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Lazy Lee

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Waiting for Sunrise
Waiting for Sunrise
Price: £3.32

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great, compared to other William Boyd novels, 25 May 2013
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I definitely enjoyed this book - it had me page turning and looking for excuses to get back to it in between a busy schedule more so than others, so I was undoubtedly hooked by it. But would I give it a full thumbs up? Not quite. The plot gets steadily more complex, which I have no issues with, but it starts to fall apart as layers of intrigue and mistrust build between and among people, to the point that the conclusion leaves some key plot components unanswered. This is still a good novel, but nowhere near as tight in its delivery as Restless, which was great.

The Men Who Stare At Goats [DVD] [2009]
The Men Who Stare At Goats [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.93

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars For people who stare at goats, 1 Jun 2010
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OK, there's a humourous side to this, but you have to be a bit desperate to want to watch all of this. Jon Ronson's first publication, "Them", was a fascinating collection of insights into odd groups of people or individuals. His follow up book "The Men Who Stare at Goats" makes the mistake of being a whole book about a topic that's interesting only up to a point. Turning this into a 2 hour movie, with some alterations to the story to make it a "proper screenplay" is just abusing people's willingness to look favourably on anything that has big names attached. If you enjoy staring at goats, this is OK. If you need something a little more interesting, avoid this movie.

Love and War in the Apennines (Picador Books)
Love and War in the Apennines (Picador Books)
by Eric Newby
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than just love and war, 28 Feb 2009
Eric Newby must be one of the most under-discovered travel writers of recent times. While everyone has heard of the likes of Peter Mayle and his adventures in Provence, if you want real stories read Eric Newby's.

This was my second Eric Newby and I have no doubt I will read them all. Love and War in the Appenines is a heroic tale of human endeavour, survival and heroism by the author, together with untold human kindness, compassion and courage on the part of the many Italian families and individuals who helped Eric Newby hide when he was a prisoner of war in Italy after a military mission which went wrong. All this, set against the backdrop of a war that everyone hated, and the developing romance between a young lady Newby meets early on during his imprisonment, who manages to smuggle messages to him while he is being discretely shuffled around in the mountains - we learn that she will eventually become his wife - make for a gripping tale. Through all this, including multiple close brushes with death, Newby remains witty and charming.

You will enjoy this book.

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
by Oliver Wolf Sacks
Edition: Paperback

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, yet disappointing in many ways, 2 Jan 2009
Oliver Sacks tells wonderful stories about how patients with severe brain dysfunctions manage to recover their faculties through new treatments of various kinds, and his previous books, notably Awakenings and The Man who Mistake His Wife for a Hat made Sacks famous for their revalatory and interesting nature.

This one, unfortunately, only goes part way to exploring the unusual appreciation that humans have for music, and goes too far in documenting cases of patients from the 1800s who lost all their faculties due to some sort of brain trauma, yet were able to retain their singing, instrument playing or musical appreciation capabilities.

Interesting topics such as synesthesia and perfect pitch are explored, but the book focuses almost entirely on the effect of either clasical music or basic traditional songs on people, and it does so by rendering citation after citation - many of them Sacks' own publications - and also has many pages where the footnotes compete for dominance with the main text.

Where is the impact of modern popular music on people? There is a brief reference to what Sacks calls "brainworms" (otherwise known as jingles), that can infuriate one for days and nights, but scant commentary on what - aside from well tested marketing campaigns - makes certain music so appealing to people.

Towards the end of the book, I tired of the countless permutations of syndromes in which, guess what, musicality survives where all other interaction fails, but by then I wasn't being told anything new or interesting.

A shame, since an up to date volume on this subject, based on a large body of new research, would be most interesting.

Tchaikovsky / Mendelssohn: First Piano Concertos
Tchaikovsky / Mendelssohn: First Piano Concertos
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £11.48

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent performance - the best available today, 29 Dec 2008
Lang Lang is probably the best interpreter of this signature piano concerto alive today. Anyone who has heard Lang Lang perform this piece live (as I did) will know that his rendition will rouse an audience with a passion and power that is second to none. Fortunately, the CD also captures this in a wonderful recording conducted by Daniel Barenboim in which the fortes are magnificent, the pianos are tender and the phrasing is utterly precise and smooth at the same time. For me, this recording redefined the way I expect to hear Tchaikowsky's First Piano Concerto, and is the standard against which I compare all other interpretations.

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2; Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2; Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Price: £9.15

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lang Lang is a fantastic modern artist, 28 Dec 2008
The first time I saw Lang Lang perform was in London about five years ago. He played the Tchaikowsky Piano Concerto No 1 with such passion and power that the entire audience jumped to their feet when he finished. Since then I have followed Lang Lang's recordings and performances and find that he is one of the best young artists of the current decade. Despite his relative youth, he has demonstrated a mature style and the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 is no exception. This piece, combined with the popular Rachmaninov interpretation of the Paganini Theme, makes this CD one that will rapidly become part of your permanent listening repertoire. Enjoy this recording.

Now That's What I Call Music Volume 1 [Re-Release Special Collectors Edition]
Now That's What I Call Music Volume 1 [Re-Release Special Collectors Edition]
Offered by MasterDVD
Price: £39.99

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Great 80s compilation finally in CD format, 10 Dec 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This CD is a monument to fantastic 80s music. There are so many great artists on this album (Duran Duran, Tina Turner, UB40, Simple Minds, The Cure, Phil Collins, Genesis, Howard Jones), and most tracks will be recognizable to younger generations too - a real sign of the enduring quality of the music we enjoyed in the early 80s. Whether you are 44, 24 or 14, this is a great album to either re-purchase or to enjoy for the first time.

PS: Ignore what others say about the tracks not matching the original - it's still way better than Now 69, 70 and 71 put together

Bad Luck And Trouble: (Jack Reacher 11)
Bad Luck And Trouble: (Jack Reacher 11)
by Lee Child
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad luck if you're expecting a lot from this one, 20 Nov 2008
On the plus side, I did find myself wanting to read this as fast as possible, but on the minus side, a part of that was me hoping that the book would get better.

It is not bad, but it is tremendously mediocre. The plot is fine - tough man Reacher re-unites with 3 of his former group of 8, the other 4 having been knocked off by someone obviously very evil. The writing is however dull, and the characters don't even come up to scratch as the super smart, super skilful former military heroes that they are supposed to be. Maybe it's because they're getting old, or maybe it's because Lee Child is getting older and more tired ...

Conclusion: Lee Child has sent Reacher on much better adventures than this one

Robert Ludlum's The Arctic Event: A Covert-One novel
Robert Ludlum's The Arctic Event: A Covert-One novel
by James H. Cobb
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great plot, great pace, tough on the rest of your itinerary!, 16 Nov 2008
This book opens innocently, with an Arctic expedition chancing on the unexpected sight of a crashed bomber. Unusually, there is no record of any such aircraft having gone missing - the reason being that it was a secret Soviet flight loaded with weaponised anthrax that has quietly lain there for fifty years and which the Russians had hoped would never be found. The Americans, despite their well founded suspicions, agree to help the Russians to get to it, but the Russians have a second agenda, while a third party with much more sinister intent is also pursuing the aircraft wreckage. This is a well written, tense book that is in the style of the best that Robert Ludlum produced. Once started on this book, you may find it hard to do much else for a while, but consider that problem no more than the happy symptom of an excellent novel.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Writing and running at its best, 17 Oct 2008
I enjoyed this book immensely, both as someone who has read all of Murakami's books available in English, and as someone who has just trained for and run a half marathon.

For the first time, Murakami publishes a unique insight into the man behind the vivid imagination that created all his legendary titles, explaining how he started running to stay fit while sitting at home writing, and how the discipline he attaches to writing is very much the same discipline it takes to run an average of 6 miles a day, every day, for the last 23 or 24 years.

Having just trained for a reasonbly long run for 4 months, and run "only" 3 to 4 times a week, I enjoyed finding that Murakami describes so well the thoughts of a runner - he sums up brilliantly how you overcome the fatigue and pain when running by stating: "pain is inevitable, suffering is not". Once you realise that, he explains it is a matter of how you manage your expectations when focussing on any task that requires stamina, dedication and a bit of pain, be it running, writing or anything else in life.

The other aspect of Murakami's personal life that comes out of this book is his sad realisation that you can not beat the ageing process; no matter how much he trains, he can not improve on his times any more, and he acknowledges with much pain the inevitability of getting older by the day. Alongside his diminishing running capabilities, he fears that his best writing years may be past him, though he takes comfort from knowing that a few writers produced their best works in their late years.

We will have to see what else Murakami has to offer - I certainly will continue to buy his books.

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