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Ian C "ianpchandler"

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You Mean the World to Me
You Mean the World to Me
Price: £7.98

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All chintz; no camp., 30 Sep 2014
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Make sure you understand what you are getting yourself into here. Billed as a celebration of 20's Berlin, this isn't at all Ute Lemper and Cabaret territory. This is straight up belt it out old-fashioned tenor crooning of the kind your granny would love as she clutches her lavender scented talc bottle and reaches for another slice of battenberg. No fun or camp, just early 20th century tenor schmaltz. Not my thing. Although Kaufmann undoubtedly sings it extremely well.


Wallpaper* City Guide Buenos Aires 2014
Wallpaper* City Guide Buenos Aires 2014
by Matt Chesterton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pocket guide to the best of BA, 25 Jun 2014
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I feel have to defend Wallpaper city guides from the unfair review already posted. I own a few, and recently bought this one as am soon spending 4 days in BA on a tour of South America. The blurb on the inside cover describes it as a "precise informative checklist of the most enticing architecture and design".
And this is what you get. Wallpaper city guides are not Lonely Planets or Rough Guides. They don't tell you where the best cheap hotels, laundrettes and postcard stores are. I'm not 100% sure who the target readership for them is, and I take them slightly tongue in cheek to be honest. They are aimed at people with a specific interest in modern architecture, interior decor, design and fashionable restaurants. The great beauty of them is the photographs. The map is a token gesture - no use but that's what alternative guide books or smart phones are for.
If you are someone for whom one of the main joys of visiting foreign cities is checking out the best of the modern architecture and glitziest bars by the latest designer of the moment, then you'll be rewarded with this book. If you want to know the bus times to the 2pm guided tour of the Gothic monastery, look elsewhere.


Pompey: A Novel
Pompey: A Novel
by Jonathan Meades
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A dense evocation of the underbelly, 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Pompey: A Novel (Paperback)
If you are a fan of Jonathan Meades' gripping cerebral eviscerating documentaries of twentieth century architecture, then you'll love Pompey. And if you love the richness of English vocabulary and its myriad ways to describe every kind of sex act then you'll love it too. It makes post war Brussels interesting, the Belgian Congo more interesting still, and shines a whole new light on the housewives, pubs, tower blocks and back street abortionists of Portsmouth. This is a novel like very few you've ever read - dense with alliteration, description and the deep deep well of English vocabulary. But this is both the book's strength and weakness. It's richness and density is like a diet of Christmas cake for breakfast, dinner and tea. This book is great; its authors mind is great; but it can leave your brain feeling slightly pummelled like a boxer with a poor defence on the end of too many left hooks.


Shadow Country
Shadow Country
by Peter Matthiessen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning novel, 8 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Shadow Country (Paperback)
Having just finished Shadow Country today I cannot help thinking this is one of the greatest novels I have ever read. It opens up in all its dirty violent inglory a part of the world I have rarely thought about and never visited - South Carolina and the Everglades from after the Civil War to 1910. But that is only two thirds of this trilogy. In E.J. Watson's son Lucius' account of his investigation into his father's death, Matthiessen carries on through the trenches of the Western Front into the Thirties.
I love Matthiessen's travel writing, which is how I know him, and I was worried straying into his fiction in case I was disappointed. But oh no. This epic tale is incredible. What impresses about this book is the breadth and depth of imagination to realise the details of the plot in telling in 890 pages the interconnecting stories and views of many interwoven characters in one seminal event in the opening up of distant marshy south Florida, the shooting of frontiersman farmer Watson. I loved immersing myself in the vernacular language and imagining the sights and smells of this rough band of men and women long forgotten by history. The moonshine-sozzled life lived hard and short of the cane crop, the black labour, the hogs, the young wife and the revolver. Despite the shooting being described in the first nine pages, the pace never flags and the suspense still builds to the book's very last page.


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