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Reviews Written by
J. C. Chamberlain (Manchester, Cheshire, UK)

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Catching A Tiger
Catching A Tiger
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, I like it, 2 May 2011
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This review is from: Catching A Tiger (MP3 Download)
I like it. It's different in that it's a bit more upbeat than the stuff I usually buy (Laura Marling being my other favourite at the mo) but yes, I like it. I can't quite place it in a genre because it's different to the usual stuff and it moves around a lot. It's sometimes 60's American, sometimes blues, sometimes Country music, sometimes just really settling and calm. I've listened to it a few times and it perks me up when songs appear in my 'Beautiful Music' playlist so am happy with this album and look forward to discovering what else she's done, and what she will do. I also like Joni, Florence & the Machine, Bat for Lashes, KT Tunstall etc.

A Literature Of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontė to Lessing: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing
A Literature Of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontė to Lessing: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing
by Elaine Showalter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.79

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 2 May 2011
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It starts out very defensive of the criticism Showalter has had, but once you move past that into the substance of the book it's very informative.

It's not the critical text she's quoted from most often (in the other texts I've read) as that is generally The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Culture, 1830-1980 but it's a sound criticism of women writers and women characters in a male world, whether and where there's a difference in style, reception and expectations, and the relevance within female circles in history. It's a very interesting analysis of British novels written by women and it's clearly well researched and she uses many references to back up her points.

It's missing Aphra Behn, unfortunately, and a few other earlier British writers, but it does what it says on the tin: Bronte to Lessing.

It's a book of it's time (1977) and looks at the double standard in literary (and other) criticisms, but it does miss things from other perspectives for example race and class, but Showalter holds her hands up to this in this 2009 edition. So I've given it 5 stars for being great in it's own world, less 1 star for being slightly dated and not quite broad enough from a 2011 perspective.

Recommended for study and academic reasons but not really for general reading unless you're particularly interested in the authors it covers (Bronte, Woolf, Eliot, Austen, Drabble, Lessing etc).

Bad Moon Rising (Mono Single)
Bad Moon Rising (Mono Single)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't get it out of my head, 2 May 2011
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Whenever I hear this song I just can't get it out of my head. It's upbeat, dark but makes me happy! First heard it in An American Werewolf in London (An American Werewolf In London - Special Edition [DVD]) but I'm sure I've heard in things like Supernatural and the occasional advert. Great song and great music but unfortunately the only Creedence Clearwater Revival song I know!

A di Alessi Cico Eggcup, Pink (ASG23 P)
A di Alessi Cico Eggcup, Pink (ASG23 P)
Price: £11.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Gift, 2 May 2011
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I bought this for my mum and she loves it. She says she feels really silly when she has an egg now but she's quite silly so that's OK! Excellent little present for silly people who lead colourful lives.

A di Alessi Bunny & Carrot Kitchen Roll Holder, Pink (ASG42 P)
A di Alessi Bunny & Carrot Kitchen Roll Holder, Pink (ASG42 P)

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Gift, 2 May 2011
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I bought this for my wacky mum and she loved it! She has no complaints and thinks it's gorgeous in her kitchen, which is steadily getting more and more colourful.

Universal History of the Destruction of Books, A
Universal History of the Destruction of Books, A
by Fernando Baez
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.29

5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book, well researched and informative, 2 May 2011
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This is not only a very well researched book about the destruction of books but a real eye opener as to how much some civilisations treasured their learnings. Not only them, but the destroyers mindset of destroying that centre of knowledge.

Through Baez's essays on each period I was able to really feel the tablets smash, the papyrus or paper burn and it gave me chills. I didn't previously know too much about some of the civilisations he talks of, particularly in Part One: The Ancient World, so it's been a great history lesson for me. I've been able to incorporate the information from this book in to my literature studies, for example 'Consider that 120 works are attributed to Sophocles, yet we only have seven complete titles and hundreds of fragments' (p. 41), in considering the importance of the works we look at (and the works we can't).

The contents are:

Part 1: The Ancient World
1. The Near East
2. Egypt
3. Greece
4. The Library of Alexandria
5. Other Ancient Libraries and Aristotle's Lost Books
6. China
7. Rome and Early Christianity
8. Oblivion and the Fragility of Books

Part 2: From Byzantium to the Nineteenth Century
9. Constantinople
10. Between Monks and Barbarians
11. The Islamic World
12. Misplaced Medieval Fervor
13. The Destruction of Pre-Hispanic Culture in the Americas
14. The Renaissance
15. England
16. Revolutions in France, Spain, and Latin America
17. Fires, Wars, Mistakes, and Messiahs
18. Books Destroyed in Fiction

Part 3: From the Twentieth Century to the Present
19. The Rise of Fascism
20. Censorship and Self-Censorship in the Modern Age
21. China and the Soviet Union
22. Spain, Chile, and Argentina
23. A Particular kind of Hatred
24. On the Natural Enemies of Books
25. Iraq

If I have any criticism it's that the language is sometimes quite academic and this book isn't for just academics. However I wouldn't go so far as to drop a star from the rating as the book was originally written in Spanish and I may not do justice to the author to mark it down when the translator will have made judgements about the wording.

So a truly fascinating book that you can dip in and out of depending on which culture or continent you happen to be interested in, or one you can rely on for academic purposes, or just read all the way though and be overwhelmed by the savagery of 'civilisation'.

Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 4000 - Dark Grey
Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 4000 - Dark Grey

3.0 out of 5 stars Had it for over 3 years..., 2 May 2011
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... and it's just now starting to pack up as the left click button is failing around 1 in 20 times and getting worse by the day. Only been failing for around 3 weeks and I've been scouring Amazon for a new mouse today- hence stopping to write this review.

No, I'm not going to buy this mouse again. With the others on sale now the 6cm jut-out from my laptop can be cut down to 8mm, without a light, and I can have a mouse I can switch off. Those 3 features alone are the drawbacks of this mouse.

I'm not unhappy with how it's been over the last 3 years as it's done it's job and the price was OK but with technology moving on I'd rather buy something else.

Literature and Gender: An Introductory Textbook (Approaching Literature)
Literature and Gender: An Introductory Textbook (Approaching Literature)
by Lizbeth Goodman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.13

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes fascinating, sometimes dated, 18 April 2011
This book is a coursebook with the Open University's A210 Approaching Literature module.

It's a fascinating read sometimes. It covers prose, poetry and plays and contains short stories and poetry.

Part One
Chapter 1 is about women in stories, and writing stories.
Chapter 2 is about female poets, and the female subjects of poems.
Chapter 3 is where it starts to become really fascinating and talks about Virginia Woolf, short stories, Kincaid, domestic expectations, appearance, Louisa May Alcott and all sorts of other things.
Chapter 4 is about madness, particularly in women writers (e.g. Charlotte Perkins Gilman) and in female characters. Another section and if you like this you might like The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-century Literary Imagination (Yale Nota Bene)
Chapter 5 is about 'Gender, race, class and fiction' and looks mainly at The Color Purple. This is another fascinating section about a brilliant book, and includes great information from Alice Walker.
Chapter 6 is about aspects of stories in performance, and from the look of my scarce notes, this chapter wasn't as specific or informative as the others.
Chapter 7 is aboutA Doll's House (Dover Thrift) and looks at the play during that early period and why it was so shocking in 1889 from a gender perspective.
Chapter 8 is about Top Girls (Student Editions) from 1982 and talks about businesswomen and family women and the complications around that.

Part Two
Poetry Anthology
'The New Dress' by Virginia Woolf
'Girl' by Jamaica Kincaid
'Behind a Mask' by A. M. Bernard (aka Louisa May Alcott)
'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Trifles by Susan Glaspell
'A Jury of her Peers' by Susan Glaspell
These are the full short stories and the full Trifles play. This book is possibly worth buying just for these amazing stories alone.

Overall the book is very interesting. I've heard it criticised by my fellow students on the course for being a little dated, and yes, I guess it is. When you're looking at a play or novel from 1982 and judging it by 1996 standards in 2011 it can feel like it's from another time. However that in itself can be useful to any academic.

I thought the book was great and I'd recommend to anyone studying gender in literature.

Romantic Writings (Approaching Literature)
Romantic Writings (Approaching Literature)
by Stephen Bygrave
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.12

4.0 out of 5 stars Course book for Open University, 18 April 2011
Romantic Writings is a course book for the Open University's A210 Approaching Literature module which is closing in 2011. It covers poetry by the Romantic poets (Byron, Shelley), and/or during the Romantic period (1780-1830), rather than the genre of romantic (love) poetry.

It gives historical context to the poets and explores the poems themselves. For the most part, it deconstructs the poems on the contextual level, in order for you to be able to find the meanings in the poetry yourself. It does break down some poems but it really is trying to teach you to be able to do this yourself- which you can do if you really read and 'listen' to what is being taught here. It covers Wordsworth's The Prelude in detail and doesn't ignore women writers. It doesn't really teach you about the range of poetic techniques, rather, it focuses on history and meaning.

I've not given it 5 stars because sometimes it is too in depth and it reaches for answers that you might say are reaching, and it does spoil things sometimes. So a high 4 star and recommended to anyone studying the Romantic poets or period.

Fathers and Sons (Oxford World's Classics)
Fathers and Sons (Oxford World's Classics)
by Ivan Turgenev
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, not for me, 3 April 2011
The review title says it all here. It's not for me. I really hoped to enjoy this novel as I hadn't read any other Russian literature and I thought this would be an access point to a whole new range of books, from a country that's always intrigued me but seemed a long way away. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy it.

There were some characters that stick out from this novel. Certainly Bazarov and Anna, but I didn't warm to any of them. The style of Turgenev's writing seems to deny even the possibility of warmth, and with nihilist central characters it perhaps wouldn't be appropriate anyway. There wasn't much story to speak of either, and this combined with the last of characters to settle with left me quite sterile to this novel.

The style of writing reminded me of reading For Whom The Bell Tolls by Hemingway, which I also didn't like. So I'm sure it's not the quality of the book that at question, but a style of writing that just isn't for me. It feels very masculine, if that can be said of writing.

Finally, a point on the translation of this particular version (the original was written in Russian in 1862). It's evidently a modern translation and it stuck a few times where it felt too modern. Written in the same year as Great Expectations I would expect a similar type of writing style, but unfortunately this translation wants to call people 'mate' like people do these days, and use cockney rhyming slang like it's set in England. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if I could read Russian and understand the original!

As I didn't enjoy it I can't recommend it, but if you enjoy Hemingway you may enjoy this novel.
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