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A. M. Smithwhite "Amba Smithwhyte" (Paignton, Devon, UK)
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Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition
Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition
by Joseph Heller
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars IOU a silk parachute is not what you want to read when you have to jump out of burning plane, 3 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Surreal, subtle dig at modern warfare told in post-modernal way - before the actual advent of postmodernity.
Feels as fresh as the day it was published five decades ago. Well written and having just read it for the first time, I now understand the fuss made about Catch-22. It's almost Dickensian in its range of odd characters, but written in modern, clever prose. Yossarian is the main character but there are a myriad of other US aircrew stationed on a small island off the coast of Italy. Major Major Major - by rank, fore-name and surname - good job he never attains a higher rank as it would be even more confusing. Finding IOU notes inside their parachutes when they attempt to use them. The notes left by a crazy black market dealer/officer who has sold the silk in order to purchase as much (useless because of the glut) Egyptian cotton as he can get his hands on. MASH and other films and TV series make a reverential nod to Catch-22 in some of their scenes. Verily there is nothing new under the sun.


Killing Floor: (Jack Reacher 1)
Killing Floor: (Jack Reacher 1)
by Lee Child
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Massacre mayhem or gory glory?, 18 Oct 2011
Too many nasties, far too much evil thought displayed by both baddies and supposed good guy, an anti-hero who kills first, in the back and is quite an odd character.

This is the second Jack Reacher story I've read and the bloodiest - I lost count of the dead bodies. The horrible tortures some of the baddies put into use - unthinkable.

Although I applaud Lee Childs writing ability - he's a far better writer than the other horror thriller hacks - and it's certainly a page turner, I found it too gruesome for words. I couldn't put the book down until I reached the end - four hours of reading and entering another, chilling dimension. Probably men love reading this stuff.

I preferred the other Jack Reacher yarn, set in New York, which opens on a subway train and as it stops at each station and then continues on, with his repeated, hypnotic - No one got on, no one got off - building the tension and sounding like the train tracks -no one got on, no one got off.


Water for Elephants (DVD + Digital Copy)
Water for Elephants (DVD + Digital Copy)
Dvd ~ Robert Pattinson
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £19.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watering eyes about an elephant and a love story, 18 Oct 2011
Loved this romantic story set in the gritty, poverty of the depression of the 1930s n America.
A circus travelling around by rail to each town where everyone is hungry and only the animals get to eat regularly.
A young man who's just finished his vet training and lost his (Polish-born) parents in a RTA joins the circus. He falls head over heels in love with the beautiful blonde wife of the sadistic owner. An elephant is acquired who only understands Polish commands as the vet discovers. Love triumphs, they marry when she is widowed, leave the circus and take the elephant with them. They have five sons and eventually he is alone, an old, old man, telling his tale to two latter day circus folk. Lovely tale, bitter-sweet.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2012 8:59 PM GMT


Wish You Were Here
Wish You Were Here
by Graham Swift
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.40

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedium tone poem, 22 July 2011
This review is from: Wish You Were Here (Hardcover)
What was the author trying to achieve with this long-winded novel that was all tell and no show? It went on and on and on, reprising the same old same old; like a roundabout running out of power. This might have been a good long, short-story but was a disappointing half-empty novel. Think about the trees - is it really worth wasting paper on this type of half-hearted military /poppy appeal/ saga?

It was readable, well-written but oh so lacking in vim and adventure. He can write but needs to say a thing once and move on, quickly and introduce more rounded characters that might engage the reader's interest for more than an hour. Sorry, but would love to get my money back. This is not a book I would ever read again.

Most of the books I buy I find after a time I enjoy re-reading them. However, NOT this one, sorry.


Letters to Alice
Letters to Alice
by Fay Weldon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.57

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fey Fay - A Writer's Writer, 6 Jun 2011
This review is from: Letters to Alice (Paperback)
This is my second copy of Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen, because my first copy was 'borrowed' back in 1998 and never returned. In 2011 I felt the need to re-read this fab little book so ordered my new copy from Amazon.

If you write, or are a student of English literature, especially if you are about to embark on a University degree, this will enchant you while at the same time giving you much information in an entertaining way. But you don't have to be a teenager to enjoy this book or a Fay Weldon fan. Any age-group will cull something of worth and interest at this contemporary take on Jane Austin and many other great English writers.

It may even act as a short-cut to other literary gems, so will be especially helpful to young writers in a hurry to read as much as they can in preparation for their own writing career.

I enjoyed reading this for the second time and after 13 years in between it was still as fresh as a daisy and very welcoming even at my great age of 60+

Many thanks to the fabulous and fey Fay Weldon for her artful penwomanship.


On Writing
On Writing
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artful info on writing by King Stephen, 11 April 2011
This review is from: On Writing (Paperback)
Stephen King On Writing is one of the very best how to write books - and I've read many over the years. Mastercraftsman King manages to entertain while giving good advice in penmanship to all those wannabe writers out there. Even if you don't aspire to writing at all you will enjoy this non-fiction but highly amusing and interesting book.
I am NOT a Stephen King fan but this particular work of his I thoroughly enjoyed.
As an aspiring writer I have read many how-to-write books over the years and have to say this one is one of my favourites. If you want to write and only want to read one book on the art of writing then read Stephen King On Writing and you won't be disappointed.


The Soul of Screenwriting: 16 Story Steps
The Soul of Screenwriting: 16 Story Steps
by Keith Cunningham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive Screen-writing Soulfulness, 13 Jun 2010
This particular screen-writing manual is a clear, concise, cleverly comprehensive construct. Easy to read and providing an overview for creative writers wishing to enter this genre. The philosophy(soul)enriching the practicality of writing for the screen, producing a helpful, enhancing book for dedicated students busily studying to lift their writing career to a highly professional sphere.


Encyclopedia of Life Writing: Autobiographical and Biographical Forms
Encyclopedia of Life Writing: Autobiographical and Biographical Forms
by Margaretta Jolly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £232.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Jolly good reference on life writing, 16 Mar 2010
I am well pleased with my copy of the Encyclopedia of Life Writing: Autobiographical and Biographical Forms. It is bound in two (lighter) volumes rather than in a too heavy singular tome.

It is a delight to behold and consult such a truly comprehensive, yet concise reference book. The information contained on each life-writer is complied in an easy on the eye format, in quick, neat passages.

One can dip in at any point and read about life writers who've made life writing an art form. A perfect research tool for all enthusiasts wishing to write their own life or the life of someone else.

The most I've ever paid out for a two volume encyclopedia but I am a serious student of life writing so felt it worthwhile. Many thanks to Dr Margaretta Jolly for compiling/editing this thrilling work - a mammoth task made easy by a brilliant young author.


Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years
Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years
by Sue Townsend
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mole down through the years - brilliant!, 22 Dec 2009
Sue Townsend goes from strength to strength with her on-going Adrian Mole saga. The Prostrate Years is another good read in the series on the life of this diarist. Prostrate is a play on prostate which Adrian worries about and has to have hospital tests. Pandora, who was his girlfriend when they were teenagers at school, still sees Adrian occasionally though they move in very different social circles these days. She is an MP and as ambitious as ever while he plods on with his mundane and not-quite-so ordinary life. His oldest son Glen is in Helmand, serving with the British Army, and his younger son is in Nigeria with Adrian's ex-wife. Adrian's current wife is on the brink of leaving him for the local toff and landowner and his four year old daughter rules the roost. The secondhand bookshop in which Adrian works has to close and things seem to get bleaker yet there is always the humour and light at the end of the tunnel. Mr and Mrs Mole senior get back together and remarry for the third time. As do Mr and Mrs Braithwaite, Pandora's parents, so after the husband swop between these two couples everyone resumes their former partner and waltz onwards. If you are an Adrian Mole fan you'll enjoy this one - the best so far. Well done Sue, more of the same pleeeaase.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2010 5:12 PM GMT


Under Running Laughter: Burma - The Hidden Heart
Under Running Laughter: Burma - The Hidden Heart
by Liz Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.53

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars doctoring does not necessarily make one a natural writer!, 19 Nov 2009
Disappointingly this falls between two stools - it is neither a classical, Cambridge biography nor a novel memoir. I see what she was attempting but she couldn't quite pull it off. She was ill-advised by folk who should have gently persauded her to stick to doctoring and leave writing to those far more able. Everyone thinks that s/he can write but very few really are master craftsmen. Suggest she read modern authors such as Sebastian Faulks to enjoy beautiful writing at its highest art form. She would benefit from attending an up-to-date writing course where she might learn to include a postmodernal wink.


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