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C. Pope "funkychicken73" (Brighton, UK)
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Morality for Beautiful Girls (No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency)
Morality for Beautiful Girls (No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency)
by Alexander McCall Smith
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A blip?, 30 Dec. 2003
“Morality for Beautiful Girls” is certainly not the strongest novel in the series, and its lack of action would probably put off any newcomers. The story is concerned more with the interaction of the main characters – Precious Ramotswe, Mr J L B Maketoni and Mma Makutsi – and it seems that Speedy Motors has become the focus of the tale, rather than the infamous detective agency. Having said that, as with all the books, it is beautifully written and the characters are lifelike and engaging. Hopefully the author is saving some juicy cases for the next installment.


The Bronte Myth
The Bronte Myth
by Lucasta Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.59

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sisters are doin' it for themselves, 30 Dec. 2003
This review is from: The Bronte Myth (Paperback)
This book is for those who have been seduced by Gaskell's image of a miserable Charlotte Bronte shuffling along the cobbled streets in her clogs, and have found it difficult to reconcile this idea with the sensuality of her novels. Lucasta Miller strips away nearly 150 years of myth and downright nonsense and describes with wit and lucidity how the sisters' reputations have fallen victim to the attitudes and interpretations of successive generations.
More than just another book about the Brontes, this work examines the art of biography and the changing trends in this genre. As with many other writers, the sisters have become public property and, as such, there is a tendency for us to become focussed on the authors rather than their literary canon. Lucasta Miller urges us to return to the novels in order to learn about these enigmatic women, and that is exactly what I intend to do.


The Scheme for Full Employment
The Scheme for Full Employment
by Magnus Mills
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely captivating, 6 Sept. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It’s standard Mills fare, in that for the first few pages you’re thinking “What on earth is this all about? When is something going to happen?” And then all of a sudden you are hooked! I read the book in two or three sessions, and found myself thinking about the characters in-between times. The plot is accused of being one-dimensional, but this is intentional so we can project our own interpretation. Mills is very clever in getting the reader to do a lot of the work. I didn’t feel that ‘The Scheme for Full Employment’ was as strong as ‘Three to See the King’, or ‘All Quiet on the Orient Express’, but nevertheless it is an engaging, thought-provoking, and often funny book.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5)
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It’s good to be back at Hogwarts again!, 25 Jun. 2003
It’s almost impossible to believe that the fifth installment of Harry Potter could live up to its predecessors. Fortunately, J K Rowling weaves her magic yet again, and the reader is spellbound by another whirlwind adventure at the infamous school for wizards. All the old favourites are there, such as Professor McGonagall, Peeves and Nearly-Headless Nick, plus a few new arrivals, including the truly repellant Professor Umbridge. Harry is now a moody teenager, and Rowling captures perfectly the turmoil he faces. It would appear that even wizards have hormones. It’s bad enough having to pluck up the courage to ask girls out, without having the evil Vold…ooops…He Who Shall Not Be Named…after him. The well-publicised death doesn’t occur ‘til the very end of the book and isn’t really dealt with in any detail. However, this will probably be explored in the next episode. Anyone who has read Harry’s other adventures will delight in being back at Hogwarts. Don’t forget to stop off first at Diagon Alley for a big box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.


Dog Days, Glenn Miller Nights
Dog Days, Glenn Miller Nights
by Laurie Graham
Edition: Paperback

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Achingly funny and poignant too, 8 Feb. 2003
Having read all of Laurie Graham's novels, I can definitely say that this is my favourite, and, in my opinion, it's the funniest. The humour displays Victoria Wood and Alan Bennett overtones, and the laughs are interspersed with episodes of great poignancy. The central character, Birdie Gibbs, whilst perhaps not as instantly likeable as Lizzie Partridge in Perfect Meringues, is very engaging, and highlights the experiences of elderly people having to cope with life on rough council estates. The supporting cast of assorted pensioners, bullies and greyhounds is magnificent, and I found myself devouring this book in one sitting. Fans of David Nobbs' wonderful 'Going Gently' would definitely enjoy this too.


Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self
Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self
by Claire Tomalin
Edition: Hardcover

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every aspiring biographer should read this book!, 21 Jan. 2003
Writing the biography of a man who life is already so well documented in his diaries is a tall order. Claire Tomalin scores a resounding victory with 'The Unequalled Self'. Pepys comes to life in these pages, as do the streets he inhabits. Even if you are not interested in the man himself, this book is a wonderful evocation of 17th century London. Thoroughly recommended.


Under The Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy
Under The Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy
by Frances Mayes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.50

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A few good recipes, but not much else, 21 Jan. 2003
Written in an annoyingly gushing fashion, although useful in part for those interested in Italian language and cooking. The author buys the house as a holiday home, and frequently returns to California, so these are not the words of someone undergoing a major life change. 'Extra Virgin' and 'Driving Over Lemons' are far better, in my opinion.


Napoleon: His Wives and Women
Napoleon: His Wives and Women
by Christopher Hibbert
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and engaging portrait, 4 Jan. 2003
After having overcome my shock at discovering that Napolean was actually Italian, I settled down to enjoy the rest of an immensely readable biography. Christopher Hibbert writes engagingly, and provides the reader with a sense of having actually witnessed the events he describes.
I have until now avoided biographies of Napolean, having no interest in wading through the minutiae of battlefields, but Hibbert skims over the wars and concentrates on the man himself and his women.
A fascinating read.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 1, 2011 10:24 PM GMT


London Bridges
London Bridges
by Jane Stevenson
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable murder-mystery, 4 Jan. 2003
This review is from: London Bridges (Paperback)
This novel works both as a well-plotted murder-mystery tale, and also as an introduction to some of the more murky and interesting areas of London. Despite the fact that the majority of the characters are one-dimensional and are never fully developed, the majority of them are engaging and I found myself wanting to know more about them.
It is immensely enjoyable and compulsive, although let down by a rather contrived Wacky Races-style ending.


Virginia Woolf (Lives)
Virginia Woolf (Lives)
by Nigel Nicolson
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging life, 5 Jun. 2001
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Virginia Woolf (Lives) (Hardcover)
For those more interested in the life rather than the work of Virginia Woolf, Nigel Nicolson has written the perfect biography. He writes with engaging intimacy of the woman he once knew, and is admirably objective considering that Woolf had an affair with his mother, Vita Sackville-West.
Although Virginia Woolf's life is well known and documented, Nicolson's portrait is refreshing due to his personal experience of the subject and the Bloomsbury Circle with which she was inextricably linked.
Anyone looking for a detailed account of Woolf's literary efforts should look to Hermione Lee's 'Virginia Woolf', but as a purely personal account this is a gem.


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