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Jennifer Stevens (Richmond, VA USA)

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Uc Davis Book of Dogs
Uc Davis Book of Dogs
by Mordecai Siegal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £21.76

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive? Yes. User-friendly? NO!!!, 2 Dec 2003
This review is from: Uc Davis Book of Dogs (Hardcover)
Just like parents should have a comprehensive paediatric medical guide for their children, dog owners should have a comprehensive medical guide for their dogs. And, technically, this one certainly fits the bill.
This book is thick for a reason. It covers nearly every medical condition, disease and ailment that you can think of. It also provides solid information on normal dog growth and development, feeding, and home health remedies.
HOWEVER, if you are looking for a user-friendly, easy-to-read, "For Dummies"-type canine medical reference, THIS IS NOT IT. I strongly disagree with reviewers who say otherwise. "The Book of Dogs" rivals your average human medical reference guide -- full of medical jargon and technical terms. I cannot find my way through this book without constant use of the glossary and index in the back. And I find myself sifting through page after page trying to locate the exact information I'm looking for. Not user-friendly at all -- especially in an emergency.
Unless your dog has some kind of serious medical condition(s) -- my dog, for instance, has Sebaceous Adenitis, a rare auto-immune disease -- for which you need more detailed information, you don't really need this book. You (and your dog) are better off with a book like "What Your Dog Is Trying To Tell You: A Head-to-Tail Guide to Dogs' Symptoms And Their Solutions" by Stephanie Pedersen and John Simon.

The Story of England: Every Visitor's Companion to England's Heritage
The Story of England: Every Visitor's Companion to England's Heritage
by Christopher Hibbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.37

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's the fat-free version of English history, 2 Dec 2003
The same day I, an American, became engaged to my British boyfriend, we stopped by a bookstore and I found this book. Since I'm about to begin on a lifelong commitment to an Englishman, I thought it was only appropriate that I learn more about his country and cultural background. However, given the vastness of England's history, I felt overwhelmed: How could I possibly get a decent overall review of England's history without my head spinning in the process!?
"The Story of England" was the perfect solution. Its condensed format, covering most of the major historical bases, was exactly what I'd been looking for. It provides just enough insight for me to have a good impression of where my betrothed and his family are from, but doesn't weigh me down with 5,000 years' worth of detail. I especially liked the timeline charts and genealogy listings in the back.
However, I'm not giving it five stars, even though it is obviously well-researched and an ambitious effort. First, I agree with the other reviewers who have commented on the long-windedness of the author. (Perhaps it is a British English vs American English thing -- who knows?) Second, although the author touches on many different historical events, I felt that some should have received more attention -- maybe just a page or so. There were several times where I felt like the author stopped short of telling me the basic facts.
All in all, this is a very good read. It is perfect for those of you who'd like to learn more about England's history and the events that help us understand how England has become the country it is today.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2013 2:45 PM BST

The Talented Mr. Ripley [VHS] [1999]
The Talented Mr. Ripley [VHS] [1999]
Offered by funkybunnie
Price: £14.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rarity -- a movie ALMOST as good as the book, 2 Dec 2003
I think most people would agree that MOST movies-made-from-books don't even come close to the books themselves. Orders of events are changed, minor characters are deleted, even entire sections of the plots are left out for "artistic reasons" (or simply because it costs too much to include them in the film). If you're lucky, you see the movie and THEN read the book; otherwise, you're left utterly disappointed.
Well, I read "The Talented Mr. Ripley" before seeing it on video. And I was hesitant about seeing the movie, as the book was incredibly rich and very deep, especially in character development. I had huge doubts that the movie could do the book justice. But to my very pleasant surprise, they seemed to have pulled it off somehow.
This movie is actually almost as good as the book -- amazing!!
Matt Damon is absolutely superb as Tom Ripley. He looks like Tom, has his mannerisms, has his voice. Damon is SO successful at portraying Tom Ripley as Highsmith had written of his character in her book: A conniving, pathetic psychopath, who disgusts you but also somehow manages to make you feel sorry for him in the process. A very tough role for any actor, but Damon was excellent.
Likewise, Jude Law is wonderful at portraying the likeable extrovert Dickie Greenleaf -- a rich kid who's lazing away in Italy on Daddy's money, but who still doesn't come across as a selfish snob. Gwyneth Paltrow does a good job as hesitant Marge, who lacks self-confidence and only wants Dickie to reciprocate the devotion she has for him. My only complaint about having Paltrow in this role is that I feel she is too pretty to play Marge, as in the book Marge is a bit more homely. But still, Paltrow gets Marge's personality down pat, which is most important.
The other thing that is pulled off nicely in the movie is the adaptation of the scenery and historical era of the book. The on-location scenes in Italy are breathtaking -- makes you want to be in Italy yourself! Before seeing the movie, I was afraid that the director had chosen to modernize the story, placing it in the latter 20th century. To my surprise he didn't, but instead stayed true to the story's place in the 1950s. This allowed the movie to have that "old" feel that the book also had.
Since the book focused on the characters primarily and the plot secondarily, this movie gets four stars from me. However, I can't give a fifth star because, unfortunately, the movie lacks some very important portions of the plot, which changes the tale a bit. And considering that the book was only 290 pages to begin with, I'm not sure why the moviemakers couldn't have fit as much in as possible.
All in all, this film did what most others in its catagory can't -- do justice to the novel upon which it is based. It's a good movie by itself, but of course, I still recommend the book.

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