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R. Pryor "Rachel Pryor" (Bath, UK)

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It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness On Two Wheels
It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness On Two Wheels
by Robert Penn
Edition: Hardcover

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For armchair cyclists (like me), and those of you who know your stuff, 28 July 2010
Rob's enthusiasm, not just for bikes, but also for the climate their innovation has created, springs out of this book. I enjoyed the people he met - the kinds of people who for me become legends in their determined application of skill, creativity and other nuttiness. Tripping along with him as he watched a welder, I found myself halfway through a piece of fairly complex engineering, only to find that I still understood and I could feel and in some way touch the simplicity and development of the technology. I'm not an engineer, so I love a book that takes me back to fettling in the garage with my Dad. Magic.

Connecting me with the heartbeat of our talented forbears (the British contributors to the development of cycling) , their sharing of genius with those across borders, and to their present incarnations, makes me feel hopeful for Britain too - and that's a gift for me. Ta, Rob.

My only problem with the book is that I unwittingly read it without thinking of the obvious result - that the discomfort of my own bike - and the reasons for that - is now achingly clear, and I guess I might just see if I can find a local frame-maker.... and some cash... :-)

The Home Stretch: From Prison to Parole
The Home Stretch: From Prison to Parole
by Erwin James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to influence people in the right way, 30 Aug 2006
I have just burned through both Erwin James' books and cannot heap enough praise on his meticulous work. His observations of all the people involved in incarceration - prison staff and prisoners, review boards, education agencies and suchlike - paint a picture of us all as humans at our best and worst. We come to understand how our systems and people can often be cowardly and sometimes courageous - doing the right thing because either way, by doing it or not, life depends on it. As we progress though his last dozen years or so, James' efforts to change become evident through his writing, and I became engrossed in the care he takes to see life and lives as they are, without distortion. It's priceless - James makes no claims about his ideas or writing, yet it is rare to read a perspective so clear and untainted with personal or political agenda. The result is page after page of refreshment, with glimpses into my own capacity for violence, confusion and punishment, that caught me broadside. Time will tell if I remain changed by reading these books, but I hope to. If ever there was a hopeful book about people, for people, this is it.

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