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Write Poetry - And Get It Published; Teach Yourself
Write Poetry - And Get It Published; Teach Yourself
by Matthew Sweeney
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on poetry, 16 Sep 2011
I was initially put off by the book's title which gave me the impression of a bad/quack writing guide (as so many are) which this is definitely not.

This is one of the best books about contemporary poetry for a poet wishing to develop, find new ideas and inspiration, and to learn more about form and technique. It has plenty of exercises to keep me busy, which although would be best explored in a group setting (as they're evidently designed for), I wouldn't feel stupid about doing at home on my own. It's a resource that I can see myself dipping into time and time again.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passion seeps through on every page, 16 Sep 2011
I've never read Stephen King as I dislike the horror genre and have disliked almost all of his films. So I was inclined to give this book on writing a miss. However, this came so highly recommended, I bought the book in spite of my reservations. I'm glad I did.

Before I started reading, I planned to skip/skim read the bulk of the bio part ('boring!' I thought, when I don't 'like' Stephen King) but once I got reading, it was hard to stop: the whole book, bio parts and all, kept me reading on. I was left with fascinating insights into the man who made Carrie, but more than that an insight into how one kind of writer writes.

Stephen King's love of writing seeps through on every page. There's so much positive enthusiasm about the craft that any would-be writer is left wanting to run to the typewriter at the end of the book and get working right away on a new novel, just following the plot wherever it goes while they write. This is unlike any 'how to' books so far I've read on writing in that regard. It is very freeing.

On the negative side, one won't find a lot of 'how-to' advice about the technical aspects of writing. The technical advice can be summarized by watch out for adverbs, adjectives and cut out waffle. The bulk of the technical advice is left for other books. And a writer WILL need to refer to them. But if a writer is looking for inspiration, for something to get them started, to get them enthused and chomping at the bit again, there is no better book.

Schaum's Outline of Spanish Grammar, 5ed (Schaum's Outline Series)
Schaum's Outline of Spanish Grammar, 5ed (Schaum's Outline Series)
by Conrad J. Schmitt
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.07

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent BUT too many errors and inadequate explanations, 1 Jun 2011
This book is on the whole really good, packed full of examples and exercises that will keep you busy for hours and really help bring you on in Spanish. However, on the negative side, just like the matching Schaum's Outline book 'Spanish Vocabulary' there are way too many printing errors - I spotted them frequently. This is really annoying and also sloppy in what is supposed to be an academic book.

People may also struggle in places as English translations are not usually provided while relatively complex points of Spanish grammar are demonstrated within complete Spanish sentences. If one does not understand what these sentences are supposed to be demonstrating, the meaning and thus the proper usage of the grammar will be lost on you because there is little to no accompanying explanation in either English or Spanish.

If this book was error free and had adequate explanations I would give it five stars and recommend it to everyone, however as it is not I can only say it's alright BUT I'm sure there are better Spanish grammar books out there.

Human Nutrition, 2Ed: A Health Perspective
Human Nutrition, 2Ed: A Health Perspective
by Mary Barasi
Edition: Paperback
Price: 26.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unclear, contradictory and out of date, 15 May 2011
Unclear and sometimes contradictory writing that is poorly put together, terribly edited and often very repetitive.

Uses very old (in terms of nutritional science) and out of date information with very little data post 2000: most of it is from the 1990s or before. The writer has also not seemed to grasp the move forward in nutritional thinking in the past few decades especially in regards to obesity research, although she does use the word "leptin" now and again to make it seem she's on top of it.

Contains some BASIC errors that are unforgivable in an academic scientific text (eg. a graph showing 120% on one of it's axis when only 100% is possible, and underneath of which it ALSO has the wrong date).

The writer enjoys making sweeping statements and also far too much time is spent by her on ASSUMPTIONS of what may be or what may be found in future rather than on actual scientific fact. The writer obviously has her set views of what makes a healthy diet and will happily go into making long sometimes spurious assumptions of why this is so even though little to NO scientific data supports this, while ignoring scientific data that IS available that does NOT support her prejudices. To be honest, she sounds like a government clone in numerous places within this very badly put together textbook that I was unfortunate enough to have as a set course book for university.

Being 'PC' seems to be more a priority in this book for the author than proper academic practise and sound scientific enquiry. To give just one example of the PCness, she gives a long explanation why breastmilk is best and the nutritional reasons for this for the baby all through life but THEN she makes a statement to placate a certain sector: "In Western societies, mothers are free to make the choice between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding without fear that their baby will be disadvantaged IN ANY WAY by their decision ..." (Emphasis my own). Come on, you can't have it both ways, a baby is obviously disadvantaged IF just a few of the many reasons given by her for breastmilk over formula milk are accurate. Totally contradictory writing and a scientist who bows to this kind of nonsense is not worth a grain of sodium chloride - even if she could write well which M Barasi cannot.

Extremely disappointed. I definitely would not buy one of this author's books again.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 20, 2011 3:36 PM GMT

25 Great Sax Solos: Featuring Pop, Rock, R&B, and Jazz Saxophone Legends, Including King Curtis, Paul Desmond, David Sanborn, Grover Washi [With CD]
25 Great Sax Solos: Featuring Pop, Rock, R&B, and Jazz Saxophone Legends, Including King Curtis, Paul Desmond, David Sanborn, Grover Washi [With CD]
by Eric J. Morones
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.79

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This could have been excellent, let down by incomplete transcription - alto players shortchanged, 30 April 2010
I would have given this book five stars if the author or publisher had bothered transcribing all 25 pieces for both alto AND tenor sax. But they didn't, which means out of 25 solos, only 7 solos are for the alto player. Though these seven alto solos are going to stretch me and keep me busy for a while so I'm going to still keep this book and not return it, that's not the point. I SHOULD have gotten 25 sax solos to keep me even more busy - there's zero reason why the tenor parts could not have been transcribed for alto, and the alto transcribed for the tenor, to keep every buyer happy. As it is, I'm going to have to do that transcription for myself if I want to play Tequila, Yakety Yak. Yakety Sax, Shot Gun, Respect, Spooky, Mercy Mercy Me, Money, How Sweet it is to be Loved by You, Pick up the Pieces, Takin' it to the streets, Deacon Blues, Just the Two of Us, Urgent, Waiting on a Friend, True, Maneater, Caribbean Queen, One Heartbeat, and I've Had the Time Of my Life, - that's a lot of blooming tunes and a lot of work for me if I want to attempt to play them! (I know quite a few people double, especially as they get ever more sax obsessed, but come on it's unreasonable to assume we all double!)

I CAN though as an altoist play 'Take Five',' Just The Way You Are' (2 solos from the same song), 'The Logical Song' (2 solos from the same song) and 'Lily Was Here' - the alto solos which are available to me (and not to tenors!). And now I write this down and compare it to the previous tenor only list, I feel more hard done by!

As for difficultly level, it's nice to get a play along that actually stretches and challenges me, as speaking as an intermediate/semi advanced sax player, most playalongs bore me to tears now, rarely if ever progressing beyond around Grade 3 in difficulty, and often are much simpler. (I DO like 'company' though when I practice (it can get lonely practising for hours each day) and for that reason I just wish even more playalongs with demos would be available for more advanced players who don't want to go down the jazz improvisation route.) Apart from 'Take Five' (the easiest for me to play of the 7 for me, and 'doable' now), I do find these solos difficult, they'll stretch me and challenge me for a while - most have some altiissimo notes in them as well - and even with this slowed down feature, it's a struggle now which is great for me. I obviously can't comment on the other 18' tunes difficulty - !

The book also contains a short bio and performance tips which is very helpful.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 17, 2012 1:34 PM GMT

Cool School for Alto Saxophone
Cool School for Alto Saxophone

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great original tunes, 29 April 2010
This has 16 original pieces that are cool jazzy tunes that sound really nice so you should enjoy playing them - unlike some 'modern' music!. From Grade 1 through to Grade 6 standard, the pieces get harder as the book progresses.

If you're a beginner buying this because you see the word "easy to medium' in the title description you may think this book overall is much simpler than it is. I therefore warn that you definitely WILL struggle beyond playing the first couple of tunes in this book so be warned as you won't get your money's worth now and so you might do better getting a much easier play along for now (Hal Leonard ones are usually best suited to a beginner, or the Guest Spot range which are slightly harder than Hal Leonard's but are just fine for the more advanced beginner). Also, unless you're a professional musician, 'medium' means Grade 3 plus standard, (and this is the case on most music site's/publisher's grading scale). Regardless, I don't define Grade 6 as being 'medium', but actually bordering on 'advanced' at the very top end of the intermediate range.

However that all said the first few tunes in Cool School have been set for grades 1 and 2, one for Grade 3m so you might as a beginner buy it to get through ABRSM or Trinity Guildhall's exams. However, in my view, the book overall is best suited to the intermediate player who can best take advantage of it as a whole and enjoy it.

Praise Songs: Alto Sax: Instrumental Play-Along [With CD] (Hal Leonard Instrumental Play-Along)
Praise Songs: Alto Sax: Instrumental Play-Along [With CD] (Hal Leonard Instrumental Play-Along)
by Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.71

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, puts me off buying Hal Leonard ever again, 1 Oct 2009
Bland, insipid and uninspiring arrangements to bore even a beginner, with a bad and really irritating backing/demo track.

I admit some Christian music can be pretty cheesy at the best of times. But the way this book has been done brings cheesieness up to new heights of cheesy. It's not all the source songs' fault as this could have been done well if someone who loved the sax (or even good music) had actually bothered when compiling it, and/or the publisher Hal Leonard had not done this on the cheap with a one arrangement and one disc fits all intruments mentality spewing out garbage. The book and the backing is obviously not written for sax, hence the rubbish arrangements and backing - there's a naff cheesy glockenspiel (?) playing each bland melody line arrangement. Urgh! Someone like Ned Flanders might like it but I certainly don't.

Saxophone Basics Book and CD: Pupil's Book
Saxophone Basics Book and CD: Pupil's Book
by Andy Hampton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Accompanying CD with no demos, 3 Sep 2009
This is not the best product on the market at all!

Though the book is nicely designed with good print in it and some fun cartoons and also some good tunes (but not enough well known tunes in my view which is what beginners really want), the CD accompanying this does not have demos of how the sax part should sound - just backing (piano playing something different to what you should play, not playing the sax melody, or even worse another sax doing something else entirely to the sheet music that YOU should play, all VERY confusing unless you already have some musical competence!), which makes it very hard for the beginner (or even intermediate) to play along in time to or be sure they are doing it correctly.

A basic book should not be this hard, it also seems to make some big leaps between the stages. THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED then for that reason. The only plus point of this book, (and possibly why it sells so well?) is it contains actual grade material for ABSRM exams, Grades 1-2.

The Complete Saxophone Player by Raphael Semmes is much better material and backing for someone wanting to learn and enjoy it and I can recommend this.

Babel [DVD]
Babel [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brad Pitt
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 2.90

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film, 10 April 2008
This review is from: Babel [DVD] (DVD)
It took a while for me to get into this, but soon I was gripped, and though the film is longer than now is the norm it kept my attention because of the constantly different shifts of scene. It is a strange film, but thought provoking with some great acting and some arty direction. The japanese actess was fantastic.

The reason I am giving it four stars instead of five stars is because Cate Blanchett I think was ill cast in it - and more than that there was a certain gratuitous scene that was absolutely not neccesary for the script - I am not a prude but I thought it offensive especially as it was unnecessary (less is more - think basic instinct and you know what I mean) - a real shame in an otherwise impecably directed film.

The Da Vinci Code [2006] [DVD] [2007]
The Da Vinci Code [2006] [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Offered by CP UK And Global LTD
Price: 2.90

3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, despite a good cast, 3 April 2008
I am one of the few people in the world, it seems, who have not read the book. I also knew that because of the hype, I would bound to be a bit disappointed, but I was even more so during this film.

Despite the wonderful Jean Reno (who was flat in this), and Ian McKellan, this film was boring and two dimensial - at many times, I was bored. It lacked any pzazz. The script and production lacked any edge, or real cohesiveness, and it was obvious near the start what the end would be. The actor who played Silas was good and menacing, but apart from that, this was as flat as a pancake, and the other characters were caricatures, and poorly done at that.

I gave this three stars as it is an average film, better than a lot that is on TV, but not because I enjoyed it or would recommend anyone going out of their way to see it.

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