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Don Davis (Coulsdon, Surrey, England)

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Lydia Bennet's Blog: the real story of Pride and Prejudice
Lydia Bennet's Blog: the real story of Pride and Prejudice
Price: 2.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chuckle on every line, 5 Mar 2014
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If someone had described this to me I'd have said it couldn't work, it would pall, it would fall flat - but I'd have been wrong! I just downloaded the sample, just to see what it was like, but before I knew it I was hooked, and I downloaded the whole book. Even though I guess I know how it comes out in the end I'll read it to the finish. I'm happy to assert that in my view her Lydia is absolutely true to Jane Austen's original. I kept saying, "Yes, this is JUST how Lydia would have thought, spoken, and behaved!" It doesn't jar that this 19th century adolescent displays the sexual awareness of her 21st century equivalent; for all we know, 19th century adolescents were just as aware as their great great granddaughters are today.

Of course I wouldn't go as far as to say that it was better than the original ... or, well, in some ways, perhaps, I just might?


Cinderella Service: RAF Coastal Command 1939 - 1945: RAF Coastal Command 1939-1945
Cinderella Service: RAF Coastal Command 1939 - 1945: RAF Coastal Command 1939-1945
Price: 4.32

2.0 out of 5 stars He was there and I wasn't, 4 Mar 2014
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The author was part of it all whereas I wasn't even born at the time, so there's more than an element of lese majestie in someone like me presuming to comment on his work. Nevertheless the book disappointed me; though it was full of information, and he brought out strongly much of the politics and strategy behind the operation of Coastal, there was a distinct lack of human interest. There were flashes of it - such as where he mentions a Coastal pilot dropping a life-raft for the crew of the U-boat he'd just sunk - but dry tables of casualties really told me nothing about the men who served in Coastal, neither aircrew nor groundcrew; I wanted to know who they were, what life was like for them, and how they coped with the conditions and the risks - none of which were really touched on. Also the material seemed poorly organised - indeed it seemed at times that the author had so far lost track of the structure he'd planned that in places he wandred far away from the chapter headings and repeated points he'd already sufficiently established in earlier chapters, which became tedious. In summary, a book packed with information but without bringing the people to life.


Streets of Brighton
Streets of Brighton
by Glynn Kraemer-Johnson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure nostalgia, 13 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Streets of Brighton (Hardcover)
I grew up just along the coast from Brighton, and in my childhood it was 'our metropolis', and I subsequently spent time in the 60's living and studying in Brighton itself. For a transport enthusiast like myself the Brighton of that era was fascinating, with so many diverse aspects of the thriving national transport scene reflected in one town - steam and electric railways, three bus operators with distinct individualities, two of them operating both motor buses and trolleybuses - and the authors have faithfully captured that diverse atmosphere in page after page of evocative photos with clear and helpful captions.


The Common Stream: Foxton
The Common Stream: Foxton
by Rowland Parker
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars My best accidental buy, 13 Feb 2014
Like some other reviewers I came across this book by chance, back in the '80s, and it's become one of my two best loved books ever; I still dip into it and get fresh insights even after 30 years. This is history, but not history as boringly taught at my school in the '60s, this is interesting history, the history of ordinary people, local people, people who got on with their everyday lives, with all their woes and triumphs, unstoppably down the ages - OUR history. I reckon I learned more from this one book about the way England and English society and English people evolved and developed on the ground than I ever did from all my school textbooks. It's well written, erudite, but never stuffy; it's interesting and a joy to read!


Wordsmiths and Warriors: The English-Language Tourist's Guide to Britain
Wordsmiths and Warriors: The English-Language Tourist's Guide to Britain
Price: 10.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Curate's Egg, 12 Feb 2014
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I was a bit disappointed with this; I'd read other works by David Crystal and found them fascinating, and as I worked through this volume I kept feeling that with his background and erudition, he could have achieved so much more with it. I would be happy to think of myself as an "English Lanuage Tourist", but an armchair tourist. I didn't really value descriptions of how to get to the various sites, or what they are like now, but I looked for more about what really made them significant. But I will keep it by me, as a book to dip into from time to time and perhaps glean more from it at a second reading.


THE SIR EDWARD LEITHEN COMPLETE COLLECTION
THE SIR EDWARD LEITHEN COMPLETE COLLECTION
Price: 0.77

3.0 out of 5 stars Seriously dated, 12 Feb 2014
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I read a lot of Buchan in my youth and very much enjoyed it, but in those days I never realised what a bigoted man he was: insular, snobbish, racialist, violent and patronising. I still found something to enjoy in his writing, but there were many moments when I squirmed inwardly; perhaps he shouldn't be judged too harshly, because I suspect he reflected what were fairly common attitudes of his peers in his day, and it is perhaps a mistake to judge him by the standards of 90 years later. But it is impossible to read his books now without being conscious of his main characters holding some appalling views which would certainly seem to be those of the author.


The Ides of April: Falco: The New Generation (Falco: The Next Generation)
The Ides of April: Falco: The New Generation (Falco: The Next Generation)
Price: 2.62

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Praise from a sceptic, 12 Feb 2014
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As a lover of Lindsey Davis's Falco books, I came to this warily, prepared to try it but prepared to be disappointed. In the event I was won over; the characters came to life, the depiction of ancient Rome was interesting, and even though the villain was discernable from quite early on, the plot sustained my interest to the end.
I think Ms Davis was faced with two problems: firstly, though the Falco series was a runaway success, it was perhaps beginning to run out of possibilities for development; and secondly, her faithfulness to historical fact meant that when Domitian became Emperor, Falco would have found his activities severely circumscribed. P G Wodehouse could triumphantly have his characters unchanged from the 1920's to the 1970's, but that wouldn't do for the gritty realism that Lindsey Davis aspires to. If she was going to keep on writing she needed to start a new series with different central characters but still clearly rooted in the previous series - rather like Frasier emerging out of Cheers - and I opine that she has done this successfully. More praise to her, and I look forward to seeing how the series progresses.


The British Bus in the Second World War
The British Bus in the Second World War
Price: 6.58

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting - if you're interested, 5 Jan 2014
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It has to be said that this book is about a limited area of what's already a specialist topic. Even hardened transport enthusiasts might feel amazed that there was enough material on the topic to fill a book. But there was, and the author has presented it well and with a wealth of detail and supporting photographs.


Spell It Out: The singular story of English spelling
Spell It Out: The singular story of English spelling
Price: 5.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 5 Jan 2014
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Many people would, I think, pass this book by, dismissing it as dry and being about a singularly uninteresting topic. But they'd be wrong - whilst the subject might lack popular appeal, it is in fact about something we all use every day which is fundamental to our lives as beings who use the written word - printed, hand-writtten, texted, whatever - to communicate thoughts. And the author takes us gently through how Modern English has evolved, with fascinating insights into the varied influences that determined how the language and particularly its spelling has come down to us.


The Nonesuch
The Nonesuch
Price: 3.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Heyer's Curate's Egg, 5 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Nonesuch (Kindle Edition)
Perhaps not the best of Heyer's Regency novels, and revolving around one of the few characters she introduced with virtually no redeeming features of personality - the beautiful but utterly selfish arch-egoist Tiffany Wield. It also leaves quite a few unresolved questions, and although I enjoyed re-reading it, I'm not drawn to it in the way I am to her best works.


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