Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now Shop now
Profile for nigeyb > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by nigeyb
Top Reviewer Ranking: 408
Helpful Votes: 1131

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
nigeyb "nigeyb" (Hove, England)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
The Fix: A Konstantin Novel
The Fix: A Konstantin Novel
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, somewhat inconsequential, well written piece of escapism, with a great sense of place, 28 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I chose The Fix for my book group. I was looking for something blokey, easy to read, set in England, compelling, and hopefully well written and funny.

So, to what extent did it meet my criteria?

Blokey? Absolutely. Possibly a bit too blokey for my tastes. One character uses an "arse rating" which jarred with me though the over-the-top sexism and all round total bastard qualities of Hershey Valentine were so extreme as to be quite enjoyable.

Easy to read? Undoubtedly.

Well written? Definitely, as a straight up piece of escapist nonsense which stayed just the right side of vaguely credible, and as an enjoyable, fairly original thriller, this hit the spot.

Set in England? Absolutely. I enjoy books set in London. The book is also set in Margate and Broadstairs, and other nearby seaside places in Kent - which was an added bonus. The locations were a big part of the book's charm for me.

Compelling? Very much so. By the last third I was gripped. The plot doesn't bear too much scrutiny, and whilst some of the characters are fairly improbable, they all added to the fun. And a great opening too.

Funny? Not really and certainly not "laugh out loud funny" as one reviewer claimed - but it was mildly amusing with some original ideas. As mentioned, Hershey Valentine's over the top fiendishness was a delight, Josh's inner thoughts were well expressed and had an everyman quality I could easily relate to, Konstantin was a great character, if completely implausible, and Claire's superficiality and comeuppance were smile inducing. The Tourettes presentation seemed highly improbable given what else we knew about Josh. So not funny as such but generally well observed and amusingly written.

Other thoughts... the ending didn't live up to the rest of the book and felt a bit pat. It seemed to me that Keith Nixon reached his ideal book length and then just tied up the loose ends as quickly as possible. I also feel something darker, or perhaps ambiguous, would have worked better in the context of the book, rather than the somewhat cliched happy ending.

Overall, and on its own terms (Stoner, The Road, or A Month in the Country it ain't ), it was an enjoyable, somewhat inconsequential, well written piece of escapism, that scores high for me because of its more original elements and its sense of place.


Romany and Tom: A Memoir
Romany and Tom: A Memoir
Price: £6.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It’s beautifully written and every bit as compelling as a well written thriller, 22 May 2015
Ostensibly a biography about Ben Watt’s parents - the titular Romany and Tom - it is actually about much more: families, relationships, memory, class, depression, alcohol, jazz, journalism, identity and nostalgia.

It’s beautifully written and every bit as compelling as a well written thriller.

I came to this having recently finished reading Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star by Ben's wife Tracey Thorn - both books are excellent.


So You've  Been Publicly Shamed
So You've Been Publicly Shamed
by Jon Ronson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and profound book, 22 May 2015
I listened to the audio version read by Jon Ronson.

I was gripped from the dramatic opening chapter in which Jon confronts the creators of an automated twitter account purporting to be him. From Jon's gratification at seeing the account’s creators roundly condemned under a YouTube video of the encounter, Jon investigates public shaming - and in particular the internet-enabled variant.

By exploring recent examples - including Jonah Lehrer, Justine Sacco, and Lindsey Stone which provide eye opening cautionary tales - the reader is taken on an engrossing exploration of psychology, social media, justice, and rehabilitation.

An interesting and profound book.


The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An original, highly readable and absorbing tale, 10 May 2015
This review is from: The Girl on the Train (Hardcover)
A well written, UK-centric, crime novel based around commuting in and out of London. Unlikely as it sounds, from this mundane premise emerges an original, highly readable and absorbing tale. The tale is told from the viewpoints of some of the characters and each narration frequently gives a very different perspective on the same events. There are hints of the denouement quite early on thereby reducing some of the suspense and yet The Girl on the Train remains intriguing and engrossing from start to finish.


Lick Me: How I Became Cherry Vanilla
Lick Me: How I Became Cherry Vanilla
by Cherry Vanilla
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly tedious, 3 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Despite being a witness to some extraordinary times, and having access to many noteworthy people, this is a surprisingly tedious read. Cherry Vanilla places herself at the centre of this book and her life - for all the copious amounts of drugs she took, and countless sexual partners - is, well, a bit dull.

I have a keen interest in both David Bowie and the UK punk scene, both covered in the book, and yet even these sections didn’t engage me much.

I found the early chapters about Cherry Vanilla’s childhood in New York the most interesting. Overall though I was very disappointed by this book.

2/5


The Amateurs
The Amateurs
by John Niven
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humour, good writing, great characters, originality and a pacy, increasingly compelling story, 30 April 2015
This review is from: The Amateurs (Paperback)
Many moons ago I read 'Kill Your Friends' and I loved it, so I am not sure why it took me so long to read more books by John Niven however I have now, and I am very glad that I finally got round to it. So having recently read, and loved, 'The Second Coming', I was eager to read more John Niven, and I am pleased to confirm that 'The Amateurs' is up to the same high standard.

The usual ingredients, humour, good writing, great characters, originality and a pacy, increasingly compelling story, are all present and correct.

One review on the book’s cover makes this unlikely claim: “believe it or not, this novel makes golf look interesting” and somewhat surprisingly I have to agree.

As with other books by John Niven, if you dislike profanity and violence this is best avoided, otherwise you’re in for a treat.

4/5


Lusitania: Triumph, Tragedy, and the End of the Edwardian Age
Lusitania: Triumph, Tragedy, and the End of the Edwardian Age
by Greg King
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary tale - engaging, thoroughly researched and well written, 28 April 2015
The extent to which you are likely to enjoy this book about the sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915 will largely depend upon your appetite for reading about the lives of the rich and privileged passengers who were aboard the vessel when she sank. There were a lot of them, and authors Greg King and Penny Wilson spend the majority of the book providing details of their background, their lives and their intrigues, along with descriptions of the Lusitania's luxurious interiors. I am interested in the era and so found much to enjoy in this information. The knowledge of what is to befall all these people adds poignancy and an added grim fascination.

The drama of the actual sinking is truly gripping and it really helped me to imagine the experience and terror of being torpedoed and then sunk, on a vessel that was ill prepared for such an eventuality. The perfect storm of the Lusitania’s captain, Turner, making a succession of inexplicable errors of judgement, Britain waiving the "cruiser rules" (which made all liners liable to be torpedoed without warning by the enemy), and Germany’s new U-boats, all conspired to doom the Lusitania.

The story continues after the boat sinks and follows the survivors to Ireland and beyond, and also details how the lives of some of the survivors played out.

It’s an extraordinary tale and Greg King and Penny Wilson really do it justice in this engaging, thoroughly researched and well written account that personalises the tragedy whilst providing sufficient historical information to help the reader to view the tragedy within a broader historical context.


The Second Coming
The Second Coming
by John Niven
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive humour that nails many a sacred cow, 27 April 2015
This review is from: The Second Coming (Paperback)
Many moons ago I read Kill Your Friends and loved it, so I am not sure why it took me so long to read another book by John Niven however I am very glad that I finally got round to it.

If you’re religious, and easily offended, then avoid this book. If you dislike profanity then avoid this book.

Conversely, if you enjoy perceptive humour that nails many a sacred cow, and that simultaneously manages to be perceptive, quietly profound, compelling, original, amusing and outrageous then make time for The Second Coming.

It's tough being a saint in the city, even when you're the son of God, back again, this time in modern day America, to show humanity how God wants us to behave. That divine message is just two words “Be Nice”.

The less you know about the plot the better. I devoured it.


London's Burning: True Adventures on the Front Lines of Punk, 1976-1977
London's Burning: True Adventures on the Front Lines of Punk, 1976-1977
by Dave Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you’re interested in the era, the music, or London’s social history, this is essential, 22 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I’m fairly knowledgeable about ye olde Punk Rock, both from first hand experience, and having devoured many a musical tome and magazine article, and this is one of the very best punk memoirs I’ve read. Focussing on the all important 1976-77 period, Dave Thompson very credibly brings the era back to life through a mixture of his own memories and a summary of what was happening as the months roll by.

Dave Thompson avoids analysing his account and this works particularly well. We are reminded that the term punk barely existed in 1976 and the stirrings of what would contribute to a seismic shake up of the UK music scene during the long hot Summer of 1976 were wide and varied and, depending on how you choose to construct the narrative, might embrace pub rock stalwarts like Dr Feelgood, Roogalator, Kilburn and the High Roads etc, or the emergence of Patti Smith and the Ramones etc, and so on and so on.

Dave Thompson newly arrived in London, having just left school, soaks up each and every experience as he meets some of the movers and shakers at the numerous gigs he attends. He has some great anecdotes to tell, the horrific racist reaction of the Reading festival crowd to the appearance of The Mighty Diamonds, early gigs by the Sex Pistols, the tragic tale of Dagenham Dave and The Stranglers, the Notting Hill Carnival 1976, punk bashing following the Grundy incident, and much more besides.

I am a couple of years younger than Dave Thompson so my own experiences are somewhat different however this account tallies with my own memories, and the evocation of late 1970s London is spot on. Like I say, this is one of the very best punk memoirs. If you’re interested in the era, the music, or London’s social history, this is essential.


CHEAPJACK
CHEAPJACK
by Philip Allingham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once a grafter, always a grafter.., 17 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: CHEAPJACK (Paperback)
Philip Allingham - the brother of Margery Allingham, the English writer of detective fiction who is best remembered for her "golden age" stories featuring gentleman sleuth Albert Campion - being bored by a succession of office jobs to which he was ill suited, stepped out of his own social class and set out on the open road to work as a fortune teller.

Unlike George Orwell and Monica Dickens (Orwell lived as a tramp and a plongeur in Paris; Dickens worked as a servant in the 1930s, and in a munitions factory in the 1940s), Philip made no secret of his class origins and was usually immaculate in evening dress complete with top hat.

"Cheapjack" is Philip's story of life on the road as a fortune teller, grafter, knocker, and mounted pitcher in the markets and fairgrounds of 1920s England and Wales. A memorable encounter with a preacher helps Philip to realise he has the gift of the gab, and he then goes on to mesmerise crowds into buying fountain pens, patent medicines, stain removers and - most successfully - curling tongs.

It's a wonderful book that is filled with fascinating anecdotes, bizarre characters, and the boom and bust nature of a life on the road lived on wits. Philips vivid descriptions of the characters he meets and befriends, and their rich slang (much of which has subsequently passed into common parlance) and ingenious scams is a continuous delight. If getting to know the likes of Three-fingered Billy, Madame Sixpence, Cross-eyed Charlie, the Little Major, Ezra Boss the king of the gypsies, and many more, doesn't make your heart soar then you may need to check your pulse.

"Cheapjack" was understandably a best seller when it was first published in 1934. After being out of print for many years, "Cheapjack" was republished in March 2010 by Golden Duck and is available direct from their website and all good online retailers.

The Golden Duck reprint includes a new introduction by Francis Wheen and an afterword by Julia Jones, biographer of Margery Allingham, who, it transpires, helped to make "Cheapjack" such a wonderful read. It also contains many helpful photos and, in the afterword, more information about the Allingham family and a summary of their lives. These "extras" all make a splendid book even more interesting and rewarding.

This compelling, witty, poignant, well written book deserves to be better known and is essential reading for anyone interested in the social history of early twentieth century England and Wales as it offers a priceless and nostalgic glimpse of a world that, whilst recognisable, has quite vanished. An era when every community had a thriving market, and entire towns shut down for their Wakes week holiday.

5/5


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20