Mouse - 6 Pack
Plan Toys Moving Pull Back Clockwork Wooden Mouse - 6 Pack
Price: £24.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent cat toys, 13 Aug 2014
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Good value, the price is for a box containing six wooden mice, each about 7 cm long (not including tail, which is the same length again). To make the mice work you turn the wheels against the normal direction of motion to build up stored energy and then release when you put them on the ground. The mouse then zips quickly along.


Loak Bedale Mahogany - Mahogany / 9.5
Loak Bedale Mahogany - Mahogany / 9.5
Offered by Clermont Direct Ltd
Price: £204.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality, 25 Sep 2013
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This are more expensive than the average boot / shoe but they are worth it for sheer comfort as well as the quality of the material and construction. It makes me notice just how much cheaper footwear can actually hurt the feet. I'll save my money and buy Loakes in future rather than going for a cheaper make. It's made in the UK so you helping to sustain skilled artisans. The shoes themselves are smart but sturdy: ideal if you wear suit or jacket for work but your typical shoes will get soaked in winter. The sizing is generous: I often take a 10 but a 9.5 wide fitting for these was ample. Excellent purchase.


The Singularity of Being: Lacan and the Immortal Within (Psychoanalytic Interventions)
The Singularity of Being: Lacan and the Immortal Within (Psychoanalytic Interventions)
by Mari Ruti
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable trip through the thinking of Lacan, Badiou and Zizek, 16 Aug 2013
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Leaving aside Mari Ruti's own take on singularity and assoiated ideas about individuals and society, she has done a service in producing a thoroughly engaging work, which, in the lead up to her own thoughts, brings together a number of different social themes (subjectivity, Otherness, the ethical act, etc), Lacanian theory (the three registers of symbolic, imaginary and real) and an explanation of the perspective of other writers in this field (Badiou, Zizek and others). I recommend this to anyone studying a topic involving Lacanian thought. This adds an extra dimension and the writing is witty but precise. This is enjoyable, informative and helps one consider some of the ideas in a new light. Even if you are relatively new to Lacan or Zizek et al, Ruti gives an accessible, coherent overview of the key ideas. I have this in paperback as well as audio (the narrator has done an excellent job) and I often listen to it on car journeys. This book deserves to be better known.


Alienation
Alienation
Price: £3.09

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very approachable read, 9 Mar 2013
This review is from: Alienation (Kindle Edition)
This book is a very useful introduction to Marx's ideas about alienation. Dan Swain looks at the concept overall, it's presentation within a range of arenas, as well as criticisms and varying opinions about it. I read the Kindle version: definitely worth the money if you are trying to get the key ideas quickly.


Dr Ragab's Universal Language
Dr Ragab's Universal Language
by Robert Twigger
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A feud, 23 Jan 2013
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I like this story: I bought it when it first came out in 2009 but I'm only writing this review because some people are wondering about some of the ideas in the book. The author is a friend of Tahir Shah, whose father (Idries) set up some study groups on Sufism a few decades ago along with his older brother Omar Ali Shah.

The Shah brothers had a disagreement and their students had to decide which camp to follow: the older brother's (Omar Ali) more traditional way (which can be found in his books: The Course of the Seeker and The Rules or Secrets of the Naqshbandi Order) or the way that seemed more attuned to 20th Century western society (Idries wrote numerous books that can be found on Amazon). The way some metaphors are employed in Twigger's 'Dr Ragab' book it could be interpreted as a supporter of the latter making an unflattering comment about how the former is regarded by some of those involved in this debate as an obsolete path. For example, the exercises which make the main character unwell could be seen as a veiled warning not to utilise the exercises listed in Ali Shah's book The Rules or Secrets of the Naqshbandi Order. (They are in an older form in Masters of Wisdom of Central Asia, along with other background material that readers of the Shah corpus might find familiar. Translated from the Turkish from the work of Hasan Shushud, it's a history of some of the figures who could be grouped under the title of Khwajagan ('masters'), only in this they are not being viewed as secret hidden masters, their mini-biographies are listed as points of interest and this book is just the English version of material well known in Turkey. It's now a very expensive book for what it is but the meat of it is discussed in Sufism and the Way of Blame: Hidden Sources of a Sacred Psychology.)

Back to Twigger's book, there is also the reference to an acquaintance who appears to get in with the wrong crowd and who is last seen boarding a bus dressed in a robe (Omar Shah used to take his followers on journeys designed to have a spiritual component). Those are just two: if you do some research you can find other examples as well as metaphors indicating that an 'old' way of doing things has been supplanted by a 'new' way and so on. The book by someone who studied under both at the time of the schism is useful (Fictions and Factions) but for an up to date overview I recommend Sufism and the Way of Blame: Hidden Sources of a Sacred Psychology.

The water is further muddied by the widespread belief (and the arguments are quite compelling) that some books such as Among the Dervishes were penned by Idries Shah in the first place. I take no side in this and I hope that those people who read the source material don't either. I gave this book four stars because I enjoyed it very much but the idea that this was yet another part of an ongoing division saddened me. It's sad to watch people continuing to take a pop at one another after all this time (in one of the talks transcribed from years ago and found in The Rules or Secrets of the Naqshbandi Order Omar Ali Shah is basically telling his students of the faults he sees with his brother's method).

It's a hard knock to learn the background to some of the material that has been so stimulating and beneficial to read and it shouldn't detract from what we can gain from studying this subject. My advice is to leave both sides to it, read the books from both parties as well as others impartially and above all, do your research from an independent standpoint.


The Spy of the Heart
The Spy of the Heart
by Robert Abdul Hayy Darr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Fills an important niche, 9 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Spy of the Heart (Paperback)
There are a few recent autobiographical accounts of westerners in Afghanistan, such as An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan, The Places In Between and The Storyteller's Daughter: Return to a Lost Homeland. What makes this book different is the author's own very frank reflections on some of the difficulties in their life and their reasons for undertaking the task.

Those people who could travel to the region whilst skirting the conflicts of the late twentieth century there, and who had the eloquence to describe it, have given us some wonderful books, each with their own particular style. Like Jason Elliot and Rory Stewart, Darr was wanting to find out more by immersing himself in a completely different culture. Like Sariah Shah, he is sharing his thoughts on a personal background that draws him to the region. I feel the unique aspect here is the degree to which he is showing us everything about himself as a person and his thoughts. He is not setting himself up as anyone special for, if anything, he comes across as any other regular person trying to learn more and running into the difficulties that that brings. In a way his book is his offering to anyone who tries to get to the roots of something by whatever means. In some aspects it is similar to Adventures in Afghanistan but Darr comes across as more of an independent commentator and I feel that there is more reflexivity in this book. Although this may not be to everyone's liking, I think the way in which it is done is one of the selling points.

Anyone trying to grasp at something abstract in an alien environment will be stretching themselves to the point where things go wrong and lessons get learned the hard way. What I like about Darr is that he doesn't gloss over this. He does not appear to be trying to promote a certain image of himself or anyone else. I feel that this is his honest account of one part of his journey to develop himself and I am grateful that he had the courage to publish it. This book adds an informative extra layer amongst the many other works on Islam, Sufism, Afghanistan etc by academics or writers.

(I have not included Among the Dervishes or The Teachers of Gurdjieff in this review because they are now regarded by many as having been written by Idries Shah under a pseudonym. Some of the background to that controversy can be found in work produced by those who studied under both him and his older brother before they had a disagreement. One book that explains this is Fictions and Factions.)


Ghost Circuit
Ghost Circuit
by Raph Munro
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique addition to the genre. Sold to aid a veterans' charity., 27 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Ghost Circuit (Paperback)
A percentage of the sales of this book go to the charity 'PTSD Resolution'. I don't normally read thrillers, let alone comment on them, but this book is quite unusual. Firstly, the author has a very interesting and unusual background on which he has drawn to create the story. Secondly, the work itself, while fictional, hints at the sort of things that the author came across in his own life. It is markedly different from the usual material in this genre. Thirdly, whereas the average action novel sticks to the usual template of `good versus bad', this work is more sophisticated in inviting us to ask some questions about the relations between corporate interests, political influence and the role of the military abroad.

There are also some other subtleties, such as the lead character's link to Asia which suggests further books.
I am giving it five stars because there are so many action novels out there but their readership would be better served if they read something like this, where the author has experience of what he's writing about, and where there is greater thought applied to the issues explored in the narrative.


Zizek: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed)
Zizek: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed)
by Sean Sheehan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really helpful when you are new to Zizek, 22 Jan 2012
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I was on my third Zizek book by the time this came out and it has been really helpful. I have not done in-depth reading of philosophy, Lacan or Marx, so I had a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately, this is a short book, it is well laid out and it gets to the nub of the key ideas that Zizek refers to. I find Zizek's work interesting but had no grounding in the social theory that I imagine most of his readers have some familiarity with. This guide has helped me greatly and I'm really pleased that it has been made.


Sufism and the Way of Blame: Hidden Sources of a Sacred Psychology
Sufism and the Way of Blame: Hidden Sources of a Sacred Psychology
by Yannis Toussulis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.32

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gives a clear background to the contemporary ideas and controversies, 10 Nov 2011
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If you have read books on Sufism that appeared contradictory, then this work helps to explain why those differences exist. It tracks the emergence of different schools of thought over time and places them in their historical context: showing how they arose as a reaction to the prevailing circumstances of the age. This is taken right up to the present day when the author provides interesting perspectives on the contemporary approaches to Sufism in the West, as promoted by figures such as Hossein Nasr and Idries Shah. The author's chapter covering the relationship between Sufis in Afghanistan and Idries Shah, as well as its implications for how Sufism is adopted within a Western framework, would be useful background reading for anyone who has read Shah's books.

The author does not take sides but lists the differing viewpoints, and there are some well-informed sources. But this book is more than that. It also provides valuable conceptual material about Sufism itself which is thought provoking and which I have not found elsewhere. It is well-written and I would advise anyone who is seriously studying this subject to get this book.


Mindfulness and Hypnosis: The Power of Suggestion to Transform Experience
Mindfulness and Hypnosis: The Power of Suggestion to Transform Experience
by Michael D. Yapko
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical applications from an award-winning master craftsman, 15 Oct 2011
Yapko has an excellent reputation for his work both as a psychologist and through his specialisation in hypnosis. This book gives therapists a good structure to follow for their use of clinical hypnosis and updates their understanding of the subject (there are a lot of myths that have crept into the field). What makes this book unique (as far as I know) is the way that Yapko applies his knowledge of hypnosis to 'mindfulness', now an increasingly popular aspect of psychotherapy. Yapko explores the similarities and differences between these terms and gives guidance notes on three example structured sessions, which he de-constructs for our benefit. Two are by other authors, and are examples of a mindfulness meditation and a guided meditation respectively. The third is a hypnosis session by Yapko. In comparing these approaches, Yapko shows how the skills and structures he is suggesting in the book can be used in therapy even without formal hypnosis. That is the part I have found most helpful but there is much more to the book than that segment. I had already been using imagery and hypnosis before being introduced to Yapko's work but now I wish I'd started reading his books sooner. Even if you are a therapist who does not normally use imagery, mindfulness, or hypnosis (and if you read this book you might wonder why not) there are very useful insights into the structure of a session and ways of helping your clients.


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