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GRBD "@TheMightyBuch" (Cardiff)

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The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse
The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse
by Jack D. Zipes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.86

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rough as Hesse-ian, 21 Aug. 2006
Hesse's haunting brilliance illuminates these twenty-two tales which touch on matters as diverse as war and the lure of indulging the flesh. With a range that dazzles, Hesse displays all the common themes from his major works without compromising the intensity of feeling inspired by a protracted period of depression following the separation from his wife. However, the translation is indeed clumsy in places.


Hound Dog
Hound Dog
by Richard Blandford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.82

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elvis is all shook up, 7 Aug. 2006
This review is from: Hound Dog (Paperback)
Picture Elvis; what do you see? A coke-snorting, sexually-obsessed self-professed psychopath, who sells skunk to teenagers, has no respect for the vows of marriage and harbours a seething hatred for his own music? Meet the number one Elvis impersonator in Cambridgeshire. Aided and abetted by "Fat Elvis" and "Gay Elvis", his two reluctant and recalcitrant backing singers, he trails havoc in his wake as dank social clubs and depressing town halls receive his dubious talents. Not really the life he would have chosen, but not really all that terrible either. That is until his partners rebel, and Elvis is left out of pocket and up a certain creek, his omnipotent delusions rendered rather impotent. Cue the intervention of some local gangsters, and all hell is set to break loose.

Blandford's debut has all the grit and dark humour of an Irvine Welsh novel, but with the added bonus of being intelligible. The depraved and desperately comic lead is a man possessed by demons he can't understand or rather refuses to face, and filled with a rage he is unable to diffuse. With a distressing lack of responsibility, he attributes his wilful rampages to a nonexistent mental condition, but there is the sense underneath of a man hiding from the light in the shadows of his own decrepitude. With little hope of redemption and therefore no regret, Elvis marches resolutely towards his demise bearing with him the tools of his destruction. Funny and frightening, Blandford has forged a tragicomic novel around a curiously underused paradigm.


I Served The King Of England
I Served The King Of England
by Bohumil Hrabal
Edition: Paperback

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight from start to end, 31 July 2006
A superbly gifted linguist, Hrabal had a unique and almost untranslatable way with his language - dubbed "Hrabalovstina" by his contemporaries - but this English translation of arguably his best work is absolutely perfect. It follows the comic capers of Ditie as he struggles against class and expectation in Nazi-occupied Prague. Tender and brash, this is a novel of countless wonderful intricacies.


The Pyramid
The Pyramid
by Ismail Kadare
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark poetry, 31 July 2006
This review is from: The Pyramid (Paperback)
An icon of European literature, and winner of the 2005 Man Booker International Prize, Kadare serves up a thinly-veiled attack on the excesses of a communist dictatorship. When Pharaoh Cheops decides he doesn't want a pyramid, his courtiers remind him of the need to build in order to suppress freedom of spirit. Darkly poetic and wilfully bleak, but he sometimes dwells a little on the words and not the meanings.


Fup: A Modern Fable
Fup: A Modern Fable
by Jim Dodge
Edition: Paperback

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fable - ous!, 30 July 2006
This review is from: Fup: A Modern Fable (Paperback)
It may seem strange to devote 250 words to a book 121 pages long, but Jim Dodge, often compared to the great Thomas Pynchon, has created a miniature classic worthy of the most elaborate hyperbole. Meet Fup Duck, a 20lb hen mallard, discovered in a post hole dug by Tiny, a fencing fanatic after surviving the attentions of a mythical rampaging wild boar named Lockjaw. One point of an eccentric triangle of housemates, Fup's stolidity is in direct proportion to Granddaddy Jake's cranky belligerence and Tiny's quiet calm, and she gently maintains what could otherwise be a fragile balance. Granddaddy Jake drinks whiskey he brews himself, from a recipe given to him by a dying native American, in the belief that it makes him immortal. Tiny, orphaned by two very different by equally tragic accidents, and adopted by Jake, is obsessed with building fences and hunting the wild pig that killed his dog. Meanwhile, Fup eats, sleeps, drinks with Jake, hunts with Tiny, and enjoys trips to the drive-in to watch her favourite romantic movies.

All in all, a strange set-up, and yet Dodge's spare yet poetic prose forges a beautiful, humorous and uplifting fable. There is a distinct possibility that anyone who reads `Fup' may find themselves idling away a sunny Sunday afternoon revisiting this most engaging story, and subsequently purchasing many many copies for friends and relatives. Jim Dodge is without a doubt one of the most original literary talents in America.


Pudd'Nhead Wilson (Dover Thrift Editions)
Pudd'Nhead Wilson (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Mark Twain
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch entertainment, 18 July 2006
Having claim to be the first forensic detective novel, Twain has produced what could be considered as a classic 19th century mystery novel; a switch at birth, a murder, suspicious foreigners and a court case. However, our hero, David "Pudd'nhead" Wilson, seeking to redeem himself in the eyes of the community, uses a pioneering form of fingerprinting to solve the mystery. Typically witty, it also talks openly of the evils of slavery.


I am a Cat (Tuttle classics)
I am a Cat (Tuttle classics)
by Soseki Natsume
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.90

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best a cat can get, 18 July 2006
When Natsume Soseki, student of both the east and west, first wrote "I am a Cat", it was intended as a short series of satirical articles. When its run was completed, such was the clamour for more that Soseki was moved to write further chapters. And it is obvious from reading them that as the collection advances, the cat, our nameless and defiant narrator, loses more feline qualities and acquires pronounced human sensibilities, as a result. However, to say that this in any way decreases the inherent humour, intelligence and acerbic observations made would be a falsehood. This is an immensely entertaining work, astute and acute, and deserves far more widespread acclaim than it at present commands. Any student of Japanese history or literature should add this high up their reading list.


Bubba Ho-Tep [DVD] [2002]
Bubba Ho-Tep [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Bruce Campbell
Offered by FUNTIME MEDIA
Price: £3.70

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What exactly were you expecting?, 18 July 2006
This review is from: Bubba Ho-Tep [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
If you were after a simple horror movie, why pick one with Bruce Cambell in? C'mon, you know exactly what you're getting! On the face of it, the concept is wierdly original - Elvis (lumbered with his dead imposter's identity) lies in an old peoples' home with a dodgy hip gotten whilst 'pretending' to be Elvis, and with a wierd growth on his penis. Add a black John F Kennedy, obsessed with being assassinated by Lyndon Johnson, and have them both assaulted by a zombie mummy that sucks the souls out of old folks.It's great!

The pace is slow to start, but it fits the scenery of the home. Cambell's elderly Elvis is fabulous, and Ossie Davis is superb! It has comedy, horror (some, mild, infrequent) and Elvis fighting a zombie mummy who dresses in cowboy boots and a ten gallon hat. It had cult classic written all over it.

I URGE you to buy it!


Extract From Captain Stormfield's Visit To Heaven
Extract From Captain Stormfield's Visit To Heaven
by Mark Twain
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Genius unfettered by time, 16 July 2006
More philosophical wit and wisdom from the master storyteller, as Captain Stormfield lays waste to the more traditional views of the hereafter. In very much the same vein as "The Diary Of Adam And Eve", Twain deals organised religion body blows from left and right with hilarious portrayals of such cherished figures as Moses, and some pitch-perfect dissections of the lamentable human animal.


The Night Watch
The Night Watch
by Sergei Lukyanenko
Edition: Paperback

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genre-crossing gem, 11 July 2006
This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
On the streets of post-Soviet Moscow, an uneasy truce presides. The forces of Light and Dark, locked for centuries in eternal combat, watch over each other as they maintain the precarious status quo. During the day, the Light Ones are kept in check by the Day Watch, but at night, the Night Watch reigns. Part one of a trilogy, `The Night Watch' explores the complex dynamic of a Cold-War style standoff between Good and its ubiquitous opposite, Evil, through the actions and adventures of debutant field operative Anton. As he is directed, marionette-like, around the streets and undergrounds of Moscow, he debates the merits of goodness when preserving the peace means licensing the killing of innocent people, and the sacrificing of pawns to gain only a fleeting advantage in a power struggle that neither side can afford to lose.

Up front, this is a stylish fantasy / horror novel, written with wit and graceful economy. With a strong cast of "Others", Light or Dark beings with magical energies, it should appeal to fans of the Buffy series and the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter books. However, it has all the twists of a Robert Ludlum thriller, with typical Cold-War subterfuge and misdirection and battling intelligence agencies, and all the philosophy (and more) of the Matrix movies without the wilfully patronizing tone in which they indulge. With a million copies sold in its original Russian, and not one but two movie adaptations already produced, its appeal straddles genre divides with impunity.


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