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Hugh R. Wright (London)

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POLPO: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts)
POLPO: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts)
by Russell Norman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.00

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Venetian Blinder, 25 July 2012
It comes as no surprise that, for his first book, Venice expert and addict Russell Norman has applied the same attention to detail as marks out his restaurants to delivering a beautiful, practical and eminently useable volume. Part travel guide, part cookbook, part love letter, Norman conveys the reader around Venice as if in a gondola, taking in ciccheti here, pizzette there, all washed down with an Aperol Spritz. As a huge fan of his Polpo restaurants, it's a joy to now have this definitive guide to the dishes I enjoy there so as to be able to enjoy them at home. The cleverly stitched spine, enabling the book to lie flat on the worktop, will surely be as widely copied as Norman's small plates, no reservations business model.

Home to Roost: And Other Peckings
Home to Roost: And Other Peckings
by Deborah Devonshire
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.00

66 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich Pickings, 8 May 2009
Once again, Deborah Devonshire delights, entertains, amuses and moves with this second compilation of her sharp, elegant, self-effacing writings. Comprising everything from the text of after-dinner speeches to diary entries and magazine columns, Home To Roost gives the lucky reader another little glimpse into the fascinating life of a fascinating woman. The Dowager Duchess's immensely charming real-life anecdotes involve a cast of characters that a fiction writer would consider fantastical, from JFK to the Queen Mother via the fearsome head agent at Chatsworth, all of whom Deborah Devonshire treats with equal respect regardless of title or status.

And herein lies the beauty not just of Deborah Devonshire's prose but of the lady herself: that in recounting experiences of an extraordinary life, born into privilege and then elevated through marriage to one of the highest titles in the land, there is no sense whatsoever of entitlement and never, ever any sense of being one iota better or more important than anyone else. If there is anything wrong with this book it is that, like Counting My Chickens, there is so tantalisingly little of it. A volume several times as long would still not be too much of this wonderful writer's wonderful work.

An Audience With Victoria Wood Special Edition [DVD]
An Audience With Victoria Wood Special Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ David G Hillier
Price: £5.50

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bona Fide Comedy, 1 Feb 2009
The term 'comedy classic' is bandied about so much that it has become something of a cliche and, more often than not, is used not to describe something brilliant but just something that's old. An Audience With Victoria Wood, however, is truly one of the most brilliant comedy shows ever performed, as evidenced by the fact that still now, 20-odd years since it was first televised, it still has the capacity to reduce viewers new and old to helpless laughter. I've seen the show maybe 20+ times and yet still find it hilarious; my boyfriend, watching for the first time and still a babe in arms when it was made, shared my opinion. Every section and song is infinitely quotable, and Victoria Wood's masterful handling of her celebrity audience has become the masterclass template for every 'An Audience With...' since. Of this series, only Kenneth Williams's rivals it for longevity and brilliance. If you don't own this DVD, you really should!

Katy Brand's Big Ass Show - Series 1 [DVD]
Katy Brand's Big Ass Show - Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Katy Brand
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £5.64

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new Brand of humour, 1 Feb 2009
Katy Brand is the most exciting new comedian to emerge in many years, and this first series of her sketch show is a fantastic showcase of her very broad range. From the hilarious spoof Army recruiter, to the dipsomaniac, anti-spin PR girl and Bridget Jones idoliser, via Brand's brilliantly witty pop video pastiches, the series is strong, fresh and genuinely innovative.

The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-73: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-1973
The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-73: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-1973
by John Saumarez Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.93

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love for Nancy, 19 Dec 2008
Amazon should perhaps be cautious about stocking this book as it will likely make any reader long to return to independent booksellers! This slim, addictive book is a fascinating insight into what began as a professional relationship between bookseller and authoress-cum-business partner and developed over two decades into a charming, civilised and at times mischievous 'correspondence suivie' between two highly intelligent, highly intellectual writers. The charm of the book is amplified many times by the later revelation that the editor was, unbeknownst to him at the time, a vital protagonist in the drama played out over many years between Nancy Mitford, Heywood Hill and the employees and clients of his (and once, their) bookshop at 10 Curzon Street.

The only slight flaw of this collection is that the editor's footnotes are, at times, a little too succinct; it would be of use to the reader to have perhaps a little more biographical background on some of the persons mentioned in the letters who at the time of writing might have been widely known but today are not familiar names. Also, to any readers not familiar with Nancy Mitford's (and indeed, her sisters') unique nicknames and, if one dare call it such, slang, some clarifications might assist. But these are mere quibbles; for any fan of Nancy Mitford this book is a must and would be money exceedingly well spent, be that on Amazon or indeed at The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street which, happily, still exists.

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