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michele

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Dear Life
Dear Life
Price: 3.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I would not have awarded this author a Nobel prize!, 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Dear Life (Kindle Edition)
The emptiness of these short stories contrast to the richness of the literature of other authors who won the Nobel prize or the Booker Prize or the Prix Goncourt. True, she reveals a culture of a sort. A disappointing read.


Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan
Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan
Price: 2.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent study of the idiocy of the British in Afghanistan and the role of a foreign army in other peoples' country, 30 Jan 2014
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This book reveals clearly how little the British understood local tribal culture in Afghanistan, how their generals constructed their own justifications for invasion and for the massive expense, financial and in human lives, and how arrogant they were. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. As most readers will realize, the British went on to invade Afghanistan again and again. Dalrymple tells a horrific story, but does not moralize; he leaves that to us, the readers. I hope that this book becomes a best-seller. If everyone read it, perhaps we will have fewer foreign interventions and a much smaller army.


Only Child (Kindle Single)
Only Child (Kindle Single)
Price: 1.49

1.0 out of 5 stars So what?, 30 Jan 2014
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If the author had not had a brilliant career, this book would never have been published. Not enough meat in it.


A Tale for the Time Being
A Tale for the Time Being
Price: 4.63

3.0 out of 5 stars Too ambitious, 30 Jan 2014
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The story is set in a coastal village in Canada, where a frustrated writer who is half Japanese finds a Japanese schoolgirl's diary washed up on the beach. The schoolgirl's story unfolds, together with her difficult relationship with her father and her relationship with her grandmother. The girl's mother also appears as a peripheral character. The story also delves into the relationship of the couple in Canada who are reading the diary, their different reactions to the diary, and their relationships with the local coastal community. Ozeki also zooms in on the psychological struggles of the schoolgirl, her father, and the female Canadian reader. Semi-detective, semi-who-am-I and where-am-I-going-in-my life, this book is too ambitious.


Harvest
Harvest
Price: 3.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A village tale, 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Harvest (Kindle Edition)
I soon gave up trying to figure out in what era Crace places his village. It no longer mattered as the story developed and enveloped me. Beautiful writing and characterization. Suspense. A little sex. A few romantic dreams. I now want to read other books by Jim Crace.


Yehuda Halevi (Jewish Encounters)
Yehuda Halevi (Jewish Encounters)
Price: 13.02

4.0 out of 5 stars A well-written study of a medieval Jew who has influenced the religious Zionist movement and continues to impact today, 9 Dec 2013
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Hillel Halkin's erudite book reveals how historical poetry and literature remains relevant today. He expertly examines and translates some of the finest secular and religious poetry to have been written in early twelfth century Spain and puts this poetry in its proper cultural context. He also outlines the main themes in Halevi's "The Kuzari", the book that he wrote in Judeo-Arabic, "The book of refutation and proof on behalf of the most despised religion." The book takes the form of a dialogue between a rabbi and the king of the Khazars who had converted to Judaism. Halkin's chapter on the differences between Halevi's arguments against philosophy in this book and Maimondes' philosophical "Guide to the Perplexed" is fascinating. But I found even more interesting the chapter describing the impact of Halevi's view of the Holy Land on religious Zionism. The last chapter, where Halkin compares Halevi's decision to leave Spain for the Holy Land and his own decision to leave the USA for Israel is the least interesting and, I felt, could have been omitted.


Vermeer's Hat: The seventeenth century and the dawn of the global world
Vermeer's Hat: The seventeenth century and the dawn of the global world
Price: 6.64

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent - even on Kindle, 9 Nov 2013
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The Kindle edition does now have the images! Although best read in hard copy, I greatly enjoyed reading this book on Kindle, as soon as I had worked out how to access the pictures each time I wanted to consult them.

A wonderful contextualization of art and great story-telling. The author chooses one object in each painting to "open a door" to the history of trade in Vermeer's day. He focuses on the development of the fashion in the Netherlands for Chinese porcelain, beaver skins, and tobacco, including a fascinating study of seventeenth century shipping routes, diplomacy, and piracy.

Sometimes I felt that the author was too quick at jumping to conclusions from his hypotheses, which are only hypotheses after all. But this did not detract from my enjoyment of the book.


Broken April
Broken April
Price: 3.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Grim tale, 5 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Broken April (Kindle Edition)
Grim scenery, grim situation, sometimes grotesque, Broken April is not for enjoyment. If this is an allegory about communist Albania, I missed the symbolism - this book left me cold.


The Tilted World
The Tilted World
Price: 3.59

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read, 5 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Tilted World (Kindle Edition)
I couldn't put the book down until I finished it. Set in 1827, during the period of Prohibition, when the Mississippi was about to burst its bank, and southerners became rich from making illegal whiskey, a romance develops. Beautiful writing!

I had to look up the history of coffee - it seemed odd that the heroine was drinking instant coffee. It seems unlikely to me that such a luxury would have been available in a small village at that time. But a few anachronisms did not deduct from the pleasure of reading this book.

Perhaps Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter was more powerful, but I will still be looking out for Tom Franklin's next book.


The Woman Who Waited
The Woman Who Waited
Price: 4.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing with a deep understanding of humanity, 5 Oct 2013
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Makine is, in my view, one of the best authors of our generation. He never ceases to surprise and to move me. His painting of characters and scenery in words is an art. The finest details and deepest thoughts come alive. A beautiful story.


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