Profile for Mr. Ad Meredith > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mr. Ad Meredith
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,209,970
Helpful Votes: 45

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mr. Ad Meredith "medzontour" (London, UK)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Karma Chameleons: No-one said the search for happiness would be dignified . . .
Karma Chameleons: No-one said the search for happiness would be dignified . . .
by Tom Fordyce
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Topical, Thoughtful and Funny, 2 Jan 2011
Fordyce and Dirs could not have known that, as this book was published, the government would begin to invest taxpayers' money in measuring happiness (indeed Dirs' conjectures on Cameron, happiness and the Divine Brown school of karma in the last chapter confirm it). Nevertheless this book comes at a time when the characters may be about to graduate from literary novelties to a series of government focus groups, a thought more terrifying than the metronomic johnson of the naturist chapter.
Whether they are about to be invited into Number 10 as "Happiness Tsars" we are yet to find out. One thing is for sure, those that enjoyed their first outing will love this more thoughtful adventure. Fordyce and Dirs once again produce the comedy goods, with wit and charm in bucket loads. There is also a bit more to chew on here. They wisely steer clear of too many psychological insights but layer-on enough self reflexivity and broad conclusions to allow the reader to ponder a few of the deeper questions posed in the Wetherspoons in Liverpool St that marks the beginning of the journey. Some chapters are stronger than others, with the naturist and peasant experiences standing out for me. These provide Dirs and Fordyce the perfect combination of flowing action and fine contributions from the support cast, and the resulting banter is first class. Elsewhere there is less of the natural comic tension between the contrasting personalities of the protagonists that characterised the first book. This does not prevent the book from delivering laugh-out-loud action throughout and is highly recommended for those needing a slightly more practical entry into self-help. It left me wanting more, particularly from Dirsy's Nan.


McNaughten
McNaughten
by Sian Busby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Working of a Difficult Story, 2 Aug 2010
This review is from: McNaughten (Paperback)
This is a marvellous work that binds the reader into the Victorian world it so lovingly restores with all the voyeuristic magnetism of the classic Victorian novelists. Recreating a literary style that would so immediately invite comparisons with such a darling as Dickens is a bold step, yet in terms of the enchanting depth of her narrative, character observation and turn of phrase, Busby is certainly worthy of that comparison.
Yet reading as a lawyer, an otherwise stunning achievement by an author who on this form could rival the very best Victorian storytellers is slightly tainted by a failure to fully explore the legal subject matter. Any lawyer will enjoy a legal yarn, and one told so vividly as this delighted me for the most part. However something as difficult as the McNaughten Rules can not be easily understood if camouflaged by a meticulously detailed Victorian set, amidst the most beautiful prose and engaging characters. As a result of the intricately woven and extremely enjoyable distractions, I found some of the discussion of the points of law at stake in this fascinating tale difficult to follow. I can understand that making the trial only a couple of chapters long drags this story out of the traditional legal scenery and the story certainly benefits from being given the light of Victorian London beyond the Old Bailey. Lovers of legal argument and judgment, however may find the ending too concise. Other readers may be more content with this delicate treatment of the law in favour of devotion to the exploration of the personalities and their daily travails. But in trying to walk the tightrope of addressing the substantive legal arguments whilst maintaining the interest of the broader non-legal readership I think that the book may risk leaving all readers a little dissatisfied. The perhaps intended failure to definitively choose between a heart-warming socio-political drama and a study of the origins of the law on insanity robs this wonderful book of the fifth of the five stars that the original Dickensian works so unanimously achieve. A neutral story without the academic undercurrent and told with the same panache as Busby shows in McNaughten could result in a true classic.


Eden
Eden
by Tim Smit
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Potted Inspiration, 2 Dec 2009
This review is from: Eden (Paperback)
This is a feel-good book, and then some. In fact, by the time I'd finished it I felt so good about Britain and the people that live here I was ready to hug the next man I bumped into on the street. And once I had finished hugging people, I wanted to take on something like Eden.
Smit has done more than provide inspiration, he has set out a detailed blueprint of how you can conceive and execute something as large and complicated as Eden. Yet the beauty of this book is that the blueprint is written in such lyrical, engaging prose that retains a light touch even when Smit is taking us wading through the flooded clay pit that gives birth to these magnificent greenhouses.
When people have good ideas in this country, the first person they tell it to is far too often more likely to cast doubt than enthuse. For that reason Smit's story is all the more remarkable. He devotes no time in the book to doubters (and there must have been quite a few) or anyone that tried to stand in the way of the project. Moreover he is generous in the empathy he offers to those who got cold feet. But the magnificent positive vibe that courses through the chapters is creates by great passages of the book in which he turns the spotlight on the incredible team of supporters that made the Eden project happen. Descriptions of the main characters and their personalities are so rich that you feel you would be more than comfortable launching straight into conversation with them. These are the wonderful people that make you glad to be British, and though self-depricating in relation to his own role, Smit's contribution to inspiring them is written between the lines of every page.
For horticulturists and environmentalists there is plenty of detail to chew on, and the lovers of Cornwall will be in their element. There is also a wonderful description of a love affair with piano that will have musicians melting.
Overall a magnificently crafted read that will make you want to find your own Eden. My only criticism is that it's not long enough - time for an update chapter?


Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness
Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness
by Richard Toye
Edition: Paperback

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A joy for anyone with a love of 20th century history, 25 Nov 2009
This is a fascinating insight into the relationship between the two most influential politicians of the first half of the 20th century. Scholarly, detailed and very smoothly written it takes a decent investment of time to get through it, but it is worth the effort. As a study of a relationship rather than a biography it is a refreshing break from the usual format, though perhaps there could be greater indulgence into the magnificent personalities of the characters involved. Nonetheless there is an enormous amount of thoughtful commentary on every aspect of the Churchill-L G relationship, charting the ebbs and flows in more detail than before to come to a challenging, revisionist conclusion.


We Could Be Heroes: One Van, Two Blokes and Twelve World Championships
We Could Be Heroes: One Van, Two Blokes and Twelve World Championships
by Tom Fordyce
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly balanced banter, brings online flare to print, 23 Aug 2009
Whether you have read these boys on BBC Sport or are new to their talents you'll love this light, fast-paced giggle-jerker. The quest may not appeal to everyone at first glance, but they present it with such an engaging blend of amateur enthusiasm and professional determination that you can not resist being transported to the front row of each event rooting for the boys to come through. Most importantly they use their mastery of sporting journalistic wit and ability to conjure a comedy metaphor with enough guile to be funny without overdoing it. The BBC Live Text one-liners are beautifully interwoven into a truly engrossing story by two blokes who you can't help get behind. Some interest in sport, or the pursuit of an unlikely challenge, is probably advisable, but this is not just for the sports fans. Anyone who watched On Thin Ice and wished they would stop taking themselves so very seriously will love it, as will the fan of the village pub and the quaint phenomenon we call Britishness (not to mention Finnishness). A great holiday read.


The Sustainable Home: The Essential Guide to Eco Building, Renovation and Decoration
The Sustainable Home: The Essential Guide to Eco Building, Renovation and Decoration
by Cathy Strongman
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wicked ideas without the weird, 28 Nov 2008
What a joy to find a book on sustainable building that isn't full of weird houses built out of old tyres. The reference section at the front is useful (sections on construction techniques, wall paints etc.). I bought the book because I am redocorating my home and wanted to see if I could do it in a more environmentally friendly way, but there is information that would be helpful if I was building an extension or planning to build a house from scratch. The 30? houses at the back are beautifully illustrated with pages of photographs and floor plans, which I always find very helpful in navigating the buildings. The author explains each house and the eco decisions made in relation to them. I'd definitely recommend this book. I have also used the tips from the kitchen planning section and the floor and wall coveringsf or my own home.


Koba The Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million
Koba The Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million
by Martin Amis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A step beyond non-fiction, 3 Jan 2008
This is a thoughtful, emotional and stimulating read. For those who are Russian or have spent time in Russia it is particularly engaging. As a part-time historian Amis is never going to answer the big questions that are posed by the tragedy of Stalinism. However he uses his remarkable upbringing and literary talent to discuss the issues with an intriguing mix of insight, lucidity and zeal. As someone who spends a good deal of time reading non-fiction on Russia I throughly enjoyed this change of tone.


Globalisation, Democracy And Terrorism
Globalisation, Democracy And Terrorism
by Eric Hobsbawm
Edition: Hardcover

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to Hobsbawm, 3 Jan 2008
There is nothing wrong with a historian cashing in on a remarkable career and a powerful brand with a collection of lectures - provided he is up front and honest about it. In his introduction Hobsbawm makes it clear that he is presenting the (updated) texts from lectures and there may therefore be some overlap and repetition. When dipped into, as you would sit in on an hour's lecture, the book therefore provides an excellent introduction to some of Hobsbawm's views on the contemporary world.

Some of the chapters are better than others but there is no escaping his central message on American hegemony and we are treated to morsels of some of his more controversial thoughts on democracy. It is true that to be truly appreciated both of these need greater explanation, but there are 40 year's of his writing to choose from if you want to learn more.


Page: 1