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Beowulf
Beowulf

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Verse translation of the great Old English heroic epic, 14 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Beowulf (Kindle Edition)
The Amazon product details for this are not too helpful are they? This is Francis Gummere's translation of Beowulf first published around 1909. It is a verse translation that retains the form of the original Old English poem. This is not a translation into modern English. If that's what you want then you need to look at something like Seamus Heaney's translation which is in copyright so you pay accordingly. This translation wasn't vernacular English even in 1909; that isn't what Gummere was trying to produce. It translates the poem into relatively modern vocabulary so you can follow the story but it retains the character of the original so it is formal and rhetorical, even declamatory, as the original was meant to be recited. It reproduces the alliterative form of the original which leads often to the use of poetic or archaic words, although many can be found in Kindle's inbuilt dictionary.
What you get is the text plus substantial explanatory footnotes which can be accessed easily from the text. What you don't get is any introduction or other 'briefing' material. I would have liked a glossary. a list of who's who and a prose summary of the plot to make things easier to follow. Some of these are available in other editions, including, for the brave, the Old English original text, which are available free from Project Gutenberg.
I must say that like one of the earlier reviewers I found this a super read. You just have to accept the strangeness and let yourself go into the world of chieftains, their halls and marauding monsters. This is over a thousand years old but one of the great poems of the British poetic tradition.


The Essence of Buddhism
The Essence of Buddhism
Price: £0.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very basic outline of Buddhist belief, 4 Nov 2011
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I think that if this were in paper form rather than electronic it would be classed as a pamphlet. It is very basic; just a sentence or two on each of the main Buddhist tenets, the four Noble Truths and the Eight-fold Path followed by a short section on meditation. If you know nothing at all about Buddhism and want a brief definition/summary this is well worth downloading. But if you already have some basic knowledge you'll want something more substantial.


Delphi Complete Works of Robert Louis Stevenson (Illustrated)
Delphi Complete Works of Robert Louis Stevenson (Illustrated)
Price: £1.92

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning Stevenson collection from a great epublisher, 23 Oct 2011
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In a time when people increasingly specialise in quite narrow areas the sheer breadth of Robert Louis Stevenson's achievements in writing are breath taking. Most people know Treasure Island, the absolute mother and father of ripping yarns. Kidnapped and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are also well known among his novels and Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes is perennially popular. But here in this collection are all his novels, his very readable poetry, his essays covering many subjects and his books of travels through France, the United States and the South Seas. Stevenson seems to have done enough in his life to fill several lifetimes but in fact he only lived 44 years which is maybe why there is always a youthful zest about his writing.
This wonderful collection also includes letters and biographies. It is beautifully formatted and easy to navigate right down to chapter level in the novels and travel books and to individual poems and essays. I already have Delphi Classics Thomas Hardy collection and buying this RLS collection just confirms for me that they have raised the bar when it comes to these author collections. They come up with a brilliant product and I'd recommend anyone to get into this Stevenson collection. It's a delight.


First Across the Continent The story of the exploring expedition of Lewis and Clark in 1804-5-6
First Across the Continent The story of the exploring expedition of Lewis and Clark in 1804-5-6

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic journey across a lost America, 12 Oct 2011
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If you enjoy stories of adventure and exploration then read this. As officers in the army of the young United States Lewis and Clark were commissioned by President Jefferson to explore the western lands newly bought from France; the Louisiana Purchase. In May 1804 they set out from St Louis and made their way up the Missouri as far as its source in the Rocky Mountains. Crossing the mountains they then followed the Columbia river to the Pacific coast. Then they returned arriving back in St Louis in September 1806.
This is the story of that epic journey through forests and across prairies, navigating rapids and crossing mountain passes, encountering huge herds of buffalo and passing through the territory of one Indian tribe after another. Truly it is a thought provoking journey through a lost America. Both Lewis and Clark kept copious journals and this account of their travels published nearly a hundred years later quotes them extensively. It is a vividly written account of an awe-inspiring exploration and I'd recommend anyone to read it.
This Kindle version has no inbuilt navigation. I built my own by highlighting and saving chapter headings.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2012 12:53 PM BST


Boost your memory (52 Brilliant Ideas)
Boost your memory (52 Brilliant Ideas)
Price: £4.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Well presented and useful ideas., 1 Oct 2011
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The thing with all these books that promise to change your life is not to expect too much. This isn't going to make you into someone with 100% perfect recall but it will give you some ideas about how to set about remembering things mainly based on visualisation techniques but also aids such as acronyms. It covers all sorts of things like remembering lists and people's names through to how to set about learning languages. It covers a greater span of things than I expected even going into what it calls 'Dream memory projects' and ending with chapters on 'Memory party tricks' and 'How to pass exams.' For me the problem is when you've read the book how do you remember all the things it's told you to do?


Cape Cod
Cape Cod
Price: £0.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book with the sea wind blowing through every chapter, 1 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Cape Cod (Kindle Edition)
Cape Cod is a long, sickle-shaped peninsula on the north-east coast of America. Thoreau visited Cape Cod in 1849, 1850 and 1855 and this book is his account of the area. It is a book about beaches, storms, shipwrecks, beach-combing, fishing and walking; about the people of Cape Cod and the way they lived. Because Thoreau's exploration of the area mainly took the form of walking the miles of beaches the book seems to have the tang of salt and the grittiness of the sand in every chapter.
Thoreau was always sensitive to the natural world and he is brilliant at expressing the paradox between the strength and fragility of nature, as in his comment on a sandpiper running along the surf line, 'It was a little creature thus to sport with the ocean, but it was as perfect a success in its way as the breakers in theirs.' He is aware too of man's impact on the environment and there is a note of prophesy in his comment 'There are many Herring Rivers on the Cape; they will, perhaps, be more numerous than herrings soon.'
There are some rich descriptions throughout the book of things like gathering sea-weed on the shore and the mackerel boats sailing out. In the final chapter there is some account of the early exploration and charting of north-east America which I found a bit tedious but as a whole the book is a hugely enjoyable read.
The Kindle store edition is navigable to chapters but, frustratingly, although the original illustrations are all listed as if navigable they are not included.
One tip: it's worth printing off a map of Cape Cod from Google maps so that you know where the author is talking about.


From East End to Land's End: The Evacuation of Jews' Free School, London, to Mousehole in Cornwall During World War Two
From East End to Land's End: The Evacuation of Jews' Free School, London, to Mousehole in Cornwall During World War Two
by Susan Soyinka
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring story beautifully told, 30 Aug 2011
I'd recommend this wholeheartedly. It tells the story of the evacuation of Jewish children from London to Mousehole in Cornwall during the 2nd World War. The book is mainly made up of the reminiscences of that time both of the evacuated children and of the people of Mousehole. The author adds to the book by setting the evacuation in its context, describing what it was like both in the East End of London and in the fishing village of Mousehole at that time, and by linking the reminiscences and grouping them under various subject headings. Excellent illustrations of the places and people leave you, at the end of the book, feeling that you almost know the people involved. The author has done a great job bringing these memories together before they would, in the natural course of things, have been lost.
Full marks too to the publishers; the book is beautifully produced and a pleasure to read.


Wild Life in a Southern County
Wild Life in a Southern County
Price: £0.00

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Kindle version, 18 Aug 2011
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Wild Life in a Southern County is one of Richard Jefferies' most enduring books with each chapter recounting the wildlife in a different area starting on the hill pastures and moving down gradually into the valley. Seeing that a Kindle version had come out was really good but unfortunately this ebook version is a big disappointment. It is the text and no more. Over the past year free ebooks have improved greatly in their formatting and navigability but, oh dear, this is back to the dark ages. For some reason the text, instead of being aligned to the left, as prose usually is, has been centred, giving it the appearance of a beat poem from the 1960's. And there is no active table of contents; in fact there is no table of contents at all which makes it impossible to navigate round the book even by doing a 'search.' These comments also apply to the recently released versions of 'Bevis' and 'A Gamekeeper at Home' all by Richard Jefferies.


The Story of My Boyhood and Youth
The Story of My Boyhood and Youth
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The early years of a pioneer conservationist, 4 Aug 2011
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John Muir was born in Dunbar in 1838 and in 1849 emigrated with his family to America. This is an account of his early years in Scotland but mainly about his youth in Wisconsin. It is an easy and fascinating read about how his father created a farm out of the wilderness and the harsh struggles of the family in their frontier home. John Muir went on to become a giant of the early conservation movement and the book is full of his observations of wildlife. It is especially moving to read of the passenger pigeon which occured in flocks so large they blackened the sky but which in a few short years was hunted to extinction.
Muir's father was a deeply religious man but probably few Kindle owners will agree with his assertion, quoted here by his son, that 'The bible is the only book human beings can possibly require.'
The book is well presented for Kindle with both a navigable contents page and a good navigable index. Two glitches: In the first chapter some blocks of text have been transposed making several pages difficult to follow but past the first chapter there are no more such faults. And it is a bit disappointing that although there is a navigable list of illustrations the actual illustrations have not been included.
An enjoyable and recommended read.


Les Misérables (English language)
Les Misérables (English language)
Price: £0.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughts of a Kindle reader, 13 July 2011
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This is a wonderful, sprawling, majestic book. You can't help wondering what readers made of it at the time of publication a century and a half ago. Much fiction written then concerned the gentry or even the aristocracy and here is a profound account of poverty and struggle in many forms.
It is a book that you have to accept on its own terms. The plot creaks with a whole series of coincidences and it moves forward by fits and starts. Characters are given to making long speeches that don't advance the action and the author is quite ready to interrupt the flow of the novel with digressions of several chapters on such subjects as the role of slang in a language or the history and development of Parisian sewers. You just have to stick in there. It's a great novel and it develops in its own way. But you can see why abridged versions are on the market.
This isn't abridged. It's the real McCoy. In all honesty I doubt whether I would have tackled a 1200+ page paper version so Many Thanks to my Kindle for getting me into it and through it. The Kindle edition is well set out and navigable down to individual chapters. I noticed some typos but no more, I suspect, than you would find in a paper edition. And it's for nowt! I found it a great way into someone who, for me, was a new author and I'd recommend anyone to take the plunge and give it a go.


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