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Paris Inside Out (Paris Inside Out: The Insider's Handbook to Life in Paris)
Paris Inside Out (Paris Inside Out: The Insider's Handbook to Life in Paris)
by David Applefield
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Living in Paris, 23 July 2014
A guide to Paris designed for those living in the City of Light, but of interest to anyone who loves the French capitol.Not recommended as a guide for a first (or even second or third) visit to Paris, but a good source of information if you want to know more about Paris and Parisians.


The Food Lover's Guide to Paris
The Food Lover's Guide to Paris
by Patricia Wells
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.39

3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 23 July 2014
This is a good guide to food in Paris, but not, I thnk, the best. In fact I have an earlier edition, from 1984/5 (second edition) in which I find the writing superior. On the other hand, of course, the new fifth edition is pretty much up to date. Accurate as far as I can see, with a decent style of writing. Definitely more a guide book than a book about Paris and its eating places.


Paris: 500 Photos
Paris: 500 Photos
by Maurice Subervie
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Picturesque Paris, 23 July 2014
This review is from: Paris: 500 Photos (Paperback)
The book does just what it says on the lid - 500 photos of Paris. Most enjoyable, a good selection with plenty of variety. The only drawback is the small size of the book; with a great number of pictures reproduced two to a page, many excellent pictures lack impact. Compare and contrast to the Taschen book, Paris - Portrait of a City with its immense pages and many full page pictures.
Recommended nonetheless to lovers of good pictures and of Paris.


Hilary Hahn - Original Album Classics
Hilary Hahn - Original Album Classics

5.0 out of 5 stars Good collection of concertos, 17 Jun 2014
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A fine collection of the most popular violin concertos, plus a couple of unexpected ones, played by one of today's finest violinists with an assortment of the world's great conductors and orchestras. What's not to like?


Smetana - Complete Orchestral Works
Smetana - Complete Orchestral Works
Price: £11.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Scintillating music, 14 Jun 2014
My five stars are mostly for the symphony, which I had not heard before. Kuchar's Ma Vlast is as good as most, and considerably better than many, as are the more familiar overtures and the 'Bartered Bride' pieces. The remaining overtures and dances are all worth hearing, and are all well played by the Janacek Philharmonic and Kuchar. But the piece which thrills me every time I hear it is the Festive Symphony. It's not great music, but it has got a terrific opening, and it swings like few other classical pieces I've heard. It's one of those pieces that just make you feel better after listening. Each time I listen to it, I end up playing it seven or eight times in a row! Classical quality - 2 stars. Feel Good factor - at least ten stars!


Dorati: Symphonies Nos 1 & 2
Dorati: Symphonies Nos 1 & 2
Price: £15.04

4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging Modern Music, 14 Jun 2014
Antal Dorati was a very famous Hungarian conductor, best known for his wok with various orchestra including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra through the 1960's and 70's. He was the first conductor to record all of Haydn's hundred plus symphonies, and his version is still highly regarded. His own two symphonies are unashamedly modern, but tonal in style. Both symphonies are quite difficult on the ear at first; they share much in common with the style of Bartok, but they are certainly well worth persevering with. Don't make your mind up after one hearing; try them several times. If you like Bartok and Stravinsky, you'll like Dorati's symphonies; if your preference is Dvorak and Rachmaninov, you may struggle. I enjoy them more with each hearing.


Snake Dance: Journeys Beneath a Nuclear Sky
Snake Dance: Journeys Beneath a Nuclear Sky
by Patrick Marnham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.91

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fact...or fiction?, 24 Mar 2014
The first requirement for a non-fiction work is to present facts.
'The atom was invented long before science'. So just what was the world made of before the atom was 'invented'? The atom was discovered, or the principle of atomic structure was invented, but the atom always was, since the birth of the universe.
'[Rutherford] had transformed the chemical element nitrogen into hydrogen'. No, actually, into OXYGEN!
On page 187, the author states that by 1939 uranium was out of favour and the Germans were looking at the use of a different element, plutonium; very percipient of them as plutonium was first isolated and identified in December 1940.
Unfortunately such errors destroy any belief one might have in the book. Perhaps the first section is totally accurate; but why should I think so when I can find errors such as these so easily, and one so easily checked. Much of the last section of the book is opinion. There are many who would disagree with Marnham's verdicts on why and whether the bomb should have been used (I agree in part, and disagree in other parts). Sadly the errors destroy the whole validity of the book. For an accurate and less biased view of the history of the Atomoc bomb, read the set of books by Richard Rhodes.


Brewer's Famous Quotations: 5,000 Quotations and the Stories Behind Them
Brewer's Famous Quotations: 5,000 Quotations and the Stories Behind Them
by Nigel Rees
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Quotations and much more, 15 Jan 2014
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This is much, much more than a simple list of quotations. It puts 5,000 or so quotations in some context, with explanations and notes of their later, sometimes better known, uses. The quotes come from an impressive range of sources, form the obvious Shakespeare (24 pages) and the Bible (20 pages) to such luminaries as Neil Kinnock, Gerard Hoffnung (musician and comedian) and Mandy Rice-Davies ('Well, he would, wouldn't he?'). This gives a most enjoyable variety to the book.
I have to say that this is just the latest in the Brewer's series to impress me, along with the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the Dictionary of London Phrase and Fable, the book of Rogues and Eccentrics and Brewer's Britain and Ireland, all books of great interest and readability.


Canadiana Suite
Canadiana Suite
Price: £14.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect late night jazz, 9 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Canadiana Suite (Audio CD)
Another Amazon purchase which has replaced a vinyl album from many years ago. Canadiana Suite is every bit as good as I remembered, now in excellent CD sound without the inevitable scratches and clicks from the LP. Great jazz written and performed by Oscar Peterson. His renowned skills are harnessed to the requirements of the music, and what a wide range of music he provides. The CD is somewhat short, at 36 minutes, but it would be difficult to see what could be added without disturbing the balance of the piece. Recommended to any lover of Peterson, jazz or indeed music. Every track is easy to listen to, while still being challenging. 'Ballad to the East' is a dreamy piece, a gentle introduction; 'Laurentide Waltz', as the title suggests, is a flowing dance; 'Place St. Henri' in contrast is quick and flashy; 'Hogtown Blues' a stately blues, while 'Blues of the Prairies' starts like film music for a large screen Western and develops into a fast interchange between the three players. 'Wheatland' is soft and quiet and in contrast 'March Past' is a quick piece with plenty of Peterson pyrotechnics. The album finishes with 'Land of the Misty Giants' rounding the album off nicely.


Sir Charles Mackerras At 80 - A Knight At The Ballet
Sir Charles Mackerras At 80 - A Knight At The Ballet
Price: £15.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Top class ballet, 4 Jan 2014
A first class album by a top conductor with three terrific orchestras, and two 80 minute discs to boot. Difficult to find fault with this release - so I won't try!


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