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S. M. Rutterford (Oxford, United Kingdom)

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In Search Of Lost Time Vol 1: Swann's Way: Swann's Way Vol 1 (Vintage Classics)
In Search Of Lost Time Vol 1: Swann's Way: Swann's Way Vol 1 (Vintage Classics)
by Marcel Proust
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Surat (painting) in the literary sense, 18 Jan. 2008
It has taken approximately three months just to read through the first novel of this great and august work, which I suppose goes to show how much time and effort Proust put into writing this.

It is a very time-consuming plot. In the first instance he tends to go on at length about how he is waiting at the top of the stairs for his mother to come and kiss him goodnight and then deviates at length in a painterly and studious way around how he evokes the environs of Combray. This departure seems to extend into a little novella all of its own, before you arrive finally at the reason the book was entitled as it was, i.e. Swann's pursuit and on-off love affair with Odette. You wend your way via endless luncheons and dinner parties at the Verdurins and glimpsing Odette's other flings as a courtesan with various Comtes and Ducs (sic)particularly Fourcheville, who is Swann's main rival.

But all in all, this is a creative tour de force, is superbly written, as is evident by the number of drafts Proust went through before its final completion and is well worth three months of anyone's time in terms of a good bedtime read. I just hope Volume II will not be as time consuming. I think the phrase "just hang in there!" is appropriate as there are better things to come from this delightful range of novels.

No Title Available

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The stage show had more razzle dazzle!!, 1 May 2003
Having watched both the movie and the stage show, I have to admit to liking the stageshow better. Of course, who couldn't be impressed by Mrs Douglas's (Catherine Zeta Jones) acrobatics or her allure, but I felt Rene Zellweger was slightly weak as Roxy Hart.
I was surprised that Richard Gere could even sing, but he put up a reasonable performance, I thought they may have given that role to John Travolta, but Gere was good enough.
All in all, it was a good cast, but the musical tended to lose its immediacy on film, although the musical numbers will always be first class.

Pet Sounds [2000 Re-issue]
Pet Sounds [2000 Re-issue]
Price: £4.80

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylistically Unique, 30 Aug. 2002
In the beginning there was Rubber Soul, then came Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds and then the revolution of Sergeant Pepper. This is good, heartfelt, warming music, sometimes unusual and quirky but still very homespun. Just think of "Wouldn't it be nice" and "God only Knows", two classic tunes combined with the eponymous "Pet Sounds".
This was nice to listen to, but probably not as off the wall as say Sgt. Pepper is. Brian Wilson has clearly put his heart into this and it shows. There are some lovely moments, but as a critic said recently "you've got to be in right mood to listen to this music". I personally think this is the kind of album which was meant to grow on people rather than be an instant hit "Here today and gone tomorrow". I don't think so. It is nicely crafted and nicely written. A change from the ordinary but not absolutely, radically so. It is a great pity that Brian Wilson did not manage to write much more music like this, I think his genius would then have been truly assured. Anyway, thank you for the music, it would be a poorer musical world without the beauty of Pet Sounds.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Two Disc Theatrical Edition) [DVD] [2001]
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Two Disc Theatrical Edition) [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Elijah Wood
Price: £1.26

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The translation of bookish myth into filmic legend, 14 Aug. 2002
Wow, what set-pieces to a movie. I don't think they could have picked a better backdrop than the rolling plains and the rugged mountains of New Zealand. The acting is even paced from Elijah Wood and of course, spellbinding from Ian McKellern and Christopher Lee. The Ring Wraiths were also a great technical accomplishment, truly thrilling and scary.
What particularly stood out were the scenes in the mines of Moria, especially the bringing to life of the Balrog (truly a fearsome and fiery masterpiece of a monster) and the stunning and beautiful scenes of Elrond (which in the book I remember as totally mystical and magical and I couldn't believe it when I saw the film I just had to gasp in wonderment, there it was in all its glory).
I just can't wait for the Two Towers, Peter Jackson had really done justice to one the worlds favourite books. The Fellowship of the Ring is a masterpiece of filmic imagination. Go out and buy it, believe me, nothing in the film is a disappointment at all!

The Consolations of Philosophy
The Consolations of Philosophy
by Alain De Botton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Simple as Socrates, 13 Aug. 2002
This is a nice, gentle introduction to the world of philosophy. Its style is plain but simple and the examples used by the author are excellent in pinpointing the origins and development not just of western philosophy, but of western culture in general.
In using Socrates as the starting point and origin for the book, Alain de Botton gives us the leitmotif for what is to come. De Botton's style is beautifully uncomplicated and as Socrates helps (punctures the myth of much philosophical psycho-babble). I found it very good in starting to analyse even daily modern life through the eyes of such sages as Socrates, Seneca, De Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzche. Here Consolations of Philosophy helps us to put into context our busy modern lives and assists us in partly unravelling them.
Of course if you want to go deeper then by all means there are other authors and the philosophers own works to read and to analyse, but as a good read and in simplifying philosophical matters then there is no-one better than Alain de Botton to help you start to get to the bottom of things. I thoroughly recommend this book because I really enjoyed it.

The Art of Travel
The Art of Travel
by Alain De Botton
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tasting and remembering the exotic, 4 July 2002
This review is from: The Art of Travel (Hardcover)
I liked this book immensely because it was the perfect travelling companion on a recent trip to Italy I undertook. The first thing that came to mind was the description the author has written about the elation of just getting on a plane to Baudelaire's "Anywhere" and not being stuck in the same place all the time, I too was going from Terminal Two at Heathrow, I wonder if the author had been watching at that moment (I doubt it), but I had got that phrase into my mind "Anywhere but here will do!".
In the same way, when I got to where I was supposed to be staying, the author mentioned about tasting the exotic and it lingering in our minds as a reminder like some foreign perfume. How apt that the author should conjure up such phrases to precisely describe the experience of being in a foreign land.
This is such a perceptive book, that if you are going travelling I would recommend it as a thoughtful and intuitive read, if indeed you want to know "Why" in particular you are going to the places you are going to. Well done Alain de Botton, you have again simplified philosophy and understanding travel for the masses in phrases they can understand and produced a very enjoyable book to boot. I wish all travel writing could be so lucid as this. Thanks

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