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R. P. Sedgwick "Grim Rob" (UK)
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Freddie: The Biography of Andrew Flintoff
Freddie: The Biography of Andrew Flintoff
by Tim Ewbank
Edition: Hardcover

2.0 out of 5 stars Not a proper biography, 26 Mar. 2007
This book is really just about Andrew Flintoff's cricket career, not the man himself. The author has had virtually no access to Flintoff's friends or acquaintances and therefore virtually his only source is what is in the public domain.

That said it is a well written and sometimes entertaining account of a great cricketer and some of the games he has played in.


In Search Of Myths And Heroes
In Search Of Myths And Heroes
by Michael Wood
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.09

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really Poor, 15 Oct. 2006
This book is neither a history book nor a travel book, it falls between the two camps and fails in both respects. Only in the trip to the Himalayas does Michael Wood really describe any travelling at all, in the rest of the book you are occasionally reminded that that's what nominally is supposed to have happened. The truth is most of it could have been written sat at home, and there is no sense at all at having arrived anywhere with the exception of the first item about the Himalayas. As to the historical matter I found it utterly bland and boring on the whole.

Some of the photos are good though!


A Dry Spell
A Dry Spell
by Clare Chambers
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Below par, 24 Sept. 2006
This review is from: A Dry Spell (Hardcover)
Having read and loved both In a Good Light and Learning to Swim by Clare Chambers, I picked up this book with a great sense of anticipation. In the end though I was hugely disappointed by this novel, which had too many very similar rather bland protagonists, was not particularly funny and was a pale echo of the other material which I have read by this author. Only in the final few chapters when the plot all comes together does the novel finally get going, but even then it really limps to the line with a cheesy and unsatisfactory ending.

Clare Chambers's other books that I have read largely had teenage characters. I don't know whether that's the problem with A Dry Spell, but it seems to me that her adult characters are just not believable, they just do not come to light in the same way that she portrays adolescents, at which she excels. The only teenagers in A Dry Spell are relatively minor characters.

I'd hate people to read this book without first dipping into her other work, as A Dry Spell is not a fair reflection of Clare Chambers's undoubted talent.


Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage
Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage
by Heather Rogers
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth Reading, 5 Aug. 2006
Although this book looks at "garbage" and its history from an American perspective much of it is relevant to the situation in the UK, but if anything even worse.

The largest criticism in the book is reserved for the manufacturing industry and the author makes a good case for it being there that we need to see the largest changes at the root of the problem rather than by tackling improving recycling rates.


Vermeer's World (Pegasus Series)
Vermeer's World (Pegasus Series)
by Irene Netta
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Could have done better myself!, 23 May 2006
Despite the title Vermeer's World tells you very little about the artist. The author apologises in the introduction that very little is known about Vermeer and that sets the tone for the book. A few sketchy biographical details are provided that anyone could find out, and the date of his known paintings.

Other than that there are a few rambling passages about Dutch art in Vermeer's day and a tiny bit about the history of Delft. About the only worthwhile thing in the book is a picture of every one of Vermeer's paintings.

There has to be better books about Vermeer than this.


Touching The Void
Touching The Void
by Joe Simpson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 19 May 2006
This review is from: Touching The Void (Paperback)
Joe Simpson in Touching the Void describes a situation that few of us can imagine, and if we ever experience anything like it, are very unlikely to tell the tale for the simple reason that we wouldn't live through it. The details are not important for me, it's the hopeless position he found himself in and how he unearthed from somewhere the will to live. The fact is that Simpson stared death in the face and was put in a hopeless situation stranded up a mountain miles from anywhere in sub-zero temperatures with a broken leg and no food or water. Somehow he had to make the decisions on what to do in an impossible situation, and come to the terms that he had been abandoned for dead by his friend.

My only complaint as a non-climber was that there was a lot of climbing terms and vocabulary in the book that made some passages hard to follow. That's unavoidable but it would have been nice to have a glossary.


Winning Chess Openings
Winning Chess Openings
by Bill Robertie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.64

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Basic but well written, 16 April 2006
This review is from: Winning Chess Openings (Paperback)
This really is a very basic chess openings book which barely skims the surface of an enormous subject. I found the simple openings like the Danish Defence were reasonably well covered and I've had some success with it largely on the strength of reading this book. However, for more complex openings like the Sicilian or Ruy Lopez it's little more than an introduction to the first few moves and one or two of the more popular lines. Good author, though, and I'd like to read some of his more advanced books.


Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life
Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life
by Professor Robert Spaethling
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Priceless, 28 Feb. 2006
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A wonderful collection of private letters by Mozart to his closest family and friends. Superbly translated in this book, they paint the picture of a genius and what he was really like far more than other biographies of Mozart I have read.
Mozart spent much of his life either travelling or living estranged from his family, and remarkably a large proportion of his letters have survived intact. Consequently much of Mozart's fascinating and tragic adult life is documented at first hand in this wonderful collection of letters.
My only complaint is the fact that we are not given access to the letters to Mozart, chiefly from his father, only those from him to others. Sadly we are given only brief snippets of these letters by this book's author in between the translations of Wolfgang's notes. Although it would have lengthened the book, at least a few letters from his correspondents would have made the book perfect for me.
The sudden end to the letters when Mozart died underlined just how much the world lost when this brilliant musician was suddenly taken from his in his prime.


The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Irritating but very readable, 1 Jan. 2006
It's easy to understand why this book became so popular as it's a real page turner, a very compelling storyline. Unfortunately all the characters in the book are totally wooden sterotypes. The plot is also totally hackneyed: to discover an ancient secret that has been guarded by a chosen few for millenia and is now about to be lost. Given all its faults and limitations for what it is The Da Vinci Code is masterfully written suspense, but I won't be reading any more of Dan Brown's books.


High Tide: How Climate Crisis is Engulfing Our Planet: News from a Warming World
High Tide: How Climate Crisis is Engulfing Our Planet: News from a Warming World
by Mark Lynas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory Reading, 21 Dec. 2005
High Tide is a simple idea brilliantly executed: to visit the far flung places around the globe most affected by global warming. Global warming to date is nowhere near as apparent in the UK and other Western countries as it is in other parts of the world - yet.
I had no doubt whatsoever after reading this book that it was only a matter of time, though, before every person on the planet is affected directly by this catastrophe unfolding in front of us, if only we could see!
The really striking thing about the book is just how many different types of country are affected in different ways. The eponymous rising sea levels are just one of a number of ways in which this problem is already affecting so many different communities. Hot countries, cold countries, dry countries and wet countries will all be devastated over the course of the next few years unless action is taken immediately.
Read it and act now!


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