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A. Michetti (Singapore)

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Catching Tales
Catching Tales
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 5.57

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catchy Tunes on Catching Tales, 24 Mar 2006
This review is from: Catching Tales (Audio CD)
Simply put: Jamie Cullum is one of the most talented musicians currently making music. Not only does Catching Tales capture his musical talent, it showcases his songwriting ability, which he has not properly flaunted on previous albums. For those listeners (and reviewers) who are so gratuitously caught up in defining the term "jazz," I invite you to think outside the box for an hour or so while Jamie does his thing. (Consider this: is any genre -- be it classical, hip-hop, rock, or jazz -- clearly defined? The lines are always blurry, and this is not a bad thing, unless you believe that music and musicians should never evolve.)

Catching Tales is about life lessons in various forms -- both musically and lyrically. "Get Your Way" bounces with punchy sampling (Joe Williams' "Get Out of My Life Woman") and tells of a stubborn anticipated confrontation; "Nothing I Do" blends a perfect contrast of a cheerful, rhythmic melody with lyrics of a tempestuous relationship; "21st Century Kid" ambles breezily about coming of age in a time of uncertainty, punctuated with easy-feeling chords and harmonies; in "7 Days To Change Your Life" we hear Jamie's well-known keyboard talent beneath tongue-in-cheek info-mercialish lyrics, with a style that is pleasantly reminiscent of Harry Connick, Jr.

And it seems Jamie himself is no stranger to reminiscing. Tales and tunes of nostalgia also take the stage in this recording: "Photograph," "Mindtrick," "Oh God," and "Back to the Ground" all demonstrate Jamie's unique marriage of insightful lyrics and appropriate, flavourful grooves. "Catch the Sun," though not penned by Jamie, is an upbeat and inspiring reminder to live in the moment, and although cliche, the energetic refrain might find you humming along. The smooth, sonorous Rhodes-driven texture of "My Yard" reminds me of India Arie or the Brand New Heavies, and indeed, leaves me thinking that rather than confine jazz to a four-walled room, we should, as Jamie says, "explore all the possibilities" and "take the script and flip it, baby."

The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intricate, clever fast read, 4 Sep 2004
JUST finished reading this book today - and I only started it last week. Had it not been the beginning of the school year, I probably could have finished it sooner. It is a *very* fast read and definitely a page-turner, with cliff-hanger endings at every chapter.
This book is definitely interesting. I haven't had time to do any research to find out how much of it is based on fact and how much is fabricated; although fascinating, knowing whether or not it's "true" really doesn't make any difference to how a reader gets into the novel. It's a good book, certainly. The plot twists and turns and compels you to read more. The plot is very intricate and the symbolism is astounding. Dan Brown is extremely clever in the way he has woven his tale. His craftily organized intertwining events are what carry the book. In fact, they are the only part of the book that makes it worth reading.
For those of you who don't yet know the plot, it begins something like this: Robert Langdon, a world-renowned academic symbologist (yes, they exist) is summoned in the middle of the night at his hotel room in Paris to help at a homicide scene. Murdered: Jacques Sauniere, curator of Le Louvre. Sauniere's death scene is littered with some curious symbols and messages, and such is the reason why Langdon was brought to the scene. Also on site, Sophie Neveu, Sauniere's granddaughter and cryptologist for France's equivalent of the FBI. Initially, Langdon is accused of the murder, but Sophie knows he is innocent and contrives a plan for his escape, but only after he, using his symbolism decoding skills, helps her determine who killed her grandfather. Together, Sophie and Robert Langdon embark on an adventure to discover the truth about Sauniere's death. Their adventure -- with the French police hot on their tails -- leads them through two countries, France and England, and the vaults of history - museums, churches, historians, artists, and of course, lots of codes and symbols, all of which are connected to either Opus Dei (a sect of the Catholic church) or The Priory of Sion, a brotherhood/ sisterhood secret society, and protectors of the Holy Grail.
No one will be lauding Brown for his carefully constructed sentences or stunning descriptive imagery -- he is just not that kind of writer. His writing is simple - much like John Grisham, Danielle Steele, or other pulp fiction authors. He clearly is not intending to reach the intellectual elite with his writing. His work makes some broad statements about the history of the Catholic church and the Holy Grail, which are fascinating and thought-provoking. He's done well, I'd say.
Other than his simple writing (which I get bored of rather quickly), my only other complaint is the ending of this novel. It seems as though Brown needed to tie up too many loose ends at once. It was all a bit too "neat" for my liking. Then again, I suppose this is the way mystery novels are meant to end (as a friend reminded me), and this is another reminder as to why I'm not a huge fan of this genre of literature (also why I'm not a big Harry Potter fan! In fact, Brown's plot has a remarkable similarity to Rowlings'...).
Read it when you need something quick, intriguing, and escapist. But don't hunt it down looking for a challenge to your reading level or linguistical skills.

Clara Callan
Clara Callan
by Richard Bruce Wright
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight to be had by reading this book, 6 Nov 2003
This review is from: Clara Callan (Paperback)
Richard Wright has done a superb job in Clara Callan. He has created a character that is believeable and human. Taking us through her eccentric life, he shows us not only the solidarity of one's individual spirit, but also the fears, hopes, and dreams of those who lived through the historical setting of North America in the 1930s.
Clara is an outsider and a quiet rebel. She is a schoolteacher, unmarried and in her 30s, living in a small rural community in Ontario. She is, without a doubt, the talk of the town. As she finds her way to survive this situation (isn't all CanLit about survival? At least Ms. Atwood says so), she finds herself in several other sticky situations that she must handle delicately, or risk being even more isolated within her already-isolated town.
Clara's sister, Nora, is her confidante and opposite. A radio soap star in New York City, she can't understand why Clara wants to be pent-up in the house they grew up in, especially so recently since their father's death. Nora works her way up the celebrity status ladder, living a top-end lifetsyle and socializing with wild and crazy people, but never forgets where she came from. She shares much with her sister, not the least of which is the difficult experience of being a woman who leads an atypical lifestyle in a critical time period.
Clara Callan will leave you more open-minded and aware. Wright's characters have a way of staying with you long after you've put the book down. In fact, this reviewer found herself pondering Clara's motivations and bemusing her choices, even whilst washing dishes. You can't help but love Clara and her quirky social network.

Supa Funky
Supa Funky
Offered by Formats
Price: 18.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very cool and catchy, 26 May 2002
This review is from: Supa Funky (Audio CD)
This 2-CD compilation is great! There is not one track that isn't funky AND well-mixed. I do not regret having bought this album even for a second. It's got all the old favourites plus a few more recent ones that are just as beat-driven and groovy. A special treat are the Maceo and the Macks tracks (there are 2) and the Roy Ayers tracks. Someone at Universal Music is thinking when it comes to combining old sounds with new ones! This stuff never went outta style, if you ask me, and Supa Funky proves that it never will go outt style, either! I highly recommend this album!

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