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Reviews Written by
Paul Harris (Llantrisant, Wales)

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The Town and the City (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Town and the City (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Jack Kerouac
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric and rewarding reading., 18 Oct 2010
Despite reading this many years ago, this novel has stood out in my mind as one of Kerouac's best. It's almost certainly his most underated as the author himself later disowned the lyrical Wolfean narrative style in which it was written. In many ways it is a far more pleasing read than his better known 'spontaneous prose' style of On The Road and his other later works. This story has a real charm and beauty of its own, and brings to life the 1920s & 1930s of Kerouac's childhood in New England.

Full of colour and sounds, rivers, woods, abandoned lots, mysterious back-alleys, steamy lunch counters, brooding brick factories, and the ever-present looming churches and cemeteries... This novel has a real feeling of depth of place and a true sense of the working class characters of depression era America which fill it. As a debut novel I think it clearly shows the literary class which Kerouac undoubtedly had, though possibly failed to broaden with some of his more disjointed later work. A rewarding read.


When I Lived in Modern Times
When I Lived in Modern Times
by Linda Grant
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping., 16 Oct 2010
Brings to life the glistening Bauhaus 'White City' of 1940s Tel-Aviv like no other book I've yet read. Grant's story-telling is excellent and I was gripped by her protagonist's plight from start to finish.


When I Lived in Modern Times
When I Lived in Modern Times
by Linda Grant
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping., 16 Oct 2010
Brings to life the glistening Bauhaus 'White City' of 1940s Tel-Aviv like no other book I've yet read. Grant's story-telling is excellent and I was gripped by her protagonist's plight from start to finish.


Revolution: making of the Beatles' White Album (The Vinyl Frontier)
Revolution: making of the Beatles' White Album (The Vinyl Frontier)
by David Quantick
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Have the record handy..., 16 Oct 2010
A very good read. Well written with the perfect blend of interesting stuff and decent sized dollops of fun. Pretty essential for any Beatles fan, but it would entertain all lovers of music making generally. You'll want the record to hand while you read...


Down and Out in Paris and London (Penguin Modern Classics)
Down and Out in Paris and London (Penguin Modern Classics)
by George Orwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great debut - pioneering reportage., 16 Oct 2010
A great debut book. Orwell demonstrates his obvious journalistic talents. Dissapointed to discover he was an anti-Semite as well though...
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 4, 2011 2:06 AM GMT


Roads To Quoz: An American Mosey
Roads To Quoz: An American Mosey
by William Least Heat-Moon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Heat-Moon. Great., 16 Oct 2010
Excellent. Classic Heat-Moon quoziness exploring the corners of the US that few others ever bother to report from. Few, if any, write with such a glint in their eye as he does. Each chapter is a new delight of oddity - full of colour, sounds, and smells. Most of the smells are great...

WLHM has a knack of writing about places in a way that makes me want to visit if not the exact same destinations, then at least an opolis in the right direction..just over there.. Great stuff. I don't know how long until his next book will be published but I hope it's not too long a wait.


Jerusalem Embattled: A Diary of the City Under Siege (Global Issues)
Jerusalem Embattled: A Diary of the City Under Siege (Global Issues)
by Harry Levin
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable document of modern history., 16 Oct 2010
I found this book in a small used bookshop in Brecon. It was a pretty gruelling read as the diarist recorded repeated accounts of hunger, constant shelling, and endless deprivation. The conditions in mid-1948 Jerusalem were harsh to say the least. I imagine this probably wasn't a bestseller, though as a detailed first-hand account of the Arab siege of the city during Israel's war of independence, it stands as an important piece of primary evidence history.

The entries relating to the Jewish massacres of Arabs at Deir Yassin and Liftah serve as important reminders of the partial responsibility Israel has in regard to the Palestinian refugee problem of today. On the other hand, the entries towards the end of the diary (July '48) recount the endless stream of refugees fleeing on account of rumoured Jewish ill-treatment propagated by King Abdullah's [of Transjordan] men as a means to bolster the Arabs' sense of justified revenge. One fascinating section recounts how a Galilean Beduin Sheikh and his tribe joined forces with the Israelis in fighting the invading Arab forces.


The Year of Living Biblically
The Year of Living Biblically
by A J Jacobs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thou shalt not pass wind..., 16 Oct 2010
I loved this book! I was sure I'd find it funny in many places but didn't bargain for it to be quite so thought provoking. Just as revealing about yourself the reader and ourselves in modern society as it is for what you may or may not know of the Bible. My criticism is that all ended so suddenly due to the large section of notes at the back. (I'd started checking them as I read the early pages, but as they're not referenced at all in the main body of text, I'd forgotten all about them when the book abruptly ended...). My favourite obscure commandment was the [unexplained] ban on passing wind when praying with tefilin on! Well worth reading.


Dogs of God
Dogs of God
by Pinckney Benedict
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Good writing, but too many disconnected characters., 16 Oct 2010
This review is from: Dogs of God (Paperback)
Took a while for me to get into this - the many characters were a little too seemingly disconnected. But by the book's end I'd really quite enjoyed it. The writing is excellent, Benedict certainly knows how to set it all up, and the dialogue is all too real. A very violent story.


The Death of Marco Pantani: A Biography
The Death of Marco Pantani: A Biography
by Matt Rendell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Tragic tale expertly told., 16 Oct 2010
A genuine tragedy of modern times. Rendell superbly accounts for the rapid rise and fall of one of the most exciting cyclists of the recent era.


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