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sarahalliez "sarahalliez" (Bolton.Lancs, UK)
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Nikolski
Nikolski
by Nicolas Dickner
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully quirky Canadian tale, 7 Jan 2009
This review is from: Nikolski (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a fan of quirky witty books and the TV series Northern Exposure, I greatly enjoyed this well crafted tale of 3 people connected to the Alaskan / Aluetian Island town Nikolski. The un-named narrator works in a secondhand bookshop in Montreal and owns a compass which is the only item left from his father's life. It points to Nikolski, a small place in Alaska, the last known place where his father lived. Noah may share the same father, Joyce is related to Noah's father and according to tales told by her grandpa, who lives in a rickety house on the outskirts of her village, has pirate ancestors. Noah and Joyce end up in a Montreal fish shop where Joyce works and Noah lives, although they never meet there. Their lives also intertwine with the narrator, mainly because of a mysterious book about pirates which started life at Liverpool University and has travelled around the world. As a bookcrosser, I was particularly tickled by the important part this book plays in the story. The book is gracefully translated and the narrative flows beautifully. It is also beautifully produced, with pictures of fish as chapter headings. I found this book a pleasure to look at and read.


The Bird Room
The Bird Room
by Chris Killen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.53

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Depressing tale of modern courtship, 7 Jan 2009
This review is from: The Bird Room (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This dark tale of modern morality and dating is mercifully short but non-the-less depressing for that. Two young men, both called Will, live in a provincial city and are uneasy friends. One Will, despite no decernible charm or talent is a success with the ladies and a famous artist, the other Will seems to be a bit of a loser. One of the Wills is living with Alice and she seems to be in love with him but a dangerous obsession leads their relationship to break down. An actress called Clair / Helen is also making a living performing in amateur internet porn films and becomes involved with the convoluted narrative which leads to a twisting of identities. This is a disturbing tale of modern relationships, which don't seem to be based on trust and love but on porn and lust.


A Little History of the World
A Little History of the World
by Ernst Gombrich
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great history book for adults too, 26 Nov 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a proud owner of Gombrich's famed art history book The Story of Art since the age of 16, I was very interested to read this book. Gombrich apparently decided to write his own history for young people after being sent a substandard one to translate and this book first appeared in 1935. Banned by the Nazis for being "too pacifist", the book has appeared in 25 languages. Towards the end of his life Gombrich planned a revision and a long overdue English translation and this is the edition now available. The book has beautiful engravings illustrating each chapter and is a joy to read. It is apparently designed to be read aloud but all the adult visitors I have had over the last few days grabbed it up and read it avidly. I am delighted to have this book in my history book collection.


Book diary (2009)
Book diary (2009)
by Victoria Barry
Edition: Diary
Price: £16.65

4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal companion for the organised reader, 26 Nov 2008
This review is from: Book diary (2009) (Diary)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This handsome product is a 2009 diary but also acts as a book journal too. As a bookcrosser who likes to do themed releases based on a specific author's birthday or birthplace or themed to the time of year or a place, I will find this diary a very useful tool. I also liked the photos of people reading - most of them seem to be in Leeds for some reason. I am also pleased to learn that I share my birthday with Charlotte Bronte. The diary has interesting lists of seasonal and themed reading suggestions - as a rather free form reader who chooses their reading matter on a whim I shall probably not use these. I personally find the pages headed "What did I read? What did I think?" a bit patronising but then I am not the type to keep a journal or overanalyse my reading. If you are the kind of person who enjoys keeping a journal or likes reading books recommended by others, such extras will not bother you and will be a welcome bonus. This is a great gift for any book lover or member of a reading group.


Zal and Zara and the Great Race of Azamed
Zal and Zara and the Great Race of Azamed
by Kit Downes
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real magic carpet ride!, 13 Nov 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This was a right rollicking read - just the sort of thing I would have loved at the age of 10 or so. I loved it that Zara was a feisty young madam with magnificent magic powers and much cleverer than the hero Zal. Just the thing for any Harry Potter fans (if they can be persuaded to read anything else of course) or for any young readers who like a bit of fantasy. And a few proper baddies as well, even though one is a ghost...


Little Brother
Little Brother
by Cory Doctorow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Paranoia among the cyber-youth, 13 Nov 2008
This review is from: Little Brother (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It took me quite a while to get into this book due to the highly technical (nerdy) descriptions of high tech surveillance, social networking, online gaming and the like which I found quite tedious. However, I am also about 25 years older than the target audience - Facebook is as cutting edge as I get. I was also quite impatient with the high school protagonist Marcus (codename W1nst0n - that's clever!) at the beginning while he bunked off school (evading the CCTV system of course) to play a role playing game with his mates. So far, so freaking what? However, Marcus and his chums get caught up in a terrorist attack and the rest of the book tells the tale of his nightmare treatment at the hands of a mysterious para-military force and his clever and ultimately brave attempt to bring this sinister force down, using his hacking expertise to subvert "the man". The book greatly improved for me once he grew beyond being a smug geek through talking to real people, snogging a real young woman and also growing a social conscience. He is also highly impressed by reading a (real) copy of On the Road, just like every other 17 year old in history. Like, wow. I found the end of the book a bit unsatisfactory (I wish I shared the author's faith in the power of the press to do good). Some of the passages were quite clunky - for example, most readers probably don't need to be told who Kerouac is in the middle of a narrative. I also think that this book is so bang up to date it will not wear well (unlike Catcher in the Rye and On The Road which are still read by teens 40 years after they were written). In fact, events this very week in the US - the election of a black Democratic president - hopefully mean the imagined nightmare scenarios in this book will stay as fantasy. The book remains a clever update of Orwell's 1984 and is a timely reminder to young people everywhere to use their loaf and vote, particularly if living in the USA. Don't trust me though, I'm well over 30.


The Northern Clemency
The Northern Clemency
by Philip Hensher
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the Sheffield I remember..., 4 Nov 2008
This review is from: The Northern Clemency (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was keen to read The Northern Clemency as it is set in Sheffield during the miners' strike in the early 1980s. As I was a student at Sheffield Polytechnic at this very time, I was interested to see if the author's book tallied with my (admitedly cider-hazed) memories. The answer has to be no, as Hensher tells the tale of 2 families who live in a Sheffield suburb from the 1970s to the 1990s, and not the life of a stroppy feminist art historian. Only one of the children goes to the "Poly" and although he supports the miners through direct action, he is the least likeable character and it was very hard to feel any affinty with him. As the book begins in the 1970s and the 2 youngest characters are roughly my contemporaries, I did find the adventures of the younger people more compelling than the tales from the lives of the "grown ups". I also found the book overlong at over 700 pages but set myself the challenge of reading a chapter a night so the book only took me 5 days to read in the end. I did enjoy recognising Sheffield landmarks - the Ruby Tuesday cafe is obviously based on the legendary (but not very good) Mr Kites, the Hole in the Road and the markets are all here. As a fan of Jonathan Coe, I enjoyed this family saga and would be interested in reading other (hopefully shorter) novels by this author.


The Gargoyle
The Gargoyle
by Andrew Davidson
Edition: Hardcover

16 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling pretentious tosh, 26 Oct 2008
This review is from: The Gargoyle (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I did try very hard to read this book as I had heard a lot of hype about it and it sounded quite intriguing from the Amazon writeup.

However, I found it to be one of the worst written books I have ever had the misfortune to read. I just couldn't get further than the first few pages.

To paraphrase the great Dorothy Parker, this isn't a book to be put down lightly, it is a book to be hurled across the room with great force.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 20, 2009 9:36 AM BST


Wallace And Gromit - Special Edition Tin Box [DVD]
Wallace And Gromit - Special Edition Tin Box [DVD]
Dvd ~ Wallace and Gromit
Offered by ludovico_institute
Price: £19.99

20 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking boxset, Gromit, 6 Dec 2006
I haven't actually bought this yet but I love these films! My favourite is the classic "The Wrong Trousers" with the hilariously evil penguin causing havoc. I also love "A Grand Day Out" though - just the thought of the space alien's holiday snaps (skiiing with a woolly scarf flying behind him) make me chortle. The animation is fantastic through all these films, with just the right mix of pathos and humour. I also love the Northern setting and the visual puns are wonderful. And I suppose you could put your cheese in the tin.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2009 8:46 AM GMT


Knitorama: 25 Great and Glam Things to Knit
Knitorama: 25 Great and Glam Things to Knit
by Rachael Matthews
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In every dream home a funny knitted thingy, 26 April 2006
I've just been bought this for my birthday and it is very entertaining. I'm not sure that I'm going to tackle all the projects in the book; the crocheted pint of beer for example (I can't crochet and what's the point?) but I quite like the apple cosy, the knitted veg and the speaker covers. My particular favourites are the knitted flying ducks though. There are practical items in here as well, such as a dishcloth and a loopy dusting glove (just what I need). A great, fun book for the adventurous knitter in your life.


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