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L. R. Fisher "lucy_fisher4" (London)

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"Committed Youths: Take An Oath For Independence" (Regular)
"Committed Youths: Take An Oath For Independence" (Regular)
Price: 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing songs, 14 July 2013
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Not the chanting you might expect from Buddhists, but some really beautiful songs that sound quite medieval. Their voices aren't the best, but who cares.


Roman Originals - Womens Smart Draped Jersey Dress With Buckle Detail - Evening Party Cocktail Occasion Formal - Summer Going Out Vintage Day Smart Work Casual - Shift Jersey Stretch - Casual Day Going Out Party Wrap - Ladies Dresses - Black Size 18
Roman Originals - Womens Smart Draped Jersey Dress With Buckle Detail - Evening Party Cocktail Occasion Formal - Summer Going Out Vintage Day Smart Work Casual - Shift Jersey Stretch - Casual Day Going Out Party Wrap - Ladies Dresses - Black Size 18
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK, 14 July 2013
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The buckle was hideous, so I cut it off and replaced it with a brooch. The "waist" is about three inches above mine. Must remember that the average woman is 5ft 4ins.


Benighted
Benighted
Price: 4.89

0 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreadable, 14 July 2013
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This review is from: Benighted (Kindle Edition)
This early horror story from the man who wrote so brilliantly about the dying days of music hall (Lost Empires, The Good Companions) was unfortunately unreadable.


Winter Kate Fiona Tapered Women's Trousers Ivory Large
Winter Kate Fiona Tapered Women's Trousers Ivory Large
Price: 85.27

1.0 out of 5 stars Too small, 14 July 2013
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I should remember that small, medium, large, extra-large means 6, 8, 10, 12, 14. I was after a size 18.


Does Jesus Really Love Me?
Does Jesus Really Love Me?
by Jeff Chu
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.40

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes the lid off a world, 22 Jun 2013
I live in the UK, and this book was a revelation to me. I had no idea that so many Americans live in what they themselves call the "church bubble". You can home school your children and feed them whatever propaganda you like, and send them to a Christian college where all the teachers have to sign up to a set of beliefs, and "Bible study" consists - not of studying the Bible, but of absorbing more of the party line. And the party line is politically conservative. No wonder Twitter is full of people tweeting "If we come from monkeys why are there still monkeys LOL" and "You know what? Atheists bore me - yawn! You're gonna burn in hell!"

Jeff Chu, a gay Christian, set out to investigate the plight of other gay Christians, and how the various Protestant churches are dealing with what they see as a "problem". He interviews people all over the country, in churches small and large. Some have called his asides "snarky", some "humorous" - I found them the funniest thing I have read in years. But his interviewees aren't big on humour. As another commenter said, they aren't very insightful or articulate. But, poor loves, they have grown up in a closed world. They have no other vocabulary. I remember it from my days at a convent school - there is a lack of input, of words, of ideas. The few words and ideas they have churn round and around. They (like we were) are suffering sensory deprivation. They use a kind of Christian relationship-speak. They are very earnest. Oh, the earnestness.

As well as the convent, I am reminded of Henry James's The Bostonians. It's about feminists and social reformers in the late 19th century. They seem to have modelled themselves on Christians - there are lots of speaking events and meetings and lectures. The characters are all very high-minded and serious. And they talk, and talk, and talk, and talk without saying or doing much.

Any person in the UK who wants to understand Americans should read this book. (No wonder Americans are so good at public speaking, and have such an air of social confidence.) I am jealous of the social side of their religion - as a young person you never need be alone. So much is organised for you - camping, dancing, singing, socialising. But it all becomes a bit 1984. It's hard to escape - they make it hard.

One character in this book rose through the hierarchy and ended up with a flourishing church, a job, friends, a wife and children. But he was gay, and eventually someone found out. Overnight he lost everything. Couldn't he have seen that coming?

Ideas are changing, but slowly. Exodus, the organisation that for years offered gay people "reparative therapy", has apologised to the gay community, and closed its doors.

A footnote: gay Christians in the US are afraid of going to hell. Those who try to save them are trying to save them from hell. To them hell is a reality, and nice educated liberal secular humanists should try to understand that. As a Catholic teenager I believed in hell, but ever since anyone I have told about it has replied that nobody believes in hell, and that even back then nobody believed it literally. It seems too much for them to take in, so they go into denial. I am not gay, but believing in hell damaged my sexuality for years. The Catholic line was "it's horrible, but you must do it when you get married". (I didn't spot the logic error.)

I hope that Jeff's book will help to change people's minds, and let in some air and light.

(PS Another thing I like about Christians - they will talk about ideas. Even if they have wrong ideas, they have the idea of an idea.)


"Neither Hail Nor Frost Will Break Our United Hands" (Regular)
"Neither Hail Nor Frost Will Break Our United Hands" (Regular)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Songs by Tibetan nuns, 26 May 2013
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Not the deep chanting we are more familiar with from Tibetan monks - these nuns sing songs. Their voices may not be the greatest, but the songs are lovely and, though pentatonic, strangely Western sounding. I'm sure two of them are versions of the medieval tune Le Petit Roisin, once known all over Europe.


Confessions Of A Failed Southern Lady (VMC)
Confessions Of A Failed Southern Lady (VMC)
by Florence King
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book, 30 April 2013
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Florence King's life story tells you a lot about what it means to be a Southern belle - and what it means to be a woman. I'm just slightly younger than she is but I can relate to conditions when she was growing up. She is a brilliant writer, hardly known in the UK. ("The trains sounded like a knight in full armour being sawn in half.") The household consists of little Florence, her grandmother, her mother, her father (a clarinettist who sleeps in the kitchen of their tiny flat), and Jensy, her grandma's black servant. When they move to slightly more spacious quarters Jensy has a room downstairs, but she is one of the family throughout. Florence has a somewhat raucous time at university (she's bisexual and students drank just as heavily back then). Her girlfriend can't forgive her for making money writing "true confessions". She is brilliant on snobbery: her part Native American grandmother is convinced of the family's aristocratic English or Scottish connections, and has many different terms for people who aren't "quite quite". (They "had that trashy look".) Jensy's death and its aftermath is particularly moving. Mr King offers to give the eulogy at her funeral, at her church. The pastor comes to discuss it, and Florence notes his "chiselled" (as her grandmother would say) features, and perfect manners. He is obviously the one with the aristocratic connections. (Read Ms King's other books in which she sends up feminism in the kindest possible way.)


My Holidays
My Holidays
by Sylvia Smith
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Loving it, 21 Mar 2013
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This review is from: My Holidays (Hardcover)
I loved Appleby House (the saga of a shared house with details of too-loud stereos and rows over the toilet-roll rota). Now I'm really enjoying My Holidays. I wish I could live my life again and be working class. Sylvia's holidays may seem boring and banal to some reviewers, but they're a thrill a minute compared to the treks round museums and the strict avoidance of beaches or nightclubs that I endured as a middle-class youth. So that's what you're meant to do: go with a girlfriend, so you can be picked up by a man who'll "bring a friend for your friend". See "sights" during the day, or scenery, or the beach, or shop windows. At night, seek the "nightlife". The best offer we got was to join in folk-dancing with some Christian teenagers - and we turned it down! (If you like Sylvia Smith, you'll like Alida Baxter.)


Appleby House
Appleby House
by Sylvia Smith
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear-eyed tale of bedsit life, 17 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Appleby House (Paperback)
I love this depiction of bedsit life in the 70s. Aspiring writers are always told to "write about what they know", and Sylvia Smith follows the advice. She observes and records without much comment. Her prose is unpretentious and flawless. She writes from the inside about the kind of people that most professional writers ignore. I can only compare her to Nell Dunn, Monica Dickens, Muriel Spark, J.B. Priestley (Angel Pavement) and Lynne Reid Banks. This is a much better book than Misadventures, which is a collection of mainly unfunny anecdotes, and only takes off when she writes about her own life. I'm looking forward to "My Holidays".


How to Have an Almost Perfect Marriage
How to Have an Almost Perfect Marriage
by Mrs. Stephen Fry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 8.65

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Abysmal, 15 Mar 2013
This is a crowd-funded book that puts the vanity into vanity publishing. It is NOT by Stephen Fry but some geezer called Ben Veal. It is a parody of a Debretts-style courtship and marriage guide. It contains no useful information - instead it is a string of lame "jokes". It hilariously suggests that you turn up to a first date in a snorkel mask and flippers, and then goes downhill from there. I threw it into a neighbour's recycling.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2013 8:39 PM BST


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