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A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain
A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain
Price: 3.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 8 April 2013
An utterly gripping read that brilliantly conveys the political and military tensions of the period, and evokes a sense of personality of the key players.


We Need To Talk About Kevin
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Price: 2.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Effort, 7 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It took me four attempts to read this book. On the first three attempts, I gave up on it early, as after fifty or so pages, I just could not see any features of quality in the text. However, I'm glad I persevered with the fourth attempt, because 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' has now become one of my favourite novels.

Once past the first fifth of the book, the story picks up in both pace and drama. The depiction of the characters is startlingly realistic; the conflict compelling.

Lionel Shriver was faced with a huge problem with a novel of such controversial subject matter: how to avoid it being seen as a portrayal of an 'everyman' high-school killer. The text itself repeatedly comes back to the question of why young men go on murderous rampages in American schools, and Shriver must have known that if the novel was seen as an attempt to provide the magic answer, he would fail. So he avoids the 'everyman' issue brilliantly by having a (potentially... arguably) unreliable narrator, speaking to us in the first person. Instead of an author's polemic on the social pressures of high school, or genetic causes of sociopathy, or the nature of evil, yadda, yadda, we have the complex ramblings, arguments, accusations and self-flagellations of the mother of a killer. Is she telling the truth (as she sees it)? And even if she is, is she right? Even when Kevin himself talks about his behaviour, his first person narrative comes to us second-hand, told third person by Eva, nestled in her own first person narrative - fittingly gothic styling for such dark subject matter.

The reader is forced to confront disturbing questions of cause and effect, and the direction of this, versus cause-correlation confusion, and the question of nature versus nurture. As the tension rises, the reader is gripped by the deepening complexity of these questions, and absence of of any definitive answers to them.

The personality of Eva is very memorable; her epigrammatic delivery and stoic miserableness captivating. It's great fun (if fun is the correct term for this type of novel) to pick out the one-liners that encapsulate one aspect of the debate. Perhaps, though, every now and again, some of the one-liners seem a little too well rehearsed, and distract just a little.

Minor criticisms aside, 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' is a brilliant novel that I fully recommend.

[...]


Glimpses of Perception
Glimpses of Perception

5.0 out of 5 stars Read this!, 21 April 2012
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This collection of poetry grabbed my interest quickly. Reading these poems made me feel that the poet had taken some of the ideals of the great Romantics - putting the poet at the centre of the work, a subtly spiritual connection to the universe, and Wordsworth's 'real' language - and brought an impressive post-modern twist to them. One can't help but feel as though one is in a conversation with the poet; the pronoun 'you' occurs as frequently as 'I'. Rhythm is subtle; structure varied, from the epigrammatic to the lyrical. The subject matter is compellingly intimate, emotive and often heartbreaking (as often, joyous). Like all good poems, they need more than a single casual read. Highly recommended.


Specimens of Bushman Folklore
Specimens of Bushman Folklore
Price: 1.29

1.0 out of 5 stars Not Really a Kindle Edition, 15 April 2012
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I am not reviewing the textual content of the book, here, except to only briefly comment that, of course, it is a fascinating and important piece of work for anyone interested in the field.

My reason for giving one star in this review is due to the fact that this is not really a Kindle edition of the book at all. The text appears to have been simply scanned and pasted into a document uploaded to KDP, with no attention at all paid to formatting. As a result, footnotes appear in the middle of the page, there is no table of contents, chapters run together with no page separation, etc, etc. This is a horrendous exploitation of people who prefer to read ebooks, and the publishers should be ashamed of this product. There are amateur, self-publishing authors out there who are selling more professionally produced ebooks than this.

Readers should avoid ebooks like this one, and force the publishers to get their houses in order.

Shocking.


Jane Eyre [DVD] [2011]
Jane Eyre [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Mia Wasikowska
Price: 4.70

6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It Made Me Want To Burn Down The House, Too., 24 Mar 2012
This review is from: Jane Eyre [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
If you could take the story from one of the greatest novels ever written and make it into a big-budget movie, along the way truncating, butchering and mutating the plot, bleaching the tale of all passion, relegating the supporting characters to mere stick-figures, and steamrollering the central characters until they were flattened puppets, you too could have the 2011 Wasikowska / Fassbender 'Jane Eyre'. #Garbage


Coriolanus - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984]
Coriolanus - BBC Shakespeare Collection [1984]
Dvd ~ Alan Howard
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 9.48

3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Masterful, 5 Mar 2012
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In Elijah Moshinsky's seminal production of Coriolanus for the BBC, a masterpiece is created. The production eschews traditional theatrical staples such as characterisation and passion to deliver a hauntingly bestilled interpretation. This passivity of performance appears to have evolved through groundbreaking lack of rehearsal and a refusal of actors to familiarise themselves with the script, or indeed the plot, of the play in advance of filming. The result is a turgidity of performance in which Moshinksy and his cutting crew deserve immense credit for editing out every instance of "Erm, line?"

Alan Howard's rambling monotonal rendition of Marcius is impressive for its eclectic construction, tapping into the depths of Blackadderian gurnage and the gorge-rising warped tonality of Vincent Price in Thriller voice-over mode.

Tipping the hat to Brecht's Coriolan, this performance takes the theatrical concept of defamiliarisation into daring new territory, by encouraging the audience to defamiliarise themselves from the work long before the end. Thus, the mystery of whether this is in fact a tragedy or not is, for most, maintained, as watching to the end could only be achieved by those viewers willing to flay themselves with nettles to distract themselves from the sheer agony of this production.

Simply brilliant.


Calendar 2012 for UK
Calendar 2012 for UK

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 3 Jan 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This looks like a great idea, and before purchasing I checked out the 'look inside' feature on Amazon. It looked really cool. What I've found is that navigating the claendar for notes etc, is not intuitive, and also it seems to respond more slowly to page turns that a *normal* book. The illustrations are cool. It's okay, I guess - nice to look at, but not practical as an appointment calendar.


Tragedy Gold Plastic Mask
Tragedy Gold Plastic Mask
Offered by Joking Around
Price: 1.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of money, 19 Sep 2011
= Durability:1.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Tragedy Gold Plastic Mask (Toy)
I didn't expect much from this admittedly cheap product. However, it wasn't even worth 10p! If the poor quality of the product wasn't bad enough, the seller stuffed it into a box which was too small and extremely flimsy. Don't waste your time or money on this.


Frankenstein: or `The Modern Prometheus': The 1818 Text (Oxford World's Classics)
Frankenstein: or `The Modern Prometheus': The 1818 Text (Oxford World's Classics)
by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.79

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, perfectly rendered for Kindle!, 14 July 2011
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A review of a classic on Kindle should really have two things to say: something about the text itself, and something about how it has been presented on Kindle.

Let's talk about the text, or the story if you will. Everyone knows about Frankenstein - or at least they think they do. No doubt, some know-it-all will tell you that Frankenstein ISN'T the name of the monster, but of the scientist that created him. Well, maybe... but the monster is never given a name of his own, so why not take the family name of his "father"? So, Frankenstein IS the monster after all... in fact, you could argue Victor is more monstrous than his creation. Obvious? Maybe, but perhaps not to everyone. You see, not everyone who thinks they know about Frankenstein actually knows as much as they think they do. Captain Walton? Who he? My only reason for going on this little de-familiarising ramble is this: Today, this novel is as powerful as ever. Simply as a horror story, it is pretty gripping, but the depth and subtlety of the themes are extraordinary. If you only ever read one classic, make this the one.

So, how does this particular version of the novel work on Kindle? Oxford have done brilliant job. The cover image is the same as the paperback, and all the extras that come with the DTB are here too, including the genuinely fascinating introduction. The text has been properly formatted for Kindle, there is a hyperlinked TOC, and it is a joy to use.

Excellent.


FlashForward
FlashForward
Price: 5.49

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Flash in the pan..., 14 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: FlashForward (Kindle Edition)
Like a number of readers, I purchased this book on the back of the slick TV show based upon it. This is never a particularly wise approach to buying reading matter, but I was intrigued by the whole concept of the story, and so decided to give it a go.

A few chapters into the book, I had to stop and give up. Now, I have read some pretty bad examples of prose over the years, and FlashForward ranks among the worst. The monotonous narrative style begins to grate after only a few pages. The story idea is still great, but oh! the writing...

Better off sticking with the TV show for the gist of the story, and looking elsewhere for a good read...
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2011 6:37 PM GMT


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