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James Lizard (London)

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The Divide
The Divide
by Nicholas Evans
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something lacking..., 28 Dec. 2010
This review is from: The Divide (Paperback)
I read The Horse Whisperer a while back and found it an absorbing and masterly piece of storytelling. Unfortunately The Divide is not in the same ballpark.

The main thing absent is a compelling plot. It starts with two skiers - a man and his son - finding a body. The rest of the book goes back in time to explain how the body came to be there. The problem is that there is not enough of a story and it becomes largely a family drama which is not dramatic enough, with characters which lack depth so that you don't really care about them.

Strangely too, the narrator is too visible. For example, you tend to see the Evans family on holiday during descriptions such as that of a whale-watching trip or staying at a hotel where lots of the guests are having cosmetic surgery.

I feel for authors who written a huge success and then have to follow it up. Not only do you have to follow it up, but editors seem unwilling to challenge you on including lots of unnecessary detail and asides to the reader which slow the pace and lessen the power.

I have heard that Evans was on form with The Loop and will give that a go.

And maybe he'll write a great book about what became of the two skiers who found the body at the start of The Divide
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2011 9:34 AM GMT


Life: Keith Richards
Life: Keith Richards
by Keith Richards
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is exhausting!, 11 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Life: Keith Richards (Hardcover)
I'm a litle over half way through this book and I've started to speed read! Life's too short - sorry, unintentional pun!

The book is brilliant on childhood in the post-war period, and what it's like to be an only child.

Unfortunately when he "grwos up", it all starts getting a bit boring and repetitive. As with Alan Sugar's autobiography you start wishing he wasn't able to remember so much in such detail! Whatever happened to editors?

When he starts getting pretentious about songwriting and drugs, it is cringeworthy. Here I must confess that I never understood why the Stones were so popular - a musically uninteresting band with an awful whiny, weedy-voiced singer with zero ability to emote.

There are a few interesting reflections and tales, but about page 200 I started to feel trapped with the pub bore...

Is there anyone out there ready to write a 250-page (max) autobiography? I'll buy it!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 22, 2010 8:26 PM GMT


Battery Charger for Fuji NP45 / NP-45 / NP-45A / NP45A / BC-45 / BC-45A / BC-45W for Select Fujifilm Finepix Digital Camera (Models Stated Below) World Travel Plug Version - UK/USA/Europe+
Battery Charger for Fuji NP45 / NP-45 / NP-45A / NP45A / BC-45 / BC-45A / BC-45W for Select Fujifilm Finepix Digital Camera (Models Stated Below) World Travel Plug Version - UK/USA/Europe+
Offered by abcproducts
Price: £8.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Does what it should!, 4 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Given the ludicrous prices for some other chargers - over £30 in some cases - this is a great deal.

The product arrived promptly and charges the batteries quickly.

It comes with a charger thing for the car which is great for trips.


The Dream of Rome
The Dream of Rome
by Boris Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative, 24 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Dream of Rome (Paperback)
Boris Johnson is a naturally brilliant writer. I read a book about electioneering by him which made me laugh out loud.

This is also great and has whetted my appetite to know more about the Romans. Forget the prigs who think it's not detailed enough. There's loads of highly digestible food for thought here.

And even if you are old or new (does anybody still admit to that?) Labour, read it. It will tickle your mind and entertain you.

Go Boris!


The Extra One Per Cent: How small changes make exceptional people
The Extra One Per Cent: How small changes make exceptional people
by Rob Yeung
Edition: Paperback

16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Soulless and dull, 17 Nov. 2010
I have read this book - or rather I have speed read it as reading every word would cause terminal boredom. I have to admit I find the views of the other ten reviewers who have rushed to extol it very puzzling indeed...ummmm.

It is just another of these "Seven Principles/the Eleven Essentials/Twenty Top Tips/etc" type books which give you another excuse for reading instead of doing.

Much more inspirational is Alan Sugar's autobiography which doesn't give any direct advice but has an underlying message of "just get on with it". It's a much more interesting read, and at 600 pages is an even better delaying tactic!

This book is a lot of waffle. If you want a really good self-improvement manual, try Anthony Robbins' Awaken the Giant Within.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 15, 2011 8:11 PM GMT


The Luck Factor: Change Your Luck and Change Your Life
The Luck Factor: Change Your Luck and Change Your Life
by Richard Wiseman
Edition: Paperback

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather repetitive, 16 Nov. 2010
I started off with high hopes for this book but it started to irritate me more and more. It's one of those books that state the bleedin' obvious in thousands of words. It can all be summed up as "If you have a positive outlook and put yourself about a bit, you'll usually be more successful than those who don't."

The other main irritation is the "case studies" where what people say about themselves is always taken as fact and at face value. Just because someone declares that they are incredibly lucky and happy, doesn't mean they are.

It's also full of stories of the "I would have been in the Twin Towers that day, but I had toothache and went to the dentist's instead" variety. That's at least some consolation for the poor buggers who got their body parts blown off then!

At what point does a lucky escape stop being a lucky escape, I wonder. "I was in the Twin Towers a month before the planes struck" lacks the appeal of I was in there five minutes before, but in reality is no less or more remarkable.

I've given the book three points, because there is always something useful in this type of book even if it is not original. In my case, making more of an effort to keep up with old friends and strike up conversations with people while out and about.

Be positive and put yourself about a bit more. Good advice, even if you don't need a 200-page book to pass on the message.


Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite
Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite
by Paul Arden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this, 15 Nov. 2010
This is one of those little concept books, of the type people give each other for Christmas. It's "written" by an adman and that shows - by the way, take a look at pp246-248 of Alan Sugar's autobiography for some pertinent thoughts on the advertising game.

It's not a useful self-help book, nor is it a stimulus to greater creativity. The advice on not going to univesity has added pertinence these days though.

Oh, by the way the author's big achievement in life was trying to help people flog more fags - I guess his arty-farty approach to that might have been better than the Alan Sugar approach which was to stick what the product did an how much it cost in big letters. So "Smoke cigarettes! They taste vile and accelerate ill-ealth and death!"

Anyway the book is worth flicking through in a shop or library.


USB2.0 External High Quality 3D 5.1 Channel Audio Sound Card Adapter for MIC / Speaker Transparent
USB2.0 External High Quality 3D 5.1 Channel Audio Sound Card Adapter for MIC / Speaker Transparent

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Buy it!, 10 Nov. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This costs next to nothing and lets you play great sound through your hifi etc.


Logic3 SB332K Screenbeat USB PC Speakers
Logic3 SB332K Screenbeat USB PC Speakers

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little gadget, 10 Nov. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Our lovely laptop stopped producing sound through its inbuilt speakers and through the earphone socket. Oh dear, we thought. We will see our beloved computer vanish into a backstreet repair shop and pay a hefty ransom for its release.

Then a friend tipped us off about USB speakers. We bought these and a USB adaptor that lets us play sound through our hifi.

Both are great gadgets but these speakers make such a good sound we usually don't bother with the hifi.

Only gripe is the very short lead.


Infidels
Infidels
Price: £6.72

0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Work of genius...eh?, 10 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Infidels (Audio CD)
Forget this is Bob Dylan. How much attention would you pay to this if it was sung in an open-mike session by an unknown. Not a lot, I would bet. You'd tell them to cut back on the words, for a start. It is a little verbose.

The other big problem is what happens to Dylan when he tries to perform like an ordinary pop star - tries to be tuneful and all that. And gets poptastic people to play with.

Somehow it doesn't work and he loses what made him great in the first place - his individuality. My advice - forget this and revisit Highway 61 again to hear some good stuff.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 30, 2014 7:35 PM GMT


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