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Michael Turley (Dublin)
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The Devil: A Biography
The Devil: A Biography
Price: 6.02

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I blame Milton, 14 May 2013
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Although the author is a practicing catholic this book is remarkably detached from religious interpretation. Instead he focusses on the historical (including pre-Christian) and the cultural aspects which contribute to how we understand the devil.

This book is very well researched but written in an accessible style. I really enjoyed it. Anyone interested in Old Scratch either from a humanist, religious or even philosophical angle will find it a worthwhile read.


Oracle Coherence 3.5
Oracle Coherence 3.5
by Aleksandar Seovic
Edition: Paperback
Price: 33.96

3.0 out of 5 stars Good Coherence Introduction, 14 May 2013
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This review is from: Oracle Coherence 3.5 (Paperback)
I bought this in a panic after been thrown on to a Coherence project. Its nicely paced, clear and concise. You can also download project code (I found some of the C# WPF dispatcher code useful although did something different in the end).

The main gripe I have with the book is that alot of this stuff can be found on the internet (although Oracles dev site can be a bit of a nuisance to navigate). Really interesting stuff like deployment issues are not addressed.

If you want a well put together overview of Coherence with examples (including C++ and C# client implementations) and desktop reference you will get value out of this book.


Royal Flash (The Flashman Papers, Book 2)
Royal Flash (The Flashman Papers, Book 2)
Price: 3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant in every way, 24 Oct 2012
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Heard about this by accident through an entertaining Hitchens essay. This and the book preceding it are perfect entertainment for people who enjoy truly vile characters with a sharp turn of phrase and history (especially esoteric characters and episodes). This book made me laugh in a way I hadn't since I read Douglas Adams when I was a kid. I have high hopes that Flashman series will be as consistently entertaining as the better Wodehousian series (although I can't imagine Wodehouse inventing such an utterly compromised character as Harry Flashman).


The Prague Cemetery
The Prague Cemetery
Price: 3.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing book, 2 Oct 2012
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I'll admit I am a fan of Umberto Eco but I was very surprised at how much of an impression this book made on me. The negative criticisms regarding the protagonists' vile anti-semitism miss the point entirely. The language and opinions expressed by the character penetrated many levels of society in Europe, Russia and even the good old USA in the late 19th century. All you need to do is read a little about the Dreyfuss affair to know that many characters from the book (e.g. Drumont) were popular real historical characters. The appalling (and to most modern ears absurd) words which Eco puts in their mouths come from contemporary records. If you can't stomach Ecos description of these attitudes you cannot stomach history - admittedly a pretty sordid and depressing history.

The disturbing thing is, of course, that the insane conspiracies referred to in this book are still widely held in some parts of the world and amongst otherwise ordinary people who find a flimsy but exotic conspiracy more appealing than an evidence based search for truth.

The book is brilliantly written and is a powerful reminder about how evil ideas can gain traction in spite of (or because of?) their preposterousness. This is also quite a humorous book and for me at least a real page turner. This book is rich in real historical characters whom I'm looking forward to learning about.

Can't believe Eco wrote this when he was almost 80....


Far Eastern Tales (Vintage Classics)
Far Eastern Tales (Vintage Classics)
Price: 3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying read that may leave you in a ponderous mood, 22 April 2012
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Notwithstanding the fact that very few of us could be nostalgic for the institutional racism and myriad other attendant issues of the colonial era these stories are pleasantly evocative of a lost age which is somehow captivating. Knowing nothing about the author I first read Maugham when I was in my late teenage years. Having unexpectedly enjoyed his stories I just assumed he belonged to the canon of great British writers. So it was with a mild surprise when I read a fun Christopher Hitchens essay which eloquently did its best to undermine this impression. I had to find out if my teenage impression had been so obviously incorrect so revisited Maugham through this collection of essays. I must admit that even if Hitchens not unfair these essays still manage to entertain me with their strange moods and transplanted Edwardian attitudes.

Sadly, I cannot comment on their quality as literature because the Hitchens essay made too much of an impression on me to relate a properly formed opinion but if you can past some of the sometimes loose characterisation they are a very satisfying read and gave me pause for thought which is my usual reaction from what I think of as good writing.


No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good. Does what it says., 2 Jan 2012
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I have been using this with the free amp kit 1.2 app on my ipad 2 as a practice tool. It functions very well and I have had no problems with feedback with any of the preset tones (including the heavy distorted tones) which I was concerned about from reading the reviews. The presets use a noise gate which i have never used before but which I am definitely going to get for my real amp set up so this tool is really great for trying out new effects that you may want to incorporate into your gigging sound.

I haven't bought the full amp kit app yet but I reckon I will after I master all the import/saving backing tracks functionality.

The only drawback is that the link does feel a little flimsy and I am a little concerned about about it's functional lifetime. Otherwise, I am very pleased. For someone who remembers playing through their parents stereo and several terrible amps as a kid this technology is really wonderful.


Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British
Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British
Price: 4.68

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile and very enjoyable, 15 Dec 2011
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Apart from anything else, this easily read book had me smiling idiotically trying to suppress laughter on the tube. Paxman manages to weave compelling and often humorous anecdote into an informative history.

As an Irishman well schooled on the ills of the British Empire, or perfidious Albion as we liked to call it, I was surprised to find how I ended up quietly convinced that there were some aspects of the British colonial project which had beneficial influence (and not only railways!). By contrast, it makes one shudder to consider what might have happened had Prince Leopolds Belgians ran an empire as large as Britains.

The theme of the book is supposed to be how the legacy of empire has shaped modern Britain and Paxman seems to make the argument that Britain has been unable to forge a proper post empire identity. Indeed he compares the uk to Germany who despite starting two world wars have forged their identity and industry in the heart of Europe.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2012 1:18 PM GMT


Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour
Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Hardcover

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fans of the author will enjoy it, 22 Oct 2011
The authors breezy anecdotal style makes for easy reading and this book provides an entertaining overview (of sorts) of notable recently crippled economies. However, it suffers from a "aren't Europeans strange?" slant that will probably grate with European readers and the level of insight is no more than superficial. The chapter dealing with the Germans is just bizarre in places although it does provide an accessible explanation of what went wrong in some German banks (which could probably be explained in less than 2 pages anyway).

The subject matter is a little scary and has implications for all of us so this is probably a good book for non finance people to read to gain some idea of what's been going on while being entertained at the same time. In summary, if you like the authors other books or would like a light overview of why all these fringe economies are in the news so much then you may enjoy this book.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2013 12:01 PM BST


The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever
Price: 7.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive chunks of high quality reading, 18 Oct 2011
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I'll admit I haven't read the Hume essay yet but I ate the rest of the book and have a copy on my iPhone so I can dip into it whenever I'm stuck on the tube without something to read. This book offers evidence of Hitchens wide reading and each essay seems perfectly placed in the collection.

Like all good collections this book should serve as an introduction to authors you may have neglected, ignored or been unaware of. For me, George Eliots essay was a very welcome surprise. Reading it made me realise what a dimwit I'd been to neglect her and encouraged me to start reading her novels with Middlemarch.


Economyths: How the Science of Complex Systems is Transforming Economic Thought
Economyths: How the Science of Complex Systems is Transforming Economic Thought

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accessible deconstruction of neoclassical economics, 9 Oct 2011
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An easy to read explanation of the failings of much of what is thought in universities and apparently held dear by business and policy makers. The author offers a basic history of economics modelling history and gives convincing explanations why accepted models are not fit for purpose (assuming that you prefer your numbers based on reality). Things which many of take for granted like measures of wealth (GDP) and continual growth (something I had not really questioned seriously before) are scrutinised and undermined. The author made thought provoking points on how economic modelling offers gross simplifications (which, amongst other things, completely ignore the rather pressing issue that we have a planet to look after while strive for material gain).

Some chapters are stronger than others. The chapter which references feminist ideas didn't really convince me but then I'm a little biased since I recently read a feminist article with lots of big meaningless words which explained that "atomic theory" was to be rejected as it is a purely male construct. Of course, he is entirely correct when he states that economic studies is crippled (I'm paraphrasing) by an almost entire absence of female input. This is odd as even the genuinely hard (as in real) sciences like the various branches of physics have at least a few well known female innovators and current practitioners.

Overall, this is a book well worth reading especially if you're the type of person who reads the business section of the newspaper but never really thought about what the numbers you were reading about actually came from (as in who discovered the formulae and how did they know they were right?). Some of what the author discusses is also written about by Paul Krugman whose NY Times oped is worth reading.


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