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Michael Champion "Mick" (Nottinghamsshire UK)
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Fahrenheit 451 (Flamingo Modern Classics)
Fahrenheit 451 (Flamingo Modern Classics)
by Ray Bradbury
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting but important, 7 May 2012
As you read the sparse, staccato prose you have to continually remind yourself that this was written in 1953.
The basis of the story is well known................It is a dystopian prediction of how the world may look if the authorities seek to manage the minds of the population by removing what helps free thought (books essentially) and replace it with things that are supposed to create happiness but in fact simply dull the brain (aka X factor). As Montag's wife, Mildred, says (about their version of TV which comes via the walls) 'My family is people. They tell me things; I laugh, they laugh'. But as Montag says later in the book 'We have everything we need to be happy but we aren't happy'.
We follow Montag's awakening of the dignity of truth to it's ultimate conclusion.
As I write this review the relationship between the Government and the press is very much in the public eye. It is said that there is a cosy relationship to help the authorities to manage opinion - never!


Slammer
Slammer
Price: 0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not 'The Sound of Music', 26 April 2012
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This review is from: Slammer (Kindle Edition)
The book is stripped down and sparse and edgy and disorientating - oh and very entertaining.
The progress from where Nick Glass (young prison officer) starts and where he finishes caught me off guard and as the tale unfolds you don't quite know what is real and what is in the mind.
I thought when it started that it would make a great film; by the time I had finished I realised it as a great book.
I shall be reading more from Alan Guthrie.


The Green Mile
The Green Mile
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.36

5.0 out of 5 stars Moving prison drama with twists and turns, 10 April 2012
This review is from: The Green Mile (Paperback)
Set in the execution wing of Cold Mountain Prison we see the lives and, in many case the final times, of the prisoners and wardens.
The story retains a good pace, has lots of twists and turns, characters that are deep enough to give real colour and some thoughtful messages that are delivered in ways that are unexpected.
The main characters are Paul Edgecombe, the main warden, and John Coffey (sounds like the drink but spelt differently) on death row and the way they interact is very moving.
I am tempted to watch the film again although I suspect that it will not be as deep as the book.


Murderous Manchester
Murderous Manchester
Price: 3.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Competent summary of geographic focused murders, 13 Feb 2012
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I have now read a no of John Eddleston's 'Murderous' series and they provide what you would expect. A good summary of the various cases that lead to murder and execution during the 20th century with a focus on various locations.
If you are familiar with these locations - either directly or through Google Maps - then it adds to the interest and understanding.
Each episode is only a few pages in length but it is long enough to give one the bones of the case.
It provides an interesting window to the world of the times and the circumstances (some of them quite miserable) in which people have found themselves.
If you are interested in this kind of thing then this is a useful way to access the cases.


Remix
Remix
Price: 1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun easy read, 13 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Remix (Kindle Edition)
This is a well paced book that romps along with enough suspense and twists to keep you interested.
Whilst the characters are not in depth there is enough about them to encourage us to reform our views as events unfold.
You get the feeling for London too with some good detail to help with the settings.
My only irritation is that the main character is regarded as so gorgeous by every single person he encounters that (a) it is unbelievable and (b) I am dead jealous. That apart for 0.00 it is great value and a good introduction to a new author.


The Sisters Brothers
The Sisters Brothers
by Patrick deWitt
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars But I'm not supposed to like Westerns, 13 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Sisters Brothers (Paperback)
Never in a hundred years would I have picked up and read a quirky comedy-Western but as this was Booker listed decided to do so and was thrilled by this book.
Top quality writing that is fast paced with one or two observations that encourage you to rock back and think.
You will be aware from the other reviews that the book is about two hired hands in search of someone involved in the Gold Rush of 1850. We follow this search and the various encounters along the way. There is genuine situational humour mixed in with some great dialogue.
I would thoroughly recommend this work.


No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting introduction to Broadmoor, 30 Dec 2011
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This is a competently written work that, by the author's own admission, can, in the pages allotted and the reference material available, only ever be an introduction to life at Broadmoor during Victorian times.
It is always interesting to take a look into the lives of individuals who appear but as well as being shocked at what they have done we do hear a little of what may have driven them to commit these acts. One starts to get a comparison at the way we deal with patients now and how they were dealt with in Victorian times.
Stevens explores the tensions between the 'Pleasure' patients and the 'Timers'; the way the direction of the various regimes experienced in the period covered differs; high profile patients; babies born in Broadmoor and escape attempts.
Recommended


A Fine Balance
A Fine Balance
Price: 4.79

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic story, 26 Dec 2011
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This review is from: A Fine Balance (Kindle Edition)
This is a truly beautiful work where every sentence is crafted with care and skill producing a gripping story that is a true page-turner - not because of exciting events but because as the reader we are so completely engrossed in the lives of the key characters.
I picked this up following a review on a BBC book programme. The first paragraph had been read out and I immediately down-loaded a sample to be followed by the whole book.
If I had a paper copy of the book I am sure it would be described as 'epic' due the the range of the story, the impact on the lives of the main characters and the key events that were happening during the time covered. We are touched, for instance, by the partition of India; Emergency Law; and the injustice of the caste system.
As many have said it is a sad story but in a way it is uplifting as there is genuine tenderness and support (familial in particular) mixed in with the unspeakable cruelty and the selfishness of a corrupt society. There are times when the key characters have virtually nothing other than the support of those who stand by them yet this is a time where humour, love and happiness survive.
The characters are full and deep and now that I have left them behind I feel a little sad myself; but all the better for having seen the way they deal with life's situations with stoicism and dignity.
The writing is wonderful and I could quote many highlighted passages. I will settle, however, for just this one (which accurately describes the author's work)........
'His sentences poured out like perfect seams, holding the garment of his story together without calling attention to the stitches'. To write like this and to engross the reader for over 600 pages is the work of a genius.
Recommended


Pigeon English
Pigeon English
by Stephen Kelman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.36

4.0 out of 5 stars Asweh - it's a good book, 4 Nov 2011
This review is from: Pigeon English (Paperback)
Story told through the eyes of an 11 year old recently arrived in Inner City London with his mother.
After the murder of another youngster Harri decides to play detective - although this part of the tale is not really that developed and it is in no way a 'whodunnit'.
The setting provides a magical mix of naive innocence Harri trying to get fingerprints with sticky tape; tension when he is confronted at the park by youths that for once he cannot outrun; laugh out loud humour when a friend of his sister teaches him about kissing. Together it provides us with a glimpse of what it must be like in the shoes of someone like him where there is uncertainty and instability (his father remains in Ghana) in a changing, aggressive and unforgiving world that he needs to enter when he is not off musing and talking to himself or mucking about with his school friends and generally being a little boy.
The narrative voice is effective and easy to overlay when reading although with a limited number of slang words and phrases used I did find that they did start to grate after a while.
Overall I would certainly recommend the book and would not be surprised to see this used regularly as a school text.
This is an accomplished first novel


Snowdrops
Snowdrops
by A. D. Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Russia in easy to digest form, 4 Nov 2011
This review is from: Snowdrops (Paperback)
Elegant and insightful reflection on what I perceive modern Russian life to be like told via a letter from Nick (an expat lawyer) to his fiancee.
It shines a light on the intersection of desire,corruption and weak morale fibre and how Nick reacts as events first seduce him and then completely hijack him. How would we react as singles with the temptations and lifestyle of money and freedom? And when you are 'in' do you keep going or do you / can you back out?
There is a financial story that runs parallel to the main plot which, if the papers are to be believed, shows how, not just individuals, but whole economies are also seduced and end up doing what with hindsight is not right or even rational.
A tight and gripping book,well written with strong characters, that deserves full marks.


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