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Reviews Written by
Alison M. G. Finch "Tig" (Oxford, England)
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Darwin's Odyssey: The Voyage of the Beagle (Kindle Single)
Darwin's Odyssey: The Voyage of the Beagle (Kindle Single)
Price: £1.74

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darwin And Other Animals, 8 Nov. 2013
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I am loving this book. Not quite finished it yet, but it's a very well written, fascinating narrative history and a rollicking adventure rolled into one. Darwin's early years are so well painted - he is very similar to many young men I know now in his sudden enthusiasms, dilettantism and passions. Kevin Jackson depicts him as a very appealing, likeable character and the Beagle trip comes across a bit like a gap year adventure. Darwin was plainly a sensitive young man, cut from a different cloth from many of those around him. What this book has done is made me want to read more about - and by - Darwin. A thoroughly satisfying read and I will be recommending it to my friends.


Bitter Experience Has Taught Me
Bitter Experience Has Taught Me
Price: £4.68

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny and slightly melancholy reflection on the single life., 27 Aug. 2013
I really liked this book - have enjoyed the author's columns in the New Statesman and prior to that his incarnation as 'Slack Dad' in the Guardian (Tim Dowling really ought to be paying him some royalties for nicking his schtick....) I was slightly concerned at how all the columns would read together as a book, but I think it works very well. Nicholas Lezard's reflections on his life as a singleton, with kids, and his descent into a sort of teenage wasteland in his middle years is beautifully - and ruefully - observed and his portraits of the various eccentrics that inhabit the Hovel very very funny. His love for his children is touching and the dedication - to his ex-wife - I found gallant and honest.


Beetle Boy
Beetle Boy
by Lawrence David
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific kid's book, 13 May 2013
This review is from: Beetle Boy (Hardcover)
I loved this book. I found it moving and funny in equal measure and my son, who was about four when I read it to him, adored it. The illustrations are quirky and fun. I loved that I was introducing my child to a European classic and, now that he is 15, is a fan of Kafka's - so something went right! I have recommended it to several friends.


A Place of Greater Safety
A Place of Greater Safety
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant reconstruction, 28 Mar. 2013
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Hilary Mantel is one of the greatest writers in the English language and we are fortunate indeed to have her with us. What I love about this novel is the way she takes some very basic facts and a certain amount of reported speech and creates three wholly believable, and very different men, in Camille Desmoulin, Robespierre and Danton. They have motives, beliefs, morals but also uncertainty, despair and fear. I don't know how much of the book is strictly factual but it certainly feels very true to me.


Mayflower:The Voyage from Hell (Kindle Single)
Mayflower:The Voyage from Hell (Kindle Single)
Price: £1.74

50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America's illegal immigrants, 28 Mar. 2013
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Fascinating account of the voyage to America of the Mayflower pilgrims, fetishised in America's founding myths as a group of right minded people fleeing religious persecution in England (boo, hiss!). Turns out they were largely Dutch chancers, economic migrants in search of the buck and the freedoms that having money bestows. An eye-opening and iconoclastic read. I love it when history does this.


A Tale for the Time Being (Ala Notable Books for Adults)
A Tale for the Time Being (Ala Notable Books for Adults)
by Ruth L. Ozeki
Edition: Hardcover

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex and beautiful, 4 Mar. 2013
The novel is wonderfully rich and a fantastically rewarding read. Ozeki presents a tale that folds in on itself, taking the reader into different cultures and times, painting pictures with words in a way that reminded me of a Miyazaki film. The story of Nao (now?) in Japan and Ruth in the Pacific North West echo in and out of each other, with ideas about ageing, and death, mourning, family life, karma, life in the difficult 21st century, creativity and the very odd place that is contemporary Japan. The relationship between Nao and her grandmother is particularly poignant and I loved the sections of the book that take place in the monastery - it gives such a contrasting picture of Japan from Nao's life in downntown Tokyo. It's a book I will return to, I am sure, because there is so much contained in it's pages. A truly remarkable novel and one that I am sure will still be read in decades to come. Ruth Ozeki is a true literary sensei.


Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One
Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One
by Kevin Jackson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Read, 23 Oct. 2012
I love books that teach me things as I read them, without boring on or ramming stuff down my throat. This elegant - and beautifully printed - book does just that. Also, you don't need to read it all in a lump, but can dip in and out as the fancy takes you. It is so wideranging in it's scope, from politics, to literature, film to fashion, that there is always something that you didn't know and just occasionally something that you did, which makes the reader feel clever and erudite; always a plus. Full of arcane detail and real history, it's a wonderful read.


Broadside
Broadside
Offered by mecodu-uk
Price: £6.78

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Bellowhead fails to disappoint, 16 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Broadside (Audio CD)
I always worry that the next new Bellowhead album won't be as good as the last one. But I really ought not to. Another triumph of musicality and dancing. Dancicality, that's what I'd call it. They should have played at the Olympics opening ceremony


Life And Fate
Life And Fate
by Vasiliĭ Semenovich Grossman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20th Century War and Peace, 2 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Life And Fate (Paperback)
What a huge canvas, and how brilliantly it's painted. I'm very glad that was a dramatis personae at the the back though, I did get a bit muddled with the many characters. It's very funny as well as incredibly moving. I read it in 2011 and it's my novel of the year.


Through the Garden Gate - A Diary of the English Countryside with Wildlife Cameraman Stephen de Vere [DVD]
Through the Garden Gate - A Diary of the English Countryside with Wildlife Cameraman Stephen de Vere [DVD]
Dvd ~ British wildlife
Price: £12.36

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wildlife cameraman looks at his own backyard, 10 Jun. 2010
This is a very special film as award winning cameraman Stephen de Vere shows you the natural world that lies just beyond your garden. Beautifully shot and full of intimate detail about the wildlife and his relationship with it, the film is a little gem of a documentary. It's a celebration of the extraordinary nature of ordinary nature and I'd much rather watch it than lions eating things in the Serengeti. I particularly liked the film of the long tailed tits making their magical little nest from gossamer and feathers. Would recommend this to anyone living in the UK who would like to know a little more about their wild neighbours.


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