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253
253
by Geoff Ryman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking underground read, 1 Oct. 2011
This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
This isn't a plot-driven page-turner but a fictional portrait of 252 people and one non-human on a tube train, each subject getting one page. It's quirky and fascinating, particularly if you live in London, as it shows the ethnic and age differences, fashion and conversational variety you find here. The aspirations of different types of people, the sexual and relationship differences between men and women, fashion trends and the role of coincidence and "fate", if you like, are all themes.

It's a book to dip into and out of, with the author providing a helpful index of people and themes and some cross-referencing in the text so that the reader can refer to people who are inter-related. I haven't looked at my fellow travellers in the same way at all since I read it and neither will you.

Some people in my book club found it contrived and even gave up on it, but most, like me, were impressed by the imagination behind it, and its just-about believability. It was originally written on the internet, which may account for some inconsistencies and a few instances of repetitiveness (e.g. more people described as wearing pleated skirts or beige winter coats, with fair hair, than seems possible). Especially recommended if you use the Bakerloo line.


Directory of World Cinema: Italy: 6
Directory of World Cinema: Italy: 6
by Louis Bayman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.25

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Deep as it is Broad, 28 Aug. 2011
This is an excellent, scholarly and readable addition to the World Cinema series by Intellect Press. It has stills from films, reviews, analyses of major directors, and discussions of popular Italian cinema as well as the melodramas and classics of the neorealist period. The top names in Italian film sholarship have contributed, and Louis Bayman has introduced the book and tied it together elegantly.

You'll want to dip into this before ordering your next DVD, use it for reference when discussions arise, and keep it on your coffee table to impress everyone. It would be a great present for your favourite film buff for Christmas.


Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism
Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism
by Natasha Walter
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pink Stinks!, 28 Aug. 2011
This is very well-written, readable journalism and started a good discussion at my book club. A couple of members found it depressing, because the author concludes that despite decades of the Equal Pay Act and people believing feminism had won its battles, women are limiting themselves and their daughters with exaggerated stereotypes of roles and embracing the sex-object ideology of unreconstructed men.

Walter is good on debunking the "biological determinism" myth showing the dishonest selection and interpretation of research by journalists keen for headlines and articles showing that women are "hard-wired" for limited, passive, and domestic roles. The research, including research on brains, shows that people are individual and there are no significant biological sex differences at all.

A refreshing articulate voice in a culture that imagines pole dancing classes are empowering and lazily offers children nothing better than princess parties for girls and low expectations of the behaviour of boys, regardless of the reality in front of them.

My only reservation is that it repeats itself, so for an old-time feminist it could have trotted along a little more quickly. Maybe the repetition is good for newcomers.


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