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Skin
Skin
by Ilka Tampke
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Been waiting for a book like this, 18 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Skin (Hardcover)
I don't often leave reviews because I'm lazy, but this book has compelled me.
I often find it difficult to become fully immersed in a story. Editor brain is usually there, picking away - "That sentence is clumsy," "This writer is trying too hard," "How amateurish."
Editor brain didn't even whisper with this one. I was instantly transfixed. Bewitched from the first page to the last. I was so deeply enveloped in this story I wanted to devour it, cover to cover, in one sitting.
When I'm reading a book, I often find myself uncomfortably aware of the writer. The characters seem transparent, and I can see through them to the writer's intentions. But in Skin, the characters are solid, so real that that wonderful magic happens where you forget you're simply reading words on a page.
Also, the pacing is perfect. Not once did I labour through the prose. I didn't slow or become distracted. It held me. Tampke is a masterful writer, with a style that is strong and truly her own.
I think I was going to say something else but I can't remember. The important thing for you to know is that this book is magic and you should read it.


The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle, Book 1): 1/3 (Demon Cycle 1)
The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle, Book 1): 1/3 (Demon Cycle 1)
by Peter V. Brett
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How is this so highly rated?!, 27 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
SPOILERS. Terrible. Just terrible. One of the few books that I have had to stop reading part-way through. To be fair, the book centres around a really great idea. A world terrorised and hampered by the rising of demons at nightfall.
My friend recommended this book to me, and when I read the summary I was immensely excited. It sounded like a great premise for a very human story. As I began reading the book, however, I became certain that my friend had recommended it to me as a joke.
It is so badly written. I mean really, REALLY badly written. It's like the guy wrote the book only as an excuse to show off his one good idea. The metaphors used are terrible. There's masses of repetition. For example, one excerpt goes like this: "blah blah blah blah, his face a mask of irritation. Blah blah blah blah, his face a mask of irritation." Not only is it a rubbish metaphor in any circumstance, it is repeated, IN ADJACENT SENTENCES!!! At one point, Arlen is described as "boxing" a "demon's ears." You don't "box" a demon's ears. You just don't. It's not a naughty Victorian-era child. It's a demon, for crying out loud. I found myself wondering time and time again how this book got past the editors, or whether there were any editors involved at all.
The characters. The really important part. They were uninteresting or just downright irritating, and completely unlikeable. Arlen does not come across as brave and defiant. He comes across as idiotic and pig-headed. There is next to no character development. At one point in the book, we see Arlen meet a girl (I think she was called Mairy), kiss her, and immediately arrange marriage plans. In the space of a few pages. We learn nothing of who she really is, we feel nothing of their developing relationship. It's just literally bish bash bosh, completely 2 dimensional. It would be funny, if it wasn't so disappointing. We hear about Rojer, and how amazing he is. We are told how he wows the crowd, but I didn't feel any of their wonder. We are told he is an incredible musician, but I didn't get any sense of that. We are told that he has the crowd roaring with laughter, but he didn't make me, the reader, laugh. We are told that he does a thousand backflips before landing perfectly on one finger (or something like that - oh, no, wait. He caught a thrown knife with only his teeth or something equally ridiculous). The problem is it's all tell instead of show. Don't just tell me he said something funny, make me laugh too! It's like the writer is trying waaay too hard, without the skills to back it up. I could carry on, but it suffices just to say that all the characterisations are poor and contrived.
And everyone spits on the floor for some reason. There's a few shoddily-hewn sexual abuses thrown in, as if the writer is trying to convince you that this is a grown up book to be taken seriously. But these scenes are written so amateurishly they just come across as odd. I don't know, maybe he was just going for shock value? Anyhow, the badly handled sex and shallow characterisations convince me that if I were to meet this author, I would almost certainly not like him very much. He lacks the insight necessary to be a great writer.
Seeing that a writer as gifted as Patrick Rothfuss has praised this book confuses me greatly. Who paid him off? What confuses me even more is the vast amount of positive reviews this book has received. I honestly, truly don't understand how. If the premise of this story had been placed in the hands of someone like George R. R. Martin or Robin Hobb, it could have been brilliant. Unfortunately, it is so badly executed it actually made me feel ill to read it. I couldn't justify wasting my time on it. For a while I found it useful to study as an example of how NOT to write.
I can't help but wonder whether the writer simply has friends high up in the publishing industry. I was going to write a much more in-depth literary review but I can't face it. I'm going to have to read so many amazing books to quell my disgust and cleanse myself of this drivel.


Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music
Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music
by Christoph Cox
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME book, 21 Feb. 2011
This book has been a saving grace for me. 454 pages packed full of supreme musical knowledge. I am currently completing a degree in Creative Music and Sound Technology, and this book has been utterly indispensible. It includes landmark writings by important sound theorists such as R Murray Schafer, Pierre Schaeffer, Luigi Russolo (my personal hero), Karlheinz Stockhausen, and many more important innovators in 20th century music. There's articles by Adorno, John Cage, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, William S. Burroughs, Edgard Varese, Henry Cowell, Marshall McLuhan, even noise-artist Merzbow... I could go on.

My final project is centred around the use of noise and found sound in music, and the articles on musique concrete, soundscape music and industrial music have been particularly useful. My essays are packed full of prudent and pertinant references and evidence to support my arguments and this book has provided me with many interesting theories to analyse. The book has also aided my work on electroacoustic and acousmatic music, offering solid background knowledge. Has also been very useful for an essay on recorded music vs live music, discussing music in the age of electronic reproduction and the prospects of recording as well as a section on improvisation. The book will be very useful for electronic music enthusiasts as it examines the beginnings of electronic music and its assimilation into present day modern music. Section on DJ culture too.

As well as being a brilliant academic tool, this book is also very interesting and inspiring to read (apart from the Adorno article, because that guy is just soul-destroying). The references in the book provided much further reading/listening; at the back of the book you will find a chronology, a glossary, a selected discography and selected bibliography of recommended texts. If you are on or considering joining a sound or music course, this book is an absolute must have.


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