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Reviews Written by
William Fross (London, UK)
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The Private Patient: Radio Drama (Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries)
The Private Patient: Radio Drama (Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries)
by P D James
Edition: Audio CD

3.0 out of 5 stars Well-produced but ultimately unsatisfying detective story, 1 Nov 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This drama is well-written and the performances are excellent, but it was too short at two hours. There was a new revelation or development every few minutes; it took some time to work out who was who (there are quite a lot of characters); and at least one element of the story seemed pretty bizarre, and its relevance wasn't really explained. There was no real surprise or satisfaction in the denouement - from a long list of potential culprits it became increasingly clear who the suspects would be, and the ending felt rather flat and unsurprising.

I have no prior knowledge of this series. As a standalone work it felt short and uninteresting, probably because of the limited length of time. Giving the story three hours - as with the recent series of John Le Carré adaptations - may well have given it the space it needed.


Soljas
Soljas
by Graham Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.66

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Super-violent, with little else to hold your attention, 30 July 2010
This review is from: Soljas (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first thing to say is that this book portrays overwhelming violence, including sexual violence, from the start. It really is pretty shocking: if you struggled to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, don't go near this.

When you get your head around that, you have to come to terms with flat characters, a largely uninteresting plot, and the impenetrable and inconsistent language. My overwhelming reaction when finishing it was relief that I was done with it.


How Not to Grow Up: A Coming of Age Memoir. Sort of.
How Not to Grow Up: A Coming of Age Memoir. Sort of.
by Richard Herring
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny but trivial, 14 July 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Richard Herring is funny, and so is his book. It fits snugly in the genre of easygoing comedy, like Yes Man by Danny Wallace, and Are You Dave Gorman? by Dave Gorman (and Wallace). If you like those books, you will probably enjoy this one. But I ultimately found it trivial, with little to look back on once I was done, except for one or two funny lines and anecdotes.


Evans Lichfield Union Jack Traditional Tapestry Cushion, 18 x 13 Inch, Polyester Fibre Filled
Evans Lichfield Union Jack Traditional Tapestry Cushion, 18 x 13 Inch, Polyester Fibre Filled
Offered by Findmeagift
Price: 16.72

5.0 out of 5 stars It is a cushion. With the union jack on it., 20 Mar 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is a cushion, with the union jack on it. It is comfortable. I can imagine using it as a pillow, and the colours are not too bright, which is just right. The texture of the underside is smoother than I would like. But to be honest, if I wasn't reviewing it, I would be perfectly happy with it and wouldn't notice!


The Honourable Schoolboy (BBC Audio)
The Honourable Schoolboy (BBC Audio)
by John Le Carre
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 14.13

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 2 Mar 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having just listened to the dramatisation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - and loved it - I was looking forward to this very much. The acting and production are just as excellent as its predecessor. It takes longer to get into The Honourable Schoolboy, but it draws you in, and I was gripped by the time it got to its conclusion. I would highly recommend it to someone who had listened to and enjoyed TTSS; I am not sure that someone would enjoy it as a standalone experience.


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (BBC Audio)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (BBC Audio)
by John Le Carre
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 11.44

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent adaptation, 25 Feb 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An excellent adaptation of a gripping story. The actors carry off the parts convincingly, and the storyline is streamlined to fit the three hour time limit without losing any of the tension. You need to concentrate at points - some of the plotting is quite dense - but after ten minutes or so I was hooked, and it took no effort to pay attention. I ended up listening to the whole thing in one go.


The Vegetarian Option
The Vegetarian Option
by Simon Hopkinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.80

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good recipes presented clearly, 19 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Vegetarian Option (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have enjoyed using this book, and will keep doing so. As an inexperienced cook I have found it easy to follow and the recipes have worked well. I particularly enjoyed the orange brulée!

I have taken off one star because it is not very practical. The book's sections are divided according to ingredients - I would have found it more useful to have chapters divided according to starters/mains/desserts.


Stuff White People Like
Stuff White People Like
by Christian Lander
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Diverting, 1 Dec 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The book is a collection of articles about things that "white people" like. To be clear: it's middle class, affluent, left-leaning, American white people. It's pretty funny, and makes some good points about the psychology of such people, but it's a diverting rather than satisfying read. Good to have by the toilet, because you could get through an article at a sitting. I'd suggest visiting the blog, and considering this book as a gift for someone who would (a) enjoy reading it but (b) not visit the web site.


Tomas
Tomas
by James Palumbo
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.00

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful. Really, seriously, awful., 1 Dec 2009
This review is from: Tomas (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is awful. I have no idea how it was published, or how it got so many rave reviews. A "warning" at the beginning of the book says: "I can already hear many detractors referring to bad taste or sheer madness: for me these are compliments."

Well, the book does include several cartoons of penises with faces, and it is chronically incoherent. So yes, I suppose I have to refer to both "bad taste" and "madness". But it is also badly written and dull. If James Palumbo thinks those are compliments, good for him. But don't waste your money on this nonsense.


Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
by Steven D. Levitt
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating - but not quite up to its predecessor, 1 Dec 2009
Freakonomics was counterintuitive and surprising. Each chapter offered an in-depth analysis of a strange phenomenon, and did so in a way that taught helpful lessons about how the world works.

Superfreakonomics is less coherent than its predecessor, but it is just as interesting. Research data about prostitution opens the book; it ends (notoriously) with the idea that there could be a quick fix for global warming.

The book is fascinating because it is a collection of interesting anecdotes and analyses, but it lacks a coherent theme. There are only five chapters. Each chapter has an overriding question ("How is a street prostitute like a department store Santa?"), and the answer is arrived at through a collection of vaguely relevant stories, along with some directly relevant analysis and data. As a result, the book is compelling: you are always reading about something new and interesting. But it is difficult to remember anything "big" once you're done. The final chapter on global warming is the only section to break this mould, analysing different ideas in detail, but it feels somewhat out of place in this book - the predecessor built on counterintuitive analysis of surprising data. It feels like the economist lost his grip on the final chapter, and the journalist had a greater influence on it.

But the book is still worth four stars. It is entertaining and challenging throughout. It feels like a follow-up to the phenomenal success of its predecessor, rather than a solid work in its own right. If you enjoyed the first, you will enjoy this. But if you haven't tried either, go for the original.


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