Shop now Shop now Shop now Up to 70% off Fashion Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now Shop now
Profile for A reader > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by A reader
Top Reviewer Ranking: 89,731
Helpful Votes: 146

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
A reader (North East Scotland)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3
pixel
Homeland - Season 3 [DVD]
Homeland - Season 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Damian Lewis
Price: £9.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Carrie in Wonderland, 5 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Homeland - Season 3 [DVD] (DVD)
The world may have changed since Homeland was written and produced, but like another reviewer I thought the final episode was gratuitous and unnecessary, not to mention extremely unpleasant. I could be more specific in my criticism but that would entail spoiling the plot for anyone who wanted to see it.

Perhaps my disquiet relates to the fact that this part of the series was the only part that had any relation to reality (a brutal and unpleasant reality at that). The remainder of the story became progressively more preposterous as the series progressed. The great promise of Series 1 was followed by the soap opera of Series 2; by this series it's clear that the writers had run out of juice and it's a miracle that alien invasions or wizards and magic weren't invoked to keep the story lurching on.

I bought Series 4 at the same time as Series 3. I don't think I want to watch it after this.


Seven Steps to the Sun (Fred Hoyle's World of Science Fiction)
Seven Steps to the Sun (Fred Hoyle's World of Science Fiction)
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Looking backwards to the future, 17 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't think you will classify this as one of the great works of literature, or even of science fiction. In terms of characterisation, plotting, and dialogue, falls way short of what would be acceptable for pubication today. Despite that, this novel has a charm of its own and I found myself getting pulled along towards the (unsatisfactory, as described in the earlier review) conclusion. It does give a fascinating glimpse of the future as seen from the perspective of 1969 - the rise and fall of computers and the descent into a world of anarchy. It's fascinating that some technologies were not foreseen - even in the Hoyles' most technologically advanced state we are still reliant on punched cards, the Internet (or something like it) is consulted in special offices, and hover cars replaced the wheeled variety (because the roads are so bad). The last era seems to reflect Malthusian concerns about population and food but also the global consequences of climate change.

Worth a look if only to see how things once were going to be.


Vivobarefoot Mens Ultra M Multisport Shoes 300009-04 Royal Blue 10 UK, 44 EU
Vivobarefoot Mens Ultra M Multisport Shoes 300009-04 Royal Blue 10 UK, 44 EU

5.0 out of 5 stars Not the answer to life, the universe, and everything, but pretty good for footwear, 27 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Read some of the barefoot shoe stuff on the web and you will come to believe that these sort of shoes will transport you into a different sensory realm, will recharge your legs and provide you with boundless strength and agility. In fact, there seems as much hyperbole about shoes that are trying really hard not to be shoes as is turned out by the shoes that are stuffed with technology.

I ended up down this route because it seemed that my favourite around-the-house-and-garden Crocs were aggravating an old ankle injury. When I stayed away from the Crocs for a few days it got better. Walking around barefoot (or in socks) seemed to help a lot. Trouble is I have diabetes and need to protect my feet. Plus walking out on tarmac and standing on slugs in the garden wasn't much fun.

The Vivobarefoot Ultras are pretty much an excellent alternative to my old Crocs. They provide a few millimetres of foam sole under my feet and have an open mesh foam upper just like Crocs which lets my feet breathe and dry out instantly when they get wet. I can slip them off and on easily, just like Crocs. I can run in them, for short distances at least, something I was never able to do in Crocs. They weigh next to nothing.

They come with a mesh/neoprene inner sock and another liner to cover the lace area. I used the sock once and found that whilst comfortable it made my feet a bit too hot. I didn't have any need for the other liner. According to the Vivobarefoot website, based on my favourite running shoes I needed a half size bigger and that proved to be accurate. They are on the loose side but that suits me fine.

I've had them about three weeks which is too short to assess durability. The manufacturers claim you could get 300 miles of running out of them. Not sure that they would last that long for me at any rate. There's no sign of wear as yet on the sole based on daily use in and around the house (not a very testing environment, admittedly).

The most interesting phenomena is that when I've slipped on my Crocs because there's been nothing else around, I've immediately been struck by how uncomfortable they seem now - quite a change seeing as how I never used to have them off my feet before.


Running Free: A Runner's Journey Back to Nature
Running Free: A Runner's Journey Back to Nature
by Richard Askwith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Running along the muddy path to enlightenment?, 16 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's difficult to write about something you are passionate about without at times becoming evangelical or appearing to dismiss the alternatives. In 35 years of running I've been through most of the phases that Askwith describes in his book - though as many of these were in a more innocent, pre-internet age, perhaps I avoided some of the excesses of consumerism that he rails against. Thus his book veers an a times awkward course between personal recollection (which will doubtless strike some chords with fellow runners), criticism of commercialisation of running, and evangelical espousal of a form of running that will probably not be easily accessible to the vast majority of the running population.

I'm fortunate that I do live (and work) out in the country, and a recent running experience might illustrate who will most appreciate this book. It was a semi-illicit lunchtime run, sneaking off without explicit indication of where I was going and what I was up to, squeezing in a quick 5 miles. I got a bit carried away with myself and an off-road track led me to speculation that I could do a loop round a few forest firebreaks: there then followed several joyous miles where I reached deep into the forest, several times up to my knees in bog, finally (after a couple of episodes where I feared I was irretrievably lost) reaching back where I had started. I got back to work with a glow and sense of satisfaction that undoubtedly improved my productivity for the rest of the day. Nothing here about times, splits, distances, just about the sheer joy of being out and behaving in a child-like manner.

This is really, at heart, what Askwith is writing about. It might have been better to have written solely about this primitive joy without putting it in comparison to other forms of running. Whilst he does say repeatedly through the book that his view is only one of many equally valid alternatives, it's difficult not to pick up an implicit criticism of how others relate to running. Yes, Big Running (as he calls it) has many downfalls. But perhaps it's also part of a journey and an inevitable experience to have before you come out the other end, to running with childish joy through the deep woods without any more thought of what you are doing than the immediate experience.

It's well worth a place on any runner's bookshelf. As a dyed-in-the-wool fell runner, I'm not sure it's better than his earlier book, Feet in the Clouds. If you are one of the converted, you will nod along sagely in agreement, and there's nothing more satisfying than seeing your own opinions confirmed in print. If you're not one of the converted, then I hope it might help you think "out of the box" and, most importantly, keep running when the initial goals - time, weight, distance, whatever - cease to become as important as they once seemed.


Mandolin Tutor: The First Twenty Lessons(Book & CD)
Mandolin Tutor: The First Twenty Lessons(Book & CD)
by Simon Mayor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great guide to the mandolin, 11 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I took up the mandolin only a few months ago, after being a (bad) fiddle player. Admittedly this means that I'm not a raw beginner, but Simon Mayor's book has been a very good introduction to the instrument and I've raced through the book pretty quickly. He takes things from the basics and introduces everything step by step. The example pieces are appropriately difficult for each stage but enjoyable in themselves (a minimum of academic scale-bashing exercises). He also injects a note of humour that seems to be rare in these sort of books. Don't miss out on the accompanying CD.


Mandolin for Violinists
Mandolin for Violinists
by Andrew Driscoll
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good for crossing over from other instruments, 11 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This seems to be a neglected gem of a book. I came to the mandolin after a few years of playing the violin (badly). I quickly acquired a small collection of beginners guides which seem (to my fiddler's ear) to put undue emphasis on bluegrass and playing chords. This book, however, is much more what I was looking for: a comprehensive collection of music from a wide variety of repertoires, written both in standard notation and TAB. If you haven't any idea about the mandolin then you will need a more basic guide, but once you've got going this offers a good selection of exercises as well as some pretty good music!


Violin For Dummies
Violin For Dummies
by Katharine Rapoport
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works for me..., 27 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Violin For Dummies (Paperback)
I was overcome with a crazy idea to learn the violin at the age of 19 with no previous musical experience or any evidence of musicality. I bought myself a Skylark violin from a second-hand shop and turned up at a teacher recommended to me full of good intentions. Six lessons later I gave up, unable to really hear the differences in notes that my teacher was trying to impress upon me.

Despite this, the Skylark followed me around for the next 25 years. I had a hankering to try again - although this time round it was the cello I wanted to learn, I thought I should start with what I had to hand. No teachers locally seemed interested in taking on an adult learner, so after due research on Amazon I bought myself this book and a Cherub electronic tuner.

Three months later, I'm a quarter of the way through the book, and feel that I've made more progress than I ever made with my teacher. I was effectively starting from scratch, and VFD has been invaluable in helping me out with holding the violin and bow, playing notes, and helping me recall distant memories of musical notation. The music is much more up my street: no compositions that only appeal to 5 year olds. I've even got to the stage where I'm wondering if some of the occasional off notes are so much my technique or an indication that I need a new violin (though a bad workman blames his tools).

The CD is also invaluable in helping you hear what you are supposed to be playing, with a minimum of accompaniment - other beginner's guides that I've bought subsequently have a lot of piano accompaniment that makes it hard to hear what the violin is supposed to be doing.


The World House
The World House
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Compulsively nightmarish and nightmarishly compulsive..., 13 Sept. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The World House (Kindle Edition)
I found this an odd book, but like other reviewers one that was hard to put down.

The House itself is a place of nightmarish contents and nightmarish dimensions. It's probably the main character in the book - I would agree that the human protagonists, with the exception of Sophie, are rather two dimensional, and the apparent vast number of characters gets confusing. I say apparent, because, as is the case with everything else in this nightmarish realm, nothing is quite as it seems... There's also a lot happening at one time, which can mean following the plot can be difficult. It can be pretty bleak at times, one awful event after another, and the levity of the characters at times seems out of kilter with the book's content.

Despite literary shortcomings, it did have me hooked all the way to the end, and having bought the Kindle version I found myself reading it in all sorts of odd places, alternately on my iPhone and Kindle to find out what happened next. At times I did wonder why I kept going, but somehow it exerted a irresistable power to keep me turning the page.


iGadgitz Black Genuine Leather Case Cover Holder for Apple iPhone 3G & 3GS 8gb, 16gb & 32gb + Screen Protector & Detachable Belt Clip
iGadgitz Black Genuine Leather Case Cover Holder for Apple iPhone 3G & 3GS 8gb, 16gb & 32gb + Screen Protector & Detachable Belt Clip
Offered by iGadgitz

4.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts, 27 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A good quality leather iPhone case, it fits neatly round my iPhone 3GS and provides a reasonable level of protection. I also prefer the top-flipping case rather than those that dangle downwards.

The belt clip is a bit of a disaster though - cheap plastic, difficult to engage with the metal rivet on the case (more than once I found it falling out when I thought I'd clipped it in securely) and after 3 weeks the brittle plastic cracked and made the clip unusable.

The case is good enough on its own, though, and the belt clip mount on the case is at least very discreet if you don't want to (or are unable to!) use the belt clip. If you absolutely must have a case that clips on to your belt, though, look elsewhere.


Barring Mechanicals - From London to Edinburgh and back, on a recumbent bicycle
Barring Mechanicals - From London to Edinburgh and back, on a recumbent bicycle
by Andy Allsopp
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I felt exhausted just reading about it, 27 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A compulsive and compelling account of the Audax world's longest ride, 1400km from London to Edinburgh and back again.

Although I'd describe myself as enthusiastic about cycling and bikes, the thought of a mega challenge like the LEL Audax has always seemed a bit overwhelming. 100km is about my limit, 14 times that in one go is awe inspiring. Despite that, the author manages to portray the event as something achievable by "normal" people, though I think comparisons with normality probably disappear after you have ridden continuously through the first day and night. Having done a few long distance running events I could well identify with his experiences.

A "must read" for any cyclist who rides further than the post office!


Page: 1 | 2 | 3