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Christopher Sullivan (edinburgh)

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Othello: The Oxford Shakespeare The Moor of Venice (Oxford World's Classics)
Othello: The Oxford Shakespeare The Moor of Venice (Oxford World's Classics)
by William Shakespeare
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars In following him, I follow but myself., 24 Oct. 2013
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Having read other Shakespearean works published by Oxford Worlds Classics I knew this would a superbly informative work.
There is no point in this review going into the work of Shakespeare and this tragedy, Othello. I will use this review to write about the all the parts that make up this particular book.
There is a wonderful and informative 179 page introduction that consists of sections on the play's reception, sources, the play in performance and the interpretation of the play. There are six appendices which include headings such as, The Texts of the Play, The Music in the Play and Longer Notes.
But what I believe sets this book apart is the excellent, comprehensive and well researched footnotes.
I am using this book in conjunction with my English Literature degree and would highly recommended it to others.

Crowned Heads: A Novel
Crowned Heads: A Novel
Price: £8.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tinseltown in the Rain, 24 Oct. 2013
I would consider myself a knowledgeable film fan but I have to admit to not being aware of Thomas Tryon's career as an actor or for that matter as a writer.
Crowned Heads is a book of four (there are five but the final story is a kind of footnote to the first story, Fedora) novellas all linked by Hollywood. Each story appears to be loosely based on a Hollywood star though in researching this matter I could only find information pertaining to two of the stories. One of the stories appears to based on the actor Clifton Webb and another on the silent actor Roman Navarro.
My personal favourite of the stories is Fedora, the story of an ageing actress. This particular story was turned into a film directed by the wonderful Billy Wilder, (Sunset Boulevard, Some Like it Hot, The Apartment).
The stories are well told and all have a sense of the seedy, noirish underbelly of Tinseltown. One comes away from reading the book feeling rather dirty, sordid and in need of the light of the day. This is not a criticism. These feelings are due to the wonderful style of writing that Thomas Tyron has executed in the book. When one is reading the novellas one mentally envisions the films of Nicholas Ray, Fritz Lang and Edward Dmytryk.
This is not the kind of books I normally read but I am happy to write that I was very pleasantly surprised by The Crowned Heads. The book achieves what most authors may hope for; that readers seek out their back catalogue.

Papal Bull: An Ex-Catholic Calls Out the Catholic Church
Papal Bull: An Ex-Catholic Calls Out the Catholic Church
by Joe Wenke
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete Bull, 19 Oct. 2013
It is difficult to know where to start in describing how bad this book is. It lacks humour, reasoning, intelligence or any insights. There is nothing revelatory within the book. Almost 50% of the book is simply lists or quotes. The supposed humour is juvenile and without merit, like the rest of the book.
If you are expecting Mr Wenke to supply any answers or insights into religion or the Catholic Church you will be severely disappointed. For example, in the chapter about women and the Catholic Church after many pages of quotes, most of them unoriginal, Mr Wenke ends by writing,

"What can I say? The relentless misogyny of the church for ages and ages - I don't mean this as a criticism, but it makes me wonder why there are any female Catholics."

After page upon page about Mary, the mother of Jesus, her appearances within the pages of the Bible etc, the author writes,

"So what can I say to sum it all up? I would simply say that there is definitely something about Mary."

This is the level of insight and intellectual debate which permeates the whole book. There is a complete paucity of new information or ideas put forward about the Catholic Church, its history and its place in the world. The author's other idea of insight is to have chapters with titles such as, "Pope Awards", "Anti-Popes" etc and these then are followed by facetiously written paragraphs that achieve nothing.
The author's vernacular style of writing is tedious, juvenile and has no meretricious value. On the subject of Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness and being visited by the devil,

"It's a good thing for the devil that he pulled this on Jesus...I would have beaten the s*** out of him."
There are many factual errors. One being that the Crusades resulted in genocide. This is of course not true. The Crusaders did not wipe out a complete race of people. On the subject of the gospels the author states there is no witnesses to certain events. If we take the birth of Jesus and the visitation upon the shepherds as an example, the author's argument is "(w)ho was the source of information for the scene?" He concludes the information about the meeting with the angels and their subsequent witnessing of the birth of Jesus cannot be true as the events were not recorded by Luke until some eighty years later.
It would seem that the author is not aware of what historians refer to as Oral History.
The author brags that on writing this book he "wrote one piece after another really fast hardly ever changing a word." Next time Mr Wenke (I refuse to call you Dr. Wenke) my advice is to take more time and effort over your next book and possibly it will not be the drivel that Papal Bull has turned out to be.
Full review at Goodreads.

One by One in the Darkness
One by One in the Darkness
by Deirdre Madden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Maddeningly poor book., 19 Oct. 2013
The story is set during one week shortly before the IRA ceasefire in 1994. Three sisters, Helen, Sally and Kate relate and recollect their childhood during the 1960s and 1970s at the height of the troubles in Northern Ireland. The catalyst for these recollections is the return of the eldest sister Kate, (who now refers to herself as Cate), who abruptly leaves London where she works as a successful journalist for a glossy magazine as an event has forced her to re-evaluate her life.
The book's chapters alternate between the return of Cate to Ireland and the three sister's recollections of their childhood. Cate's life changing event is not that difficult to guess and strangely it is revealed rather early on the book so breaking any sense of tension regarding that particular plotline.
The sister's childhood is almost idyllic. Their parents own a farm an hour's drive from Derry. This distance from the cities and towns of Northern Ireland keeps the horrors of the troubles at arm's length as it also must have felt to those on mainland Britain. The girl's only connection to the Irish troubles was during their visits to towns like Antrim where they would witness preparations for the Orange Walk; Union Jacks hung out of windows, Orange arches with symbols of a compass, a set square and ladder painted brightly on them.

"And yet for all this they knew that their lives, so complete in themselves were off centre in relation to the society beyond those fields and houses"

However, this insular life soon changed when the British troops moved into Northern Ireland in 1969. With British Army checkpoints around their county and the subsequent visits to the sister's farm by soldiers the troubles in its many nefarious guises had intruded into the sister's childhood.
With the atrocity that was Bloody Sunday in 1972 the troubles also came to mainland Britain with the bombing of the Aldershot Headquarters by the IRA. I mention these events as I believe that the sister's farm may be alluding to the British mainland during the same period of time of the 1960s and 1970s.
I found the story interesting but not fascinating. Each of the sister's characters was used as clichéd ciphers for Ireland. The eldest sister Kate loves Ireland but needs to leave its sectarian bigotry and religious intractability and becomes a success which she wouldn't have found if she had stayed in Ireland. The middle sister, Helen becomes a lawyer and defends terrorists even though a horrific experience has befallen her family. The third sister, Sally becomes a primary school teacher like her mother. She hates and loves Ireland in equal measure but stays due to her loyalty to her mother.
The dialogue is rather lumpen and incongruous. There were times when the dialogue did not ring true especially that spoken by the sisters.
Helen's gay friend David is a superfluous character and seems only to have been shoe-horned into the story to possibly prove how open minded Helen is.
Of all the fictional books that have been written about the troubles, Cal by Bernard Maclaverty or Gerry Seymour's Journeyman Tailor to name but a few, One by One in the Darkness in my opinion would find it difficult to a part of the any list of the top twenty books on the subject of Northern Ireland and its conflict.

Maxine's Story - The Museum of Fractured Lives
Maxine's Story - The Museum of Fractured Lives
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars (Another) fractured review? (See my other Sally Jenkins review), 14 Oct. 2013
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Maxine's Story is primarily about her teenage relationship with her one time boyfriend Kaspar and the resulting pregnancy.
Maxine, like all visitors, is at the Museum of Fractured Lives to donate an item of deep sentimental value.
Sally Jenkins writes in a natural, uncomplicated thoughtful style that suits the story perfectly.
The cafe that adjoins the Museum is where the story begins. The first person narrative is split between Maxine and the cafe waitress, whose name we never know. (Personally I believe this is an oversight as knowing the waitresses' name would have helped to engage with the story that much more).
I love the idea of using the cafe as a conduit to the museum, a waiting room if you will for the grieving souls.
A wonderful conceit is that the cafe only sells food that "feed(s) the soul"; doughnuts, hot chocolate with marshmallows, bread pudding. flapjacks and other sweet treats. As a man even I can relate to this. Yes ladies, men also comfort eat to alleviate sadness and depression.
There are some ideas and analogous constructs and plot structures that I believe don't work. However, relating these concerns would result in spoiling important twists and turns within the plot.
Enjoy what is part one of a series of stories based around the Museum of Fractured Lives.

Karen's Story - The Museum of Fractured Lives
Karen's Story - The Museum of Fractured Lives
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A fractured review?, 14 Oct. 2013
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Sally Jenkins has written for the most part an interesting, entertaining and provocative story. The story revolves around Karen, a 38 year old successful woman who becomes aware that her biological clock is ticking and her need for a baby has become her priority. To this end, she is on the look out for a potential father.
The story is well told but does at times fall into a Mills and Boon cliche. There are also some elements in the story that either don't ring true or simply don't work. The one sex scene is funny rather than erotic: "My hand went to his trousers - there was no doubt that he was more than pleased to see me."
When Karen's search for a potential father makes her think of using a dating site she states that she hopes not to find "nerdy anoraks." Apart from this being a rather stereotypical view of dating sites (and nerdy anoraks for that matter)it also contradicts Karen's earlier credentials for a suitable father, "Great looks were no longer important. I didn't care anymore if a man's dress sense wasn't perfect...I wasn't looking for someone to show off at work functions."
I did enjoy the story and especially like the idea of a Museum for Fractured Lives but I really did not like the Karen character or John Crewe and as such I believe this could potentially hinder one's enjoyment of the story.

50 Things to Know to Self-Publish a Book on Amazon: A Step-By-Step guide to Publish and Promote an eBook
50 Things to Know to Self-Publish a Book on Amazon: A Step-By-Step guide to Publish and Promote an eBook
Price: £5.15

4.0 out of 5 stars Publish and be damned, 13 Oct. 2013
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Many of the these short 50 things to know books are not the effort to read or even download on to your Kindle. However, the same can't be said about about this ebook. It does exactly what its title states it will do; alert the reader to 50 things to know about self publishing. There is a lot of very good information contained within this ebook and I will certainly be looking at putting many of the tips to good use.
The book is written in a no nonsense straightforward, unambiguous manner that is perfectly suited to this type of publication. Unlike so many ebooks I have read of this particular ilk Lisa Rusczyk does not repeat the information to simply extend the length of the book.
You certainly will not be disappointed if you purchase this book.
The only reason the book didn't get the fifth star was due to the poor grammar and spelling. Thankfully, it was not as bad as some I have read and didn't detract from what the book was trying to say.

50 Must-See Movies: Fathers
50 Must-See Movies: Fathers
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Luke, I am Your Father., 13 Oct. 2013
For all film buffs there is nothing new to be learned from this book. However, if you are an occasionally film viewer then you will thoroughly enjoy this little book. There are a few films I wouldn't have included in the fifty but there is many that I would certainly recommend; The Godfather, Kramer versus Kramer, Gone With the Wind to name but a few.
Don't expect any great insights into the films mentioned within the book. Just dip into the book at your leisure and find some great films to put in the DVD.

How To Format Your Book Today Save Time Quick Guide to Formatting Kindle Book
How To Format Your Book Today Save Time Quick Guide to Formatting Kindle Book

2.0 out of 5 stars Format's last theorem, 13 Oct. 2013
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"I wasn't a great student. I don't know the difference between an adverb, a present participle or conjunction"
If Brandon Ruse paid less attention to believing stupidity was a virtue and more time being a `great student' then this book would have been so much better.
There are times when this book is incomprehensible and downright unreadable. It is certainly not a good advertisement for ebooks or for any other books written by this particular author.
In one paragraph he refers to an editor as an auditor; twice.
The other main problem is the book could have been half the length if it hadn't been for the tautological nature of the book.
As for the information in the book, there are some worthwhile tips and ideas and there are few which I implemented and were worthwhile. All in all I gave it two stars as though I didn't like it I certainly didn't hate it.

How I Made $1,530.35 from One Article On My Blog: And How You Can Do It Too - A Step-by-Step Beginner's Money Making Guide for Busy People...
How I Made $1,530.35 from One Article On My Blog: And How You Can Do It Too - A Step-by-Step Beginner's Money Making Guide for Busy People...

4.0 out of 5 stars A Dummies Guide in all but name., 12 Oct. 2013
Doesn't that book title grab your attention. That is of course the title's sole purpose. If nothing else you want to find out how true the book title's claim is.
The book's subtitle "A Step-by-Step Beginner's Money Making Guide for Busy People" is certainly true in that the author does take the reader step by step. He does it in a very clear, concise unambiguous way and as such could also have the title of A Dummies Guide.
As Yet I haven't attempted to follow the writer's guide but I may certainly give it a go. My only misgiving on books such as these is why the author would write such a book that will ultimately create more competitors.

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