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Spanish: Revision Guide (Letts GCSE Success)
Spanish: Revision Guide (Letts GCSE Success)
by Allison Macaulay
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.74

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best and most up to date Spanish revision guide around, 10 Mar 2012
I really rate this Spanish guide. It's clearly up to date with the new GCSE language specifications as the 'Exam Advice' pages demonstrate. It is excellent in the way it is succinct with lists of vocabulary for each topic plus examples of how to use the language in context, as well as all of the grammar pages and the extra tips and help sections. A brilliant, clear and easy to use guide for anyone wanting to learn Spanish in a quick, easy and accessible way. Well done Allison Macaulay, I look forward to purchasing your next Spanish guide.


The Person with Alzheimer's Disease: Pathways to Understanding the Experience
The Person with Alzheimer's Disease: Pathways to Understanding the Experience
by Phyllis Braudy Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on the experience of dementia, 18 Dec 2011
I am studying for a PhD in dementia, social relationships and social networks. This book is the best book I have found so far for the first stage for me at the moment as I am asking 'what is the experience of dementia - from the perspective of people with dementia themselves?' I have given the book five stars, but it is not perfect. Firstly there is the actual title of the book. 'The Person with Alzheimer's Disease'. It is actually about the experience of all dementias - Alzheimer's Disease accounts for about 50% of dementias. So it is an inaccurate title. Perhaps we can forgive the Editor - Phyllis Braudy Harris as she is American - and my understanding is that in the States in particular Alzheimer's Disease is used interchangeably with dementia. However, I think that British people with dementia and their carers may be put off getting the book if they have frontal lobal dementia, vascular dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies. That would be a shame. Which brings me to my second issue with the book. At the very start of the book there is a simple sentence which almost makes me chuck the book in the bin: 'an examination of cultural differences between and within cultures is not included'. For me that is crazy and ridiculous. Dementia is a cultural phenomenon. To not put it or 'Alzheimer's Disease' into its cultural context is meaningless. Harris acknowledges that the book is Western focussed, but to ignore the issues this throws up is making the elephant in the room pregnant. So I would like the book to have spent more time at the beginning 'setting the scene'. The book is very US and British focussed - which is fine as the book was written in 2002 so there was little elsewhere going on. But there could have been a chapter written by Jesse Ballenger on the history of dementia in the US and a chapter written by Claire Hilton on the UK history to start with. We have to know where we've come from! Finally the chapters written by Sabat and Phinney are largely found elsewhere - in journal articles. Sabat makes this clear at the start of his chapter but Phinney does not.

Despite all these criticisms we are still in the early stage of discovering what the phenomenon of dementia is like for those diagnosed and this book is a great first step.


A Dictionary of Sociology (Oxford Paperback Reference)
A Dictionary of Sociology (Oxford Paperback Reference)
by John Scott
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

4.0 out of 5 stars If this is the best Dictionary of Sociology on the market then a new one needs to be written, 2 Aug 2011
This dictionary is fine as an introduction, for example it is excellent on the entry for 'postmodernism'. It is particularly good at contemporary history, giving historical examples where appropriate for most entries. However it is not good at being consistently historical, so for example the entry on 'community care' is not well referenced. 'The marked failures of community care in Europe and the United States...are now well documented'. Where?
Then there is what isn't in it and the typos. On page 618 it says 'couldy' instead of 'could'. Very confusingly it recommends a book under 'privatisation' entitled 'privatism' then immediately says people shouldn't use the same terms together as they mean different things. Perhaps 'paradox' should be in there. 'Psychiatry' is bizarrely in there yet some pretty basic sociological terms are not like 'social exclusion' or 'social research'. The Cold War is not in there either, yet this is a critical period in contemporary terms, with the End of the Cold War arguably seeing the biggest changes sociologically worldwide. But overall I had to give it four stars as it is very clearly written, a great study guide and easy to use, with most, if not the majority of sociological terms in there.


The Basics of Essay Writing
The Basics of Essay Writing
by Nigel Warburton
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nigel Warbuton: 'Fact Regurgitator' or 'Summariser'?, 16 Mar 2009
I do like Warbuton's Myers-Briggs inspired Appendix, where he has categorised essay writers. I decided I was a combination of a 'personaliser' and a 'colloquialist'. He has written good stuff on 'overcoming obstacles' - academic writers' block. This bit needs to be expanded I think though - for example I find aromatherapy (frankinscense and clary -sage for writing) and exercise helpful, as well as flicking through papers or books. On the left side of my computer monitor I have a list of things that can help me with my writers' block - acupressure, meditation, visualisation, cups of tea. I think the book could be better laid out - so for example helpful tips like this in boxes. The book is too short and needs much more material on grammar, structure and planning, time management and constructing sentences and paragraphs. The bibliography is too short, but overall this book could get you going again with its humour and tips.


One Step Ahead: Essays and Dissertations
One Step Ahead: Essays and Dissertations
by Chris Mounsey
Edition: Paperback

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good for GCSE students - this book has a misleading title, 16 Mar 2009
This book might be OK for GCSE students, who will love the cartoons, but quite frankly not worth bothering even getting out of the library for MA students. It is just too short, too thin and there isn't enough in it. It is misleading to have the word 'dissertation' in the title. There is no way I would recommend this book for someone writing a dissertation.


Teach Yourself Writing Essays and Dissertations
Teach Yourself Writing Essays and Dissertations
by Hazel Hutchison
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could do better - but the best essay writing book I've come across, 16 Mar 2009
Even though this is the best essay writing book I've managed to get hold of, it is still not that great. Yes, there is a lot of info to help you, but the internal layout is not instinctively easy to use. Presumably because the book is written by someone who is good at writing essays, but not that good at writing 'how to' books, the cross referencing is appalling.

For example I have been told I need to improve my foot-notes. I went to that chapter, but found I also had to read the previous chapter on the 'author-date' system which we don't use on my history MA.

And again, there are far too many irrelevant, distracting and frankly depressing examples of 'poor' and 'good' work. I don't give a monkeys what xyz got for their 'essay' and how wonderful or otherwise it was. I want to improve my essay and my writing! Don't make me read Hamlet again and also why, oh why if the book is called 'writing essays and dissertations' is there some space dedicated to writing a project report? If I wanted to write a project report I would get a book about that.

I do admit there is useful help on grammar, planning, spelling and the actual construction of essays. I would like to see this expanded though. For example on page 7 Hazel Hutchison describes the six stages of essay writing - planning, research, thought, more planning, writing and editing. What percentage of time does she suggest giving to each? One writer I seem to remember saying that he wrote a million words of garbage before 'success'. I would like to see more humour and motivating quotes like that in the book - more like a work book. And more written on academic writers' block (exercise, aromatherapy, caffeine...). And more on how you can respond to feedback from tutors. The bibliography needs to have more references and be broken down into specific skills - eg grammar, spelling, structure, writers' block, support, english as second language etc
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2011 6:13 PM GMT


Good Essay Writing: A Social Sciences Guide (Published in association with The Open University)
Good Essay Writing: A Social Sciences Guide (Published in association with The Open University)
by Peter Redman
Edition: Paperback

13 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Borrow this book from the library if you must, 16 Mar 2009
I'm doing an MA and this book is just about a pass in terms of help to write essays. To be brutally honest it would be better if Peter Redman wrote books on how to mark essays rather than how to write them. The Appendix at the back is ok - a glossary of abbreviations. But why oh why is etc missed off? OK we vaguely know it means another etc etc, but if he's included ie and eg why not etc? There are much better books out there to help you write essays and dissertations. Personally I find examples of essays depressing - I can't imagine myself ever sitting down and going through something someone else has written and 'marking' it unless I was getting paid to do it. Instead I want to get on with writing my own essays and this constant irrelevant distraction of examples does not help.

This book is really for people doing Open University degrees and needs to be more up front about this on the front and back covers. Marking systems, as far as I know, are not as specific as Redman tries to make out in the text. This book would improve vastly if there was more about the actual writing process - planning, structure, grammar, sentences and paragraphs for example.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2009 3:08 AM BST


Black Ice (Deluxe)
Black Ice (Deluxe)
Price: 7.95

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She likes rock and roll, 25 Oct 2008
This review is from: Black Ice (Deluxe) (Audio CD)
Last night I had a well deserved break from spreading the socialist revolution and my scholarly investigations into age discrminiation in the Edwardian era. Husband and I drove over to Leek to attend my ex-boyfriend's granny's 90th birthday. Quite by coincidence AC/DC have released what is quite possibly their best album since 'Back in Black' - which was released a whopping 28 years ago. 'Black Ice' is the ideal antidote to almost anything, apart from a good night's sleep. Great for recessions, long-ish car journeys into sunsets, uniting young and old alike and musical riffs, lead guitar solos and simplistic sing-along lyrics. I've already listened to it five times and I only bought it at 2pm yesterday. I love 'Skies on Fire' the second track. 'I know you. And you know me. Tell me what is you want it to be. What you want to be. What you need in me'. The band are getting so old now that I'm constantly wondering if these songs are now written about conversations they've been having with their kids. Gone are the crude and to be honest over the top potentially -illegal lyrics about underage sex. (Squealer and 'Can I sit next to you Girl? spring to mind from the 70s). It's all rock and roll, war, the weather and gigs. I don't think they're getting it as much as they did 30 years ago. 'War Machine' spells it out nicely. For true AC/DC fans it's a total plagiarisation of one of their 1980 tracks 'Giving the Dog a Bone'. But if you are such a dedicated fan, you don't mind of course them replicating their masterpieces with a militarisatic rather than sexual overtone. The booklet which comes with the 13.99 version is even more intriguing. For an extra four pounds you get all the lyrics, AC/DC in grey rather than red on the front, and some glossy colour photos. Worth every penny. Although not sure Americans agree. Their tour sold out in ten seconds over here. You can still get tickets over there.

Angus is still in his obligatory school uniform and pulling faces like the naughty school boy nicking from the tuck shop he isn't. But the rest of the band - who must now be approaching their 60s - have been working out (possibly in my dreams, a 'rock and roll dream') but anyway, they're all smiling. Probably smiling because of all the money they've made out of us suckers. Even more of a giveaway to this fact is the title of one of the songs 'Money Made', 'You keep it up, you get it made'. On this ocassion, they have kept it up. I have to disagree with my ex on the issue of 'Fly on the Wall' being up to this standard - it ain't.
But I think we wouldn't be 'Spoilin for a Fight' on why this is probably their best album for nearly thirty years. It's possibly because it's the original line-up since the 1980 'Let There be Rock' tour - apart from Bon Scott who died from a drinking overdose then. Angus Young on lead guitar, Malcolm Young (whose name I had emblazoned in Celtic script on my cut-off denim jacket, ahem some time ago) on rythym guitair, Phil Rudd on drums and Cliff Williams on bass. Brian Johnson 'vocals'. His voice has actually improved. But it's amazing the difference the steady drums and dominant bass make. Phil Rudd only came back in 1994 after scrapping with Malcolm.

And 'Decibel' - track 9. A track presumably written by Angus about playing in open air stadiums. 'Love in the rain, they're in there rocking standing proud, Decibel. That's the history of rock and roll'.

And the birthday party? 'She likes Rock N Roll'


Self, Senility, and Alzheimer's Disease in Modern America: A History
Self, Senility, and Alzheimer's Disease in Modern America: A History
by Jesse F. Ballenger
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 24.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, perceptive and pioneering, 24 Jun 2008
Ballenger gives an academic cultural history of Alzheimers disease (and other dementias)in the USA, which is the first one of its kind anywhere. He argues that because Alzheimers takes away cognition, the soul and the self are taken and this means that in disease terms, Alzheimers is the most stigmatised disease.


After the Victorians: Private Conscience and Public Duty in Modern Britain
After the Victorians: Private Conscience and Public Duty in Modern Britain
by Peter Mandler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 93.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Biographies showing the plethora of 'Victorian Values', 18 Nov 2007
A fascinating collection of eleven biographies of middle class 'liberals' which challenges Margaret Thatcher's simple definition of Victorian Values equalling hard work, cleanliness and self-help. The collection opens with an introduction written by the authors analysing Virginia Woolf's assertion in 1910 that 'human character changed'. Pederson and Mandler argue that instead contemporaries of Woolf's carried on the tendency of that era linking 'private behaviour to public morality' (p2). What is striking to me is that the work seems blatantly influenced by the work of the sociologist Habermas in its central theme of private/public. This doesn't appear to be acknowledged. It's a shame that historians and sociologists seem unwilling to recognise each others contributions to academia.


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