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Mrs. H. V. Aver (London)

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Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy
Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy
Price: 5.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh, 8 Jan 2014
This is pathetic. Check out all the many, many short positive reviews of this book, full of exclamation points and usually saying "Lots of laughs but some tears too!"

All those reviewers have only written one review. The review for this book. If you're going to fake good reviews and try and push the star rating for the book up, Ms Fielding- at least try to be more subtle about it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2014 8:49 PM GMT

My Boring-Ass Life (Revised edition)
My Boring-Ass Life (Revised edition)
by Kevin Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotically boring, 4 Mar 2013
I used to like Kevin Smith movies a lot, and from what I knew of him, he seemed like a nice, funny guy.

Then I read this book and now, I think he's an egotistical, touchy jerk and I'm even finding his work less appealing.

The book is essentially just a reprint of certain parts of his blog, in diary form. You learn about all the minutia of day to day life for Kevin Smith- rich successful guy living in Hollywood, surrounded by an entourage of friends, family, and employees.
You find out all about his toilet habits, sex life, diet and exercise, how he lets the dogs out every morning, how he picks up his daughter from school, how he drives his wife to her medical appointments, how he checks his email, how he blogs, how he furiously responds to any online criticism with lengthy sarcastic diatribes listing his achievements, how he signs merchandise, how he travels around doing interviews and Q&A's- making sure to note how he "nails" each one and how funny he is.

Occasionally he encounters other filmmakers or celebrities, but the only detail he usually includes about their conversation will be to repeat any compliments they pay him, including his own incredibly self-deprecating, real, and humble response to them.
Then he'll go back to describing his lunch order.

At one point he is hired as an actor on a rom-com with Jennifer Garner, and with a staggering lack of self-knowledge, blithely describes his selfish, sloppy behaviour on the film in a rosy light, clearly considering himself to be quite charming. "I was late, but it was cool" etc.

In one section, he gets a lot more descriptive and involved while he talks about his friend Jason Mewes and his struggles with drugs, and his own heroic and dedicated efforts to help him get clean. He emphasises over and over how thoughtless and selfish Jason is, and how often he betrays his great friend Kevin. It doesn't seem, to the casual reader, that this would have a positive effect on Jason Mewes and his recovery, but maybe I'm wrong? Maybe having his old friend tell the world about how hopeless a junkie he is/was will help him live a clean life and feel strong.
As he feels it's good for a laugh to describe (with sock puppet hand mimes) how he was solely responsible for Jason Mewes performance in "Clerks" during Q&A's, I guess he knows how best to be supportive of his clearly fragile friend.

It's hard to understand how he could really dedicate himself to any one thing long enough to produce a feature film, as he never seems to concentrate on anything- even when he watches a DVD, he will be blogging and checking email. He does talk a bit about making "Clerks 2" and "Zack & Miri Make A Porno", but he still keeps flipping back to his favourite subject of what he's eating, what sex he's having, whether he's gone to the toilet or not.

Mostly the book is just hypnotically boring, and I found myself skimming through faster and faster just to get the thing over with, vaguely amazed at how dull he manages to make everything sound, even when he's talking about potentially interesting subjects. I got very tired of his quoting statistics to prove how successful he is and how much money his films make- yes, he is very successful. No question. Or, was successful. This book came out a while ago, and since then he seems to have had problems getting projects greenlit, which is really a shame, as he does make funny films. He seems very caught up with other, non-film projects though, so his fans needn't worry- he may even publish another section of his blog as another book, so that anyone wanting to catch up on the progress of his anal fissure or check out his diet habits or find out his favourite breakfast/lunch places won't have to wonder in vain.

True Confessions of Adrian Mole, Margaret Hilda Roberts and Susan Lilian Townsend (Adrian Mole 3)
True Confessions of Adrian Mole, Margaret Hilda Roberts and Susan Lilian Townsend (Adrian Mole 3)
by Sue Townsend
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

1.0 out of 5 stars NOT the next in the Adrian Mole series, 28 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Anyone automatically buying this as a sequel to the Adrian Mole books should be aware that it is NOT a sequel as such- this is a collection of writings by Sue Townsend which includes a few Adrian Mole pieces. They don't really tie in with the personality of the Mole character from the 1st two books, either, so it's for completists only.

Completists who aren't especially picky.

The Case Of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered
The Case Of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered
by Gitta Sereny
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misguided idolation of disturbed children?, 23 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I read this book because the filmmaker John Waters had mentioned it several times in his writing, and it's certainly an interesting case.

I was disappointed with the angle the book took, though- straight off, the choice of photograph for the cover is misleading- it's of Mary Bell years before she was arrested, but of course, you look at the sweetfaced child in the picture and are shocked that she could be a psychopathic murderer. Which she was....later. The photos of her you can see online at the time of arrest show a girl who looks like a teenager.

The book is definately a let-down as far as pictures go generally- the only photo is the blurry childs portrait from the cover- apart from that, nothing, although even generic vintage pictures of the areas involved would have been good illustrations and helped show what conditions were like then for everyone involved. Some basic maps of the areas are included, also blurred reproductions of some of the writings of Mary Bell.

The book continues to portray the child psychopath and her accomplice as innocent children who had been let down by their parents, let down by the system, let down by society, so it's TOTALLY not their fault, THEY are the victims, etc. Brief sketches of the actual murder victims and their families and quick interviews after the tragedies seem to have been put in there so that the author can feel good about "showing all sides" and "being really evenhanded", but the whole thing is written as a love story to Mary Bell, the spunky, pretty, blue-eyed petite heroine, as shown here.

As each "character" is introduced, the author rates their attractiveness, especially commenting on their weight (slim=good, fat=bad). She seems unable to resist attributing beauty and ultra-intelligence to anyone with criminal tendancies. She especially raves about Mary's unusual intelligence, with absolutely no proof of this- the notes and letters she reproduced for the book don't seem the work of an especially gifted child. While this seems a tad creepy, what really put me off the book is the authors endless tedious carping on the inadequecies of the various systems involved, gleefully pointing out any tiny mistakes made by the authorities involved. She doesn't have any solutions of her own apparently, but feels VERY strongly that disturbed children should get much more help. As indeed they should. As should disturbed teenagers and also disturbed adults. Even though the two girls accused of the crimes in this book were treated with kid gloves by those in charge of them, the author just keeps saying "It's not enough". Well, lady, maybe you should come up with some ideas of your own?

The story of the murders is really startling though, culminating with Mary at the funeral of one of her victims, chuckling and rubbing her hands together. Such a shame there aren't more illustrations. I'd really be interested to read a more open-minded view of this case- by someone who delved a little more into the creation of a psychopath and was able to PUT IT IN THE BOOK. Ms Sereny hints at early sexual abuse of Mary and her mother, but carefully doesn't specifically mention it.

And it doesn't take a crazy or a cruel or a closeminded person to feel that despite her background, Mary Bell had choices, and made bad ones. As did Norma, her sidekick, who is sidelined because she doesn't fit so neatly into the slot that Mary does. She came from a perfectly good family, and showed no psychopathic symptoms, but WAS involved in the murders. They tried the "she's retarded" theory, but that didn't really seem accurate, so she was just kind of forgotten about. Yes, even as a child, we still have choices. Not all traumatised children kill.

And while we should try to understand killers, and give them sympathy and help, they do also need to be condemned and punished, otherwise everyone would be doing it, wouldn't they?
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2014 1:04 PM BST

Wild Boy: My Life with Duran Duran
Wild Boy: My Life with Duran Duran
Price: 4.31

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wild blah, 1 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's clear immediately why Andy Taylor wrote this book. Where else would he have the chance to exhaustively list:

a) all the gorgeous girls who wanted to sleep with him

b) what a fantastic musician he is

c) how many famous people he has hung out with

d) how many funny pranks he has pulled

e) how much booze he's drunk and how many drugs he's taken

f) how domineering and aggressive he is- always totally justified though, apparently

g) what a lovely home and family he has

h) all the swish hotels he's stayed at and all the flash restaurants he's eaten at?

- and if at the same time he throws his bandmates under the bus, hey, too bad. He seems incapable of seeing anyone elses point of view- if HE behaves badly, it's rock and roll! or so funny! or he was just under so much pressure, not his fault! If other people behave badly, he's dismissive of them. He goes on and on about all the drinks/drugs he sucks up with his celebrity friends, but at the same time shakes his head sadly saying that they take you to a very dark place and destroy lives. He apparently gets a big kick out of documenting the many times he shouted "Right, that's enough!"/"We've got a serious problem here!"/"I am not f*cking happy!". What does he want, a round of applause?

He seems to have been more or less at odds with the rest of the band as soon as the first honeymoon glow wore off, as Andy does not consider himself a pop musician or a New Romantic- he is a ROCK STAR, and wants to make rock music. Mix that up with his clear status as the shortest, least pretty member of the group, and I guess maybe the frustration he felt explains his raging coke and booze addiction. It might also go some way toward explaining his tragic styling- long fuzzy backcombed hair, fag in mouth, permanent sunglasses seem to settle in as his Look.

When his wife suffers a major mental breakdown after the birth of their first child, he briefly wonders- could his heavy schedule and busy life as a ROCK STAR have been a factor in any way? then quickly moves on to saying how hard it all was for him. Any readers sympathies will be with his wife, who he marries then installs in a house near her family (so that he doesn't have to worry about never seeing her- her family can look after her!)and then immediately returns to life on the road.

Ah, life on the road. It's hard, apparently. Even though he carefully always flags up that it's all done with no expense spared in super-luxury, he makes it sound as if he's been forced to do hard labour. Apparently the only way to get through it is in a haze of booze and drugs. It does NOT occur to him that they may be what is making it hard. It does NOT occur to him that the way he's acting may be causing a problem for other people. Why would it, after all? He's just partying! Whoo! Rock and roll!

Although he namedrops through the book, he never gives any impression of what anyone else is like, so readers looking for an insight into other band members, forget it. It's all just anecdotes about partying or arguing, pretty much. He loves to describe the lush and fabulous surroundings he spends time in, but the colourful characters he is surrounded by might just as well be cardboard cutouts as far as this book goes. The closest he gets to acknowledging the other band members is when he discusses the way they collaborate musically- although he claims to be good buddies with them, this is the only time he really sounds interested in them. He seems to be carefully trying to "give them credit" and not openly slag his bandmates off, but he takes every chance to make little digs at them. When he is hanging out with The Rolling Stones, Chic or Rod Stewart, though- they can do no wrong, best guys in the world.

I started reading the book with an absolutely open mind about Andy Taylor, and ended up feeling strongly that he was a jerk. The man thinks it's a hilarious rock'n'roll party anecdote when he takes a lapdog to a fancy restaurant and it does a poo under the table of his fellow diners.

P.S. Being addicted to drink and drugs is not cool. Anyone can do it. You seem to think it takes special talent, Mr Taylor, doesn't.

No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Not a real book, 23 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is not a "real" book, just a collection of printouts of internet links that provide the information you are looking for. There are a few pages of basic bare-bones info on what each cooking style consists of, but not much else. Some of the links might be useful, but you could just as well look these subjects up on Wikipedia, which seems to be the whole source for the book. So it's a pointless thing, seemingly.

Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking
Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking
by Nancy Morton Joyce Trollope
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Cramazing, 23 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a perfect example of a crazy 70's cookbook- it has the mind bogglingly colourful and naive food photographs, the tips and hints you would have genuinely never have thought of before but may in fact have some merit(although they sound kind of insane), and some great info about electric cooking gadgets, most of which can probably be picked up at charity shops or car boot sales, although maybe not the sterling silver fondue pots they feature. Get this book and learn how to make:

Ice Cream and Cake Cubes
Grape-Syruped Crepes
Noodle-Bacon Scramble
Mexi-Meatball Fondue
Jazzy Beef Bites.

It really pushes the concept of cooking at the table as a kind of performance, as if you're putting on a show for your dinner guests, and why not? This book is absolutely hilarious, it has made me very happy, and I plan to make the Strawberry Dumplings next weekend. And it's right. You SHOULD have a fire extinguisher to hand when serving fondue. And who knew you could put out any fire by "throwing handfuls of baking powder" onto the flames? Informative.

Kookamunga Krazee Kitty Catnip Spray 118ml
Kookamunga Krazee Kitty Catnip Spray 118ml

4.0 out of 5 stars A decent spray, 28 Nov 2010
After reading the other reviews on here, I guess I'll try Johnsons brand- this spray doesn't drive my cats mad, but they do seem to find it pleasant, and if one of them's in a crabby mood, it will be enough to distract them....and it's very cheap!

And Then There Was No One (Evadne Mount Mystery 3)
And Then There Was No One (Evadne Mount Mystery 3)
by Gilbert Adair
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Adair is no Chesterton, 26 Sep 2010
This book manages not just to be slightly confusing, full of weak in-jokes and well-known trivia served up as exciting arcane information but also potentially insulting to people affected by the 911 crash. Hiding behind a fictional character, Adair rants about how stupid Americans are, what a goon Bush is as a President, and points out that 911 was "just another disaster" which pales into insignificance compared to other disasters, which he thinks are more important but just ignored by the stupid world because the stupid world is soooo racist. He keeps returning to this, and even has his own character compliment the fictional character on their cleverness. So he is complimenting himself. Nice. Toward the end of the book, finally, another character turns on him and berates him for his ego and bad writing, which is refreshing and long overdue. But it doesn't make up for this turgid non-mystery meandering around until that point, or make it more memorable or less generally dull. Adair takes potshots at other writers, modern literature generally, moan moan moan. His books seem to be an uneasy mixture of him "spoofing" and bitching off other writers or literary genres, when his own work is so weak and full of holes that he doesn't have a leg to stand on. He really loves to write lumpen "witticisms" and then say how funny and clever they are. Oh well, I'm just going to dump this book at the charity shop and never think of it again.

The Act of Roger Murgatroyd (Evadne Mount Trilogy)
The Act of Roger Murgatroyd (Evadne Mount Trilogy)
by Gilbert Adair
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn., 26 Sep 2010
Although I read this when I first bought it, the next time I glanced at it on the coffee table I thought- Oh, I guess I never finished that? And started again. As it's very short that seemed the best way to go. When I got to the end I realised I had in fact finished it before- it was just so dull and unmemorable that I had forgotten. The author apparently has a reputation as a serious post-modernist scholar, but that is not reflected in this plodding, one-note spoof of Golden Age detective novels. The jokes are of the "Q. My dog has no nose! A. How does he smell? =Awful! level, and the writer just seems so smugly pleased with himself as he endlessly recounts "clever" plotlines for imaginary detective stories, then has all the characters comment on how clever they are. But they're not clever. They're stupid. And this doesn't work as a thriller or whodunnit. Only the weakest of detective stories suddenly announces a minor character with no previous involvement in the story as the killer at the end. This seems like such an amateur effort, it's hard to believe it was published- and there are 3 of them, one of which I already bought and I suppose I should read.....yep, the only mystery here is that Mr Adair was able to get this sweet publishing deal & the only crime is that of boring anyone who reads this, maybe to death? Oh, there you go, there's some murder in the mix after all.

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