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Reviews Written by (Birmingham, UK)

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Comic Relief: Quidditch Through the Ages (Harry Potter's Schoolbooks)
Comic Relief: Quidditch Through the Ages (Harry Potter's Schoolbooks)
by Kennilworthy Whisp
Edition: Paperback

62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure even for those of us who don't play, 14 Mar. 2001
At risk of giving away too many of the laughs contained within this slim volume, I promise that I shall reveal only one of them at the end of this slender review.
I'm proud to be one of the many adult fans of Ms Rowling and have thoroughly enjoyed her superb novels to date. The only hint of boredom being the early section of Book IV (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) which deals with the Quidditch World Cup and may probably only have had interest for true fans of Quidditch, yet is somewhat dull for the rest of us.
However, I am now a complete convert! Kennilworthy Whisp has written an unusual thing in the world of sports books. That is, one which will be read with pleasure by many who are not fans.
Finally, the presentation of 13 teams in the U.K. league encourages the reader to select their own team. Mine is the Chudley Cannons. Why? How can you NOT support a team which changes its team motto from "We shall conquer" to "Lets all just keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best".

Sold: One woman's true account of modern slavery: Story of Modern-day Slavery
Sold: One woman's true account of modern slavery: Story of Modern-day Slavery
by Zana Muhsen
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How can this happen today?, 7 Feb. 2001
I read this book in one day. I couldn't put it down and was captivated by the story and carried along with the pace. By the close I was desperately sad and understood perfectly the frustration of the Muhsen family. The fact that Nadia is not in the UK is the fault of us all. Read the book, support the fight to bring Nadia and her beautiful children home!

Emotionally Weird
Emotionally Weird
by Kate Atkinson
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bitterly disappointing, 13 Nov. 2000
This review is from: Emotionally Weird (Hardcover)
I have to echo some of the negative reviews already written about this book (especially that of below).
Like others, I enjoyed 'Behind the Scenes', ADORED 'Human Croquet' and found this an enormous disappointment! If only Kate Atkinson had stuck with writing literate fiction instead of attempting impenetrable postmodernist trash!
This novel is obscure and pointless. Second rate.

My Life On a Plate
My Life On a Plate
by India Knight
Edition: Paperback

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull, rarely amusing and it's such a shame!, 12 Sept. 2000
This review is from: My Life On a Plate (Paperback)
I was so disappointed! India Knight is a favourite journalist. Her obvious writing talents are all there in this book. However, the plot, the characters, the story are all so SHALLOW that one can barely paddle, let alone become absorbed.
The heroine is utterly self-centered and smug (I doubt most of us can sympathise with a character who feels sorry for herself because she can't remember the last time she spent over £100 on a dress. In fact, ALL of the characters (including the children) are self-centred and smug. It's impossible to generate even the tiniest bit of sympathy for any of them!
This is, of course, forgivable if the plot, themes, characterisation, etc are good. They are not.
The only reason this one gets two stars and not one is that the style was good enough to get me to read it to the end. I have no doubts about India Knight's ability to write a good novel. I only hope she does it one day!

Fat to Firm at Any Age: How You Can Have a Slimmer, Well-toned Body at Age 30, 40 and Beyond
Fat to Firm at Any Age: How You Can Have a Slimmer, Well-toned Body at Age 30, 40 and Beyond
by Alisa Bauman
Edition: Paperback

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, sympathetic and modern - a good buy for anyone, 1 Mar. 2000
I was extremely impressed with this book. Apart from any other considerations, it's simply a good and interesting read. I found that most of the diet information I already knew, but the exercise routines and toning advice was wonderful.
There are a number of particularly impressive things about this guide. Firstly, it draws a clear distinction between so-called 'successful dieters' and those who have successfully RETAINED weight-loss. I have never come across this distinction before and it is revelationary.
Secondly, it recognises that all women are different and caters for them - from those who'd like to tone their upper-arms to those who'd like to lose a coupld of hundred pounds.
The guide also recognises that we can't all afford a personal trainer and gym membership and makes practical, easy suggestions for alternatives.
I strongly recommend this book, even if the most you can manage at the moment is to get your bulk from the couch to the refrigerator!

The Sirens Of Titan (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
The Sirens Of Titan (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
by Kurt Vonnegut
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 10 Feb. 2000
I'm a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan and I never thought I'd be disappointed by him. Tragically it's happened in this - the fifth novel of his that I've read.
Frankly, I'm amazed that other reviewers enjoyed it so much. If this had been my first experience of Vonnegut, I wouldn't read another.
In the Sirens of Titan, Vonnegut is much more didactic than in any of his later books. The cynicism and irony is well in character, but this book entirely lacks the humour of his later works. It also utterly fails to draw the reader into Vonnegut's world. All right, we're all being used, we're all going to die, no-one gives a damn. There's no need to be smug about it.
Quite frankly, the whole experience left me cold. By the last few chapters I was wishing I'd never bothered.
I have to tell you to read Gallapagos, Slaughterhouse 5, Timequake, any of the others. But not this one.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2009 1:51 PM BST

"Good Housekeeping" Step-by-step Low Fat Cooking (Step-by-step essentials)
"Good Housekeeping" Step-by-step Low Fat Cooking (Step-by-step essentials)
by Good Housekeeping Institute
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 11 Jan. 2000
A wonderful cook-book, like most in the Good Housekeeping range.
Possibly this one is not for the total beginner - most of the recipes call for quite a few ingredients which is apt to put some people off, especially those who are uncertain whether they can leave things out or use substitutes.
The recipes I've tried all turned out wonderfully well and my dinner parties were highly successful.
This book also makes clear that just because a recipe is low fat doesn't necessarily mean it's low calorie as well, however, each recipe gives details about calorie content and lots of other dietary advice.
My only quibble is the price. The book is well worth the money mainly because of the lovely glossy pictures, but to my mind I would have preferred less of them for a cheaper book, but it would make an excellent gift.

Bridget Jones : The Edge of Reason
Bridget Jones : The Edge of Reason
by Helen Fielding
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as I wanted it to be!, 5 Jan. 2000
I was highly sceptical when I read the Sunday Times review of this book which suggest it was even better than the original. BUT it had me laughing out loud time after time.
My one criticism, is about character, not plot. Bridget herself seems to have changed - she's a bit dimmer, a bit more naive and, unfortunately, has become a victim of herself rather than an unsuspecting observer of the chaos around her. This is a shame and it's a little frustrating. That said, you SHOULD buy the book. It's worth it!

Victoria Line, Central Line
Victoria Line, Central Line
by Maeve Binchy
Edition: Paperback

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly excellent collection, 23 Sept. 1999
I have just bought a new edition of this book, having read (and shared) my first copy to pieces!
Without any doubt at all, this is the finest collection of 'modern' short stories I have ever read. Each story, like each of the succinctly described characters, is astonishing in a different way.
If you have ever wondered what people are REALLY like beneath the surface, in this book Maeve Binchy finds out for you. The changing faces of people within the fixedness of place is the theme of each story. No-one is who he/she appear to be and the surprises are endless.
Even if you have never buy another short-story collection. buy this one.

A Bend in the River
A Bend in the River
by V. S. Naipaul
Edition: Paperback

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A difficult book to read - but worth the effort, 21 Sept. 1999
This review is from: A Bend in the River (Paperback)
This is one of the most difficult books I have ever read, mainly due to the author's subdued writing style and my personal inability (as a white Briton) to relate to much of the content.
The plot is minimal, but the theme of a country (Africa), lost because of its inability to create any kind of permanent memorial to itself, permeates the novel.
This theme is particularly poignant during the chapters when the narrator lives for a time in London. The concrete and the bricks, the enduring 'sameness', the sense of century on century, is utterly alien to all that Africa appears to mean.
I found this a haunting book, filled with emotions which returned again and again after the book was read and put away.
It was very challenging, but highly rewarding.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2013 7:28 AM BST

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