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Pipeline: Letters from Prison
Pipeline: Letters from Prison
by Antonio Negri
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Either a Brilliant Marxist Exposition, or An Exercise in Tedious Sophistry, 1 Aug. 2015
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Antonio Negri was kept in a cell suspected of being involved in the murder of former Italian prime minister, Aldo Moro and political insurrection. The Italian legal system is such that a suspect can be, and often is, remanded in custody until trial. Negri contends the Italian prosecutors delayed his trial for as long as possible, and the Moro charges were consequently dropped.

The book consists of twelve letters to "David", a fictional composite of several people, although none were recipients in reality.

This is probably of more interest to those who enjoy Marxist rhetoric and left-wing dialects than me.

I found it all way above my head. Either that, or it was pure intellectual pretentiousness, and as such, had to set it aside.


The Past
The Past
by Tessa Hadley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.29

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic masterpiece: one of the best books this year, 1 Aug. 2015
This review is from: The Past (Hardcover)
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Tessa Hadley writes with the tour de force of a truly great writer. Her incisiveness and insight show the same sharp social observation as an Elizabeth Taylor, an Elizabeth Bowen, or even an Elizabeth Goudge.

Her writing is quintessentially English. It has Margaret Drabblesque touches of pithy perceptiveness about our social moraes, class and personal politics. Tessa Hadley shows us that the novel is not dead!

I cannot praise this book highly enough. It kept me as absorbed - right to the last page - as any psychological thriller (and in a way it was one of these).

From the opening pages, I dreaded it would be a twee story about yet another middle-class family: navel-gazing, yet congratulating itself at the same time. Thus I was pleasantly surprised to experience the developing realisation I was reading one the best books I have read for a long time. Words cannot convey how staggeringly poetic, insightful and well-written it is!

Hadley tells the story of a family drama that develops as four siblings reunite at their long-dead grandparents' rural home, with children and family friend in tow, a callow youth of an exotic culture, together with a new wife that shows us the stranger's eye.

There is always an undercurrent of darkness and repressed sexuality running thinly beneath the veneer of an archetypal polite, middle-class English family.

Some scenes are so full of pathos and tragedy, they almost transcend into Shakespearian comedy.

I can heartily recommend this book as the best read so far this year!


The Wool-pack (Puffin Story Books)
The Wool-pack (Puffin Story Books)
by Cynthia Harnett
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful classic old children's novel about young Nicholas Fetterlock, 19 July 2015
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Set in 1493, _The Wool Pack_ tells the story of young Nicholas Fetterlock, son of a Cotswold wool merchant, caught up in the middles ages intrigues of the wool trade. Never turgid, always easy to read.

Wonderful classic old children's novel, but because of the sheer amount of historical detail Cynthia Hartnett packs in, together with some wonderful illustrations of times gone by, there is much to interest and entertain adults, too.

Such a shame it is out of print. Buy from a used bookseller before it's too late!

My special interest? I am researching a novel I am writing, set in days of yore. This has helped me with historical detail.


The Load of Unicorn (Classic Mammoth)
The Load of Unicorn (Classic Mammoth)
by Cynthia Harnett
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful classic old children's novel about young Bendy Goodrich, 19 July 2015
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_The Load of Unicorn_ tells the tale of young Bendy Goodrich and the coming of William Caxton's Press. What will it mean for the old style scriveners? Very soon, Bendy finds himself in the midst of a conflict as the old way is threatened by the new.

The great detail about London of its day, together with marvellous intricate illustrations, never turgid, always easy to read, is as informative as it is entertaing.

Wonderful classic old children's novel, but because of the sheer amount of historical detail Cynthia Hartnett packs in, together with some wonderful illustrations of times gone by, there is much to interest and entertain adults, too.

Such a shame it is out of print. Buy from a used bookseller before it's too late! My copy arrived as good as new.

My special interest? I am researching a novel I am writing, set in days of yore. This has helped me with historical detail.


The Man Who Watched Women
The Man Who Watched Women
by Michael Hjorth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent crime-noir thriller; lots of twists and turns, 19 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Hjorth & Rosenfeldt are master scriptwriters and skilled at ratcheting up the suspense and never letting up until the very end. It is a blockbuster of a book: it took me several weeks to finish, despite getting so engrossed I didn't want to put it down

It is not high literature, but classic crime noir scandinavian-style, with a particularly grisly series of murders, a bunch of psycopaths, and the heroic cops. Sebastian Bergman, a psychologist-criminal profiler, comes head to head in a pitting of wits against a psycho he helped put away, Edward Hinde.

The novel is like a master chess game, with plenty of thrills, as the Stockholm police find themselves in a race against time before a fifth murder happens.

The plot is all very silly, with a contrived love interest late in the book, and once again, the core of the story revolves around unknown paternity issues. It is predictable in parts, unexpected turns in others.

Despite its shortcomings, the relentless pace and very skillful narrative kept me hooked right to the end.

A small criticism: it could be better edited, as I am sure readers do not really want to know where Ellinor bought her suitcase and her thoughts at the time.

Good holiday or commute reading, will run and run!


As Done Unto You: The Secret Confession of Amanda Knox
As Done Unto You: The Secret Confession of Amanda Knox
Price: £3.77

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful analysis of the mask of evil, or hearts and flowers?, 10 July 2015
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Dr Hodges has developed a forensic technique of Thoughtprint Decoding, which he demonstrates to powerful effect. It is a form of criminal profiling, but far more accurate than the FBI's case book style of hit and miss overgeneralisation by omitting to look closely at the "fingerprints" of the killer's mind.

As Done Unto You is staggering in its insightfulness: the superintelligence we are barely conscious of, but drives our script in how we express ourselves in the things we say and write.

By carefully scrutinising all of Amanda Knox' and some of Raffaele Sollecito's written documents - email home, email to advocate journalist, Nina Burleigh, key police statements, diary entries, and testimonies - Dr Hodges pulls back the veil to show a brutally naked confession of the crime.

He achieves this by line by line combing of the texts and assessing what really is being said. For example, phrases such as, "I know I am innocent" and denials such as "It wasn't me who did this", in fact reveals the opposite meaning. We are familiar with this in every day speech, when phrases like, "I don't mind", "It's all right" are the little white lies we tell each other.

Dr Hodges is particularly skilled at getting to the heart of the darkest, deepest thoughts. His theological insights are astonishing, in that he articulates with ease and in plain English, complex ideas about atonement, forgiveness, good and evil. He holds up a mirror to Amanda Knox' blackest shadow side.

The writing is healing, true and beautiful. The chapter on Nina Burleigh, key representative of the subversion of justice campaigners, is simply devastating.

He uses Burleigh's own words against her. Is the smiling face of Amanda Knox, or herself, the mask of evil, or hearts and flowers?

But then you already knew the answer. Your super intelligence told you: your own thoughtprint decoder.


In The Blood Of The Greeks (Intertwined Souls Series Book 1)
In The Blood Of The Greeks (Intertwined Souls Series Book 1)
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Brooks has a good ear for dialogue and is a natural storyteller., 9 July 2015
Mary Brook's novel is set in occupied Greece in the early 1940's. It charts the life of Zoe Lambros, a young Greek girl struggling to make sense of the attempted invasions of the Italians, and now the Germans.

She grows up hating a mysterious young woman,Eva, the daughter of one of the German occupying officers.

Brooks has a good ear for dialogue and is a natural storyteller.

There are Australian allies, Russian communist collaborators with the resistant Greeks, the KKE, and the Greek resistant movement.

Brooks introduces some fine theological argument between Father Haralambes as to how right is it, to avenge our enemies?

Father Haralambas himself, has a surprise up his sleeve.

As the plot progresses, we see there is more to Eva than meets the eye, as the conflict between her and Zoe unfolds.

All in all, a good read, although I did feel the plot did not remain as tight all the way through as in the first third of the book.


Fates and Furies
Fates and Furies
by Lauren Groff
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groff writes like a painter filling in a canvas, with masterful and subtle brushstrokes, 21 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Fates and Furies (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Lauren Groff is a writer of great skill. She weaves depths, layers and colours into her natural gifts as a storyteller, one can quite understand all the accolades and prizes in her favour. On the strength of this book, I have ordered her previous bestseller works, _The Monsters of Templeton_ and _Arcadia_ as audiobooks.

_Fates and Furies_, ostensibly, a portrait of a marriage between Lotto and Mathilde, is in fact, novel as social commentary. The commentary here is of America: its obsessions with wealth, youth, looks and sex. It is a potpourri of poetic narrative meets Jonathan Franzen (for example, of _The Corrections_ fame, and who received similar accolades).

Groff paints her characters with insightful brushstrokes. We chart Lotto's parents and early childhood. The fall from riches to beach house condominium after his father's death, the generous allowance, his new friends and his coming of age. The all-American story.

We follow Lotto's ambitions as an actor, starving in the garrett, with long periods of rest. The parties, his entourage of exes, the progression and development of his marriage to the "predatory" Mathilde.

Groff's depictions of Lotto's relationship with his little sister reminds me of J D Salinger _Zooey and Franey_ : beautifully done.

Groff has a fine sense of metaphor and writes like a painter filling in a canvas, with masterful and subtle brushstrokes, with shade and light.

At nearly 400 pages long, you can read and read and read, to your heart's content.


DARK MATTER: The Meredith Kercher Murder Mystery (A #SHAKEDOWN Title Book 3)
DARK MATTER: The Meredith Kercher Murder Mystery (A #SHAKEDOWN Title Book 3)
Price: £2.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Humdinger of a Book: No Stone Left Unturned, 21 Jun. 2015
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Lisa Wilson and Nick Van der Leek relentlessy drive through to the heart of Meredith Kercher's murder. It is shocking to contemplate Meredith's own roommate slaughtered her. Meredith unknowingly set off a chain of negative emotions in Amanda. She was on a more prestigious university scheme, she was kind and well-balanced, studying hard, keeping up with her friends, ringing home Mum and Dad every day. Murderous black jealousy was triggered in the dark heart of Svengali-like Knox, and her two besotted male friends were only too happy in their sex and drug fuelled fantasies, to carry out her evil bidding.

Amanda rang Mom for the first time from Perugia just before she knew Meredith's body was about to be discovered.

Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox showed every indication of knowing Meredith's fate before the police turned up and the door broken down. Wilson & Van der Leek demonstrate by her actions, Knox' certain involvement in Meredith's umtimely death.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2015 10:55 AM BST


AmazonBasics 100% Cotton Single Duvet Cover Set, Bold Checks with 1 pillowcase
AmazonBasics 100% Cotton Single Duvet Cover Set, Bold Checks with 1 pillowcase
Price: £28.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent good quality basic single duvet, 16 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Excellent good quality basic single duvet. Made 100% of good quality cotton, this is not the flimsy see-through polyester cotton mixtures, so often associated with this type of product.

Bravo, Amazon, with your Basics Value range!


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