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Karl McCann

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The Woman Who Walked Into Doors
The Woman Who Walked Into Doors
by Roddy Doyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced, character-driven, thought-provoking stuff, 4 Mar. 2005
Roddy Doyle's heavy use of Dublin vernacular in the Barrytown Trilogy of comedies masks one of the best features of his writing - his characterization. With The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, Roddy Doyle demonstrates just how effective he is in developing characters. The fact that he writes the novel from the perspective of a woman makes this all the more impressive.
The book is not cheerful, though it is certainly funny in places. There is plenty to think about around the novel - background characters such as Paula's father, her mother, her delinquent son left me wondering what role these had on Paula, and her influence on them. The story is one of a journey, and at the end you are forced to consider just how far she has come. In that sense, Doyle leaves enough room for the ending to be inconclusive - Is Paula Spencer's tale of triumph, or of despair?

Playing the Moldovans at Tennis
Playing the Moldovans at Tennis
by Tony Hawks
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Entertaining Read, 18 Jun. 2002
I read this book on holidays, and it was a great pleasure to read Tony's tale as I discovered another country myself. His ability to characterise people, places and situations is fantastic, and I found his humour, attitude and resillience refreshing. The twist at the end was excellent.
Buy that man a drink!

7 Steps to Fearless Speaking
7 Steps to Fearless Speaking
by Lilyan Wilder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.68

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best for first-timers, 15 Jan. 2002
Worth reading if public speaking is not your thing. The book takes the reader through seven stages including breathing, confidence, etc.
The author is an accomplished trainer in the area, and she gets her points across very well with many anecdotal illustrations. However at some points these stories are overdone - I found that as I read through for a second time I could skip large sections.
More of a beginners book to inspire first timers than anything that would improve experienced speakers.

John Lennon: A Story in Photographs (Icons of Rock)
John Lennon: A Story in Photographs (Icons of Rock)
by Terry Burrows
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Comprehensive Brief of Lennon's Life, 28 Dec. 2001
This book is constructed as follows - full size photo followed by one page of related text, all arranged in chronological order from Lennon's birth through to his assassination.
In this way the reader gets a real feel for the order and atmosphere of Lennon's and The Beatles journey; the quality of the photographs and the informative nature of the text compliment each other.
One limit of the approach here is that minor and major events are treated equally - and so there is a fullpage on 1940's Liverpool into which John was born, and an equal amount of space for more weighty events such as the break-up of The Beatles including the infamous Lennon / McCarthy rows.
To be fair to Burrows: This book does not claim to be a detailed biography; it does claim to be a life story in pictures of John Lennon. And this is where it succeeds. I cannot see how any fan of either Lennon or of the Beatles could not enjoy this book.

Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates
Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates
by Tom Robbins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 11 Dec. 2001
First off, I have to admit - I am not quite finished Fierce Invalids. In fact I am something short of half way through.
But I can say that this book brilliantly written, hilariously funny and entirely engaging read. Switters, the central character is hapless, intelligent, sorted yet slightly twisted, and altogether eccentric. Other characters Maestro, Case, Putney, and undoubtedly the others I have yet to meet are equally abnormal.
Before I even finish this book, I can recommend you purchase Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates.

Unreliable Memoirs: Autobiography (Picador Books)
Unreliable Memoirs: Autobiography (Picador Books)
by Clive James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 11 Dec. 2001
I picked this book up for three reasons - I had read some of Clives work previously and enjoyed it, I have always loved his style and dry wit on TV, and I had lived for a time in Sydney, Australia.
Unreliable Memoirs is an excellent illustration of Clives humour, and a bright insight into a Syndey that once was.
Altogether funny, Clive builds up episodes and explodes them with a sardonic punchline. The general advice is to read this book alone - not because you can't suppress laughter in public, but you won't be able to suppress surprise!
I am looking forward to completing the other two books in this trilogy.

Wild Justice
Wild Justice
by Phillip M. Margolin
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced thriller, 25 Sept. 2001
This review is from: Wild Justice (Paperback)
There is one thing certain about this book - you will solve the mystery of the plot quite early in the plot. Then you will solve it again. And again. And again.
The book is built in a suspenseful way that is designed to bring the reader along an exciting path of deception, involvement, attachment and empathy with the books central characters.
When you reach the end and see the knitting of the story, you will appreciate the craft of the book, and of Margolins storytelling. A brilliant read that will keep you on the edge of your seat, if this book has one fault it is this: perhaps reality is stretched.
But then, this is fiction at its best.

Slovenia (Lonely Planet Travel Guides)
Slovenia (Lonely Planet Travel Guides)
by Stephen Fallon
Edition: Paperback

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide to a great country, 25 Sept. 2001
I have been raving about Slovenia to all my friends and colleagues since I came back about 3 weeks ago. If you are thinking of going, then the Lonely planet Guide to Slovenia is an excellent place to start.
I have found that guidebooks for other countries I have visited to be sometimes brief, or lacking full details. This guide, on the other hand, gives the reader a comprehensive introduction to the country, its history, culture and people, as well as describing the various attractions and locations with great accuracy.
I would recommend reading this book in the run up to your holiday, as well as during your holiday. Slovenia is a unique place that repays a little advance research handsomely.

Tell No One
Tell No One
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Audio Cassette

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rollercoast ride, 17 Sept. 2001
This review is from: Tell No One (Audio Cassette)
This book is an excellent, fast paced, twisting and winding tale. The characters and plot are plausible and tie the listener in until you are involved in the story.
The story throws up many surprises, and I lost count of the number of suspected culprits as I went along.
An enjoyable thriller.

Kitchen Confidential
Kitchen Confidential
by Anthony Bourdain
Edition: Paperback

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Rock 'n' Roll" Autobiography, 16 Sept. 2001
This review is from: Kitchen Confidential (Paperback)
Kitchen Confidential is Rock 'n' Roll. Set mainly in the New York, Bourdain's life story gives a compelling inside track into that cities restaurant business - a story that manages to be at times personal, at times practical, and at times shocking.
Part of the power of this book is the contrast - between the sophisticated, expensive and respectful dining on the outside, and the tough, base and desperate backdrop in the kitchen.
Bourdain skilfully introduces misfits, subcultures, norms, observances and rituals in a personal, narrative style. This book is so appealling and memorable because the central character - the author - is an engaging, honest and distinctive storyteller, and it's tale is one of real human interest.
The writer and his characters will remain with you after the book; expect to find yourself considering a trip to Les Halles Brassiere on your next trip to New York. Well Worth Buying.

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