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enthusiast (West Wales)

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Splashed!: A Life from Print to Panorama
Splashed!: A Life from Print to Panorama
by Tom Mangold
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is no turnip!, 13 Dec. 2016
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Super book - always enjoyed Tom Mangold in his glory days at Panorama; and this book shifts from serious to light hearted without a flicker. Finish a chapter and want to read the next. His anecdotes are funny and there are many insights into the BBC, reporting, his admiration for other colleagues (and a few sly digs at others!), and the mad world we live in. Was recently disappointed that Ken Clarke's Kind of Blue failed to live up to my expectations; this didn't - and to complete that comparison he has a lovely story about Ken Clarke (much to KC's credit it should be said) flying in to see a coca plantation in Colombia when Home Secretary, being advised that they should not land because FARC rebels were in the vicinity, but insisting that they should. Having seen the plantation, he chased off into the forest in twitching pursuit of a lesser spotted whatever, much to the horror of his besuited minder. And his National Service stories are the proverbial hoot. what a super book to read on a grey, wet December day. Highly commended.


Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir
Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir
by Ken Clarke
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant enough but not five stars, 13 Dec. 2016
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I looked forward to reading this, hoping it would be one of the highlights of the year - but sadly I felt that the book lacked edge and drive; a sense that such a book should be written but without a compelling urge to write it. It is a bit matter of fact at times and I would have hoped for something more reflective and analytical. Ken Clarke has been one of the better politicians of my generation but I wonder how the book would come over to someone who had no notion of his reputation or admiration for his civilising influence on political discourse. I enjoyed reading it but hoped for something better - hence the four stars.


Inside Story: Politics, Intrigue and Treachery from Thatcher to Brexit
Inside Story: Politics, Intrigue and Treachery from Thatcher to Brexit
by Philip Webster
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High Hopes dashed, 15 Nov. 2016
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I was rather disappointed in the end. The insights were few and the anecdotes hardly rib-tickling. There are annoying repetitions - eg we are told on more than one occasion that Jim Naughtie was ex Guardian - at times it is as though we have a series of separate pieces rather than an integrated and reflective book. As I read it I began to feel that I understood Brexit and Trump rather better - here was a political insider who gives absolutely no sense of understanding of the world beyond his little bubble of splashes and insider trading. The prose style is hardly elegant and it was surprisingly a bit of a pot boiler for someone at the end of a distinguished career. Sorry Philip, but on a worse day it might even have been two stars. High hopes dashed.


Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter
Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter
by Peter Singer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.59

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An easy read but less challenging than I had hoped, 24 Oct. 2016
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I have been a tad disappointed with this collection of short pieces - some I felt were almost potboilers and lacked much edge or challenge. An easy read because generally well written, but not as stimulating as I had hoped.


Beethoven for a Later Age: The Journey of a String Quartet
Beethoven for a Later Age: The Journey of a String Quartet
by Edward Dusinberre
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of insight, musical and professional., 7 Mar. 2016
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Full of insight, musical and professional. I wondered what to expect and was really quite bowled over by the clever way in which Dusenberre interweaves the problems of playing Beethoven string quartets with the dynamics of a small and highly focussed group of musicians. It probably helps to enjoy the quartets to which he refers, and to listen to them to better understand some of the musical issues he raises; but despite being challenging at times, it is in the best of senses an easy read for a topic which might be seen as esoteric. Intriguing insights too into the negotiations amongst the players as to how pieces might be played; and the ways in which new members are absorbed into such a tight-knit group.
I'm slightly baffled that having bought it from Wordery via the Amazon website, for just over a tenner, it is now being trailed by Amazon for £21.40 to be published in May. American/English editions?


Cooking in Ten Minutes: or the Adaptation to the Rhythm of Our Time
Cooking in Ten Minutes: or the Adaptation to the Rhythm of Our Time
by Edouard De Pomiane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 'Very dated and at times dull', 14 Jan. 2016
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Very disappointing indeed; another of your reviewers described the recipes as 'very dated and at times dull'; I agree. They were also very repetitious and I'm afraid I couldn't find one that inspired. With writers such as Nigel Slater around, Real Fast Food and the like, we are now blessed with many sources of inspiration including food from around the world. This will go straight to the charity shop, I fear.


Heath Robinson: Wonderful Contraptions and Extraordinary Inventions
Heath Robinson: Wonderful Contraptions and Extraordinary Inventions
by William Heath Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful indeed, 10 Mar. 2015
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What a joy this book is - it has been enjoyed by everyone in the family from the five year old grandson up. Its gentle humour, its ingenuity is very special. Well produced and great value for money in every respect.


Karrimor Bodmin Low IV Weathertite, Men Low Rise Hiking Shoes
Karrimor Bodmin Low IV Weathertite, Men Low Rise Hiking Shoes
Price: £28.60 - £75.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Bargain shoes in the best of senses, 5 Mar. 2015
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Incredibly good value - remarkably well made for the price. I would not agree that in the words of some reviewers they are 'totally waterproof' - I live in West Wales where it knows how to be seriously wet! - but for most purposes they do keep feet dry. I wouldn't commend them for heavy duty use - although I went up Pen y Fan in a pair - but for gardening, walking, going to a match etc they are excellent. Don't seem to need wearing in and despite having wide feet with high instep I have none of the usual problems with shoes bought online. Hardly style leaders but that is not what they are about!


The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
by Daniel Levitin
Edition: Hardcover

20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Information Overload indeed!, 4 Feb. 2015
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I bought this after hearing Mr Levitin on Start the Week. The puff suggested that it was exquisitely written. Sadly not - it is long winded and if we live in age of Information Overload, this is indeed a contributor to that problem. There are flashes of interest and insight but there are too many platitudes and statements of the obvious to add much to our understanding of the human condition. I was hoping for better. I am at p 212 and close to losing the will to go further.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2015 11:48 AM BST


Tiny Stations
Tiny Stations
by Dixe Wills
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whimsical without becoming too contrived., 19 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Tiny Stations (Hardcover)
Whimsical without becoming too contrived. Wills uses his stations in some ways as an excuse to write about things other than the stations itself. It's not a guidebook and there are some wonderful moments eg as he describes the problem of standing on an empty platform trying not to 'loiter' since this is forbidden by statute. Strangely the least good section is right at the end - but in no way does it lessen the quality of the book. It will come as a pleasant surprise for those who do not see themselves as 'railway enthusiasts' - indeed some of them might like more 'railway stuff'. Gentle, inspiring in little ways. A Christmas gift which has given unexpectedly significant pleasure.


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