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R. P. Davies "rporldavies" (Birmingham,UK)

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Maisy: Maisy's Playtime [DVD]
Maisy: Maisy's Playtime [DVD]
Dvd ~ Maisy

5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous Mouse, 31 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There is a whole series of Maisy Mouse DVDs and they are all wonderfully accessible and entertaining for young children.

64 Zoo Lane [1999] [DVD]
64 Zoo Lane [1999] [DVD]
Dvd ~ 64 Zoo Lane

5.0 out of 5 stars Children's classic, 31 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 64 Zoo Lane [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
64 ZOO LANE is an excellent and entertaining series. Good to see it has been revived recently with new episodes.

The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics
The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics
by David Wallechinsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Super content,, 31 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have all of this excellent series of Winter Olympics books by Wallechinsky and this is another superbly researched and written record. It deserves more care in the way the publishers present it though. Many of the photos are poorly reproduced and the choice and size of typeface used for tabulated results is almost unreadable at times.

The Rise of the Iron Moon
The Rise of the Iron Moon
by Stephen Hunt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.07

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less can sometimes be more..., 22 April 2009
I read and enjoyed very much the first two of Hunt's novels, The Court of the Air and The Kingdom Beyond the Waves. His depiction of a world so very familiar yet so very different was skillfully done, and while I agreed with some reviewers that The Court, in particular just had too much material sometimes clumsily forced into it, The Kingdom was a much tighter and better constructed novel.

Alas, The Rise of the Iron Moon returns to the faults raised by some in earlier reviews. Hunt tries to force too much information, too many sub plots, too many fantastical events into this story. Without wishing to spoil anyone's reading of the novel, it is almost as if Hunt had a list of events he wanted to include in the story, and they seem to be introduced whether the narfative or the mood required it.

Hunt has created a most marvellous world in Jackals and its neighbouring states. There is history and emotion and surely many more stories in the Steamman Free State, or along the banks of the Gambleflowers, or in the slums of Shadowclock and Middlesteel, or in Quatershift...Hunt has tried to cram far, far too much into The Iron Moon (talking rockets that give birth, an off world adventure, a time paraox, etc)and as a result the emotional attachment required by a reader to a novel is compromised. I needed to care more about the characters and the world they were in, but too quickly another plot showed itself, or a new character was introduced.

I hope Mr. Hunt continues to write stories about the Kingdom of Jackals. I just hope he takes more time over the next one and reins in his imagination to produce a tighter and thus more rewarding narrative.

The Day The Earth Caught Fire [1961] [DVD]
The Day The Earth Caught Fire [1961] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Edward Judd
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: 14.79

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot, hot, hot!, 16 Aug 2007
In an episode of "Cheers" Norm and Cliff are arguing at the bar about the sweatiest films ever made. I think they decide the winner is "Cool Hand Luke". There is sadly no mention of this simply superb film "The Day The Earth Caught Fire"! Shame on those beer guzzling anoraks for having this gap in their movie knowledge.

Nuclear tests have sent the Earth heading towards the Sun, and as the temperature rises so does the tension in this masterfully created and executed story. The film focuses on the London reporters covering the catastrophe itself, and there are simply dozens of scenes of old Fleet Street press offices, all cigarette smoke and hassled editors. Edward Judd and Leo McKern are ideally cast as the leads, and they are well supported throughout.

And, set as it is in the 1960s, all the men wear suits and ties and thus sweat profusely. Was the film EVER seen in Boston?? I think we should be told...

by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not vintage King--but very good, 24 April 2007
This review is from: Cell (Paperback)
This is what King does better than almost anybody else writing; creates a novel which demands that the reader turns the pages in order to find out what happens next.

Cell, in which a mobile phone borne virus affects those who hear it and scrambles their brains,sees a small group of characters band together to survive the madness that seems to have engulfed the rest of the world (or at least the east coast of the USA). In this it resembles The Stand, set in a world devastated by a man made flu epidemic.

The story immediately engages the reader, and continues at a compelling pace. Characters are clearly defined, and--another great gift of King's--we soon are linked to them emotionally and find ourselves caring about them and their plight. Decisions are made, choices taken, consequences suffered--but however nightmarish the scenario, we never lose sight of the fact that these are people and thus we can almost put ourselves in the position ofthe lead characters and question how e would respond to situations.

It is not his best work--'Salems's Lot, The Shining, It, The Stand, Bag of Bones still stand supreme: but it does have an ending, and too many of King's books do leave a reader frustrated by the last pages--It, Dreamcatcher,and Insomnia, for example--though its ambiguous nature has obviously annoyed another reviewers.

So not vintage King, but a stronger offering than some of his more recent stuff, and still as good a read as most other novels on the market.

The Brief History of the Dead
The Brief History of the Dead
by Kevin Brockmeier
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The brief history? Perhaps a little too brief..., 21 April 2007
You can't fail to be intrigued by a title such as this, and the accompanying publishers blurb on the back cover only adds to the interest; "Imagine a place between heaven and earth. A city where everyone ends up after they die..."

Brockmeier has a very readable, accessable style:elsewhere it is described as lyrical, and there is a simplistic and unfussy beauty to it as he tells the stories of The City inhabited by those who have died and the plight of Laura Byrd, a wildlife specialst employed by the Coca Cola company to investigate the Antarctic ice to check its purety for possible soft drink use.

The idea of a city of the dead, whose inhabitants exist only as long as those still alive remember them, is ingeniously portrayed, with a host of well defined characters. That these characters are aware of how they ended up in the city, and why suddenly some disappear, adds another level to the story.

Other reviewers have mentioned the "But" element of the novel, and they are correct: the end is guessed too quickly, the final third of the novel, however finely expressed and imaginatively written, leaves the reader a little underwhelmed at the end, almost to the point of exclaiming:"Is that it?"

And that is a shame, because this is a book that offers intriguing ideas and throws up many questions, and deserves to be read.

Brockmeier can certainly tell a story, even though he seems not entirely certain in this one how to end it. But that may be exactly how he intended it.

A very, very good read, all the same.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 7, 2010 10:13 PM GMT

What Happens Now
What Happens Now
by Jeremy Dyson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.55

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Happens Now? Hopefully more novels like this one!, 5 July 2006
This review is from: What Happens Now (Paperback)
I was attracted to the book by the name of the author and as a fan of the League of Gentlemen I was intrigued by what the novel would contain. Picking it up for a quick browse I had soon read the first 19 pages and had better buy it!

The novel is very, very good. Dyson, a Jewish kid who grew up in Leeds looking like a young Bob Dylan, writes about Alastair Black, a Jewish kid growing up in Leeds looking like a young Bob Dylan. How much more of the story is autobiographical I don't know, but Dyson writes with such power and intensity that one suspects that he hopes to exorcise a few ghosts with this book.

Black has the chance to star in a tv programme, but this results in dramatic and life changing consequences for both him and the other main character, Alice Zealand. Their stories are told both in the past and the book's present, but the narrative loses no power using this technique.

Both main characters are realistically presented, and soon readers make the emotional attachment to them--and so what happens to them becomes all the more important. Black, in particular, is presented as an achingly real 1970s schoolboy, desperate to be cool but paralysed by fear and naivete.

Suspenseful, full of foreboding, totally gripping and deeply, deeply moving, this is a marvellous read.

Ian's Walk: A Story about Autism
Ian's Walk: A Story about Autism
by Laurie Lears
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.17

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb introduction to autistic life, 3 May 2006
This really is a very, very good book. In essence a simple story of two sisters who find taking their autistic younger brother for a walk both embarrassing and annoying, it clearly shows autistic traits and behaviour through its easy to understand prose and beautiful drawings.

I cannot recommend it strongly enough, as it will help siblings, family and friends to a more understanding view of autism. I am going to purchase copies for friends who have children so they can begin to understand why my 5 year old autistic son doesn't behave as others do.

The Era: 1947-1957, When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World
The Era: 1947-1957, When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World
by Roger Kahn
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When New York baseball ruled the world, 29 May 2002
Kahn, a massive lover of baseball and an honest and compelling storyteller, reviews the 11 year period he refers to as baseball's "Golden Age."The three NY teams--Yankees, Giants and his beloved Dodgers--are dissected and examined for what made them the legends they are today. The book is beautifully written, but holds no punches when it describes the abuse faced by the first black players in the major leagues after the war or the chequered lifestyles of the leading characters. Shamelessly anecdotal and autobiographical, Kahn's story ends with the Dodgers and Giants uprooting and moving to Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively. Kahn's gifts as a writer imbue this book with so much nostalgia for bygone days that it works its spell on a Brit who wasn't even born then, and has only watched the game on tv in the early hours of the morning.

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