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T J Laurence (Brighton, United Kingdom)

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The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea
The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea
by Philip Hoare
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leviathan by any other name, 15 Nov. 2012
This is an outstanding book for those who wish to know more about whales, or have already been fascinated. BUT, it already exists in a British edition, called Leviathan, and has done for three years. If you want a hardback copy at a very reasonable price, then go ahead and buy this US edition. Meanwhile for reviews on the book go to

I saw the author speak recently and he spoke as eloquently as he writes. Buy his book so he can keep watching and educating people about whales. Because they're worth it

Aegean Dream
Aegean Dream
Price: £2.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The other side of the dream, 20 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Aegean Dream (Kindle Edition)
Aegean Nightmare might have been the title of this book, as the author describes a slow and painful descent from the fantasy of sun-kissed, friendly-native, retsina-quaffing paradise to a living hell of ghastly petty officials demanding more payment and endless forms. A worthwhile read to counterbalance the avalanche of post Year in Provence offerings where the horrors of modern city life in the North are exchanged for southern sun. The writer and his wife do all they can to learn the language and love the Greek way of life, but in the end are worn down by the endless game that is played with them.

Brazilian Portuguese-English Dictionary & Phrasebook (Hippocrene Dictionary & Phrasebooks)
Brazilian Portuguese-English Dictionary & Phrasebook (Hippocrene Dictionary & Phrasebooks)
Price: £10.81

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not great for Kindle, 16 Feb. 2011
I bought this thinking, great, I'll be able to look things up really quickly. I was shocked to find that there was no index within the book itself, and had to use the 'Menu - Search within this book' option instead. Also, it doesn't really deserve the word Dictionary in its title, as the number of words is very small. I would say avoid this unless you really do only need an extremely fundamental book. But then why pay this much for that?

Brazil: Life, Blood, Soul
Brazil: Life, Blood, Soul
by John Malathronas
Edition: Paperback

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catching the Pulse of Brazil, 3 Feb. 2004
I've been lucky: I've had to go to Brazil three times. Each time before I left, I searched for information, scouring the bookshops, including Stanford's Travel, for anything on Brazil beyond the usual guides. I found hardly anything. Funny, that, for one of the world's largest countries with 170 million people; there were many more books on thin little Cuba.
If only I had had this one - it more than makes up for the big gap in the market. The author delights us by learning the language and so introducing us to all kinds of characters from mega-rich to dirt poor. He immerses himself in the history and the culture, and his commentary comes with a dry sense of humour that reveals his British upbringing. He throws himself into the dance scene and justifies it - if you want to understand Brazil and its people, get out and dance with them all night.
If you haven't been to Brazil, or are interested but cannot go, then do read this book. It's a complex country with many faces, and Malathronas (born in Greece with a gift for languages, so he can pass for a Brazilian at some points in the narrative) has a very interesting perspective. Openly gay, he sympathises with what it is to be misunderstood by the majority of people who see and hear only the clichés. In Brazil, that means of course the bikini-clad beauty on Copacabana, football stars and Carnaval. He takes us far deeper and manages to convey what the sub-title promises: Brazil's life, blood and soul come pulsing through.

What Should I Do With My Life?
What Should I Do With My Life?
by Po Bronson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This wil get you thinking, 24 Jan. 2004
This very readable book does not answer the question for us, which would of course be nice and save us years of self-questioning. Why not? I suppose because Bronson values our intelligence too much and the simple fact that we have to find this one out for ourselves.
Po Bronson's book is structured as a series of vignettes, telling the stories of around 50 people and how they deal with a question we've all probably asked ourselves. It's readable because it goes from one set of adventures and challenges to another - and they happen to be true. One of the satisfying elements is how many answers - not to mention false starts and wrong turnings - there are. Even so, he consciously limited it to professionals from his age-group, the Gen-Xers, and baby boomers. 900 interviews have been boiled down to these ones, so expect a very entertaining cast of characters including a model who gave up the glamour, and a trust-fund kid who became a gang-busting LA cop.
From a very confident writer (you might be be too if a previous novel had been made into a Hollywood film!) with a wide experience in journalism (a regular column in Wired), Bronson knows how to pose questions and then sit back, recording the answers.
The author himself appears in various guises - as listener, friend, confidant, character taking part in some of the stories, and reveals in passages how his path has unfolded, from unhappy bond trader to full-time writer. It feels like he really lived the question himself and so is able to get under the skin of many of his subjects. He himself admits that his attitude to life changed quite a bit during the interviews, some of which spanned days.
He is conscious of an international audience, and adapted his introduction for the UK edition. A few Brits turn up in the pages, since he came over here three times searching for material, as well as some of those who went to Hong Kong searching for an alternative.
It's a good read. I found it inspired me both first thing in the morning and when I let it sink in just before going to sleep.

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