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Netochka Nezvanova (Classics)
Netochka Nezvanova (Classics)
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 8 July 2013
Netochka Nezvanova was written before Dostoevsky's exile during his Utopian Socialist times, it was intended to be a novel but was never completed, Jane Kentish states that Dostoevsky had only written the prologue to this novel.

Although Dostoevsky never completed the novel, it still reveals Dostoevsky's genius which would later be developed into his major novel.
The story is written in first person, about Netochka's painful childhood and experiences which would effect her for the rest of her life.

I would split the novel into 3 sections, firstly Netochka's childhood with her mother living in poverty, who marries a failed musician. The musician who claims to be a genius but is unable to develop his talent, constantly torments the family with his drunkard ways and manipulates Netochka's unending love for him to satisfy his selfish desires. This part of the book is by far the best part, the tear jerking, emotional cries of the child echoes in your heart as you read. Dostoevsky certainly knows how to make the reader step into the character's shoes.

The second part is when Netochka is adopted into an aristocratic family, where she develops a strange relationship with the family's daughter Katya.
Lastly Netochka is then taken care of by Katya's sister as the family move to Moscow, where she is able to witness the disintegration of family life.

One of the running themes of the novel is art, where art is constantly surrounding Netochka's life and one see's how she is slowly able to appreciate art through music.
Although, the last part leaves us with an unfinished story, which is a shame. The novel involves a lot of crying, blushing, fainting, sometimes too much, leaving the reader wondering why the fainting or crying was even necessary.

Like i said earlier, this is an undeveloped story, and never finished. But it is a great read, especially the first part of the story, it'll certainly leave a deep impression on the reader.

The Manga Guide to Relativity
The Manga Guide to Relativity
by Hideo Nitta
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction, 2 Sept. 2012
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I am a student that has just finished his A levels and will be entering university to study Physics later this month.
As a physics student who has a great interest in manga (I read loads!) I decided this would be a great way to teach myself bits of relativity before my course.
I've read several physics books reading this one which had material on relativity, although they were rather scattered, my knowledge of relativity had come form several books such as George Gamow, Brian Greene, etc. They all had good analogies and methods of explaining the concepts to me, although the book itself wasn't focused around relativity itself.
So I certainly found this manga guide to be good material for readers to understand relativity from one single book rather than going through several.

The ways the concepts are explained are extremely helpful since they are all done through diagrams and drawings which can fire ones imagination to imagine the actual effects of relativity taking place (i.e length contraction, mass increase, slowing down of time, etc).

In the end of each chapter there are a few pages dedicated to the theory and mathematics behind it.
The mathematics and theory behind it is rather simple, where proofs are shown and how these basic equations are used to give the right results.
If you don't completely understand the equations and proofs, that isn't a huge issue, you can always move on and read the rest, after all the important part is understanding the concepts itself otherwise everything else will just seem super confusing! Working out the maths and theory later isn't a problem.

Of course I need to write something about the manga itself!
Well I won't dwell into the background story of the manga, its rather basic, about a student who has to learn Relativity for the summer vacation.
Anyway, the art work is well done, a typical manga style art work but certainly good enough to go through with fun.
There is a touch of comedy throughout the manga which makes it more enjoyable.

The reason I gave this book a 4 star is because I wasn't too satisfied with its explanation of General Relativity.
Most of the book is dedicated to explaining Special R, where only one chapter (the final chapter) is for General R.
The way it is explained isn't as good as the rest of the book, where I think they could of explained the warping of space-time with more diagrams and to demonstrate how light is actually effected by the curvature of space-time (gravity) through these diagrams. Very little is emphasised on Geodesic lines (the line which provides the shortest distance between two points), since it is extremely important to understand how curved space alters the path taken by light or things around us.
I guess more could of been written about General R to make it more helpful for the readers, I found it easier to understand as I've already come across these concepts in different books before.

In general this is a good book to read as a introduction and I'm sure you'll understand the concepts by the end of it (maybe struggle through General R).
I would recommend a book to help the understanding of General R, although these books don't focus entirely on General R only, which meant I had to gather bits and bobs from every book to solidify my understanding.
Anyways, its certainly a fun book and you should enjoy it (:

Kurosawa: Crime Collection [DVD]
Kurosawa: Crime Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Toshiro Mifune
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £24.98

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW, what a fantastic box set!, 26 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As an owner of BFI's Samurai/Classic and now Crime collection, I can honestly say that BFI does a fantastic job.
I only discovered Kurosawa earlier this year and am now captivated by his deep and profound movies.
Kurosawa plays with our minds and makes the viewer question themselves.

I don't know what the original quality of the films were like, but BFI has restored it to an easily watch-able standard, you won't even mind that the films are black&white!
The design of the box set is truly worthy of being part of anyone's film collection.
Any fan of Kurosawa would love this, some of the greatest films ever made to be part of your film collection.

Well as you know from the product description, the films provided are:

Drunken Angel (1948);
Stray Dog (1949);
The Bad Sleep Well (1947);
High and Low (1963);

High and Low is probably my favourite, the film certainly drags your attention and you can't help but think about the value of human life. Kurosawa creates a style of suspense which rivals against Alfred Hitchcock in his own personal style, definitely a fantastic film, step by step the mystery unfolds.

I would write a brief description of the rest, but thats for you to find out yourself (:

No Title Available

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing poster of an amazing singer, 26 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Love the poster, Billie Holiday is such an iconic figure in jazz but also music in general.
Poster came in great condition and good print.

A Short History of Slavery
A Short History of Slavery
by James Walvin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to The History of Slavery, 26 Aug. 2012
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As a student who's academic focus is highly centred around Maths and Sciences, I found this book very well written and accessible.

James Walvin does a great job in giving a reader such as I, who has near to no knowledge of slavery or American history itself.
Walvin starts you off at the beginning of slavery, earliest accounts being during the Ancient Greeks and how different forms of slavery existed within its culture.
He then introduces slavery in the Islamic world, where it was actually highly active before the Europeans, how enslavement took place in Africa and slave trade took place regularly.

The main focus of the book is around the Atlantic slave trade, dominated by the Europeans, where the Portuguese were the first and the largest slave producers in the beginnings of Atlantic slave trade. Later Britain would take the greater role in the business, and slaves would be shipped to the Caribbean to work in plantations to provide sugar, tobacco and later tea and cotton. I never knew that sugar in its pure form was only widely used when slavery and work in the plantations took place, this would lead to a high demand of sugar meaning a greater demand for new slaves to work in these plantations.

Walvin also looks at the communities which slaves would create during, and how they were treated, punished, sold, raised, etc.
He later takes us to uprisings that would take place, especially Haiti's slave uprising which would be the only nation to succeed before slavery being abolished.
Britain would lead the slavery abolishment during the Enlightenment and Walvin takes you through the journey taken to make it happen.

All of this I learnt from Walvin's book, so much more detail is provided, even letters and accounts of events, etc are analysed.
He reminds us that slavery continues to happen today, even though it is in different forms and many countries continue to have such a system taking place, legally or illegally.

The reason I give the book a 4 star is because it can get rather long-winded sometimes, where accounts over accounts are given which can slowly become boring for the reader (it did for me anyway).
Also it focuses mainly, as I've said earlier, the Atlantic Slave Trade, and ignores the ongoings of serfdom in Russia, slavery in the middle and far east. I guess that is to be expected but it would of certainly been a lot more interesting if it included those areas.

Again, this is just a introduction, I guess you could say it's diluted, but not to the point that an understanding of slavery and its history cannot be attained from it.
The book was rather short, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the topic.

The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell
The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell
by Basil Mahon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An amazingly underrated Scientist, 5 Aug. 2012
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The Man who Changed Everything by Basil Mahon is a wonderful book which outlines not only Maxwell's scientific achievements but his humble inspirational life. As an aspiring physics University student, this is the first book I've read on Maxwell, before finishing it my knowledge of Maxwell was extremely limited.

James Clerk Maxwell was born in Scotland, as a child he was laughed at in school for wearing homemade clothes, which gave him the name 'Daftie'. Maxwell was known to have a funny, humble, charitable and loving personality to all those he met.

Maxwell wrote his first paper when he was 14 on ovals and curves which was last discussed by Descartes! He would later develop the ideas for statistical analysis (Maxwell-Boltzman Distribution), thought experiments (Maxwell's Demon), thermodynamics, optics (how the eye perceives images), perception of colour (the first colour photograph), the basis for control theory, information theory, and so much more! Maxwell is probably the most underrated scientist ever, his contributions to mankind is unbelievable.

Those that have heard of Maxwell know him for 'Maxwell's Equations' where he unified electricity and magnetism into one entity and which is now known to be a fundamental force of the universe. Maxwell was then able to theoretically calculate the speed of light perfectly! I won't even try to explain how much electricity has helped society and mankind, but just so you know it's all thanks to Maxwell.

Maxwell's equations consist of 4 equations: 1. Guass' Law of Electric fields, 2. Guass' Law of Magnetic fields, 3. Faraday's Law and 4. The Ampere-Maxwell Law. Now wait a minute! Maxwell seems to have barely done anything, just changed a bit of Ampere's law and taken all the credit for the whole electromagnetic theory. That's what I first thought! Maxwell has done a lot more than that, a conceptual basis for electromagnetism to understand why the laws worked, to link electricity and much more. He developed the idea of flux, fields through his seemingly strange analogy of 'rotating wheels and idle wheels' (remember the electron wasn't discovered until 30 years later or so!). A important point to also mention is that Maxwell was then able to establish light as electromagnetic waves! And calculate its velocity!

Maxwell influenced many scientists during his lifetime but also after, Boltzman, Einstein, Feyman, and much more! I don't know how much more I can stress Maxwell's achievements, it is truly sad that he is not given the real credit he deserves, as people nowadays would of heard of Newton and Einstein but Maxwell is definitely up there in their league.

I learnt so much from reading Mahon's book, although it is does get rather dry when the author tries to explain scientific concepts and such. It is also quite difficult to undersand certain mathematical functions such as curl, div, without any further maths knowledge. Maxwell's concept of his 'rotating wheels and idle wheels' was rather difficult to take in but overall the book is relatively okay to read, certainly fun and educating! Recommended for scientists but also those who just have a general interest! Much can be learnt about Maxwell's life just from this short book.

Don't forget that without Maxwell's equations you wouldn't have the computer to even read this review!

Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction
Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction
by Rowan Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tough but rewarding, 3 July 2012
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Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction by Rowan Williams is a fantastic book for people who want a deeper understanding of Dostoevsky's works.
Before I read this book, I read all of Dostoyevsky's major novels and various short stories.

Rowan Williams has a thorough understanding of both theology and philosophy which is necessary for his analysis throughout Dostoevsky's novels.
He goes through the themes and ideas which constantly come up in Dostoevsky's novels which the reader may not pick up (i certainly didn't), such as the demonic being a state where human decisions do not exist, essentially where free will does not exist, which is evident in Ivan's poem of the Inquisitor (Brother's Karamazov), but also in 'Demons', 'Crime and Punishment' and according to Williams, Prince Myshkins inability to act undertake the perfect role of Christ which eventually leads to destruction (The Idiot). There are many more ideas which crop up in Dostoevsky's novels, which readers generally don't pick up on and Williams delivers these concepts to us.

Williams provides a thorough analysis of Dostoevsky's novels which shows evident research of different writers which have written of Dostoevsky, where much material is implemented and built upon. Williams quotes many other writers and also Dostoevsky himself to justify the concepts within the novel.

Although the writing by Williams is extremely heavy going, requires a lot of patiences and re-reading over to understand. I certainly found it difficult to read and go through, especially since I don't study English literature, theology, or English based subjects.

I would only recommend this book to extreme Dostoevsky fans, the average reader would probably be frustrated by the complicated content and writing style unless he/she has a keen interest in Dostoevsky. Williams does refer back to many passages in the novels and the reader will be lost unless they remember these parts of the novels, the reader definitely should refresh their minds of all the intricate details in the novel and every sequence that it runs through before reading this book. A lot of preparation is required before reading the book, but a Dostoevsky fanatic shouldn't have a problem with that haha.

For those who will persevere and go through this book will be glad they did, where the knowledge and new understanding gained from the book will certainly be rewarding.

How to Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiatical Architecture
How to Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiatical Architecture
by Denis R. McNamara
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for understanding Church Architecture!, 30 Jun. 2012
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The book is fantastic for those who want to learn about Church Architecture and the religious meanings behind the various sections of the various different kinds of Churches. The book provides the reader which many diagrams and images so you can appreciate and recognise the particular part of the church when you next visit.

I found it better than 'How To Read A Church: A Guide to Images, Symbols and Meanings in Churches and Cathedrals by Dr Richard Taylor' mainly because it had much, much more images, literally images on every single page, whilst Richar Taylors one was mainly texts and describing the more of the symbols and images presented around the church rather than the architecture itself.

Anyway, its a great book for interest but also for any architecture students who want to study churches.

The Gospel in Dostoyevsky: Selected from His Works
The Gospel in Dostoyevsky: Selected from His Works
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Great compilation of works by Dostoevsky, 30 Jun. 2012
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The Gospel in Dostoevsky is a book which contains the passages in his novels which contain deep references to Christianity or the Gospel in general.
Passages from 'The Idiot', 'Crime and Punishment', 'The Adolescent' and 'The Brothers Karamazov' are compiled into this book.
These passages are usually iconic and usually referenced to when speaking about the novels itself.

I won't list out all the passages that are compiled, but the book itself contains fantastic passages and its great for anyone who has already read Dostoevsky and wants to refresh their memory of the novels themselves of the notable sections that are continually spoken about by critics.

Although in the passage 'The Idiot' where Nastassya Filippovna meets Prince Myshkin for the first time and then after a series of dialogue the Prince is slapped by Ganya, sections of the passage are definitely cut down (like when the Captain speaks and Nastassya later humiliates him), mainly I guess because it wasn't necessary.
I guess its not too much of a problem, but there are definitely passages in 'Demons' that could of been added into the book, where religious implications are present such as when Stepan speaks on his deathbed about God and humanity, etc.

Overall its a great book, but I'd recommend this book generally for Dostoevsky fans only, someone who would like to just keep a book which contains most of his religious narratives.
If you're new to Dostoevsky, I'd recommend you read a whole of his novel rather than passages, it may be extremely long but its definitely worth it.

Kurosawa: Classic Collection [DVD] [1952]
Kurosawa: Classic Collection [DVD] [1952]
Dvd ~ Toshiro Mifune
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £21.19

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Boxset, Kurosawa Classics!, 30 Jun. 2012
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Kurosawa Classic Collection is wonderful!
This boxset provides you with:

Ikiru (1952); I Live in Fear (1949); Red Beard (1965); The Lower Depths (1957); Dodes Ka-den (1970)

The selection of films are mostly black and white (only Dodes Ka-den is coloured) but the quality of the films are great!
As any Kurosawa fan will know, Kurosawa loves to explore the philosophical themes which surround life, where his films usually leaves the audience with deep impressions on these moral issues and problems presented in his films.
All 5 of the films are definitely worth watching, and the boxset is definitely worth its price.

The product itself is really well presented, where the quality and layout of the boxset and dvds are great.
Definitely recommended to any Kurosawa fan, but also anyone who wants to venture on the masterpieces of a legendary director.

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