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Prodigy, The (Peter Owen Modern Classic)
Prodigy, The (Peter Owen Modern Classic)
by Hermann Hesse
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.28

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Melancholic, yet reassuring, 17 Feb 2003
Hesse's critical take on the educational system at the turn of the last century is witty, observant and at time ironic. His hero, Hans Giebenrath, suffers from the pressure piled on to him by his parents and teachers who all believe that a promising student can always - and should always - do more. The pressure leads to a nervous breakdown and eventually to suicidal thoughts.
Given today's educational system and parental pressure to always be better than the Joneses', I felt that this story was ironic in that it is almost 100 years old and yet still rather relevant. If I had read this book 10 years ago, I would have been depressed; or, to be accurate, more depressed than I was at the time.
An excellent read.

The Brass Dolphin
The Brass Dolphin
by Joanna Trollope/Caroline Harvey
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light, Pleasant and close to home, 8 Dec 2001
This review is from: The Brass Dolphin (Hardcover)
This is the story of Lila Cunningham who was forced to move to Malta from pre World War 2 England to try and make a living for herself and her father. Gradually, she begins to get used to the locals and the local way of doing things when War breaks out. After the war, she is unsure of herself and wonders whether she ought to leave the island (and all its emotional baggage) to return to England or not.

Living in Malta gave me an added perspective on this book. I was not only able to identify with the places but also with the war stories that I used to hear on my grandpa's lap. It is light reading and very pleasant; Trollope does not have a heavy hand when it comes to writing and prefers to let the reader fill in some minor details. The only part which spoilt the book for me was when Lila was supposed to have cycled a fairly long distance to work and back - not entirely unbelievable if you go by distance (as non-Maltese readers would) but given the steep hills and the terrain that I know exists, it would be a tough exercise regime, first thing in the morning. Of course, perhaps under the duress of war, people did all sorts of abnormal things, but ...

The Hunt for Red October
The Hunt for Red October
by Tom Clancy
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent Cold War political thriller, 5 Dec 2001
Clancy has, by now, identified himself as the leading author when it comes to political and military thrillers. He is most famous for his Jack Ryan series of which this is the second. I saw the film before reading the book and I do recommend that you do likewise. While the film is exciting in its own right, a few sub plots and sequences that exist in the book weren't included in the movie. If you're read the book, you'll notice immediately. Plot-wise, Red October is very credible. Clancy shows that he has in-depth knowledge of both Allied and Soviet vessels and their respective modus operandi, a fact which adds a lot of flavour to the overall story. He also has a unique capability to intertwine several plot lines into one keeping the reader involved in each thread individually from another until necessary.

Voyager Classics - Foundation
Voyager Classics - Foundation
by Isaac Asimov
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of a glorious epic, 29 Nov 2001
Asimov's vision of a united humanity populating the whole universe kicks off in this very book. It lays the foundation (no pun intended) for the other books in the series and allows the reader his first glance into the Universe of Hari Seldon and the Galactic Empire.
Some readers may prefer Asimov's Robot series first as both Universes mingle in the end. The link is not that obvious (or even that well indicated) in this first volume, however.
Either way, whether you have already been exposed to the genius that is Asimov or not, Foundation should be on the top of your Christmas list. it truly is one of the most incredible achievements that the Science FIction genre has ever seen.

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