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P. Reavy (Belfast, N. Ireland)
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Mahler: His Life, Work and World
Mahler: His Life, Work and World
by Kurt Blaukopf
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.96

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biography by reportage, 30 Nov 2012
This is a stunning piece of scholarship. It's a biography by reportage. It brings Mahler to life - his selfishness as well as his immense talent and drive. It's readable and moving as well.


The Island of Dr Moreau (Penguin Classics)
The Island of Dr Moreau (Penguin Classics)
by H.G. Wells
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Gets under your skin, 8 Oct 2009
For the first couple of chapters, I wondered whether this would be worth my time, or would be just be of some kind of historical interest. Yes, it is of great historical interest, but it soon becomes a stimulating read. Plus, Dr Moreau got under my skin (luckily, not though actual vivisection) and left me feeling a little bit weirded out. So, a powerful book as well as a "classic novel", and still slightly shocking, for me at least.


Selected Writings (Penguin Classics)
Selected Writings (Penguin Classics)
by Meister Eckhart
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rewarding, 8 Oct 2009
Eckhart is a thoroughly challenging writer on several counts. For one thing, some of his arguments are very complex and subtle. Moreover, as he says himself several times in this book, he cannot be understood by anyone who hasn't renounced human and earthly attachments to become one with God. Since few modern readers (or medieval) will have done this, then we must take much of what he says on faith. Maybe the issue of faith is another sense in which Eckhart is tough going, at least for readers who don't share his Christian belief framework. But then Eckhart uses Christian language in an almost metaphorical way.

Even you only tackled the opening section of this book, the Talks of Instruction, it would be money well spent. The next section, the Book of Divine Consolation, has some much denser passages, as does the shorter On The Noble Man. The German and Latin sermons which follow are in smaller and more digestible pieces.

He is a rewarding author to read. He can convey a sense of "oneness" that few other writers can and his thoughts on the nature of time and timelessness are mind-boggling at the same time as they seem to offer huge solace and a glimpse of a much better way of living.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 26, 2013 9:10 PM GMT


Five Great Innovators of Photography: Eadweard Muybridge, Daido Moriyama, Eugène Atget, Gustave Le Gray, László Moholy-Nagy: Eadweard Muybridge, Daido ... Gustave Le Gray, Gabrielle Basilico (55s)
Five Great Innovators of Photography: Eadweard Muybridge, Daido Moriyama, Eugène Atget, Gustave Le Gray, László Moholy-Nagy: Eadweard Muybridge, Daido ... Gustave Le Gray, Gabrielle Basilico (55s)
Price: £15.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Great value look at some excellent photographers, 19 Aug 2009
5 very different photographers represented here.

I mainly got this for the Moriyama book, which didn't disappoint, although his work itself is not easily grasped.

I have other Atget books. The one in this set benefits from a well-considered intro by Gerry Badger.

The architectural photographer Basilico was a welcome discovery for me. Crudely, his pictures are a little bit like the Dusseldorf school with some of mysterious quality of de Chirico's paintings. The closest thing in photography to Antonioni's films.

I shouldn't comment on the Le Gray (a contemporary of Atget) or Muybridge (should need little introduction) books as I haven't looked at them much yet. In any case the set is great value.


The Sword of Honour Trilogy: Men at Arms, Officers and
The Sword of Honour Trilogy: Men at Arms, Officers and
by Evelyn Waugh
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice edition of Waugh's masterpiece, 9 Jun 2009
Hard to fault this hardback of the 3 Sword of Honour novels which the critics will tell you was the best thing Waugh wrote.

I left reading Frank Kermode's introduction until the end. It is up to his usual lucid standards, but left me slightly confused about some of the editorial changes which were made by Waugh later and whether the book in my hands represented Waugh's final wishes or not. Also, although Kermode praises the novels, somehow he managed to diminish them slightly for me. I should have left reading the introduction for a few weeks after reading the book.


The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
by Michael Freeman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.59

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great grounding especially if your idea of photography fits with his, 9 Jun 2009
I read this from cover to cover, learned a lot and can't fault it as a primer in composition. However what the book can't address is that photography is a matter of taste.

Freeman himself takes technically superb photographs of the type you would see in National Geographic (where he has been published). However, he breaks with the history of photography from around the point when Friedlander and Winogrand appeared. For him, their work is simply sloppy or belongs to the art world rather than that of photography.

Freeman writes clearly and analytically from the point of view of an experienced professional and teacher. Within the terms of reference he has chosen, this book addresses everything it should, so it deserves 5 stars. But if I could, I might deduct half a star, since there is more to photography than Freeman would allow.


On Being a Photographer: a Practical Guide
On Being a Photographer: a Practical Guide
by David Hurn
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rings true, 5 Jan 2009
While I'm not a professional photographer, this book rang true to me and inspired me to do more with my camera. I didn't want to put it down and read it in one evening. It is quite worldly and plain-speaking. The writers clearly love photography and have a lot of experience. While this book doesn't deal in any of the technicalities of photography, there is a lot of very plausible advice.


Decline and Fall (Penguin Modern Classics)
Decline and Fall (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Evelyn Waugh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear-eyed, undated, 5 Jan 2009
I found this very nearly as funny as Scoop and the humour was better sustained right to the end of the novel.

I was pleasantly caught out by the way Waugh kept changing the scenery.

It is surprising how relevant the book seems when British society is often thought to have changed so much since it was written.

I had read 2 or 3 of Waugh's other books and only picked this up by chance as I thought I had read enough of him for a bit. It was a lucky fluke for me that I did pick it up, as it has made me an out-and-out fan.


Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg
by Charles Rosen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent essays but showing its age just a little, 28 Nov 2008
This review is from: Arnold Schoenberg (Paperback)
This book dates from the 1970s and is really a short set of essays. Along with useful discussion of the context Schoenberg worked in, Rosen goes into full strength analysis of the music. Luckily due to the clarity of his writing, he can take the general reader along with him much of the way.

Rosen's writing style is so convincing that it jars all the more when he makes unusual critical judgements. (Instead of finding "The Dance round the Golden Calf" from Moses und Aron a highpoint of that opera, he finds it a weak point.)

The book felt like it was mounting an exploration of Schoenberg within a certain set of prejudices that a reader today would only partly share. But there are a few sentences of such blinding clarity and perception that they nearly jump off the page.

I was glad to read this book. It complemented Allen Shawn's Schoenberg book for me, but if I had to choose, then Shawn would be my preference, since although Rosen offers a more convincing analysis of some of the music, Shawn makes a stronger case for giving Schoenberg your time.


Arnold Schoenberg's Journey
Arnold Schoenberg's Journey
by Allen Shawn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.31

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best introduction to Schoenberg's music I've found, 28 Nov 2008
Allen Shawn has an honest love for Schoenberg's music not least because of its challenging nature. As a composer himself, he is able to write convincingly about the creative process. He sets out to free Schoenberg from his followers and others who've written about him in the past and in doing so creates space to hear the music afresh. He makes a strong case for more of the composer's output than did Charles Rosen, so for me this book has the edge over the Rosen monograph, although it doesn't replace it.


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