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Cryptonomicon
Cryptonomicon
by Neal Stephenson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book - buy now, 19 Sep 2012
This review is from: Cryptonomicon (Paperback)
I managed to find this book in a small hut on the side of a mountain, and for want of something big to read (which it really is), I kept it. Couldn't have found a better book. It is quirky, very funny, hugely engrossing and also factual in a way that never bores. The characters are likeable, there are some epic quotes in there, and although it could be a few pages shorter without much loss of plot, the extra ramblings are amusing and thought-provoking in equal measure. An intelligent and entertaining read. I'll read it again when I find the time!


Lonely Planet Sicily: Chapter from Italy Travel Guide
Lonely Planet Sicily: Chapter from Italy Travel Guide

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not enough detail, 19 Sep 2012
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It doesn't contain any detail! A bit of background, yes, but no real information about how to get to places and which places are worth visiting. There are a lot of beautiful areas in Sicily; this chapter barely even scratches the surface. Certainly worth going for a Sicily-specific guide if you're going to spend any length of time there.


South African Kikoy
South African Kikoy

5.0 out of 5 stars It's great, 19 Sep 2012
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This review is from: South African Kikoy (Misc.)
Many uses: very relaxed evening wear; sarong; towel, even a headscarf if you're inventive enough. It's well-made and I wouldn't go travelling without one now.


Surviving India
Surviving India
Price: 1.02

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Light reading, amusing, not much more, 23 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Surviving India (Kindle Edition)
It's funny in places, but ultimately just a day-by-day travelogue from a couple who seem to enjoy very little of what they are doing. The third-person thing takes a while to get used to, and it reminded me quite a lot of the less-than-glamorous truth of the India backpacker scene: essentially, a bunch of Westerners who go to "experience India" by spending their time sitting in guesthouses playing cards and complaining to each other about how the locals keep ripping them off, before sauntering off to look around a few temples. Sounds shallow, because it is. And it begs the question: why bother?


West Papua and Indonesia Since Suharto: Independence, Autonomy or Chaos?
West Papua and Indonesia Since Suharto: Independence, Autonomy or Chaos?
by Peter King
Edition: Paperback
Price: 22.42

4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight into a tribal struggle, perhaps too pejorative though, 22 Mar 2012
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The plight of West Papuans is one of the greatest tragedies of our day; it echoes the fall of indigenous populations from Australia to Greenland, and it is still ongoing. King's book offers a great insight into this plight in a considered and careful manner, but in my eyes misses the real story. From personal experience in the area, things have changed a lot since King was out there. Nowadays, independence would unfortunately create "hell on earth"-as one Papuan I met described it-because of the rise of tribal rivalry since funds started being channeled into indigenous hands a few years ago. Like King says, Special Autonomy is failing in almost every area, but Papuans are almost as much to blame as Indonesians for this failing these days. In my opinion, what this boils down to is the sociological effects of a legacy of oppression and a lack of useful education, and there is nowhere near enough detail in this book about either of these things for readers to get the bigger picture. Truth is, it isn't a question of getting independence anymore, but more one of reconciling Papuan society and making SA work like it should. That said, for anyone interested in the situation in Papua, this book is an invaluable source.


The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic cliche written by someone who barely knows Afghanistan, 22 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Kite Runner (Paperback)
This book is the Pringles tub of the fiction world; the flavours are entirely artificial, there's nothing to be achieved by making your way through it, but for some reason you can't stop. Everything is there that the reader wants-the nasty Taliban with their beating of women and shagging of small boys, the innocent and persecuted minorities, the continual heartstring-yanking self-depricating sob-story youth...it's a cliche. But it's written by an Afghan, so it must be true! Well, sort of. An Afghan who came from an extremely privileged home and had only experienced his first five years of life in the country... The fact is, we all would love to read this book and take it as gospel truth because it confirms our stereotypes, but to believe this is to miss the point I think. Afghanistan is much more complex than the playground battlefield it is made out to be. So enjoy the ride, but don't take it seriously.


Misadventure in the Middle East: Travels as Tramp, Artist and Spy
Misadventure in the Middle East: Travels as Tramp, Artist and Spy
by Henry Hemming
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read for a long time, 22 Mar 2012
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It's heartwarmingly funny, very entertaining, provocative, informed and still highly relevant. It encapsulates the region with all its diversities, showing people for who they are. A much-needed story about a brilliant adventure with a unique twist in a fascinating area. A must-read.


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