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Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Price: £5.04

4.0 out of 5 stars Dylan's debut album!, 30 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Bob Dylan (Audio CD)
Bob Dylan's self-entitled 1962 debut studio album is quite often overlooked, perhaps this is because the man himself didn't write all of the songs, but I still regard it as an essential.

A Place of Execution
A Place of Execution
by Val McDermid
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding murder mystery, 28 Aug. 2015
This review is from: A Place of Execution (Paperback)
The international best-seller 'A Place of Execution' is my first taste of Val McDermid's work, but I doubt it will be the last. From the very start, this book, first published in 1999, had me completely hooked, and I breezed through it all with complete ease and intriguement. I know that it will be a long time before I find a fictional crime novel as good as this masterpiece.

To write this book, McDermid used her insight into the notorious moors murderers case, with references in the text to Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and the children they murdered (including contemporary newspaper articles at the time talking about their disappearances). Some might say that this was in poor taste, but the story isn't a rehash of the moors crime at all, it is just simply set in the same time period in which those poor children had, for a while, seemed to have disappeared without a trace.

Chronicles: Volume One
Chronicles: Volume One
by Bob Dylan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing companion for fans, 27 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Chronicles: Volume One (Paperback)
It would be stating the very obvious if I was to say that this is a beautifully written book, the author is, after all, Bob Dylan.

As the title 'Chronicles Volume One' also suggests, this isn't a full-scale autobiography, only really covering his life before, and at the start of his brush with fame in New York City in 1961, although he does talk about incidents which occurred after (devoting chapters to some of his later albums). Nor does it provide a chronological overview, and the text, largely a collection of short anecdotes which freely go back and forth, is very much like having a conversation with an old friend.

What it does offer is an atmospheric insight into the mind and origins of this legend of the folk-rock scene, and a real alternative to the typical memoirs of such public figures. Dylan hasn't written a 'tell-all' book, because he isn't that kind of person. Instead of reading juicy information about his private life, we are given a chance to discover how this very human man views the world.

Particularly interesting was to read about the wide range of influences and images of his early life and career, and the people he met along the way, many of whom he is very keen to sing their praises. As it doesn't flow chronically, the book is instantly given an interesting twist, as well as offering an insight into Bob Dylan's sources of inspiration and the creative progress, and it's a unique look into the musical culture of the 50s and 60s, from someone who has been in this business for over fifty years.

I am glad that I discovered this poetically written book recently, as I would now have been waiting eleven years for a 'Chronicles Volume Two' had I bought this following it's publication date. I do hope that we are allowed to get our hands on a sequel someday, because Bob Dylan's first volume of memoirs left me hungry for more. He's one of the world's greatest story-tellers for sure, and one of life's keen observers. The book contains no photographs inside.

Blowback: Adventures of a Dope Smuggler
Blowback: Adventures of a Dope Smuggler
by Michael Forwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An insider's history of the marijuana trade, 27 Aug. 2015
'Blowback' is the entertaining memoirs of Michael Forwell, a former millionaire dope smuggler.

In this gripping account, which really did almost have me hanging on the edge of my seat, Forwell describes his adventures in an easy-to-read and unboastful way. The reader is given a real insight into the world of international drugs smuggling in the '70s and '80s, and all of the interesting characters he met along his travels and throughout the various escapades which resulted in him living the highlife. The rise and fall of this man would really make a good film.

The blurb describes Michael Forwell as a ''mild-mannered, public-school educated gentlemen'', and after reading this book, though I can't condone his illegal actions, he certainly seems like one to me. Illustrated with four pages of black and white photographs.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars A journey through the autistic mind, 27 Aug. 2015
Mark Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time' was my hands-down favourite book which my English class had to read at school. After picking it up again recently, I thoroughly enjoyed it the second time around as well. It can't have been easy to have written a book from the viewpoint of a boy with Asperger syndrome, but the author carried it out here quite brilliantly.

The narrator of the book is fifteen year old Christopher Boone, the aforementioned lad with Asperger's. He knows a great deal about his mathematics, but very little about human begins, of whom he finds confusing. When he stumbles across his next door neighbour's poodle, murdered with a folk straight through his body, Christopher turns detective in order to find the perpetrator, as well as discovering previous unknowns about his own life along the way.

As well as being very funny, and genuinely moving in parts, this book also helped me to understand more about the autistic's mind, and be able to feel the frustration and confusion that such people have to experience every day of their lives. My heart really warmed quite quickly to the likeable, complex lad who is Christopher, and would like him to write another book. Ten out of ten to the real author Mark Haddon, who created something special with 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time'.

A very unusual and refreshing read, this is something that both the adults and the young teens will enjoy. It provides a lot of entertainment, but also educates.

Warning: There is a lot of strong swearing from quite early on, so make sure you have a read through first if you intend to give it to your children.

I Will Come to You [CD 1]
I Will Come to You [CD 1]
Offered by sdiscs.
Price: £1.20

4.0 out of 5 stars A song which has stayed with me, 27 Aug. 2015
I remember when I first heard this sentimental top 5 pop hit as a school kid, and instantly thought it was haunting. Many years later, I confess that I still enjoy this touching ballad with it's adorable sweet lyrics and catchy melody. Like Hanson's other big hit 'MMMBop' (which is presented here as an acoustic version as one of the B side), 'I Will Come to You' will always have a special place in my heart. This is definitely my favourite track from these three boys!

Track Listing

1. I Will Come to You
2. Cry
3. MMMBop
4. Madeline

Littlejohn's Britain
Littlejohn's Britain
by Richard Littlejohn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Amusing in parts, 26 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Littlejohn's Britain (Paperback)
I should first say that I am so far removed from Richard LittleJohn's own political beliefs, but found myself picking up 'LittleJohn's Britain' in my lunch break, and taking it home with me. Did I enjoy this book from one of the columnists of that ghastly old rag 'The Daily Mail'? In parts, yes I did. I am wavering between a two and a three star rate, but decided to go with the lower, as I don't think I'd want to read it all again.

From the start, just like his column, he annoyed me with his typically bigoted Daiy Mail like opinions and generalisations, firstly, but certainly not lastly, with Liverpool and scousers. If you aren't familiar with LittleJohn, the fact that the front cover of the book carries a positive quote from Jeremy Clarkson should tell you everything you need to know.

Having said that, this book, in which the author creates his own fantasy world and makes up fictional scenarios, is littered with some genuinely amusing observations and spoofs, which I did find very funny, even if I didn't agree with them. If you think like Richard LittleJohn does, then you'll find this almost like reading the bible.

This is basically LittleJohn's account of the ten years in Britain with New Labour in power, so you can expect one long anti-government rant, as well as his awful (in my opinion) views on homosexuality and people on benefits. Richard never holds his punches, and you have to respect that he does always carry such strong believes around with him no matter what. He isn't two-faced about it.

by Lee Henshaw
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful presentation, 26 Aug. 2015
This review is from: "Oasis" (Paperback)
In terms of startling revelations, Lee Henshaw's early book about Oasis falls rather flat, and is basically a cut-and-paste affair. There are far better biographies about the Gallagher brothers on the market. Throughout this one, I didn't notice all that many mistakes it has to be said, but the author sometimes lets his opinion get in the way on a number of occasions.

Where this glossy paperback really does wins points, is with the many excellent photographs inside this beautifully presented A4 book. Lots of these colour/black-and-white pictures of Noel, Liam, and the other members are published on one whole page, with many humorous, sometimes intelligent, thought-provoking and revealing quotations from the two brothers.

As this early book only reaches up to 1996, only the first two studio albums “Definitely Maybe” and “Morning Glory” are covered as a result, but there is a wealth of facts about the band's years before they released these masterpieces. If you know nothing about Oasis besides their music, then this isn't a bad introduction to 'The Early Years'.

Lee Henshaw's 'Oasis' also includes a chronology, discography with release dates and chart positions, and an index.

In terms of good pictures - this book is a sure-fire five star.

Country House [CD 1] [CD 1]
Country House [CD 1] [CD 1]
Offered by CDandVinyl
Price: £0.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Blur's first chart-topper!, 25 Aug. 2015
Well, Blur won 'The Battle of Britpop' in terms of the single wars with 'Country House' which topped the UK charts in 1995. It beat Northern rivals Oasis' 'Roll With It' which peaked at no.2, and was the London band's first number one hit before 'Beetlebum' which came two years later.

This catchy and uplifting tune was the first single from Blur's fourth album 'The Great Escape'. The real reason is to buy the single though is for the B sides. The chirpy 'One Gets Born Every Minute is among my all time favourite Blur songs, and a re-recorded duet version of the previous hit single 'To the End' is brilliant. This new version is still sung by Damon, but now with verses performed in French by model/singer Françoise Hardy.

A real keeper!

Track Listing

1. Country House
2. One Born Every Minute
3. To The End (With Francoise Hardy)

Universal [CD 2]
Universal [CD 2]
Offered by johnmciver
Price: £0.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Live at the BBC!, 25 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Universal [CD 2] (Audio CD)
This was the second single release of the elegant top 5 hit 'The Universal', one of Blur's best songs, Damon's finest vocals, and a stand-out from their fourth album, 1995's 'The Great Escape'.

This CD contains four live tracks recorded at the BBC, and as these recordings never made it onto the second disc of the deluxe 'The Great Escape', they are still quite rare and worth having if you're an avid Blur fan.

Track Listing

1. The Universal (Live)
2. Mr. Robinson's Quango (Live)
3. It Could Be You (Live)
4. Stereotypes (Live)

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