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Damn! a Book of Calumny
Damn! a Book of Calumny
by H. L. Mencken
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous Mencken, 12 Mar 2014
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Mencken was one of the clearest thinkers in the history of journalism. And he was pretty much right about everything.
If there were more Menckens around, the world would be a much better place. This book offers a few of his journalistic nuggets. All would-be columnists should read and absorb.


Pilcrow
Pilcrow
by Adam Mars-Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.76

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely terrible, 8 Dec 2013
This review is from: Pilcrow (Paperback)
This author was twice voted by a British literary magazine one of the nation's most promising young novelists even before he had written a novel. That gives you some idea of the state of the London literary world.
When he did eventually surface as a 'novelist' this is what we got - a tedious, impenetrable tome that will doubtless serve as a very useful doorstop in homes throughout the land.
What a sad state British fiction is in when AMJ can be lauded as something special when he clearly isn't. A masterpiece? Please, please, please, don't be so foolish!


Dreaming to Some Purpose: The Autobiography of Colin Wilson
Dreaming to Some Purpose: The Autobiography of Colin Wilson
by Colin Wilson
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Colin Wilson - a brilliant outsider, 8 Dec 2013
The London-Oxbridge literary establishment hated Colin Wilson because they were jealous of him.
Whatever you think of his theories, there is no doubt that he was one of the most remarkable writers of his time.
In a nearly 60-year career, he produced something like 170 books, including 12 novels and two autobiographical works.
His range was breathtaking: crime, philosophy, the occult, mysticism...he wrote every day for nearly six decades and was never less than engaging.
The posh paper critics took delight in ridiculing him, but the one concession they had to make was that he was so much better than they were.
Like D H Lawrence, Wilson was a low-born provincial who was obliged to endure the taunts of his social 'betters' but intellectual and creative inferiors.
As with Lawrence, his name will outlast those of his detractors.
Lawrence remains a major figure of world literature while his upper-class tormentors lie forgotten in their graves.
Wilson will continue to command a global audience for many years to come. This book traces the life of a unique talent.
Who, by the way, are Humphrey Carpenter, Lynn Barber and Adam Mars-Jones? Perhaps we should be told.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 12, 2013 10:49 PM GMT


Secrets of a Pet Nanny: A Journey from the White House to the Dog House
Secrets of a Pet Nanny: A Journey from the White House to the Dog House
by Eileen Riley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.59

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to make you smile, 29 Oct 2013
It's not everyone who would sacrifice a valuable antique Chinese rug for the dubious honour of having someone else's dog as a house guest, but Eileen Riley saw it as all part of her unusual trade.
As a pet nanny, she takes in the pooches of well-heeled friends while they go off gallivanting round the world. For what one assumes is a generous fee (she doesn't reveal the financial details) Eileen and her husband Tom house, feed, walk and otherwise accommodate a wide range of mutts and their often endearing, and sometimes infuriating, eccentricities.
This is a highly readable account of a pet nanny's day-to-day involvement with dogs of all sizes, tastes and temperaments. One chewed up the Chinese rug, another gnawed through a table leg, while a third proved to be a dedicated piddler. Some are a total delight, others howl in the night. Some are so outrageously misbehaved that they aren't invited back.
What comes through strongly is the author's great patience and genuine affection for her charges. Her family don't wholly share her enthusiasm, but no dog is made to feel unwelcome. It seems every one is a real personality in his or her own right.
Unless you are a dedicated dog-hater, you will enjoy this book.


Hemingway: The Grace and the Pressure
Hemingway: The Grace and the Pressure
by Aubrey Dillon-Malone
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Superficial but entertaining, 15 Sep 2013
The first thing to be said about this book is that the editing is atrocious. I have never before seen so many errors in any book from a recognised publisher.
Its second fault is that it is superficial and repetitive, failing to develop themes - such as Hemingway's alleged homosexuality - that are tantalisingly referred to throughout the book.
Its third major fault is that it is structurally sloppy, the closing chapters reading like a very poor clippings job.
In spite of all this, however, I quite enjoyed it because it told me things about Hemingway I didn't know in a facile but engaging style. Whereas Carlos Baker's biography of Hemingway was tediously detailed and very hard going, this was sketchily lucid and actually quite readable.
However, A E Hotchner's Papa Hemingway remains by far the best word portrait of the old braggart, and has the additional merit of being authentic, as Hotchner and Hemingway were pals.
For anyone wanting an emphatically non-scholarly insight into Hemingway, Malone's book is adequate. Just don't allow yourself to be diverted by the typos along the way.


12.5Kg Scola Reinforced Air Drying Modelling Clay (STONE)
12.5Kg Scola Reinforced Air Drying Modelling Clay (STONE)
Offered by Be Creative
Price: £14.05

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A product I would buy again, 1 Aug 2013
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Good modelling clay with stone-like finish. Keeps moist for weeks (months?) in a plastic bag.
In making pots, allowance has to be made for its exceptional weight. It seems much denser than conventional clay.
All round a very good product that I would buy again.


DAS Protective Gloss Varnish - Transparent (3890-00)
DAS Protective Gloss Varnish - Transparent (3890-00)

1.0 out of 5 stars Thanks but no thanks, 4 July 2013
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I was very disappointed with this product.
Firstly, you get very little gloss for your money.
Secondly, it was nigh impossible to get the top off the bottle. We had to use a chisel and brute force just to get to the gloss inside.
Thirdly, the finish is far from fantastic. Pretty ordinary, I'd say.
After 'glazing' one reasonably large pot, I had only half the bottle left.
All round, an irritating waste of money.


Roland Holloway's Northamptonshire: Fifty Years of Photography, 1924-74
Roland Holloway's Northamptonshire: Fifty Years of Photography, 1924-74
by Roland Holloway
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Roland Holloway's legacy, 22 May 2013
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This is a fine pictorial record of Northampton's history from a man who was a local press stalwart for half a century.
Quiet, gentle Roland Holloway was a true 'gentleman of the press', as far removed from the paparazzi sleazeball as you could imagine. His pictures capture the essence of Northampton life between the 1920s and the 1970s. A 'must buy' for those with a keen interest in 20th century Northampton.


Somebody Had to Do It': The Story of Notorious 'Union Buster' Christopher Pole-Carew
Somebody Had to Do It': The Story of Notorious 'Union Buster' Christopher Pole-Carew
by Barrie Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.54

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The paternalistic Evening Post, 22 May 2013
The Nottingham Evening Post always had the whiff of Victorian paternalism about it. Toe the gaffers' line and there was a job for life in Forman Street, the old Post headquarters.
Pole-Carew was an archetypal union-bashing toff of the day and Barrie Williams, it appears, was happy as his doting retainer. Together, they put paid to the malcontents and set an example the rest of the industry was happy to follow.
Williams was a council house kid who did well in the regional press, but it's inevitable he will be seen by his critics as the classic brown-noser who was also a class traitor, especially if they bother to read this book.
On that point, who apart from sad shut-ins like me would want to read it? Mr Pole-Carew and his family were no doubt overjoyed by it. Williams himself presumably gained some satisfaction from it. But the harsh truth is that the Nottingham dispute, Pole-Carew's role in it, and everything else about it is now forgotten history, of significance only to those who were caught up in it.


The Levelling Sea
The Levelling Sea
by Philip Marsden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Story of a seaport, 1 April 2013
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This review is from: The Levelling Sea (Paperback)
Falmouth is one of the loveliest towns in England. What most visitors fail to appreciate is that it was once a port of enormous significance, with an unparalleled role in international communications.
From the 1680s to the 1850s, Falmouth was home to the Packet ships - the fleet of nippy ocean-going sailing vessels that carried the mail to foreign parts. Its fortunes faded with the spread of the railways, but its role in Britain's maritime history can never be under-estimated.
Marsden's book traces Falmouth's story, throwing light on the prominent families, sea captains and vessels that gave the town an international reputation among seafaring folk over many generations.


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