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Over The Line
Over The Line
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner, 16 April 2015
This review is from: Over The Line (Kindle Edition)
This is a riveting read! I'm not usually one for sporty novels, but this is very much about human emotions and people's feelings rather than just sports. Though there are treats for the sport lovers too. I couldn't put it down.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, 5 Sept. 2010
I started reading this book at 1300 on Sunday and finished it by 2300 on the same day! A personal record.
There are other good things about this book, like it doesn't have any chapters. I didnt have to hurry through the chapter to get to my next errand. The vivid writing makes the characters' back-stories heart wrenching. I wanted to find out more about Kit growing up and it kept me engaged.
Why only three stars then? One letter too many for my liking and the Isola detective diary is slightly contrite.

Thinly Disguised Autobiography
Thinly Disguised Autobiography
by James Delingpole
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable Trash, 17 Aug. 2010
Thinly disguised autobiography? Really? If this was really his life James Dellingpole is one lucky man! Although he seems to paint a picture of a journalist's life that I don't recognise. Though perhaps being an entertainment journalist (which I never really have done) gets you tickets into some top parties. I do wish life was like that for journos but my experience is anything but!
I had no social life while in the newsroom and the mistrust among people within and outside the media about journalists is palpable. Perhaps it was easier and more fun in the 90s, which is when John Deveraux our lead man takes up his career as a journalist.
This racy book also offers some drug fuelled episodes and our male lead is perpetually drunk. He is a shameless social climber who wanted to have studied at Eton and wasn't just pleased with his Oxford degree.
It's trashy but fun and very readable. The perfect `empty-your-mind' read.

What They Teach You at Harvard Business School: My Two Years Inside the Cauldron of Capitalism
What They Teach You at Harvard Business School: My Two Years Inside the Cauldron of Capitalism
by Philip Delves Broughton
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, 16 Aug. 2010
For anyone who has ever dreamed about being or doing an MBA, or indeed done one, this is a must read. It's funny, clever and full of wonderful insights about one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world.
HBS until I read this book was a prospectus and an idea shrouded with mysteries in my head. Now it seems real and though I still would love to be able to be there, I'm less sure if I'll be any good.
The details of the campus and the course make this book a fascinating read. Some brilliant quotes as well. This one I think refers to me: `Those who think money will make them happy haven't got any.'

Surviving (Vagabond)
Surviving (Vagabond)
by Allan Massie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.00

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars takes time to light up, 16 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Surviving (Vagabond) (Paperback)
This tiny novel is set in Rome. It was one of the main reasons I wanted to read it. Plus it's written by Allan Massie, who I really like.
This is what I'd written about it when I started: `I am not enjoying it thus far. It's about expats in Rome who are alcoholics and know each other through the local AA. But I can't find any sympathy for any of the characters. Perhaps I should move on if it hasn't gripped me by pg 25.
That was on page 21. Needless to say it passed the pg 25 threshold and is now `finis'. It got better half way through and then kept getting more and more readable. The turn at the end is so subtle and clever it left me wondering not about any of the characters in the novel, but actually the author. Worth persevering, I thought. though it does take time to warm up.

Keeper: Living with Nancy. A journey into Alzheimer's
Keeper: Living with Nancy. A journey into Alzheimer's
by Andrea Gillies
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, 16 Aug. 2010
This is a brilliant and moving book. Dementia affects not only the patient but their families and friends. It's a terrible disease which is as much a mystery as the right care for the sufferer is.
There are several and conflicting advises for carers. Which on the whole frustrate more than help. We've put men on the moon, but we don't understand the workings of our own minds.
I think dementia is a cancer of the mind and in this book Andrea Gillies examines not only the disease and the impact on the sufferer but also looks at broader questions arising from the disease.
Like what's the difference between the brain and the mind? Who is the self, if we forget half our life? Is there soul and if so, what role does it play in our lives and how we function?
It's a great book because it's honest about a disease that has been taboo for too long and that we don't have a cure for. I wish more people would write about their experiences with dementia sufferers so everyone can benefit from it.
I also wish there was more money being spent on researching the best form of care and cure.

Deaf Sentence
Deaf Sentence
by David Lodge
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and Moving, 30 July 2010
This review is from: Deaf Sentence (Paperback)
I love David Lodge's novels. He is such a visual writer you feel you are living in the book. This one is no different. It's the story of a retired professor of linguistics who is losing his hearing before his time.
The author describes deafness and how it affects the life of a sufferer. He does so in a heart-breaking and yet somehow hilarious manner. Before I'd read this book, I really didn't understand the phrase `society makes people disabled'. Now I do. The embarrassment and the humour that comes out of misheard / understood words, is reality for a lot of people with hearing impairment. As he describes it - `blindness is tragic, while deafness is comic'.
The references to other famous deaf people and how it affected their lives, including one of my favourite poets, Philip Larkin, is another great thing about this book. Beethoven was losing his hearing and continued to compose some lovely music for others' aural pleasure. Goya apparently painted some of his best works after losing his hearing.
The book offers a brilliant analysis of writing and prose. The lip-reading classes throw up their own language dilemmas such as how to distinguish between words like Scot, Scotch and Scottish when the lip movement is so similar. Lovely little touches as well, like when he switches the narrative from first person to third person, just because he feels like it.
This book deals in a sensitive, yet honest way with the problems surrounding ageing parents, disability and the general madness of life. I was really sad to find that David Lodge suffers from premature deafness himself. It's really cruel, but does explain how he's achieved in making this book so engaging and this work of fiction so believable.

Gwalia in Khasia
Gwalia in Khasia
by Nigel Jenkins
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 26 July 2010
This review is from: Gwalia in Khasia (Paperback)
Normally I don't read books about India by foreign writers. It makes me very upset when they either try and paint the whole (1.2 billion strong) population, with the same brush, or totally miss the vibe of the place.
So it was with a lot of trepidation that I'd picked this book after a colleague recommended it. It's the story of a Welsh missionary's journey to the Khasi hills in the North-Eastern part of India in the late 1800s. It's a beautiful part of the world, which has historically been neglected by the powers in Delhi and still is.
Khasi hills are in the modern Indian state of Meghalaya - the word literally meaning `Abode of the Clouds' - derived from Sanskrit. And it truly is that with some of the highest rainfall in the world recorded here.
Presumably, Thomas Jones, on a mission to the Khasis would've found himself at home here, coming from Wales. He did certainly make it his home. He like many other missionaries was driven by the mission to `civilize' people and show them the way of God. These days we know how cynical some of the missionaries were and how they would use money or threats to convert people, to reach their `targets'.
But Thomas Jones was different. He recognised these people as being humans. He wanted to help them, not only in freeing their souls, but also in leading their lives while on earth. He brought education and learning to the people of the Khasi hills.
He learnt the Khasi language which was (like a lot of music and other languages in India at the time) entirely an oral form of communication. He showed them the Roman alphabet and taught them the worth of having the written word. As a result till date his Khasi alphabet is used to write the native language.
The Khasi language stems from a different branch of languages to the Proto-Indo-European Languages. It's derived from the Munda branch, according to most linguists, which predates Sanskrit in the subcontinent.
I found the book very readable. It gave me a glimpse into the life of a young missionary who made a part of my homeland his home. And I understand it better I think also because I now live in Wales and can sense the pride the author would've felt discovering Thomas Jones' achievements.
My fears about the book were unfounded. Nigel Jenkins is not patronising in his tone. He doesn't generalise or state the obvious. He doesn't home in on the bad parts of the country and make money from misery. In this book, he weaves together the genres of: history, linguistics and travel; through beautiful story-telling.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2015 7:12 PM BST

The Memory Keeper's Daughter
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
by Kim Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read it with a box of tissues, 23 July 2010
This is a very depressing read. Really well written so one feels the emotions all the way with the characters. By the end of the book, I was ready to slit my wrists!!! Glad it didn't have to come to that. Not one I would recommend because I dont like tear-jerkers. But if a book and a box of tissues, is your sort of thing, go for it. It's written well and has some sweet moments.

QUEST FOR ORIGINS VEDIC CULT: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate
QUEST FOR ORIGINS VEDIC CULT: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.49

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inconclusive, 23 July 2010
It's a very good summary of the theories relating to Indo-Aryan connections. As always the discussion seems to have arisen out of who taught whom, a sort of language chicken and egg. Though ultimately what does it matter, is beyond me?
A lot of research by some very well known and respected people has been done in this field. But most of these people are Europeans....the theory of the "Indigenous Aryans" I don't think has been researched or developed as much, as a result.
One of the exponents of the indigenous theory is Swami Vivekananda, but given that since him, not many people from the Indian subcontinent have taken up or contributed much to this field is staggering!
In my personal opinion, I don't think I could agree with either. If there was a mass migration from Europe to the subcontinent, well there would surely have been more evidence of it. Or perhaps they started from the Indian subcontinent and migrated through to Europe, again, where is the evidence?
And to be honest, I'm not sure what kind of evidence I would need to see to prove it one way or another. The fact remains this research was initiated by Europeans to explain some of the similarities between their beliefs and languages and those of the supposed barbarians they had just conquered! They wanted to find a reasonable explanation for that and put forth the theory that all Indians at some point or another must've been `civilised' by a European influence. Hence the large scale migration from West to East.
Why have I given full marks to this book then? Well because I'm not a linguist or a historian, but I think Ed Bryant does justice to both theories and I enjoyed reading it immensely.

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