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The Glass Castle
The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars A truly remarkable story!, 4 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: The Glass Castle (Paperback)
One of the best books I've read in a long time! The remarkable story of a family growing up in America with eccentric and neglectful parents, quite often in abject poverty, but told without self-pity or mawkish sentimentality. It's difficult not to wince in horror reading about a 3 year old cooking her own food (and catching herself on fire) because her parents wanted to encourage self sufficiency. Or learning about very young children, not much more than toddlers, being allowed to roam without restriction or care through rattlesnake infested desert. The incidents of neglect (or freedom from rules and restrictions as the parents might justify it) are many and utterly staggering and the hunger and depravations suffered by the children are even more incomprehensible given the Mothers revelation towards the end of the book (I wont spoil it for you!). Bizarrely the parents did love their children but just didn't want to `parent' them in any conventional way.
It is a great Reading Group book (our choice this month!) - loads to discuss afterwards - and what an amazing film it would make also. Highly recommended!

Panasonic SD-256WXC Automatic Breadmaker with gluten free program
Panasonic SD-256WXC Automatic Breadmaker with gluten free program

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reliable and easy to use breadmaker, 20 Mar. 2011
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This is my 3rd Panasonic SD breadmaker so obviously I'm a big fan. I have bought 2 other makes in the past which were cheaper but didn't perform anywhere near as well so in this case, you definitely get what you pay for! It makes perfect bread every time, providing you follow the instructions of course, although you can substitute certain things for a healthier option. For example, I use honey instead of sugar, and always use low sodium salt instead of the usual kind. You HAVE to have both sugar (or honey) and salt to make bread so you can't leave it out all together. I also make my own mix of seeds to add to the bread - I only ever make wholemeal in mine and the seeds add extra crunch and taste.
My only critisism is that spare parts for this machine are ridiculously expensive, especially the bread pan. Which is why I usually end up buying a brand new machine - in this case it was only £20 dearer than buying just a replacement bread pan. Crazy! My tip for anyone thinking of buying this breadmaker would be, always wash the bread pan by hand, don't throw it in the dishwasher as this definitely lessens its lifespan. And in my experience, it's always the bread pan that gives up first. It becomes so scratched that the bread eventually refuses to come out of it!
To sum up, if you want wonderfully tasting, fresh bread guarenteed every time, go for this machine - I haven't bought a loaf of bread from the shops for almost 10 years now and will keep on using my Panasonic for the foreseeable future.

by Colin Pascoe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pacey and thought provoking first novel, 15 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Troika (Paperback)
Troika is an interesting and thought provoking novel which, although quite difficult to put into a particular genre, deals with how humankind has understood its past, present and future. Have we overlooked something for all this time?
The story starts with someone finding papers inside a Troika vase and reading through these papers we learn of Crib, the main character in the story, and the secret he has been given by beings from another world. Crib is on the run after being incarcerated in a local mental hospital - the authorities, in particular the intelligence service, are desperate that Crib's new knowledge goes no further and are prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure this and Crib's life is in real danger. He escapes and finds himself in a desperate race though Cornish countryside in an effort to find temporary safety and the chance to write down his new found knowledge.
Crib is, in many ways, Mr Average who finds himself with an amazing secret that he feels he must pass on to others, if he has the time and opportunity. Without giving away too much of the story, Crib manages to type out his story and how he came by his amazing secret before the 'men in grey coats' catch up with him.
What happens at the end? Well, that bit is up to you, the reader! You have the choice of 4 different endings which is an unusual conclusion to the story in some ways, but very fitting given the nature of the `secret' we eventually discover.
A really good first novel

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