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Dr. D. Fraser (Scotland)
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Reader's Digest DIY Manual: The DIY Classic - Totally Revised
Reader's Digest DIY Manual: The DIY Classic - Totally Revised
by Reader's Digest
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best available, 16 Sept. 2007
This book is the best of its type available

It bought it when we moved to our new house, and found some rather slip-shod DIY had been done by the previous owner. It covers anything you would ever likely need to know for home DIY.

This book will pay for itself in no time at all, be it through avoiding trademens costs, avoiding waste of materials or detecting "cowboy" builders. I've looked at other similar books, e.g. Collins, but I reckon this one is the best illutrated and easiest to use for the non-expert.


The Blind Watchmaker
The Blind Watchmaker
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly argued, 16 Sept. 2007
This review is from: The Blind Watchmaker (Paperback)
Probably Dawsons best effort.

Anyone who reads this book with an open mind should find it challenging, entertaining and invigorating. Unfortunately there will be some who will view any challenge to their faith as blasphemous. How much is your faith worth, and how strong is it, if you cant bear arguements against it? If you are an ardent creationist then a book is hiughly unlikely to change your beliefs.

Dawkins does not attack religion as such, but he does show it to be in contradtictory position to all the known facts about life on earth.

As a scienctist myself, but not of a biological background I found that this book helped me to understand Darwinism and evolution,

Some have queried the veractiy of Dawkins scientific approach, but as he says himself this book is not supposed an academic paper, but rather a piece of a passionate advocacy of his own beliefs.

The book is, as all Dawkins are, an entertaining and easy to read volume which will appeal to scientists and non-scientists alike


Mother Tongue: The English Language
Mother Tongue: The English Language
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Paperback

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not Brysons best, 16 Sept. 2007
This book is slightly disspointing, given the very high standards that we are used to from BB. Still, it is a probably a worthwhile read.

Some other reviewers have commented on the book being full of mistakes and false claims. There are several, and it was dissappointing that someone of BB's quality should feel the need to embelish his book with these. However, the reader should not treat this as a serious work on linguistics, but rather as a popular and light hearted overview.

BB does provide some good insights into the history of English and the English. For example, he rightly casatigates the public school obsession with applying Latin grammar to a Germanic language as trying to apply the rules of baseball to football.

For anyone who wants a serious read on this topic I can most strongly recomend Melvyn Bragg's "The Adventure of English".


A Short History Of Nearly Everything
A Short History Of Nearly Everything
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best poular science book ever, 16 Sept. 2007
An absolutely excellent read, for scientists and non-scientists alike.

Bryson puts the history of scientific idead in a timeline starting from the big bang.

Thisd book touches on every aspect of science - astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, geology etc and it is this which makes it so readable both for scientists and "lay-persons".

The book gives a fascinating insight into the early scientists and how they attempted to make sense of what was around them. It is very comprehensive and easy to read. If you are interested it is certainly a good means of getrting into science.


The God Delusion
The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dawkins best, 14 Sept. 2007
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
I must admit I haven't been very impressed with Dawkin's other work. So when a fried offered me a loan of this to read I took a bit of convincing. The God Delusion turned out to be a much better read, and I can really recomend to anyone with an open mind. It is humorous, logical and well argued.

Dawkins argues stronly the case for his controversial views on religion. True christians will not be offended by this book, only those who shut their minds to reason. His book sets out debates and arguements, which the reader is invited to participate in. In so doing he destroys many of the innefective arguements of the christian establishment.

Hopefully people will read this book with an open mind. If you are scared to be challlenged then do you really have a strong faith? OK, a book is I unlikely to change beliefs, but its a great and entertaining read. With an element of real science to it as well.


The Rats
The Rats
by James Herbert
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more than just a trashy horror, 14 Sept. 2007
This review is from: The Rats (Paperback)
James herberts first book served a purpose in the 1970's that has more recently been filled by Harry Potter, in that it introduced youngsters to reading.

The story is that of huge rats (some the size of small dogs)which were a product of radiation induced mutations, terrorising London. Herbert is no Edgar Allen Poe, but his longevity alone surely must show he does have something. The style is very easy to read, and edge of the seat suspense and continuous action will keep you going to the next page.

To the more learned, or to the older, the book is also a fine reflection in may ways of 1970's Britain. Herbert really manages to capture the feeling of an era which we now look back on as defined by the 3 day week, strikes, disollusionment, beakdown of society etc etc.

So this is a book which can be read on a variety of levels, and perhaps one day may even find a place among more serious literature for its sociological aspects.


The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Robert Tressell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than than a socialist bible, 13 Sept. 2007
To many this is the bible of socialism. True it will reinvigorate the converted and possibly even convert the open minded. But there's much more to it than that.

It is a semi-autobiographical account of the author Robert Tressel. Little is known about Tressel, who died of TB within hours of completing his work, which was published many years later, but he had clearly once enjoyed better times.

The book gives an analysis of the injustices of the capitalist system as perceptive today as it was then. But it also gives a really great historical insight into the sociology of the working class and the class system in that age.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2012 6:34 PM BST


Below the Convergence: Voyages Towards Antarctica, 1699-1839
Below the Convergence: Voyages Towards Antarctica, 1699-1839
by Alan Gurney
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Clearest 5 star possible, 11 Sept. 2007
This is the story of the early discoveries of Antarctica, from the earliest sightings to the first landing. Covering the "professional explorers like Cook, and the sealers and whalers who followed in their wake.

The entire book is very easy to read, in unputdownable style. Tales of the utmost courage and adventur wonderfully told in enthalling prose. It would have been easy for this book to be a disjointed seres of essays, but Alan Gurney keeps it going in great sea-dog story-telling style.


Brothers in Arms
Brothers in Arms
by Peter Duffy
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The incredible Bielski brothers, 8 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Brothers in Arms (Paperback)
This book tells the incredible story of the Bielski brothers, who saved over 1200 fellow Jews from certain extermination. Having witnessed the execution of the rest of their family members they fled to the forests and there set up a haven for others escaping the ghettos. Remarkably they built entire villages, largely underground, hidden deep in the forest. They also performed as fully fledged partisans, carrying out daring raids on military targets.

This book is a fine antidote to the common perception that Jews did nothing to fight back against the holocaust.

The writing style of the book is not particularly fluent, but the remarkable story nature itself certainly makes it a 5 star.


South: The Endurance Expedition
South: The Endurance Expedition
by Ernest Shackleton
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring., 31 Aug. 2007
Shackletons first hand account of his doomed transatlantic expedition is undoubtably a story of the utmost fortitude and endurance, from Shackletons crew as well as himself.

True he fails to acknowledge that it was largely his own shortcomings that got his team into such a mess in the first place, but it is hardly fair to expect that from him. What comes across loud and clear is the undoubted and total loyalty that he inspired in others.

The book is a very fluent read, as Shackleton's always are. It certainly gives one a real feel for the privations they suffered. Just a pity that he sullied his copybook by his mean-spirited decision to deny the polar exploration medal to three of his crew. Chippy McNish played as big a part as anyone in the escape and he should have been done justice.


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