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Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series)
Colloquial Icelandic: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series)
by Daisy Neijmann
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars An adequate but very challenging textbook, with some fustrating drawbacks, 6 Feb. 2015
As you will realise from reading the other reviews Icelandic can be a rather difficult language to learn. Not only is the grammar extremely complex with lots of inflections and complex rules to learn, but there is also a lack of resources available. I could only find two main instruction books on the language, Compete Icelandic and this one, Colloquial Icelandic. Unlike Swedish or Danish you simply won’t find a local class to attend or even a complete English Icelandic dictionary to buy to assist you.

This was the second Icelandic book I came to after having already completed Complete Icelandic, which served as a good, if slight, introduction but little more. This book throws you right in at the deep end and it is a lot more challenging to work through, but covers a great deal more ground than Complete Icelandic. It serves as a more intermediate book, but you could start with this one if you think you would be able to cope with it (the first few chapters can be really quite daunting for newbies because it starts with quite high level language). On the plus side this book does a fairly decent job of giving you some vocabulary and introducing the grammar and other things you need to learn. There are readings, dealing with everyday situations, followed by exercises. Working for half an hour every day I found myself picking things up quite well, if slowly and surely, even having already completed the other book.

This book is far from perfect. After the first few chapters the dialogues stop having English translations so you need to look up some of the words in the dictionary at the back. The mini dictionary at the back is not complete, sometimes you come across words that aren’t listed so you have no idea what they are and no means of finding out. This is extremely frustrating. There are also a few (though not many) mistakes in the answers in the back, very disappointing.

The main problem with this book is with the CD. It is not included with the book so you need to buy it separately (it costs well over £30, far more than the book does). When you get it then you find out that the CD has only a fraction of the dialogues and readings from the book, plus each dialogue has a long introduction in English that you can’t skip (annoying, especially when you listen to the CD over and over again to pick things up). If space restrictions on the CD are the reason that all the dialogues are not included then it is doubly frustrating to have so much space wasted by the tedious introductions. The main problem is that the dialogues on the CD are not quite the same as the text in the book. If the book talks about what happens in March, or that something costs 4000kr, then the CD might say it happens in April and it costs 6600kr. Occasionally some lines of dialogues are missed out, and sometimes extra ones are added, or some of the sentences might be read out in the wrong order. I’m not sure if this is intentional to try and keep you on your toes but I found it to be absolutely infuriating when I was trying to follow the words in the book. The CD just isn’t very good, a bit of a poke in the eye considering the additional expense and the hassle in acquiring it. On the plus side the CD speaks the words at a realistic high speed like native speakers would. Too many language CDs speak the dialogues far too slowly and leave you completely unprepared for speaking with the local population.

Overall I think that this is the best Icelandic book that you can buy. It is very hard work but gives you everything that you need. To learn any language you really need to work at it and keep plugging away over time with as many resources as you can find. However this book is far from perfect, the annoying niggles mentioned above go a long way towards spoiling it. Since there are so few Icelandic books on the market then you just have to put up with it. This book does the job but leaves you feeling a bit frustrated in places, especially since there are no real alternatives to turn to instead. Learning Icelandic continues to be a long and bitter uphill struggle, I do so wish there was more available to help me.

Complete Icelandic: Teach Yourself (Book/CD Pack)
Complete Icelandic: Teach Yourself (Book/CD Pack)
by Hildur Jonsottir
Edition: Paperback
Price: £34.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction only., 9 Dec. 2014
Twenty years ago I decided I wanted to learn Icelandic but there was only one book available – the original Teach Yourself, which dated from 1961. As the very first exercise it asked you to decline all the different types of nouns, without even explaining what the cases meant. The book didn’t have any audio support and the internet didn’t exist so I had no way of even hearing what the language sounded like. Unsurprisingly I got absolutely nowhere and I soon gave it up. Even twenty years later there are now still only two main Icelandic books on the market, Daisy Neijmann’s Colloquial Icelandic and this one, the new revised Teach Yourself. I am pleased to see that this new version is now readable and easy to work though, completely different to the impenetrable first version I tried so long ago.

This book took me two months to work through, working for about an hour a day. It is easy to use and explains the basic concepts behind the complex Icelandic grammar very well. Not having studied an inflected language before it explained what the different cases meant in a fairly understandable way. It got me started on learning the language, something I’ve wanted to do for years. Each chapter starts with a dialogue to follow on the CD, the book then explains some concepts and then gives you some exercises to work through. Each chapter has a theme, like describing someone’s appearance or having dinner with family. There is a mini dictionary at the back. I did have some issues with this book as I went through it – the dictionary doesn’t list the gender of the nouns (so you often can’t work out which endings to use) and there are a few (but not many) mistakes in the answers for the exercises. There are no extended texts at the end so there is no way to practice what you have learned when you’ve finished the book.

On finishing the book I didn’t feel like I had a grasp on the language by a long way so I bought the other book Colloquial Icelandic and was shocked at how much this book left out, how many fairly basic concepts it omitted and how unrealistically slow the dialogue on the CD was. The last chapter of this book is about the same level as chapter four of Colloquial Icelandic. Daisy Neijmann’s book throws you right in at the deep end in a far more challenging way, it is more in depth but it is a great deal harder to work through. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that I might have just given up again had I started right with Colloquial Icelandic. Colloquial Icelandic also has some mistakes in it so neither book is ideal.

Overall this is a very user friendly introduction to Icelandic, an interesting but often difficult language. Without a “Teach Yourself Volume 2” this is a long way “Complete Icelandic” as the title suggests. I would recommend this book as an accessible starting point to a challenging subject. I don’t think that you can learn any language from just one textbook, you really need to work at it and immerse yourself in a number of different sources, expose yourself to as much of the language as you can. I’m still a long way from understanding this language, I don’t know if I will ever get there given its complexity and the lack of available resources. However I would recommend this book as an assessable starting point. I think that Colloquial Icelandic is a better book overall though. I just bought both.

Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course: Lesson Book Level 1
Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course: Lesson Book Level 1
by Willard A Palmer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course, 2 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My wife bought a piano a few years ago and I decided that I’d like to learn how to play it, despite not having any lessons before and being well into my adulthood.

I bought a number of different tuition books and got absolutely nowhere: all the books I tried either spent 50 or more pages getting you to play “Twinkle Twinkle” and endless boring simple exercises, or they expected you to play “Greensleeves” on the first page. This book was the only one that worked. The difficulty level in this book is set just right, on every page you learn something new and you have a new piece to learn which stretches you a bit, but not too much. How fast you learn is up to you. You can do an hour every day and move through the book fairly quickly, or you can do just ten minutes every few days and take a year or more to work through it.

Don’t bother with the CD. Just type the name of the song followed by “Alfred’s” into YouTube and you’ll have a number of performances of every single song to listen to.

This book is excellent, it has given me months and months of entertainment and given me some basic piano skills that I never had before. I can’t recommend it enough.

Tripods - The Complete Series 1 & 2 [DVD]
Tripods - The Complete Series 1 & 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Shackley
Price: £11.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed BBC Sci Fi TV series of the past, 4 Nov. 2013
Like many reviewers I remember watching The Tripods as I ate my dinner on Saturday evenings. Also, like at least one other reviewer, I am a big fan of the books and still reread them every few years - a pleasing mixture of HG Wells, Mark Twain and boys' adventure stories. I was looking forward to watching the TV series again on DVD.

The Tripods was created to fill the ailing Dr Who timeslot. It played to one of the BBC's main strengths - quality costume drama. I'll mention the good bits first - the costumes and location filming are superb, the acting is good enough (especially when you consider the young age of the actors). The special effects were sensational at the time, nowadays the Tripods seem a bit wobbly but it's still more than adequate. This really was supposed to be a lavish production to move the BBC on. Sadly to create better value for money (and to add more female characters to try to widen the viewing audience) the series is heavily padded with an awful lot that wasn't in the original book. Series 1 consists of 12 episodes during which the characters only meet with the Tripods 5 times. Big mistake. It's slow and lumbering. There are two and a half completely pointless episodes set in a vineyard and at least two or three more where nothing really happens. Had series 1 been 6 episodes long and followed the book closely then you'd ended up with a truly cracking sci fi series instead of 6 hours of padded hiking.

The second series concerns the resistance movement and its infiltration of the Tripod city to gain information. Series 2 attempts to rectify the flaws of the first series. The first episode starts with a bang and we see more Tripods in the first episode of series 2 than we did in the previous 13 episodes of series 1 combined. There are a few false starts but we eventually get inside the Tripod city around episode 4. As before the special effects and design are fantastic. Oh dear, here onwards the series begins to take massive deviations from Christopher's book and the overall feeling is extremely messy and confused. Christopher's book was based upon the psychological horror of the city with its strangeness, it's terrible unrelenting heat, heavy gravity and the sadistic evil Masters. In the TV series the Masters are jolly and there's even a wine bar where the slaves relax in the evening called the Pink Parrot (!). The main character Will suddenly becomes unbelievably stupid. If he is supposed to be pretending to worship the Masters (as the capped do) then surely they would have noticed and had him executed on the first day? He picks fights with other slaves, insults the masters and is continually questioning everything and anything. He makes it unquestioningly obvious he is not capped, and it takes ages for anyone to do anything about it. A completely new addition of the TV series is the Cognosc - a ridiculous higher alien species in the city based on pure mind and energy. How very silly. For at least three episodes this series makes little sense whatsoever and we are left with lots of chasing around dark corridors and lots of men in tight leather shorts. It's quite bizarre, and could be questionable... Just when you think it's over then there's two more completely unnecessary episodes based around a circus. We are then left with the exciting final climax chase and the now famous cliff-hanger ending, which is never actually resolved because the BBC cancelled the series two thirds of the way through.

The Tripods could have been amazing had they paid more attention to the writing and pacing - exactly the same problem that faced Colin Baker era Doctor Who at the same period. As it is: it's interesting, parts of the series are worth seeing, but it's so heavily flawed that it's a real struggle to get through it all. The viewing public obviously agreed because the series was never completed. What a shame.

No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Awful product, 31 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had suffered from occasional insomnia over the previous year. On occasions when I really couldn't sleep I took half a Nytol but I hated how they made me feel groggy for a few hours the next day. I decided to try something different. I took just half of one of these tablets, it knocked me out fine. Next day I felt awful, so groggy I could barely get up for work, I had to work hard just to concentrate on anything. I was totally unable to drive and by 7pm the next evening I still felt like a zombie. I can honestly say that a sleepless night feels better than taking these evil tablets! I put the rest of my box straight into the bin and I can't recommend these to anyone.

Floating City, A
Floating City, A
by Jules Verne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short and Simple Report on Brunels SS Great Eastern, 9 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Floating City, A (Paperback)
Like many people I am extremely fond of Jules Verne's most famous novels, but haven't read that many of the hundred or so lesser books that he published over his lifetime. Most of them tend to be entertaining enough, but lack the classic feel of 20,000 Leagues or Journey to the Centre of the Earth. A Floating City isn't an exception to this rule.

A Floating City isn't much of a novel, more of a journalistic report of what it felt like to travel across the Atlantic in what was then the largest ship ever built. Jules Verne succeeds quite well in recreating the atmosphere of a Victorian voyage and some of the wonder of the engineering achievement that the ship represented at the time. There are some half-hearted attempts at a plot: A romance or a duel for just a few pages, but these are soon forgotten as the voyage continues. At the end Verne gives a short impression of New York and then a more detailed description of Niagara Falls before returning home again.

The book is very short at only 120 pages and please be aware that the wonderful illustrations by Jules Ferat which came with the original publication are not included in this edition (Fredonia Books).

This book is interesting enough for fans of Jules Verne or those interested in Brunel and Victorian Engineering but is too slight to be anything more than a curio. Recommended but don't expect too much more from it.

Toshiba SD1010 DVD Player
Toshiba SD1010 DVD Player

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Multi Region, 1 Sept. 2012
Just to add to previous reviews, this is not multi regional as it comes from Amazon.

You can make it a multi regional DVD player by turning on the DVD player, pressing "Open" then typing in 98790 on the remote control. You can also make it region 1 by entering 98791, region 2 98792 and so on.

A cheap and cheerful DVD player, no great shakes but good for the price.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 10, 2013 3:05 PM GMT

Price: £4.68

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I don't say this lightly, but this is the worst book I have ever read, 3 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Pandora (Kindle Edition)
I read this book on holiday when I unwisely finished both my books on the second day and had to resort to the holiday home bookshelf which contained a selection of bestsellers. I've never read any Jilly Cooper before but had heard she was a good and very popular writer.

Dearie me! A selection of odious upper middle class characters (who are described as an "architect" or "art dealer" but never seem to do any work) swan around their country houses having frequent, graphically described sex with each other. The plot was like something a 16 year old schoolgirl would write who wants to be the next Iris Murdoch. Throughout the book are planted pointless references to great art and literature as if we are supposed to think that the author is tremendously learned and wise for knowing such things.

In fact this book was so unlikeable in every single way, and the constant sex scenes so disgustingly described that I felt unwell throughout. Not since Naked Lunch or American Psycho have a read a book which made me feel emotionally violated afterwards.

How on earth does this trash sell so many millions of copies?

The Doctors - 30 Years Of Time Travel And Beyond [DVD]
The Doctors - 30 Years Of Time Travel And Beyond [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sophie Aldred
Offered by Teesside Hospice
Price: £2.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Doctors - 30 Years Of Time Travel And Beyond, 29 Jun. 2005
This is a mearly average documentary about the History of Doctor Who from the beginning in 1963 to 1995 (before the 1996 TV movie).
There are interesting interviews with actors Sylvester McCoy, Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison and Colin Baker along with companions Sophie Aldred and Mark Strickson returning to locations where they filmed various stories all those years ago. In particular Peter Davison is very amusing when he "eloquently" points out the flaws in many of the stories, and how he was never a particular fan of the show. There's also an interview with later producer John Nathen Turner and the early days are covered by a rather dull and pompous trio of Brian Blessed (why?), Shaun Sutton and Don Henderson.
The documentary is quite short and rapidly skims over each doctor in turn, and then focus's on the end of the show in quite a lot of detail. The atmosphere feels quite negative as the final days are discussed just before the show was axed. The major flaw with this DVD is that fact that it is unofficial, and therefore there are no clips from the show. An interviewer might mention some classic moment or interesting monster but the viewer will have to imagine it for theirselves. The closest we get to seeing any part of the show are from silent 8mm footage location footage which pops up occasionally which is a very poor substitute indeed. This footage is also included as a pathetic DVD extra, and you can struggle to make out grainy footage of Tom Baker or Jon Pertwee relaxing between takes in total silence.
There are two other main documentaries about the Doctor Who other than this one: 35 years in the TARDIS and the more recent BBC 40th anniversary show. Both have a large selection of clips from the show and both convey the magic of Doctor Who far better than this DVD. I would definitely recommend buying 35 Years in the TARDIS on video before you buy this DVD.
This DVD is worth seeing if you are a fan, especially if you enjoy the 1980's years. The Peter Davison interview makes it almost worth buying. But overall it's a disappointing DVD release and there are far better Doctor Who documentaries available. Fans only then, but then that's exactly who this release is aimed at.

Horror Classics [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Horror Classics [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £11.74

97 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horror Box Set, 4 Feb. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
50 films on DVD! Normally when you see an offer like this then it would often mean 50 unwatchable "budget" films and the set would be a complete waste of space and money. However this is a genuinely good value box of cult favourites. Naturally there are some terrible B movies here: Attack of the Giant Leeches was fit to be sent up on Mystery Science Theatre 3000, The Phantom from 10,000 leagues puts Ed Wood to shame, The Beast of Yucca Flats stars Tor Johnson at his hulking grunting worst.
However buried in among the rest are some excellent films. The groudbreaking silent classics Metropolis and Nosferatu deserve to be in everyone's DVD collection. Vincent Price stars in both The House of Haunted Hill and The Last Man on Earth which are still influential today. Night of the Living Dead is still one of the best zombie films ever made. Francis Ford Coppola writes and directs his first film Dementia 13. Jack Nicholson takes one of his first roles in the creepy Little Shop of Horrors. There's a long list of great horror stars including Legosi, Karloff and Lon Chancy. The history of the set spans the silent classics of the 1920's to the paranoid creature features of the 1950's with a few 1960's oddities and experiments for good measure.
There are no extra features or subtitle options, some of the films could well do with a cleanup remaster and the cardboard / Velcro packaging arrangement could be much better. Fortunately all the films are easy to find and select on screen.
This is a great set for any horror or B movie fan to dip into. There's a good mix of interesting cult favourites and horrendously funny B movies to giggle at with friends with a box of popcorn between you. An excellent value set to have on the shelf to have ready for dull afternoons and long creepy nights.
List of films:
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde starring John Barrymore
Blue Beard starring John Carradine
The Corpse Vanishes starring Bela Lugosi
Night of the Living Dead starring Judith O'Dea
Doomed to Die starring Boris Karloff
The Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney, Sr.
The Indestructible Man starring Lon Chaney, Jr.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Lon Chaney, Sr.
Nosferatu starring Max Schreck
Swamp Women starring Mike Connors
The World Gone Mad starring Pat O'Brien
The Little Shop of Horrors starring Jack Nicholson
Tormented starring Richard Carlson
The Monster Walks starring Rex Lease
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet starring Tamio Kawaji
The Gorilla starring The Ritz Brothers
A Shriek in the Night starring Ginger Rogers
Bloodlust starring Robert Reed
The Amazing Mr. X starring Turhan Bay
Last Woman on Earth starring Robert Towne
The Bat starring Vincent Price
The House on Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price
The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price
Dementia 13 starring William Campbell
Phantom from 10,000 Leagues starring Kent Taylor
Carnival of Souls starring Candace Hilligoss
Atom Age Vampire starring Alberto Lupo
Creature from the Haunted Sea starring Robert Towne
Nightmare Castle starring Barbara Steele
Black Dragons starring Bela Lugosi
Invisible Ghost starring Bela Lugosi
One Body Too Many starring Bela Lugosi
White Zombie starring Bela Lugosi
Attack of the Giant Leeches starring Ken Clark
The Screaming Skull starring John Hudson
Beast of Yucca Flats starring Tor Johnson
The Terror starring Boris Karloff
Revolt of the Zombies starring Dean Jagger
The Giant Gilla Monster starring Don Sullivan
The Fatal Hour starring Boris Karloff
Dead Men Walk starring George Zucco
The Mad Monster starring George Zucco
Maniac starring Bill Woods
Metropolis starring Gustav Frolich
The Vampire Bat starring Fay Wray
The Ape starring Boris Karloff
The Monster Maker starring J. Carol Naish
The Killer Shrews starring James Best
The Brain That Wouldn't Die starring Jason Evers
King of the Zombies starring Joan Woodbury
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 7, 2010 3:18 PM GMT

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