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Mrs. R. G. Sedgwick "Rosie" (Chester England)
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The Orchard on Fire
The Orchard on Fire
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Childhood innocence and the dark underbelly of postwar Britain, 10 Aug. 2013
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You know how it is when you think back to your childhood... Somehow, no matter how bucolic and innocent it might seem to have been, you know in your heart that, even then, things were not that simple. Shena McKay's story of childhood spent in a Kentish village is very clear on that: The harsh unthinking words of adults, carelessly terrorising children; the hypocrisy of respectability; the dark and the light of human nature.
Anyone nostalgic for the 1950s and 60s might be shaken up by the revelation of deeds now criminalised, but then simply hidden away. Both the careless and the deliberate brutality, one accepted, the other denied.
It is a beautifully written, vivid story with prose which rolls around the tongue like the remembered sweets of childhood


The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television
The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television
Price: £2.62

4.0 out of 5 stars Dammit!, 25 July 2013
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A small book with a wide scope: this entertaining piece is a scholarly but accessible look at the reasons behind why, and how, we use swearwords.
En route it sheds light on possible mechanisms for Tourette's syndrome, as well as giving us some fine and most satisfying examples of curses and enough terms of insult to keep us all fluent for years.
I loved it!


Life... With No Breaks: A Laugh Out Loud Comedy Memoir
Life... With No Breaks: A Laugh Out Loud Comedy Memoir
Price: £1.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, 17 May 2013
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This is the most self-indulgent pile of drivel I have ever attempted to read - though in fairness it may be wonderful in the later sections (I was too bored to read that far)
A good editor would have said "No-one wants to read about how you are sitting in a chair in your office and planning to write something, and what kind of chair it is, and the view out of your window, and so on and so on, for PAGE AFTER PAGE. They want to know what you have to say."
As fare as I am able to tell he has nothing to say, says it at great length and is not at all funny. I detected not a single joke, witticism, toe-curling pun or even mildly amusing observation in the entire section I could drag my resisting eyes across.
Best-selling??? Comedy???


The Man with Two Left Feet And Other Stories (Jeeves and Wooster)
The Man with Two Left Feet And Other Stories (Jeeves and Wooster)

4.0 out of 5 stars classic Wodehouse, 24 Jan. 2013
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For enthusiasts of PG's Jeeves & Wooster stories, you can't go wrong with this. A variety of short stories featuring a range of different players... some, like the eponymous one, with a gentle twist at the end, others very straightforward. I love PG Wodehouse in small chunks - a whole novel of his endearingly eccentric people, their unselfconsiously privileged lives and their dated indulgencies would be too much, but as short snippets they are like exquisite macarons.... sweet, indulgent, light and fluffy but when you analyse them....extraordinarily difficult to make and perfectly crafted


An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington
An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington
Price: £5.09

3.0 out of 5 stars travel reading-lite, 8 Jan. 2013
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As a longtime fan of Bill Bryson's work I admit I found this a little on the light side - however it was entertaining. It would be betteras a paper book though as there were many apparently fascinating photographs which I was unable to see properly on a Kindle


Ban This Filth!: Letters From the Mary Whitehouse Archive
Ban This Filth!: Letters From the Mary Whitehouse Archive
Price: £5.03

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outraged!, 27 Dec. 2012
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Highly entertaining read for those who lived through Mrs Whitehouse's era of letterwriting...possibly an insight into a lost world for the email-only generation. A tad wordy in its style (the writer loves his complex sentences...) but a thorough and sometimes biting overview of an uptight, Daily Mail-reading woman who was already thirty years too late by the time she wrote her first letter.


Death Comes to Pemberley
Death Comes to Pemberley
by P. D. James
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Miss Austen will be turning in her grave, 11 April 2012
I was reassured by the comments on the cover about this book being "pitch-perfect". They are utterly wrong. Lovers of Jane Austen's tight, sparse, pithy prose will be at first sorely disappointed and then shaking with laughter at the drab and baggy writing, and the lack of attention to the most basic details: PD James - as a crime-writer you should KNOW that in 1803 there was no such thing as "the Police" to call when a murder has been committed. Mr Darcy, on discovering a body would have been unlikely to lift a gun and say that it was probably the murder weapon.
The sloppiness of this effort is astounding, given that the author claims to have a passion for Austen's writing. Miss Austen was an astute observer of the quirks and foibles of human interaction - this book is a cheap crime novel set inappropriately and inaccurately in 1803
Avoid


I Know My Own Heart: The Diaries of Anne Lister, 1791-1840 (Cutting Edge: Lesbian Life & Literature)
I Know My Own Heart: The Diaries of Anne Lister, 1791-1840 (Cutting Edge: Lesbian Life & Literature)
by Anne Lister
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an extraordinary insight, 28 July 2010
It is hard to overstate the extraordinary nature of this book; The insight it gives into the minutiae of everyday life in 19C England is breathtaking. It will be famous (or notorious?) for its lesbian revelations but the calm account of the removal of a tooth without anaesthetic and and the unpredictability of any form of travel will astound. Having recently spent some time in Egypt I was also struck by the parallels between 19C England and the culture of the middle east: there is no social security, and a low-wage economy; every possible social niche is filled by a human being struggling to make a living and depending on those further up the ladder for tips to supplement a frugal and insecure income. Don't do things for yourself which others can do - you are denying them work and income.

Miss Lister's phenomenal predations on vulnerable, sexually uninformed and repressed young women would be scandalous if conducted by a man; we would denounce him as a scoundrel. Yet she never forced herself upon any of those she pursued, and as it seemed many women lived much of their lives without sexual fulfilment, who are we to judge a woman who offered them this? Her judgements on them, by contrast, are sometimes harsh and unremitting; she is unhesitating in denouncing those for whom her interest has waned, as her "roving eye" lights upon someone more titillating.

It is a disappointment that the book comes to an abrupt halt as we are aware we are nearing her final adventure (of which we have been forewarned in the prologue) There is no explanation of why the author has not completed the story which makes for a sudden "and then that's the end" moment - a huge and inexplicable anticlimax at the end of a rivetting book


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