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Fly-by-night
Fly-by-night
by K. M. Peyton
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A Review from a Nostalgic Horsewoman, 23 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Fly-by-night (Paperback)
Disclaimer: I'm not the target audience. I first read an excerpt of this book (chapter 3 I believe) in a collection of pony stories when I was about 13. Despite not knowing the rest, it stayed with me. As an adult I will say Fly-by-Night is both typical and atypical of old-fashioned pony stories: it has the impoverished, inexperienced girl who desperately wants a pony; the horrid rich girl who doesn't deserve the one she has; and the resident expert who doesn't help all that much. But it subverts some clichés too.

Ruth Hollis begins the story as an armchair expert on horses. Despite having never ridden a horse before she seems to have little trouble trotting, cantering and balancing in general. Her problems are the family's financial worries and the fact she has to flounder about training a very green young pony by herself (I'm sure I don't need to advise any pony-mad kids that this is a horrible idea). But of course, all works out in the end.

K. M. Peyton is a good writer with some lovely turns of phrase. I recommend this book to younger readers or the nostalgic. :-)


Patricia Leitch Jinnny of Finmory 5 Books Collection Pack Set (For the Love of a Horse , A Devil to Ride , The Summer Riders, The Night of the Red Horse, Gallop to the Hills)
Patricia Leitch Jinnny of Finmory 5 Books Collection Pack Set (For the Love of a Horse , A Devil to Ride , The Summer Riders, The Night of the Red Horse, Gallop to the Hills)
by Patricia Leitch
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best pony stories I've ever read, 27 Aug. 2013
Made up of twelve books in total, the series revolves around the titular Jinny--a wilfull tomboy with a knack for attracting trouble--and the beautiful but traumatized Arab horse Shantih.

As a teenager I painstakingly hunted each and every one of these books down in charity shops and the discarded books bin at the library, so seeing them back in print again made me very happy (and slightly vexed at all the trouble I'd gone to). But they were worth it! This series is something special: it veers off the beaten track with its inclusion of pagan mysticism (not the focus of the series) and gives a fresh angle to pony story clichés. They are a bit old fashioned, but I think that gives them a timelessness (no dates or historical events that could give dates are ever mentioned) that adds to their charm.

I would recommend this series to horse lovers with a reading age of 10+.


The Gei of Geisha: Music, Identity and Meaning (SOAS Musicology Series)
The Gei of Geisha: Music, Identity and Meaning (SOAS Musicology Series)
by Kelly M. Foreman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £95.00

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Geisha Books, 2 Aug. 2013
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I was a bit leery of buying this book as it is quite expensive and the look inside feature isn't avaliable so I couldn't even tell if it would be worth it. So let me tell you, it IS worth it. Foreman has written an excellent geisha study. The introduction discusses and dispels some myths about geisha. Chapter 2 is a discussion of the various musical genres a geisha studies. Chapter 3 talks about how geisha performances (public and private) are constructed. Chapter 4 deals with the place of geisha in the Japanese traditional arts community. Chapter 5 covers patronage (the 'danna' system). The final chapter, 6, is on geisha identity.

This book is the first I have encountered that really deals with the "art" aspect of "arts person" (the literal meaning of the word geisha). It's quite academic, but not to the point where you have more footnotes than text! I whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to broaden their knowledge of geisha.


The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia
The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia
by Richard Freeman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Youkai Resource, 6 Jun. 2013
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I bought this book as it's one of the only English-language resources on the subject avaliable and it's worth checking out. It covers a wide range of youkai, from the well-known to the downright obscure.

On the downside, the quality of the pictures is terrible - don't let the front cover mislead you into thinking there will be detailed illustrations throughout. Blurry, greyscale reproductions of woodblock prints make up most of the images. Aside from that, the book is riddled with minor yet irritating typos (for example a samurai named Iemon [with an i] is renamed "Lemon"), and the introduction where it discusses youkai in media has factual errors that suggest the author is unfamiliar with the material involved. While that section isn't the meat of the book, it does make me question the rest of his research.


A Geisha's Journey: My Life As a Kyoto Apprentice
A Geisha's Journey: My Life As a Kyoto Apprentice
by Komomo
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Photobook, 1 Dec. 2012
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This is a lovely book with beautiful colour photographs. There isn't a lot of text, but considering this is a photobook, it would be rather silly to expect that. If you have read many books on geisha before, you won't find new information here.


Little Songs of the Geisha: Traditional Japanese Ko-uta
Little Songs of the Geisha: Traditional Japanese Ko-uta
by Liza Crihfield Dalby
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to part of the geisha repertoire, 30 Nov. 2012
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Liza Dalby presents twenty-five traditional Japanese kouta ("little song") in the original language (both Japanese calligraphy and romaji) and English side-by-side. She then points out symbolism and double-meanings hidden in each song. It's a short book--I finished it in an hour or so (I read quite fast though)--but like the kouta themselves, says a lot in fewer words. At the end of the book she presents the notation for one of the kouta in both shamisen and western form. However if (like me) you have no background in music, it might be helpful to try and hear the songs. I managed to find the first kouta ('Haru kaze ga soyo soyoto', or 'First day of Spring')on Youtube.


The Element Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Hauntings: The Ultimate A-Z of Spirits, Mysteries and the Paranormal
The Element Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Hauntings: The Ultimate A-Z of Spirits, Mysteries and the Paranormal
by Theresa Cheung
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misleading, 27 April 2012
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When this book arrived, I thought it looked familiar. It didn't take me long to realise that it contains exactly the same material as the chapters on hauntings published in 'The Element Encyclopedia of the Psychic World'. It would've been very helpful if the product description had mentioned this, because then I wouldn't have wasted the money.


The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes
The Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes
by Sweyn Plowright
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful, 25 April 2012
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This book is exactly what it promises itself to be: a down-to-Earth, no-nonsense approach to the runes. This book is a starting point intended to allow the student of the runes to make up their own mind and continue their studies in their own direction. The author makes no unsubstatiated claims and always states when there is no clear evidence or conflicting evidence. The chapters devoted to the pros and cons of several other prominent authors on the subject and the chapter on 'myth-busting' were particularly helpful in deciding my next point of study.


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