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Granta 123: Best of Young British Novelists 4 (Granta: The Magazine of New Writing)
Granta 123: Best of Young British Novelists 4 (Granta: The Magazine of New Writing)
by John Freeman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars The best of young British Novelists is multi-ethnic, 10 Jun 2013
While everyone will have their own views of who are the most exciting of the next generation of British fiction writers, it's always difficult to assess Granta's judgement on these matters due to the nature of the collection here. In the vast majority of cases, the content of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists contains extracts from works in progress and their inclusion is judged not on what is offered here, but on what they have already completed. It is then a little like watching the previews of forthcoming movies at the cinema and the selections were not designed to be taken out of context in the short writing format. That said, Granta has an excellent record of identifying the up and comers (at least in the UK - less successfully in the US) but equally this somewhat raises expectations of the next Amis, Barnes, Rushdie, McEwan and the sadly late Banks - all of whom have received the Granta nod in the past.

Similarly the nature of the collection makes is difficult to spot major themes that are concerning young British writers. One of the most striking (apart from the 12:8 pleasing split in favour of women writers here - and possibly explains why the Orange/Women's/Bailey's prize turns up consistent quality) is the multi-ethnicity of both writers and subject matters. Of course multi-ethnic writers tends to favour multi-ethnic interests. While generally a positive, it is tempting to ponder over the loss of national identity - or perhaps the change in national identity.

Of those that had me tapping into the Amazon Wish List to remind me to purchase their next books when they are published were those whose work I already admire - Naomi Alderman, Ned Beauman (who in my view is probably the most likely of this group to one day write something truly great) and David Szalay. Having read some of their output, this is perhaps the closest to what the Granta selectors did.

Of those who I hadn't read, the stand out was a surprise to me. Steven Hall's extract is presented on opposite pages with the second part to be read in reverse by turning the book upside down and written white on black. I thought I would hate it, but ended up fascinated by it, not least to work out how the two strands will fit together in the final book. It is certainly the most innovative offering here.

There are few that really did nothing for me at all, although Ross Raisin and surprisingly Adam Foulds didn't particularly inspire me to read more.

Much of the interest is merely in the list of who is and who isn't included and as always it will be worth keeping an eye on those they have featured. As a collection though, because they are for the main part merely extracts, they work more to whet the appetite than as pieces of writing in their own right. It's certainly not a collection of short stories, and it's very difficult to assess the impact of a novel based on a few pages. Only some, like Steven Hall and Beauman's distinctive similes suggest any particularly discernible or innovative styles. The best news is though that there are some good looking novels in progress from young British writers.

Sex is Forbidden
Sex is Forbidden
by Tim Parks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pointless change of title but thoughtful, intelligent and often amusing, 6 Jun 2013
This review is from: Sex is Forbidden (Paperback)
Tim Parks's "Sex is Forbidden" is narrated by twenty-something, Beth. She's working as a volunteer server at a Buddhist retreat called the Dasgupta Institute where she has been for the last nine months although the book covers one ten day cycle of retreat. The Dasgupta Institute imposes bans on attendees, although the conditions are slightly less onerous on the servers who, nevertheless are expected to join in the meditations. There's no talking, no writing, no mingling of the sexes and no physical or even eye contact. One day Beth, still a rebel at heart, wanders into the men's side where she discoverers an attendee is keeping a diary where he is contemplating his moment of crisis and she is hooked. The revealing of the past that has driven both Beth and the mysterious diary keeper to such an austere retreat is part of the intrigue of the book, but while there is an inevitable focus on introspection and new age thinking, Beth's tone is delightfully sceptical and feels very authentic. It's almost impossible not to feel for her plight and to admire her approach.

The hardback version of this book was published with the title "The Server" and I must confess that I rather regret the, presumably commercially driven, decision to move to a more titivating title. Similarly too, this is one of those books that proves the adage not to judge a book by its cover as both the paperback and indeed the hardback have gone for different but similarly imaged pretty girl in alluring poses. Both are lovely photographs but are hardly representative of the tone of the book. That said, at least one element of Beth's past involved multiple sexual partners of both genders but her issues are far deeper than lust driven urges.

It's certainly not a book with a driving plot line, but as often with books that are set in a clearly defined environment over a set period, it is entirely engrossing and the character of Beth is absolutely perfectly portrayed. The issues of her resolving her past are an element of the book, but it's also a broader look at Buddhist thinking. While in general Parks seems to suggest that it has much to offer, neither Beth nor the diarist are uncritical of the thinking and often gently send up aspects of the set up. There is a wonderful irony in that while the message of the course is about constant change and things never staying the same, the content of the courses are always identical and the attendees watch the pre-recorded DVD of the Dasgupta giving an unchanging message time and again to everyone.

Novels where the narrator is involved in introspection can become somewhat self-indulgent, but Parks cleverly avoids this. Partly this is helped by Beth's character but also her role as a server - which is why I still think that's a better title for the book. Beth's own battle with her past is touching and believable. Some of this is achieved with the benefit of the Buddhist teachings but much also despite them. The result is a book that is both often funny but also deep at the same time. Parks slowly reveals Beth's past and while she is clearly suffering, she never resorts to self-pity unlike the man with the diary.

It may not be a book for everyone, but if you have even a slight interest in meditation and Buddhist teachings, and don't require your reading to be plot driven, then this is an excellent, thoughtful and intelligent book.

4.5 stars

The Flamethrowers
The Flamethrowers
by Rachel Kushner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely uneven but enjoyable and intriguing, 5 Jun 2013
This review is from: The Flamethrowers (Hardcover)
Set mainly in New York's art district in the late 1970s, Rachel Kushner's "The Flamethrowers" tells the story of a young girl, known only to the reader as Reno, after the city she comes from. She's a girl who loves motorbikes and photography, but struggles to find her place in the New York art scene. When she falls for the estranged son, Sandro, of the Italian motorbike manufacturer Valera, himself an artist in New York, Reno finds herself in situations she cannot control.

"The Flamethrowers" is a difficult book to describe. It feels unbalanced at times, with one of the main events not occurring until three quarters of the way through the book. It's also not easy to even say what it's about. It covers business, from the start of the Valera family interest in motorbikes told in another strand of the book which frustratingly ends mid way through the book, through the oppression of Brazilian rubber tappers in a small but perfectly written chapter, ending with the family business controlled by Sandro's brother in Italy facing the political labour issues of the period. Meanwhile Sandro enjoys the wealth which allows him to create art. Eventually these two collide and Reno is caught up in the middle, but she is a person who seems to go with the flow rather than making choices of her own. Yet somehow this imbalance in the book makes it all the more compelling. Add to that Kushner's often unexpected turn of phrase and I was gripped by it from start to finish.

In fact, it may well be the slightly unbalanced feel of the book that helps the reader to associate with Reno, a girl who is very much on the edge and not in control of her life. In some ways she's a cipher for events that happen around her but this doesn't detract from the book in any way. The differences between social and political disorder in Italy in the late 1970s are contrasted by rioting in New York towards the end of the book which, not unlike recent rioting and looting in the UK, seem to arise out of pure opportunism.

Often novels that feature the art world can border on pretension but this doesn't happen here. Kushner's artists are dreamers and raconteurs who seem to struggle to differentiate between imagination and reality at a time when there are real social issues at play. Similarly Sandro's mother and brother seem completely oblivious to the demands and needs of their workers in Italy. It is in managing this difference that Reno finds herself, often unwittingly.

Ultimately though, this is a novel that I admired more for the writing than for the plot development as such. Kushner covers a lot of issues, and it's far from clear at first reading what her message, if any, is. Like many very good novels, it's a book I've found myself thinking about long after finishing it, but I'm never quite sure what the message is. Kushner is a writer who gives a sense of space to her setting and in this Reno is cast adrift. The publishers note it's an "exploration of the mystique of the feminine" which I must say I never quite picked up on. For me, it's more about the difference between dreamers and those who take action to back their beliefs. Her style is captivating and compelling though in equal measure and she's a writer that is well worth checking out. Images from the book still flit through my mind long after reading. If you like writers such as Hari Kunzru, this is well worth checking out.

by Adam Thorpe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action thriller with genuine suspense, 2 Jun 2013
This review is from: Flight (Paperback)
The past is catching up with Bob Winrush. His marriage is over as a result of his inconsiderate arrival home early when weather cancelled one of his jobs as a cargo pilot to find his wife in bed with another man but when an investigative journalist starts to dig into some of the content of Bob's previous cargo trips, his life is quickly placed in grave danger. His problems stemmed from having walked away from a particularly morally dubious trip to transport arms to the Taliban some years ago, although it turns out that his moral line in the sand is somewhat blurred. He has knowingly transported guns and military personnel in his time. He's sort of the aeronautical equivalent of white van man.

Winrush is a familiar character from anyone who has seen Hollywood action movies. He's a tough guy with a soft heart. In fact at one point one character laments that they are not in a movie, which is somewhat ironic as, short of wearing a white vest, he screams Bruce Willis character. In fact it would make a strong action movie - perhaps "Fly Hard"?

Adam Thorpe's style is a cut above many action books though. Certainly it is likely to appeal more to male readers I suspect, but it maintains the suspense and feel of someone being after Winrush without him knowing precisely who this might be. When he finds himself hiding out from persons unknown in the Scottish islands, the tension in particular is tangible. There are admittedly some elements of cliché. He seems to have an endless supply of women falling at his feet, from a good time girl in Dubai to the wife of a fisherman in Scotland. He appears as unselective about his female company as he has been about the content of his plane.

There is though, one element to this book that I did struggle with and it comes in two parts. Firstly, there is a fair amount of what you might call flying jargon. All this is explained in context but it does get rather repetitive and all the flight crews seem unable to speak in anything other than this jargon-heavy way. This gets a little wearing and the problem is exacerbated by the endless use of flight similes and metaphors. Some of these are very good, some darkly funny and clever, but to my mind, Thorpe rather over plays this tool. Fewer would have given the good ones so much more power. As it is, hardly a page goes by without out some aircraft related reference and I felt like screaming `yes, I know he's a pilot'. In fact, I can pin point the exact moment that my mind turned from `this is clever' to `this is annoying now' and it's a rather dubious reference to jump jet aircraft in the context of an intimate encounter that might well challenge for that `bad sex in fiction' award.

That aside though, it's a fast paced, action-packed story that is admirably different from the run of the mill action stories and the murky world of arms and drug smuggling are nicely handled.

The Only Recipes You'll Ever Need: 4 Ways to Cook Almost Everything
The Only Recipes You'll Ever Need: 4 Ways to Cook Almost Everything
by Tony Turnbull
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.89

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and useful, 31 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Clearly set out, each recipe has two or thee steps only. There's little or no "chat" here. The instructions are just that. The ingredients are all easy to find and most of which you will probably have kicking around your cupboards. To give one example: need inspiration of how to convert that tin of tuna into a hearty meal? This suggests Tuna and Sweetcorn Salad, Niçoise, Tuna Pasta or Olive and Tomato Pasta.

Split into Light Meals, Main dishes, Desserts and Drinks, each page features usually four recipes inspired by one core ingredient or theme (eg winter soups) while some for some things like Steak butters and sauces, you get double the suggestions.

It's not a book that will inspire you to push your culinary creativity, but it is one that will be constantly useful and I've already used mine more than I have many of the more glossy "food porn" books I own. It's ideal for a new cook (a student going to university for example) and for the busy person who just needs some ideas to how to convert that bag of frozen peas into a meal. It's not the most beautiful cook book I own, but it is possibly the most practical for every day purposes. Great for mid week ideas leaving you the weekend to be more experimental with the more challenging fare.

Chaplin and Company
Chaplin and Company
by Mave Fellowes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.46

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and eccentric without being too overly sentimental, 27 May 2013
This review is from: Chaplin and Company (Hardcover)
In "Chaplin & Company", Mave Fellowes takes a quirky look at life on London's canal boats. Yet, while her story is full of eccentric characters, not least the main human character of Odeline Milk, who moves to the boat that shares the title of the book after her mother passes away to pursue her dream of becoming a mime artist in the more culturally enlightened big city after a lonely life in provincial Arundel, the book is delightfully free of sentimentality. I say the main human character, because this is also the story of a boat with a remarkable history of owners, and also a story of the strange life on the canal which somehow exists beneath the city through which it flows.

Odeline, named after her absent father, Odelin the great clown of a traveling circus with whom Oleline's mother has a brief relationship, encounters a drunken canal warden, a tattoo covered traveler, an illegal immigrant running the local canal café and the violent man who runs the café that is based on such illegal labour. The reader gets glimpses of each of their lives at various points in the book, but also the strange history of previous owners of the boat, from the original builder of the working boat running goods from the Midlands down to London during the war, to the evacuee who they take on board, through various other temporary owners of the boat when it falls into disrepair.

This seems a lot to cover, and in some ways it is. What appears frustrating at first as the story of Odeline's life is constantly interrupted by these back stories, eventually come together towards the end of the tale. Yet still, there is a sense that Odeline is a strong enough character to carry the book without the deviations into immigrant labour and so on which are sometimes left a little stranded. Vera, the café manager for instance assumes a greater importance to the story at one point but the story remains up in the air. Similarly, the tattooed traveler, Ridley, is also intriguing and yet we get little of his back story. There is no indication that this is the intention, but I'd gladly read future books featuring almost all of the main characters to get more of their lives.

However, there are two towering strengths of the book. Firstly there is the gloriously dysfunctional Odeline, whose sole method of communication to begin with are a series of barked questions to which she needs the answer. She is a wonderful character, with the physiology of the herons that live on the canal. Dressing in a bowler hat, waistcoat and over-size shoes, she is as angular as the heron, forging ahead in her search for cultural appreciation and seeking her father. Yet despite her resistance, she gradually and touchingly learns the value of friendship and relations with the other residents of the canal.

The second strength is the portrayal of the boat in particular as a living object. She almost sighs in the water and has a story to tell that is as fascinating as any of the main characters. There is a sense throughout that while the canal dwellers may not have as much in terms of physical possessions as the land living characters, these belongings mean more to them and are more highly valued.

The book doesn't go where you expect it to, either in terms of plot or style. Fellowes never wastes a word, and little throwaways are always picked up later in the story. Sometimes there remains a sense that perhaps there are too many wonderful strands to be contained in the one book, but despite that, it is hugely entertaining and delightfully quirky without being sentimental. It will probably make you want to go and live on a houseboat. As Odeline's hero Marcel Marceau might have said, this book is ''.....''!

Men Love Pies, Girls Like Hummus
Men Love Pies, Girls Like Hummus
by Simon Rimmer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Particularly good for the veggie meal content, 26 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Simon Rimmer's food is very much "gasto-pub" grub. It's written with a nice "cheeky chappy" style and is very nice to look at. The chapter headings are all taken from things said or overheard and are not meant to be taken literally - a rough translation is as follows:

You'll never make money out of sandwiches - 6 recipes served with or on bread or toast, including a duck burger was very tasty.

Girls Like Hummus - recipes his female friends and family like - only one of which is an admittedly very nice hummus recipe and eight others.

Men Love Pies - ok, this one you can take more literally - it features 8 tasty looking pies, although I haven't tried them yet.

Tim Hates Coriander - so do I so this collection of 5 coriander featuring recipes is not really to my taste.

I Like Prawns but they don't like Me - 9 fish recipes.

If We Weren't Meant to eat Meat - 10 meat recipes.

Eat Your Greens - 8 veggie recipes

I Don't Want Any of that Foreign Muck - no, not Nigel Farage's favourite dishes but 10 recipes based on other national dishes. This is the most inspiring collection but does feature some tricky to find ingredients, like buffalo and rabbit and snails.

A Muckment of Sauce - 6 dressings and sauces - a bit of a mish mash really.

The Pastries are Assumed - 9 deserts - all quite heavy. The Jaffa Cake Cheesecake looks nice but is quite complex and fiddly to make.

Overall, some decent looking recipes and the ones I have tried came out well. It's not the largest collection of recipes and one irritation is that he doesn't give time estimates for preparation which is annoying. As noted, some though by no means all, of the recipes would benefit from having a larger supermarket near you than I do. Where Rimmer scores particularly well for me is the range or veggie dishes which are more innovative than the usual collections, not least one suspects as Rimmer has his own veggie restaurant.

It's a book that you will probably want to dip into for inspiration every now and then rather than one you will use heavily day in day out. None are particularly complex to produce but equally not quite as easy as he makes it look on his TV appearances.

The Pre-War House and Other Stories
The Pre-War House and Other Stories
by Alison Moore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.79

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Often hauntingly sad, this is a great collection of 24 short stories, 22 May 2013
Alison Moore's "Pre-War House" is a collection of 24 short stories, only three of which are original to this collection, but most were first published in the last couple of years and, unless you are a an avid reader of "The New Writer" they will probably all be new to you. Moore's themes tend to concentrate on fairly dark characters, usually with a hidden secret, and more often that not dealing with the past and frequently some kind of personal loss or anguish. If you enjoyed Moore's Booker Prize shortlisted "The Lighthouse", you will find plenty to enjoy here as most of the stories have a similar hauntingly sad feel to them. With one possible exception, a very short piece called "The Yacht Man" which did nothing for me, the stories are beautifully judged and equally satisfying, often saving a final hit or a surprise until the end of the pieces.

The only very slight reservation I have over this book is that, as a collection rather than a set of stories intended to go together, it is probably better to dip into it and read two or three at a time rather than reading the book from cover to cover. Many, though not all, of the pieces are of similar length and construction and so after a while it becomes a little repetitive. This is compounded by the order of the stories. Whoever has complied the collection has, perhaps understandably, chosen to put stories with recurring themes next to each other - the sea for example - and until the last third of the book my sense was that it was crying out for a little more variation. The final stories though are more varied - perhaps that is their "theme" - and as a collection, it would benefit from some of these sprinkled earlier in the book in my view.

Taken individually though, almost every story works beautifully and Moore is clearly a master of the short form writing. They are atmospheric, often sad and dark, and weighed down my memory. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the final story with gives the collection its title. This is a longer piece than most of the others, as a daughter sells the family home which stirs memories of a surprising life within the four, pre-war walls of the house.

In some ways the collection mirrors Moore's style in each story; just when you think you know where it's going, you start to get some surprises towards the end, with a couple of stories, "Small Animals" and "Late" in particular that verge on the horror genre. To call Moore's short story style formulaic is unfair and implies a lack of creativity, but you can certainly discern a structure to her approach in this collection and it's one that works very well. Like all the best short stories, they have a clear story arc to them leave the reader with a situation that opens up a whole other set of thinking about each one. You almost cry out for more Moore with each one. Unlike many short writing collections, Moore's collection are all what I would call genuine stories with none of the experimental creative writing that many such collections include and that's a good thing.

Personally, I would have shaken the order up like a snow globe to give more variation but that reflects the fact that I was reading it from cover to cover. As a collection of stories that you might put by the bedside to dip into when you cannot face a longer novel though, none of the stories disappoint.

The Story of My Purity
The Story of My Purity
by Francesco Pacifico
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Humour does not translate, 21 May 2013
This review is from: The Story of My Purity (Paperback)
In Francesco Pacifico's translated Italian novel "The Story of my Purity", Piero Rosini is a 30 year old, ultraconservative Catholic working for a radical Catholic publishing house. His marriage is devoid of physical contact, and he yearns for his virginal sister-in-law. Largely to escape these longings, he heads for Paris, never the first choice of one seeking to preserve their purity, where he is further tempted by a slightly unlikely group of girls, and one in particular, which is further complicated for him by the fact that she is Jewish. Almost living a separate life in his head, he cannot escape either the intellectual or physical constraints of his old life in Rome. I had high hopes.

For much of the book, I strongly disliked this novel. Part of the problem is that Rosini is deeply unlikable. He's hypocritical, misogynistic, anti-semitic, racist, repressed and generally quite vile and for most of the book is introspectively examining these very aspects of his unwholesome character. He seems young to be going through the mid life crisis in which he finds himself and old for the breast infatuation he has that would shame many a 14 year old boy. The first part of the book, based in Rome, is a particular struggle as the narrator is not in an interesting situation in that he is surrounded by similar people. His publishing house is planning on a book that exposes John Paul II as being Jewish. Yet a fundamental religious group disliking another religious group is hardly challenging. Things pick up slightly when he gets to Paris and even more towards the end of the book, but this still isn't enough to really save it.

There's another problem beyond this structural challenge and that is that much of it simply doesn't translate. That isn't the fault of the translator, Stephen Twilley though. It's not the words that don't translate but the ideas and the humour. It is fairly clearly intended to be humorous but it simply isn't very funny to English eyes. Towards the end, there's a moment of farce which is well written and works much better. It's not that I am a particular fan of farce but simply that this type of humour is easier to cross linguistic and cultural boundaries. Also, I suspect there is a cultural difference in the situation. Italian politics and views are much more prone to extremes whereas English politics and religion is much more benign and extreme views are much more suspicious to us.

In Paris, Rosini falls in with four girls who hang out together but seem to have nothing in common other than a tolerance for Rosini. They nickname him "Chewbacca", which they irritatingly shorten to "Chewb" when surely "Chewie" would be the natural choice, for reasons that are not clear. Perhaps it is his appearance or perhaps it's some reference to the battle between the dark side, although I like to think that it is because he spouts dangerously erroneous information like a veritable "Wookie-pedia". He falls into company with one of them in particular, the Jewish Clelia, and Rosini and her uncle have faith based conversations which rather than seeing Rosini enlightened to other ideas seem to involve them both insulting the other and yet they both see this as a kind of friendship. It's all a little strange.

If you can get as far as the end though, the book does get more interesting. The final chapter is certainly much more clever although even then it falls into the category of interesting rather than enjoyable. But you can see evidence here of why Pacifico might be an interesting writer if you are Italian. Ultimately though the failure of the comedy and ideas to translate are a major barrier here. Introspective novels need something to lift them from the gloom. They either need to be serious or funny and this, unfortunately, is neither although you do get a sense that it is cleverly written.

Klipsch KMC 3 Wireless Music Center - Black
Klipsch KMC 3 Wireless Music Center - Black
Price: £233.08

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Batteries not included - sound quality 5 stars - portability, not so much, 18 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first thing you will note when you get the Klipsch kmc3 music centre is it is sumptuously packaged. Now, OK, you are probably going to be throwing the box away and in recycling terms it's a pain as the foam is glued to the rigid box, but it screams quality at you - which is reassuring when you've spend your hard earned cash in what is not a cheap item.

The second thing you will notice is that's it's quite big - and this is the one area I have a reservation about the product. To be fair, the box promotes it as a wireless system (using the bluetooth function of your player, although you can of course connect it via wires) rather than a mobile/portable unit, but look at the back and it calls it a "mobile music system" that gives you "music on the go all day". Hmmm. Not so sure. It's just too big and heavy to lug around - you could move it from room to room without incurring a hernia but if "portable" means to you what it means to me, then it really isn't quite that. The most direct comparison it probably with the Bose ® SoundLink ® Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II - Matte finish with dark grey nylon cover and in terms of portability, it's a clear win for Bose - and it is around two thirds of the price at the time of writing.

The other issue to note is that the Bose runs off a rechargeable lithium battery - the Klipsch's battery power requires 8 D Cell batteries - those are the big, heavy, chunky ones if you want to go truly mobile. Incidentally despite the chunky price (and top tip here, I have found some great Klipsch prices on their discontinued lines, so paying full whack for the latest is not always the best idea), batteries are not included. Now, there are pros and cons to the lithium/alkali battery debate. If and when the lithium cell dies, you find yourself up a well known creek without a paddle - albeit that it will still function from mains. Less of an issue with the alkali battery option but you still need regular investment in batteries and as I mentioned, these are the big batteries - carrying around a spare set is not ideal. Another qualified score for the Bose.

In terms of ease of syncing with your mobile device - it's a draw - both are easy.

Sound quality is a contentious issue when comparing the two. There are fans of each system - it's rather like the Nikon vs Canon debate with SLR cameras - both make damn fine units but it's as much down to personal taste which you prefer. Me? I prefer the Klipsch sound - I just think it is more appealing and luxurious, but you will never convince a dedicated Bose fan that it is better - probably because it isn't better - it's just different. For me though, the Klipsch scores a point here. The sound is remarkable, and you will hardly believe it is coming from a bluetooth connection.

Where the Klipsch also scores is in the little extra bits. For a start you can charge your unit through your USB wire (not supplied but you must have one to charge your phone!) It's not a docking station as such, but it effectively can be used in that way. You cannot do this with the Bose SoundLink. Klipsch also give you a small remote device which Bose don't. Bose argue that your mobile device has that function anyway, and that's true, but it's nice to have and I have used it.

So which to chose? Well that comes down to how much you need portability and how much you like the sound of the two different systems (they are noticeably different - I suggest trying to hear both before you pull out the credit card). As a static unit - mine now lives in the living room permanently plugged in to the mains - I love the Klipsch more than the Bose. Is it worth the price premium above the Bose who, let's face it aren't known for cheap units, well, maybe not. And if you are going to use it as a static speaker, you could argue that the bluetooth element is a waste - you might as well just get a docking station and the discontinued Klipsch ones are terrific value. But boy is it a good sound.

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