Profile for R. Boundy > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by R. Boundy
Top Reviewer Ranking: 621,554
Helpful Votes: 28

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
R. Boundy (Devon, UK)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
The Greatest Harp Players of All Time: Top 100
The Greatest Harp Players of All Time: Top 100
Price: £2.65

1.0 out of 5 stars NOT a book for harpers!!!, 2 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A word of warning to all harpists or harpers considering buying this book: don't be fooled by the picture on the cover, the title refers to harmonica (mouth organ) players. It's irritating enough for we harpists when our inrtrument is constantly being confused with another unrelated one in ordinary conversation but when a book actually has a cover that features a picture of the stringed instrument you'd think we might be fairly safe in assuming that is what it refers to. That isn't the case here.


Murder on the Home Front: A True Story of Morgues, Murderers and Mysteries in the Blitz
Murder on the Home Front: A True Story of Morgues, Murderers and Mysteries in the Blitz
by Molly Lefebure
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The deserving and the undeserving dead, 6 July 2013
I, like many others, was drawn to read this book after having watched the TV drama based upon it. I have a particular interest in both fiction and non-fiction from the 1930s and 40s so I'm no stranger to the casual racism and sexism we have to accept as having been a feature of life at the time and which seems uncomfortable to modern readers but I'm not sure I've ever read a book in which the author unintentionally portrays herself as so unpleasant. Her judgements of other people, be they killers or victims, are based entirely on their racial origins or, in the case of women, the standard of their housekeeping. At one point she even ponders as to why women (not men, of course) cannot be prosecuted for keeping a dirty house. She is also highly critical of what she deems the public's prurient interest in murder and death while seeing no comparison between this and the way she admits to having wormed her way into a job as secretary to a pathologist simply because she is fascinated by dead bodies. Frankly, the book left me feeling a little nauseaous and with no desire to have anything more to do with this dreadful female, either in print or on TV.

I have given the book one star as that is a requirement of reviewing but that is far more than it deserves.


Your Eyes Fourteen: The Mad Greek Dictionary
Your Eyes Fourteen: The Mad Greek Dictionary
by John Carr
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential guide, 5 Oct 2011
Just what you need if you want to speak like a local. A lot of fun too - who wouldn't want to know the Greek for 'If my grandma had balls she'd be my grandad'? Very fast service and book in excellent condition.


British History For Dummies
British History For Dummies
by Seán Lang
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.79

4.0 out of 5 stars History without dates, 17 Aug 2011
Like most of the Dummies guides, this is well-written and accessible and I imagine must have been partly written as a response to criticism that history is taught in school as no more than a list of dates. That may be fair criticism but you can go too far in the opposite direction too and this is a book that could seriously use either more dates or a really good timeline, as trying to find information on an unfamiliar period is difficult and time-consuming. It's a great pity because, apart from this, BHFD is a really good summary of Britain's history but I did feel this was a serious case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I gave the book four stars for the information contained and the user-friendly style but if it had included perhaps a simple shaded timeline down the side of each page I would have given it five.


Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England from 1811-1901
Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England from 1811-1901
by Kristine Hughes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.07

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not trust this book, 25 Jan 2011
I bought this book hoping it would prove a useful guide to my own studies of the period but a quick flick through the pages reveals that it is not something I would wish to use as a source without extremely careful checking of the facts. A five minute browse reveals one glaring error (the statement that bodysnatchers Burke and Hare were both executed for murder - in fact Hare was freed after giving evidence against his partner) on p65, and one confusing blunder (p128) in which the author claims that a tax of sixpence on a newspaper was later raised to fourpence. If a very quick scan of the contents can reveal these two errors I would be extremely wary of trusting any of the other information it gives.

Okay, if you are interested in the period there is no harm in looking through this book as a jumping off point for further research but I would urge readers to be extremely careful about quoting any of this information without double and treble checking it first.


Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick
Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick
by Jenny Uglow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.59

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close-up gorgeous, 12 Jan 2011
I have just one word of advice for anyone who is thinking of buying this lovely book and that is to seriously consider investing in a good (not necessarily expensive) microscope at the same time. That isn't meant as any criticism of the book or the many engravings it contains, it is just that the engravings are reproduced at (or close to) their original size and, in this case, the gods really are in the details. Under normal conditions these engravings are stunning but when viewed even more closely they are not far short of miraculous; how on earth anyone could engrave with such detail, not to mention warmth and humour, is quite beyond me.

Jenny Uglow is a wonderful writer and the text is a joy but it will always be the engravings themselves that you return to again and again and having the ability to examine them really closely will give you the opportunity to discover a whole new world in the background and fine details and a whole new level of enjoyment in the book.


Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical
Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical
by Robert Shearman
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect book for lovers of the 'weird'., 17 Dec 2009
The problem with most short stories, for me at least, is that they tend to leave the reader with a slight feeling of dissatisfaction - a feeling of what? - why? and, all too often, a feeling of so what? - who cares? Too many short stories serve as a platform to demonstrate the author's way with words, his or her 'lovely turn of phrase', all too often at the expense of the story itself.

One of the great things (and trust me on this, there are many great things) about Robert Shearman's stories, is the way they leave you perfectly satisfied yet longing for more. The word 'quirky' is doubtless over-used when it comes to stories of this genre, yet what better word exists for a story in which Luxembourg simply disappears overnight? Or one in which a man takes on the job of being a tree (a very nice sycamore, since you ask) rather than face long empty afternoons of unemployment?

The joy of the stories in this effortlessly joyful volume (and in Tiny Deaths, the one that preceded it) is the way in which, despite the surreal situations in which the characters find themselves, their reactions are always recognisably human - occasionally just a little too recognisable for comfort. The characters have their own weaknesses but we love them because we recognise those weaknesses in ourselves.

The short story is a much more difficult form than it appears at first sight and there are very few writers who can handle it with the aplomb and elan it deserves. Among those few I would list Kazuo Ishiguro, Michel Faber and now, for proving Tiny Deaths wasn't just beginner's luck, Robert Shearman.


Wills, Probate and Inheritance Tax For Dummies
Wills, Probate and Inheritance Tax For Dummies
by Julian Knight
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really helpful guide when you most need one, 10 April 2009
Wills and probate aren't the most fun things we'll ever have to do and there is very little info out there to help. Dealing with my mother's estate would have been a real nightmare without this book. Plainly-written, straightforward advice - I found this guide utterly invaluable. Also contains lots of info about making out your own will, valuing assetts etc. The government should give out a copy of this book to everyone the day they leave school (because you never know when you're going to need it.)


Tiny Deaths
Tiny Deaths
by Robert Shearman
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to watch!, 1 Oct 2008
It's hard to believe this could possibly be the first (non-Who) book by Rob who is best known as a writer on Doctor Who, and it's hard to tell as much as I would like to about these beautifully-written stories without giving away some wonderful surprises. Think, if you can, of Michel Faber crossed with Ray Bradbury but still completely fresh and individual.

The 14 stories in the book are all connected by death, either in the shape we best know it or as an allegory for the many other forms of loss and letting go Shearman's characters confront. Every story is a little gem and to pick out a shortlist of favourites is to be unfair to the stories not listed, suffice to say that each one is touched with its own little bit of magic. What makes the book so absorbing is that even when characters are confronted by amazing circumstances their reactions are wholly human. This is a warm, thoughtful and insightful book; a lump-in-the-throat book; a laugh out loud book. It is a book you will want to read again and again. It is also a book that you will want to be able to tell all your friends that you spotted 'before it was so well-known' because, if there's any justice in the world, this is a writer who is going to be very big indeed.Tiny Deaths


The Greatest Wedding Tips in the World
The Greatest Wedding Tips in the World
by Jill Hassall
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £4.71

5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Engagement Present in the World (probably)!, 29 April 2008
I am always sceptical of anything that claims to be 'the greatest' of its type but I actually think this one comes fairly close. When I ordered the book I worried that it might turn out to be one of those superficial 'gift' type books of very little practical use. On the contrary, it is packed full of the kind of advice I wish I could have found when I got married.

Absolutely everything is covered here, from the flowers, to the venue, to the advice for covering inappropriate bridal tattooes. In fact, it is in some of the smaller, perhaps more personal bits of advice that this book really excels - for example: had it occurred to you that wands for the little bridesmaids (apparently very popular these days) are also ideal for them to hit each other over the head with? And how many of us really would have thought about keeping some small snacks out in the cars for the little ones to satisfy rumbling tummies on the way from the church to the reception? By the time the photos are taken it can be a long wait until guests sit down to eat. I know we all think we know these things but in the excitement of preparing a wedding it's easy to forget them and turn the whole thing into a farce.

The book is also aimed to cover every possible budget, with tips on how to customise chainstore bridesmaids' dresses to suggestions on preparing the family jewels. I don't know how much weddings cost these days (though the author's advice on calculating costs may well be the single most important piece of information for any to-be-wed couple) but I do know it can run into many thousands. An extra £6.99 spent on this little book when the engagement is announced could well prevent all that money being chucked down the drain and should ensure a wonderful day that everyone will remember for a very long time.


Page: 1