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andalucia (UK)

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Bonjour Tristesse (Penguin Great Loves)
Bonjour Tristesse (Penguin Great Loves)
by Francoise Sagan
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 22 April 2012
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This is a short, but powerful story of a shallow teenager - whose comfortable world is 'challenged' by a new and stronger parental figure. Unlike many 'coming of age' stories Sagan is not sympathetic and beautifully describes the precocious emotions of Cecile.

Set against the French Rivera in a warm summer, it explores the tensions within families, challenges to authority and morality. An excellent read.


After My Own Heart
After My Own Heart
by Sophia Blackwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read - powerful and engaging, 22 April 2012
This review is from: After My Own Heart (Paperback)
It is probably not a surprise that the author of this novel was previously a poet, given the quality and construction of the language. It is an evocative story about relationships, love and friends set in London.

The story is fast-paced and follows Evie Day through a break-up, an 'experimental' relationship and through to finding the 'one'. As ever the book concludes on a positive 'all is right with the world' note which is a shame given the honesty and humour of the plot. Although its sounds like traditional 'chick-lit' there is a complexity in a number of the characters that makes it stand out from other books in that genre. Particularly powerful are the two parental characters, who have that rare mix of comedy and believability.

I would say though that the real strength of this book is the use of language and the beautiful, descriptive and engaging tone.


President Nixon: Alone in the White House
President Nixon: Alone in the White House
by Richard Reeves
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, that helps you understand the man!, 14 Mar 2010
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I bought this book, wanting a general biography of Nixon and his life. It does however focus on his period as president and has little reference to his earlier history or the motivations behind some of his 'character flaws'.

The book is however extremely detailed and Reeves uses a wide variety of information / sources to build a comprehensive picture of the president and the people surrounding him. At first this detail can seem irrelevant and is slightly annoying (especially the constant references to scrawled notes on various papers) but helps to bring a multi-layered picture of a claustrophobic White House during one of the most interesting periods of US history. You do start to understand how bureaucracy, policy, and personality interact through Reeves detailed analysis of various source material. It does also start to build a more sympathetic picture of Nixon, in contradiction to the crude characterisation that is often made of the President.

Reeves style does draw you in and paint a fascinating picture. I would however suggest that this book is most appropriate for a politics or history student;.


Oz Clarke's Introducing Wine
Oz Clarke's Introducing Wine
by Oz Clarke
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to wine, 24 Feb 2007
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Having been continually confused by wine lists in restaurants, I was looking for a simple yet thorough introduction to wine and I have to say this book is fantastic! Starting with the very basics of wine, it tells you everything you need to know. It provides an excellent overview of different grape varieties, the major types of wine and how to match food with wine.

Particularly useful is the guide to major wine producing regions. This book gets the right balance of general introduction to wine, with hooks into a more detailed appreciation of wine. The book is logically structured and unlike many of the books out there, is squarely aimed at someone looking to learn the basics of wine appreciation.

My only criticism is that a lot of the wines recommended come from such small vineyards, they are almost impossible to get - even through the specialist suppliers.

However this is an excellent book for someone who is interested in wine, its production and the key wine producing regions.


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