M. D. Holley

Top Reviewer Ranking: 780
Helpful votes received on reviews: 84% (920 of 1,100)
Location: Kent, UK


Top Reviewer Ranking: 780 - Total Helpful Votes: 920 of 1100
Ukraine Diaries by Andrey Kurkov
Ukraine Diaries by Andrey Kurkov
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This book comprises recent diary entries by someone who is living through very dramatic events in Ukraine.

Don't expect a profound work of art. There are raw emotions here (and very one sided at that). Don't expect a detached historical analysis either. But these shortcomings are also the book's strengths. They are only to be expected in a freshly written diary.

The context pages at the end are useful (I had always thought Stalin invaded Poland in 1939, rather than Western Ukraine - but Kurkov's way of looking at that period helps to explain a lot of the otherwise baffling propaganda currently coming out of Moscow).

In the end this book helped me to… Read more
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrima&hellip by Haruki Murakami
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Le mal du pays, 25 Aug 2014
Oh I wish I could have made this book last longer! It was over all too soon. It's just too hard to put down.

Murakami takes a rather ordinary story (on the surface), and makes it completely gripping. I remember the scene where Tsukuru is waiting to meet his Finnish friend for the first time in years. How does he create such suspense and anticipation from something so simple?

I liked the musical references. I downloaded Listz's 'Le mal du pays' (I had not heard it before) and listened to it as I read. For me this became the soundtrack to the novel, and I found this added another dimension to it. The stickers were really good fun too!

There is a lot to… Read more
Human Evolution: A Pelican Introduction by Robin Dunbar
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A 'male brain' book, 11 Aug 2014
The title of this book is misleading. The book is about two models Dunbar devised (a 'time budget model' together with 'the social brain hypothesis'), and their application to human evolution. It is not a summary of human evolution itself, but more a discussion of the application of the chosen models.

The models themselves are interesting (especially the social brain hypothesis), and I found the introductory chapters which set out the models fascinating. I even made a list of all my friends to see if the number came to 150 (it did).

Dunbar comes up with a simple set of mathematical equations (the inputs seem to be brain size; time taken feeding, travelling and… Read more