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G. L. Haggett "glynlhaggett" (UK)
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Pitch Black: The Story of Black British Footballers
Pitch Black: The Story of Black British Footballers
by Emy Onuora
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and forthright, 17 May 2015
Detailed examination of the changing attitudes towards black footballers in the UK; well-meaning and well-researched, a winning combination of social history and sport.

Onuora has been able to get the inside track from a number of (very) famous black players to back up his arguments and to give them a sense of authenticity not always apparent in a forum which is of such an emotive nature. His views on the official anti-racism initiatives and the lip service which some believe has been paid to them are forthright.

It's just a shame that the production values are not sufficient to eliminate several basic proofreading errors.


Look Who's Back
Look Who's Back
by Timur Vermes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas, if a little tasteless, 26 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Look Who's Back (Paperback)
The ideas behind this book are fantastic and for the most part are very well realised. It depicts the ogre amongst modern ogres as a curiously fascinating figure in order to take a shot at popular culture and current obsessions with celebrity and shows that even today people are liable to fall for a charismatic figure, however odious he/she may actually be.

A satire like this needs to be put into its context if it is to be assessed properly; I had a growing unease at laughing so easily at things which are really not that funny. However, that unease is mitigated by the daring and wit of many of Vermes' ideas.

Ultimately, however, I felt that the piece ran out of steam some time before the end.


Revolution
Revolution
by Russell Brand
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than I had expected, 17 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Revolution (Hardcover)
I came to this one with a degree of scepticism, having read a number of adverse reviews and not being particularly enchanted with Russell Brand's persona and reputation.

However, for all that the book is often rambling and self-indulgent, with flowery language apparently for the sake of it, and a sub-editor with the nerve to tighten it up might have been a good idea, Russell Brand has put together a cogent and credible argument for change.

I would see his objective as being to provoke a discussion, rather than to propose hard and fast solutions. In that sense, the book is a great success and will I am sure encourage many of his younger audience to take an interest in the matters he raises.


The Game of Our Lives: The Meaning and Making of English Football
The Game of Our Lives: The Meaning and Making of English Football
by David Goldblatt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Serious but readable, 10 Mar. 2015
There have been a number of worthy books written about football and its place in our social and historical context over the recent years. This takes a similar tack, but benefits greatly from the depth of research and knowledge behind it and the clear interest of the author in the subject he is treating.

While I may not always share Goldblatt's views and conclusions, his thoughts make for an inspiring, challenging, but ultimately very readable book. b


Child 44 (Child 44 Trilogy 1)
Child 44 (Child 44 Trilogy 1)
by Tom Rob Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 30 Dec. 2014
Detective stories and crime novels are not my usual choice of reading. However, this turned out to be a very well-paced and always interesting story. For all that the procedural element is quite commonplace, with the odd idiosyncratic quirk, Smith introduces into the narrative interesting angles on the plight of many people in Russia under the regimes in which the book is set. Those are what takes this book out of the ranks of ordinary thrillers and adventure stories.


KP: The Autobiography
KP: The Autobiography
by Kevin Pietersen MBE
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.95

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spirited, 27 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: KP: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
I cannot believe that anyone would set out to read this book unless they were interested in the inside story of the England cricket team. It therefore seems more than a little churlish to condemn the bitchiness and sniping which the book most certainly contains.

Pietersen has much of interest to say about the claustrophobic, all-embracing nature of elite sport and his search for outlets beyond the game is refreshing. His statistics on the amount of time top-level cricketers are required to spend away from home give an illuminating view of the commitment required of them on every level.

However, the "money shot" for most readers will be the insight into the dressing room strife. While it is important to remember that this is one opinionated individual's view, it makes the book a good deal more interesting than the average sportsman's (auto)biography. The comments on the destructive nature of cliques are instructive for any workplace.

Pietersen's views on the possible future for freelance cricketers, spending their time with various teams around the world, are food for thought and show a person looking beyond the immediate.

The sadness at the end of the book for me was that the paying public, who are the obvious target audience for the book, are likely to be deprived of the pleasure of seeing Pietersen doing what he does best as much as they should. Where the blame for that lies of course is a matter of debate.


J: A Novel
J: A Novel
by Howard Jacobson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.94

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wasted opportunity?, 12 Sept. 2014
This review is from: J: A Novel (Hardcover)
One of the other reviewers has described this book as "arduous". Another preferred "opaque". I think I know what both of them are getting at.

For all his undoubted authorial flair, Jacobson can be a self-indulgently literary writer at times, intent on admiring the brilliance of his own ideas and far more interested in method than substance. That is of course likely to make him appeal to a certain breed of Booker Prize judge.

This book starts from an interesting premise, all the better for its apparent enigma, the trick being that the reader thinks he/she has a pretty good idea of what lies behind "what happened, if it happened". Unfortunately, Jacobson does not go very far with the idea, concentrating instead on the minutiae of the lives of ultimately uninteresting characters, with the customary tropes of identity, perception and (not) fitting in.

Something of an opportunity wasted, I fear.


Merrell Unisex-Adult Hilltop Vent Waterproof Trekking and Hiking Shoes J099977C Gunsmoke/Black 12 UK, 47 EU
Merrell Unisex-Adult Hilltop Vent Waterproof Trekking and Hiking Shoes J099977C Gunsmoke/Black 12 UK, 47 EU

4.0 out of 5 stars Good value, 3 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good value low-level walking shoe, suitable for use around town and on light rambles.


The Blazing World
The Blazing World
by Siri Hustvedt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed, 3 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The Blazing World (Hardcover)
Hustvedt brings the art world to vibratnt life. She has a great ear for different voices but the self-consciously literary nature of the book makes for a tough read at times. For all the wit of the piece and although she has much to say about interpretation, perception and prejudice, the welter of footnotes and references comes across as a little too clever clever and the book runs the risk of disappearing in a fog of the same pretentiousness it sets out to satirise.


Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery
Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery
by Henry Marsh
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Searingly honest, 28 Jun. 2014
A searingly honest account of the ups and downs of the life of a brain surgeon.

Marsh pulls no punches in telling his tale, and is not scared to reveal his own doubts and sadness and distress about the cases where the patient did not enjoy the outcome sought. He is a fine writer and the fact that he is prepared to reveal his own weakness makes, as other reviewers have said, for a humane book.

It would be a cold fish indeed who could come away from this book without a sense of admiration and even awe for the surgeon, his colleagues, family and most importantly his patients.


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