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What Maisie Knew (film tie-in)
What Maisie Knew (film tie-in)
by Henry James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece., 7 Dec 2014
Perhaps James's most successful novel: for once, the elegant prose is largely free of constipation and self-regard. Not an easy read, however, and the best way to enjoy the novel is the superb unabridged audiobook read by Maureen O'Brien (Cover-to-Cover).


The Age Of Innocence [DVD] [2001]
The Age Of Innocence [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Daniel Day-Lewis
Price: £4.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterclass in How to Film a Novel, 23 Nov 2014
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How to Film a Novel

This is arguably the finest translation of a major novel into film since Bondarchuk's War and Peace.

It rests upon the premise that Edith Wharton is a far greater artist than anyone working on the film and that her text deserves the utmost respect. Respect rooted in intimate knowledge of and understanding of her magnificent novel.

What is here but is missing from all those lamentable costume dramas generated by Hollywood and the BBC calling themselves films based upon great novels, is a script which recognises that a novel works through language, not primarily through plot or costume. It is the way Wharton makes us see New York society which is at the heart of this experience, not any number of incidents, or impressive performances by famous actors. The attention to period detail is part of that respect for the author, not an opportunity to show off. Scorsese understands late nineteenth century New York because he and his team have done meticulous homework and used that research to illuminate the text: it has not been an exercise is showing off. Similarly, Daniel Day Lewis, the embodiment of a patrician New York hero with subversive cultural refinements and Michelle Pfeiffer never fail to realise not their own idea of Archer and Ellen, but Edith Wharton's shrewdly drawn characters. Winona Ryder alone is peculiarly miscast as the fair, tall, Diana-like embodiment of bourgeois respectability.
The Age Of Innocence [DVD] [2001]
If only Scorsese would now give us The House of Mirth or What Maisie Knew!


The Mill on the Floss (Repackaged) [DVD] [1997]
The Mill on the Floss (Repackaged) [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Emily Watson
Price: £5.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Selling the novel and the audience short., 23 Nov 2014
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It's difficult to see why any production team should wish to reduce a long, well-written novel to just two hours' screen time. There is nothing hopeless about the casting and direction of this film: it is generally quite faithful to the novel and manages the necessary abridgements sensibly. But at the heart of the story are Maggie's relationships with her father, her brother, her larger family, with Philip and with Steven: all engagingly explored in the book. Here we are given only cartoon simplifications of the most powerful moments. It's as if the BBC assumes its audience is too dim for the real thing.

But what makes the novel such a powerful experience, is its author's reading of events, her commentary upon the tragic process. That voice is wholly missing from this adaptation whereas, in Scorsese's outstanding film of Wharton's Age of Innocence, for example, the novelist's voice is the framework through which every episode is narrated. The result is a genuine distillation of a great novel.

In this film we have neither Eliot's witty penetration nor a full enough presentation of Maggie's relationships to understand her tragic trajectory. Just one more hour's screen time and a more intelligent use of Eliot's words might have transformed this into a first class film.


Bach French Suite
Bach French Suite

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exemplary!, 21 Nov 2014
This review is from: Bach French Suite (Audio CD)
Alongside Argerich's, this is one of the finest discs of Bach on the piano. Anderszewski has a formidable technique: every note is crisply articulated, the pedalling all but imperceptible. He plays these pieces in the French style with enormous virility and poise and his voicing is a model of clarity.

The major work is the French Overture- effectively the seventh partita - and every movement is compelling characterised with delightful echo effects where they are called for (the work was written for a two manual harpsichord). The fifth French Suite sounds a much more substantial and interesting work here than it does in the hands of Gould or even Schiff. The Gigue, in particular, has a delightful swagger.

The only shortcoming is Harmonia Mundi's nasty little cardboard slipcase.

Every aspiring Bach pianist should live with this disc!


1Byone Easy Chime Wireless Doorbell Door Chime Kit With Sound and LED Flash 36 Melodies Tunes To Choose - Black- 1 Year Warranty
1Byone Easy Chime Wireless Doorbell Door Chime Kit With Sound and LED Flash 36 Melodies Tunes To Choose - Black- 1 Year Warranty
Offered by 1Byone Products Inc
Price: £11.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to Live With, 12 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ghastly selection of very badly executed jingles. Amazon needs to offer us the option to hear a bell before we buy it.


J.S. Bach Eleven Great Cantatas In Full Vocal And Instrumental Score (Dover Vocal Scores)
J.S. Bach Eleven Great Cantatas In Full Vocal And Instrumental Score (Dover Vocal Scores)
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine for Musicologists., 7 Nov 2014
Very handy, well-produced and inexpensive edition of these wonderful works. Unfortunately, the old soprano, alto and tenor clefs are used so readers need to be comfortable with them.


Eliot: Silas Marner [Read by Anna Bentinck] [Naxos AudioBooks] (Naxos Complete Classics)
Eliot: Silas Marner [Read by Anna Bentinck] [Naxos AudioBooks] (Naxos Complete Classics)
by George Eliot
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £24.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Won't Do, 30 Oct 2014
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It would be difficult to imagine a greater contrast with Naxos's superlative recording of Middlemarch than this shoddy production. Imagine a not over-bright sixth former struggling to sight-read a text which is beyond her and whose idiom is unfamiliar to her and you will have some idea of the incompetence of this reader. I have dozens of Naxos's talking books and they are usually outstanding: actors who so fully understand the text, grasp the work's narrative rhythms and tone, have such engaging voices, are so superb at characterisation that they themselves become invisible: the story takes over: it is a far more rewarding experiencing than reading the book oneself. The Naxos Dickens readings, for example, are consistently impressive.

Whereas this reading of Silas Marner is appalling. I wonder how many times Sara Twit read the novel before she was allowed into the studio? She seems to have been told that because it's a different sort of novel from Middlemarch (it is part novel, part fable) it must be a children's book so she adopts a sing-song, patronising delivery as if she's reading tripe to a class of seven year old half-wits. Except that, because she often has trouble following the train of thought in more extended sentences, the delivery is halting and often simply confused: pauses in the wrong places and no idea whatever of Eliot's dry, ironic humour. Quite simply, too often she has no idea where a sentence is going or why. Add to that an accent which owes nothing to Eliot's provincial roots but is simply untrained and grating, and a lamentable ineptitude in producing distinct voices for the various characters: they all sound like buffoons: and you have a recording which if you buy it you'll no doubt, like me, be giving to a charity shop though it might be more responsible to give it a quiet burial somewhere. The rustics are a masterclass in incompetence, speaking in a weird variety of inauthentic accents: Wessex, Ambridge, Partridgeland, Dalekdom: wherever Raveloe is, it isn't on any map. Bring back Juliet Stevenson!

Shame on Naxos: Silas Marner is a curious, delightful, minor masterpiece, not a trivial work which doesn't merit a polished, professional reading. One can only assume the regular producer was on holiday or suffering a nasty bout of flu.


Result Workguard Gilet Bodywarmer Navy Small
Result Workguard Gilet Bodywarmer Navy Small
Offered by Tomscabin
Price: £22.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Good value, 23 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not a designer creation but as a practical working garment, especially for gardening in the winter months, this is worth considering. It is surprisingly warm and has more pockets than one can figure out uses for. An unexpected bargain at £23.


A History of the World
A History of the World
by Andrew Marr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Five Stars Prove Insufficient, 17 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A History of the World (Paperback)
Magnificent!

Andrew Marr A History of the World

It is, as Andrew Marr is the first to insist, a ludicrous undertaking. Professional and amateur historians will carp endlessly over this detail, that generalisation, this conclusion and the whole tenor and methodology of the book. And they will be right. But Marr's achievement remains impressive. Forget the National Curriculum, were every teenager in Britain to read A History of the World, we'd all be living in a more enlightened place. There would certainly be a surge in the numbers opting to read History at university. And standards of written English would markedly improve.

How strong is your grasp of the history of the last twenty thousand years? If it is shaky, you could do much worse than spend a month, or several, reading and re-reading this brave attempt to bring some clarity and coherence to everything that's happened to the human race. Of course Marr has his ideological blinkers: he's a human being. His fiercest critic will have his own set of prejudices and blindspots. Any attempt to sketch the larger picture will sacrifice accuracy and balance for a sharp outline, a direction of travel.

Marr believes, all things considered, that liberal capitalism is a triumph over the dark forces, that the world is moving towards the light. He does not paint an uncritical picture of the process but, especially when it comes to the last century, the territory is so complex that in order to say anything, he is forced to simplify at the cost of plausibility and, frankly, intellectual honesty. Were Mao, Hitler and Stalin, for example, the pantomime villains that he presents, it's difficult to understand why they did not self-destruct at birth, impossible to imagine how they galvanised millions of men in the cause of nihilistic folly. Conversely, Marr is far too easy on the Americans. Perhaps because the sinister work continues, he is largely silent on the sins of capitalism: for example, the epidemics of ill health due to the tobacco, alcohol and junk food industries, the damage to the world's climate, the gross abuses of money-power, the mockery of democracy which is Washington politics. American foreign policy, in Viet Nam, Central and South America and the Middle East is left virtually unscrutinised. Forced to sup with one devil or another, Marr throws in his sceptical intelligence with the forces of money. A better book would have raised more questions than it answered.

But what an achievement this book is. I'm giving copies to everyone I know. Many will move from this introduction of so many rich and complex issues to more searching histories. Not least impressive, is Marr's expressive fluency. He may well be the last great stylist in English, thanks to years of journalistic training. His narrative is lucid and transparent, extraordinarily free of self-regard and self-indulgence. If his punctuation is eccentric and the book full of typos, those are faults to be laid at the door of the sloppy, presumably inebriated or illiterate, editor.

The reading of the whole book on CD is a wonderful companion on long journeys. David Timpson is no match for Marr himself (sadly, Marr reads the introduction only) but Timpson has impeccable delivery, intelligence and an engaging sense of direction.


Denon RCD-M39DAB Micro Component CD Receiver System - Black
Denon RCD-M39DAB Micro Component CD Receiver System - Black
Offered by home AV direct
Price: £169.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Built in Obsolescence., 6 Oct 2014
Excellent in all respects save one. I've had three of these units over the last ten years and used them everyday. All three have developed faults with the cd player mechanism failing to engage, after about three years. It's not what you'd expect of a quality product.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 12, 2014 2:35 PM GMT


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