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Mac McAleer (London UK)
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Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding In Plain Sight
Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding In Plain Sight
by M. E. Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, 16 Sep 2014
I hesitated in buying this book. Part of me was attracted to the subject and part of me was repulsed. This is the memoir of a socialised sociopath, not of a criminally violent psychopath. The terms sociopath and psychopath are interchangeable but psychopath has darker connotations. The author lives embedded with the rest of us and, although she can seem a little odd, she is just another member of society. You may know a sociopath yourself. One may be your boss. Or one may be you.

As I read the book my fascination continued but so did my occasional repulsion. I was unable to read the last two chapters on sociopaths and love (Love Me Not) and sociopaths and having children (Raising Cain), but on the whole this is a serious, intelligent and readable book. The author recounts her life and attitudes and comments on these with information from academic studies on sociopaths. However, I was not sure how much of this book I believed. Could the whole thing be a hoax written by an academic who studies sociopaths? At the beginning it states that the author's name is a pseudonym and some of the personal details have been changed. Sociopaths lie and have no empathy; is the author playing with the reader?

On the surface this is a not particularly interesting story of a woman who grew up a tom-boy on the US West Coat in a slightly dysfunctional Mormon family who goes on to become a law professor. The real story is what is going on underneath the surface.

THE AUTHOR is the founder of a blog called SociopathWorld . com. At the start of the book is a 2-page "Psychological Evaluation Excerpt". This purports to be an evaluation of the author by a psychologist. The author is described as having a lack of empathy, to be ruthless and calculating in relationships, egocentric and sensation-seeking. She does not have phobias or depressions and is content. She is successful in life and could be described as a "socialised" psychopath.

Woodhouse And Woodhouse Eaves: An Illustrated History Of The Two Parishes
Woodhouse And Woodhouse Eaves: An Illustrated History Of The Two Parishes

4.0 out of 5 stars An old church and a new church, 10 Sep 2014
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This well-illustrated pamphlet from 1966 is concerned with the two adjacent Leicestershire villages of Woodhouse and Woodhouse Eaves. It is focused on the two Anglican churches, one in each village, and the history of their parish affairs. It was written by the then vicar, Robert Rankin. Note that this is not a general history of the two villages.

Woodhouse is the much older village. There was a chapel there in 1338, of which there are no obvious remains. The present church, St. Mary-in-the-Elms, has features from the 16th century. The church in Woodhouse Eaves, St. Paul's, was built in 1837, showing how much younger this village is.

This pamphlet has18 pages, equally divided between the two villages. Nine of these pages are illustrations, all black & white photos photographs except for one reproduction. These illustrations are: St. Mary-in-the-Elms from the outside and the inside; the stairway at Beaumanor; a reproduction of a picture of St. Mary-in-the-Elms from about 1840 (the windmill on the hill in Woodhouse Eaves can be seen in the distance but there are no houses); St. Paul's from the outside and in the Winter snows; St. Paul's inside; St. Paul's Lych-gate; the Woodhouse Eaves war memorial.

For the history of the two villages, refer to the publications of the Woodhouse and Woodhouse Eaves Local History Group, which are published by Leicestershire County Council.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2014 8:54 AM BST

Loughborough Past and Present
Loughborough Past and Present
by Don Wix
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Civic Pride, 4 Sep 2014
Ladybird Books were written, printed and published by Wills & Hepworth of Loughborough. This little book of 45 pages was this company's celebration of its home town. It has all the high production values associated with a Ladybird book, with its careful prose, hardback cover and colourful illustrations. Its size allows it to be held in one hand. Ladybird books are thought of as children's books. This book should not be considered as a children's book but as a book that can be read by both children and adults.

It gives an overview of the history of the borough. Thus there were only 40 householders mentioned for Lucteburne in the Doomsday Book but at the same time there were two mills. Later, in 1221, Henry III established a weekly market and an annual fair which still exist. I particularly liked the small map of the town's medieval streets on the inside front cover with Le Wodegate (1407), High Street (1402), le Kirke Gate (1398) and le Baxter Gate (1386). The book describes the plague, the civil war, the agricultural and industrial revolutions. The hosiery, electrical engineering and chemical industries were established in the town. There was the coming of the railways, the establishment of the technical college that became the university, the bell foundry and carillon, and of course there was Ladybird Books Ltd.

This is never going to be more than an introduction to the history of Loughborough, but it is a surprisingly good place to start. Ladybird Books became part of the Pearson Group in 1972. It was merged into Pearson's Penguin Books subsidiary in 1998 and the Ladybird offices and printing works in Loughborough were closed.

Josephus (Nelson's Super Value)
Josephus (Nelson's Super Value)
by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but with an early 18th century gloss, 20 Aug 2014
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This is part of the Nelson's Super Value Series and super value is what it is. It is also good quality and one of the few places were all of Josephus' writings can be accessed in a book, although they can be found on-line (see Comments).

JOSEPHUS was an aristocratic Jew from a priestly family. He was born Joseph ben Mattathias in 37 AD. He had misgivings about the Jewish revolt when it began in AD 66, but he eventually joined it, becoming a commander in Galilee. He was taken prisoner by the Roman army, at that time led by Vespasian. Josephus then changed sides. Jerusalem was taken and destroyed in AD 70 and the Jews were finally defeated by the Romans in AD 73. In the meantime, the emperor Nero had killed himself and after the "year of the four emperors" Vespasian became emperor. Josephus changed his name to Flavius Josephus (Flavius was Vespasian's family name) and spent the rest of his life in Rome, writing.

Josephus is of interest to students of the New Testament and to students of Roman and Jewish history. His Jewish War is also an early documented example of a revolution, which should be studied alongside the later French and Russian revolutions. Readers of Josephus may also be interested in the works of Philo of Alexandria.

THE BOOK is well bound and has a readable typeface. The pages are thin, but not too thin. This is the complete works, with 1,149 pages, so it is bulky, but not so bulky that it cannot be held whilst reading. The text is a reproduction of the standard William Whiston translation of 1737 (see Comments). My only criticism of this complete works is that the Introduction is only one page long. It is left to the reader to use Josephus' own autobiography to get some background information. A more objective discussion about the life and works of Josephus in a longer introduction would be better. Concerning the Jewish War, Josephus is not an unbiased reporter. He can be relied upon for many of the details and the background information, but he was a rich aristocrat who was reluctant to join in the uprising and was more a part of the Hellenised culture of the eastern Mediterranean than the of the ordinary life of the majority of poor Jews. He also changed sides during the war and history is written by the victors.

THE CONTENTS: Josephus' best known work was the "Jewish War". This was the Jewish revolt against the Romans from 66 to 73 AD and is an easily obtainable book. His other great work was "The Antiquities of the Jews" and this is much more difficult to obtain. It is a re-writing of the Old Testament as the history of the Jews to which Josephus added more recent history (to him) of the first centuries BC and AD; it was written to explain the Jews to the Romans and Greeks. Together these two books make up the majority of this complete works. This complete works also includes the 48 page "Against Apion", a defence of the Jews against an anti-Jewish Alexandrian teacher, and Josephus' 29 page autobiography. There is an Appendix which includes a correspondence between the Antiquities and the Old Testament, a 39 page Index and 8 pages of maps. The Appendix includes 7 Dissertations by William Whiston, covering 113 pages: 1 Josephus and Jesus Christ, John the Baptist and James the Just; 2 Abraham and Isaac; 3 Tacitus and the history of the Jews and the Jewish War; 4 Josephus used an authentic Old Testament from Herod's Temple as the source of the Antiquities; 5 Chronology of Josephus; 6 On Hades; 7 Vindication of Josephus' history of the family of Herod. William Whiston was an academic and clergyman and these dissertations are framed by the world-view of an 18th century Christian.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 20, 2014 9:31 AM BST

The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English
The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English
by Doris Lessing
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Good short references, 19 Aug 2014
This is an alphabetically arranged doorstep of a book with over 1,000 pages consisting of short articles on writings in English. It includes articles on writers and separate articles on some of their works. As well as poets, novelists and playwrights, some literate thinkers such as Keynes (1/2 page), Darwin (3/4 page) and Hume (1/2 page) are included.

Although it cannot be completely up-to-date, the articles stretch from Beowulf (1 page) through to Gore Vidal (1/2 page), passing through Piers Plowman (1 page), Shakespeare (8 pages) and Oscar Wilde (1/2 page). There are also some "-isms", for example Marxism Literary Criticism (1/2 page), but no Marx, and Poststructuralism (1/2 page).

This is a useful and authoritative reference. For reasons of space the articles are short but numerous. It would be ideal as an e-book, where the articles could be expanded. There is no index as the book itself is its own index.

Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism
Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism
by George A. Akerlof
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.86

4.0 out of 5 stars Economics and the force of life, 18 Aug 2014
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This book is aptly subtitled "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism". Much as economics would like to be a science, it is still firmly in the realm of social science. For all the econometrics and complex computer models it is still at its heart about the behaviour of people. And people are only rational and self-interested on the surface; below this are their emotions, their sense of fairness, culture, fear and greed. No economist has ever produced a comprehensive mathematical model for these attributes.

The term "animal spirits" comes from the Latin "spiritus animalis", the life force. It has been adopted and adapted by economists to describe the human factor. The economist John Maynard Keynes incorporated it into his work, a fact overlooked by many later Keynesians but not by the authors of this book.

This is an economics book without graphs, tables or equations, making it an accessible read, but it is still a book about economics and the dismal science cannot be avoided. The ability to construct quantifiable theories is not enough to describe economics and economic behaviour. Indeed, basing government policy on purely quantifiable theories can be dangerous. To put the proper emphasis on the soft, unquantifiable factors that drive the economy is what this book is all about.

THE BOOK has 176 pages plus 22 pages of Notes and 20 pages of References. It is split into two parts: "Animal Spirits" and "Eight Questions and their Answers". These questions are:

+ Why Do Economies Fall into Depression?
+ Why Do Central Bankers Have Power over the Economy?
+ Why Are There People Who Cannot Find a Job?
+ Why Is There a Trade-off between Inflation and Unemployment in the Long Run?
+ Why Is Saving For the Future So Arbitrary?
+ Why Are Financial Prices and Corporate Investments So Volatile?
+ Why Do Real Estate Markets Go Through Cycles?
+ Why Is There Special Poverty among Minorities?

RECOMMENDATIONS: Everyone is involved in the economy so this book should have wide appeal, but more specifically it should be of use to students of psychology and economics. Graduate economists will find it too populist. Neo-classical economists will find it heretical. Marxists will find that it confirms the view that capitalism is inherently unstable and will inevitably collapse. Conservatives will regard this book as just a collection of woolly liberal ideas with no real substance.

Galbraith, John Kenneth The Great Crash 1929
Keynes, John Maynard The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
Kindleberger, Charles Manias, Panics and Crashes
Lamont, Michele The Dignity of Working Men
Minsky, Hyman Can It Happen Again?: Essays on Instability and Finance
Shiller, Robert Irrational Exuberance
Shiller, Robert The Subprime Solution

The Wake
The Wake
by Paul Kingsnorth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars i is feohtan for angland, 11 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Wake (Hardcover)
This is a novel about how the events of 1066 affected one man living in the fen-lands of England, his reaction to these events and his own personal fight for England. The overwhelming characteristic of this novel is the style of language the author, Paul Kingsnorth, has used. This language in turn bemused, exhausted and enriched me. The main character is not Hereward the Wake but Buccmaster of Holland (Lincolnshire). He is a flawed man, not a hero. This is an interesting book and I would recommend it, but only if the reader is prepared to fully engage with the language.

EXAMPLE: The following is taken from the near the start of the novel on page 9: "a great blaec fugol it was not of these lands it flown slow ofer the ham one daeg at the time of first ploughan. its necc was long its eages afyr and on the end of its fethra was a mans fingors all this I seen clere this was a fugol of doefuls. in stillness it cum and slow so none may miss it or what it had for us. This was eosturmonth in the year when all was broc" I presume that this means that a comet was seen in the sky. A great black bird (fugol) flew slowly over the village one day in the early morning at the time of the first ploughing. Its neck was long and its eyes afire and on the end of its feathers were a man's fingers. I saw all this clearly and this was the devil's bird. It came slowly so no one would miss it. This was in the Easter month (April).

This is not an exceptional quote; this is the style and language of the whole book. At first I found it incomprehensible. I missed much of the story because I was concentrating on the language. It did seem to be more understandable as I continued reading, but this was because I got used to the language, not because the language got any easier.

EXAMPLE: The following is taken from near the end of the novel on page 324: "well he is frenc and this is a frenc biscop and he has been gifen the abbodrice of petersburh as his. this was not one month ago and all of the fenns is specan of it for when hereweard hierde that the abbodrice was to go to a frenc biscop he gan in and he threw out all the muncs and toc all the gold and all things from the abbodrice to say to the frenc that this place can nefer be theirs". I think this means that a French bishop (biscop is pronounced bishop) had been given the monastery of Peterborough a month ago and everyone in the Fens was talking about it. When Hereward heard about it he went there and threw out all the monks and took all the gold and other things from the monastery, saying that this place would never be theirs.

The language and the story are both down-to-earth, but I was surprised to find many F-words and some C-words, especially as these would have been unknown words in Old English. However, this is not Old English but a special language designed to give the atmosphere of the time.

EXAMPLE: The following is taken from page 141. It describes an encounter between a child and his new Norman master. "frenc fuccer calls the cilde thu cwelled my father and I will cwell thu and all the hores thu calls thy folc and the bastard thu calls thy cyng. Go home frenc c-word or thu will die. At this the cilde then tacs dawn his breces and teorns his bare arse at the thegn". I would render this into modern English as: French f-worder, calls the child. You killed my father and I will kill you and all the whores you call your people and the bastard you call your king. Go home, French c-word, or you will die. At this the child takes down his breaches and turns his bare arse at the lord.

It helps in understanding this language to whisper it as you read rather than staying silent in the modern fashion. In fact, this book may be better as an audio book than as a book of words. This is all a long way from Charles Kingsley's best-selling Victorian novel Hereward the Wake with its easy English and its romantic re-writing of history.

THIS NOVEL is 344 pages long. There are no chapters but the text is divided into three sections named 1066, 1067 and 1068. The novel is followed by "A partial glossary" (4 pages), "A note on language" (4 pages), "A note on history" (4 pages), "Sources" (4 pages), "Subscribers" (6 pages) and "A note about the typeface" (1 page). I suggest reading the glossary and then the note on language before reading the novel itself.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 25, 2014 5:00 PM BST

Offered by Hangerworld
Price: £5.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant and slightly more expensive, 5 Aug 2014
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This is a sturdy and elegant tie rack holding 20 ties, 10 on each side. I have been using this tie-rack for several years without any problems. The wood looks good - It is a solid piece of wood with a heavy varnish. The metal loops hold the ties safely and securely as long as there is only one tie per loop. The loops will take more than one tie, depending on the thickness of the ties, but then they may slip out. If you find you have too many ties then it is better to buy an extra tie rack one than to overload this one. Cheaper tie racks of the same design are available, but the wood will not be as hard, will be unvarnished and the metal loops will be thinner. Comparing the price of this tie rack with the cost of an individual tie suggests that it is worth the money, although the slightly cheaper versions of this design are just as functional.

H & L Russel Tie Hanger, 20 Bar, Matt Beech
H & L Russel Tie Hanger, 20 Bar, Matt Beech
Offered by SelectiveGoods
Price: £3.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Good-looking, functional and inexpensive, 5 Aug 2014
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This is a sturdy and good-looking tie rack at an inexpensive price. I have been using it for several years without any problems. It holds 20 ties, 10 on each side. The enclosed metal loops hold the ties safely and securely. Because it uses closed metal loops, more ties, if they are thin, could be accommodated by doubling up, but this should be avoided. Considering the price it would be better to buy another one of these tie racks. The wood is a solid piece of blond wood and looks good. The wire loops seem thin but they do their job. This tie-rack fits into the middle of the market, being neither cheap and cheerful nor fancy and slightly more expensive.

1 Non-Slip Metallic Silver Tie Hanger for up to 12 Ties
1 Non-Slip Metallic Silver Tie Hanger for up to 12 Ties
Offered by CaraselleDirect
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, functional tie rack, 5 Aug 2014
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This is a perfectly good, functional tie rack. It is robust and should be long lasting. However, it is functional rather than elegant. Apart from the hook it is coated in a dull-silver coloured material which could be a plastic or a rubberised plastic. It is this coating which provides the friction to hold the ties in place, 12 in total, and 6 on each side. If you have very skinny ties you could get two to each holder, but once ties overlap or are on top of each other they will tend to fall off. Thus the safe total number of ties is 12. The price is reasonable. However, it you have spent some money on your ties you might want to spend a little more to get something a little better looking. If you just want something to hold ties, this is perfect. I have been using this tie-rack for several years without any problems.

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