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Wisedoor (London)

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Italian Neighbours: An Englishman in Verona
Italian Neighbours: An Englishman in Verona
by Tim Parks
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book about Tim Parks, 24 July 2013
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I can see why a lot of readers like this book. It stops just short of the Peter Mayle style of caricature while preserving a soft-centred idea of what living in a provincial Italian town might be like. However, I found the characters were lifted straight from the Mayle-inspired books - the "mad" woman claiming ownership of property and her townie adversary; the witch-like character with a broom; the toothless old men; the uptight employee (what the French would call a "cadre") and his neurasthenic wife, etc., etc.

In the end the reader learns a lot more about Tim Parks than about real Italians. He was the son of a vicar and, educated at Cambridge and Harvard was happy, at this period of his life, to be an English-language teacher and a hack translator. His only "friends" seem to be people who qualify as "material" (admittedly a trait common among contemporary writers). He loves to eat and drink. He and his wife like their cat, and going for walks. So far, so boring. He also fantasises about killing his neighbour's maltreated dog, even seeking advice (presumably from sophisticated friends) as to how to do it. Various methods are discussed, including one that would mean days of agony for the dog. What a lovely man!
Eventually the dog is poisoned, and dies a long-drawn out death one night that keeps Parks awake. After an anxious period when he and his wife fear that they might be implicated he decides the owner killed it. So that's all right. He doesn't admit to a desire to kill the owner, which some people might find more logical.

For a more mature assessment of Italian myths and mores I suggest you read Parks' "Italian Ways". In this book Parks does borrow from his earlier works, and, as he acknowledges, from that of other authors, but his evaluation is honest and balanced, and for this Italophile, throws a bright light on a corner of Italian life that in some ways sums up the national conundrum.


Conundrum
Conundrum
by Jan Morris
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and personal, 13 July 2013
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This review is from: Conundrum (Paperback)
I had wanted to read this for many years but not got around to it. It is a truthful and unblenching account of how one person changed gender and still managed to maintain family responsibilities.


Young Montalbano [DVD]
Young Montalbano [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michele Riondino
Price: 18.50

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun in the sun, 13 July 2013
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This review is from: Young Montalbano [DVD] (DVD)
Montalbano never fails to deliver. Strange when the received wisdom is that Italian TV is rubbish. Clearly Montalbano is not.


Byron 1217 Wired Wall Battery Operated Bell Kit - White
Byron 1217 Wired Wall Battery Operated Bell Kit - White
Price: 14.80

5.0 out of 5 stars As promised, 13 July 2013
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Does what it says on the tin. I got rid of a troublesome wireless bell for this one and am so pleased. It isn't irritatingly loud, but loud enough.


Singapore: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Cultureshock Singapore: A Survival Guide to Customs & Etiquette)
Singapore: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Cultureshock Singapore: A Survival Guide to Customs & Etiquette)
by Marion Brav-Bhasin
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest overview of expat issues in Singapore, 23 Nov 2011
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This book is less detailed than some other similar books, but is a sound introduction to living and working in Singapore. The author is a very cosmopolitan woman, who is open about the fact that she loves living in Singapore, but also highlights the problems expats may face when trying to forge a life there.

She is particularly good on the cultural stuff. e.g. what gift to take if invited to dinner by Chinese/ Malay moslem colleagues; issues around having a maid; how to resolve disputes with neighbours (without either side losing face).

This book is also strong on working in Singapore, and the legal side of renting and buying property. I gave it to my son and his partner who recently moved to Singapore and they found it very useful.


The Romans On The Bay Of Naples: An Archaeological Guide
The Romans On The Bay Of Naples: An Archaeological Guide
by L. J. F. Keppie
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.27

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional handbook for the seasoned amateur archaeologist, 1 Mar 2011
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This book was recommended to me by the tour company with whom I will be visiting the region next October. I know the area quite well and have visited several times, but the writer of this book manages to give the amateur archaeologist just enough information without overloading him with unnecessary detail. The writer is aware, I believe, that most if not all of the sort of people who would buy this book have access to libraries and the internet to dig up the detail. The descriptions of sites are succinct and truthful. The line maps are very well drawn and would enable a lone traveller to find their way about the sites. The writer even includes travel directions and security advice.

The colour plates are of good quality and the text written clearly and with style. The keen lone traveller might want another, drier guide as well (the Guide Bleue perhaps), but for someone going on a group tour of enthusiasts, this is ideal.


Miller's Collectables Price Guide 2007
Miller's Collectables Price Guide 2007
by Jonty Hearnden
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Old but useful, 25 Oct 2010
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I did not buy this guide for the price information. Rather I use it as an authoritative learning tool: it helps recognise styles,periods and manufacturers - i.e. as a reference book. For the price (0.01 + P + P) it was a bargain.


Introducing Judy Collins (International Release)
Introducing Judy Collins (International Release)
Price: 6.67

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but same old songs, 22 Aug 2009
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This is a standard Judy Collins CD, and has many tracks from other Cds and (dare I say it )tapes. Sound quality is good.


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