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Jane "wilson-howarth.com" (East Anglia)

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Dreaming in Hindi: Life in Translation
Dreaming in Hindi: Life in Translation
by Katherine Russell Rich
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 14 Mar 2011
Like another reviewer I have an interest in language, I love India and I particularly seek out writing that is well researched, shying away from superficial accounts of quick or passing-through trips. This book, therefore, should have been perfect for me. But it wasn't. I haven't even finished it.

My first impression was of a loud grating American accent. I chastised myself as racist and I persevered but I wasn't rewarded. The biggest disappointment was that Rajasthan didn't come alive. To me, good travel writing takes you on a journey - you enjoy the gift of a vivid picture of the place in your head, and of the characters and even of the smells. This book didn't take me there.

I was also niggled by the frequent asides seemingly to deliver lectures on the science of language acquisition. Although they should have been fascinating, and at times were quite interesting, they were rather ineptly woven into the story. It was as if every so often the writer thought, 'I'm a journalist, maybe it is time I write a piece for the New Yorker or Scientific American.'

Finally I found Rich's use of "irreal" words just plain annoying. When Rich could choose from the heady selection of vocab in Hindi, Sanskirt and English why do that? Or perhaps she could learn from a guru like Kipling who cleverly drops Hindi words into his fine stories without interrupting the flow of his prose. His vignettes aren't laboured, like some of Rich's, which was a pity, I felt.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2011 11:43 AM GMT


God's Own Country
God's Own Country
by Ross Raisin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars powerfully evokes the Yorkshire moors, 23 Jan 2011
This review is from: God's Own Country (Paperback)
This absorbing book creates powerful, abiding images of the Moors, Sam's passion for them and the wild stark comfort he finds on his solitary walks. There are moments of high comedy where the loner, Sam, baits wide-eyed 'towns' as they picknick on his territory but I found this portrait of a loveless, drifting outcaste touching and impressive. As is the skillful writing - the tale is peppered with plenty of Yorkshire dialect words without them ever getting in the way. Sam is unsentimental about his work as a sheep farmer; the contrast between his knowledge and skills compared to the ignorant superficial towns and the local boozers is great. This is a treasure of English literature.


Journeys in the Dead Season
Journeys in the Dead Season
by Spencer Jordan
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars not a comfortable read, 23 Jan 2011
I was pleased to find a truely English book with such evocative descriptions of the places in Leicestershire the two central characters visit. I loved the natural history... The journey of the shell-shocked soldier was for me moving and absorbing but I didn't engage with the abuser nor did I enjoy reading of his activities. I guess I was hoping for a more uplifting read, and like other reviewers the two narratives didn't come together for me.


The Mountain Traveller's Handbook: Your Companion from City to Summit
The Mountain Traveller's Handbook: Your Companion from City to Summit
by Paul Deegan
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars cuts straight to the most important aspects of life at high altitude, 7 Dec 2010
This is an excellent, authoritative yet concise handbook that is both attractive and easy to navigate. Paul Deegan himself is an expert in the field of mountaineering and even so he has included advice from a host of others with expedition and other experience and wisdom. It is great to find a book that is so straightforwardly written, without patronising padding; it cuts straight to the most important aspects of life at high altitude. It is a little gem, and the photos are superb.


How to Eat Around the World: Tips And Wisdom (Travelers' Tales Guides)
How to Eat Around the World: Tips And Wisdom (Travelers' Tales Guides)
by Richard Sterling
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.64

5.0 out of 5 stars antidote to long flight fatigue, 4 Dec 2010
I just love the lightheartedness of this book as well as all the hillarious and instructive tips and advice. This is a perfect antidote to long fight fatigue. The author, and Travelers Tales, are to be congratulated.


Vanessa and Virginia
Vanessa and Virginia
by Susan Sellers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars feminists, pacifists and the Bloomsbury Group, 4 Dec 2010
This review is from: Vanessa and Virginia (Paperback)
I was attracted to this novel by a curiosity about early feminists, pacifists and especially the controversial Bloomsbury Group, but this exploration of the passions that drive and divide two gifted sisters, Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, is much more than all of that. The narrative - in the second person present - flows beautifully and I especially loved the insights into how art is shaped. The writing certainly evokes Vanessa's instinct and need for colour in her life. It was a delight to dive into such a well-researched and thoroughly believable tale.


Gutsy Women: No.2: More Travel Tips and Wisdom for the Road (Women's titles)
Gutsy Women: No.2: More Travel Tips and Wisdom for the Road (Women's titles)
by Marybeth Bond
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars fun, 29 Nov 2010
Travelers Tales have published a whole series of these tips books which are great to dip into while travelling or in unfilled moments. I especially love the case histories and advice boxes. Gutsy Women is packed with useful advice delivered in a readable and fun way so this is the perfect little gift for the gal going abroad - or even just aspiring to.


Pillars of Salt
Pillars of Salt
by Joanna Bell
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars great fun, 27 Nov 2010
This review is from: Pillars of Salt (Hardcover)
This author's humanity and sense of humour shines out of this book and her portrait of what life is like as a GP is realistic - if at times a touch cynical. Mary Selby's/Joanna Bell's querky style is great fun and a good read, yet she touches on some very diffucult issues in a warm and enertaining way.


Hot Water Man
Hot Water Man
by Deborah Moggach
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.33

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious Pakistan, 31 Oct 2010
This review is from: Hot Water Man (Paperback)
Having had a couple of stints of living as an expatriate in southern Pakistan I was impressed that Moggoch could capture some of the subcontinent's mysteriousness. Karachi is a part of the world where materialism and concrete can feel overwhelming. This novel, though, finds some of the old traditions to balance the ugly modernity and the narrative swept me along enjoyably. This book is nowhere near as funny as some of her other work though and I wonder whether some of the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more.


Oxford Handbook of Expedition and Wilderness Medicine (Oxford Medical Handbooks)
Oxford Handbook of Expedition and Wilderness Medicine (Oxford Medical Handbooks)
by Chris Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 30.04

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent and thorough, 18 Oct 2010
This is an excellent and portable manual for medics, nurses and paramedics covering every medical eventuality. It is written by the best in the field and based on sound remote-region experience. Thoroughly excellent, printed on lightweight paper. There are lots of lists, tables, bullet points, flow-charts, useful line illustrations and four pages of colour photos of 'difficult' rashes and sores. The small format and waterproof cover allows it to be slipped into a rucksack side-pocket easily.


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