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matigrebooks "matigrebooks" (London)
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Spearmark Medium Working Lunch Bag, Black (discontinued by manufacturer)
Spearmark Medium Working Lunch Bag, Black (discontinued by manufacturer)
Price: 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great - keeps lunch cool and out of the work fridge!, 10 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great product which fits my containers perfectly. Its especially good to put in fridge the day before and then the contents retain the cool for the following day. It is a bit snug though and it was only happenstance that I was able to fit my own tupperware in. A tiny juice is the only liquid you will get in there alongside a lunch box!


Factory Girls: Voices from the Heart of Modern China
Factory Girls: Voices from the Heart of Modern China
Price: 4.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good but clipped account of China's dynamic labour force., 14 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I wanted to love this book because the subject fascinates me, as China moves onwards and upwards, however this book is predominantly a jumble of the issues raised and does not follow a more linear style, which would have been useful. For one thing the author detracts from the stories by speaking at length about her own family roots, and whilst her roots are broadly related to the theme of the book - it is quite tangential to the central theme of the consequences (positive and negative) of China's employment migration patterns. Not to take anything away from the author, but the self-referential style tries to staple one story onto another - and her own family's struggles (which are quite unique and worthy of an exploration) would have better suited another book.

The organisation of the book is also poor, in the sense that the author presumably tries to replicate the fragmentary lifestyle of the migrants by following a saccharin perambulating format, drifting into lives and drifting out again.

Further to this, which is presumably a journalistic trait, the author repeats central messages multiple times through the book - so any form of subtlety is absent. It is quite painful at times, as the same sentences are repeated, in the same italicised font at multiple places. This sledgehammer approach to being didactic is especially patronising.

However, I did finish the book and it was a worthy read overall.


Escape from Camp 14: One man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West
Escape from Camp 14: One man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West
by Blaine Harden
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Painful story, told in a very human way, 24 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very harrowing book that describes 'life,' if it can be called that, inside one of the most notorious prison camps in North Korea. Similar in style to the Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag, which I had read previously - but even more brutal in description of the feelings, lack of emotions and the indifference to camp 'life.' Shin Dong-Hyuak's life is also covered post- escape from North Korea, which very few of these books do - and explains the massive transition that it takes to remove oneself from such totalitarian control. I am a massive reader on North Korea and Barbara Demnick's recent Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea would be perfect to read alongside or subsequently to this book - due to the sheer madness of what happens in North Korea outside of the prison camps. Given this context, the brutality of Shin Dong-Hyuak's experience and the torment of normal civilian life in North Korea really will start to shape an idea of what life must be like in the Hermit Kingdom. Shin Dong-Hyuak's in the U.S. is also covered, with plain explanations that everything did not go to plan and transition was almost impossible, due to the horrific experience that Shin Dong-Hyuak underwent. I felt that this 'not so rosy' ending but a possibility of happiness in the future was very honest of the author to contextualise the likely experience of most escapees lives in South Korea.

A brutal, horrifying book - but one that seeks to expose the lack of humanity inherent in NK's regime.


Frommer's Amsterdam Day by Day (Frommer's Day by Day - Pocket)
Frommer's Amsterdam Day by Day (Frommer's Day by Day - Pocket)
by George McDonald
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic little guide, 24 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Fantastic little guide which is perfectly handy for the back pocket (loose jeans). Very recent listings - thus very relevant to upcoming trips. A little too structured for my liking - in terms of suggestions - but this is as a result of being a 'day-to-day' guide. Very handy maps but not the clearest visuals to get the perfect picture of where you are going. Very hardy book - unlike the soft Rough Guides or Lonely Planets - so perfect for a short trip or for having handily stowed away for quick reference. Overall great for the trip.


Energizer XP4001A Universal Charger for Smartphones (iPhone/Blackberry/Samsung/HTC) and Tablets (iPad, Galaxy Tab) (discontinued by manufacturer)
Energizer XP4001A Universal Charger for Smartphones (iPhone/Blackberry/Samsung/HTC) and Tablets (iPad, Galaxy Tab) (discontinued by manufacturer)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but priced well, 16 Feb 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This nifty piece of equipment genuinely does what it says on the tin and provides emergency backup for iPhones and iPods. The usefulness of this product and its expense has to be finely balanced on whether it would be easier to take additional travel chargers wherever you go. In contrast - you could pick up travel chargers for Apple products very cheaply on places like Amazon or eBay - whereas this product is a temporary fix which retails much higher. That being said - it can be a stopgap for anyone out-of-range from a power supply and this is where this product shines. Sadly I'm never too far away from electricity, so can't get the best use out of this product. I would, however, recommend to all my backpacker friends.


Home Accountz 2012 (PC/Mac/Linux)
Home Accountz 2012 (PC/Mac/Linux)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best piece of Money Management Software, 16 Feb 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was especially disappointed with this software as I was in the market for something like this, given the economic circumstances. The software looks very plain and basic, something which can only be described as Windows 95 era. The function of the program was equally as unimpressive - as even importing bank and credit card statements was traumatic. The "Eazy" button function was useful and seemed something more akin to a point of sale (till) computer, which was actually quite impressive. However, despite the flaws I did get it working in the end.

However... for a product of 2012 this was woefully inadequate and doesn't represent the market very well (given all the current online programs that offer the same kind of functionality). With the box visual (I know I shouldn't judge...) I expected a modern, visually impressive piece of software which could be a hub of money management - but what I got was a slightly ugly, difficult to navigate program that looked like it stepped out of the manufacturer in the 90s.


Braun Oral-B Triumph 4000 Four-Mode Power Toothbrush
Braun Oral-B Triumph 4000 Four-Mode Power Toothbrush
Price: 48.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great - but not good for travel, 15 Dec 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I do have real trouble with my teeth but this is, by some margin, the best dental product I have ever used, though beforehand, I had only ever had the traditional piece of plastic(!) The multi-brush aspect really ensures you can guarantee that your mouth is clean. Unusually, it also lets you know when it is time to stop brushing. I would never take this brush away to travel, however, as the charging aspect is clearly an issue. Otherwise, with the case, it is perfectly practical to travel with.

I hope this means no more trips to the dentist!


Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2012 (Lonely Planet Travel Reference)
Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2012 (Lonely Planet Travel Reference)
by Sarah Baxter
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great inspiration for the traveller - presented impeccably, 15 Dec 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the perfect coffee table book to inspire you and your friends / family. The book is the same paperback that has been published for a few years and the only downside is that it quick outdates itself. The book provides informative guides on typical tourist destinations (countries, regions, cities) in addition to suggesting untouched or unusual destinations which aren't ordinarily on most itineraries. The book also showcases themed guides (Olympics, Food (Soup!), places with Tram systems) which bring together the most dissimilar places on a theme.

I have to say that I would buy this book on a regular basis as it does serve as inspiration for the traveller, especially when presenting destinations by theme. Not only do you discover where the action / events and expos are taking place in the forthcoming 12 months - it also allows you to see different aspects of the world when assessing places by theme (e.g. lining up places that look like going to 'Middle Earth' (genius!)). In fact, that French town is now on my list...

Best of all, for those who are taking leave / sabbaticals / gap years or are upping and leaving, it provides a travel and event planner to guide your way.


SPSS Survival Manual: A step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS
SPSS Survival Manual: A step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS
by Julie Pallant
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: 32.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough for beginners and intermediate working, 17 Nov 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a really good guide for beginners and intermediate users in SPSS, whilst not totally comprehensive for the advanced user. Was very effective at helping me get a good basic analysis from my data, whilst ensuring some more advanced tests were all covered.

A minor point is that the book is spiral bound, which is a bit of a pain for popping on a shelf.


The World Is Bigger Now: An American Journalist's Release from Captivity in North Korea . . . a Remarkable Story of Faith, Family, and Forgiven
The World Is Bigger Now: An American Journalist's Release from Captivity in North Korea . . . a Remarkable Story of Faith, Family, and Forgiven
by Euna Lee
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important, touching book., 12 Jun 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book stands alongside Laura & Lisa Ling's book on the same experiences within North Korea. Whilst Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home by Laura & Lisa focuses on the the more global significance of the event and the trauma involved in repatriating Laura and Euna, this book, authored by Euna Lee, is a more intimate look at how the experience had affected a perspective on the world. Far more attune to the psychological torment, this book unfolds with a great deal of honesty and openness about what was happening and how the author was feeling at the time of detention.

Whilst Laura & Lisa's book is a must-read to experience the incredible challenge of trying to balance and influence the world media (see my review, full of praise, on the site linked above), this book is far more personal and focuses more on the micro/meso details of the events and the stage of getting to the banks of the river in the first instance.

Whilst both books are equally powerful, Euna Lee's experience will likely move you to tears in parts, due to the unique perspective Lee had, being not only the camerawoman (rather than media figure) but also through the knowledge of the language and the ability to communicate with her captors.

A fantastic read, which should probably be read immediately after Laura & Lisa's book, to flesh out details and context, feelings and dynamic twists of emotion throughout the whole saga. The book is almost a study in human psychology in part, given that Lee is quite upfront about her relationship with Laura and the unfair influences of people trying to set her against her colleague.


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