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Mr. M. H. Dewey (London, England)
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Between the Sierra and the Sea
Between the Sierra and the Sea
by Joan Fallon
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Location, action, romance and characters, 17 Jun 2012
I bought this book because of a family link with the coast between Malaga and Almeria, and a personal interest in the history of the region. The first half of the book is set in the Spanish Civil War. It seems like a fairly conventional romance - beautiful Elizabeth meets handsome Juan - but the account of the civilian flight from Malaga along the coast road and the attack from German gunboats is gripping. However, the book really impressed in the second half. A middle aged, divorced woman, living in England in 2007, discovers that there is some mystery in her grandmother's past, relating to her time in Spain. There is no real mystery for the reader, but the fun is in getting to know Kate and in particular seeing how she deals with a succession of men -including her boss, her ex-husband, the bank manager, a new lover and the Mayor Of Malaga. The growth of Kate puts a different perspective on the first half of the book.
So I enjoyed the historical fiction, for which I'd picked up the book, but there was so much more that made it difficult to put down.
Highly recommended.


Andalucia: A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination)
Andalucia: A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination)
by John Gill
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.89

4.0 out of 5 stars A personal exploration, 10 Jun 2012
I was expecting an academic history book or perhaps an arty guide book. The author's personality prevents it falling into either of these categories. By the end of the book I knew a fair bit about the cultural history of Andalucia and a lot about John Gill. Thankfully, he is a likable narrator. I enjoyed his asides and opinions. I'd quite like to meet him and discuss his views. More importantly, the book makes me want to go back to Andalucia, to visit the places, to see the paintings, to read the books and listen to the music that he describes with knowledge and passion.


The Uke of Wallington
The Uke of Wallington
by Mark Wallington
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars A celebration, 10 Jun 2012
This review is from: The Uke of Wallington (Paperback)
This book is an celebration of simple joys; playing music, walking, travelling on buses,sampling Britain's cities, towns and villages, talking to people in pubs. Readers should search for the author's performances on YouTube and find out more about the ukelele at [...]


Plato's Podcasts: The Ancients' Guide to Modern Living
Plato's Podcasts: The Ancients' Guide to Modern Living
by Mark Vernon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Too easy reading?, 20 Dec 2011
This was a pleasant enough read and enough to encourage me to search out the original sources. However, Vernon packages up simplified conclusions without really giving an indication of how they have been derived. Someone who wanted an idea of what studying philosophy was like would put this book down none the wiser.


All Consuming
All Consuming
by Neal Lawson
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turbo-capitalism, a personal and political indictment, 12 July 2009
This review is from: All Consuming (Paperback)
I read this book in a day and found it totally absorbing. In its criticism of consumerist culture, it covers similar ground to Oliver James's "Affluenza" Richard Layard's, "Happiness" and Richard Wilkinson's work on inequality. In its discussion of personal solutions it refers to the "Idleness" project of Tom Hodgkinson. In the discussion of political solutions Neal Lawson reveals himself as the democratic collectivist Chair of Compass, the Labour based but Greenish leaning pressure group. You don't have to agree with all his recommendations to enjoy the book. Having read it, it's difficult to disagree with his contention that the solution to our current economic, environmental and existential problems will involve embracing "less" rather than "more".


Do it Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management
Do it Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management
by Mark Forster
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do It Tomorrow - It helped me Last Week, 8 July 2006
I've read Mark Forster's previous two books and I've benefited from advice in both - from developing "depth habits" of meditation, journalling and walking to maintaining a dialogue between my (idealised) future and my (imperfect) current selves.

In some ways it's too early to review this book. It will merit its stars if I'm still using his system in five years time.On the other hand, I tried some of his ideas last week and I feel a lot more in control of my office. I "declared a backlog" and put a whole pile of papers in the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet. I then dealt with each day's paperwork the following day and chipped away at the backlog when I could. The bottom drawer is now empty and I have a "closed list" of actions waitng for me on Monday morning. Of course there are some situations that do need to be dealt with immediately, but I'm in a better mental state for these.

I've previously been an adherant of David Allen and his "Getting Things Done" mantra. Whilst there's a lot of value in that - particularly the advice on Weekly Reviews, identifying Desirable Outcomes and Next Actions - I've tended to build up a lot of open lists for each "context for action".

I thought Forster was particualrly strong on the difference between commitments and interests. The menu metaphor was powerful; in choosing some commitments you are also rejecting others. Forster makes it clear that if you can't, on a regular basis, action all of one day's incoming on the following day, then you're always going to have problems. It seems an obvious point, but it's one that's missed by other Time Management experts.

Of course, I'm breaking one of the rules at the moment. I've allowed myself to be diverted from yesterday's closed list of tasks to rather "randomly" write this review. There's enough good sense in this book to sugest that the habits it recommends are worth acquiring.


Immortality (FF Classics)
Immortality (FF Classics)
by Milan Kundera
Edition: Paperback

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 13 July 2001
I was a Kundera fan in the eighties/ early nineties. I'd not read any for a while and looked forward to this book. I was disappointed by the post-modern devices, the obsession with celebrity poets and the lack of narrative drive. Were all the books like this? Have my tastes changed, or is Kundera in decline?


Every Secret Thing: My Family, My Country
Every Secret Thing: My Family, My Country
by Gillian Slovo
Edition: Paperback

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally moving and intellectually challenging, 6 Jan 2001
I thoroughly enjoyed this sensitive account of the author's relationship with her parents. It works on so many levels. It gives insights into South African politics and society from an unusual perspective. The description of Joe Slovo's funeral from the daughter's perspective is particularly strong. It discusses the tension between public and private duties - again from the perspective of a daughter who is honest enough to admit to some resentment towards the time spent by her parents in political struggle.It also deals with the story of the daughter's search for the "truth", and her doubts as to the word's meaning.This is a common enough theme in many post-modern novels; rarely has the theme been rooted in such rich soil. The scene in which the author meets one of the men responsible for her mother's murder is emotionally moving and intellectually challenging.


Man and Boy
Man and Boy
by Tony Parsons
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable - some weaknesses- buy the next one., 5 Jan 2001
This review is from: Man and Boy (Paperback)
It certainly put me off adultery - less dramatic consequences than "Fatal Attraction" but more realistic. I thought it was a good attempt to explore important relationships. It was probably stronger on the narrator's relationship with his father than with his son.I wasn't convinced by the female characters - Parsons clearly needed to keep the mother abroad for most of the book to avoid dealing with her perspective. I wasn't convinced by the ending, although I can see that it would have been too depressing to let the narrator drift into singles clubs and weekend parenting. I'll definitely buy Parsons next book


A History of Britain, Vol 1: At the Edge of the World: 3000BC-AD1603
A History of Britain, Vol 1: At the Edge of the World: 3000BC-AD1603
by Simon Schama CBE
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 5 Jan 2001
I read Schama's book in 2 days while recovering from Christmas excesses. It is well written and an entertaining romp through a history of English politics. Wales, Scotland and Wales feature only as they impact on England so that I can understand readers objecting to the title. Sometimes - inevitably - I wanted some more background. Also - why did so many aristocrats engage in political adventurism taking them to the executioner's block?


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