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Reviews Written by
robotfish "robotfish" (London)
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The Adventures of the New Cut Gang
The Adventures of the New Cut Gang
by Philip Pullman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Kids Liked It, Me So-So, 16 Oct 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
OK, I don't really like doing literary criticism as its obvious I'm no Shakespeare. However I think I can detect a well written book from a duffer, and these two stories are entertaining but so hammy they could be made into a sandwich. I understand that the Amber Spyglass et al (not read by me) has sent this writer's profile sky high. I can only assume they are better books than this.

The kids, to be fair, liked the story (they are aged 6 & 8) and they are the target audience. Not me.

The stories revolve around a "gang" and some unlikely adventures around the Lambeth/Waterloo areas of South London in the Victorian era. The gang is actually a little different in each story, although the two main characters are consistent. All the characters are so cliched as to be almost pantomime-like, you can hear the fake over-egged Italian accents and see the twirling of waxed mustaches. Still, I suppose there is a place for the pantomime, so there may be a place for this.


Corel PDF Fusion (PC)
Corel PDF Fusion (PC)
Price: £21.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Boon For Email, 16 Oct 2011
This review is from: Corel PDF Fusion (PC) (CD-ROM)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For creating PDFs, this is great. One of the best things about pdfs are that they are so transportable - virtually every smart phone can display them (and even my Kindle).

So if there any important documents or general interest docs I need to read when not at work - simple...just convert and send to the kindle.

But the area in which this really excels is (and just ask my accountant) email. As one of the self employed, I need to regularly send heaps of docs to my accountant - invoices, receipts, statements, expenses etc - which used to take about 4MB per email. With this I can pdf the lot and it cuts the send down to well under 1 MB.

Fantastic. It does have other features (like the reverse, creating docs from pdf) but like so many other people I wish it had some sort of paper documentation - even if just a quick start - so that I can get started with all this. I can't be bothered with CD documentation (and I can't write on it). So docked one star for that.


Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi, Graphite
Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi, Graphite

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking On With Some Envy, 14 Oct 2011
I've had my Kindle (now "Kindle Keyboard") for a year and love it. Just recently, whilst catching up on some real books, my wife has been using it and and even taking it to the gym so she can read books whilst cycling. An impending trip abroad has nudged her into buying one of these little ones. It arrived yesterday.

It terms of look and feel it is lovely, very solid and very desirable. The features it lacks were ones infrequently used (keyboard, mp3, audio playback).

In terms of the Kindle reading experience it is, for the most part, identical to the keyboard version. My guess is that we may swap - as this suits my needs fine but the page turn buttons are not as obvious as on the keyboard version. Apparently this makes turning pages on a gym bike slightly frustrating as the buttons cannot so easily be located.

Anyway - 5 stars for the product, it's another winner.

On the downside, I wish Amazon would sort out something a little less clumsy for families sharing books. There are many points at which our tastes overlap. We should be able to register our ebooks to our kindles and share them out a fixed number of times. Or we should have family libraries where (say) up to 4 kindles could be registered to indviduals, but the books purchased would just go into a shared library for any of the 4 kindles to use. As it is, the only way to do this is to register the devices to the same Amazon account. So, at the moment both of our Kindles are registered in my name. Which means I get charged for all the ebooks purchased! Bum deal.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 17, 2011 8:19 PM BST


Lifes Rich Pageant
Lifes Rich Pageant
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £25.16

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best just got better, 13 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lifes Rich Pageant (Audio CD)
Well, here we have my favourite of the "indie" REM albums, beefed up with a sparkling new remaster and an excellent additional CD of outtakes.

Great to hear some of the great REM songs reduced to a guide vocal line (see "I Believe"), and a really nice alternate take on Fall On Me.

For obsessives only I would have thought. That's me then.


The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet
by David Mitchell
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow Burner, 13 Oct 2011
I'd read Mr Mitchell's previous novels in reverse chronological order, and whilst the dizzying exciting prose of number9dream, Cloud Atlas amd Ghostwritten had me compulsively devouring every word I found Black Swan Green to disappointingly linear. Well written, but without the leaps of imagination found in the other three.

As I progressed through this one, and it became apparent that this too was a tale told with a traditional timeline, I was initially disappointed. The quality of the writing soon, however, transported me to the late 1700s to a strange island and a curious clash of cultures. The momentum built up in the novel is very impressive and the last 100 pages or so will take your breath away. I'm quite sad now to have finished it.

4 stars? Well, I think the book gives up all it's secrets in one reading. Quite unlike Ghostwritten (which I reread as soon as I'd finished it). There is a touch, a hint of another magical world (with Enomoto) but it is not explored deeply - you are just required to accept it. I may come back to it again, but I don't feel I have to.


The Whole Love
The Whole Love
Price: £8.78

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilco are back!, 5 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Whole Love (Audio CD)
I loved Wilco's last two albums even if they were "safe" sonically, eschewing the avant garde edges of both YFH and AGIB. This new album is a shift back towards the strange, some superficially pretty songs get bent out of shape by the brilliant percussion rhythms and the squawly guitar solos.

The albums opener (Art Of Almost) features some very un-Wilco like noises, but could be song of the album anyway. Standing O is tremendous fun and I can't wait to hear it live. The closing track is 12 minutes of bliss built around a simple guitar line that sounds like Jeff Tweedy has managed to bottle the essence of lazy Sunday afternoons in the sun.

One of the best of the year.


Collapse Into Now: Special Edition Digipack
Collapse Into Now: Special Edition Digipack
Price: £11.07

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Swan Song, 23 Sep 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So REM are no more, and this is what they have left us with. It's a lovely album, whilst not top drawer (New Adventures, Pageant, Murmur, AFTP) it is still one of the best records you'll hear this year.

The album starts stridently with Discoverer and All The Best (my favourite REM track for years and years) before slowing down into a sumptious middle section. The songs here are all reminiscent of glories past (a touch of Daysleeper here, a touch of Drive there) before revving up again with Mine Smell Like Honey and the silliness of Alligator...(the first irreverent song they've done since Out of Time I reckon) and the Monster-esque That Someone Is You. Like Automatic, they save two pearls for last. Me, Marlon Brando is beautiful - a lovely lilting tune that demands repeat listening. And then the finale. Its a mash-up of E-Bow and Country Feedback. It's called Blue, and it's a magnificent end to a magnificent career. When the chiming guitars that reprise Discoverer come in at the end it brings a lump to my throat every time.

I was looking forward to hearing this live though. Bummer. Maybe the reunion tour in 2015! Here's hoping.

Lastly - thanks REM, you were my Beatles. I'll miss you.


The Book of Dave: A Revelation of the Recent Past and the Distant Future
The Book of Dave: A Revelation of the Recent Past and the Distant Future
by Will Self
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Stays With You, 14 Sep 2011
This is my favourite of Will Self's novels. The world, the language, the beasts created in these pages linger long after the final page is read. I can't help but think of myself on an island every time I wander up to Hampstead. And the idea of some madman's rant becoming a basis for religion...well that could never happen could it.

2 years after reading this book I am feeling the need to do it again, but Mr Publisher - could you put it out as a Kindle book please? I've a long trip coming up soon.


Prince of Dorkness: Diary of a Wimpy Vampire
Prince of Dorkness: Diary of a Wimpy Vampire
by Tim Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Properly Entertaining For 8 Year Olds, 6 Sep 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I haven't read this, so can only let you know that my 8 year old son read it twice on the weekend it arrived and has read it at least twice since. When I asked him for a review he just screamed "BRILLIANT!" at me.

So there you have it.


Weird But True 3!: 300 Outrageous Facts
Weird But True 3!: 300 Outrageous Facts
by National Geographic
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Small But Perfectly Formed, 6 Sep 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an odd little book which just screams facts at you in various fonts and colours. It always seems to be on the floor in my boys' bedroom so they must like it. I must admit my first reaction to reading any of the facts is to head straight for google to verify it!

So, a nice little book but not a classic (or indeed a reference book)!


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