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Solo Walker "SW" (UK)
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The Barracks (FF Classics)
The Barracks (FF Classics)
by John McGahern
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of understated genius, 3 Nov. 2006
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Brilliant review below says it all. However, I could not believe this book held my attention, it is all about the trivialites of everyday life & all the little rituals that give it structure. It also highlights the inner life that is within us all & about making sense of the boredom we suffer daily in striving to make sense of our existence. Found the book very moving & as in all good literature there are fundamental human truths that hit home and I could relate to Elizabeth slowly dying & Reegan trapped by his occuaption. Both equally desparate & ultimately alone facing a seemingly futile struggle.


Brits Speak Out: British Soldier's Impressions of the Northern Ireland Conflict
Brits Speak Out: British Soldier's Impressions of the Northern Ireland Conflict
by John Lindsay
Edition: Paperback

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worms eye view of sqauddies in North of Ireland Conflict, 6 Oct. 2006
The book is the first of it's kind, each contribution is from soldiers that served in the conflict, from 1969 to 1990's written in their own words.

It tells of their experiences without the usual spin. What was it like living in old factories, the constant cycle of guard duty, patrolling, getting crashed out for riots and killings. How did young soldiers cope with the hostility and brutality that surrounded them? The book comes out with some very surprising conclusions, one soldier tells of his return to Ireland after leaving the army & his experiences with republicans.

Very enlightening and a good alternative to everything else you may have read about the troubles.


Internal Health: The Key to Eternal Youth and Vitality
Internal Health: The Key to Eternal Youth and Vitality
by Ron Gellatley
Edition: Paperback

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable secrets to internal health, 6 Oct. 2006
Personally had a pretty bad condition & bought this book on the off chance of educating myself about the digestive system. Written in a quaint, down home country boy style, as if the guy is talking to you and boy does he dumb down.

His writing style grates after a while. Some of his views are very controversial, but found most of it common sense and some real gems of information. I have used many of his recommendations and found them very helpful, so I can personally recommend it. But best approached with an open mind.


The Riders
The Riders
by Tim Winton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Deeply irritating, ephemeral twaddle, 17 July 2006
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This review is from: The Riders (Paperback)
We have a begining, a middle & an end, thank God an ending. However, the end is every bit as frustrating & unsatisfying as the rest of the story. The novel is not helped in anyway by the silly dream sequence at the begining & end. The book could be described as a travelog because it is big on describing places, silly pretentious sentences that are supposed to evoke a feeling of the places the characters travel. The characters are shallow & the dialogue trite. The book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1985, which says a lot about the state of modern fiction. It seems to me the author is far from the finished article in terms of writing style it could be described as immature, the work an an A level student. If you are looking for a meaningful, challenging read, give this one a wide berth.


A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
by Marina Lewycka
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would make an excellent play, 24 Jun. 2006
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Very enjoyable light read with good characters with some Ukrainian history thrown in the mix. Found myself laughing on a few occasions & could not wait to turn the page to see what happens next. The only let down is the end chapter, which is short but does not ring true or add anything to the overall story.

Also, best enjoyed by taking off your politically correct glasses and doing away with your preconceptions.


Paisley and the Provos: The Bug, the Bank Job and the Broken Deal
Paisley and the Provos: The Bug, the Bank Job and the Broken Deal
by Brian Rowan
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One wonders why he bothered, 3 April 2006
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A journalist travail through the recent history of the peace process revealing absolutely nothing we do not already know. It is shallow, boring and not particuarly well written. Very disappointing, best to hang onto your money.


A Lie About My Father
A Lie About My Father
by John Burnside
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Childhood through a glass darkly, 3 April 2006
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This review is from: A Lie About My Father (Hardcover)
For the most part this is an enjoyable read, boy can the author write? A true poet from humble and desolate origins who evokes his childhood so imaginatively. Read it and you find yourself comparing your own childhood and parental relationships. I felt the book was two chapters too long and did become a bit indulgent and tainted with self pity. This is a minor criticism though as self pity is as intoxicating as drug or alcohol addiction, which the author inevitably succumbs. There is no happy ending, but there is triumph. The power of the human spirit and this shines through from begining to end.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2012 4:43 PM GMT


Stuart: A Life Backwards
Stuart: A Life Backwards
by Alexander Masters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

25 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even the dull & ignorant have their own story, 25 Feb. 2006
I read this book over a year ago, yet it still has me thinking about it. Walk down the main street or shopping centre in any town and you sometimes see them. The homeless, the down and outs those people we like to ignore and see them as someone else's problem.
Yet this is the story of one of them, his name was Stuart (RIP), it is shocking and deeply disturbing. A catalogue of the most appalling human disasters from birth. I defy any thinking person not to be moved or have their values questioned after reading this unusual parable of our times. But on the other hand it has humour, especially the interaction between the author and Stuart.
A short way through and I am questioning why the author bothered, what was his motive, it definitively wasn't money. Was the effort worthwhile?
Personally, I am deeply indebted to the author for persevering and bringing this human story to my attention.


Always a Marine: The Return to Civvy Street
Always a Marine: The Return to Civvy Street
by Steven Preece
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Truth or fiction? One upon a time there was a marine........, 25 Feb. 2006
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Unputdownable, very easy to read Steve's story. The writing isn't great, every person he meets is described in a similiar formula ie "the sheik had dark skin, a round chubby face and a short beard". Each chapter has our ex-marine working out and maintaining a high level of physical fitness. He mentions this time and time again. Everywhere he works he comes across people trying to stitch him up or being uncooperative. Whenever he goes drinking he finds someone who wants a fight, funny that.
After a few chapters you get the drift and see a pattern emerging. Disappointingly he keeps his marriage under wraps, I can understand why, his Wife must be a martyr, seriously.
I was in two minds, is the guy a total nutter or just a bullshitter? However, as I couldn't put the book down I guess I'm the nutter.
If only half the book is true and I'm being generous here then the man has still given a good account of himself. Only wish it had more depth and I could believe it.


The Bloody Sunday Inquiry: The Families Speak Out
The Bloody Sunday Inquiry: The Families Speak Out
by Eamonn McCann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revealing insight into Derry's pain, 26 Jan. 2006
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The people affected by Bloody Sunday get a chance to put forward their views on the inquiry in their own words. A single mother goes to London when the inquiry moved there to hear the soldiers evidence, she enjoyed her time mixing with the Irish community in London and socialising with the lawyers. Another lady felt London was a hostile place and that everyone was watching her. Both were sceptical of most of the soldiers evidence. Others tell of their pain going through the events of that day again. It was revealing also, in the fact that there were lots of arguments and splits as people sought their own legal counsel to represent them. Some were seen as having their own personal agendas. All this is probably inevitable with a campaign that has gone on for so long to get where it did ie Saville.
Without giving too much away, there are many poignant insights into the pain many have experienced and the highs and lows of their campaign, their hopes and fears for the inquiry, which reveal a surprising pragmatism and optimism. I urge anyone interested in Bloody Sunday and Irish affairs, go and get a copy.


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