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S. P. Ramsey "themightyrambo" (Bath, UK)
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The Road
The Road
by Cormac McCarthy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

88 of 115 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Road accident, 2 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Road (Paperback)
They started walking along the road again, turning into a fairly empty Waterstones. The boy tugged at the man's arm.
Is this a good book?
No.
Why not?
I dont know.
Can I read it?
No.
Can we go home?
There is no home.
They sat on the floor outside and looked at the bleak, empty high street. Everyone was dead. They had all read The Road by Cormac McCarthy, then went to sleep and died. The dialogue was repetitive and banal. The punctuation was wrong, on purpose. Nothing happened. It killed them.
Im scared, the boy said.
Its ok.
Will we be ok?
Yes.
Are you sure?
As long as we dont read The Road, we'll be fine.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 7, 2014 11:39 AM GMT


The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance
The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance
by Edmund de Waal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Miniature interest, 2 Jan 2012
Billed as a book about the author's family history, this is actually a book about the process of researching the book De Waal should have written. His gonzo style is unjustified, as nothing actually interesting happens to him. He looks at things. He goes to the library. He walks around on the street where his ancestors lived.

"As I walk down the hill from the Hotel Ephrussi at what I consider to be a good flaneurial pace, slower than usual, weaving from one side of the road to the other to check on details of the mouldings of windows..."

Please, don't stop. Tell me, did you then go to a café and want to use the toilet, but someone was in there, so you sat down, and then the guy came out but you weren't paying attention and someone else got in there first? Did you then order scrambled eggs, then decide you actually wanted beans instead, but they'd already cooked the eggs, and you ate the eggs and they were alright but you couldn't help thinking the beans would have been nicer?

He describes looking at some old newspapers: "I get particularly hooked by the listings of wedding-presents at society marriages, telling myself this is all good research on cultures of gift giving, and waste an embarrassing amount of time trying to work out who is being over-generous, who is a cheapskate, and who is just dull. My great-great-grandmother gives a set of golden serving dishes shaped as cockle shells at a society wedding in 1874. Vulgar, I think, without anything to back this up."

Indeed, when De Waal can't find facts, he's not afraid to indulge in this kind of speculation, along the lines of `I wonder what it must have been like', `perhaps...' and so on.

Though billed as `a masterpiece' on the front cover, `the book...of the decade' on the inside cover, `the perfect book' on the inside back cover, and `impossible to put down' on the back, it is none of those things. It is the literary equivalent of wallpaper soup: dull, pointless, and difficult to finish. It is also self-indulgent and pretentious, but that doesn't fit into the similie so well.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 26, 2014 12:18 PM BST


Touching From a Distance
Touching From a Distance
by Deborah Curtis
Edition: Paperback

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars She's Lost Control, 2 Jan 2012
Deborah Curtis has a great advantage over most biographers - she was married to her subject for almost five years. In preparing the book, she interviewed 22 people including Curtis' bandmates and Tony Wilson.
She should easily have had enough information to put together a worthwhile book. Sadly, Touching from a Distance reads like a biography by someone who has never read a biography before.
It's mostly a description of Deborah Curtis' emotions and actions during the late 70s. Her husband Ian appears occasionally as a minor character, usually to do something unpleasant, which gives Deborah another excuse for her to bang on about her feelings.
It's a banal, self-indulgent mess, and apparently sloppy with basic history - a mistake on page 90 sums up the lack of effort which has gone into the book. "Bernard also remembers that Ian liked to consider Nietzsche's theory that there exists a race which is reincarnated periodically and they were the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans and the Nazis." It would have taken anywhere between five and fifteen seconds of research to find out that the Nazi party was founded in 1920, 20 years after Nietzsche died.


Nick Drake: The Biography
Nick Drake: The Biography
by Patrick Humphries
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ...a local clown, 7 Oct 2011
The author of this horrific biography obviously has no idea what he's doing. The book includes amaznigly little information about Drake's life, and is padded out with reams of completely irrelevant historical background; the first four pages are about the Titanic and the fall of the British empire, which is then linked very, very tenuously to Drake.

A few pages later, he bangs on about WW2, and the bombing and postwar reconstruction of major cities, adding "it is questionable how much of this change impinged upon life at Far Leys, where the Drake family settled..." As Far Leys is in the countryside, it obviously had little or no effect. Why mention it then?

Again, a few pages later, he bangs on about John Osborne and the Angry Young Men of British theatre, and the rise of Elvis, before saying "Little of this sneering, urban rebelliousness percolated to secluded Tamworth-in-Arden". So what? Tell me something about Nick Drake!

When talking about Drake (who he annoyingly calls Nick, as if they were friends) going to Marlborough school, he includes a page of history about the school, then a bit of biographical detail, then more history of Marlborough.
The author then offers this spellbinding insight: "The public school ethos hardly lent itself to the dropped aitch rowdiness and two-fingered rebellion of rock and roll".

Sadly, this appears to be the only Nick Drake biography. He deserves better.


Introducing Existentialism: A Graphic Guide
Introducing Existentialism: A Graphic Guide
by Richard Appignanesi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.47

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a total waste of paper, 15 Feb 2009
as other reviewers have said, this is almost impossible to understand. he doesn't really explain the key concepts, rather, goes to extreme lengths to prove he is very smart indeed by writing a load of text which would make about as much sense backwards as forwards. Also, for reasons i cannot grasp, he has decided to illustrate the book with a lot of pictures of himself alongside pictures of Sartre, Heidegger, Camus etc, presumably to imply that he is just as important an existentialist thinker as them.

All in all, you would probably get a better insight into existential thought by reading the Daily Express
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 4, 2012 1:08 AM GMT


The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Sigmund Freud
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 5 Oct 2008
This is a fascinating book. Freud talks about how the mistakes we make give clues about our subconscious thoughts and motives; he describes the different types of errors we make and what they say about us, giving many interesting examples of each type, including slips of the tongue and forgetting. It is written in a simple style, and the use of examples really helps get the point across- overall a great book


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