Helpful votes received on reviews: 67% (275 of 412)


Top Reviewer Ranking: 18,831 - Total Helpful Votes: 275 of 412
Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Delight) (Pengui&hellip by Emile Zola
I read this after watching the television adaptation, intrigued because my memories of the Zola were much grittier than the powder puff version I had watched (but watched with some pleasure). Sure enough it had little to do with Zola's social commentary, in plot or in ambiance. This excellent translation is another story completely, a world without principle where the death of the old society and commerce is replaced by something new and calculating and pitiless and where everyone sleeps with the boss. We think of the French as romantic but in love as in all else they are severely practical and unsentimental to the point sometimes of callousness. Read and watched together I think this book… Read more
The Gentleman In The Parlour (Vintage Classics) by W Somerset Maugham
Maughn was one of those gentleman travellers that naturally gravitated into the secret service in the last war, suave, sophisticated, prototypes of James Bond. He witnessed this period of our history with more comprehension and a wider vision than the authors of the generation before. This is a collection of impressions received on his leisurely tour through Indonesia and what was then Burma.;a lost world of river and train transport, through clubs and hotels where the British empire is still unaware that it is dying.

Tragically beautiful and reflective this is not a book to read on the run but to dip into and savour. An excellent holiday read wherever the holiday.
H.E.Bates Autobiography: "The Vanished World", "Th&hellip by H. E. Bates
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Who does not love The Darling Buds of May for its jolly, earthy humanity? Imagine then my disappointment to find the man exposed in this autobiography to be...I can only call it mean spirited. Great tracts of it are about how good a writer he is and which great writers he resembles and how many famous friends he has and who he met and who, sometimes, he snubbed. Particularly worrying was his complete lack of shame that he spent the war, commissioned, scandalously I feel, into the RAF by his writer chums at the ministry, swanning around; writing articles and stories about men who were dying around him while he slipped off home or went to stay with a Countess in Paris. His patronising… Read more

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