Profile for Mark Shackelford > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mark Shackelford
Top Reviewer Ranking: 662
Helpful Votes: 2214

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mark Shackelford "mark shackelford" (Worthing, UK)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
Sea Shanties
Sea Shanties
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 11.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Very Heavy Metal with a melodic heart, 18 July 2013
This review is from: Sea Shanties (Audio CD)
Frighteningly HUGE riffs overlaid with screaming guitars and violin. High Tide's first album "Sea Shanties" must have disconcerted a number of innocent purchasers (perhaps like the legendary King Crimson concert in front of a crowd expecting some gentle Soul music...)

No let up in these tracks - which power along in a timeless fashion - could be something from a 90's Smashing Pumpkins clone, or else fall-out from a Pearl Jam session - but much MUCH nastier...

Just the sort of thing if you have a headache - you will certainly not notice it whilst playing this. Loud. Very loud. VERY VERY LOUD.

And yet - there is some beauty behind the HUGE sound. There are sections of melancholy, almost gentle passages, but then the onslaught starts again.

And possibly my favourite album cover - the Durer-esque sailing ship (the Marie Celeste) ploughing through a tide of sea monsters. Those were the days...

The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction
The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction
by Nate Silver
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important introduction to Stats, 8 July 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I recommend this book to anyone who looks at weather forecasts, listens to economic pundits, tries to evaluate medical products or is ever confused by statistics...

The author the covers a wide range of examples of dubious statistical analysis - such as forecasting the weather (if the Met Office can't get the next few days right [" we are in for a wet Summer..."] then how can they possibly pretend to "prove" Global Warming over a timescale of years.

There is a lot to learn from the book - about Bayes theorem, and why most pundits over- or under-estimate their forecasts, amongst a wide range of theory and example.
This book is in the same league as Ben Goldacre's wonderful Bad Science - in explaining how we are often bamboolzed by dubious use of statistics - some of which may be deliberate, and soem may just be due to a lack of knowledge.

Excellent book, well written, good examples - and a lesson to us all to always check when faced with statistics.

Baby Elegance 64 x 127cm Healthguard Anti-Allergy Fibre Large Cot Mattress
Baby Elegance 64 x 127cm Healthguard Anti-Allergy Fibre Large Cot Mattress
Price: 50.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Fine mattress, 8 July 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This mattress uses something called "Healthguard", which is claimed to be a world leading anti bacterial, anti allergy and anti insect technology.

The idea is that the matress helps prevent the baby from developing an allergy. In the short tine available for this review, we have not been able to determine this product's anti-allergenic effectiveness!

However, the mattress is suitable for standard sized cots, seems comfortable, and the trial by our grandson gave him a good nights sleep!

The cover unzips for washing (very necessary!) and the baby did not seem to get to hot on the mattress.

Compact Oxford Spanish Dictionary
Compact Oxford Spanish Dictionary
by Oxford Dictionaries
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

5.0 out of 5 stars English to Spanish and back again..., 8 July 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Compact (but thick!), well laid out, easy to read with good tags and highlighting.

Full range of English to Spanish and Spanish to English.
Copes with both English and Spanish speaking users as sections on grammar and culture are in both languages

This is going to be invaluable now that we have a daughter living in Madrid!

Black Opera
Black Opera
by Mary Gentle
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.73

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another strange and wonderful alternate history, 28 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Black Opera (Paperback)
Mary Gentle's world must be very different from mine. She reports back from a glorious parallel universe where places have the same names and some of the history seems the same... but then... not quite - and the world turns on its head - and you find yourself drawn into her characters lives as if they were.. Real? Imaginary? Dreams? Nightmares?

I think I have read everything she has written - and (of course) I think that Ashe was her master-work - probably the best mix of alternate history, science magic and just plain strangeness... so what have we here with "Black Opera"?

Set in a Napoleonic Sicily (which appears to own the south of Italy), we have a King Ferdinand who has a serious problem to solve - a group of (mad) revolutionaries wish to stop the world... using the power of Opera. So, obviously, he decides to have his own Opera to let the world continue as it is.

Mix this with the most glorious character building, amazingly detailed scenes in Naples and around, and (APOLOGY: I don't like Opera) loads of detail about how to write, score, arrange and organise an Opera (CONFESSION: After this book I am seriously considering giving Opera a second chance...).

Love it - the story zooms along (perhaps not as complex as Ashe [and no golems :-( ]) but we have all the trademarks of Mary gentle's writing - elegant prose, interesting characters, great action - and plenty of fun!

And you get a terrific ending which, I suspect, is Mary Gentle's philosophy - and a very splendid, thoughtful, humanistic one it is too.

BRILLIANT! Buy yourself a copy now!

The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry in English
The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry in English
by Jeremy Noel-Tod
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 36.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful reference work with biographies of 20th century Poets, 24 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Beginning around 1900, this (large) volume provides a reasonably exhaustive alphabetical series of biographies of Poets great and small (well, smallish).

Useful for finding new poets to read, and to discover works of known poets as it provides not just a biography, but also a bibliography of the poet's publications.

This book will find its way onto the shelves of students, poetry group members and those of us who like to track down more information about poets whose work we discover in anthologies (or on a poster in the Tube!)

I dare say there are poets who are missing (or included) that will trigger disputes - but such is the way with a reference work.

I thought it was well laid out, easy to find a poet (in alphabetical order - so no index needed!), all in all a recommended tome.

The South Country
The South Country
by Edwards Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Impressionist Painting of Southern England, 15 Jun 2013
This review is from: The South Country (Paperback)
Not so much a book, hardly a story and with little or no action - and not quite a prose poem, this contemplation of the Downs and countryside of the Southern counties of England is more of an Impressionistic Painting.

Sentences flow with Thomas's elegant, mystical poetry - and we get the feeling of this glorious part of England. I now live in Sussex and having lived in a variety of other parts of the UK (Yorkshire, Suffolk, Berkshire) now wonder why one would live anywhere else - and Thomas captures the spirit, the essence and the beauty of these lands.

Each sentence, indeed, every word resonates with the Nature that he observed on his walks - and each sentence can almost be taken in isolation - like a single dot of Impressionist paint - creating a word picture - the mist in the trees, the dampness of a deep Green lane, the scuttlings in the undergrowth, or the bird song that is heard on every page.

Although written before the First World War, his descriptions of the Downs, the Green Lanes, the Weald, the Beech hangers and the whole host of Nature can still be seen today - surprisingly much of Sussex still looks the same - miles of trees and fields and the Downs as a backdrop to everything. Not too much tarmac has encroached on Thomas's beloved countryside.

Boneland (Weirdstone Trilogy 3)
Boneland (Weirdstone Trilogy 3)
by Alan Garner
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.51

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alan Garner's mythology brought to an agonizing close, 15 Jun 2013
A couple of months ago, in preparation for this new novel, I reread my ageing copies of the first two books in this series (complete with "Kings College School, Form 1C, Form Prize, J D Briggs, July 1967") with a very different eye - still brilliant, but not the way I remember them as a child.
I then read his autobiographical lectures (The Voice That Thunders) and discovered a complex man - who has spent all his life on or near the scene of the Weirdstone stories, and whose life has been coloured by the myths and legends that haunt this very special place.
So here we are. Over 50 years later with a parallel history story of the grown-up version of Weirdstone. And strange it is too - I had no idea what to expect, but was so enthralled that I read it all in one sitting.

I did wonder how he would be able to bring the children's mythology of the Weirdstone into adult life - and there are no goblins or elves in this one. But we do see glimpses of this past, as the old Colin tries to come to terms with the loss of his twin sister.

But this is mostly an exploration/explanation of how Alan Garner sees the mythology of his adored Alderley Edge entwined in the reality of the place - the ancient history (from the Stone Age) which still resonates today in the hills and the stones. How the echoes of the Stone Age shaman, desperate to keep the Sun rising every day with his dancing and chanting, have imbued the place with his spirit (and which I suspect has crept into Alan Garner's soul).

I will read this again - slower this time so that I can bask in Garner's elegant sparse prose.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2013 9:57 PM BST

Pampers Active Fit Size 4+ (Maxi+) Monthly Pack - 140 Nappies
Pampers Active Fit Size 4+ (Maxi+) Monthly Pack - 140 Nappies
Price: 22.70

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Nappies, 25 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A well-known name that doesn't let you down!

Perfect fit, whilst allowing the baby plenty of movement and keeping the nappy secure (avoiding any unpleasant leakage) - and they don't fall down!

The nappies are bio-degradable, great quality and a large pack - so good value!

Great Mountain Days in the Pennines
Great Mountain Days in the Pennines
by Terry Marsh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.57

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect walkers book - from Chesterfield to Carlisle, 25 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a fan of the Pennines (and the Dales, and the Moors and the Lakes [...enough!]), and a long term Map-Fetishist, this is the perfect book (for me, and all you other closet Map-Fetishists out there - you know who you are!)

50 Walks grouped into five regions - the North Pennines (e.g. Black Fell, High Force), North West Dales (High Seat, Cautley Spout), Yorkshire Dales (Swaledale, Buckden Pike), South Pennines (Pendle Hill, Blackstone Edge) and Dark Peak (Saddleworth Edges, Back Tor) with those glorious Yorkshire names echoing down through the years - places of huge, granite menace and wide open spaces.

Each walk has a map (OS based), a detailed route and lots of colour photographs.

I will be spending a considerable time on the sofa just grinning and looking forward to the next hike!

A great book for the armchair traveller - and a splendid resource for those of us prepared to venture out.

As the introduction reminds us "there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing" - and in these days of endless November we can still get out into some of the finest countryside and breath-taking views.
"Take care out there"

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20