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Catherine Roche (Oxford)

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The First Noble Truth
The First Noble Truth
Price: £2.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Everything Changes, 8 Nov 2014
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This is a collection of short stories with a philosophical and moral theme. If that sounds high faluting its not meant to be. The Buddha, in his search for enlightenment came to the conclusion that the first thing a human being should realise is that he will suffer - he suffers because nothing stays the same - everything changes.So in the book Martha was a friend, then she became an enemy because she went off with her friend's husband - the friend ruined her beauty, a Roman scribe ponders on the death of Jesus on the cross and is converted, two teen age girls are bored and as a distraction visit a good looking stranger. One of the girls is murdered. There is a moving account of a daughter's return to her home country to await her mother's death from cancer.
A philosopher has a near-death experience and confronts himself, A prodigal daughter causes jealously and pain to her younger sister. A retired maths teacher slaps his wife and she falls down dead. The plea that she just fell and died was dismissed when the detective uncovers long term domestic violence. The author accomplishes much with a light touch and restrained style.
style.


2014 Guide to Literary Agents
2014 Guide to Literary Agents
by Chuck Sambuchino
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Get an Agent, 26 Oct 2014
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Superb, loads of information - for the American market but in these days of global communications I don't forsee any problems.Buy it.


A Trick of the Mind
A Trick of the Mind
by Penny Hancock
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.39

5.0 out of 5 stars The First Lie, 26 Oct 2014
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This review is from: A Trick of the Mind (Hardcover)
This is a terrific book, one that engrosses the reader right from the start. Ellie, the main protagonist has been left a house in by her dearly beloved aunt in Suffolk She goes to claim it and on the way she thinks she runs over a man. She doesn't stop. That decision means she is now a hit and run driver and she has committed a crime. Naturally there are repercussions which change her life forever.
The plot is well constructed and fast. The characters are credible. The way she describes deep Suffolk calls to mind Daphne Du maurier and Rebecca when she describes her dream about returning to Manderley. Hancock gives us a little taste of 'deep Suffolk 'with its ancient trees and lush foliage. Its towering hedgerows silhouetted against twilit sky.' This is a story about guilt and revenge, about damage to children about bullying and control – once again its a man controlling a woman.
It is also about memory, how we remember things and why we have false memories.
Highly recommended.


Elmer Gantry
Elmer Gantry
by Sinclair Lewis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars The Hypocrits, 25 Oct 2014
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This is a superb novel written by the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Sinclair Lewis had a gift for inventing strong deeply flawed characters through whom he portrayed the hypocrisy in American Society. Masquerading as pillars of society these well educated
successful business men pretended devotion to family values whilst quietly lusting after young beauties. In many cases they took mistresses whilst deploring such behaviour and singing God's praises..
Elmer's weaknesses were evident from the start - bullying, lying, cheating, afraid of no-one especially when it came to demonstrating his prowess with fisticuffs.. The only person he respected and admired was his friend Jim who seemed to be a budding socio-path. Perhaps Elmer recognized true evil when he encounters it. Beautifully written and with a thriller quality this book is highly recommended. Read it alongside Babbit, another Sinclair Lewis masterpiece.


Outline: A Novel
Outline: A Novel
by Rachel Cusk
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Teacher Keeps Her Secrets., 25 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Outline: A Novel (Hardcover)
The subject matter of this book is extremely interesting and also extremely frustrating. A writer goes abroad to teach writing to students. During the course of her stay, she gradually learns about the lives of her pupils - but of her we know nothing. Of course this is a writer's dream because she has gathered a lot of material she can use. I found myself wanting to know more about the teacher - what is in in her persona which causes people to talk to her in this revealing way? Her travelling companion starts almost immediately - telling her about his dreams, his mariage failures, his love of fast cars and fast boats.etc.
The fact that the teacher keeps her secrets was for me a flawn the book and therefore I can't wholeheartedly endorse it. Having said this, she writes veery well and I have enjoyed her other books.


Spirituality and History
Spirituality and History
by Philip Sheldrake
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars well written and accessible if like me you are starting to study the subject, 11 Oct 2014
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This is an academic book on the subject of spirituality, well written and accessible if like me you are starting to study the subject.
The book is divided into three parts, namely the history, case studies, and finally interpretation of texts and traditions. This is a complex subject - and one which needs careful analysis of exactly what we are talking about. Sheldrake has this interpretation or part of an interpretation is this: - 'the word 'spirituality' seeks to express the conscious human response to God is both personal and ecclesiac' (Pg 45)
Necessary reading for students embarking on serious study. Highly recommended


Invisible (An Ivy Malone Mystery Book #1): A Novel
Invisible (An Ivy Malone Mystery Book #1): A Novel
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Grey Haired Slleuthing., 31 Aug 2014
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This is part of the Ivy Malone collection. Others are 'On the Run', and 'Your Chariot Awaits'. The stories involve an older lady or 'senior' as the Americans call older people and she's a superior sleuth. Ivy is fearless and 'spunky' and jumps right in where angles would fear to tread. The novels are pacy, fun and unputdownable if there is such a word.. They're well written and highly crafted

.
In 'On The Run' she is fleeing from the Mafia who threatened revenge after she solved a crime which involved them.. She takes off in her little car and of course they follow her. So there's a car chase and other delights arising from that little escapade. The action shifts into top gear when she discovers the bodies of an elderly couple. According to the note they left, they'd committed suicide. After observing some anomalies at the crime scene, Ivy sets about investigating. She's sure it's murder!

Highly recommended..

These novels remind me of Sue Graftons series based on the alphabet - so for example on title could be 'G is for Gun. Her main protagonist was also a feisty female ensuring that justice be done.

The Ivy Malone series is great for a wet Sunday afternoon, when travelling to work or when you're feeling bored.


Premier Housewares Flexi Desk Lamp - Red
Premier Housewares Flexi Desk Lamp - Red
Price: £12.84

5.0 out of 5 stars great - small and useful for adding light to the ..., 29 Aug 2014
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great - small and useful for adding light to the side or any other position especially if you read a lot like me.


The Jesus Dynasty: Stunning New Evidence About the Hidden History of Jesus
The Jesus Dynasty: Stunning New Evidence About the Hidden History of Jesus
by James D. Tabor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is an investigation into the life of the historical ..., 29 Aug 2014
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This is an investigation into the life of the historical Jesus - what do we know about him and how do we know it?. The author having visited the Holy Land 'wanted to walk where Jesus walked.' Late at night Tabor takes a walk into the Garden of Gethsemane and he is overcome by the need to know. He mounts an investigation, albeit a controversial one. Who was Jesus' mother? - how could she be a virgin?. What about Joseph? What did people say when he became betrothed to a pregnant woman?. Why is Joseph mentioned so rarely in the Bible? Did Jesus have siblings? What part did they play in the flowering and advancement of this new religion which stressed the spiritual side of life and spoke about a loving, forgiving God? Tabor tells us it is almost impossible to write a biography of Jesus' life. The four Gospels are supposed to tell us all about this mesmeric, holy man but touch only lightly on his childhood and the years prior to his ministry at the age of 33 years.

He fills us in with the Roman occupation occupation, of king Herod, of the political unrest from the Jews. The Romans would not tolerate usurping of their power - hence Herod's behaviour at even the thought of another 'king' of the Jews. The question is sometimes posed about who killed
Jesus? The Romans? Pontious Pilate, the Jews?

The author examines the part St Paul played in spreading this religion - and it is a huge part. He seems to do it almost single handedly.. He investigates Jesus' brother James and narrates the part he played - but it is Paul who gives the religion its theology.

There's another mystery - what happened to the body?
This is a riveting book about a charismatic holy man who changed the course of history. The question of the body remains unanswered. Jesus' body has never been found
This is an exciting and absorbing book which makes the reader want to learn more. Read it..

The author also considers the part Paul played in masterminding the spread of the new religion, later called 'Christinaity' - he examines James the Just, the brother of Jesus and informs us of the part he played. We note that James is not mentioned much in the New Testament. But of course it was Paul who opened the door to the Gentiles and so to all of humanity.
This is a riveting account of a charismatic individual who was brutally murdered and whose body has never been found. .


English Grammar in Use with Answers and CD-ROM: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Learners of English
English Grammar in Use with Answers and CD-ROM: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Learners of English
by Raymond Murphy
Edition: CD-ROM
Price: £22.46

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical Grammar, 21 Aug 2014
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This is a great book if like me, you sometimes teach English to students at the intermediate level or you're writing a book and need to get the grammar right or you just love grammar! It's very clearly set out as will be seen with a glance at the contents. As the author says 'The units are organised in grammatical categories and not according to level of difficulty, so the book should not be worked through from beginning to end.'

Read it alongside Gwynne's Grammar which is a nifty and informative little book, bound in mauve, and which you can carry around with you. The author of this book is also a teacher and he tells us in the Preface how the book came about - the father of one of his pupils used to sit in when he was giving lessons and was so impressed that he promised to publish a book if Gwynne wrote one. Gwynne did write one. He believes that ' happiness depends at least partly on good grammar.' I think he's right.
So with these two books, you can't go wrong - not where's grammar's concerned anyway!


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