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Canada
Canada

3.0 out of 5 stars A frustrating read, 8 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Canada (Kindle Edition)
I love the Bascombe novels, and RIchard Ford's style seems almost effortless, as all great writers can make a novel seem. But this book didn't work for me in the same way as the Bascombe series. It starts promisingly enough, with a description of a typically dysfunctional family, as only Ford can hatch them. But the way the story unfolds, effectively in two halves (either side of the border between the US and Canada) is the disappointment. Part one is just about believable (I won't give out any spoilers), but is on the cusp of being too clearly a creation. Part two tips over that edge. You know the new lead character is a wrong 'un, but the way that ultimately presents itself is both predictable and unbelievable - in other words, you see the denouement coming, but you can't quite believe that's where Ford is taking the story. Beautifully written isn't enough sometimes, and unfortunately the plot here emphasises that.


Don't Let Me Down, Gently
Don't Let Me Down, Gently
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful nostalgia, 8 Jan. 2013
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In a moment of nostalgic indulgence, I downloaded this. It was a good as I remembered - a great way to waste a few minutes reliving the past.


Rivers of London (PC Peter Grant Book Book 1)
Rivers of London (PC Peter Grant Book Book 1)
Price: £5.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad - if that isn't damning with the faintest praise, 8 Jan. 2013
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I had picked this up in a bookshop a couple of times, but didn't buy it. The Kindle version was cheaper, so I gave it a go. It started well enough - quirky, didn't take itself too seriously, quite funny. But that isn't enough to sustain the whole story. At times the slightly off the wall humour is compromised by some quite nasty violence, but this isn't sustained in a way a horror story might. So, in short, it falls between too many stools - a bit of Neil Gaimanesque black magic, some sinister Victorian ghost story overtones, and a bit of police procedural. The Mother and Father Thames stuff was a bizarre subplot, but the final unveiling of the true villain was clumsy and confused. It was easy to read, it was possible to suspend disbelief most of the time, but don't expect too much.


Tool Lifu Shimano Hollowtech 2 Bottom Bracket Tool 11F1.
Tool Lifu Shimano Hollowtech 2 Bottom Bracket Tool 11F1.

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The hex driver is not included, 23 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For reasons I do not understand, this product is not as advertised. I ordered it, mainly because the hex driver was advertised as being included. It isn't, as the supplier has confirmed - apparently a third party changed the description for the product without their knowledge. The crank adaptor is perfectly serviceable, but I particularly wanted the hex driver so I could use it with my torque wrench. If you also want that, this product doesn't include it.


Collected Love Poems
Collected Love Poems
by Brian Patten
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poem for every stage of love, 4 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Collected Love Poems (Paperback)
These poems reflect every aspect of being in love - the initial, unbearable tension (does s/he love me too? does s/he not?), the flowering happiness of those first weeks together, that madness maturing into a deeper love, and, of course, the misery of betrayal, of abandonment, of being the one who walks away too, and the guilt that tears one apart. Perhaps the most poignant poems are those that look back from a distance, with the benefit of emotional hindsight, better able to see the passage from apparent perfection to crushing loneliness. These are incredibly honest poems, but for all their personal inspiration, they have meaning for everyone in any stage of being in love, being out of love, being ecstatic or feeling quite broken. I recommend them very highly.


Dark Matter
Dark Matter
by Michelle Paver
Edition: Hardcover

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A rather old fashioned ghost story, 4 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Dark Matter (Hardcover)
Before I'm accused of missing the point, I love M R James et al, and that style of ghost story - but mainly because they are of their time and sit very easily in that place. This story seeks to embrace the gothic, and goes someway to achieving that. But ultimately it is quite thin fare - the presence is revealed in its entirety very early on, with only a bit of back story to 'flesh' it out. And spacing out the lines and increasing the type size doesn't hide the fact that this is essentially a novella - it needed more substance to give it any meaningful fright factor. As a result of its brevity and lack of depth in the characters, I didn't find the story particularly engaging or frightening - well, frankly, hardly at all. The descriptions of butchering seals was more repellent than the spirit ultimately. And how many supposedly poor Norwegian trappers are able to speak and read English well enough to plough through books in that tongue? That doesn't ring true at all. I won't say more about the ending, but the book limps to a close in a very unsatisfactory way. Not as bad as The Beach (now that's a lame ending and a half!) but still weak. There is a good book within, but I think it's at least 3 rewrites away.


Hallucinating Foucault
Hallucinating Foucault
by Patricia Duncker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More pretentious than thrilling, 21 July 2010
This review is from: Hallucinating Foucault (Paperback)
At the risk of appearing to swim against the tide, I didn't find this a particularly thrilling book (the description of it as a 'literary thriller' is difficult to swallow). It wore its intellectual pretensions firmly on both sleeves, and risked being overwhelmed by those at the cost of the story. The attempt at a twist in the tail is heavy handed and largely pointless, as it doesn't add anything to the plot as such.

But in places it is very well written, with some lovely turns of phrase. Unfortunately the sum of the parts in this case is insufficient to win me over. Perhaps if the lead characters had been more likeable (and dare I say believable) it would have been different. I wondered at times whether the Germanist would be better off swapping places with the novelist, given her sociopathic tendencies. The parallel was doubtless intended, but the novelist seemed considerably more sane!

The quality of the writing has much to offer, I just did not find the story particularly engaging, or the main characters any more so.


Sennheiser PXC250 Headphones
Sennheiser PXC250 Headphones

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good - but don't expect background silence, 21 May 2004
The PXC 250's sound fantastic when you first switch on the noise cancellation. Just to check the quality I reverted back to my old in-ear phones, only to find the amount of background noise wasn't a lot different. Where the Sennheiser's do win is the sound quality - much better than any earbud I've tried. And if you do prefer headphones to earbuds, then noise cancellation is a must on trains or planes. So, worth the money if earbuds aren't your thing and if you travel frequently.


The Siege
The Siege
by Helen Dunmore
Edition: Hardcover

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, unsensationalist study of the brutality of war, 7 Dec. 2001
This review is from: The Siege (Hardcover)
This book takes a relatively short period of the siege of Leningrad and carefully documents its effects on the lives of a Russian family. The descriptions of the city and its surrounding countryside are wonderfully evocative, capturing both the beauty pre-war and the terrible destruction that first the Germans, and then the winter and starvation, bring to Leningrad. If I have to make a criticism it would be that the snapshot of the siege ends after it is only a third completed, although it is implied that the worst is over. The next 2 years were also very, very hard and expensive in terms of lives lost. But this remains a study of humanity in the midst of brutality.


The Dark Room
The Dark Room
by Rachel Seiffert
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor, 5 Sept. 2001
This review is from: The Dark Room (Hardcover)
... The re-examination of issues? The first story was infuriating. If the delivery is meant to be naive, fine, it works. But I don't think that's supposed to be the idea. The third story is the best. It reads, though, like three novellas that couldn't survive as novels on their own. Stitch them together around a common theme and hey presto! A bad novel.


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