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L. Hardt (UK)
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The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits
The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits
by Debbie Bliss
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Varied and Rewarding, 24 Jun. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Beautifully photographed and containing the best of Baby knits from Debbie Bliss, this book is sure to make you want to knit baby items by the bucket load!
There are many practical and very easy to knit items. Not only cardigans, jackets and trousers, but also blankets and soft toys.
I have thoroughly enjoyed knitting the duffel coat, which has been very simple and straightforward to complete. The final product is super-cute and practical.
This is a recommended must-have for anyone who wants to make unique items for their baby, or for any knitter who, like me, finds that they seem to know a lot of people who are having babies... they're a wonderful, alternative and much appreciated gift.


Tony Wheeler's Bad Lands (Lonely Planet Travel Literature)
Tony Wheeler's Bad Lands (Lonely Planet Travel Literature)
by Tony Wheeler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not All That Bad, 20 Mar. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Bad Lands by Tony Wheeler is an interesting book. Though it may look, to people who see me reading this out and about, as though it's a book explaining exactly why the countries listed in George Bush's `Axis of Evil' are in fact `evil', it's not that at all. Tony Wheeler is sympathetic to the countries he visits and he often leaves the reader wondering what all the fuss is about. Yes, he is realistic about some of the absurdities of each country and their strange laws. He observes the oddity of restrictions to visitors wanting to enter certain countries (Iran for example) when many of its inhabitants want to, in fact, leave. But he also recalls the influence of other countries - mostly from the West or Communist Russia and China - who have also played a part in making them supposed `enemies'.

This is a book that can be picked up and read at intervals. You can dip in and read a chapter of choice without worrying about remembering what the last three chapters have told you. This is a good travel book that lets you choose where you want to be for a few pages. It even made me wonder why I wasn't contemplating visiting some of these countries myself - although also made me reconsider my desire to visit Cuba.

In fact, I tried to read this in one go, but reverted to reading it in between reading other things, as Wheeler's writing on each country has a repetitive element to it. Don't get me wrong, his style is accessible, balanced and sympathetic, and so very easy to read, but I felt like a break between each country allowed me to enjoy reading it more.

This is definitely a book to pick up if you are interested in an alternative view of those countries that appear so hostile on the news programmes


Frommer's New York City [With Map] (Frommer's Complete)
Frommer's New York City [With Map] (Frommer's Complete)
by Brian Silverman
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but Grates, 17 Feb. 2011
This is a comprehensive guide to NYC, although occasionally it lacks detail - in the map department especially. As well as this, I found the tone a little... how shall we say - familiar - for my tastes. It's a bit like having a buddy who knows it all. That said, it's very informative and covers all budgets in some depth.


Ours are the Streets
Ours are the Streets
by Sunjeev Sahota
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting, Sad, Thought Provoking, 9 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Ours are the Streets (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As much of a cliché as it may be, I could not put this book down. From start to finish, I read it in under 24 hours!

The story is a study of a young man of Pakistani heritage who struggles to fit in, both in Sheffield and Lahore, a place he visits after the death of his father. As such, it is a portrait of alienation, confusion and, as a response to these feelings, radicalisation. It documents the break down of his relationship with his wife and the mother of his child upon returning to Sheffield and his seeming descent into schizophrenic paranoia after deciding to perform a suicide bombing.

Sahota creates a believable and authentic sounding voice for his lead character through the use of a mixture of Sheffield dialect and Punjabi language which was slightly difficult to follow at first. However, one soon adapts.

This book is almost a companion piece to Chris Morris's Four Lions of last year, exploring very similar issues and environments, but through a very different lens - there is little to laugh about in this book. Although it also focuses on the exploitation of vulnerable young men by religious fundamentalists and the tragedy of self-professed Islamic "martyrs", the overriding emotion here is that of a profound sadness that mounts and mounts. I was constantly hoping that the protagonist, for whom despite his sometimes selfish and abhorrent behaviour I felt great sympathy for, would break out of his deluded state.


Shakespeare: The Essential Tragedies: v. 1
Shakespeare: The Essential Tragedies: v. 1
by William Shakespeare
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £50.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Value, 24 Dec. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a lovely set of some of Shakespeare's well known works. I am slightly surprised at the inclusion of the Tempest in this box set of tragedies? I'm not sure I would class the Tempest as a tragedy... but maybe I just don't know enough about the categorisations of Shakespeare's work.

Echoing what has been stated earlier, I thought I would use this box set to familiarise myself with those plays that I didn't already know, but I found it very difficult to follow the plays without the accompanying visual reinforcement - diving straight into Lear without so much as checking a plot synopsis meant that instead of following the play, I found myself dozing off. However, when listening to the texts that were more familiar, such as Romeo and Juliet, I found the performances to be fantastic.


An Object of Beauty
An Object of Beauty
by Steve Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Informative, 24 Dec. 2010
This review is from: An Object of Beauty (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Steve Martin - yes, THAT Steve Martin - has produced a highly enjoyable read with this book about the Manhattan art world of the late 90s.

In a way, the book was highly reminiscent of Breakfast at Tiffany's by Capote - there is the same distance between the narrator and the protagonist, as well as the backdrop of the glamour of New York city.

A nice feature of the book is the inclusion of illustrations of the art in question, making the book somewhat informative as well as highly engaging.

I highly recommend this book. It was fun, interesting and well written.


Second-Class Male: A Book of Misguided Letters
Second-Class Male: A Book of Misguided Letters
by Stan Madeley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Occasionally Raises a Chuckle, 14 Nov. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a book of spoof letters to various celebrities and public figures and the responses to them. It is occasionally funny but generally failed to raise much of a "LOL" out of me.

The character the author has created is a Richard Madely lookalike who looks nothing like Richard Madely and is a performer in a highly questionable cabaret show. There is a host of celebrities written to in the book - Alan Bennett, Su Pollard, David Attenborough and many others, and most of my amusement came from the replies to the letters. Occasionally these replies are knowing and ironic (which often leads to the most amusing missives - see the e-mail from the Adjustamatic Beds sales director for a good example) and sometimes they appear to have been taken in by Stanley's character.

This is a great book to sit on the window sill in the loo, but hardly constitutes great literature.


The Proper Care and Feeding of Zombies: A Completely Scientific Guide to the Lives of the Undead
The Proper Care and Feeding of Zombies: A Completely Scientific Guide to the Lives of the Undead
by Mac Montandon
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and Thoughtful, 14 Nov. 2010
This is a wonderfully timely book - zombies seem to be 'in' at the moment - and it offers some interesting and funny thoughts into the science of zombies.

This is not a fiction book, but rather concentrates on the scientific theory surrounding the undead. It contemplates the effect of the zombie diet on the human body and the neurology of the zombie brain, amongst other scientific questions raised by the walking dead.

The writing is funny and informative and littered with references to various other zombie-centred films and texts. It is a great read for those who are into both (light-hearted) science and zombies.


Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design
Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design
by Scott Rogers
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well Written Introduction, 14 Nov. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a gamer myself, I was intrigued by this book and the insights it might lend into the process of designing a game. Having received the book, I was not disappointed. It is an enlightening and interesting introduction to the creative side of a blossoming industry.

The guide is well written with a humorous touch, occasionally lightening up what might be rather dry subject matter. The book takes you through the numerous areas to which a game designer must pay careful attention, often using examples from the modern game industry as illustration. The book covers all bases and even offers up examples of some of the important documents that must be produced in the process of designing a game.

As a teacher, I can see this book being useful as a textbook in the classroom either for ICT or for Media Studies - or even English as there is a wealth of information on writing narratives for video games that could be an excitingly different project for students than some of the more usual creative writing projects.


Simple Knitting
Simple Knitting
by Erika Knight
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction, 5 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Simple Knitting (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Simple Knitting by Erika Knight is an excellent beginners guide to the art of knitting. The early pages of this beautifully photographed book give a great, easy to read description of different yarns that are suitable for knitting and the types of projects they are best suited to.

The instructions for learning to cast on, knit and purl are clear and concise and accompanied by illustrations. The projects it provides are not twee like many other beginners knitting books often have, but are useful, interesting and practical.

This book is a definite beginners guide for those people who want to learn to knit whilst creating stylish and well-designed pieces.


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