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Charles "mrfreedom" (England)
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Quotable Atheist: Ammunition for Nonbelievers, Political Junkies, Gadflies and Those Generally Hell-bound
Quotable Atheist: Ammunition for Nonbelievers, Political Junkies, Gadflies and Those Generally Hell-bound
by Jack Huberman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 20 Dec. 2009
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An addition to my library that I will keep forever, here is a book that is both accessible and stimulating, that can either be read in a few [long] sittings or dipped into when you choose.
The breadth of contributors is immense and that they're so varied is what keeps the book fresh and vital. And there is real wisdom here, words from the wisest people who ever lived, you could say (but it's not all atheists speaking, it's sometimes the 'godly', hoisting themselves by their own petards, like the popes delicately sprinkled throughout the volume, revealing the tyranny of the Catholic Church).
My criticism would be that the author is too much of a lefty and assumes that leftyism equeals No God and right equals God. Well, speaking as someone from the [libertarian] right I am living proof that this is not always so. However, I do concede that in general, in history and in the USA especially, a good deal of freethinkers and secularlists have come from liberal backgrounds. So I do find myself increasingly at odds with fellow members of the right like Charles Moore, Quentin Letts and Peter Hitchens, who seem to support that bizarre fable called Christianity.
Anyway, this book is brilliant - order it now.


The Complete Hitchcock
The Complete Hitchcock
by Paul Condon
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Golden Turkey, 3 Dec. 2009
This review is from: The Complete Hitchcock (Paperback)
I have read many, many books on Alfred Hitchcock and this has to be the worst. Gawd it's dreadful, and most of the comments here are utterly inane.
The alarm bells started ringing when I noticed the word 'dodgy' being used. Uh-oh. You don't use the word 'dodgy' in a book about Hitchcock. Then I noticed the authors had decided to rate all the films out of ten (which is a tad vulgar I feel). Well, that's the ones they've seen, because in a totally unprofessional manner, they haven't even seen all his films so can't rate all of them. Pitiful. And as for the marks themselves, they are a joke. The remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much scores more highly than Psycho. Stage Fright gets more than Rebecca. The likes of Shadow Of A Doubt, Suspicion, The Trouble With Harry, I Confess and Foreign Correspondent are laughably underrated. A few films get 3 and 2/10. I mean, please.
Most movies get a long, detailed synopsis - what a waste of paper! A plot summary would have been much better. Who wants to read the entire story?
Each film has little sections under titles like 'There He Is!' (on Hitch cameos) and 'Themes and Motifs'. The themes and motifs bits are a Diet Coke version of the sort of thing Donald Spoto talks about in his far superior books. There's also one on 'Taboos' which lets you know what sensitive little flowers the authors are.
But the book's worst sin is that throughout it regurgitates stories that may or may not be true. Keep a log of how many times the words 'allegedly' and 'apparently' creep up. There is no validity in a book that has not been researched properly and relies on second-hand tales which have at various times been both denied and 'confirmed'.
A shocking book, scarier than any of the master's films.


Mr Stink
Mr Stink
by David Walliams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.94

4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant stink, 2 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Mr Stink (Hardcover)
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Mr Stink is an enjoyable book with most appeal to girl readers from the ages of nine to twelve, I would imagine.
It is written with a fair bit of wit and is sometimes Roald Dahl-ish, with the sort of descriptions of the disgusting that make the child reader go "eeeurgh!" with pleasure. It is a story with a sad, melancholic heart about families and what it means to lose family members, literally and metaphorically.
One slight disappointment is that there aren't all that many illustrations by Quentin Blake, only about eight. One would have hoped for more.
But this is a likeable book that should please its intended readers.


The Theory of Evolution - Simple Guides
The Theory of Evolution - Simple Guides
by John Scotney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible introduction; sound science, 29 Nov. 2009
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I was a bit worried when I saw the cover of this book, with the word 'Theory' in such large type. Was this going to be some nutty creatonist 'only a theory' book, centring on their deliberate misunderstanding of the word 'theory'? I need not have worried.
This is an excellent introduction to evolution, and I'd highly recommend it to intelligent teenagers keen on discovering information about Charles Darwin, the world's greatest ever biologist, and his conclusions that were based on painstaking research and empirical evidence.
The author discusses the life of Darwin, his writings, and then all the science since that has confirmed Darwin's findings. His writing style is clear, lucid, not flowery, and he uses less exclamation marks than Dawkins sometimes does!
My only quibble would be the very last page, where he quotes Darwin's use of the word 'creator' in Origin of Species. As Dawkins pointed out in The Greatest Show On Earth, Darwin did not have this word in the all important first edition of the book, and only put it in the second edition because of pressure from religious types. Dawkins also exposes the silly idea of anything 'breathing life' into anything else.
Sorry, that was a digression. The Theory Of Evolution is a very sound book, the kind of which should be on every teenager's book shelf. Especially Muslims' book shelves.


Whose Side are They On? How Britain's Bonkers Government Is Coming After You
Whose Side are They On? How Britain's Bonkers Government Is Coming After You
by Alan Pearce
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needed more effort, 24 Nov. 2009
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Curious little book this, essentially a cut and paste job of tales of PC gone crazy. They are stories, mostly true I'm sure, that probably appeared in the Mail and the Express and the like.
What's missing is context: the author doesn't pass any comment on these stories, he just presents them. There are no ideas on how to make this country better so it becomes a very depressing read. There is also little reference to WHY we have these absurd laws; one of the main reasons is that most of them are foisted on us by the undemocratic, unelected, corrupt European Union.
The book's an interesting barometer of our times, one of many similar ones out at the moment. It's not a bad book but there are many better. Great Matt cartoon on the back, though.


How To Be Right
How To Be Right
by James Delingpole
Edition: Paperback

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, 22 Nov. 2009
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This review is from: How To Be Right (Paperback)
An entertaining book that can be read quickly.
It suffers a little from the reader never quite being sure how serious the author is. A lot of the points he makes are serious and genuine grievances, but the humorous style sometimes detracts from that. You want to say: get more angry!
It avoids being Blimpish by the use of the odd rude word and the author's curious liking for hard drugs. While I agree with a lot of what he says I don't agree with it all: I think the best thing this government ever did, perhaps the only good thing it ever did, was to ban smoking in confined public places. Some of the things Dellingpole says about vegetarians and cars make me feel slightly queasy too - it's sometimes a bit Clarkson.
But hey, we can't always agree, and we on the right are so much better at accepting differences than those on the left. The most intolerant people I've ever met have all been from the left. You know what they say - scratch a liberal, find a dictator!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2013 9:10 AM BST


Aesop's Fables (Illustrated Classics)
Aesop's Fables (Illustrated Classics)
by Alice Shirley
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for the years, 21 Nov. 2009
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Wisdom is rare in these times, so what better time to read Aesop's fables. This book is big and beautiful, although the watercolour paintings will not be as appealing to young children as others might be.
But then young children are probably not the main audience here, partly because the moral is not spelt out: the text just consists of the fables themselves and nothing else, not even an explanation of who Aesop was. I think it might have been better if there had been a line at the end of every fable spelling out its meaning.
This still a very nice book though, to be recommended for intelligent parents with intelligent children.


London and the South-East
London and the South-East
by David Szalay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great debut, 24 Sept. 2009
This is a terrific novel, one of the best fiction books I've read in a while.
Szalay is a writer of great skill and assurance and produces a gripping tale. It's effectively a story in two halves, both of which gradually build the tension until they reach blackly funny and richly satisfying denouements. You'd never think strawberries could be so well used as a plot device.
There are little whiffs of David Brent, Glengarry Glen Ross and Bukowski; dialogue is totally convincing; settings are extremely well evoked, and I loved the page which is just a list of pubs the lead character has visited (sounds lame, but it works).
Funny and melancholy, observant and ingenious, London And The South-east (great title) is a fantastically compelling read.


The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest book on Earth, 18 Sept. 2009
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I've read seven Dawkins books and this has to be my favourite. It's a joy, an absolute joy.
It's more thrilling than any thriller: Dawkins builds and builds the evidence until the only people left `doubting' will be those with closed minds. (Not that they'll even read it, as several posters on here haven't - and beware the `three starrers', the creationists who try to make you read their derogatory posts by not giving it one star.)
What I love about Dawkins is the way he'll suddenly (but not irrelevantly) impart information about, say, how a lightbulb works or why we blush. He writes so beautifully, so accessibly. At one point he says something about dogs and there is an asterisk denoting a footnote - you go to the footnote and it just says `And who could not like dogs, they're such good sports!' What other scientist would write like that?
He also makes you THINK because of the way he writes, so you find yourself thinking analytically about other subjects, not just evolution.
This book will make you glad you're alive at this time to read it. It's brilliant, it's fantastic, it's the greatest book on Earth (probably).


Bounder!: The Biography of Terry-Thomas
Bounder!: The Biography of Terry-Thomas
by Graham McCann
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice but brief, 6 Sept. 2009
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I read this fairly short book over a 24-hour period and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a pity it's not longer though: as one other reviewer has pointed out, many, many pages are taken up with notes and references. Do we really need the entire cast of most of T-T's films?
A lot more on his jolly times would have been good to. We are told that he knew the likes of Liberace, Mickey Rooney, Peter Sellers etc but we're rarely told what he actually did with them. Similarly we're told that he had amazing parties but never told exactly what went on in them.
And there's one big question mark hanging over his life story as related here: where on earth did all his money go? By the start of the '70s he had houses all over the world, stocks and shares, big wage packets etc, but by the time his tragic Parkinson's disease has taken its toll he's practically penniless. The author very briefly hints as to where a lot of it went (and I'm not referring to medical bills) but I probably best not expand on it here for fear of libel and not getting my comment published. But it is extraordinary. Maybe THAT was the real story, and the author has had to avoid telling it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 28, 2013 11:51 AM BST


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