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A selection of paintings by Albert Marquet 1875-1947 and Jean Puy b.1876
A selection of paintings by Albert Marquet 1875-1947 and Jean Puy b.1876
by Albert Marquet
Edition: Unknown Binding

4.0 out of 5 stars Painters, pure and simple, 30 July 2015
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This pamphlet (pp 22) describes the Crane Kalman Gallery 1958 exhibition of the work of Albert Marquet and Jean Puy. These catalogues are little works of art in themselves with their brief but well-informed commentary, useful biography and careful detail. Three of Marquet’s pictures are colour plates (11x9 cm) and another nine in black and white. There is a good range of subject matter, including city and harbour scenes. Puy’s work is represented by three black and white images. Given the paucity of published images of Marquet’s work, this is a valuable booklet for those who want to explore it further.


Anthropology of Religion: The Basics
Anthropology of Religion: The Basics
by James S Bielo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Catalysing a burning desire to know, 27 July 2015
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The students of James Bielo at Miami are lucky indeed. Their lecturer has a tremendous grasp of what matters in the anthropology of religion and he draws on a wide-ranging experience as a teacher and researcher to communicate this superbly. Accessible, stimulating and making all sorts of creative connections, this book provides a wonderful survey of the field’s hot – and some cooler - spots. It discusses them intelligently and succinctly and its brevity simply brilliantly frames new questions. Subsections and a coda for each chapter explicate the argument at every stage. The use of online references and further reading suggestions make the text a formidable research tool as well as enriching its explanatory power. The bibliography alone warrants the cost of the book. One of the professional reviewers of this book calls it a “tour de force”: he hits the nail on the head.


Hughes Robert : Nothing If Not Critical
Hughes Robert : Nothing If Not Critical
by Robert Hughes
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars “… a discreet eye for the truth of a scene…”, 26 July 2015
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It probably isn’t hard to guess what Robert Hughes would have made of the $300m paid for Gauguin’s “When Will You Marry”, earlier this year (2015). His feelings about the art market come through clearly in these essays and articles; acerbic, pithy and trenchant. But what also emerges (and more importantly) is a profound love of and appreciation for artistic genius. Robert Hughes was gifted with an exceptional ability to find just the right words and phrases to capture an artist’s muse, intention and significance. I went to the work initially for a better understanding of Edward Hopper (whose “chalky light” marks, among other things, a debt to Manet), but he speaks with equal insight over the historical and, to a significant degree, the heritage landscapes too. This is a book to be mined over the years for ideas and insight, never failing to surprise in the same breath that it makes you smile. The SoHoiad provides an entertaining coda and there is a useful index.


Oil Painting Secrets from a Master
Oil Painting Secrets from a Master
by Linda Cateura
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Trying to see clearly, 20 July 2015
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There are lots of guides out there that will tell you exactly how to paint a picture, step by step. Pulling together the comments and asides from dozens of studio encounters is not going to provide the same sort of systematic approach (although some development sequences within the “Painting Procedures” section are illuminating enough), but they may make you think. Organised around two main sections on the painting process and basic advice, the book is suggestive rather than analytical. Yes, there may be some apparent contradictions as a result, but I think the way themes are addressed is coherent and nuggety. I would have liked a comment or two about landscape (portraiture and still life are covered in detail) – but much is transferable. The teacher and the author here present an insight into the way artists might solve a painting problem; the degree to which they succeed turns on the willingness of the reader to learn. Read this book for greater understanding, not for acquiring information.


Galveston
Galveston
by Nic Pizzolatto
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Rain on a strange roof, 19 July 2015
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This review is from: Galveston (Paperback)
To get the best out of reading Galveston the reader has to try to put True Detective back in its box. That said, there are inevitably echoes, such as the flickering imagery of the deep South industrial landscape, oddball minor characters and a narrative which moves backwards and forwards in time. However, the main character engages the reader far more directly in an extended reflection on desire: why it matters, what it costs, where it ends. This is far more of a dialogue with the reader than is possible with TV drama. Nic Pizzolatto pulls all this off pretty well for a first novel, I’d say, and while there are one or two wildly improbable continuity tricks, the story-telling is compellingly graphic. I think he develops and sustains dramatic tension, creates an intriguing imaginative space and induces sympathy for a character who is, at heart, profoundly flawed.


Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech?
Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech?
by Mick Hume
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sticks and stones..., 12 July 2015
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Where you stand on the value of this book might turn on what Mick Hume calls “an acid test for those who believe in the principle of free speech” (p234). It is, he says, the position you take on the criminalisation of those who deny the Holocaust. Opposing such criminalisation is not just the “right thing to do”; it upholds the “indivisible” principle of free speech. The seductive undermining of that principle (and how to challenge it) is the main subject of Mick Hume’s book, and he marshals his evidence and arguments plausibly, deploying historical anecdote and account to good effect. I would have been interested in his views on the educational dimension of free speech, in for example, the use of counter bullying policies in schools. Still, he covers a tremendous amount of ground between what he calls “The silent war on free speech” and “Five good excuses for restricting free speech – and why they’re all wrong”. There is a neat summary of his case, in conclusion, too.


The Devil's Detective
The Devil's Detective
by Simon Kurt Unsworth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Light as an Angel's feather, 8 July 2015
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This review is from: The Devil's Detective (Hardcover)
Simon Unsworth’s story-telling owes more, perhaps, to the nightmarish imagery of Hieronymus Bosch than to John Milton’s understanding of a theological mystery. The devil has decided to upgrade her/his infernal home and the instrument of this endeavour is the underworld’s own detective, Fool. We discover, eventually, that Fool has another name, Thomas. As with so much of the story, this is a symbol loaded with doubt. An embassy from heaven (of all things) sets things off and the author weaves elements of moral theology, crime procedural and gothic horror into his tale. To see the drama unfold from Fool Thomas’s perspective is genuinely innovative. His awareness of the hopelessness of everything, his own freedom included, generates real pathos. C S Lewis used to say that getting into the mind of his devil, Screwtape, made him feel grubby. Here, that same sense of the sticky squalor of hell is conveyed successfully, but I think you’ll guess whodunnit.


The End of Days
The End of Days
by Jenny Erpenbeck
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both paths taken, 14 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The End of Days (Hardcover)
An extraordinary odyssey encompassing all sorts of possible biographical worlds and the very real one of twentieth century European events, through a single life and many deaths. Small happenings in one life take on new significance in another and the beauty of this novel lies in the way in which the author establishes the unity of the experience. Whether it is the quality of the original language or the skill of the translator, or both, there is a sustained economy of phrasing which reflects the bleakness of the inevitable while hope gleams in unexpected turns of phrase. The banality of the human condition achieves a sometimes wry, sometimes tragic, expression. This is a subtle, disturbing, original and thought-provoking novel, well worth persevering with.


Collins Complete Drawing Course
Collins Complete Drawing Course
by Ian Simpson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making your mark, 2 Feb. 2015
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This book is an absolute "steal" for the single penny it is still retailing for on Amazon (Feb 2015). It is intelligently put together, with stacks of good advice and useful prompts, and even experienced artists will find some good ideas here. The approach encourages the artist to think as well as draw, and is flexibly arranged. Of all the equivalents of its type - general starter guides - I'd say it was the best I have seen. If you know someone who wants to draw, this makes a great place to start.


The Complete Bourne 4 Movie Collection [DVD] [2002]
The Complete Bourne 4 Movie Collection [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Matt Damon
Price: £10.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Cut to the chase, 23 Jan. 2015
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Spell-binding reinterpretation of a complex novel sequence which is now building up its own head of steam - and following. The (car) chases are second to none. Likewise the film scores - they add a tremendous atmosphere to the drama - as do the settings. Matt Damon is superb as a sort of deadly lost boy, but Jeremy Renner (part 4) brings his own vulnerabilities to the party too - and the weaving of the stories together now adds a new dimension. So does Edward Norton (part 4), whose asides simply open up even more possibilities for the next stage of the chase. The thought that all the strands may yet (ultimately) be brought back together in a Greengrass/Gilroy collaboration is one to promote and the post-Snowden world of the enemy within (and without) offers endless themes for development. Great action, intelligent acting and deft direction. If the best is still to come, these four films make a wonderful set of appetisers; if not, they are well worth watching again... and again...


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