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GunillaB (Sweden)

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Macedonia Travel Guide: Sightseeing, Hotel, Restaurant & Shopping Highlights
Macedonia Travel Guide: Sightseeing, Hotel, Restaurant & Shopping Highlights
by Elizabeth Lawrence
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.95

1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy this book, 8 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There is nothing of value in this book. Only very brief texts on some touristic points in Macedonia, in a general mix, without any practical information of how to reach them, opening hours etc. No maps, no pictures. Completely useless, in fact. You would get much better information just reading about Macedonia and Skopje on Wikipedia. And besides, the tourist information office in Skopje has two very nice FREE books on the city and the country that are full of useful information.


Professor Munakata's British Museum Adventure
Professor Munakata's British Museum Adventure
by Hoshino Yukinobu
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Manga meets Bloomsbury, 1 Feb. 2012
There is trouble at the British Museum and the Stonehenge megaliths are gone. And the Lewis chessmen are going walkabout. Only Prof. Munakata, visiting from Japan sees the connections and saves (most of) the day. But he would not have done it without his with his sidekick and interpreter museum employee Chris Karyatid.

This book is a fix of a presentation of some of the most famous BR objects mixed up with a detective story starting at Waterloo, seen through Japanese eyes. One of the red herrings is that a number of countries want objects originating from their territories back. This sensitive issue is handled well. I enjoyed it, but for me almost all the objects and places are well-known. For someone less familiar with history and BR I think the book is a wonderful introduction to historical wonders. This is also a nice introduction to manga, Japanese graphic novels. Somehow, this story-telling technique does not at all seem as foreign as usual, because the places are familiar. The drawings are very high quality. It does not matter much that the story is absurd, with the bad guys doing thing in maximally complicated ways for reasons that are never told and conclusions are drawn from the flimsiest evidence. The book also contains an introduction telling to story of its birth and an interview with the author/artist.

This would be a perfect present to introduce children to the treasures of BR - just see to it that you get the chance to read it yourself.


'They' (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)
'They' (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)
by Rudyard Kipling
Edition: Paperback

0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gets you down if you are happy, further down if not, 3 July 2011
I can understand why Penguin publishes these three stories together as they have a common theme. But it is not a theme I want to get into close contact with. Kipling obviously wrote when he was feeling very down and depressed, sometime after WWI. One is about a stately house filled with glimpses of lost children where the reader guesses the truth about the situation long before the visiting man; the other two about the relatives of soldiers dead in WWI. Stories on such sad subjects can be beautiful and helpful but neither is the case here, at least not for me.


Flypaper (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)
Flypaper (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)
by Robert Musil
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £3.00

1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A beige book, 3 July 2011
This is a collection of eight short and one longer short stories. The only thing I had left a few hours after reading them is the image of a struggling fly and a vague sense of indifferent cruelty and melancholia at the state of the world. I know this is supposed to be quality literature, but despite a few good metaphors it completely failed to grip.


Would You Eat Your Cat?: Key Ethical Conundrums, and What They Tell You About Yourself
Would You Eat Your Cat?: Key Ethical Conundrums, and What They Tell You About Yourself
by Jeremy Stangroom
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting problems, trivial comments, simplistic character evaluations, 3 July 2011
The book presents a series of ethical dilemmas, mostly more important than the one of the title. Some we have heard before, some are refreshingly novel. These situations could give rise to many interesting discussions, especially among teenagers staring to get to grips with morals and ethics. The book would be a perfect present to you thirteen-year-old -if, that is - you are prepared to read the book together with them and talk to them about it.

So far so good. But then it becomes less satisfying. Each problem is discussed by the author and different aspects are brought out. Usually trivially and many times in a way that insults the reader's intelligence. We CAN guess, believe it or not, what a man linking his body with a tube to a sick star athlete for nine months is supposed to illustrate! Only occasionally is this part of the book of value.

The third part is a character evaluation of the reader according to what solution they took. This is on the level of weekly magazine tests. If you are in favour of abortion (long before the nine months) you are a liberal. If not, you are a conservative. No kidding?

And what about the cat? The story is this: a beloved pet dies a peaceful death from old age. The owner wants to become one with his darling and thus prepares a cat stew and eats it reverently. Is this wrong? This one is simple - of course not. Disgusting, perhaps, but why would it be wrong?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 16, 2013 2:12 PM BST


Alas, Poor Lady
Alas, Poor Lady
by Rachel Ferguson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Limited lives or Educate your daughters, 3 July 2011
This review is from: Alas, Poor Lady (Paperback)
If you think you would have preferred living in a previous, more elegant time, when families and society really protected women, you will never think so again after reading this.

The Lady is poor, at first only in spirit but as the story progresses also materially. The author has set out to describe the very few possibilities there was for middle class women born before WWI. Even beautiful and/or intelligent women were as limited as their corsets, but the lives of the plain and untalented were truly horrible even before the money run out. Seven different possibilities are described through the seven daughters of a well-to-do officer. Number one comes to marriage completely unprepared and becomes a London cynic. Number two is the brainy one and thus is unmarried and stays at home. Number three and four marry, one lives in the country and the other mostly in India, and both are rather shadowy figures. Number five becomes a nun as the only way to get a life; number six becomes very bitter and eventually gets away by renting a cottage in the country. And number seven, Grace, is the main character, the youngest daughter neither beautiful nor intelligent. When the parents die and the money is willed to male relatives or simply gone the three "remaining" daughters, already middle aged, discovers that they are completely helpless. Not only can they not earn money, they cannot even cook a meal. Grace is forced to become a very bad governess in between living on unwillingly given family handouts.

There are many details and side figures on the way and the long story itself does give a good sense of the very slow lives of unmarried women where the main task is to get time to pass, weather still smothered in cotton wool at home or barely surviving in a rented room. And under everything is a smouldering anger at the way society treats women. It is never in the open and you can probably read the book without noting it, but it is very much there.

I am a bit disappointed that after trying to be unconventional, the author bows to literary convention and lets poor Grace die a happy. It would have been so much more effective and realistic if she had dared to end in spirit of the rest of the book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 16, 2012 9:10 AM BST


Bluebeard (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)
Bluebeard (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)
by Angela Carter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Completely pointless, 20 Jun. 2011
The back blurb of this book says it contains "subversive retellings" of Perrault's Fairy Tales. This is not true. These stories are exactly Perrault's Fairy Tales as he wrote them (only sometimes shortened). The only thing Carter has added is a two or three sentence trivial Moral to each tale. Instead of buying this book, get a decent translation of the original Perrault - but beware you do not get later versions, sanitized for very small children (check if Sleeping Beauty had two children in the bramble covered castle). And then invent your own Morals.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 4, 2012 1:14 PM BST


Crunch Time
Crunch Time
by Diane Mott Davidson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.64

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than average in this series, 9 May 2011
This review is from: Crunch Time (Paperback)
I had almost given up on the Goldy culinary mystery series, as I did not much enjoy the ones from later years. In this book, though, Davidson is back on form. So I will continue to follow caterer Goldy and her police hubby.

This time Yolanda, an old friend of Goldy's from the cooking world is in real trouble. So is Yolanda's feisty wheelchair bound grand-aunt, a disillusioned Castro revolutionary that still can defend herself very well, thank you. Goldy does her very best to help them, even though it is clear that they are not completely honest with her. If you like to solve the puzzle yourself, this is a book where it can be done, as a number of very heavy hints are strewed along the way. The ending is perhaps unnecessary golden (or rather diamonded) and sugary, but never mind, that is just the last page.

Some old main characters (for example Julian Teller) are almost invisible in this episode, which is a good thing as the new ones provide the chance for renewal of the interactions within the cast.

And yes, there are recipes too of course, so you can recreate some of the meals cooked by Goldy and the aunt.


The Magic Paint (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)
The Magic Paint (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)
by Primo Levi
Edition: Paperback

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Gem, 9 May 2011
If you have read Primo Levi's horrifying wartime experiences, prepare yourself for something completely different. This little book contains eight short stories, that at first seem set in our everyday world. But they each contain something of the fantastic, that the characters consider completely normal: magic paint, gladiators versus cars in the area, the problem of words evading their author and a very unusual party guest and more. I really, really enjoyed this collection and just wish there were more of these stories, preferably hundreds.


The Education of Hyman Kaplan (Prion Humour Classics)
The Education of Hyman Kaplan (Prion Humour Classics)
by Leo Rosten
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A making-fun-of-people-who-are-not like-us book, 23 July 2010
This book describes the problems immigrants in New York at the beginning of the last century have when learning English. The "humour" consists of making fun of the linguistic mistakes these poor, uneducated, not-yet-American people do in evening class. This is fun when you are eight, but not when you are grown-up. Then it is only embarrassing. The only redeeming quality of the book is that even though the immigrants are lousy at English, they are much better than their teacher at life. And Hyman Kaplan is shown to have much better knowledge of history and literature than the teacher, who completely fails to understand this. In fact, in the end it is the teacher that comes out as the stupidest of them all. So, a very few smiles and a book that makes us be thankful that (hopefully) we are not as ready to make fun of people that we think are stupider than us as obviously was the case when the book was written in the 1930s.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2012 12:06 PM BST


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