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A Common Reader "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England)
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Cambridge Audio G2 MINI Portable Bluetooth Speaker Active
Cambridge Audio G2 MINI Portable Bluetooth Speaker Active
Offered by Cambridge Audio
Price: £99.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good for a small room and highly portable, 15 Dec 2014
I have had several blue-tooth speakers on review and also have purchased a couple. I wanted something which was smaller in size than the £200 range of speakers but still with plenty of punch, so I got hold of this G2 mini. It is very solidly constructed and satisfyingly heavy for it's size. It worked straight away after an initial charge, and paired with my tablet instantly.

I would say that while the sound is much better than the very tiny blue tooth speakers it is nowhere near as good as the top of the range speakers you can get. I have a Logitech U Boombox for example, which knocks the spots of this G2 mini, both in volume and bass response. I used the Logitech for an outdoor barbecue this summer and it was perfectly adequate, but the G2 Mini just has nowhere near the volume of bass to be able to cope with such an event.

As for the sound, it is very good with some music not so good with others. I listen to solo guitar recordings quite a bit and the mid-range sounds a little muddy and I have to fiddle with my graphic equaliser app to get it sounding right. It's very good for speech on the other hand. This is a common problem with all these Bluetooth speaker and I think it would be much better if they had a tone adjustment preset button on them so you could adjust the sound without having to fiddle around with the phone or tablet.

I would question whether a device like this needs the telephone buttons on top - how many people would use them? They only serve to clutter up the controls in my view. At one end of the strip of switches is the Bluetooth button and at the other end is the power switch, with the phone button and volume buttons in between. As the unit is all black it is difficult to see which one is which and you have to check the front of the speaker to look for the Cambridge audio label to see which way around it is. Similarly you can't tell whether you're turning the volume up or down without studying the unit. One slightly annoying feature is that if you turn the speaker off and on, the unit unsets what ever volume setting you've chosen so you have to reset it again if you want it loud.

Despite my reservations, the G2 Mini gives the impression of being very solidly constructed and is a quality product. Just bear in mind that it is still quite small and with the best will in the world, you can only get so much from a device this size. If you want really good, loud, bassy sound you'll have to go up in price a bit in my view.


VETRA Focus Classic Athletic T-shirt Black gym Sport Training Mens soccer football jersey DRY-FAST Short Sleeves Tee Shirts NEW
VETRA Focus Classic Athletic T-shirt Black gym Sport Training Mens soccer football jersey DRY-FAST Short Sleeves Tee Shirts NEW
Offered by Sport-Items
Price: £10.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great good value sports t-shirt, 15 Dec 2014
This is a very good value sports t-shirt. It is made of a dry-fast material with aerated side panels. The manufacturing seems fine with a nice crew neck and strong seams.

It looks very smart in black and is ultra-lightweight. Ideal for running, athletics or other sports, I will use mine for cycling hill-walking in summer. You can of course wear it as general casual wear in summer, or under another garment in winter.

Perfect for travelling it rolls up really small and can be put in the pocket of a ruck-sack with no difficulty and you could rinse it out easily and dry it in no time.

A great sports t-shirt which looks just fine and will keep you cool while doing the most strenuous exercise.


Vetra Sports Squeeze Water Bottle Leakproof Valve Hydration 650 ML Clear/Black/Blue Running Cycling Bike Soccer Football NEW
Vetra Sports Squeeze Water Bottle Leakproof Valve Hydration 650 ML Clear/Black/Blue Running Cycling Bike Soccer Football NEW
Offered by Sport-Items
Price: £5.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the features you could want in a water bottle, 15 Dec 2014
This water bottle has all the features you could want. Firstly, it no water leaks out of it, either from the rim of the cap, or from the nozzle itself. You can fill it with water, turn it upside down and shake it and nothing comes out of it. This means that it can fall over on the seat of a car and you won't get wet upholstery - unlike so many other water bottles I have tried.

Secondly, When you take the cap off you can easily get ice cubes inside it - essential for a summer's bike ride or run.

Thirdly, with a capacity of 650ml it really is big enough to take water on a longish journey.

Fourthly, it really doesn't make the water taste of plastic (read the specification and you will see it designed to avoid the plastic taste).

There is no point at all in buying bottled water when you have a water bottle like this. UK tap water is among the cleanest in the world. If you think that tap water has a chlorine taste, just fill a jug and let it stand for an hour in the fridge and the chlorine will evaporate, then fill the water bottle. Think how much money you will save with this water bottle!


BURBERRY Brit Sheer for Her Eau de Toilette 30 ml
BURBERRY Brit Sheer for Her Eau de Toilette 30 ml
Price: £29.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely perfume - particularly nice as it's not so well-known, 8 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My wife says that this is a very attractive pink and white bottle. It has a plastic block top which is quite adequate. She has always liked Burberry, a quality brand which can usually be relied on.

The perfume is citrusy rather than flowery and although other reviewers have commented on it's muskiness, this is not obvious to us.

The perfume lasts a reasonable amount of time for an eau de toilette, perhaps not all day, but with this size bottle it's easier to top it up from your handbag. I think we would go ahead and buy the perfume for full night-time wear. It is also available on Amazon in an BURBERRY Brit Sheer Eau de Toilette Gift Set which would make a lovely gift set.


F: A Novel
F: A Novel
by Daniel Kehlmann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A complex philosophical novel but with plenty of humour, 8 Dec 2014
This review is from: F: A Novel (Hardcover)
Having previously enjoyed Daniel Kehlmann’s book Measuring The World, I was pleased to read his new novel “F”. I found it to be a complex piece of work; on one level the story of three brothers in their journey from childhood to adult life, and on another level, a philosophical exploration of the meaning of existence and our quest for authenticity. At the heart of the novel is the relationship with a father with his sons; identical twins Eric and Ivan and a third son Martin who has a different mother. However, this is no family saga, for at its heart are some disturbing questions about human motivation.

The book opens with Arthur Friedland, an unpublished writer, taking his three sons to see a stage hypnotist at a local theatre. The show begins with adults being called out of the audience onto the stage where they suffer the usual indignities at the hands of the hypnotist. But soon, Arthur’s son Ivan is called up. Despite his attempts to resist the commands of the hypnotist (lift your foot! forget your name!) he finds himself obeying the hypnotist’s every word, feeling consciously helpless to resist. When Arthur himself is called up the hypnotist is unable to affect him in any way, a hint perhaps of the distance Arthur keeps from everyone he becomes involved with. After the show, Arthur drives his sons home and then walks out his son’s and their mother’s lives, not to return until years later.

The book moves forward a number of years and we read of the three boys as they begin to enter adult life. That year, had seen the publication of a novel by their father Arthur Friedland. A copy was sent through the post anonymously to each of his three sons. This is no ordinary novel and produces various reactions in Arthur’s sons, for although it seems at first to be about the life of a man called “F”, the second half launches into an explanation of human life which is so nihilistic that it has led various readers to suicide.

The boys realise that Arthur’s life has been lived by the principle that the whole of life and our sense of self is an illusion. They have all been victims of a man who had no sense of morality, for nothing can matter when even the sense of self we hold so dearly is but a dream. Arthur has no concept of love, loyalty or responsibility. He sees his sons as vaguely interesting beings with as much significance to him as a stranger on a train.

All three boys suffer from an absence of meaning in their lives. Even Ivan, the priest, is not allowed to have a redemptive faith but depends on over-eating and a mind-game (the Rubik’s Cube) for his spiritual fulfilment. The boys all have a strange sort of mutual dependency. I was not sure if this consisted of a sort of mutual loathing but concluded that they cling on to each other simply because the world they inhabit is so hostile and unwelcoming that they find in each other a sort of mutual constancy which somehow stops them drifting off into utter desolation.

There is no doubt that this is a very well-written book. Kehlman is a foremost German novelist and certainly his prose, while often dense, can also delight with its surprises and underlying humour. The book is not primarily a biography of the three boys, but rather about what happens when a sense of self-hood is reduced to a tangle of neurons in the brain and the consequent amorality is allowed to run riot through a couple of generations.

This is certainly not a book for the general reader, but for those who like to be challenged in their reading, there is plenty to think about in “F” and the more adventurous book-groups would have a wonderful time discussing what it is all about.


[New Arrival] iClever® IC-BTS02 Enhanced Bass + Rechargeable Portable Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker with Super-Sized 5W Driver, Built-in Microphone, Powerful Sound for MP3 Players, Smart Phones, Pads, Laptops & Other Devices -[Zinc Alloy Shell]
[New Arrival] iClever® IC-BTS02 Enhanced Bass + Rechargeable Portable Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker with Super-Sized 5W Driver, Built-in Microphone, Powerful Sound for MP3 Players, Smart Phones, Pads, Laptops & Other Devices -[Zinc Alloy Shell]
Offered by Elecsmart
Price: £49.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best small blue-tooth speaker I have tried, 29 Nov 2014
I have seen several small Bluetooth speakers but this one is by far the best. With its solid-feeling metallic body, it feels like a quality product and the weight of the unit means that the sound is much better than other small speakers.

It looks extremely smart with a highly-polished metallic dark grey finish. It sits securely on any surface and because the speaker is located on the top of the unit so it does not need to be facing you to get the best sound.

This would be an excellent purchase for anyone with a blue-tooth enabled mobile phone of tablet. You can just carry it around with you from room to room, leaving the phone or tablet in a different part of the house if you wish. I place my tablet in the dining room playing a music streaming service and I find that as I go from room to room with the speaker, the signal remains strong and does not cut-out.

The sound quality is equivalent to a good quality portable radio. While the bass obviously cannot be as good as from a much larger unit with multiple speakers I find it perfectly adequate for general listening. Speech is particularly good - I find that the larger multiple speaker units tend to have too much bass while listening to talk radio and this can be distracting. The speaker under review has just the right balance for speech with voices sounding completely natural as though they are in the same room.

The speaker has a micro-USB lead which can be plugged into any computer, or you can buy an adapter plug if you wish to charge from the mains (I have acquired several of these from other devices to did not have to buy one).

I have not tested the speaker on a phone but all the controls are there to be able to answer calls and the speaker has a built-in microphone with a two-foot range.

I have no hesitation in recommending this speaker as a cut-above other small blue-tooth speakers. You get what you pay for and in my opinion this one is well worth the extra money.


The Leipzig Affair
The Leipzig Affair
by Fiona Rintoul
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine novel which held me enthralled until I finished it, 25 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Leipzig Affair (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
1985 was not a good year to live in The German Democratic Republic. While the country was still in the grip of an oppressive communist government, the wealth and freedoms of the west were becoming ever more visible thanks to the population’s exposure to western radio and television. Only the most loyal communists could continue the pretence that the government of Eric Honecker was leading the country to prosperity and economic equivalence with the west. Citizens needed a rare type of party commitment to ask with any degree of sincerity, “why would you want more than three brands of shampoo in the shops?” when packages from the west contained unheard of bounty.

The book is the story of Magda and Robert, two young people from both sides of the almost unbreachable political divide of West and East. After a period of rebellion against her government, Magda has seen that there is no future in resisting the powerful state with it’s STASI secret police and it’s control of all job opportunities. She is now training to be an official translator while continuing friendships with her old crowd of radicals and planning for the day when she will be able to flee to the West.

Meanwhile, over in Scotland, Robert is writing a thesis on Heinrich Heine and wondering whether to study iu West or East Germany. Although the Heine archive is in Dusseldorf, his application to study there gets lost by a drunk lecturer and he instead gets offered a student exchange in Leipzig in the communist East.

The book alternates chapters in the voices of Robert and Magda. In this way we learn that Robert can have no comprehension of the complexity of Magda’s life. Her brother was an athlete who was poisoned by his trainer through the over-use of steroids. This has affected Magda’s whole attitude to her nation and it is only through her well-connected father that she has been able to get a job as a trainee translator.

Magda seems unable to see Robert as a person in his own right, but only as “the Westerner”, someone who can be used to advance her own plans for escape. Robert’s naivety leads him to think that his relationship with Magda is just what it seems, but who is Magda’s friend Marek who has such a hold on her? Is he mentor, ex-lover or maybe something more sinister?

These are the bare bones of the story but there is far more to it than this. The book is expertly written and seems to me to be a very comprehensive picture of what it was like to live in the East German state. Fiona Rintoul is to be congratulated on her debut novel which and plunged me into the world of the old German Democratic Republic and reminds me of how crippling to the human spirit a life under Communism must have been.


Charles Wilson Winter Woven Neck Scarf (One Size, Grey Stripe)
Charles Wilson Winter Woven Neck Scarf (One Size, Grey Stripe)
Offered by Charles Wilson Clothing
Price: £11.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous scarf - warm and also very attractive, 24 Nov 2014
Another superb product from Charles Wilson - how they do it for the price never ceases to amaze me.

This is a lovely scarf (I have the orange one with multi-coloured stripes), soft and warm yet nice and thin so it's not too bulky to wear under a jacket or coat. The colour range in the scarf means that it goes with just about any colour garment - it looks particularly good with a navy jacket and brightens is up no end.

It's 180cm long which means that it wraps round my neck twice and still has enough length to hand down onto my chest.

I wore it yesterday while meeting friends and relatives for a meal in a pub - several people commented on how much they like my scarf and asked where I got it from.

It's made of 100% acrylic so is easy to wash and if you come in from the rain it seems to dry in just a few minutes. It feels lovely and soft like cashmere. The tassels are a nice touch and look as though they are properly finished and won't unravel.

All in all, a great present for anyone or get one for yourself - it will definitely enhance your winter wardrobe.


PIANO FROM A 4TH STOREY WINDOW
PIANO FROM A 4TH STOREY WINDOW
Price: £2.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Following a painful breakup from her last boyfriend, 12 Nov 2014
Piano from a 4th Storey Window by Jenny Morton Potts is the story of a full-blown, head-over-heels romance with highs and lows both heavenly and hellish along the way.

Marin Strang is a Spanish teacher who's life hasn't quite worked out as she expected, leaving her single and existing on temporary teaching contracts, rootless and at a loose end for much of her time. Marin was brought up in a family of strict Jehovah's Witnesses but one which mixed adherence to religion with real relationship difficulties which blight her to this day. She has been "dis-fellowshipped" by the JWs but has the remnants of a relationship with her ageing father who remains a loyal member.

"Marin’s childhood was the ideal preparation for solitude, finding her membership of the sect separating her from her natural friends at school. She developed, "an isolation to shield her from occasional major hurt. Or an isolation which drip fed daily minor hurt. She’d had so much practice at being on her own, she should manage it with ease".

Following a painful breakup from her last boyfriend, Marin finds herself wandering around The Lanes in Brighton (a quaint shopping area famed for its boutiques and quirky shops). She stops for a coffee at a café called Number 8 and catches a glimpse of an enticing social melée revolving around the café, particularly when she sees and hears Lawrence Fyre, a tall, unkempt, but charismatic individual who owns Sargasso Books in The Lanes. Marin returns to the café and somehow finds herself being invited to a literary event at the book-shop, and before long she finds herself attracting the attention of Lawrence Fyre.

Marin and Lawrence embark on an intense relationship which bewilders Marin with it's intensity. Lawrence seems to fall madly in love with her, but somewhere lurking in the background is Nina, a mysterious female who seems to be a Lawrence's lode-stone. Obviously Lawrence and Nina were lovers but are they still? Why does he talk about her so much, and why does she keep popping up in the conversation with Lawrence's friends?

I loved this book. As I read it, I found myself impressed by the ease with which Jenny Morton Potts takes off into a sort of lyrical prose which captures, with great facility, the powerful emotions released by the Lawrence/Marin relationship.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 8, 2014 2:34 PM GMT


Charles Wilson Men's Full Zip Fine Knit Cotton Jumper
Charles Wilson Men's Full Zip Fine Knit Cotton Jumper
Offered by Charles Wilson Clothing
Price: £16.95 - £22.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very smart and stylish zipped jumper, 28 Oct 2014
I'd never thought of having a jumper with a full-length zip before and am pleasantly surprised how practical it is. This jumper is far too stylish to be thought of as a "cardigan" - it's definitely a fashion garment, yet the zip gives it great flexibility and on one chilly morning I was quite pleased to be able to pull the zip right to the top of the collar - no need for a scarf!

The jumper is light-weight and made of cotton, but because of its close-weave, it has plenty of warmth in it. I think it would look equally good with jeans or with smarter trousers and I would imagine the jumper would be suitable for any age group, young or older. I think it looks best over a t-shirt but no doubt you could wear it over a shirt with a collar as well.

My chest size is 38 but am quite tall and the jumper's size "large" is a snug fit being plenty long enough in body and arms.

The price listed on Amazon is exceptionally good value. I would be happy to pay the full price for this jumper and in my opinion it is the sort of thing you would find in independent high street stores or high-end department stores like Debenhams or House of Fraser.

You can wash this in a machine, but not tumble dry. Frankly I'd be inclined to hand-wash it and I'm sure it will dry naturally quite quickly.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 5, 2014 12:41 AM GMT


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