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J. Stabler (Norfolk, England)
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In Other Words
In Other Words
by Jhumpa Lahiri
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful for Italian learners., 5 Mar. 2016
This review is from: In Other Words (Hardcover)
The book is laid out with Jhumpa Lahiri’s Italian text on the left-hand page and the English translation opposite. I have been struggling to learn Italian for some years and found her prose very accessible. Her sentences are relatively short with few subordinate clauses and she communicates a sense of enjoyment about writing in Italian, for example relishing the use of the present subjunctive. I found the text has an effortless flow, belying the fact that its creation must have been anything but effortless.
As to the content, I found her fixation on perfecting her Italian just too obsessive. There is no room for anything else in the book. One would think that there must be something about the country and the people that drew her to learn Italian, but we read nothing about this, and when she moves to Rome with her family she tells us nothing about how this affects her daily life. Sadly she seems to lack any sense of humour, though there is one unconsciously humorous episode when she goes clothes-shopping with her husband in Rome and the assistant praises his Italian, which is considerably more basic than hers, whilst her linguistic ability goes unremarked, much to her chagrin.
In summary, I would only recommend this book if you are learning Italian.


Stainless Steel Dog Collar Tag Engraved Free 30mm x 50mm With FREE UK postage
Stainless Steel Dog Collar Tag Engraved Free 30mm x 50mm With FREE UK postage

1.0 out of 5 stars This will only work if there is a free end ..., 22 Oct. 2014
This will only work if there is a free end on your dog collar to pass through the slots. Mine has plastic buckle fittings on both ends which won't pass through, so it won't work. Also it seems to me that the edges are very sharp and as they curve in slightly they could be quite uncomfortable if the collar fits at all closely


The London Cabinet Makers Book of Prices
The London Cabinet Makers Book of Prices
by London Cabinet Makers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what it says on the tin., 23 July 2014
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Don't be misled. The full title is "The London Cabinet Makers' Book of Prices; for work not provided in the Union Book", dated 1831. In other words it is one of many supplements to the original 1788 work and should not be mistaken for the full work.


Dumfries House: An Architectural Story
Dumfries House: An Architectural Story
by Simon Green
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, 25 Feb. 2014
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Dumfries House was the subject of the most dramatic rescue of a British country house in living memory. Its contents, including the most important collection of furniture of Thomas Chippendale's early period, was in removal vans heading down the M6 on the way to Christie's saleroom in June 2007. Prince Charles had headed a consortium endeavouring to rescue the house and contents which were on the point of going onto the open market. Only by his intervention, having borrowed £20m, was it possible, apparently with minutes to spare, to halt the process. The vans were recalled and the furniture restored to its historic setting.
This astonishing drama is recounted somewhat cursorily in three sentences in the introduction to this book, but otherwise receives no mention, a curious omission which is not explained.
The book is the result of Simon Green's extensive research in the Bute family archives at Mount Stuart and the story as the house passes through successive generations is meticulously covered. The survival of so much from the 18th century is a result of the house not being the primary residence of the Bute family and the fact that successive incumbents had a sympathetic attitude to its architecture and contents (at least until this century).
The furnishing of the house is well covered by the Scottish furniture historian Sebastian Pryke. Unfortunately his thoroughness is not matched by that of the publishers. Some of the most outstanding furniture, such as Chippendale's "rosewood" (actually padouk wood) breakfront bookcase and his sublime pair of card-tables, is very poorly illustrated, as is the work of leading Edinburgh cabinet-makers. To see this furniture in all its glory you will need to look at Christie's lavish 714-page catalogue for the sale that never was. Unfortunately it is now fetching £1000 on the second-hand book market. Pryke's chapter is also flawed by the incorrect numbering of several of the illustrations, an indication of sloppy (or absent) subediting. This is a pity because in other respects the book is handsomely produced, including large-scale tipped-in plans and elevations, which must have been expensive to produce.
The book ends with the death of Eileen, widow of the 5th Marquess of Bute in 1993, leaving us facing the unsatisfactory and unexplained hiatus mentioned above.
Altogether a mixed bag, then: a book which should have been the definitive account, flawed by its omissions and by lax subediting.


Hiding the Decline
Hiding the Decline
by A.W. Montford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "A failure of honesty, a failure of diligence, a failure of integrity", 20 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Hiding the Decline (Paperback)
A photograph of Andrew Montford on the back of the book suggests an amiable cove, but don't be misled. He's a terrier who pursues his prey relentlessly, and once his teeth are into his quarry he doesn't let go.

As an interested amateur I found his book was not an easy read. Following the ramifications of the emails between the protagonists it is easy to get lost in the welter of skulduggery and malfeasance. However what one loses in some of the detail is subsumed in the general impression of the corruption of science by those in the orthodox climatology community.

However I think that what is most astonishing about this book is not the corruption of science which it reveals but its exposure of the abysmal failure of those appointed to investigate the suspicion of that corruption. The three committees charged with this task (those chaired by Sir Muir Russell and Lord Oxburgh and the Government's Science & Technology Committee) failed so comprehensively to look at many of the most basic problems that one wonders how they can have any credibility at all. Compared with the rigour with which Montford has explored the issues their efforts appear positively infantile, and one is left with the impression that their main priority was not to rock the boat of the establishment view on anthropogenic global warming.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the revelation that as soon as Montford was known to be working on a critique of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit for the Global Warming Policy Foundation he and his colleague Benny Peiser were subjected to a crude smear campaign by The Times and The Guardian.

What would be really interesting would be to read a review of this book by an establishment climatologist. I don't suppose we'll get one because their only possible response is to ignore it, as with Montford's last book, The Hockey Stick Illusion.


Chambers Crossword Completer
Chambers Crossword Completer
by Chambers (Ed.)
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Vital aid, 5 Sept. 2010
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This book is very helpful in the later stages of solving a crossword. If you have completed alternate letters this gives you the options for the missing ones. If heavily used the pages start to fall out, which is why I bought a copy, to replace my old one.


Early Georgian Furniture 1715-1740
Early Georgian Furniture 1715-1740
by Adam Bowett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £45.00

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new classic of furniture history, 17 April 2010
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The history of 18th-century English furniture is one of those subjects which have been covered countless times over the last 100 years and one could be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing new to say about it. A reading of this book will soon dispel such thoughts. All previous histories are heavily dependent on the work of Percy Macquoid, Herbert Cescinsky, RW Symonds, and Ralph Edwards, who pioneered the field in the early years of the 20th century and consequently misconceptions have become thoroughly embedded in the subject, fostered by the antique trade and the auction houses.

The task which Adam Bowett has set himself in this lavish new book is to start with a blank page and examine furniture whose provenance is known either through bills, inventories or makers' labels and use these to create a chronology of structural and stylistic features. Most of the furniture he discusses is London-made and of high quality, thus providing termini post quem for his chronology. He is particularly scornful of the categorizing of much early Georgian furniture as `Queen Anne'. "Generally speaking, English `Queen Anne' furniture has been dated between ten and thirty years too early" he says in his preface, thus creating a void in the 1720s and `30s.

We learn that `boxwood' stringing is usually in fact holly, most `red walnut' is straight-grained mahogany and that the name `rosewood' in the early 18th century referred to padouk wood, only acquiring its modern sense in the later years of the 18th century. Until the outbreak of war with Spain in 1739 mahogany was considerably cheaper than walnut.

He is particularly good on the construction of case furniture and drawers, offering a chronology which makes one itch to get one's hands on the desks and chests-of-drawers in one's nearest country house to check structural features. A valuable section near the end shows the development of locks, hinges, drawer-handles and escutcheons, and a final chapter on furniture woods augurs well for Bowett's forthcoming book on the subject.

The book is a follow-up to his previous volume, English Furniture from Charles II to Queen Anne, 1660-1714, which shone an equally bright light on the earlier period. As with that work, from the same publisher, the book is lovely to handle and the illustrations are appropriately large and of superb quality.

References are given as brief foot-notes, which relate to a bibliography at the end. By some strange oversight many of the references are missing from the bibliography, which can be frustrating. My only other gripe is Bowett's frequent use of the term `neo-Palladian' to refer to any classical revival features (claw feet, lion's masks, mythical masks, fish scales, paw feet, eagles, sphinxes and dolphins). Apart from the masks none of these features were actually used by Palladio either in his villas and palaces or in his The Four Books of Architecture, and it is only through William Kent's association with Lord Burlington that these essentially baroque features have been associated with poor old Palladio. However this is a minor complaint about a very important work which will set the standard for years to come for the study of early Georgian furniture. One only hopes that Bowett will continue the series and cast his analytical eye over furniture of the succeeding decades.


Graphic Guide to Frame Construction (For Pros, by Pros)
Graphic Guide to Frame Construction (For Pros, by Pros)
by Rob Thallon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A detailed reference book for timber-framed construction., 12 Mar. 2010
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I bought this book for my son, who writes as follows:

This book is written for an American readership where this type of construction has been the norm for over 150 years and accounts for 90% of all new buildings. It describes itself as the 'standard guide' to light wood framing and it is 'found in the libraries' of 'architects, contractors, owner-builders and students'. Its 5 chapters (Foundations, Floors, Walls, Roofs, Stairs) spread over 230 pages are extensively illustrated with clearly annotated line drawings and there is a wealth of detail about variations in construction techniques. It is pitched at quite a high level and is not aimed at the home handy man.


The British Book Trade: An Oral History
The British Book Trade: An Oral History
by Sue Bradley
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inside view of a fascinating world, 8 July 2009
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The British Book Trade: An Oral History
This is a marvellous book. It is made up of taped interviews with people involved in the business of publishing and selling books over the last 80 years. To an outsider, reading these interviews is like sitting in a pub listening in on the private conversations of people at the next table, and what a fascinating world they reveal. The book trade has changed beyond recognition over the years, and the transition from the urbane, gentlemanly world of publishing of the 1940s and `50s to the market-led conglomerate business of today is eloquently captured in the accounts recorded here.

Some of the stories told are quite hilarious, and among the high spots are Michael Seviour's memories of Bumpus, the bookshop originally in Oxford Street, in the 1950s. It was peopled by various eccentric members of staff, some of whose roles had been long forgotten. One, Miss Hitchcock, had the sole function of going to the local café to bring a mug of coffee to the proprietor, much of the coffee being lost in transit. Another, an 85-year-old ex-buyer, who erroneously thought he was still employed, had a habit of knocking the ink-pot off his desk, to the consternation of staff and customers.

The interviews are broken into paragraphs, so that the voices of publishers, editors, agents, sales managers, reps, and bookshop managers are spliced together to create a mosaic of the publishing world. The impact of the ascendancy of the money-men and the pressure of shareholders is well documented. Surprisingly absent is any reference to the influence of the internet on marketing.

Overall, as a reader I found this book intriguing for the insight it gave me into the development of the trade. For anyone with inside knowledge of the business since the 1930s I should think it would be essential reading.


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