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Iain S. Palin (Northern Ireland)
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A Short History of South-East Asia
A Short History of South-East Asia
by Peter Church
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.19

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Does exactly what it says on the cover", 3 July 2010
I have developed an increasing interest in South-East Asia, stimulated by much-enjoyed holidays in Thailand and a desire to go further afield. So I wanted to learn more about the area, looking for a book that was somewhere between to obligatory few pages' history at the start of the guide-books and major works going into too much detail. And this book fits the bill nicely. Well-organised by nation, readable, pitched at just the right level for the interested general reader, and kept as up to date as it can be in area of great and rapid change. Highly recommended.

Farang: Thailand Through the Eyes of an Ex-pat
Farang: Thailand Through the Eyes of an Ex-pat
by Iain Corness
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars An ex-pat's Thailand in handy bite-size chunks, 16 Jun 2010
Iain Corness has clearly led a rather interesting life, as he never tires of reminding us, and at an age when most are looking forward to a quiet retirement he settled in Thailand (which he clearly regards as his natural home). Thus begins a whole new chapter which he is happy to share with us.
If you want to learn a bit more about life in this fascinating country you could do worse than read these short, light articles. Despite some irritations I did find them perceptive and interesting, though they would have read better with some more editing. Someone needs to remind the author that you should go easy on the exclamation marks! Even when you are sharing something really interesting! They get a bit irritating!

Offered by Lambland ltd
Price: 2.99 - 3.50

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value, 13 May 2010
I try to support local shops so when planning the holiday trip I did look for luggage labels, alas without success. Next stop the Web. Amazon offered a wide range including some very attractive and colourful (if rather pricey) ones - tempting, but I feared that if they were that eye-catching they might disappear at some point in transit. Better to go for something straightforward that does the job. These do, and come at a very reasonable price. Even with the added postage on the order, a set cost less than the ones that eventually appeared for sale locally. A good buy.

Tuff-Luv Slim and Lite Silicone Skin Case Cover for Sandisk Sansa Clip  - Black
Tuff-Luv Slim and Lite Silicone Skin Case Cover for Sandisk Sansa Clip - Black

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth getting, 8 May 2010
If you're getting the Sansa MP3 player this is worth ordering as well. A smooth, easily fitted, robust protective sleeve that - unlike some such - doesn't interefere with your control of the player. The control buttons are responsive when pressed through the sleeve (you have to press a bit harder but then, that's part of the protection) and the USB connection etc have gaps in the sleeve over them so you can leave it on when charging, loading etc. Well worth the money.

SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8GB MP3 Player with Radio and Expandable MicroSD/SDHC Slot - Black
SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8GB MP3 Player with Radio and Expandable MicroSD/SDHC Slot - Black
Price: 46.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Great value, 8 May 2010
If you're looking for a small, robust, well-featured MP3 player with good battery life, fine sound quality, and a good amount of storage for your favourite files this will do the job nicely. You can use it for other things too, such as listening to the radio, if you wish. There's a handy choice of carrying it in a pocket or using the clip to fix it to your clothes. Excellent value and it does the job. I don't use the earphones provided, preferring a proper pair of "cans", but when I tried them they seemed fine.

Moreinks PREMIUM Compatible Black Laser Toner Cartridge to replace HP 12A / Q2612A
Moreinks PREMIUM Compatible Black Laser Toner Cartridge to replace HP 12A / Q2612A
Offered by More Inks
Price: 13.98

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, 23 Mar 2010
I wondered a little at first: was the price saving compared with a new HP toner cartridge too good to be true? Well it was good, and it was true: well below half the cost of the new HP product, prompt delivery with adequate packaging, worked well, did the job. And a happy feeling of having done something (however small) towards recycling and the protection of the environment (there's a lot of plastic in toner cartridges, I never liked the idea of their being used once then dumpored). What more is there to say?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 29, 2013 1:16 PM BST

As Easy As Pi: Stuff about numbers that isn't (just) maths
As Easy As Pi: Stuff about numbers that isn't (just) maths
by Jamie Buchan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 7.47

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick tour of the worlds of numbers, 23 Mar 2010
This isn't a book about maths it's about numbers. It's another in the series of little hardback books that give you the interesting stuff from schooldays plus a bit more. So yes, some maths do appear but so do numerology, discussions about why certain numbers are lucky or unlucky in certain cultures, an entertaining round-up of film and book titles and popular phrases where numbers appear, explanations of the Golden Rectangle and the Fibonacci sequence that actually help the reader understand them, and a number of other short tours of the worlds of numbers.
I hated maths at school, I wasn't good at it and I never thought it would interest me. I got this book because I have others in the series and found them readable and informative, and with pleased surprise can report that this one is just as good.

The Museum of Hoaxes: The World's Greatest Hoaxes
The Museum of Hoaxes: The World's Greatest Hoaxes
by Alex Boese
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but "Hippo Eats Dwarf" is better, 13 Mar 2010
This is an interesting overview of hoaxes down the ages though the breadth of the subject and the way it is tackled means that it is necessarily a bit sketchy and uneven. Some famous and major hoaxes get a rather cursory account that doesn't always do them justice, and it has to be said that some rather uninteresting ones seem to get more than they warrant. However it is a book worth reading if you are interested in the subject but don't know much about it, and references to the author's "Museum of Hoaxes" website are helpfully provided.
Personally, while I enjoyed them both, I found Boese's subsequent book on Internet hoaxes "Hippo Eats Dwarf" more informative and satisfying.

Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea
Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea
by Christine Garwood
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History of a surprisingly modern idea, 11 Mar 2010
Looking at the title one could be forgiven for thinking: Not very interesting, surely? After all nobody believes in it now. People in olden times used to think the world was flat, indeed the Church taught that, but Columbus proved the world was round, and with the development of modern scientific knowledge nobody can possibly hold to such an idea.
If you think that you would be wrong on all counts. This book not only shows this, it offers insights and understanding to anyone interested in the relationship between science and religion and how what we "know" can be shaped by personal factors we are unaware of.
As Garwood explains, the Ancients knew the world was round, and the Christian Church had no problem with the idea. Some figures in the early Church rejected the idea, apparently because it was part of the "pagan knowledge" they were turning their back on, but they were a minority. The idea that "the Church taught the Earth was flat" was promoted later by anti-religious writers pursuing their own agenda.
Similarly, those who opposed Columbus's proposed trip knew perfectly well the Earth was round; they were against it for sound reasons. In fact their ideas were closer to the truth than Columbus's, but he was very lucky. Again, the facts were misrepresented to suit later writers' agenda (putting down the Catholic Church and building up Columbus as a prototype for American "rugged individualism").
Flat-Earthism as a vocal pseudo-scientific movement actually arose in Nineteenth-Century England, whence it spread to the USA. It was established by fundamentalist Christians who were reacting to the advance of scientific knowledge, which they saw as a godless force or conspiracy aimed at destroying the Christian faith. In response they constructed a "Christian" model of the Universe based on scattered verses from the Bible.
Although its heyday was more than a century ago, Flat-Earthism still persists in that milieu inhabited by anti-scientists, conspiracy theorists, and fundamentalist "young Earth" Creationists. Such people tend to see themselves as blessed with a special insight and battling heroically against Godless or conspiratorial forces. Their reaction to the threatening modern unsettled and unsettling world is to build themselves a mental fort and inhabit it secure in their own beliefs and their willingness to face the enemies all around. They have retreated to "the old certainties" as a reaction to change in the world around them.Perhaps it is understandable if they see science and religion as fundamentally opposing forces rather than paths to understanding that deal with different aspects of human life.
This is a fascinating well-researched book. The author is never patronising or contemptuous of the Flat-Earthers, who are shown as real, sincere, people, while the issues are presented fairly and thoroughly (eprhaps a little too thoroughly in places, some skipping will aid the reading of certain passeages). I enjoyed it and recommend it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2011 9:55 AM GMT

Ode To A Banker: (Falco 12)
Ode To A Banker: (Falco 12)
by Lindsey Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Publishers and bankers, Roman-style, 8 Mar 2010
This episode in the life of Roman private eye Marcus Didius Falco brings him into contact with the worlds of publishing and banking, both of which have striking similarities with those of our own time.
The head of a scriptorium has been violently killed and it looks to be the work of a disgruntled author - until it turns out that the murdered man has made his serious money as owner of a private bank. A bank, moreover, that may have a history of shady dealings and with no guarantee that such dealings are all in the past. So suddenly the list of possible motives and suspects has increased. The result is a detailed and engrossing mystery as Falco feels his way through these unfamiliar and sometimes dangerous waters, while at the same time dealing with issues in the eventful lives of his extended family.
Davis evokes the world of Imperial Rome effectively and naturally and draws us into its culture and mindset, some of it very similar to our own and some of it very different. The characters are, as always in the Falco novels, carefully drawn real people of varying sorts and the way the investigator goes about his work is engrossing and entertaining. Occasionally some dry humour breaks through to lighten what might have otherwise been a rather dark atmosphere - I particularly liked the scene where Falco is interviewing a successful playwright, an immigrant to the city who is struggling with persistent rumours that he does not write his own plays because his skill with language is seen as beyond what is expected of a provincial Briton.
For me Falco is one of four Roman sleuths whose cases are a must-read (the others being Saylor's Gordianus, Roberts' Metellus, and Wishart's Corvinus). This particular one isn't a particularly new publication - I don't know how it slipped through the net before, but I'm glad I did get hold of it.

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