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Reviews Written by
M. P. Foster "Matthew Foster" (Nottingham, UK)

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The Drugs Don't Work: A Global Threat (Penguin Specials)
The Drugs Don't Work: A Global Threat (Penguin Specials)
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Urgent and unintimidating, 5 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A clear and easy-to-understand overview of a global problem we all need to start paying attention to. Read this and then find out what your own government is doing to tackle antimicrobial misuse


Syria
Syria
Price: £9.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic primer, 2 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Syria (Kindle Edition)
An authoritative, comprehensive account of the origins of, and regime response to, the Syrian uprising, situating events within the wider context of the Middle East in a way that neither intimidates nor patronises the lay reader. Scathing towards Assad, who the author sees as having wasted an opportunity to reform a stultified country, but also critical of the international response and in particular, the United States' slow response and apparent desire to wish the problem away. Also dwells on the makeup of the opposition in Syria, countering the narrative that it is made up of religious extremists rather than ordinary Syrians, but warns that the longer the regime digs in, the more the Syrian conflict is likely to become tangled up in wider regional power politics and ideological battles. Recommended.


Chef'n Garlic Zoom Garlic Chopper XL Extra Large
Chef'n Garlic Zoom Garlic Chopper XL Extra Large
Offered by CooksCentral
Price: £21.50

5.0 out of 5 stars How did I live without it?, 9 Jan. 2013
The only drawback for me is the constant nagging feeling that I've wasted hours of my life chopping garlic manually like some kind of idiot. I could probably have finished my novel in the time I've spent chopping, although if I tried to write a novel now it'd likely be a thriller about how much I love this thing!!!

Five stars, and then some!


And Life Was Good and Happy: Memory, Identity and Nostalgia in Eastern Germany
And Life Was Good and Happy: Memory, Identity and Nostalgia in Eastern Germany

4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, moving and thoroughly readable, 4 Feb. 2012
Hoare writes with authority and lucidity, crafting an incisive tour of the post-unification German mindset in an essay that is surprisingly moving, thoroughly researched and never once intimidating or arch. Highly recommended for students and curious outsiders alike.


Monocle: Aristocrat'S For Fancy Dress Costumes Outfits Accessory
Monocle: Aristocrat'S For Fancy Dress Costumes Outfits Accessory
Offered by Up In Smoke
Price: £2.37

31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sound investment, 2 Sept. 2011
This monocle taught my son everything he needed to know about outdated eyewear. In fact, it was this sterling toy that led him to pursue a lucrative career as a Victorian, which has kept my husband and I in luxury. I cannot recommend this product enough. If your kid is serious about novelty monocles, you can't do better than this.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2012 9:29 PM BST


Mini Shopaholic: (Shopaholic Book 6)
Mini Shopaholic: (Shopaholic Book 6)
by Sophie Kinsella
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A landmark novel from Britain's finest writer for a generation, 13 Oct. 2010
When historians look back upon the year 2010, they will surely declare it "The Year of Mini Shopaholic".

Every generation has a story to tell and Sophie Kinsella carries the burden of our times with grace, courage and passion.

Make no mistake, you will leave this work a better, more fulfilled human being. In a work which will no doubt echo through the ages, Kinsella appears to us as a siren, a dancer, her pen enrapturing us with its every move. Witness such powerful passages as:

"'You'd never get tired of a pony. It's a classic. It's, like, the Chanel jacket of toys.'"

And who could fail to be moved by such sheer TRUTH as:

"'You know, I once found the most amazing opportunity,' I add as I punch in my PIN. `It was a pair of Dolce & Gabbana boots at 90 per cent off! Only my credit card was up to my limit. But did I give up? No! Of course I didn't!'"

This year, if you read only one book, make it Mini Shopaholic. And then read it again.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 27, 2010 9:27 PM BST


Accelerate (digipack)
Accelerate (digipack)
Offered by westworld-
Price: £9.32

63 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY, an R.E.M. record I don't have to be ashamed of., 16 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Accelerate (digipack) (Audio CD)
R.E.M. are back and this time, it's brilliant.

First impressions? Blown away. I literally danced around my bedroom at 2AM listening to it.

The opening trio of Living Well Is The Best Revenge, Man-Sized Wreath and sugarsweet single Supernatural Superserious makes for perhaps the best start to an R.E.M. record ever. I'm serious.

And the pace hardly lets up. Hollow Man starts off like a Coldplay cut, all mournful piano, before lifting into the sort of college rock, post-punk dance off the band used to make.
Houston, one of the shortest tracks the band have ever done, manages to sound experimental, sinister and hopeful all at the same time. Stipe's vocals are gruff and more buried in the mix than they have been in a decade, and his lyric writing returns to the abstract throughout.

Title track Accelerate is heavy and dark. It reminds me of Joy Division or Editors, but is unmistakeably R.E.M. The return of Mike Mills to backing vocals provides the album with some of its most impressive moments, particularly here. Until the Day Is Done is a callback to some of the material on Around the Sun, indignant and angry about the state of the world. The record seems to deal with hope and fear about the future. You get the impression that the band looks back at the past 25 years and thinks "What the hell's changed?". It's angry and bitter, but filled with little rays of sunshine and moments of beauty.

Mr. Richards provides a perfect example of this. Rallying against an evil-doer and listing his faults, the song suddenly picks up with a refrain of "We're the children of the choir, hey / And we know what's going on". This is matched with a beautiful bit of guitar work that turns it from a grungy dirge into something transcendental. Sing For The Submarine is almost, though thankfully not quite, a prog-rock track. It bounces all over the place and is the most forceful track this band have produced. Stipe self-references a couple of previous songs, which I thought would bug me, but actually serves to enhance that feeling of having a conversation with the past. This song really soars; I was expecting a meandering take, but Bill Rieflin, who, for all intents and purposes is now R.E.M.'s drummer has done wonders for this group.

Horse to Water sees Stipe tripping over his words again, which he hasn't done since It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine). This track is the only one that hasn't really grabbed me yet; it seems likes it's going nowhere in a hurry, although the chaotic ending promises to be a brilliant live moment. Rounding off the briskest set in the catalogue is I'm Gonna DJ. This is probably the goofiest, most laid-back track since The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite and has a bunged-up sounding Stipe promising to 'DJ at the end of the worrrrrld!'. A lot of people hate this track, but I think it's a fantastic and different way for them to end an album; it's fast, it's fun and it's basically saying "We're all doomed... anyone for a party?".

It's hard to talk about this album without referring to the past few R.E.M. records. I will defend Up and Reveal to the death, as necessary, if flawed records, which provided me with some of my all-time favourite songs by the band. They were quirky and different, if overlong and questionably sequenced. Around the Sun, the band's last record is harder to defend. Quite a few of the tracks had strong potential, but I once heard it described as an 'ivory tower' record; the band sat up in an expensive studio tweaking knobs and forgetting what they were really about.

Accelerate, then, is them jumping out of the window head-first and landing on two feet. It doesn't simply ape the past, or get stuck on repeat. It reminds everyone why R.E.M. ever mattered, but sounds urgent, sounds relevant and sounds like it belongs here and now. It reconnects with the past, of the hopes and fears you feel when you're younger and says "Let's do something about it!".

Incredible. Please, even if you've hated R.E.M. for the past ten years, give it a listen.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 18, 2010 12:07 PM GMT


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