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Allie B (UK)

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Offered by Millco Online
Price: £4.79

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great gloves for odd jobs around the house, 8 Aug. 2013
I was a bit hesitant about ordering the small size of these gloves but glad I did now as they're exactly the right size for my little hands. I did measure my hands with a tape measure first though to ensure that I am actually a 'small' glove size for women. I would say that these gloves would only fit *women* with small hands however; men with small hands should order the medium size at the minimum.

I've seen people claim that they've had problems with some vinyl gloves in that they had to try four or five pairs because they kept tearing. All I can say is that either they simply needed the next size up or their nails were too long!

These are great for housework - very happy with the purchase.

Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Original take on a familiar subject, 7 May 2013
This review is from: Wolf Hall (Paperback)
I read this a couple of months ago but felt I had to do a quick favourable review because I was bemused by the number of negative reviews on here.

It seems that the main reason people have given this book bad reviews is that they found the narrative voice confusing i.e. 'he said' instead of 'Cromwell said'. However I didn't have a problem with that at all - in 8 or 9 cases out of 10, 'he' refers to 'Cromwell' and it seems to flow quite naturally. On the contrary, I found the technique ingenious because it's semi-poetic and makes the reader feel much closer to Cromwell than they would if Mantel had instead used a more traditional narrator; we feel as if we're inside Cromwell's consciousness, experiencing everything in the Tudor world with him.

And what a world! Mantel creates a colourful and vigorous world full of sights, sounds and smells. She has certainly done her research in terms of the law of the time, not to mention religion and trade; the novel's masterful presentation of a past society is reminiscent of Eliot's 'Middlemarch'. Moreover the historical characters are made all the more fascinating by Mantel; Cromwell himself is presented as somewhat sympathetic through the aforementioned narrative voice and also via his family scenes and subsequent grief.

This is a fairly lengthy novel but I read it far more quickly than I usually read novels of a similar length; I just couldn't put it down and now can't wait to read the sequel. It's not too often that Booker prize winners are so readable - an utterly marvellous novel!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 8, 2013 2:22 PM BST

In A Glass Darkly (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural)
In A Glass Darkly (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural)
by Sheridan Le Fanu
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious but underrated tales, 19 Feb. 2013
An interesting selection of supernatural short stories - you can certainly see how Le Fanu influenced Henry James, M. R. James and Bram Stoker. However as the introduction says, don't just read these stories to see how Le Fanu was the grandfather of the ghost story; the stories are intriguing and atmospheric in their own right. My favourites are the first three: 'Green Tea', 'The Familiar' and 'Mr. Justice Harbottle'.

I think Le Fanu was a far more eloquent writer than Stoker and it's a shame that 'Carmilla' isn't as well-known as 'Dracula', which in my opinion should never have been a full length novel.

The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings
The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings
by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive retelling of a rich and exciting tradition, 18 Oct. 2012
I had always meant to read the Norse myths but had never got around to it until recently. I'm so glad that I chose Kevin Crossley-Holland's retelling of these fascinating myths. He has skilfully drawn on multiple sources from pre-Christian and Christian Iceland and other Nordic countries; however most of all he draws from Snorri Sturluson's 'Prose Edda' (written in approx 1220). If you're not familiar with the myths, I would advise reading the 'introduction' beforehand; it contains a map of the nine worlds that the Norsemen believed in. At least then you can understand the various references to each realm in the myths. The myths themselves are far more thrilling and entertaining than I thought they would be - many of them portray the ongoing tensions and fights between the Gods and the giants. I kept thinking how much the works of 20th and 21st C fantasy writers - from Tolkien to C. S. Lewis to Neil Gaiman - are influenced by them.

The Gods and Goddesses are intriguing characters and some are multi-faceted in that they are worshipped for more than one reason - e.g. Freya is not just Goddess of love but also of war (she rides to battle in a chariot drawn by two cats!). Loki (the trickster) has to be one of my favourites. It was interesting to read more about the traditions and beliefs of pre-Christian Scandinavia like the boat burials too. I'm going to miss reading about the Gods' various exploits and I can actually see why the old Norse worshipped them - far more exciting than the monotheistic religions. They also seem more relevant to our own British culture than Greek myths, due both to the fact that we were invaded by Vikings and in the wider sense of reflecting a similar northern European outlook. Yet unlike the Greek myths, Norse myths are strangely and sadly overlooked here; they should be on the national curriculum. All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend this version of the beautiful Norse myths; it has instantly become one of my favourite books.

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