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Watership Down
Watership Down
by Richard Adams
Edition: Paperback

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest book and film ever written., 11 May 2004
This review is from: Watership Down (Paperback)
"The primroses were over. Towards the edge of the wood, where the ground became open..." - Richard Adams, Watership Down.
The title about says it all. I have cried at this book more often than I can remember; I get a shiver up my spine just hearing those opening words. I currently have four copies of the book, in varying states of disrepair, and on VHS video and DVD. There is just no other book like it. I apologise for the bad writing of this review, but it is impossible to be even slightly objective about something which has affected you so much growing up. By the age of 12 or 13, I had already read it numerous times.
Adams' simply gorgeous description of the countryside and the true beauty of the world is fantastically balanced with the grim and evil reality the humans bring to the world of the rabbits. I cannot quite place why I love this book, it is just something which exists so perfectly in your soul. If you are sitting on a crowded commuter train, or you are on the eve of a fated deadline, or more down in the dumps than you have ever been, you can pick up Watership Down and immediately escape into a world where the only things that matter are survival and the bonds you make with close friends going through traumatic and dangerous experiences. These rabbits do not know of human "troubles", and this is what makes this story so appealing: the INNOCENCE of it all. The pure pleasure of not caring.
The film has much the same effect, however I do feel it focuses on a different part of the story. The portrayal of Fiver's troubled mind is often chilling, and I would not recommend the film for very young children (as I know it scared me when I was younger!). However, the beautiful animation by Martin Rosen and his team fits the magnificence of Adams' writing perfectly, and the voices of such legends as John Hurt, Richard Briers and Roy Kinnear really bring these noble characters to life.
To all of those who knock this book for being "too simple" and the level of reading "too easy", it is because when you read a book it is more than just your eyes moving over the text. You take from a book only what you think yourself. What is wrong with simple? This book has a deep meaning which is very, very simple: the world is beautiful, if you look long enough. There is nothing better than that.

Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.95

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No, no, no...., 10 May 2004
This review is from: Fallen (Audio CD)
The saddest thing about this album is the amount of potential it had. Amy Lee clearly has one of the best female voices in modern rock (see also Lamb's Louise Rhodes). She truely does. She could make a Ramones' song sound like Rachmaninov.
So I fail to understand why every song on this album manages to sound like the same, formulaic "new-wave nu-metal/prog-rock" that is being produced ten-to-the-dozen by every other tin-pot rock band around at the moment. They manage to fill 50 minutes without actually doing anything at all. I really tried to like it, I did. I bought it on recommendation for Amy Lee's voice (the only reason this album isnt getting 1 star). I played it for probably a week, before it ended up at the bottom of the unlistened-to CD pile (along with such "classics" as the South Park movie soundtrack and Tenacious D), and it has remained there ever since. I just cannot bring myself to listen to the sound of such wasted talent.

Microbes and Man
Microbes and Man
by J. R. Postgate
Edition: Paperback
Price: £27.59

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very accessible and useful text, 10 May 2004
This review is from: Microbes and Man (Paperback)
As a first-year microbiology undergraduate, I, like many of my peers, did not fully understand the scope of the discipline when I arrived at Leeds University. I was pointed in the direction of this book by my lecturers and demonstrators as my first module was based almost entirely on the book's content.
Postgate manages to cover all of the vital components of this broad and expanding subject in an interesting and accessible manner. His use of scientific language is sensible and ordered, explaining any uncommon phrases, which prevents having to reach for the "Dummy's Dictionary of Science" every five minutes, as is the case with many other texts on the subject.
I found this text an incredibly easy and well-presented of the basics of the subject. It has helped my understanding no end, and i would recommend it to anyone with an interest in any aspect of microbiology, whether for academic purposes or purely for curiosity's sake.

Chopstick Bridge
Chopstick Bridge
Price: £9.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising, 10 May 2004
This review is from: Chopstick Bridge (Audio CD)
As the majority of their fans will know, Avoid One Thing were formed by Joe Gittleman, bassist for the (incredible) Mighty Mighty Bosstones, when MMB decided to go on hiatus. This is their second album, and shows a huge jump in quality. Replacing grainy-sounding drums and frankly mediocre vocals on their self-titled debut, Chopstick Bridge shows real promise. Right from the first track, the pacey, urgent Armbands and Braids, the album rolls along in a swirl of driving basslines and catchy melodies. Particularly good is the title track, Chopstick Bridge, while Capital Letters allows guitarist Amy Griffin to demonstrate how much her vocal talent has improved, and marks her greater influence in the artistic direction of the band.
All-in-all its a very good album. Although there are still problems to iron out (the vocals, while having improved, are still lacking, and the drumming is occasionally samey and a little on the simple side), the band appear to have made the transition from a Bosstones side-project into a fully fledged band, ready to break onto the punk scene. And if they show as much improvement on the next album as they did on the last, you'll be hearing a lot more from Mr Gittleman and Avoid One Thing, and a very good thing it is too.

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