Profile for SocialBookshelves.com > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by SocialBookshel...
Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,891
Helpful Votes: 159

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
SocialBookshelves.com (High Wycombe, UK)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Glitzch!: How Predictive Text Plays Havoc with British History
Glitzch!: How Predictive Text Plays Havoc with British History
by Hugh Kellett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.41

4.0 out of 5 stars Glitzch is pretty interesting, because the entire book rests upon a ..., 11 Mar. 2015
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

Glitzch is pretty interesting, because the entire book rests upon a single, simple concept – the idea of predictive text wreaking havoc on the sentences that you’re trying to type into your smartphone. Here, Kellett takes a look at British history, and gives it a unique spin.

He covers everything from the Queer Vicar (Queen Victoria) and Sir Waiter Takeaway (Sir Walter Raleigh) to the National Death Device (National Health Service) and the Bikini Inversion (Viking Invasion). It’s a good laugh, and a novel way of experimenting with language, and it’s also a super quick read that you can get through in a day without a problem. I read the whole thing in one sitting on the bus to work! It’s not literature, but it is fun.


The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends and Fascinating Facts
The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends and Fascinating Facts
by David Colbert
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars This is a great example of a book which does what it says ..., 8 Mar. 2015
This is a great example of a book which does what it says on the tin – no more, no less. Colbert, who’s a former head writer for Who Wants to be a Millionaire and the author of the Eyewitness history series, is a man who carries out his research thoroughly before he starts to put pen to paper, and it shows.

In this book, he promises “a treasury of myths, legends and fascinating facts”, and he delivers on that promise with a succinct explanation of many of the creatures and settings that make Rowling’s work so memorable. In fact, in my mind, the only problem with the book is that it was written and released so long ago that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the newest book to be included. That leaves Colbert making predictions about the final three novels in the series which, ultimately, were proved incorrect.

Still, it makes for a great read for any serious Potter fan, and even casual readers and students of folklore and mythology will enjoy reading it. Watch out for Colbert’s thoughts on the etymology and the meanings of Rowling’s idiosyncratic place and character names.


The Shining
The Shining
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars leaving it as a better book – then again, 7 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Shining (Paperback)
You remember that scene in Friends, where Joey is so scared of The Shining that he hid it in the freezer? I’m not entirely sure what scared him so much. It’s suspenseful, for sure, but that also means that there are long periods in which nothing much seems to happen. I was left with the feeling that big chunks of it could be removed without a problem, leaving it as a better book – then again, I guess that’s kind of what they did with the film.

There are a few things in the book that don’t get a mention in the movie, and there are also a few subtle differences including a strikingly different ending – unfortunately, though, I still prefer the movie, and I’m not exactly a massive fan of it. I just enjoy it as much as the next person.

The problem is, I can’t put my finger on what the problem is – there’s nothing inherently wrong with the story or with King’s writing, I just didn’t really think the book lived up to the hype. Perhaps you’ll have a different point of view, but I regret reading this before any other Stephen King book because it put me off him. Then I tried The Green Mile a couple of years later and was instantly converted.

In fact, I much preferred The Shining’s sequel, Doctor Sleep, which follows the story of the now grown-up Danny. There was more menace behind that, perhaps because King had a long period of time between the two books with which to perfect his craft. That said, you’d still need to read the first book before reading the sequel if you wanted to get the most out of it. And I highly recommend reading the sequel, so I suppose you’re just going to have to grit your teeth and get ready to read it.

So if you still want to go ahead and read The Shining then do it, but prepare to bed yourself in for a couple of weeks because it’s a long old read, and not something that you can just casually approach. If you don’t psyche yourself up for it beforehand, you’ll probably give up a third of the way in and go off and read something else instead. If you’re wondering how I know, it’s because that’s exactly what I did when I first read it.


Real Monsters
Real Monsters
by Liam Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It’s also a love story, presented in the format of two first-person ..., 28 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Real Monsters (Paperback)
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

The copy of Real Monsters that I received was an uncorrected proof, but it was already of a higher standard than most manuscripts, and whilst I did pick up on a couple of typos here and there, they didn’t detract from the story.

Loosely speaking, Real Monsters is a sort of political allegory which takes a look at our modern wars with extremists and reflects it, as if you’re looking at it through one of those weird mirrors that you get at carnivals. It’s also a love story, presented in the format of two first-person narratives, one of which comes in the form of a letter from a soldier to his loved one back home.

Eventually, the two worlds collide, with serious consequences – Brown is making a statement on war here, but I’m not sure what it actually is. The beauty is that it forces you to decide for yourself.


CSI: Serial: 1 (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)
CSI: Serial: 1 (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)
Price: £2.84

4.0 out of 5 stars and your enjoyment of the collection will largely depend upon whether you’re ..., 24 Feb. 2015
I had no idea that this book even existed until I spotted it in the bargain bin of a book shop in Minehead, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to get it. What we have here is a graphic novel that’s based upon the escapades of Gil Grissom, Sara Sidle, Warrick Brown and the rest of the team from the original CSI television series.

Penned by Max Allan Collins, the guy who wrote the graphic novel that eventually inspired Road to Perdition, the three crimes contained within this first volume feel right at home with the TV series, and your enjoyment of the collection will largely depend upon whether you’re a fan of the show. You’ll pick up on occassional references to the show inside the pages, and the only thing that jarred with me was the fact that (massive spoiler alert) Warwick is supposed to be dead.

The artwork is fantastic, and even though the artwork is published in black and white, it somehow seems to add to the gritty realism of the series, and you really feel as though you’re watching an episode of the show or following the detectives on the beat as they patrol sin city. Don’t worry if you’re a little squeamish, either – despite the gory murders, the images themselves aren’t too unpleasant to look at, and the two illustrators tend to switch styles and take on a more abstract approach whenever there’s a close-up of a corpse or a bullet wound.

Overall, this is a pretty impressive collection of three tales of murder and intrigue that stands out as one of the better graphic novel adaptations on the market – in fact, it holds its own up against some of the giants of the graphic novel industry, from the non-fiction of Maus and Epileptic to the brilliance of the Chew series. It’s a great place to start if you’re a fan of the show.


Dead Man's Folly (Poirot)
Dead Man's Folly (Poirot)
by Agatha Christie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars the denoument is far from a disappointment, and though I don’t want to tell you ..., 23 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Agatha Christie strikes again with yet another magnificent Hercule Poirot novel – interestingly, I’d already played a computer game that was based on this novel, and yet I couldn’t remember who did it and why. As with most of Christie’s crime novels, there are so many threads to the mystery that everyone is under suspicion, even Poirot himself!

The plot of this story follows a village fete in the village of Nassecomb – Sir George and Lady Stubbs organise the event, and invite a well-known mystery novelist named Ariadne Oliver (read, ‘Agatha Christie’) to organise a murder hunt. Unfortunately, things turn sour when the 14-year-old girl who was supposed to be playing the murder victim is discovered at the scene, only this time she’s dead for real!

The novel starts off reasonably slowly, but it gathers momentum with every page until you’re twenty pages from the end and dying to know who did it. As always, the denoument is far from a disappointment, and though I don’t want to tell you too much in case I ruin the ending, I can tell you that even though I was familiar with the story-line, the true identity of the murderer and the motive never crossed my mind.


Barnacle Brat (a Dark Comedy for Grown-Ups)
Barnacle Brat (a Dark Comedy for Grown-Ups)
by Adrian Baldwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I feel like there should be a disclaimer here because this book ..., 22 Feb. 2015
I feel like there should be a disclaimer here because this book was sent to me, but it wasn’t for review purposes – it was a gift, a Secret Santa present from the author himself. Not so secret, then.

Still, I’m far from ungrateful – it turned out to be a cracking read, a well-written book from a guy who’s got a history of writing for the screen. Barnacle Brat is Baldwin’s first novel, a “dark comedy for grown-ups” with a seriously interesting story-line and more twists than you can shake a stick at.

I won’t go into too much detail when it comes to the plot, but I will tell you that it follows a young man called Leon who sees a lot of weird stuff that no-one else can see, including an angry clown with a baseball bat who seems to be out to get him. His visions get more and more disturbing, and along the way you’re treated to a rollercoaster ride through his bizarre but endearing psyche.

Leon’s on a mission to move away from Manchester to Wales to settle down and get some writing done, a mission which I suspect the writer bases on reality – Baldwin made the same journey himself, and here he really is writing about what he knows, although he claims that he never had an imaginary friend.

Personally, I thought that the book was a real barnstormer, something you could read again and again, discovering extra layers to the story every time – I think that, in part, that’s because there are so many twists that your perspective on Leon changes over time, and you’re almost a different reader at the end of the book than you were at the start. It’s pretty rare for an author to achieve that.

Overall, this is a cracker of a novel, an impressive debut by a man who clearly knows his way around a story – it’s recommended reading for pretty much anyone, but especially for people who like the weird and surreal or for people with a great sense of humour. If you’re afraid of clowns, though, then I suggest you try something else – apart from the fact that Pogo the clown sounds absolutely terrifying, there’s also a massive picture of him on the cover. You wouldn’t want to have nightmares now, would you?


Fly Guys: Monday Madness: Volume 1
Fly Guys: Monday Madness: Volume 1
by Mr Bobby Thandi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 Feb. 2015
Disclaimer: I received this for free to review.

Lovely!


Who is Tom Ditto?
Who is Tom Ditto?
by Danny Wallace
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has changed my perception of Danny Wallace’s work – it turns out that his fiction is even better than his non-fiction, 15 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Who is Tom Ditto? (Hardcover)
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

This book has changed my perception of Danny Wallace’s work – it turns out that his fiction is even better than his non-fiction, and I thought his non-fiction was impressive enough. Here, though, he writes like a man who has mastered words, and the subtle nuances of the story-line are well-executed – you know, like when something is mentioned in passing and then a couple of hundred pages later turns out to be a massive part of the plot.

Loosely speaking, this is the story of a lowly radio presenter called Tom Adoyo whose girlfriend disappears, leaving him a note to say that while she hasn’t left him, she has left. Tom begins to investigate the unusual circumstances around her disappearance, and soon gets drawn into the unusual world of the CC group, a club whose members like to follow other people around to imitate their behaviour.

Through this admittedly unusual activity, he meets a girl called Pia, and they go on all sorts of incredible adventures when they’re ‘on the follow’. But I don’t want to tell you too much more about the story-line because I don’t want to spoil it for when you read it, and I strongly recommend that you do so.


Exits/Origins
Exits/Origins
by Nikki Dudley
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Stupid artificial word count, 5 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Exits/Origins (Paperback)
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

Stupid artificial word count.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20