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i_used_jell (Hampshire, UK)

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Velocity
Velocity
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars A page-turning anticlimax, 11 Nov 2011
This review is from: Velocity (Paperback)
This is by no means a small book but I got through it faster because of the good use of pace and intrigue. The ending however was almost as bad as a bad James Patterson one; silly and formulaic (not silly haha). He rushed it or was just stuck I guess - too bad.


The Lost Princess of Oz
The Lost Princess of Oz
by L. Frank Baum
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Lost Classic?, 18 Jun 2011
"...day dreams, you know, with your eyes wide open and your brain-machinery whizzing -- are likely to lead to the betterment of the word." - L. Frank Baum

The awesomely vivid imagination of L. Frank Baum gave life to thirteen (yes, thirteen) sequels of the popular children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). Somewhat bizarrely, I've jumped in at number eleven in the series, The Lost Princess of Oz (1917) and now I must rant and rave (more raving, less ranting) about said experience. When ultimately comparing The Lost Princess of Oz to the famed first novel, the characters are still flamboyant and (for the most part) likable if not more so, which seems incredible after sixteen-years and ten predecessors. The Frogman and 'the little brown bear' Corporal Waddle are especially cool as are many of the other larger-than-life supporting animal characters; they ensure comedy at times and even a touch of philosophy. Familiar company - Dorothy, Toto, The Cowardly Lion and The Wizard are back, who in varying degrees are defunct or different than they once were, merely serving as token characters, no doubt to keep children from the emerging last century contented. It is clear that Baum liked to create newness rather than retread, despite familiar themes and of course the vast number of volumes in the Oz series. That said, despite my initial surprise and hesitance at Toto being able to speak, I enjoyed his protest at losing his growl. Endearing and bizarre all at once, as Baum's characters often are. Yes, you've guessed it, there is a huge theme of individuality and identity neatly wrapped with morality for children (and for some adults too!) to read in between the lines if they so wish to. Dorothy is kind of dull and bratty and don't even get me started on Scraps (The Patchwork Girl who has an entire novel dedicated to her some years earlier). Throughout their journey quest to recover all the stolen magic from Oz (and Princess Ozma), the Frogman seems like one of perhaps only a few characters who actually discovered something about himself and grew as a (person?) frog, subsequently. The narrative kept me turning the pages despite my underwhelming understanding and appreciation of Princess Ozma - that serves me right for jumping so far ahead. 'Princess of Oz is more ambitious than the first book which endears it as well as stops it entering the realms of being a classic. There is perhaps too large of an ensemble cast and the non-linear narrative and different perspectives make it less iconic as well as previously established characters don't quite come to life. In spite of this, personally missing sixteen-years of Oz history and Baum writing many of these sequels much out of a financial dependency The Lost Princess of Oz is perhaps still more re-readable than the original classic. I am near the end of the book, so must confess I am reviewing a book I haven't finished reading yet. I will however tell you on the off-chance things go wrong. I didn't really need to tell you that so surely I must have taken a dip in The Truth Pond like our dear character the Frogman. For all ages -- enjoy.

Update: By no means a spec-fabulous ending, but still enjoyable.

If you liked this you might like my blog readilyreread.blogspot.com


Look at the Fool
Look at the Fool
Offered by the_record_factory
Price: 14.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Funky Fool, 19 Mar 2011
This review is from: Look at the Fool (Audio CD)
Pre Scissor Sisters with spoonfuls more soul from the virtuoso that was Buckley senior. Ignore the negative press this got (and the laughable art-work) - that aside, this is funky summer stuff indeed.


This Box Contains
This Box Contains
Price: 11.80

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quantity with Quality, 3 Jan 2011
This review is from: This Box Contains (Audio CD)
Songs off 1997's spectacular Living in Clip album pretty much surpassed the studio versions; the energy and re-imagination nailed it and made the "little folk singer" more broadly popular. Since then, Ani DiFranco has strived to make more of a lasting impression in the studio and 2001's Revelling/Reckoning showed that she had a lot more good music to make post 1990's. These three albums from the last decade are very different, encompassing a huge range of styles. They are ALL ridiculously good with stand-out tracks as well as each being something that can be played the way through. My favourite songs are 'In The Way', 'Bodily', 'Subconscious', 'Nicotine', 'Evolve' and 'Bubble'; to take just these songs as an example of different styles: there is jazzy electric fusion band funk, interesting acoustic guitar, low-fi production, songs about love and politics. 'This Little Box Contains' three albums that are both innovative and personal.


The Simpsons - Season 9 [DVD]
The Simpsons - Season 9 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dan Castellaneta
Price: 19.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Something of an end to The Simpsons as we knew it (but a good one at that!), 17 Aug 2010
This is the first season I owned and I was surprised just how much I enjoyed watching these episodes again. Season nine has a certain air about it that makes it stand apart; it was the show's transition period into lazier and more (dare I say it) cartoony (ad)ventures, but most of these episodes still hold up and I enjoyed many which I had initially dismissed a whole lot more. 'The Principal and the Pauper' shows a type of disloyalty to all that came before it but it too is daring and very entertaining and was a lot less destructive, predictable and problematic than 'Grade School Confidential' in s.8; similarly, there are no episodes here quite as dull as 'The Twisted World of Marge Simpson' (also in s.8); 'Realty Bites' is a far more successful character exploration of Marge and much funnier episode with a linking A & B plot. 'The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson' is a really well made episode, especially visually and 'The Cartridge Family' is intense and enjoyable. Episodes like 'Simpsons Tide' and 'Lisa's Sax' are rather unmemorable, but the season as a whole is no worse than 8 and is surely better than any season that came after. `Dumbbell Indemnity' is perhaps an early good example of a style that would continue in The Simpsons after. Enjoy.


Society Child-Verve Years
Society Child-Verve Years
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: 24.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real pro, 19 Dec 2009
I wasn't around in the 1960s or even in the 1970s. This though doesn't matter. These tracks are more than just expressions of an era; they resonate with anyone who might ever pose unpopular questions about what's going on around them, and what's acceptable, and what's not - very much so, `what's wrong with this picture?' type songs; this collection of Ian's first four albums is impassionate to say the least. There are clear influences from Dylan, The Beatles and the 1960s generally, but Ian's songs are hugely personable and ambitious in their own right. Her angst is melodramatic, and at times even comical, but always engaging. There is a certain production style with each album, but there too is variation within. Admittedly, more dated than Joni Mitchell's 60s and 70s output (in the sense that you can probably guess the decade) but this four-album collection still lends hugely to repeat listening. What is achieved here is the fine balance between intimacy and vibrancy - I always come back to these songs.


Gypsy
Gypsy
Offered by encorerecords
Price: 12.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ross is so cool on this, 6 Dec 2009
This review is from: Gypsy (Audio CD)
To my ears, Annie Ross has an energetic, yet seductive voice and no less is it demonstrated than on Gypsy. The jazz band swings with Annie and there isn't a dud number to be found. The tracks are either upbeat or slow-tempo, but never dull or boring, therefore I can't really give a highlight; I do however especially enjoy 'Some People'. Superb sound quality also, for an album fifty-years old - pleased I discovered it. Does seem a crime that this album isn't more popular-'some people' aye'.


Debussy: Piano Music
Debussy: Piano Music
Price: 5.10

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Piano pieces, 14 Jun 2009
This review is from: Debussy: Piano Music (Audio CD)
This collection of interpretations expanded on a curiosity. Captivated by 'Clair de lune', I acquired this CD and in fact enjoyed Haas's performance of `Feux d'artifice' more so; innovative - even now perhaps - and I have not yet heard a more powerful rendition. The recordings are relatively old (70's I think), but the passion and precision in the playing keep them alive. Being new to the world of classical music, the vast output is overwhelming - therefore I was pleased to find this set. Atmospheric solo piano.


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