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Steven Fouch "fouch26" (London, England)

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J Pillow, Travel Pillow - Winner of British Invention of the Year 2012/2013 (Navy)
J Pillow, Travel Pillow - Winner of British Invention of the Year 2012/2013 (Navy)
Offered by Jensen's Inventions
Price: £39.95

5.0 out of 5 stars and always have a bad neck when I awajw, 23 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Got this for a king haul flight recently. I never sleep well even in a reckinng seat, and always have a bad neck when I awajw. Desoite it's odd design this pillow really supported my head, gave me a more comfortable position to sleep in, and I actually slept properly for the first time on a long-long- haul flight. Only slight problem is that it is a bit bulky, and not practical to wear round your neck while travelling to and from the plane. But it was worth the inconvenience.

Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1)
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1)
Price: £4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Regreshingly original, 5 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Was pleasantly surprised by this novel, which starts in conventional space opera territory, but then goes off in expected directions to explore the ethics and mores of empire, gender, warfare and class. And tea drinking.

It also uses some quite startling narrative devices to explore the experience of reality for a protagonist who (at one point in her/its existence) could experience the world through multiple human bodies at once.

Most impressive of all is that this is a debut novel, and the first in a trilogy that left me eagerly anticipating the second volume due later this year!

If You Wait
If You Wait
Price: £5.00

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a debut!, 4 Oct. 2013
This review is from: If You Wait (Audio CD)
Having heard an acoustic version of 'Strong' on Dermot O'Leary in August, I was quite taken with London Grammar, and sought them out on Soundcloud, and was totally blown away. The full album is superb, evocative, emotional, moody... takes me back to to my youth listening to moody art rock with Peel and Jensen on late night Radio 1. Hannah Reid's voice is rightly being touted as the standout feature of the band - she can hold it back and understate or let rip, shifting gears in a couple of bars sometimes, but she is not just technique, her voice has heart.

The arrangements and production are equally impressive, and underpinning it all is some very good song writing. 'Strong' is a great single,'Help', 'Hey Now' and 'Metal & Dust' are also really strong and evocative, and I am rather fond of the gentle build and climatic finale of 'Interlude', but the standout song is without a doubt 'Wasting my Young Years', with Hannah Reid evoking an early Judie Tzuke, but building to a Florence Welch-like crescendo without over doing it or losing the emotional core of the song; its theme of wasted love could equally speak of the wasted years of a generation stuck in a cycle of 80's style joblessness. It's one of those pieces that will become an anthem.

Definitely one to watch

Yoshie and Nico Genuine Leather Wallet Case For iPhone 4S / iPhone 4 / Black / Tan
Yoshie and Nico Genuine Leather Wallet Case For iPhone 4S / iPhone 4 / Black / Tan

5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and stylish, 16 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
love this - really practical, good protection for your phone, plenty of storage for cards and notes without making the phone too bulky. But lose the stupid wrist strap - that is the only down point.

A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
Price: £9.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 16 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
this book is an eye opener - literally introducing the lesser known parts of a story I thought I knew pretty well, and bringing fresh insights to the bits I did know. And understanding this history gives you an insight into the way we think today, about our cultures and institutions in the West, about how the world of today is as it is as a result of the different forces and streams flowing out of the teachings of one itinerant, first century Jewish rabbi. And it is very, very readable.

by Tim Winton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Winton on form again, 25 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Breath (Paperback)
An intriguing tale of teenage friendships and discovering yourself, set against the backdrop of the West Australian surfing community in the 1970s. All is not as it seems as the Piklet, the narrator, looks back on his teenage relationship with local kid Loonie and their surfing guru/mentor, Sando.

The strongest part of this typically intense Winton narrative are his descriptions of the joy of surfing, but it is also the dangerous and self destructive relationships between the protagonists that grip the imagination. The downbeat ending is also a grim reflection on how the intensity of adolescent experience can leave one drained and dissatisfied with the mundane realities of adult life. Above all else, it is about how devastating it is to find the exceptional within yourself only to lose it again and be left only with the memories.

As with so many Winton novels, the focus is on experience and character rather than narrative, and the downbeat nature of the ending is inevitable, but unsatisfying after the poetic intensity of the first two thirds of the novel. But if you love the sea and the surf, this book evokes the beauty and danger of the ocean and the strange courage and intensity of those who surf on it stunningly.

Galileo's Dream
Galileo's Dream
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Curates Egg, but still brilliant, 1 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Galileo's Dream (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is a bit of an odd mixture. Part semi-fictionalised biography of Galileo, part science fiction exploration of humanity's far future in the mould of Olaf Stapledon, it ends up reading like two almost separate books.
Robinson has written many novels exploring science, religion and the possible directions humanity has or might have taken. In particular the theme of how science and religion relate to on another (in the Western context at least) based around the life of Galileo makes a lot of sense, and the novel does a lot to explore not only how Galileo ran afoul of the Catholic church in his avowal of Copernican heliocentrism as opposed to the Church's official, Ptolemaic geocentrism. It is an interesting story, and more complex than the usual "religion versus science" story that it is usually simplified down to. And Robinson narrates this astutely and evocatively, exploring the complex web of political, religious and personal conflicts that led to Galileo's downfall.
Even more evocative are the descriptions of Galileo's first use of the device he would later christen the telescope, to discover that not only did Jupiter have four moons, but that Venus had phases like the moon. This latter was the definitive evidence that the Sun lay at the heart of the solar system. The genius of Galileo's' mind, drawing quick fire conclusions from basic evidence, able to make huge conceptual leaps with seemingly little effort is wonderfully captured by Robinson's narrative.
What lets the book down is the jumps forward in time where Galileo is dragged thousands of years into the future into another conflict between reasons and fear of the unknown amongst the scattered remnants of humanity living on the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. Robinson uses Galileo as an often uncomprehending witness of a far future events, in particular the confrontation between humanity and the unknown "other". While this is interesting, at times quite gripping and occasionally illuminating, it also jars and feels out of step with the rest of the novel. The reasons for Galileo's initial transport into the future seems poorly explored and perfunctory. For this disjuncture and weakness in plotting alone I am only giving this four stars.
Nevertheless, these sections allow Robinson to explore the different, and often hideous future paths humanity could take, where science is corrupted by power, religions, politics, money and ideology, setting Galileo's own persecution into a wider context of humanity's struggle to better itself.
The result is a flawed but brilliant novel. Sections are breathtaking and awe inspiring, others deeply moving and personal (the exploration of Galileo's' disastrous relationships with the women in his life is desperately sad), and if others seem out of joint with the rest, the whole still comes together in the end.

Use Of Weapons (The Culture)
Use Of Weapons (The Culture)
by Iain M. Banks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably Bank's Best Science Fiction Novel, 2 Aug. 2009
As "The Bridge" set the tone for all the mainstream fiction Banks was to write, so this set the bar for all his subsequent science fiction. And it set that bar quite high.

Like all his novels, genre and otherwise, it revolves around a protagonist with a back story that slowly unfolds - but this is really quite a stark and horrific back story. It is about war and the evil that men do in the name of war, ideology, religion and power, and in a curious way how some men seek to atone for the sins of war through further violence.

At that level this could be a mainstream novel, so that while the science fiction backdrop gives Banks more room to manoeuvre, it is secondary to its exploration of the character and origins of the central protagonist, Zakalwe. In him we look into the heart of how and why wars are fought, and our own darkest motivations.

The novel also introduces us to two of Banks's more memorable Culture characters - the Special Circumstances arch manipulator, Diziet Sma and her coleague/handler/bodyguard, the anarchic and irreverent drone Skaffen-Amtiskaw. The latter's much talked about "hat joke" is genuinely funny yet cruel.

But as all three protagonists use others as weapons in the wars they fight in the name of the Culture's high mined principles, they are themselves just weapons being used and discarded as needed by the Culture' quasi military intelligence Special Circumstances section.

The echoes with current wars being fought by the West are strong, but this novel was written over a decade before The War on Terror began. This is science fiction at its most adult - exploring ideas through character development rather than crash bang action, which puts it ahead of the field not just in contemporary SF, but against much of Banks's subsequent writing.

Oh, and it is well worth reading more than once.

Passion: Music For The Last Temptation Of Christ
Passion: Music For The Last Temptation Of Christ
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: £23.12

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking, 22 May 2009
I fell in love with this album when it first came out - and even today, two decades later it is still fresh, surprisingly original, and an essential part of my music collection. And there are not many instrumental film soundtrack albums about which I can say that.

And two decades on, this has also been a hugely influential album. Marrying the music of North Africa (Egypt in particular), India and the Caucuses (the Armenian douduk features hauntingly on several tracks, along with the equally expressive Turkish ney flute playing of Kudsi Erguner) with modern technology, Gabriel created a sound scape and musical texture that has been much imitated ever since. Listen to the soundtracks of many modern films and TV shows and you will hear echoes of this soundtrack.

At times quiet and moody, at others passionate and almost transcendent, this is an album of contrasting colours and textures. It can also provoke a strong emotional response - the first time my wife heard "It is Finished", where a North African ululation moves to a peel of church bells and guitars she was moved to tears - the power and drama of that track is immediate. "Zaar" is a long, animated exploration of an ancient middle eastern city - bustling, dusty, noisy. Each peace strongly evokes a sense of event, place or mood.

A remarkable piece - Gabriel's masterpiece with no shadow of a doubt. If I could give it six stars, I would!

Fear or Freedom?
Fear or Freedom?
by Simon Barrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A plea for tolerance, 4 May 2009
This review is from: Fear or Freedom? (Paperback)
Published just before last year's Lambeth Conference, when it was all about to kick off over the issue of homosexuality in the Anglican church worldwide, this is multi author book is a plea for understanding and tolerance. It is to address that and the wider fissures forming, not just within Anglicanism, but within Christianity globally between "biblical literalism" and "Progressive Theology" that this book is primarily addressed, not just on the issues surrounding human sexuality.

And it is for the most part a series of papers that are a genuine heart cry for tolerance and understanding. It does fall in to the trap of demonising what it sees as Biblical Literalists, and it does get a bit woolly round the edges theologically (if the aim is to win over those of a more literalistic tendency, it fails by barely using the Bible to back up arguments - and not at all in some chapters).

It is also a mixture of commissioned and reproduced papers from other journals and books, so it does not entirely hold together - always a problem with multi-author books.

For one, I would have liked more Biblical critiques on the issues dividing the church, and a bit less humanist intellectualism, but that may say more about where I am coming from than anything else.

It adds little new to the debate, but it is worth reading if you feel uncomfortable with the hard lines being taken (on both sides) of current church disputes. But don't expect to come away with any radical new insights.

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