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A. J. W. Smith (London, UK)

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The Last Dark (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series Book 4)
The Last Dark (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series Book 4)
Price: £8.96

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting end to the Thomas Covenant Chronicles, 22 Oct. 2013
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I'm not going to review the actual book as I don't want to risk spoilers. Instead, I'm saying as a massive fan of the Thomas Covenant books - they would be my desert island books - I found this tenth & final book to be a fitting capstone completing the "story arch" built upon the 9 previous brick-like books.
If you have enjoyed the earlier books, then 'The Last Dark' will not disappoint. All the ingredients that make me love the Thomas Covenant books are in this final instalment (including having to reach for the dictionary to look up the meaning of archaic words I never seen before!) The story engaged my mind & emotions and real tears did flow down my face a couple of times.
Personally I liked this book the best out of the four 'Last Chronicles' (i.e. Books 7-10).


Map Addict
Map Addict
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pub conversation not a classroom lecture, 18 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Map Addict (Kindle Edition)
I thought I was a map addict, but I'm a dilettante compared to the author and the even more fanatical map addicts referred to within his book.

The style of writing is informal, blending cartography history, facts, trivia, anecdotes and autobiography. In the first two thirds or so of the book, Mike Parker looks primarily at the history & techniques of map-making intermixed with interesting trivia. For example, I was fascinated to read about the strenuous efforts of laying glass rods & metal chains in a specially dug ditches stretching for miles to establish the first two baselines for the early OS maps in the 18th century. Interesting trivia included places like Jungholz, an enclave of Austria that is only joined to the mother country by a single point, the summit of a mountain. Then he had me scurrying to a website that listed "secret" military bases (the bibliography has a useful list of websites).

Scattered throughout this mine of cartographic information are personal anecdotes that become more prominent in the final part of the book which reads like a personal odyssey. I didn't mind this as the author is amusing, honest and thought-provoking. I liked a lot of what he said, though I disagreed with his rant against satnav ("pratnav") as evidenced by the many map apps I have on my phone & iPad.

Reading this book is like sitting in a pub with a knowledgeable & opinionated friend, who ends up sharing more personal stuff as the beer works its magic. It is not a textbook or a seat in the classroom of a college professor presenting only facts and data on maps.


Silversands
Silversands

3.0 out of 5 stars Crammed with sci-fi goodness, 26 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Silversands (Kindle Edition)
This short sci-fi story packs a lot into its pages. Gareth Powell paints a imaginative world filled with exotic sci-fi components like a colony set in a strange watery world, modified human beings, huge spaceships and small space crafts, anti-ageing treatments, nano technology and so on. A wide variety of characters becoming drawn into a race against time to solve a mystery. Won't say any more as I don't want to include any spoilers. I didn't intend to read it as quickly as I did, but about a third of the way in I became hooked and I had to finish the rest of the book in one sitting.


Wainwright: The Biography
Wainwright: The Biography
Price: £4.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating not-so-Pictorial Guide to a Lakeland Fell-walker, 22 Sept. 2013
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I enjoyed this biography of a cranky, right-wing, obsessive fellwalker who expressed his devotion to the hills in a series of beautifully drawn and handwritten books. Wainwright was intensely private (hiding his first name Alfred behind the initial A, for example) so Hunter Davies does well in shining a torch into his hidden personal life. By the end of this book, I felt I had got to know A.Wainwright well and saw that he definitely had feet of clay - and I'm not talking about the mud on his hiking boots here! I can recommend this biography for anyone who loved his idiosyncratic guide books and/or those who share his passion for walking in the hills.


Innocents of Oppression
Innocents of Oppression
Price: £8.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Staggering Read, 14 Aug. 2013
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Like Harry Potter, this is a story charting the lives of children who are different from normal society growing up at an obscure boarding school. There is even a white stag involved. But that is where the similarities end. This story is a distillation of how profoundly deaf children have been (mal)treated by the educational system. Its essence is based on true accounts, but it has been blended and compressed into a fictional story. If you have ever been curious about deaf education, and wanted to know what it was like being a pupil inside it, then this would be an excellent book to read. For deaf people, they will find some of their own personal experiences, or experiences of friends and family, echoed in these pages - I know I did. The icing on the cake is that the bulk of the story is set in the 1970s, and for me it provoked nostalgic memories of Star Wars, 2000AD and FA Cup finals.


Synecdoche, New York [DVD] [2008]
Synecdoche, New York [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Philip Seymour Hoffman
Offered by Digizoneuk
Price: £18.72

23 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Subtitles, 25 Oct. 2009
To my total surprise this DVD doesn't have subtitles so I was unable to watch the film.
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