Profile for cambert > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by cambert
Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,442,851
Helpful Votes: 337

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
cambert (UK)

Page: 1
Can Homosexuality Be Healed?
Can Homosexuality Be Healed?
by Francis MacNutt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this weird fantasy, 14 April 2009
This is a bizarre book by someone with no experience or idea of what he's writing about. It's another example of someone who believes that homosexuality is so wrong that he can't stop thinking about it.

A strange book by a man with an imaginary friend.

Sin and Syntax
Sin and Syntax
by Constance Hale
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Useful but annoying, 31 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Sin and Syntax (Paperback)
When it comes to the structure and usage of English, there's no faulting 'Sin and Syntax'. The book has clear and pertinent examples to identify the different parts of language, and to demonstrate where writers can easily misuse them. Constance Hale explains the rules coherently without being prescriptive, remembering that good writing favours clarity over correctness. Section by section, the author builds a comprehensive picture of how written English works. This book could be a valuable reference tool if you can cope with its single fault.

That single fault is a big one - it's the author's style. It's so irritating. She seems to be aiming for a 'wise-cracking zany' voice but it soon becomes forced and repetitive. Straining to be funny, Hale writes every joke to the same formula. Before long, you can see them coming a paragraph away. And then there's the problem of how quickly 'hip' styles look dated...

Word-nerds want more from a modern grammar than just reference; we want to enjoy reading it too. This one grated on me. If you haven't already, scroll up to the search box and find Strunk & White's 'Elements of Style' and Zinsser's 'On Writing Well'. Add them to your shopping basket, your bookshelves, and your prose.

The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Myths)
The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Myths)
by Margaret Atwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

97 of 100 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Homer never told you, 27 May 2006
Atwood is a shrewd and witty writer and this book shows her at the top of her form. She transmutes her unwieldy source material - Homer's Odyssey - into a playful, honestly felt exploration of the foundations of love and family. Here the heroic becomes human and the humdrum underpinnings of legend are exposed.

Penelope chafes against posterity and how it exemplifies her as the faithful, stay-at-home wife. She's not interested in being an archetype; she's remembering the awkward in-laws, her uncouth teenage son, Odysseus' stubby legs. Homer sings hymns to Odysseus and his wily ways; Atwood shows us what it's like to be married to a dishonest man. Helen of Troy is here too (she's Penelope's cousin) and she's just like you knew she really would be - vapid, catty, only real when reflected in a man's eyes.

Running beneath the humour is the story of everything that Penelope has lost: her home, her husband, her youth, her friends, her life, her truth. Our narrator is a weary shade, viewing the world from the dim, grey realm of Hades. But having left behind life, she's also left behind the illusions that go with it. Dead she might be but her vision is clear, her humour is bone-dry, and her story is full-blooded.

If you've read the Odyssey, this novel will mean all the more to you. If you haven't, it will inspire you to search out 3,000 year-old Greek epic poetry. Either way, treasure this book.

Chinatown [DVD]
Chinatown [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Nicholson
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £4.99

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A killer of a movie, 1 Aug. 2005
This review is from: Chinatown [DVD] (DVD)
OK, it's confession time. I can't stand Jack Nicholson. I know the whole world and his wife gets moist and giggly about the man but the fact is that Nicholson gets my back up. On camera, he's limited, charmless, greedy, and self-indulgent. He exhausted his acting range years ago and has long since resorted to sneering, pulling lewd faces and chewing the scenery. As for the idea of Jack Nicholson as a sex symbol, the mere thought should be classed as a paraphilia. I would rather have nails knocked into me than watch him in a movie.
Any movie but this one, that is. Chinatown, quite simply, is exquisite. The script is faultless, so taut it twangs. The plot pushes relentlessly onward, becoming deeper and stranger with a harrowing inevitability - notice Polanski's unnerving cameo as the knife man.
The assembled talent is formidable; presumably the splendour and gravity of Polanski, Dunaway, and John Huston together was enough to keep Nicholson's antics under wraps. Faye Dunaway confronts us with brittle patrician arrogance and slowly allows it to give way to something desperate and dark. Huston radiates malevolence from the first and his presence throbs through the background of the entire film, whether he's on-screen or off. Incidentally, bear in mind that Huston was Jack's real life father-in-law when he looks Nicholson in the eye and demands, "Are you sleeping with my daughter?" The screen crackles.
And what about Nicholson as Jake Gittes? It's the only time you'll see it, but he's excellent. It's a generous, nuanced performance of a man struggling to pursue a truth down through more layers of corruption than he can bear, compelled despite himself to reach the bottom. His easy charm and playfulness at the beginning of the film gradually sour as the bleak horror of his discoveries unfold. The role calls for great subtlety and inner struggle. Nicholson, to his great credit, is equal to it, matching the mastery of his co-stars blow for blow.
Chinatown deserves all the accolades it has accumulated over the years, and more besides. Buy it, watch it, keep it.

Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche
Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche
by Robert A. Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

201 of 216 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An advertisement not an operator's manual, 25 July 2005
Your shadow is all of the bits of your psyche you don't like and don't admit to. Most of them are grim but one or two are the nice bits that you can't handle. Ignoring them doesn't make them go away but you do it anyway. This doesn't stop them demanding expression. Because you can't admit to them, you project them onto other people. You're seeing your own shadow when you look at others and so simultaneously fail to see them and yourself clearly. Result: general unhappiness and inauthentic living. The solution is to fess up, embrace all the bits you pretend aren't there, and take control of how you express them. You achieve this through balance and creative synthesis.
So far, so Jung. Unfortunately, this is as far as the author goes in this slim volume. Johnson presents an overview of part of the Jungian process of individuation. It's fine if that's all you want. If, however, you're struggling to integrate your own shadow, this will serve as little more than a theoretical starting point. Never knowingly specific, Johnson examines no case studies but simply floats charming phrases like 'creative synthesis' with no investigation into what these might mean in practice. He's happy to bob along on the surface of psychological abstraction; if you plan to learn to dive, you'll need a different instructor.
This lack of depth isn't necessarily a flaw, although it restricts the usefulness of the book to readers who want to learn a little of the theory of psychic shadows without engaging with their own. Much more off-putting are the numerous references to Christian scripture. These are what Johnson provides instead of case studies, how he exemplifies the principles he's trying to get across. Unlike Jung, though, he often seems not to recognise them as metaphor and mythology. Nor are they always especially relevant to the point at issue; by halfway through the book they felt more opportunistic than enlightening.
If you haven't come across the concept of the shadow self before, this book could interest you. Be warned though - it contains only directions *to* it, not a map *of* it. It's expensive too, for a text that's both physically and metaphorically thin. If you're already struggling with your shadow, better to look for something more direct and personally engaged - Jung himself, or the Taoists for instance. Under those circumstances, Johnson's book seems only frustratingly vague with a bit of sneaky preaching smuggled in.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2015 3:13 PM GMT

Page: 1