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E. S. Borszczow (London, United Kingdom)
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Deluxe Heavy Duty Spring Chest Expander
Deluxe Heavy Duty Spring Chest Expander
Offered by NAIK SPORTS
Price: £23.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars be warned!, 29 May 2014
On the face of it looks good but... I used it over a period of 5 years and each time it gave me arm/shoulder joint pain. It seems to me that the movement you use is unnatural and bad for your joints. You might not feel it if you are in your twenties but Im sure the joint damage will accumulate over time.

I've never had to use that sort of movement with gym machines before.


Carpet Cleaning Technican's Manual: Advanced
Carpet Cleaning Technican's Manual: Advanced
Price: £21.54

3.0 out of 5 stars A treasure-trove but badly typeset, 7 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very useful compendium of carpet cleaning, definitely gives you the confidence to go out and clean but pages seem to be missing and letters jump on pages and some tables are unreadable.


Existence Is Futile
Existence Is Futile
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Complex classic compositions in a trash metal frame, 1 May 2010
This review is from: Existence Is Futile (MP3 Download)
This music is a mystery. Sound like trash metal but the structures are those of old classical masters. There is something very magnetic and fresh about them, high voltage. Don't buy it, it will put you in jitters for long!


Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain
Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain
by Ronald Hutton
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surely one of his very best., 30 July 2009
I doubt anyone would know more about the Druids than Ronald Hutton. This is - the - history of the druids of Britain from one of our premiere experts. It is entertaining and well written from beginning to end and based on the most scrupulous coverage of the sources...real and invented.


Azincourt
Azincourt
by Bernard Cornwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Big scope, 27 July 2009
This review is from: Azincourt (Paperback)
It seems that BC tried to write a national epos and decided that he can't make the main hero too personable and likable, so, the characters speak in wooden dialogues and lack passion. Writing an epos, BC had to show reverence towards Christianity but couldn't hide his personal hatred of it so we get prists raping little girls but on the other hand the Hero can talk to the saints. In the result, both motifs are unconvincing.
I expected more of Bernard after having read 3 of his Vikings books but it is still a fascinating and smooth read worth recomendation.


Molly's Millions
Molly's Millions
by Victoria Connelly
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Waste of Molly's Millions, 27 July 2009
This review is from: Molly's Millions (Paperback)
I bought this book becasue of its fascinating premise. I gave it 100 pages of my patience but it didn't go anywhere. This could have been such an exciting story instead it has too many dull characters and Molly driving around in the Middlands.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 13, 2009 11:37 AM BST


Newnovelist 2 (PC)
Newnovelist 2 (PC)

3.0 out of 5 stars not bad, 10 July 2008
This review is from: Newnovelist 2 (PC) (CD-ROM)
It's conceptually a good program, pity about the lousy bugs. I bought two copies of the program and both print only single chapters cut off to about 20-40 pags, its very enoying. There is a feature for internet browsing which doesn't work. The space for notes is too small.

The best thing about it is the simple 12 chapters structure which guide you through different story types- I've never seen anything like it in other programs, which are usually too complicated and overambitious. Programs like Dramatica involves a ridiculous amount of planning which hinders your pleasure in spontaneous creating.


The Queen and I
The Queen and I
by Sue Townsend
Edition: Paperback

8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How very funny! NOT!, 26 April 2008
This review is from: The Queen and I (Paperback)
All those rave reviews here must have been written by the members of Sue Townsend's family and people from her publisher's office.

I'm really sorry, but there is nothing funny about this book. It's not `screamingly comical' as one reviewer put it. It's not even interesting as a story. It takes the writer 60 pages to convince us that the royals don't know how to make a cup of tea, boil water or shave. The story gets bogged down in details like this, moving in no direction whatsoever.

I gave up reading at that point. I'm really not interested in what's gonna happen to all those dull characters. And there are too many of them. All the royals take the front position and you don't know who to identify with, especially when they are two-dimensional cartoon characters.

Sue doesn't know how to write a joke or a scene gag because she doesn't include a single one. Certainly, she's never heard of a punchline. None of the chapters end with one, not even with a cliff hanger. Sometimes we get a feeble conclusion.

Frankly, the whole point of the book seems to be that if you take the royal family out of the palace, they are gonna be a bit clumsy. How very hilarious!
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 12, 2012 11:53 PM BST


Stuart: A Life Backwards
Stuart: A Life Backwards
by Alexander Masters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story, just adequately written., 23 April 2008
STUART: LIFE BACKWARDS
By Alexander Masters

I think that majority of the raving reviews here are more about the educational value of this book. I would like to concentrate more on how well it is written.

On the educational side, we do get an insight into the life of a mad, homeless person, a symbolic figure behind all those anonymous poor chaps begging on the pavements whom we pass by ignorantly every day in our cities. It tells us a lot about alcoholism, drug culture, family violence and sexual abuse.

The writer also attempts a brief description of the system catering for homeless people and gives us a useful, broader social commentary.

One of the pervasive motives well analysed is violence based on Stuart being bullied and abused as a child and his becoming a madly violent person himself. One of the most memorable Masters's conclusions I have learned is that in a fight, `not just madness but lawlessness makes people frightened'. It follows a fight in which Stuart head-butted without a warning a bully who challenged him to a duel. Playing not by the rules very effectively scarred off the bully, the witnesses and set up a pattern of violence for Stuart who could now get a buzz out of it.

It is an interesting read if somewhat bleak on the literary side. I'm not sure if that's the grimness of the subject matter or lack of author's passion for his hero which makes our identification with the protagonist difficult. Admittedly, Stuart is a violent sociopath and a criminal, but one, who seeks help, was sexually abused as a child and bullied for his muscular dystrophy. Nonetheless his progress to social recovery and tracing the roots of his personal evil should make for a more compelling read.

It is not helpful that in quite a few instances Masters admits that Stuart's erratic behaviour annoys him greatly, yet gives no admission of pity or compassion for Stuart. Alexander Masters is an educated Guardian writer from Cambridge and a son of two writers; does he have to work more on his stiff upper lip?

Maybe the debutant writer wasn't sure if he should write objectively in a dry, Guardian manner, or be warm and more personal. Masters can very skilfully describe scenery but misses out on people's psychology. His portraits of people are rather brief and snappy like from a newspaper's weekly column rather then literary work.

The book is indeed a snappy read thanks to the narrative being mostly a dialogue with the hero. It is also an unusual biography thanks to the story told backwards, interspersed with the present meetings with Stuart and self-commentaries on the way the book was developing.

I have to admit shamefully that the dialogues were my main motivation to read the book, to learn some of the colloquial- and street lingo from the characters. I didn't encounter much of that. Stuart's expected street English is surprisingly well spoken. Only occasionally he slips into foul tongue. He seems even capable of clever self-analysis and social comments like straight from the Guardian which I suspect were dressed up by the author. That doesn't enrich the realism of the material.

It is a moving, yet somehow sketchy biography. At the end of the book I still don't know how Stuart looks or how he dresses, if it wasn't for two surprising, tiny mug shots of him (one in the appendix, why there?). I still don't know what level of intelligence Stuart or any member of his family is, or what is his background? Can he read books or newspaper? And if so, what level of understanding has he? It's all confusing because Stuart's own writing skills are moronic yet we learn on several occasions that he read the book's manuscript and had many comments on it.

That leads me to the unfortunate art work of the book. It's got plenty of weird and plainly bad drawings, a very unnecessary indulgence, I assume, of the writer's own skills. They bring nothing and are very messy (strangely, all the straight lines are drawn with a ruler!).

I don't agree with another reviewer above that there are pervasive badly constructed sentences. The dialogue form of the narrative ensures a smooth pace. The writer has talent and can produce many gems like:
`He is three months away from bath'; `she has a laugh like a train coming off its tracks'; `he is loopy like a carousel'.

The book has 6 out of 19 blurbs on the cover about how funny it is and it's being marketed to the public partly as such but it only betrays the confusion of the author and the editors. There is nothing funny about homelessness, madness, alcoholism, drugs or paedophilia. What were those reviewers thinking? Is this the way some of the middle classes try to cope with the unpredictable outcasts as long as they are swept off the streets by police and confined to the council estates and homeless' shelters?

For all my dislikes, I would definitely recommend STUART: A LIFE BACKWARDS to anyone who looks disdainfully at the beggars on the streets and while passing them by thinks: Why don't they just get a job? This book will answer your ignorant question once for all.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 21, 2010 12:07 PM BST


The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace
The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace
by Ali A Allawi
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The rise and fall of some ancient civilisation, 10 April 2007
The author of this book is an Iraqi who recently served as both Finance and Defence Minister in the Iraqi government.

His insight is extraordinary and his knowledge incredibly wide ranging. He is simply the insider. From the book you will learn everything about the war, the sectarian divisions of Iraq, the American shortcomings, bribery and corruption, about the key players and so on.

The book is a quick read...like a gripping story about the rise and fall of some ancient civilisation, witnessed by one of its players. Unfortunately it's happening now, and under our banners.

Allawi is the only current writer on Iraq of any stature who actually is Iraqi, speaks Arabic and yet is very West-familiar.

His revelations, especially concerning corruption and money mismanagement are blood curdling. (Americans sent billions of dollars in suitcases to war torn Bagdad faster than criminals in and out of government could steal it).

This book should be read and re-read for many years to come as the ultimate lesson in what happens when you start to `liberate' countries in the name of dubious ideologies (or even God, according to Bush).

It seems that the West has never learned the lessons of experimenting with ideologies on a grand scale. We tried it with communism and fascism and we now try with neoliberalism and `a rapid democracy export.'


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