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Beagle Boy (St Albans)

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101 Beer Days Out (Camra)
101 Beer Days Out (Camra)
by Tim Hampson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars and worth every one., 9 Jan 2014
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I wouldn't throw five stars at every book, but this title deserves it. Never mind that the author has clearly put in the time and effort to research the material, but add to this the concise writing style, excellent production values, layout and illustrations and you have a book every patriotic ale lover will enjoy going back to, time and again.


Hunting - A Portrait
Hunting - A Portrait
by Anne Holland
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and carefully researched., 7 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Hunting - A Portrait (Hardcover)
Anne Holland has put together a well-written and carefully researched introduction to hunting with hounds. There are chapters on famous packs such as the Quorn, hunting in Exmoor, hunting in Ireland, beagling etc. The book is lavishly illustrated throughout with photographs and prints from centuries ago. A very rewarding volume you can turn to during a moment's peace and quiet, with a glass of scotch n'soda.


The Elizabethans
The Elizabethans
by A.N. Wilson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.96

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Patchy history, 1 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Elizabethans (Hardcover)
Patchy effort from AN Wilson. I read and enjoyed his popular histories of the Victorians, Edwardians etc., but he seems less sure of himself here and the eye for the telling detail or anecdote is absent. There is perhaps too much focus on the socio-cultural at the expense of good old-fashioned narrative - strange in an author with such a traditionalist's reputation. The book's cohesion suffers as a result, encouraging a kind of pick-and-mix approach by the reader. Most unfortunate is the author's barely-contained suspicion of Catholicism, which informs much of his account of the religious strife of Elizabethan England. He falls into the elementary schoolboy historian's error of trying to "contemporize by comparison" when he compares solitary Jesuit missionaries hiding in Elizabethan priest-holes with contemporary Islamic terrorists. Good historians don't take sides. Plus points are his illuminating chapters on Ireland and the Spanish Armada and descriptions of the lives of Drake and Raleigh that bring these great men to life.


The Great Wine Swindle
The Great Wine Swindle
by Malcolm Gluck
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wine expert yes, writing expert no., 5 Dec 2008
This review is from: The Great Wine Swindle (Hardcover)
I'll have to agree with both previous reviewers. Mr Gluck knows an awful lot about wine, but he knows very little about the English language and how it should be written. The text suffers throughout from poor grammar, adjective overload, howling spelling errors and a confused structure in terms of the content and it's division into random chapters. The reader has to concentrate hard as they decode the mangled syntax and try and figure out exactly what it is Mr Gluck is trying to say. Something that does emerge is his passion for wine and refusal to compromise - see the numerous and often hilarious examples of him returning "corked" bottles in restaurants. Mr Gluck, can I return this book, please?
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 4, 2010 7:34 PM GMT


Hunting with Hounds
Hunting with Hounds
by Homer W. Sykes
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hours of hunting pleasure, 28 Dec 2007
This review is from: Hunting with Hounds (Paperback)
I received this as a Christmas present and was very glad I did. An excellent introduction to different aspects of hunting with hounds - not just the usual foxhunting but also beagling and terrier-work too. Informative text and striking black and white photography, coupled with an introduction by Roger Scruton make this a fascinating volume that I know I will return to over and again.


Three Sheets To The Wind: One Man's Quest For The Meaning Of Beer
Three Sheets To The Wind: One Man's Quest For The Meaning Of Beer
by Pete Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beer Abroad, 10 Dec 2007
I picked this up fearing some kind of Bill Bryson-with-booze comedy travelogue but was pleasantly surprised. Brown is a man who is clearly enchanted with beer and it's importance in our social history and contemporary culture both at home and abroad. He travels to various cities in countries renowned for their inhabitants' love of beer - Ireland, Denmark, America, Australia etc., to see how they do things there and why. He explores the differences in approach to beer-brewing, consumption and related folklore in foreign lands - and also the similarities many of us will recognize. It's actually a tricky premise for a novel in that it could come over as a dusty work of sociology or end up like Pete McCarthy's jokey, shallow, over-rated "McCarthy's Bar". But Brown pulls it off with fresh writing, genuine wit, telling insight and above all a great affinity for the places he visits and the people he meets. My one quibble would be with the bits of dialogue with friends at the outset of the early chapters which read as bit studenty and unfunny. Intended to provide the author with a justification device for his travels, they just annoy.
That's a small complaint however about an otherwise excellent read.


Pride & Prejudice [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Pride & Prejudice [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Keira Knightley

4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much to be proud of, 31 Aug 2007
I find it difficult to understand the rave reviews this weak adaptation has garnered. I've read Jane Austen's great work a few times and taught it in secondary school, so I've got a bit of background knowledge here. Joe Wright's version of the classic novel is weak, with careless plotting, anachronistic scriptwriting and a hugely affected and irritating performance from Keira Knightley, playing Elizabeth Bennett in young-Julia-Roberts mode, all rolling eyes and self-satisfied smirks. The BBC min-series is vastly better - Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth excel. Buy that instead.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2009 7:29 PM GMT


Fahrenheit 9/11 [2004] double disk extra features [DVD]
Fahrenheit 9/11 [2004] double disk extra features [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Moore
Offered by Lifes Essentials
Price: 5.30

11 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Farenhate, 10 Feb 2005
Two hours of loony conspiracy theories as the self-styled conscience of a generation (move over Sean Penn) spares no exaggeration, contradiction or distortion in a laughably lop-sided attack on the hated Bush.
Excellent viewing for gullible and deluded Bush-haters everywhere.
Not so good though for people with brains.
Looking for astute political satire? Buy the Team America dvd instead.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2010 10:53 PM BST


An Ocean in Iowa
An Ocean in Iowa
by Peter Hedges
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Make Me Care, 15 Dec 2004
This review is from: An Ocean in Iowa (Paperback)
Undeniably well written, this book nevertheless left me feeling a little uninvolved. Sure the author has the literary skill to keep the pages turning with an economical prose style that never sees a word wasted. But perhaps he spends too little effort on characterisation for the sake of driving the narrative along. The end result are characters I didn't really empathise with, though their story was interesting.
In cinematic terms it reminded me of Terence Malick's film Badlands, another tale set in the flat expanses of America's midwest, to which my reaction was similar.
Lovely to look at, but do I really care?


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