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Brixton Beach
Brixton Beach
by Roma Tearne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars More Sri Lanka than Brixton, 15 April 2010
This review is from: Brixton Beach (Paperback)
This book opens with a description of the 2005 London tube bombings, and I felt this opening really got the book off on the wrong foot - it wasn't well written and actually didn't fit with the rest of the book. Following this prologue, the book becomes a fascinating insight into the experience of migration, identity and belonging, and family relationships. The role of both London and the bombings is actually very minor.

Rather (and I felt slightly at odds with the blurb) half of this book is actually set in Sri Lanka and builds a wonderful picture of life on the verge of civil war. It is the building of this picture that makes the following contrast with life in London all the more valuable in enabling the author to consider the impact of migration on feelings of attachment and belonging. I also would commend the author on her portrayal of the central character's relationship with her own son and the person that she has become later in life - rather than seeking a perfect image of lessons learnt from the past, it is clear that the impact of what has happened continues to affect later relationships and tells a more complex, and ultimately more interesting story.


Between the Assassinations
Between the Assassinations
by Aravind Adiga
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.70

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Richly imagined, 9 Mar 2010
Adiga's follow up to the White Tiger is this collection of short stories, set in the fictional town of Kittur in Southern India. For those who read and loved the White Tiger as much as I did, this book is not going to live up to expectations. But the way in which the author imagines this fictional town and is able to build up such a rich picture of life makes it well worth the read.

I found this a difficult book to begin with, as I'm generally not a fan of collections of short stories and had chosen to read the book simply because I had enjoyed the White Tiger so much. But I persevered, and once I had got through the first few stories, this picture of a town divided by wealth and poverty was fascinating. One of my favourite stories was the life of the bus conductor, because it was so well imagined and drew in the themes of affluence, exploitation their overspill into politics so well. This was just one of a great number of the stories that were able to build up this picture and convey these ideas.

Adiga's characters are so well imagined and their stories so aptly told that I was left wishing, in some cases, that he had built a novel up around some of the characters instead of pursuing this collection. For me this would have been a more fulfilling read. However, I did enjoy the book and I would recommend it for a rich and insightful glance into life in South India.


Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei (Lonely Planet Country Guides)
Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei (Lonely Planet Country Guides)
by Simon Richmond
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LP is as reliable as ever, 7 Mar 2010
I visited Malaysia towards the end of 2009 and found this book very useful and reliable. As someone who has learnt to consistently trust Lonely Planet, I was not disappointed. The book features excellent food recommendations - particularly for Kuala Lumpur. Given so much choice in the capital of Malaysia in terms of cuisine, it was great to have some pointers to local restaurants off the beaten track, and we were able to sample some great local food.

The walking tours were also great, they can help you into some of the most packed and non-tourist friendly areas. China Town and Little India were rammed with people (especially the fantastic Ramadan market in Little India, highly recommended), but we were able to negotiate packed alleyways and find fascinating temples, all with the help of this book.

Practical information is highly reliable - such as island ferries and long distance buses, as well as tips on organised excursions into the forests. The only negative I would suggest is that we did find and stay in some excellent b&bs that were not included in the guide - however the next edition is due out so I can imagine that these omissions have now been updated.


How To Be Lost: A Novel
How To Be Lost: A Novel
by Amanda Eyre Ward
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.21

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something missing, 7 Mar 2010
I found this book a little disappointing. It is extremely short and did not benefit from this - it felt like the author could have done a lot more with story and taken the themes a lot deeper. The idea that the lead character had essentially run away from the difficulties surrounding the disappearance of her sister was a good starting point, but the depth that this sort of premise required was not really matched within the book itself.

I did enjoy reading the book and felt that the story told was a good one, it progressed interestingly and the suspense side of the story - around actually finding out what had happened to the sister - was particularly strong. However, I do think that the author could have taken this a little further and explored the issues presented more deeply, which is more what I expected from the book.


1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina
1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina
by Chris Rose
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.92

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 7 Mar 2010
On a recent visit to New Orleans, this book was recommended to me as an insight into how the city dealt with the aftermath of Katrina. Essentially it is a collection of articles written by a local journalist on his own experiences in the 18 months following the hurricane, combined with political and social comment.

I hugely enjoyed this book and learnt so much about the city and its recovery from reading it. The book combines both documentary insights into the city's recovery and represents a personal journey through loss and learning to cope, and as such is as real an account of the city's trauma as you will ever read. At once full of pride, anger, and hope, this is essential reading for anyone interested in New Orleans. I'd recommend it as a good book to take if you are planning a visit to New Orleans.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value for money, 7 Mar 2010
I bought these shoes as a first-time hiker planning a trip to Snowdon. The shoes were excellent - they were strong and comfortable, with excellent grip. They were also ideal later in the year during the snow and ice, for wearing on an every day basis. Come highly recommended as representing very good value for money - other friends with more expensive shoes and boots experienced many problems with rubbing and painful ankles - whereas I had no problems with these.


Twenties Girl
Twenties Girl
by Sophie Kinsella
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Chick-lit craving satisfied, 7 Mar 2010
This review is from: Twenties Girl (Paperback)
If you like Sophie's other books, then this is not going to disappoint. Full of quirky humour, and a fantastic ending, this is great if you are looking for a light hearted rom-com. I bought this for a long journey and it was perfect, just don't buy it if you're looking for anything other than a chick-lit pick me up!


New Orleans (Lonely Planet City Guides)
New Orleans (Lonely Planet City Guides)
by Adam Karlin
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any visit, 23 Dec 2009
This is an excellent guidebook to New Orleans, with really useful information, and hints and tips on what to do. As a lone traveller to New Orleans, I was very keen to find out as much as possible about what to do and where to before I went, as well as important practical tips in terms of safety and Mardis Gras. On all counts, this book is ideal. It mixes information about New Orleans' history and culture with sightseeing ideas and must-sees. In addition, there is a lot of information on what to do during Mardis Gras, as well as other practical information about getting around and staying safe. The eating and drinking recommendations are fantastic - this book is so comprehensive I felt like I already knew my way around NO before I went.


Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth
Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth
by Jill O'Connor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.60

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely gift, 23 Dec 2009
I bought this book as a birthday gift for a friend with a sweet tooth. I was really pleased with it - beautifully presented recipes and photography, it was an ideal present. I have deducted a mark as although the recipes are great, this is an American book so all the measurements are in cups - making it a little impractical in the UK. Having said that, my friend really likes it and the recipes are really unusual.


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