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G. Thulbourn (England)
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The Best A Man Can Get
The Best A Man Can Get
by John O'Farrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea but poorly written, 24 Mar. 2005
This review is from: The Best A Man Can Get (Paperback)
An interesting idea, although it was disappointing to find out that the 'double life' isn't as duplicitous as it seems from the description on the back of the book. Overall a reasonable 'pulp fiction' read but written like a Hollywood movie; shallow and obvious. As for ending; 'and everybody lived happily ever after', well, that's the weakest part of the whole book.
Some other reviewers seemed to find this book hilarious; I didn't laugh once. I guess it just depends on your sense of humour!


Go M.A.D 2: Over 500 Daily Ways to Save the Planet!: v. 2
Go M.A.D 2: Over 500 Daily Ways to Save the Planet!: v. 2
by Think Publishing in association with The Ecologist
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

16 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book, but take it with a pinch of salt, 1 Jan. 2005
Over 500 ways to save the planet? Well, it certainly gets you thinking. Clearly, some of the ideas are easier to implement than others (for example recycling plastic bottles as opposed to installing solar heating). But, I have two main objections.
Firstly, the book gets a bit political: "Buy your drugs from the local pharmacy, not the supermarket". Such snipes at the power of large corporations is out of place in this book.
Secondly, there is no look at the quantitative effect of what you are doing. So, you can 'do your bit' by buying a stapleless stapler, but go on one 'unnecessary' flight and you'll wipe out the benefit of ALL your ecological savings that you would make over years! You really need to know how much impact your saving is going to make in order to be effective.
Having said all this, this book is an easy read and for those of us with an interest in making a difference to our planet it's well worth buying. Unfortuntely it is unlikely to end up on the doormats of those people whom we really need to read it.


A Coast to Coast Walk: A Pictorial Guide (Wainwright Pictorial Guides)
A Coast to Coast Walk: A Pictorial Guide (Wainwright Pictorial Guides)
by Alfred Wainwright
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

88 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A walk I'll never forget, 21 Sept. 2004
Having conceived the ever more popular coast to coast walk I'm sure AW would regret the impact it has probably had on the countryside. He wrote the walk as an example for people to go out and create their own long distance walks; but this is a classic walk that is hard to resist.
Told in the usual Wainwight style of lovely pen and ink drawings, meticulous attention to detail and dry whit, this is a great guide. You should really take (and rely on) the two OS Coast to Coast maps in order to navigate and refer to Wainwright for enlightenment/enjoyment as you go along.
It doesn't really give notes on planning and booking accommodation, but such research is half the fun of setting up for and doing the walk.
The memory of this walk will stay with me for the rest of my life, and reading back through my battered copy of this book from time to time brings it all back to life.


Big Chief Elizabeth: How England's Adventurers Gambled and Won the New World
Big Chief Elizabeth: How England's Adventurers Gambled and Won the New World
by Giles Milton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, told well, 17 Sept. 2004
At first I was a bit disappointed with the book, but, as you immerse yourself, it then reveals the full fascinating story of the England's settlement of America. It starts from initial trips and works through to the point of permananent settlement. The only slight disappointment is that it doesn't really touch on what other nations were doing at the time regarding settlement. A fascinating and well written book.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

3 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Twice the length it ought to be, 1 Sept. 2004
An excellent idea for a book, written as if by a child with Asperger's Syndrome. The only problem is that the novelty of constant and detailed interruptions wears off (is the author over-playing the stereotype?), and, considering the underlying story is extremely simple, it starts to drag. It would have been nice if this property of fanatical observation had been used to throw insight onto the story, but unfortunately it wasn't.


The Penguin Guide to Punctuation (Penguin Reference Books)
The Penguin Guide to Punctuation (Penguin Reference Books)
by R L Trask
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read, learn and enjoy, 25 Aug. 2004
An excellent book that gives a very simple recap of how punctuation should be used in the English language. It is logically organised with plenty of excellent examples. Unlike The Penguin Guide to Plain English, a truly awful book, this is both pragmatic and very readable.
I haven't read the 'populist' Eats Shoots and Leaves book yet, and I don't feel compelled to; this little book contains all you need.


The Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting, if shallow, short story, 23 Aug. 2004
I don't like Ernest Hemingway typically, but this is a fairly focused short story that was quite entertaining to read. It isn't exactly involved; contrary to many other reviewers I'm obviously a philistine who can't see the hidden depths of the book and feel that it is in fact very shallow. I do like my authors to provide the depth and not for me to have to make it up; perhaps I'm just a lazy reader, but I don't rate Hemingway compared against the likes of Italo Calvino etc.


Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
by Tom Holland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.44

3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, 18 Aug. 2004
This book is a fascinating insight into the Roman Republic. However, it is seen strictly through the eyes of the power brokers of the time. It is a book about the politics and power struggles of the day; but it doesn't give you a sense of what was going on for the ordinary 'Roman on the street'.
As for the synopsis "Yet alien as it was, the Republic still holds up a mirror to us...etc", well, that's over-egging it far too much, and so I was left feeling a bit disappointed.


The Career Adventurer's Fieldbook: Your Guide to Career Success
The Career Adventurer's Fieldbook: Your Guide to Career Success
by Steve Coomber
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fresh look, same old story, 22 July 2004
I was attracted to this book because of it's different look/attitude, (I've read a fair few of these type of books recently as I'm looking to change career). Unfortunately it turns out to be the same as all the others.
The format:
1. Start with inspirational career change storys.
2. Get you to analyse your needs, values and interests.
3. Skip the bit about how you're supposed to map those onto careers that you have no knowledge of.
4. Give supporting advice about how to write a CV, interview etc.
In this book 1. has lots of examples who end up being multi-millionaire CEOs (yes they're all American examples) in jobs that don't sound a million miles away from their initial training or their background.
2. Refers to far too many other sources of information and doesn't provide much in the way of tools to help you. ("How to get a job you'll love" provides far more such tools.)
3. Finding careers that meet your analysis is boiled down to almost a single paragraph.
4. A few bullet points but again more references to other books but not a lot of help (e.g. ground breaking advice such as if you're interviewing for a job as a lumberjack don't turn up in a suit).
The book then dedicates most of it's remaining pages to what to do once you're in a job.
If you're just an ordinary man/woman stuck in a dead end career that you hate and want to change career to something that means something then this book isn't for you. If you're looking to weedle your way to a more 'succesful' job then it might be of interest.


The Doctrine of DNA (Penguin Science)
The Doctrine of DNA (Penguin Science)
by Richard C. Lewontin
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A shock to the system, 20 July 2004
Wow, what a book! If you're used to reading popular science books and blindingly believing in all the hype talked about science in the media then this book is a wake up call for you. Trying to turn you into a sceptic rather than cynic it reveals some truths about science that frankly I find quite disturbing: are we all experiencing mass hysteria about the new god? There are a few arguments I personally don't go along with, but this is a thought provoking book that stands out from the 'pulp science' crowd.


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