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Sarah (UK)

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The Best Short Stories (Wordsworth Classics)
The Best Short Stories (Wordsworth Classics)
by Guy de Maupassant
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars He is an acute observer of the French bourgeoisie with their class distinctions and hypocrisy and views love and lust with a coo, 11 Jun. 2015
Maupassant is the master of the short story. He keeps the suspense going throughout each tale and it is hard to put the book down. He is an acute observer of the French bourgeoisie with their class distinctions and hypocrisy and views love and lust with a cool yet sympathetic eye. He also provides beautiful description of the natural world. These are the best short stories I have ever read, by a long way.


My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots
My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots
by John Guy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you just read one book about Mary Queen of Scots, make it this one, 9 April 2015
Among the innumerable books about the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, this one stands out. John Guy is a serious historian but he writes with the fluency of the novelist combined with the historian's rigorous examination of the sources. Of course Mary's life reads like a novel - early years in the pampered French court, return to a turbulent Scotland where she makes a disastrous choice of husband in the dissolute Darnley, arranges to have him murdered and then marries one of the chief murderers i.e. Bothwell, which leads to her forced abdication in favour of her son, flight to England - and the inevitably tragic ending on the scaffold. The book treats Mary fairly, examining her good qualities such as loyalty and intelligence and while acknowledging her lack of judgement particularly in her marriages, reminds us that she was particularly unlucky given the faction riven Scotland she was thrown into plus the strong anti Catholic feeling in England which worked against her. A compelling read which is very difficult to put down.


The Lord of the Rings (3 Book Box set)
The Lord of the Rings (3 Book Box set)
by Brian Sibley
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Unique fantasy epic, 29 Dec. 2012
The Lord of the Rings clearly does not appeal to everyone. To appreciate it you need to be a fast reader and have a well developed imagination. As another reviewer mentioned, Tolkien wrote it inspired by his own genius and was not concerned with money or fame. To me and many others it is one of the greatest novels in English: a work of towering vision which creates a complete fantasy world where the battle between good and evil is played out with momentous consequences. It is beautifully written, particularly the descriptions of scenery etc., and the characters are all interesting and compelling. As a fantasy epic on a huge scale, it is a unique achievement which will never be surpassed.


The Hollow Crown - TV Mini Series [DVD]
The Hollow Crown - TV Mini Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Whishaw
Price: £9.99

176 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb historical drama, 26 July 2012
The Hollow Crown is the best drama shown on the BBC for many years. Every aspect of the production was first rate, particularly the top notch cast and wonderful cinematography with beautiful landscapes. In Richard II Ben Whishaw gave a fine performance as a king tormented by his own insecurities and finally deposed. Each subsequent drama seemed to reach a higher plane than the last, culminating in a superb final rendition of Henry V. I agree that cutting the conspiracy scene (crucial) and enlarging the role of the Duke of York in Henry V were mistakes. However, Simon Russell Beale and Jeremy Irons were both excellent as Falstaff - showing the character's more reflective side as well as his roistering - and the ageing King whose dreams of the crown turn to bitter reality. But I have to single out Tom Hiddleston's performance as Henry V as quite exceptional, I totally disagree with those reviewers who disliked it. Some of the speeches such as the Crispian's day one were low key and pensive, but all the more moving for that I would argue, and his courtship of the Princess showed a wonderful light touch. This Henry V starts off as a dissolute young man who matures into a courageous leader of men but also a profound thinker who is fully aware of the horrors of the war that he unleashes. If Hiddleston does not win many awards, I will be surprised - he is one to watch. I can't wait to get the DVD now.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 23, 2013 9:03 AM GMT


The Greatest Hits
The Greatest Hits
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.73

4.0 out of 5 stars Voice of her generation, 26 Feb. 2012
This review is from: The Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
If you like Whitney Houston or want to discover the secret of her success, you need to get these CDs. The standard of songwriting on the CDs is mixed, some of the songs are fairly standard whereas others are spectacular and original. However her voice is so superb and so versatile, with incredible power and range, that it transcends the most standard material. As a singer she was the voice of her generation and she will be sadly missed.


Moonlight Serenade
Moonlight Serenade
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great fun but CD is too short, 27 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Moonlight Serenade (Audio CD)
Andre Rieu gives an excellent performance of Strauss waltzes. My reservation would be that the CD is too short and there are far more music items on the DVD when most busy people would buy this for playing CD - so they can listen to music while doing other things around the home etc. It would be better to have produced it as a long music CD and short DVD I would say.


Young Bloods: Revolution 1769-1795 (The Wellington and Napoleon Quartet)
Young Bloods: Revolution 1769-1795 (The Wellington and Napoleon Quartet)
by Simon Scarrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Two men who were destined to decide the fate of Europe, 15 Aug. 2010
An excellent study of Napoleon and Wellington in their youth and the start of the French Revolution which convulsed Europe for a generation. Scarrow is very readable but never sacrifices historical authenticity, unlike many of his peers.
He vividly conveys the characters of the two principal figures - both outsiders in many ways (even though Wellington was from minor aristocracy), neither shining in academic studies but nevertheless excelling in their chosen careers in the army. I look forward to reading the 3 sequels.


Hamlet [DVD] [2009]
Hamlet [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Price: £5.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant fresh interpretation of a play for all seasons, 6 Feb. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I agree with the other reviewers in that this is an outstanding Hamlet. The sets are pared down, the decor is mainly black with limited areas of brightness, reflecting the dark and polarised moral undercurrents of the play. David Tennant's Hamlet is the best performance of the role that I have ever seen (and that includes Olivier and Branagh's film versions), he perfectly conveys the complexity of the character, veering from kindness, black humour, horror and anger within minutes. He always retains Hamlet's humanity and so ensures our empathy and interest. The rest of the cast are outstandingly good (though I would give Derek Jacobi's excellent Claudius in Branagh's version the edge over Patrick Stewart, who gives an underplayed though effectively sinister performance) and I would single out Pennie Downie's Gertrude as superb, making her a much more sympathetic character than is often achieved.

As we would expect, Shakespeare's language is always paramount and totally respected by all the cast. My only criticism is the cutting of the vital final part of the last scene when Fortinbras arrives, sees the carnage that has occurred and makes a wonderful eulogy of Hamlet 'for he was likely, had he been put on, to have proved most royally' , commanding his body to be carried 'like a solder from the stage.' This cutting is detrimental to the play because the arrival of Fortinbras to take over the government represents the triumph of youth and innocence over the corruption and decay of the previous regime, one of the major themes of the play. If this section had not been cut, I would class this version as absolutely perfect.


Blue Skies & Black Olives: A survivor's tale of housebuilding and peacock chasing in Greece
Blue Skies & Black Olives: A survivor's tale of housebuilding and peacock chasing in Greece
by John Humphrys
Edition: Hardcover

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted and funny, 13 Sept. 2009
I'm afraid that I totally disagree with the previous reviewer. The book made me laugh out loud several times. Yes many people have done a book on a similar theme before but this one is particularly well written and funny, particularly the contrast between uptight John Humphrys and his laid back son. Being middle class and buying a property abroad is not a crime, and I strongly recommend this book.


The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Complete Series [1970] [DVD]
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Complete Series [1970] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Keith Michell
Price: £10.00

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic historical drama, 15 Nov. 2008
A remarkable achievement by the BBC, some 30 years old but compares well with their current offerings. There is one episode for each wife, all played by top actresses - I would single out those playing Catherine of Aragon and Jane Seymour as especially good - with an excellent supporting cast including Patrick Troughton as Norfolk and Bernard Hepton as Cranmer. The real life stories of the wives are more dramatic than any fiction. Costumes are beautifully done although sets are fairly basic. Above all Keith Michell gives an outstanding performance as Henry VIII as he changes from a gifted young man to an ageing tyrant - yet his performance is complex and you never quite lose some sympathy for him. A triumph.


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