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A. Walker "Barnacle Binger" (UK)
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Extreme Alpine Rock
Extreme Alpine Rock
by Walter Pause
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifuly Dated Classic - Like Many of The Routes!, 4 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Extreme Alpine Rock (Hardcover)
This is one of the classic works on alpine climbing, translated from the original German 'Im Extremen Fels' in 1979. It was published in the UK to follow the format of Classic and Hard Rock. As with the latter, it is now incredibly dated, although I remember when this book still provided valid yardsticks for aspiring young alpinists. It was one of our inspirations in the 1980s, along with the classic Rebuffat books. I guess we climbed about a quarter of the 100 routes in it. It remains incredibly interesting from a historic perspective, and still contains some classic routes and mountains to aspire to. It is also, for me, still a source of 'rich' alpine memories, not all of them good! The cover photo (Tellistock in big boots!) reminds me of meeting the man who first put it up, immediately after our own ascent; romping the Badile North Face in 5 hours, wondering what the fuss was about, then taking longer on the descent; an avalanche on the Schiedegg Wetterhorn, which went over our heads. This book came out just as alpine climbing was radically changing, in equipment, technique and style. As such it is a fascinating milestone of where it had come from, and where it was going. It has a clear and dated bias in geographical coverage, towards the eastern areas of the Alps - not just the Dolomites, but to Austria and even Slovakia. This no doubt reflects the focus of the authors at the time. There are only 12 routes from the Mont Blanc massif, for example (but what routes! We did ten of these). It helped me realise that there was a lot more to the Alps than Chamonix, even if nowadays you might be doing a harder, safer route on the same faces. Many of the routes have changed in both condition and style, but then it was never intended as a guidebook. Some are nowadays barely climbable due to changes in glaciers and cliffs. At least one, the Bonatti Pillar, has fallen down. Nor are many of them now 'extreme', even by 1980s standards, and many books now cover the 'modern' alternatives (e.g. Batouxs' recent Mont Blanc book). I love this book - the huge black and white photos, the old topos, and the Teutonic literary style.


Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi
Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi
Price: 109.00

4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle - Relationship Marketing (with Alzeheimers Disease), 24 Dec 2013
A bad first date, both for a new product and for 'customer service' - the latter is just non-existent for this product (despite the user guide, 'Manage Your Kindle' options, online chat, phone calls, device analytics, etc.). I've just set up my new Kindle Paperlight. I've been an intensive Amazon online shopper (and fan) for over 10 years. As a consequence, the recommendations in my online account have become very relevant, useful and specific. This is particularly true as, like a lot of avid readers, I go through fairly rapid phases of different themes and authors. Clearly useful to Amazon (I buy a lot from these), and sometimes almost telepathically accurate for me. I even use some of them as examples for my students, to show them how clever algorithms work. I was looking forward to continuing this level of personal recommendations via the Kindle. The 'content recommendations' on my Kindle are simply 16 generic books, in which I have no interest ('new spine chilling reads') - none of the relevant books in my 17 pages of personalized online recommendations are present on the Kindle, despite clearly using the same account. Most of the online recommendations have Kindle versions. If I wanted a disappointing first date with a stranger, I'd hang around the local public toilets. It's like I've lost 15 years of relationship and data with Amazon: reading, buying, browsing, and occasionally even reviewing. This is like your partner for 15 years has suddenly got Alzheimer's and forgotten your favorite sexual position(s!) ....If Amazon can target me for Kindle editions online, why can't the same Amazon account target my Kindle with them?! Amazon was meant to be 'datacentric', no?

And then the real problems started.....

After plowing through the Kindle user guide, useless online help, my Amazon 'manage your Kindle' options, and several third party websites, I made the fatal mistake of using the 'Contact Us' option. One long chat session (possibly with an avatar?), and two phone calls from a call center (both cut off after a brief conversation), I'm back at square one. The chat was discontinued by Amazon ('Aleem from Amazon has left the conversation'); both calls from the call center were cut off ; there is no way to restart the chat; the call center operative just didn't understand the problem (clearly too stupid to be an avatar); nor did they ring back (I wasn't rude!- thanks 'Vanessa', happy xmas to you too!). Amazon was meant to be 'consumercentric', no?

I've now spent over an hour on this, with no help or resolution - a complete waste of time, and a device that is currently less useful to me for buying books than my laptop and online account. I feel ripped off for both the product and the support. And I'm going to have to update my web marketing teaching materials (again).


Forty Lashes Less One
Forty Lashes Less One
by Elmore Leonard
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 4.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic of the Genre, 12 Jan 2013
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This blew me away. I'm a big Leonard fan, but have just started on his 'old' westerns. Forget 5.10 to Yuma, someone make a film of this one please! I don't think I'd even read a 'western' before this. This is sharp, fast, violent, funny and cruel. A temporary prison warden, in an institutionally corrupt and racist prison, tries a bigoted redemption theory on two persecuted (or 'problem') inmates. And you can forget John Wayne.


Amazing Diving Stories: Incredible Tales from Deep Beneath the Sea
Amazing Diving Stories: Incredible Tales from Deep Beneath the Sea
by John Bantin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shallow Tales Told Unremarkably, 12 Jan 2013
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This was a big disappointment, and adds to the growing body of predominantly poor or average literature on this potentially rich theme. By all means point me in the right direction if I'm missing the mother lode here. If you're an experienced diver, there is little here you've not heard, or can hear similar on, over a beer. Or read in more depth in other sources. It's a series of very short stories, of a superficial and journalistic nature, with little of the characters, human/psychological aspects, or potential interest of the topics. More than anything, ironically, it lacked depth. The short tales reminded me of 5 minute articles in diving magazines. If you're a non-diver, you'll wait until half way through for an explanation of nitrogen narcosis, and until almost the end for the basics of breathing mixed gases. As for 'amazing' and 'incredible tales', many are mundane and some just boring: Ok, Norman Tebbit got bit by a turtle, phew! You went to Barra, the facilities were poor, and the trip was abandoned. Sharks sometimes bite people. Even the genuinely interesting tales are told in such a way that I experienced relief at their brevity, or frustration with the lack of more literary meat. There's plenty of moaning about poor dive facilities, none of which is 'amazing'. Some great photos, super topics, and clearly many rich experiences. There's a few interesting bits and pieces in there, but, like many divers, I have my own 'amazing' tales, and this selection left me preferring these.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 6, 2013 9:23 AM BST


Voodoo Histories: How Conspiracy Theory Has Shaped Modern History
Voodoo Histories: How Conspiracy Theory Has Shaped Modern History
by David Aaronovitch
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

18 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Voodoo Venacular, 25 July 2010
A perhaps inevitable backlash against the claimed explosion of so called 'conspiracy theories', which employs plenty of the same flawed logic and selective inclusions/exclusions that the book aims to debunk. Don't expect any psychological, philosophical or political insights in to the nature of belief, gullibility, or the idiosyncrasies of the reporting of history and facts. Nor is there a proper consideration of how mass perceptions are formed, often through controlled events such as 'false flag' events. A clear bias is prevalent in both the approach to the topic and the subtle rejection of all things smelling vaguely anti-Jewish. Objectivity is lacking. Much of the critical evidence is in many cases omitted or not addressed. The choice of topics to cover is highly selected and not always clear. While it is clear that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and McCarthyism had some role in the shape of 'modern history', it is unclear how the same was true for the deaths of David Kelly, Hilda Murrell or even Diana Windsor (all 'business as usual' types of events by the State and Monarchy if we look back over UK history). The web comes in for some heavy handed criticism, without any consideration of the positive impact of access to huge volumes of information, primary materials and interaction - 'the wisdom of crowds'. Like a good web 'conspiracy theory': full of bias, selectivity and contradictions. The book clearly establishes the reality of historical 'conspiracy', but dismisses any possibility that such things could possibly be going on today. Really? Disappointing unless you are stuck in an airport for 5 hours.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 3, 2012 9:31 PM BST


The Mammoth Book of Cover-Ups
The Mammoth Book of Cover-Ups
by Jon E. Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Book Worth Covering Up, 4 Feb 2010
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This is very disapointing: superficial and poorly collated. If you are already familiar with the topics, there is nothing new and much omitted. If you are unfamiliar, many relevant pros and cons of each 'theory' are omitted e.g. the fascinating basis and detail of 'Moon Hoax' and 'Holocaust Denial' arguments. Some fun searching on the web easilly transcends the level and content assembled here. Particularly unclear is the 'score' ('alert level') for ?likelihood of authenticity, which is neither clearly explained or rationalised in each case. Nor is there any discussion or analysis of what constitutes a 'cover up' or 'conspiracy theory'. So the collection includes proven factual events ('Iran Contras') and the entirely theoretical (Nazi Moon Base, Corn Circles). Many of the suspected dirty deeds and false flags of recent foreign policy are omitted completely (Florida elections? Gulf of Tonkin? East Timors oil? etc) at the expense of rehashed and superficial regurgitations of popular 'conspiracy theory' favourites (Munroe, Diana, JFK etc).


Gogarth North
Gogarth North
by Simon Marsh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.41

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitively Definitive in Sparkling Sea Sunshine Splendour, 7 Jun 2009
This review is from: Gogarth North (Paperback)
The days of nervous searching scramblings, vague and uncertain, across the seawashed cliff roots, or making terrifyingly committing abseils towards the lively briney are banished forever with this 'reveal all' Ground Up Gogarth guide. The 'old skool' in me manages a wry tear, but not much else. With clear photo diagrams, great info, and a current, consensual colloquiem of many local devotees, this stunning guide places the traditional and tardy CC publications on a tidal rock with an incoming spring tide - deservedly so. Role on the part 2 South Stack/Yellow Walls edition.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 24, 2012 6:48 PM GMT


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