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D. M. Purkiss "Diane" (Oxford, England)
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The Gaelic Otherworld: Rev.John Gregorson Campbell's Superstitions of the Highlands and the Islands of Scotland and Witchcraft and Second Sight in the Highlands and Islands
The Gaelic Otherworld: Rev.John Gregorson Campbell's Superstitions of the Highlands and the Islands of Scotland and Witchcraft and Second Sight in the Highlands and Islands
by John Gregorson Campbell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.17

5.0 out of 5 stars The best Highland lore collections ever, 18 Nov 2014
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A fabulous bargain! The best Highland lore collections ever, properly edited with stunning new notes and introductions. A must.


Rachel Khoo's Muesli and Granola
Rachel Khoo's Muesli and Granola
by Rachel Khoo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Empty, 18 Nov 2014
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Frankly, this contains a few very sketchy recipes, padded out with pictures and white space. You can find much better recipes in Pure Vanilla or in Cook's Illustrated Baking. A waste of money.


Hard Work: Life in Low-pay Britain
Hard Work: Life in Low-pay Britain
by Polly Toynbee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

3.0 out of 5 stars Shut out of Starbucks!, 18 Nov 2014
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This is a well-intentioned book, and many of the points it makes are good, even vital, and yet I found the narrative voice so irritating that I often threw it across the room.

Toynbee comes across as utterly spoiled and privileged, and terribly, patronisingly sorry for everyone who can't windowshop on Kings Road because they know they can't afford to buy, and blithely unaware that this 'exclusion' applies to four-fifths of the nation.
Her norm is only too clearly the top of the middle class, people earning 100k plus with houses in Leafy London that they bought more than ten years ago. It never really strikes her that this First World Norm can't EVER be extended to everyone. There will NEVER be enough money for that.

Her impassioned plea for care workers to be better paid is moving and valid, but it's in part based on the idea that caring for incontinent old people is absolutely disgusting and depressing; at one point she comes very close to implying that they are the problem, and to longing for one of them to die, even though the individual seems quite contented in though demented. Doubtless they too have no reason to live as nobody is taking them along Kings Road or to Starbucks.

I actually ended up feeling very sorry for the people who had to work with Toynbee. They must have had it very tough. As the Great God Jarvis Cocker says, everybody hates a tourist.

That said, it's good to see someone at least trying to think about what 'job creation' at the bottom really means for those who have to do the jobs, and even better to see someone questioning what privatisation really means in care homes and the NHS. It was and is a brave project, but now what I'd like to see is something more like Studs Terkel's oral history work in the US, something that gives the low-paid the mike and allows them to speak for themselves. Or better still, something such as The Likes of Us, where the working class gets to write history for themselves. Well-intentioned kindly liberals can't really grasp what low-aid life is like, as Toynbee's frequent dashes back to her old life illustrate.


The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars
Price: £2.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Grit in the eye, 8 July 2014
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Ok, I know I'm in an old-age minority, but while I did finish this, I did so without enthusiasm. Hazel and Gus failed to overcome my built-in allergy to teens with cancer stories. I did not shed a tear or even mist up.

It wasn't so much their super-cool way of talking as the utter, grim banality of what they said. “Maybe 'okay' will be our 'always” “The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives. I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture.” “Pain is like fabric: The stronger it is, the more it’s worth.”

If you like the sound of this voice, do read on. For me, it was like sand in my eye. The character and the author were trying too hard to impress me. Green wants to be David Foster Wallace, but comes across more like those boys at the back of the bus who keep staging little scuffles to impress the girls.

The end came when the Anne Frank House entered the story. So Gary and Mary Sue Abroad was it by then that the crowds actually cheered them as they made out. I ask you.. is this likely? If you say yes, of course, then you are in fact exactly the kind of dripping wet sentimentalist the kids in this book pretend to despise. If you say no, read Infinite Jest instead.


Friends (1971) Lewis Gilbert, Sean Bury, Anicee Alvina DVD
Friends (1971) Lewis Gilbert, Sean Bury, Anicee Alvina DVD
Dvd ~ Lewis Gilbert
Offered by Scorpion DVDs
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The past, 26 Feb 2014
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Interesting.. I saw this when I was 14, and it made a profound impression on me. It was liberating, in the best sense. The opening is very dated, but once we are in the Camargue it's less so, more timeless, and very charming, frank, and truthful.

The reason this film wouldn't be made now is that it shows sex between minors, one of them only 14 (and a alf, as she keeps saying). Presumably this also explains the lack of a DVD release outside the Far East. This is of course honest, and realistic, but god help the producer who tried to show this now.


Tales of the German Imagination from the Brothers Grimm to Ingeborg Bachmann (Penguin Classics)
Tales of the German Imagination from the Brothers Grimm to Ingeborg Bachmann (Penguin Classics)
Price: £2.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant collection, 11 May 2013
I enjoyed every one of these stories. Sometimes macabre and even disturbing, and sometimes bursting with inventiveness, they were all richly rewarding, though for me the standouts were Kafka's harrowing - literally - In the Penal Colony, and Ingeborg Bachmann's astonishing fairytale, both of them elegantly translated. warmly recommended, especially for people who don't know German fiction writers well; this should introduce many wonderful writers to new audiences.


Argo (DVD + UV Copy) [2013]
Argo (DVD + UV Copy) [2013]
Dvd ~ Ben Affleck
Price: £4.46

8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not even a good thriller, 13 Mar 2013
This review is from: Argo (DVD + UV Copy) [2013] (DVD)
Many reviewers have noted the historical blunders and the phony nationalist tubthumping, so I want to take up the subject of the movie as a movie.

Faux-seriousness was lent it by the historical footage with which it was prefaced.

When the action proper began, it was utterly conventional. There was no suspense in the last third, because it was so clearly glossy that one just knew old Ben would get everyone out.

Characterisation was sketchy and also utterly conventional. Affleck strode around looking lantern-jawed. The hostages wept or were a pain, respectively, depending on gender.

It must have given some Academy viewers a huge patriotic buzz, because in all other ways it was dismal - timid, self-important, and dull. I was very disappointed. However, if you haven't seen Victory at Entebbe or any of the Die Hard franchise, it might strike you as novel (in which case you are less than 10 years old).

I'm snarky because I wish I'd binned my bucks instead.


No Title Available

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They looked lovely - for a week, 5 Dec 2012
They looked lovely and felt warm - and then they got stained by mud - hey, it's England, and it rains - and it was impossible to rub or brush off the stains.

I contacted the manufacturer, and was told it wasn't advisable to wash them... beyond that, no suggestions were made. In the end, I did wash them, gently, and in warm water, and now they are very very stiff. Perhaps that's why the leather has cracked in three places, just two months from purchase.

Another minus is the sizing. I'm a woman, and quite small, and I had to choose the men's size because the ladies was much too tight. The palms are very narrow.

On the plus side, they ARE tough - I can pull on a bramble while wearing them and not feel a single thorn.


WMF Profi Plus Silicone Balloon Whisk
WMF Profi Plus Silicone Balloon Whisk
Price: £13.00

3.0 out of 5 stars TINY, 2 Nov 2012
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It isn't specified in the description, or not very prominently, but this product is really small, too small for making sauces.


Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey
Price: £3.32

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars You can still get the fanfic free, 23 April 2012
The fanfic on which this is based - which has been shown to be 85% the same as the book by being run through Turnitin, with most of the 15% being namechanges - Ana is Bella, Christian is Edward - for FREE by googling for snowqueens icedragon Master of the Universe. It's been taken down from the big fansites, but it's still around - and you can download it free to iBooks. Probably a good way to see if you can live with the prose style. I couldn't. Save your money and buy a latte I needed a G and T.

So... we obviously need publishers to act as gatekeepers to protect us from amateur stuff out there for free, and... Oh. Oh, I see.

Also check out the parody, 51 shades.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 23, 2012 5:15 PM BST


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