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Christopher Sullivan (edinburgh)
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Slot Galaxy - Free Slot Machines
Slot Galaxy - Free Slot Machines
Price: £0.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not slots of fun, 31 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Gets very tedious very quickly. Playing with real money would of course make the game much more interesting. But, I am not willing to go down that particular path.


In Between the Sheets
In Between the Sheets
by Ian McEwan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

3.0 out of 5 stars Liked but not loved, 30 Dec. 2013
This review is from: In Between the Sheets (Paperback)
This is a collection of seven short stories by Ian McEwan from 1978. The main theme that runs through the book is sex. The sexually activity is within the spectrum of kinky and depraved. However, it could also be looked upon as pornographic but without the titillation. What I mean by that is that most of the sex is suggested but not always described in great detail. But, it could be construed as pornographic simply due to whom and what is described as having the sex. There is sex between a man and a mannequin; between a woman and an ape and the wet dreams of a man that involve a pre-pubescent girl.
I tried so hard to not use the following adjectives to describe the book; `dark' and `disturbing' as I am sure they have been used many times to describe this set of short stories. However, it is almost impossible not to use the afore-mentioned adjectives as they perfectly describe two major aspects of the book.
I believe the book reflects Great Britain during 1977 and 1978. The country was beset with strikes, IRA bombings, political unrest, the `Winter of Discontent' was just around the corner, the gaining popularity of the Conservative party, (The Thatcher era was only a year away), and women's palpable fear of the Yorkshire Ripper. There is one story in the book of a dystopian future set in Great Britain. But attitudes to sex in the seventies were a bigger threat.
The seventies are seen by many historians as the decade that saw an explosion of promiscuity, abortion and pornography. The pill became widely used in the seventies and so it appeared as if everyone was having sex with anyone. Sex became recreational rather than perfunctory. But of course this sexual promiscuity had a dark (there is that word again) element; abortion, women scared to say no due to peer pressure or not wanting to appear repressed, increased illegitimacy and women losing their sense of autonomy. Many novels of the seventies depicted sexual violence such as `A Clockwork Orange' by Anthony Burgess.
In Ian McEwan's book of short stories the stories depict most of the male characters as unable to differentiate between lust and love. The male appendage for most of the male characters does most of the thinking leaving the brain in neutral like so many idling cars: the engine is running but the car is not moving.
In Between the Sheets is a perversely envisioned account of sex and in the male of the species. The stories articulate the era of the seventies and also resonate in the 21st century with the growth of the internet and continuing sexualisation of women and in particular young girls.

Originally published at[...]


StumbleUpon
StumbleUpon
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars I stumbled across this app., 29 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: StumbleUpon (App)
A great app of a great website. Works perfectly on my Kindle Fire. No bugs or problems to report as yet.


Pinterest
Pinterest
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars interesting app, 29 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pinterest (App)
A great app that allows easy access to Pinterest on my Kindle Fire. I can find nothing negative about the app and it being free makes giving it five stars a no brainer.


eBay
eBay
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I`ll buy that for a dollar., 29 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: eBay (App)
Great app that works perfectly on my Kindle Fire. I can find nothing negative about the app. So far it has done everything I wanted it to do.


BBC News
BBC News
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars good news, an app that works perfectly, 29 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: BBC News (App)
A great app and a great way to keep up with the latest news. I never had a problem with this app on my phone and have had no problem with it on my Kindle Fire.


Hangman Classic Free
Hangman Classic Free
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars fun to play while hanging around bored somewhere, 29 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hangman Classic Free (App)
It is a fun way to kill time for five or so minutes. It plays smoothly and as yet no bugs to report. It's look is simple with three themes to choose from; blackboard, parchment and school jotter.


Accordion Crimes
Accordion Crimes
by Annie Proulx
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Hits some wrong notes, 27 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Accordion Crimes (Paperback)
Accordion Crimes follows the stories of America's many immigrants from 1890 to 1996. The novel is split into eight sections and reads like eight short stories where the only connection is a green accordion and the suffering and hardship that the immigrants each suffer; Germans, Italians and Mexicans etc.
The stories traverse America, Texas, Iowa, Florida and Louisiana to name but a few. The green accordion that connects the lives of the novel's characters is crafted by a poor Sicilian in the last decade of the 19th century. Through the novel the accordion is stolen, lost or bought by the novel's protagonists.
The novel's premise is striking, applaudable and its ambition is as vast as the country in which novel is set, America. The novel attempts to show a hundred years of American history through its poorest people, through `foreign' eyes if you will.
The novel begins in Italy where a Sicilian decides to emigrate to `La Merica' in the hope to start a business of making and selling accordions. As an example of his craftsmanship he creates a green accordion. The accordion is an instrument one associates with the working class. Felida one of the novel's characters goes further by stating that, "The instrument of unsuccessful men, of poor immigrants and failures." The green colour of the instrument is significant as it relates to the nativity of its many owners and to the vast verdant landscape envisioned by immigrants who travel to America. The accordion is a complicated and elaborate instrument that belies its lowly ranking in music world.
Like the accordion of the novel's title the novel is beautifully crafted and one can only admire the author's in depth research. However, I found the novel dull, bloated and as dry as the paper it is printed on. The author details the making and workings of instruments and cars and sport equipment to the nth degree. After reading the book you will be able to build and create your own accordion and combustion engine due to the complete and minute detail written by the author on these subjects. I understand the author wanted to demonstrate the ingenuity and skills that many immigrants brought with them to their new homeland but it makes for a dry and tedious read.
I found myself having no connection, no sympathy and no empathy with any of the novel's characters. This is not helped by the ludicrous circumstances they sometimes find themselves in but also the farcical deaths that befall many of the characters. One individual, the grandson of a German immigrant, dies when he loses his balance and falls into a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. However, he manages to drag himself out of the spring with his flesh falling off his bones only for him to fall into another hot spring like a character from a Mack Sennett film.
Many of Ms Proulx's references and analogies are pretentious, obscure and at times obtuse: "leaving the door ajar like Richard Widmark." I could make no sense of this simile. Only film aficionados' would be aware of the actor Richard Widmark and even some of those would be hard pressed to name any of his films.
One feels guilty at having to negatively criticize Annie Proulx's novel as it is a worthy and ambitious piece of work about a country's immigrants and their place in that country. To that end it is still relevant in the world today as we move toward the middle of the second decade of the 21st century immigration still high on the agenda of not just governments but the voters.

Originally posted at [...]


In the Memorial Room
In the Memorial Room
by Janet Frame
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.68

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Room with an excellent view., 27 Dec. 2013
This review is from: In the Memorial Room (Hardcover)
This is the posthumous publication of a book written forty years ago in 1973. Janet Frame did not allow publication of this roman a clef novel as she was worried that the people of the city Menton in France, where the book is set, may have recognized themselves and taken offence.
Like Janet Frame, the novel's protagonist Harry Gill, is awarded a fellowship. The fellowship, Janet's and Harrys, allows them to live and work for six months in the city of Menton on the Cote d'Azur. While Janet received the Katherine Mansfield fellowship, Harry is awarded the fictitious Margaret Rose Hurndell fellowship.
In this epistolary novel Harry Gill is a self loathing, self-pitying psychosomatic novelist. He has written two historical novels which have been fairly well received but Harry now wants to write something completely different in an attempt to be taken more seriously. He is attempting to write a picaresque novel which is in complete contrast to how he perceives himself;

"dull personality, almost humdrum, a plodder from day to day"

In the memorial Room has no conventional plot line. Much of the novel is a stream of consciousness and as such could be seen by many as a difficult read. But this is not a negative criticism. Why should all novels be as dumb, asinine and empty as the Fifty Shades series of books? (see my review of Fifty Shades of Grey on this site) Janet Frame's novel will stay in the memory long after Fifty Shades has receded to that dark space at the back of the memory's filing cabinet.
Her novel is a beautiful, rich, dark essay on the human psyche. It opens the curtain of our minds to shed light on the human fear of being invisible, of no longer being noticed or having our opinions matter or being forgotten by a society that takes no interest in a person once they have hit old age.
Writers too become invisible. A writer is only visible when being read. When people stop reading a writer's work then the author becomes invisible, they cease to exist.
Many of Menton's inhabitants that Harry Gill encounters are elderly and on finding themselves invisible have utilised the death and memory of the writer Margaret Rose Hurndell to make themselves visible again. This is especially true of the Margaret Rose Hurndell fellowship's principal donors Connie Watercress and Grace Armstrong who having been denied fame in their own career now bask in the reflected light and glory of Rose Hurndell's fame.
Harry believes that his sight is degenerating to the point where he will be completely blind within five years. Harry begins to suffer debilitating headaches and so visits Dr Rumor in the city of Menton. Dr Rumor disagrees with Harry's doctor on his diagnosis of his oncoming blindness. Dr Rumor explains that Harry "is trying to make (himself) invisible, on the childlike theory that if you can't see, then you can't be seen."
The title of the book refers to the room in Menton where Harry is expected to write in. The memorial room lies beneath departed Ms Hurndell's residence Isola Bella. It is a stone tomb like room which has no toilet or running water and little light or warmth,

"I thought, had Rose Hurndell been buried here and not in London."

This brings us to The Memorial Room's other main theme, one of being buried alive: buried in the shrouds of old age, illness or retirement. As these three events occur, many people dig their own graves by allowing these events to define who they are and wallowing in the preconceived injustice of it all. Using that feeling of injustice as a spade people tend to dig deeper and deeper into a permanent black hole.
Like so many of Frame's novels, In the Memorial Room has an autobiographical undertow. Both Harry Gill and Janet Frame craved both fame and anonymity. Both wanted to communicate with the world but not in any conventional way. Both feel alone in the world and but have people looking to seek their company.
This novel will halt any chance of Janet Frame becoming invisible and hopefully will result in her being an angel at all our reading tables.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2014 8:41 PM BST


The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo 3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo 3DS)
Offered by The Game Collection -
Price: £31.57

5.0 out of 5 stars Link to a great review, 14 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for my daughter, (though of course I will looking to play it after she has finished), and she said, and I quote, "So far the new Zelda is easiest one of the best I have ever played.". My daughter is a huge Zelda fan and has been since her age was in single figures. (She is now 22). I am looking forward to playing this as the Link to the Past is one of my all time favourite games.


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