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I. D. Miller "ian_miller6" (Solihull)
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Eragon: Book One (The Inheritance cycle)
Eragon: Book One (The Inheritance cycle)
by Christopher Paolini
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly original, but I still enjoyed it, 19 Sep 2006
The story is about a teenage boy who adopts, or is adopted by, a new-born dragon, who form telepathic and magical powers between themselves. Together they fight against a dark empire, incorporating Elves, Dwarves and Urgals (Orcs). So not very original. Further there are some pretty obvious twists coming up in the next books (the role of the Twins, the relationship between Eragon and Murtagh).

However, its still rather good. I felt real empathy with the main characters and the plot. And it was written by a teenager! Not something I could have done at his age...or even now at the age of 47.


Norwegian Wood
Norwegian Wood
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the great debut I was expecting, 7 Sep 2006
This review is from: Norwegian Wood (Paperback)
I was driven to read this book on the back of recently reading Mr Murakami's "Kafka on the Shore". This I enjoyed, and seeing other people's review of Norwegian Wood, decided to buy and read it. I have to say I felt a little let-down.

While I read it in a short time, I didn't really engage with the characters; something that I did quite easily with Kafka.

The story has the back-drop of student politicisation in Japan in the late 60's, but really tells of relationship forming between young adults. However they're all pretty depressing people. Virtually everyone commits suicide, or has a partner that commits suicide, or both.

The ending just finishes with two of the main characters deciding to keep their on-going relationship, and that's it.

So pretty readable, but if you're into this type of stuff, read Catcher in the Rye instead.


Stamping Grounds: Exploring Liechtenstein and its World Cup Dream
Stamping Grounds: Exploring Liechtenstein and its World Cup Dream
by Charlie Connelly
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars But they lost every game!!!, 23 July 2006
A very funny book about Liechtenstein's 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign as seen through an English journalist's eyes. For some odd reason he decided to follow their home away and games on the back of a travel book on Liechtenstein bought in a second hand bookstore. His story combines the background of the country, its people and its fledgling football team.

The most strking thing is the strageness of living in a country with only 35,000 inhabitants, and how this permeats their personality. Especially the fact that it is all ran a by a bloke that lives in the big house on the top of the hill.

By the end, I was hoping the team would get a result against someone, or even just score a goal. They didn't, but that's football for you.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2013 10:13 PM BST


In Cold Blood : A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences (Penguin Modern Classics)
In Cold Blood : A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Truman Capote
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journalism meets the crime novel, 23 July 2006
I really hadn't a clue what to expect regarding this book. I bought it on the back of the recent film of its making, and while I hadn't seen the film either, I heard about the book and was interested in its storyline.

It tells of the pointless, brutal murder of a wealthy US farmer in the late 50's seen through the eyes of his local community and the two murderers. It reads as a novel and yet is a form of reportage used in many factual crime books since.

What chills more than anything is the different background of the two murderers. One was from a problem background and was almost destined to have a life involved in crime. The other came from a stable family home, but turned out "just plain bad". Their matter of fact view of the murders after they committed them, and their lack of any sense of the enormity of their crimes is something I will remember for a long time.

A sad, morbid story, but a classic book.


The People's Act of Love
The People's Act of Love
by James Meek
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Different, if a little confusing, 3 July 2006
I hope I don't appear to be sitting on the fence by rating this book with 3-stars when other reviewers are giving it either 5's or 1's. It's original, I quite enjoyed it, but at the end had to question where it left me.

It tells the story of post WW1 Russia, and a small, Siberian town awaiting either the onslaught of the Bolshevik or Tsarist forces. The town itself houses a mixed bunch of religious castrates and Czech soldiers; and the story introduces few others who not part of these two groups. In walks a supposed escaped Revolutionary who warns them a vicious, cannibalistic murderer is on the way, or has already arrived. Add to this a beautiful, desparate mother, who unknown to many is married to one of the castrates and is having an affair with one of the Czechs and the Revolutionary, and well it gets a little confusing.

The main cause of the confusion is the lack of characterisation of the main players. I understood Mutz (Czech) and Anna (mother), but most of the others were introduced too quickly for them to be recognised later.

Still, worth a read.


The Middle East For Dummies
The Middle East For Dummies
by Craig S. Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.63

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a simple history, 30 Jun 2006
Like the previous reviewer, I was a little concerned as to how much this would be an overly simplistic American view of the Middle East. However it is very balanced, informative and expansive in its detail. There's only a couple of places that I thought were too US-biased, but that may be me rather than the author.

The book covers the history, politics, religion and culture of the region; the region being significantly more than what we'd usually call the Middle East as it includes North-East Africa and South-West Asia as well, from the Sudan to Afghanistan.

It is very good in simply explaining how certain key events (positive and negative) have influenced not only the region, but the whole word, and in many ways shape the way we all live today. Such events being the start of Islam, the rise of the Muslim world, the creation of the state of Israel and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.

But don't expect it to be an easy history lesson...the story of the Middle East is a very complex one.


Introducing Quantum Theory (Introducing (Icon))
Introducing Quantum Theory (Introducing (Icon))
by J.P. McEvoy
Edition: Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent intro, 15 May 2006
This is the first book I've read in the "Introducing" series; I thoroughly enjoyed it. The topic of Quantum Physics is something I've always had a layman's interest in, and this book managed to pull together the little bits I knew into an overall picture.

The comic style format is light-hearted but doesn't detract from the overall content.

One criticism if I can is that some of the mathematical formulaes left me baffled, and I have a Maths degree! However the accompanying narrative generally explained some of the "hard sums".


Close Range: Brokeback Mountain and Other Stories
Close Range: Brokeback Mountain and Other Stories
by Annie Proulx
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Apparently the film is very good., 11 May 2006
But I'm afraid the book isn't. At the end I could not help asking to myself was that it?

The writing style is difficult to follow at times and most of the stories just left me feeling as though I'd missed the point.

Not one for me I'm sorry to say.


Kafka On The Shore (Vintage Magic)
Kafka On The Shore (Vintage Magic)
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, but why?, 4 May 2006
This is the first book by Mr Murakami that I've read and judging by the other reviews, he may have written better ones. However I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though at the end I had to think what the main point of the book was.

The story centres around a 15-year old runaway boy and a simple-minded, older character, who's lives are linked even though they never meet. It was the older character that I liked the most and found the most interesting. He's very calm, unruffled, charming and remains so even when involved in the most surreal events.

The story has a dream-like quality and I read it within a few days. The only down side, is like I said, I did question what it was really trying to say.


Saturday
Saturday
by Ian McEwan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hasn't this been written before?, 24 April 2006
This review is from: Saturday (Paperback)
While the characters are very different, the basic plot here is just the same as The Bonfire of the Vanities. An upper-middle class male goes the wrong way in a large city and ends up in trouble. Sound familiar?

The intrusion into the family home by the bad guys towards the end is somewhat gripping, but the long descriptions of a squash game, how to cook monkfish and elemental neurosurgery are dull to say the least.

Ignore the hype. The book is fairly poor I'm afraid.


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