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Roberts Radio Blutune 50 DAB/DAB+/FM/Bluetooth Sound System with 2.1 speaker system
Roberts Radio Blutune 50 DAB/DAB+/FM/Bluetooth Sound System with 2.1 speaker system
Price: £79.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent unit., 5 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had this a month now. When choosing to buy, I was a little troubled by those reviewers who criticised sound quality. Now, I don't understand what they were on about. The sound quality is excellent for the price. I have a couple of wireless speakers, and the quality of the sound I'm getting from the Roberts is just where I would expect it to be in comparison with them - one of them being more expensive, one cheaper. When you add in the things you're getting over and above the wireless, this really is a very good value package which I thoroughly recommend. One unexpected bonus is that the range of dimming options includes an ultra-dim level. The only very minor quibble is that the sleep button is not easy to locate in the dark. That was easily fixed by putting a nipple of tape on the button top, but perhaps the designers could have built something in to address this.


Submission
Submission
by Michel Houellebecq
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.91

1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Makes Grisham look like Shakespeare, 5 Dec. 2015
This review is from: Submission (Hardcover)
This is a very poor book. A concatenation of absurdist conspiracy theories, no grasp of even the simpest political issues, no understanding of international relations, and above all else, no imagination. It is derivative and formulaic, even down to the intermittent and totally pointless - if graphic - sex scenes, and the frequent reversion to the narrator's literary hero from a hundred years before as offering some sort of stream of sunbeams of timeless wisdom. This is a book about a second rate Paris intellectual living in a wholly incredible world only seven years into the future, written by a second rate Paris intellectual who just seems to be so far up his own arse that all he can show us is what he finds there.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2016 7:49 PM GMT


Melkco Luxury Leather Case for Apple iPhone 6s / 6 (Black)
Melkco Luxury Leather Case for Apple iPhone 6s / 6 (Black)
Offered by //The Borderless//EU
Price: £25.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Can't be beaten., 31 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've now used this case for a month. I'd previously had a Melkco case with my iphone 5 and thought the quality very good (after two years the case was still immaculate and the phone had survived lots of mishaps) but the design not perfect. On the basis of quality I went for Melco again and I have no regrets. Good materials and workmanship. While giving the phone all round protection it also manages to avoid being bulky, feeling slim and comfortable in the hand. And unlike my previous Melkco the design is spot on. All sockets and controls are accessible with case either open or closed, a big improvement on the i5 case. I can't think of a thing that could be improved. This isn't a particularly cheap case but it is outstanding value for money.


A Little Life
A Little Life
Price: £6.59

77 of 86 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How to carry a mainframe computer, and other impossibilities, 25 Aug. 2015
This review is from: A Little Life (Kindle Edition)
How do you get to be a top lawyer at a leading NYC corporate law firm - brilliant, terrifying advocate, rainmaker for new business, administrator and manager par excellence - while remaining sweet, kind and thoughtful towards a large circle of devoted and highly talented friends, playing the piano skilfully, singing (in several languages) to an almost professional standard, cooking like a professional chef and being a profound mathematician and connoisseur of the arts? Easy. You simply need to be abandoned as a baby and then suffer 15 years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse that aggregates the horrors described in dozens of the most lurid newspaper accounts of childhood evils. Oliver Twist revved up by a few orders of magnitude.

This is of course a crass oversimplification. Jude is a complex and memorable character, burdened in his adult life by physical shortcomings, including near constant pain, and by a frequently recurring urge to self-abuse. But, but, but... The scenario is still not nearly possible enough to make it probable. One can suspend disbelief for a while and get carried along by the delightful prose. But once the music stops you just end up thinking that it's all a bit nonsensical.

This a very readable book, but it is certainly not a great one. The four main characters are strongly delineated and interesting. But they all become a bit too successful to be credible, and over the thirty five years that we follow them their personalities change unconvincingly little. Some of the secondary characters, such as Harold, decline from a convincing persona into paper thinness as the book moves into its later stages.

A few other gripes. There is a bit too much graphic stuff on physical degradation - eg rotting flesh and multiple cutting scenes. Clearly some amount is necessary for the story, but to my perhaps over sensitive nerves this all went a bit over the top, the author seeming at times to be playing for shock value. Also, the moral palate is far too black and white - most of the friends are pure sweetness and light (some, e.g. Andy, to the point of sainthood), and where there is bad it seems never to fall short of pure evil.

Finally, the story seems to have no historical context. Although we follow the main characters into their 50s, the environment within which they operate doesn't change. It might be forever 2015. As an example, Brother Luke, in what logically would be no later than1971 (as Jude was about 9 in the book at this time) is described as taking his computer with him whenever he left the motel room. I can't see any reason to believe that this is some artistic trope. It appears to be simply a dimension too many for the author to cope with.

Ultimately, it's an enjoyable read, and I wouldn't have been nearly as ungenerous if this book had not been nominated for the Booker. But it really isn't prize winning material.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2015 11:24 PM GMT


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Price: £3.00

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the winner, 11 Aug. 2014
Really hard to understand how this was on the Booker list. Yes, it covers territory populated by a lot of interesting issues - what makes us human, parental responsibility, animal rights, etc. - but none of these issues are addressed in any depth. The failure to explore the merits or otherwise of the position of the ALF brother is particularly striking. The characters (human and ape) are clunky and superficial; I really couldn't bring myself to care about any of them. Which is all a bit of a pity, because a great book could have been built around this story.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2014 9:01 AM BST


To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
by Joshua Ferris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £2.75

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What a pity, 11 Aug. 2014
This is a bad misjudgment by an obviously talented writer. O'Rourke is a great character, the dentistry is unexpectedly interesting (and often hilarious) and the snappy writing - at least in the first third of the book - a pleasure. The identity theft idea has plenty of potential, but then it morphs into this turgid, fatuous Ulm business. This is so derivative (e.g. 19th C upstate New York cult "religions") and intellectually shallow it makes the second half of the book increasingly tiresome. The flat ending left mysteries unresolved, but any concerns about this were overwhelmed by a sense of relief that the book had ended.


The Tower of Basel: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank That Runs the World: The Inside Story of the Central Bankers' Secret Bank
The Tower of Basel: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank That Runs the World: The Inside Story of the Central Bankers' Secret Bank
by Adam LeBor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A waste of research, 3 Jan. 2014
I started reading this because I wanted to understand the history and functions of the BIS. I'm sure a detailed and very interesting story about this is contained within the book, but unfortunately it has been smothered in an acrid cloud of opinion. I gave up in despair before finishing the book. I suppose I should have seen the subtitle as a clue ("the shadowy history...") and looked to a more dispassionate source of information. The problem is that Lebor's passion is not only intrusive but - much worse - largely unjustified and unreasoning. There is no grace or tolerance in his approach, no sense that there might possibly be legitimate reasons for some of the things he overtly criticises or merely sneers at. Clearly the institution has been involved in abuses in the past, but in so overstating his case Lebor forfeits credibility.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2014 11:44 AM BST


The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Just another review of a popular book, 3 Jan. 2014
This review is from: The Goldfinch (Hardcover)
Donna Tartt is not going to win a Nobel Prize. She does not paint on vast canvasses, she does not create complex evolving characters, she does not address great themes (indeed her occasional wanderings into the metaphysical are invariably crass). However, she is a bloody good storyteller, and the Goldfinch is right up there with Secret History as a page-turner, with interesting characters, entrancing descriptions and rapid fire plot shifts. It is a little long, though, and there are sections that rather drag (the LV period for instance). One senses that a less distinguished writer might have faced a more robust editor.


The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail
The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail
by Oscar J. Martinez
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Mexican holiday for me, 3 Jan. 2014
In an age where journalists have sunk to the level of bankers and politicians in the public's opinion, this book is a welcome reminder that, at its best, journalism can be the noblest of professions. The drive and courage of Martinez in seeking out these searing and heart-rending stories is entirely admirable. The book itself is very readable (I didn't have the problems with the translation mentioned by another reviewer) and its structure, matching the geography of the migrant routes, makes perfect sense and brings the reader into the journey (I found it helpful to have a big map nearby to refer to as the journeys progressed). If you know the novels of Cormac McCarthy you will recognise the casual Mexican brutality that pervades this book.

This is a book I will remember for a long time. Thoroughly recommended.


Comandante: Inside Hugo Chávez's Venezuela
Comandante: Inside Hugo Chávez's Venezuela
by Rory Carroll
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very convincing picture, 3 Jan. 2014
Some strange opinions given in these reviews, so I thought I'd add my own. I suspect that the one star folk didn't feel it necessary to read the book as they already have a clear view of the subject and any differing views could only be mistaken or malicious. I certainly could not see any evidence to the contrary in their short and very cross reviews.

Rory Carroll is a highly rated and very experienced foreign correspondent, working for a leading newspaper hardly known for kowtowing to the US, capitalist running dogs or fascistic caudillos. His book is evidence-packed, his analysis considered and well-judged, and his conclusions very persuasive.

While the picture presented is of a succession of wasted opportunities, of capricious cascading initiatives, few of which are implemented, of vast oil wealth frittered away or stolen, of economic and managerial incompetence and of rising insecurity, it is not painted just in black and white. The incompetence and intolerance of the rightist opposition - and their anachronistic cultural assumptions - come in for heavy criticism. The fate of Chavez's opponents (few of whom suffer violence or material prison sentences) is favourably contrasted with the situation in other autocracies. The presidential elections, albeit heavily affected by compliant media and massive handouts, produce fairly convincing evidence of popular support. This is a crazy, incompetent and increasingly dangerous country, but not a totalitarian state. The fact that Carroll can wander around fairly freely and gather the information for this excellent book is some evidence of that.


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