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eeksqueak (London, UK)

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The Vegetarian Low-Carb Diet: The fast, no-hunger weightloss diet for vegetarians
The Vegetarian Low-Carb Diet: The fast, no-hunger weightloss diet for vegetarians
by Rose Elliot
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.18

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing but has some redeeming recipes, 21 Oct 2010
First off, I'm not actually a vegetarian but I don't eat much meat, so I bought this book intending to give it a try during my low carb diet. I have Rose Elliot's pasta book and think it is great, but I have rather mixed views on this one. My first criticism is that there is far too much emphasis on tofu. I love tofu, but not for every meal. Also, in an attempt to restore protein in a meatless diet, there are lots of rather strange and expensive ingredients such as soya protein powder and whey powder. I tried making shakes etc with some of these and found the results disgusting. (I did like the stevia sweetener though.) My other gripe is that while the carb counter at the back is handy, some of the the counts seem much too high - both leeks and aubergines, two of my favourite veggies, were totally off the menu with the counts in this book. However, research on Google and other diet books yielded far lower counts and I am now happily eating them again. On the plus side, the book has some lovely recipes for sweets and brownies, which have saved my diet a few times, as well as side dishes like the rather good spinach bread. I have used it quite extensively during my diet, but have found Charles Clarke's book The New High Protein Diet to be more useful really, and if you are a semi-vegetarian and can handle eating some meat and fish, or at least Quorn, I would honestly say that it probably makes this type of diet much, much easier.


Breakthrough Spanish 1 Euro Book and Cd Pack
Breakthrough Spanish 1 Euro Book and Cd Pack
by Sandra Truscott
Price: £34.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great starting point, 13 April 2010
I used this course to get started in Spanish before travelling to Latin America, and it taught me enough for six months of travelling solo, even though I had never heard Spanish spoken "live" until I arrived. It's got all of the essentials in a simple self-study format that you can use a couple of times a week to make progress, and the course structure is clear and attractive, letting you learn the stuff you will actually need to know. The pacing is slow and steady, with not too much information at once, and personally (in response to the reviewer above) it was much more helpful for me that the instructions were all in English - I'd never have understood them in Spanish at that stage. There's a good balance of useful phrases with grammar too: this isn't just a phrasebook where you learn ready sentences - you will be learning to speak the language and construct your own speech. Since returning from my travels I've attended classes using various different textbooks but I still haven't seen one that I think is as good as this course. I now want to learn some beginners French so I will be buying the French version to use at home.


Exposure
Exposure
by Mal Peet
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, dynamic fiction rammed with topical themes - could it be even better than The Penalty?, 12 Sep 2009
This review is from: Exposure (Paperback)
Mal Peet's third novel featuring football reporter Paul Faustino tells the story of Otello, a black South American striker who shoots to stardom and marries a white pop singer, only to plummet dramatically from grace. It's a very different novel from The Keeper and The Penalty, swapping their magical, hallucinatory atmosphere for something much sparser and hard-hitting, crafted in prose so direct it's often shocking. Exploring themes of race, reputation, celebrity, envy, loyalty and duplicity, Exposure deftly weaves elements from Shakespeare's Othello into an extended reflection on the celebrity culture which surrounds sporting heroes such as David Beckham. Toss in an impertinent, ravenous media, corrupt political interests and the enormous wealth gap which divides rich and poor in South America, and you get an incendiary, dynamic morality tale about the state of the world today, seen through the eyes of all the 'cast', not only Paul Faustino. There are plenty of powerful plot elements to drive the story along, but as with all of Mal Peet's books, it's the storytelling that makes this book so unforgettable. Sculpting language with the most exquisite and visual precision in a way that reminds me of the art of Old Dutch Masters, and which uses real language to make genuine demands upon the reader, he nails Otello's harsh world of money and fame in writing that is taut, elegant, concise and often unutterably poignant. Both glorious and painful to read, this is a brave book which hammers its story home - a triumph of skill and endurance.


The Penalty: 1
The Penalty: 1
by Mal Peet
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true one-off which sets a hypnotic mood, 28 Aug 2009
This review is from: The Penalty: 1 (Paperback)
A mesmerising, hypnotic story steeped in mystery, which uses football as an entry point into a many-layered story of lost origins and the power of belief. The disappearance of a young football star leads journalist Paul Faustino deep into the jungle wilds, retracing the steps of African slaves brought there centuries before. At the mercy of others, far from civilization, this skeptical and cynical man will be shaken to the core, forced to question what he really believes. Sensually evoking the steamy heat and bubbling tensions of its setting, Mal Peet has crafted a rich and sometimes disturbing look at the occult lore that still exists at the roots of Brazilian culture. Though the book starts in a fictional city, it has close parallels with the Brazilian city of Salvador, with its history of slavery and rich Africanised culture. 'The Penalty' may refer to the price of forgetting the origins of slavery and the influence of the spiritual world. This book is like being in a trance from which you can't quite wake up - I've never read anything else even remotely like it. Highly recommended.


Thirteen Reasons Why
Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea, shame about the book!, 25 Aug 2009
This review is from: Thirteen Reasons Why (Paperback)
I was intrigued by the premise of the book and the good reviews, so picked this book up, but in reality found it dull and idiotic to the point where I just ended up flicking through it. The girl suicide comes over as posturing, vindictive and oversensitive, imagining lots of webs of meaning and consequence spreading between the (numerous) people she feels have done her wrong. The rest of the book consists of her erstwhile male admirer flagellating himself and weeping at all her outpourings. I found the writing leaden and the reasons why this girl killed herself ridiculously slight (the fact that she was attractive and a few guys tried it on with her, mostly): it's actually quite insulting to people who are really being bullied. I think the book's supposed to be a cautionary tale of minding one's actions, but I just wanted to tell poor old Hannah to grow up. Having said that, I doubt she would have coped at all well with the trials of college and adult life, so perhaps it's just as well she topped herself sooner rather than later.


Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
by David Bayles
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.72

22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dense, difficult and discouraging, 7 April 2009
As a self-taught artist who is often paralysed by terror while painting, I hoped this book would provide practical guidance for knuckling down to work. Well, it does briefly summarise some common fears and obstacles that artists face. But about two-thirds of it is pretentious psychobabble about the relationship between the artist and his/her materials, and about how this-or-that process or form of engagement is the only method of creating 'true art'. I didn't want a lecture on how to make 'true art' - I wanted non-judgmental, practical motivation to help me to get on with the art that I actually make, irrespective of the authors' validation. But this book is so full of the authors' own views about what art is, and how provocative and forward-thinking it ought to be (my art is not at all provocative, for a start), that it just creates even more standards to live up to. In addition, I found the dense and waffling tone unpleasantly hard to decipher. I might keep this on the shelf for another glance or two, but it certainly didn't live up to my expectations.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2012 11:50 PM GMT


Artist's Guide to Selling Work
Artist's Guide to Selling Work
by Annabelle Ruston
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.69

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide to the basics, 9 Mar 2009
Short, readable and comprehensive, this book is full of vital information. It gives thorough coverage of the subject, but is also waffle-free and only 128 pages long - great if you do not get off on reading business handbooks. It is also arranged into clear chapters that you can refer back to as needed. The writing is clear and even legalistic issues are easy to understand.
I would give it five stars except that I thought a couple of areas could have done with more coverage: self-employment and tax issues, artists' insurance, and more about how to sell through the internet. I also felt that the contacts list could have been a bit fuller. But all in all an excellent guide which does its job quickly and cleanly - great for checking all those business points you didn't want to know but found you needed to.


The End Of Mr. Y
The End Of Mr. Y
by Scarlett Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What comes after Mr Y? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, 16 July 2008
This review is from: The End Of Mr. Y (Paperback)
Gosh I'm really struggling with this book. What with religion, time travel, quantum physics and the meaning of life, you would have thought there was enough here to make a decent book. Sadly not. In between utterly tedious waffling about Derrida and existentialism and Heidegger and simulacra etc, it ends up reading like a textbook, not a story. In fact story seems to have been sadly forgotten, as this is really a philosophical parable dressed up as a novel. If I wanted to crack my skull over this sort of stuff, I would go back to University for a PhD in Philosophy. Plus the physical environment of the book - freezing grim flats, cold coffee, cabbage soup, mould - is so bloody depressing. Can't it give us a reality (a dangerous word to use in relation to this book) that's a bit nicer than this? I wanted an enchanting book full of rich possibilities. That's what it said I was getting on the cover! Instead I am bored, depressed and baffled. Every time I think there's going to be some sex just for some mindless relief it starts going on about Sartre. Someone kill me! Will I ever get to the end???? This author ought to have taken a leaf out of Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife to see how to weave big themes into an exciting story. This novel just makes me soooo glad I'm not a student anymore.


Savvy
Savvy
by Ingrid Law
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing up the magical way, 17 Jun 2008
This review is from: Savvy (Hardcover)
A rites of passage novel with a difference. Mibs's brother Rocket can control electricity, zipping and zapping all over the place. Her brother Fish creates storms and hurricanes. Her mum is just perfect. And now Mibs is turning 13 - her own savvy birthday. What will her special power turn out to be?

Blending a rites-of-passage theme with a road trip, a family crisis and a dash of the supernatural, this book stirs a range of ingredients into its bubbling pot. There are some surprises along the way - and some predictable moments. The book isn't faultless, and it has the odd moment that doesn't quite ring true, or feels clumsy or contrived. But it's also full of invention and and lyrical language. Sweet, quirky, original and artfully naive, this book has so much to enjoy that the odd false note hardly matters.


Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan
Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan
by Carlos Castaneda
Edition: Paperback

3 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom or weird cultish brainwashing?, 13 Jun 2008
PLEASE NOTE I HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK so I've just posted as a 3 star review.

I was interested in reading it but have been reading a little about the author's life on Wikipedia which put me off big time.

It sounds as if he ran something scarily like a cult in which he kept everyone in close confines and asked them to erase their personal history.

The day after his death three of his female associates known as 'witches' disappeared and are thought to have committed suicide. His adopted daughter also vanished and her remains were found in the desert a few years back.

This sounds pretty scary to me and I am no longer so keen to find out what this guy has to say. Once you read the background info the whole thing seems a little dark.


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