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Richard Leader (UK)
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Beer Lover's Britain
Beer Lover's Britain
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slips down nicely, 22 Jun. 2012
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Amazon should find a way of forcibly pushing this book to the Kindles of all tourists waiting to clear customs at Heathrow. Please come and drink our beer - this book will inform you as to what to drink and where. Easier going than the more heavy duty CAMRA guides.


Educating Peter: How I Taught a Famous Movie Critic the Difference Between Cabernet and Merlot or How Anybody Can Become an (Almost) In
Educating Peter: How I Taught a Famous Movie Critic the Difference Between Cabernet and Merlot or How Anybody Can Become an (Almost) In
by Lettie Teague
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Witty, entertaining and educational - the first non-patronising wine book?, 22 Jun. 2007
Lettie Teague is the wine editor for the Food & Wine magazine in the USA. Peter (Travers) is the movie critic for Rolling Stone and he knows almost nothing about wine - indeed he is actually scared of some wines (Cabernets in particular). Teague takes Peter on a journey around the world of wine including a whistlestop tour of the Napa Valley, introducing him to wines, winemakers and wine vendors wherever possible.

The idea behind this is that instead of patronising you and me, the author can patronise Peter - and let us into a few secrets at the same time. What we end-up with is something very informative but also pretty entertaining. Instead of reading like a text book, this comes over as a novel. If it were a TV documentary it would surely come over as a Buddy-Movie.

What makes the book so entertaining is the Peter - he comes over as a genuine enthusiast in all that he does, but also at times a petulant child (much to the dismay of the author). He loves to drop names where he can - sometimes this impresses, sometimes it amusingly fails to do so. Through him, we learn that Scorsese's favourite wine is Chianti, while George Clooney likes wine so long as it's "either red or white". Through Lettie, we learn a whole lot more.

Educating Peter doesn't just cover the standard stuff (grape varieties, wine regions, wine making etc) but also how to taste, how to develop a cellar and how to buy (from the high street, from specialists, from restaurants and even from auctions). The section on dealing with sommeliers is particularly amusing - and quite enlightening.

This review appears in full on my blog site - click on my profile above for more info.


Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-soaked Journey from Grape to Glass
Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-soaked Journey from Grape to Glass
by Natalie MacLean
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More a journey from ground to vine to grape to bottle to wine writer to retailer to glass to mouth..., 14 Jun. 2007
This book provides a more holistic view of wine - it's not about tasting and ranking, it's about drinking - the effect as much as the taste.

Red, White & Drunk All Over is - as the subtitle suggests - a journey from grape to glass, or more accurately, a journey from ground to vine to grape to bottle to wine writer to retailer to glass to mouth...

The big success of the book is that it gets a great deal of information over (some of it quite technical) without the reader ever feeling lectured to - or worse still, 'written at', something I feel sometimes with other wine writers.

As a former tech marketer, MacLean knows that keeping the audience's attention while trying to educate them in a technical subject requires a special kind of writing. So what we get is a book full of entertaining and amusing anecdote and a great deal of self-depreciating humour.

In the earlier parts of the book, the winemakers themselves can be relied upon to provide entertainment - some of them are eccentric others downright bonkers. Later in the book, MacLean has to provide the entertainment herself - by becoming a wine retailer for the day or a sommalier for the evening.

This role-playing is a great conceit - it allows the author to impart a lot of information about wine in the context in which we usually encounter it (in a shop or with food) and without patronising us. And this is the difference between 'them and us' when it comes to wine writers - at several points in the book, there is an admission that wine critics taste wine at tastings - the rest of us with dinner or sat on the patio on a Saturday evening. This book is different.

This review appears in more detail on my blog - linked from my profile (just click my name above).


Pork & Sons
Pork & Sons
by Stéphane Reynaud
Edition: Hardcover

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, eccentric, beautiful - and porky!, 22 May 2007
This review is from: Pork & Sons (Hardcover)
Surely one of the most beautifully designed cookbooks of the year, Pork & Sons is winner of the French Cookbook of the Year 2006 and has now arrived in English here and in the US. The book is nothing short of a love story - one man's love for the way of life that encompasses everything porcine.
The book is illustrated throughout with glorious earthy photos and quite charming cartoons depicting pigs in "interesting" situations. All the chapter headings and recipe titles are handwritten. What we get from this is a general feel of well being, of a rustic, back-to-basics approach to cooking, celebrating flavour and tradition - though Reynaud isn't afraid to break a few taboos.

Pork & Sons contains some 150 recipes ranging from a chapter on black pudding through to some fairly exquisite looking 'party' dishes (read 'restaurant style'). Interestingly, Reynaud isn't afraid to cross the codes - he matches Spanish chorizo with mozerella and basil or French ham with piquillo peppers, where Iberico ham would be the obvious choice.

This review appears in full on my blog site - details in profile (just click my name)


The Online Copywriter's Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Write Electronic Copy That Sells
The Online Copywriter's Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Write Electronic Copy That Sells
by Robert W. Bly
Edition: Hardcover

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Good, the Bad, and the Plain Wrong, 26 Nov. 2002
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This book is curious - there is much in it that is good. But there are some glaring problems with it too.
First up: It is not a "handbook" as the title suggests - a handbook to me is a reference tool that you can dip in and out of more easily than this book.
Secondly: Bly is a marketing specialist - and seems to see the web almost entirely as a marketing tool. This is naive.
Thirdly: Bly needs to get a passport. The book is so American in tone, it isn't true! How about this from the opening chapter: "Prospects speak and read English (or their native language if they live outside of the United States)". It might surprise Bly that English comes from... England!
Fourthly: (And more seriously) Bly is inaccurate on some usability and technology points. He claims that Flash is merely an animation tool to be used "like a PowerPoint slide show". Flash when well used is an extremely dynamic interactive tool. He also claims it is good practice to underline text to make it stand out. Many usability experts would disagree.
These (quite serious) points aside, there is some good content in this book. But I think others say it better. Bly maybe a good marketer, but I don't think he's the best online marketer. Sorry.


Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites
Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites
by Louis Rosenfeld
Edition: Paperback

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview - second edition required!, 4 Nov. 2002
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For someone fairly new to the area, I can't recommend this book enough.
The book is well researched and written in an accessible style - sometimes not an easy thing to do in an area like this.
A couple of minor points:
- The book actually gives some useful pointers for IA for Intranets as well as 'the web' - this should be made more clear
- I don't feel that the book gives adequate information on site maps
- Some of the illustrations look old - this has the result of the book looking like it's out of date - it isn't!
These are minor gripes, however, and should not distract you from buying this book.
But please, 4 years on, can we have a second edition??


The Art of Cartooning with Flash
The Art of Cartooning with Flash
by John Kuramoto
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Animation is not for wimps!, 25 April 2002
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to try creating cartoons with Flash - there are gems of animation wisdom that would otherwise take much pain and time to discover without its help.
The book documents the entire creation process from sourcing the original artwork, optimal scanner settings, the walk cycle, background animation to recording dialogue. It also provides a healthy dose of the toon theory & psychology that is necessary to add the magic that this art form can provide.
The author states more than once that "animation is not for wimps" - cartooning (even with Flash) is labour intensive. This very useful reality check emphasises the practicality of the book.
The book itself is not tied to any particular version of Flash.
The supplied CD contains basic artwork that can be assembled & animated by following the book's clear step-by-step instructions.
If you aim to make animated cartoons with Flash - you need this book. Even if the twinkle cartooning style is not to your taste there are countless gems of information here gained through long experience.
John Kuramoto has paid his cartooning dues and written it down so we don't have to.


Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (Circle.Com Library)
Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (Circle.Com Library)
by Steve Krug
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.50

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Web Usability that I have read., 19 Mar. 2002
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In a subject that is often preachy, dry and sometimes event pedantic in style, Krug's approach is a breath of fresh air.
The book is entertaining and informative at the same time - it uses lots of illustrations to make its point, and that point is dead simple - Don't Make Me Think!
Unfortunately, it is the user that shouldn't have to think - designers, architects, developers and content authors really do need to think hard about how to create websites for the audience. This book goes a long way to helping them.
I would recommend this book to anyone involved in website design (and indeed I have!).


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