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Stephen Mcdaniel
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Shaving Factory SF120asb Double Edge Safety Razor and Astra Blue Superior Stainless Steel Blades
Shaving Factory SF120asb Double Edge Safety Razor and Astra Blue Superior Stainless Steel Blades
Price: £10.08

2.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money, 18 Dec. 2014
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Not worth it. If you are into 'wet' shaving (i.e. using a double edge razor), don't bother with this one. The razor is cheap, and so mild you get almost no shave with it, and the blades are not terribly sharp either. If you want to DE shave, get some proper kit. Look on YouTube for a large number of excellent videos reviewing current products, as well as tutorials.


Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder
Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.45

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The final (perhaps) book in the Black Swan trilogy, ..., 18 Dec. 2014
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The final (perhaps) book in the Black Swan trilogy, Taleb brings everything together in his argument that we are not in fact in control of much of what goes on in the world, despite the assertions of academics and politicians. All we can do is realize what we do not know and optimize, or recognize, the upside potential when we find it. Taleb is violently anti-academic, holding them responsible for much of our lack of understanding and social problems. He also suffers from no lack of ego strength, which can be just a touch wearing after a while. But it is difficult to argue with many of his conclusions, as they contain the ring of truth. And he maintains that that 'ring' is precisely our most valuable asset, and is a more reliable guide than most of our school learned knowledge.
This is a complex work. Taleb is a polymath and he brings in vast amount of argument from mathematics, philosophy, history and every other discipline to make his case. His writing sometimes lacks clarity. But stick with it. This is an important work, and its conclusions apply equally to society at large and your own life.


The Great Mathematicians: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Universe
The Great Mathematicians: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Universe
by Raymond Flood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too little biography, too much math., 13 Oct. 2014
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The book contains very little about the mathematicians themselves other than a very brief biography. It is mostly about the math areas they worked in, and contains lots of equations and graphs. If you like algebra and calculus, you'll love this.


Shaving Factory White Shaving Mug
Shaving Factory White Shaving Mug
Offered by COSMOMARKET
Price: £7.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Good solid mug, 13 Oct. 2014
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As advertised. Arrived on time. Perfectly satisfied.


Black & Decker 18V Lithium Ion 2 Gear Hammer Drill
Black & Decker 18V Lithium Ion 2 Gear Hammer Drill
Offered by holywell tools
Price: £53.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Strong and light, 13 Sept. 2014
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Very pleased. A huge amount of power, long-lasting battery, and very light weight. The price is also very competitive for a lithium ion drill.


ETI frying thermometer - 150mm
ETI frying thermometer - 150mm
Offered by ETI Ltd
Price: £6.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excedllent cooking tool. Having the correct temperature of frying ..., 13 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: ETI frying thermometer - 150mm
Excedllent cooking tool. Having the correct temperature of frying oil makes a huge difference, and this little beauty does the job well.


Benediction (Plainsong 3)
Benediction (Plainsong 3)
by Kent Haruf
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Small town America, 13 Sept. 2014
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Very well written, this novel recounts the last days of Dad Lewis, a small town hardware dealer. By design the story deals with people's everyday lives, and there are no earth-shaking moments. It uses flashbacks to describe the events that have been most important to the main characters, and for this type of story, the technique works well. Having said that, it's all a bit depressing. The slow dying of Lewis, the major mistakes he's made in his life, the bigotry of small town America, and the relentless closed-mindedness of the inhabitants does not make for a fun read. But from a technical perspective, a job well done.


Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling in Modern Fiction
Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling in Modern Fiction
by Donald Maass
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.72

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior fiction guide for intermediate and advanced writers, 25 April 2014
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This volume is a follow-on to Maas's previous works on the requirements of modern fiction. Well written, highly specific, and filled with examples from currently successful authors, this is a useful addition to any writer's 'how-to' library.

Maas runs a successful literary agency. He is admittedly sick to death of wading through dull, derivative and badly written manuscripts. The text of each of his chapters are highly useful and will benefit writers of varying experience levels. The thrust of his argument is that modern writers need to break out of the conventions of the fiction of the last twenty years. He feels that these conventions have become straitjackets, particularly for aspiring novelists who think they have to follow rules to be published. In my view, he is entirely correct.

The difficulty comes at the end of each chapter. Maas posits '21st Century Tools' to help writers overcome the problems he sees. These tools are good at making the writer think about what he/she is writing, but they are difficult to actually make use of when writing a novel. Example: 'Find a quiet, emotional moment. Is it artfully written, delicate, subtle, nuanced, and precise? Congrats. Make it enormous: a tidal wave, an attack, a life-altering earthquake.' Easy to see what he wants you to consider, but if you do what he says, your writing will no longer be quiet, nuanced, subtle or anything else you intended.

Maas makes several good points. In all of his guidelines he emphasizes the need for tension, not just the huge moments when the detective confronts the killer, but throughout the writing. In the past there was a lot of emphasis on detailed description, evocative setting, deep psychological characterization. Maas contends, correctly, that all of these slow the novel's pace unacceptably, and are not actually read by most readers, but are instead skimmed over. If they are not going to read it, why write it?

He also encourages writers to take on bigger themes, not to be put off by the idea that you might sound 'preachy' or overly literary. If you have an issue that really gets you going, put it in your story.

I think this book might be a bit too advanced for many beginning writers, but for everyone else, it's worthwhile.


The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide to the history of and evidence for Evolution, 25 April 2014
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Dawkins provides another in his series of superb explanations of evolution, and it's genetic underpinnings. His writing is, as usual, lucid, comprehensive, and a first rate guide for the layman with little scientific background.

As usual, Dawkins is taking is taking precise aim at 'creationism'. His rational is based on the frightening statistics appearing in America and Europe indicating that the populations are becoming less and less educated in science and more and more inclined to believe the explanations of religions. In particular, fundamentalists in Christianity and Islam are striving to convince their adherents that the only knowledge of the world that is necessary is the Bible or Koran, plus of course the pronouncements of self appointed priests and teachers who apparently have a monopoly on 'truth'. Dawkins skewers them and their baseless arguments with finely honed facts and evidence galore. He will obviously not have any effect on their closed minds. But if yours is still open, read this book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 18, 2014 6:36 AM BST


Cold Killing (DI Sean Corrigan, Book 1) (Di Sean Corrigan 1)
Cold Killing (DI Sean Corrigan, Book 1) (Di Sean Corrigan 1)
by Luke Delaney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars First class debut novel, 25 April 2014
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Delaney has done an excellent job of crafting his first novel, The plot is exceptionally well handled, the pacing is fast and furious, and the protagonist is well drawn. His police background means that police procedures are completely correct within the confines of the story. But there are a few reasons I haven't given it 5 stars. Many of the main supporting characters are only sketches with no real depth or development. And he has unfortunately used the extremely hackneyed 'diabolically clever serial killer' motif which, in my opinion, is the the ruination of most American crime fiction. It's been beaten to death folks - let's move on to something else!

That said, Delaney writes very well, uses good, strong, straightforward prose, and minimizes digressions into, as Elmore Leonard put it, 'the parts people tend to skip over'. I expect his future efforts will only improve on an excellent start.


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