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Molotov's Magic Lantern: A Journey in Russian History
Molotov's Magic Lantern: A Journey in Russian History
by Rachel Polonsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and beautifully written book, 28 July 2013
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This is not in any way a comprehensive history of Russia or the Soviet Union. Instead it is a record of Dr Polonsky's journeys around Russia pursuing things that interest her such as Dostoevsky, Chekhov, railway lines, provincial towns and their museums, and the history of a banya (a sauna) in Moscow, as well of course as the evil perpetrated by Stalin and his henchmen such as Molotov.

People are at the heart of the stories she tells us - some known to us in the West, others just ordinary people she met. She has obviously done a massive amount of research in preparing the book, but she wears her learning very lightly, and writing this has clearly been a labour of love.

Thank you, Rachel - I really do not know when I have enjoyed reading a non-fiction book more.


2 Days In Paris [DVD] (2007)
2 Days In Paris [DVD] (2007)
Dvd ~ Julie Delpy
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £3.42

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, simply awful, 24 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: 2 Days In Paris [DVD] (2007) (DVD)
There are several very negative reviews of this awful film already on Amazon and for once in my life I find myself agreeing with almost everything they say. Sunrise and Sunset are delicate, subtle low-key films and thoroughly enjoyable to watch. 2 Days on the other hand is the exact opposite. If you think Viz is sophisticated you might find this amusing, but if not....The film is full of one-dimensional caricatures - every taxi driver is a racist bigot, the American lead is scared to go on the Metro because of the risk of terrorist attacks (this from a man who lives in New York) and his girlfriend appears to have had sex with everyone the bump into. As a couple the leads are clearly totally unsuited to each other, but no explanation is given (maybe this came later - I switched off after 30 minutes).


The Deep Blue Sea [2011] [DVD]
The Deep Blue Sea [2011] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rachel Weisz
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth watching, 30 Jan. 2013
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Terence Rattigan has been in and out of fashion for decades, but this beautifully crafted production shows why he is one of the 20th century's greatest playwrights. This is not an "action" movie, but if you like French films this will probably appeal to you. Full marks to director Terence Davies for having the confidence to let Rattigan's words speak for themselves, faithfully reproducing the dreary brown decoration of post-war English houses, and above all for not using background music (apart from extracts from Hilary Hahn's exquisite recording of Barber's violin concerto).

Excellent performances from all three principals, with a special note of appreciation for Simon Russell Beale who is one of the outstanding stage actors of his generation and has the skill to adapt his work to the requirements of the camera.


David Oistrakh: The Complete EMI Recordings
David Oistrakh: The Complete EMI Recordings
Price: £21.85

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful, 6 Jan. 2012
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I agree with the other reviews posted to date. These are wonderful performances by one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century and the recording quality is very good indeed - full marks and thanks to the EMI engineers. And the price is just amazing.


One Good Turn: (Jackson Brodie)
One Good Turn: (Jackson Brodie)
by Kate Atkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5.0 out of 5 stars A lady who knows how to write, 9 July 2011
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I was very nearly put off reading Kate Atkinson's thrillers by the dreadful TV adaptation, but I was persuaded by the supportive Amazon reader reviews to give her a go, and I'm glad I did. Usually I don't like thrillers / crime novels because they are so badly written, so I was delighted to find that Ms Atkinson not only knows how to craft a book (successfully pulling together lots of strands to make a coherent story), but also knows how to use language to produce an amusing and literate piece of work that really does draw you into the plot and makes you want to know what happens. A very well written and highly entertaining read.


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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First the bad news....., 15 Feb. 2011
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I bought my Kindle just after Xmas (and just before the VAT increase), helped hugely in making my choice of e-reader by the many informative user comments on this site. A few days ago I was about 90% of the way through a very long novel (Tom Jones by Henry Fielding) when I switched it on to read a bit more before going to sleep and found the Kindle was absolutely convinced I was only 57% of the way through, and nothing I could do to persuade it otherwise. Yes, it doesn't take all that long to get back to where you are, via the Menu button, but you really should not have to remember exactly where you have reached in your book, so clearly there was a fault.

Now we get to the better news. Getting in touch with the Helpline really could not be easier - you ping them an email and then your phone rings instantly, and in my case I only had to wait a few seconds before talking to one of the Kindle team who really could not have been more helpful, especially for a technophobe like me. He suggested we needed to do 2 things - firstly download new software; then remove the lovely Kindle leather cover. Yes, apparently the cover can cause the Kindle to malfunction, which really does seem seriously weird.

Now to the even better news. Without me even having to ask, I was given a full refund for the cover and a credit to my Amazon account to meet the cost of upgrading to the new more expensive cover which comes with an integral light. So, full marks to Amazon for doing their best to keep their customers happy.

The only reason I have not given the Kindle 5 stars is the high price that is charged for ebooks. I understand this is down to the publishers insisting on controlling prices for the e-version of their books, having lost the ability to set a fixed price for the paper versions many years ago. Also, of course, we have to pay VAT. So, this is not Amazon's fault, but it is in all our interests to keep the pressure on Amazon to challenge the publishers on their pricing policy. If I can buy a paper copy of a book for £4 and the e-version is £8.99, there's no prizes for guessing which I'm going to choose. Meanwhile, I am greatly enjoying downloading e-versions of out of copyright books either for free or for about 70p. Many thanks to the US colleges which have produced the Kindle versions.


The Great Fire
The Great Fire
by Shirley Hazzard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest novels I have ever read, 20 May 2010
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This review is from: The Great Fire (Paperback)
Every word, every phrase and every sentence in this extraordinary work of art is chosen with great care. Her love of words shines through, just like the greatest of poets. The characters are unusual, but they grow on the page as she gradually presents them to us. The locations are unusual to most of us too, taking us to exotic places in Asia which she knows well from her own upbringing - and offset by the awful provincialism (at that time) of New Zealand. And at the heart of the book is a great love affair, that grew out of the horrors of war.

A book to read, and then re-read.


The Rise of Political Lying
The Rise of Political Lying
by Peter Oborne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PLEASE PLEASE READ THIS BOOK !, 18 Jan. 2007
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Whether you are a student of contemporary British politics or just, like me, a citizen who is concerned about the deterioration in standards of public life in recent years, this book is essential reading. There is nothing new about politicians lying - sometimes it can actually be in the country's interest for ministers to fail to tell the truth - and Oborne gives several examples which pre-date the Blair government. But what this excellent book shows us is that deliberate lying is right at the heart of this administration, with Mandelson, Campbell and Blair himself being the leading culprits. They really do believe that the public cannot be trusted with the truth.

The consequences of this constant barrage of deception are:

1. A dramatic increase in public cynicism and voter apathy.

2. The war in Iraq, which has already claimed the lives of more than 100 British servicemen and countless thousands of Iraqi civilians. The evidence is compelling that we were deliberately misled by 10 Downing Street as to why we were going to war.

Some legacy, Mr Blair ! And thank you, Peter Oborne, for your research and for setting out the evidence so clearly for us.


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