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Ordinary Bloke (Birmingham, UK)

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They Came to Baghdad
They Came to Baghdad
by Agatha Christie
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 6 Sep 2007
This review is from: They Came to Baghdad (Paperback)
If you are looking for a traditional murder-in-the-grange-by-the-butler-type murder mystery, then this might not be for you. This is a tale of international politics, spycraft and intrigue.
At the heart of the book is Agatha Christie's trademark ingenious plot. The first couple of chapters are heavy going, as the many characters in the book are introduced and the plot is a bit cryptic, however it certainly gets better.
I thought the characterisation and description in this book was better than any Christie book I have read and there is certainly more emotion and romance.
Overall this book is excellent and certainly recommended.


A Month in the Country (Penguin Modern Classics)
A Month in the Country (Penguin Modern Classics)
by J. Carr
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Incredible, 25 Aug 2007
Firstly, the writing style of this novel makes it easy to read.
Secondly, what immediately struck me was the size, only 85 pages, the other 20-odd pages being intro. This by any standard is short, but it doesn't seem so once you start reading it, as every page, every line is so rich in description and wonderful dialogue.
If you are looking for a nostalgic look at the english countryside, and yearn for the days when life was simpler, for steam trains, trips to the sea on a horse and cart and for English summers that were hot, then this is the book for you.
It's a story of life,death,love and friendship.
Highly Recommended
Warning-If you intend to read the introduction, then I would advise that you read it after reading the novel as it is basically a synopsis of the plot and will spoilt it.


The Labours of Hercules (Poirot)
The Labours of Hercules (Poirot)
by Agatha Christie
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Great, 16 Aug 2007
This is a collection of Hercule Poirot short stories.
Hercule Poirot has decided to retire from detective work, but before he does so he wants to massage is ego one last time, by matching the feat of the mythological Hercules.
As Hercules had to embark on 12 seemingly impossible tasks, so too will Poirot by handpicking 12 final cases.
If you are an Agatha Christie fan, this is one of her best.
If you are new to Christie then this book is a good place to start.
Highly Recommended


Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung: A Companion
Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung: A Companion
by Stewart Spencer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.96

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 16 Aug 2007
I purchased this book, because like many people I have got 'The Ring' on CD and although it had a libretto it was in German and therefore I hadn't got a clue what was going on in the opera.
What I needed was a good English translation next to the German so I could follow the opera as I listened.
If you are in the same boat, look no further.
The book is divided into 2 main parts.
The first part consists of a number of academic essays written on the history and musical composition of the opera. These probably will only appeal to music students. I certainly did not gain much from them.
The second part is a gold mine. The libretto covers all the operas of the cycle with the english translation next to the German. In addition there are stage directions and synopses of the story for each scene.
An excellent, invaluable book. Highly Recommended


Ecclesiastical History of the English People
Ecclesiastical History of the English People
by Bede
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, 16 Aug 2007
I found this book surprisingly easy to read, which says much for the translation and could be read by anybody from teens and older.
The introduction is interesting providing a mini biography of Bede.
The book itself is good but I think it is of more value to history or theology scholars rather than an average Joe like me.
There are interesting overviews of 1st century history but most of the book concentrates on the establishment of the Catholic church in England, the lives of various clergy, stories of miracles and theological debates.
If this is not your bag then you are not likely to enjoy it.
There is also a tendency for it to be a little repetitive. Many of the stories seem the same with different names inserted.
However,many of the chapters are very short (half-a-page to a page) so is a good book to pick up and put down rather than read in long sessions.
The book overall is good, but I would say not for everyone.


Legion of the Damned (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
Legion of the Damned (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
by Sven Hassel
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 5.59

1 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring, 9 Aug 2007
Firstly, I'm an avid reader of WW2 fiction and thought it was about time I started reading Sven Hassel. I thought it might be interesting to get an account, albeit fictional, from the German perspective. The first couple of chapters were good and full of promise, describing the brutal acts carried out in the German penal colonies. However, after that the book began to fall apart. The plot is disjointed, at times feeling like a short story anthology and at other times an autobiography. Each chapter starts with an annoying half-page of prose in italics that bears no relation to the story that follows. The characterisation is poor, so you are left feeling like you don't know the characters and don't care if they live or die. The book is not originally written in English and it shows as the translation is poor.
I finished the book out of sheer determination but found it took enormous willpower to pick the book up each time.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 16, 2013 11:09 AM GMT


Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion
Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion
by Jeff Ayers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 22.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Useful Reference Book, 9 Aug 2007
If you are an avid reader of Star Trek fiction then this is the definitive guide. It covers every Star Trek fiction book ever published along with covers and publication dates, number of pages etc.
OK admittedly most of this information is available on the internet, but most of it is incomplete or just incorrect, here you can be sure of getting the correct information.
For this alone it has been invaluable allowing me to identify those books that I've never read and if that's what you are looking for then look no further.
If you are looking for a good read then this is not for you. It is really a reference book to pick up and put down.
Also,although a good proportion of the books have plots and author interviews this is by no means complete and if that is what you are looking for I wouldn't bother.


The First Rumpole Omnibus
The First Rumpole Omnibus
by John Mortimer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.39

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 3 Aug 2007
If you are familiar with the TV serialization of the books, then the first collection of the novels are every bit as good and much more.
If you know nothing of John Mortimer or Rumpole of the Bailey, and are just window shopping for a good book to read then stop. This book will have you crying with laughter as it describes the eccentricities of the English legal system. It is a cross between Judge John Deed and Reginald Perrin. You couldn't find a better way to pass a few hours and spend a few pounds. Highly Recommended.


One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (Poirot)
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (Poirot)
by Agatha Christie
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite Good, 22 July 2007
Even though I am a big fan of Agatha Christie, my overall opinion is that this is not one of her best.
After saying that however, it does have one of the most interesting and original solutions of all.
What seems to let it down is its readability. I found it easy to get lost, both with the plot and the characters, and often found myself having to re-read sections of the book to get it clear in my mind.
If you are looking to read Christie for the first time then I wouldn't start with this one.
This is definitely one for the die-hard fans.


Sad Cypress (Poirot)
Sad Cypress (Poirot)
by Agatha Christie
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Read!, 22 July 2007
This review is from: Sad Cypress (Poirot) (Paperback)
For me, this is one of Agatha Christie's most rounded novels. It may be fair to say that for the majority of her books she sacrificed depth of character for the sake of plot. However, this book has everything. Good characterisation, plenty of emotion and it goes without saying a rip-roaring plot.


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