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Ichabod J (Farleigh Wallop, Hampshire)
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How to be Interesting
How to be Interesting
by David Gillespie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

29 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How to smell a rat, 18 April 2013
This review is from: How to be Interesting (Paperback)
This must be a truly inspiring book.

It's prompted a whole string of new reviewers to put fingers to keyboard for the very first time and they've all given it five stars.

It's almost unbelievable how good this must be.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2013 12:21 AM BST


Mary and O'Neil
Mary and O'Neil
by Justin Cronin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pre-Passage literary family drama, 24 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Mary and O'Neil (Paperback)
Fans of `The Passage' seeking out Cronin's earlier work expecting more of the same may get a surprise with this one. `Mary & O'Neil' is a resolutely literary novel, a study of family relationships told through eight interconnected stories.

The tales span the years 1979 to 2000 and detail the significant events that occur in the lives of the title characters and their families and friends. The book's central theme is the cycle of Life - growing up, marriage, birth and death are all covered (though not necessarily in that order).

This is an elegantly written, sedately paced work; although not one for those who like non-stop action, the universal themes will resonate with most readers. The episodic structure works well as it enables different characters to take a turn centre stage and in some ways reflects how we actually mark the lives of others - noticing births, deaths and marriages without always knowing what happens between these milestones.

Overall, a thoughtful work that is recommended.


Fitness-Mad Studio Pro 500Kg Swiss Ball & Pump
Fitness-Mad Studio Pro 500Kg Swiss Ball & Pump
Price: £19.95

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy product, 19 Nov. 2010
There's only so much one can say about an exercise ball. Key plus for this one is that it will support plenty of weight. I'm 190lbs and have used fairly heavy weights whilst lying/sitting on this. It hasn't burst yet! Nor has it ever felt as if it's under undue strain.

I've had to top it up with air fairly frequently, but it's been used daily, so some deflation is to be expected and the hand pump provided is easy to use.

All in all, if you're after a decent exercise ball, especially one suitable for weights work, this is a good choice.


The Cobra
The Cobra
by Frederick Forsyth
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacks bite, 19 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Cobra (Hardcover)
Forsyth defined a genre with `The Day of the Jackal' but this novel does not scale the heights of that tale. `The Cobra' tells the story of a US backed attempt to stamp out the blight of the international cocaine trade once and for all. The title character is Paul Devereaux, an enigmatic, tight-lipped sort who is put in charge of the operation, given two billion dollars and carte blanche to take the Colombian drug lords on at their own game and unleash a violent assault on their industry. (Curiously, Devereaux himself then barely figures in the narrative until the end; instead, we follow the exploits of his sidekick Cal Dexter and various other supporting operatives.)

Like all Forsyth's books, this is meticulously researched and very informative. The anti-cocaine campaign he describes seems just about credible, but too much of the story is devoted to descriptions of logistical detail, including endless cataloguing of the military equipment used to fight the baddies. This is a book that quartermasters will love. It's a relentlessly macho tale with a pretty much all-male, square-jawed cast; no harm in that but the plot doesn't provide sufficient thrills to make up for the lack of any decent characterisation.

Forsyth's clipped, journalistic prose is always easy to read so this is a book one can get through quickly. Which is just as well: the ending when it arrives is somewhat implausible and left me rather bemused. Overall, `The Cobra' is readable, but not memorable. Readers who've tried Forsyth before may be a bit disappointed with this one; readers who haven't would be well advised to sample his earlier works instead.


Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed
Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed
by Robert Sellers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compendium of drunken anecdotes, 2 July 2009
If you enjoy hearing about other peoples' inebriated exploits, this book will be a complete treat. Burton, O'Toole, Harris and Reed certainly drank a lot so there are numerous stories of their madcap antics whilst under the influence. On one level, this is jolly funny. However, as others have already said, it does get a bit repetitive and whilst I like a drink as much as the next bloke (not the subjects of this work however), there is an underlying sense that these 'hellraisers' can't have been that much fun to be around.
Sellers delivers the narrative with laddish zeal, but the book is actually light on why these actors felt compelled to knock it back with such dedication. Was it as a consequence of being tortured creative artists, egomaniacs or just plain old-fashioned alcoholics? You may be left wondering, but ultimately not caring.
Worth a read for the funny stories; if nothing else, you'll be able to recount some of them in the pub where they'll probably get a laugh. Just don't expect to read well-rounded biographies - this is specifically a history of drinking and drunkenness.


City of Thieves
City of Thieves
by David Benioff
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Siege of Leningrad quest tale, 4 Jun. 2009
This review is from: City of Thieves (Paperback)
'City of Thieves' is a well-crafted and entertaining novel. It's set during the WW2 Siege of Leningrad and tells the story of two young men, Lev, arrested for looting, and Kolya, arrested for desertion, who are sent on an impossible mission - to find a dozen eggs for a Colonel's daughter's wedding cake, the reward to be their freedom.
A quest against improbable odds is one of the oldest themes in storytelling. This particular quest too, although absurd, has its share of trials that the protaganists must overcome to succeed. Although the tone is often light, the experiences the two young men have, and the very nature of their quest itself, are used to show the reader how cheap and debased life is during wartime.
This is a slickly written and very readable book, as one would expect from an author well known for his screenwriting credits. Indeed, it would be surprising if this story isn't adapted for film as it's a damned fine yarn that would transpose well to the screen.
This novel depicts an appalling but fascinating moment in history; by focusing on the friendship between two characters thrown together, Benioff has cleverly produced a novel that shows us all the horror and human cost of war. Recommended.


Mad Detective [Masters of Cinema] [2007] [DVD]
Mad Detective [Masters of Cinema] [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lau Ching Wan
Offered by records_discs
Price: £9.67

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 19 Mar. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've not really seen that much Asian cinema so wasn't sure what to expect from this film. Obviously popular, as it was the year's biggest grosser in HK, I was impressed nonetheless.
A straightforward detective mystery is given an intriguing twist by the main character's ability to see other people's innermost thoughts and desires. The story is told using some innovative techniques and it's well shot and acted. It won't be to everyone's taste, but if you want to try something a bit different, this is worth a go.


City of Thieves
City of Thieves
by David Benioff
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Siege of Leningrad quest tale, 2 Feb. 2009
This review is from: City of Thieves (Hardcover)
'City of Thieves' is a well-crafted and entertaining novel. It's set during the WW2 Siege of Leningrad and tells the story of two young men, Lev, arrested for looting, and Kolya, arrested for desertion, who are sent on an impossible mission - to find a dozen eggs for a Colonel's daughter's wedding cake, the reward to be their freedom.
A quest against improbable odds is one of the oldest themes in storytelling. This particular quest too, although absurd, has its share of trials that the protaganists must overcome to succeed. Although the tone is often light, the experiences the two young men have, and the very nature of their quest itself, are used to show the reader how very cheap and debased life is during wartime.
This is a slickly written and very readable book, as one would expect from an author well known for his screenwriting credits. Indeed, it would be surprising if this story isn't adapted for film as it's a damned fine yarn that would transpose well to the screen.
This novel depicts an appalling but fascinating moment in history; by focusing on the friendship between two characters thrown together, Benioff has cleverly produced a novel that shows us all the horror and human cost of war. Recommended.
PS. Amazon's product description seems to relate mainly to Benioff's collection of short stories 'When the Eights Roll Over', rather than this work. 'City of Thieves' is a novel, not short stories.


A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound
A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound
by John Irving
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Curate's Egg from Irving, 19 Dec. 2008
It's been pointed out elsewhere that the story in this book has been taken from Irving's novel 'A Widow for One Year'. In the novel, it has been written by a children's author character who has lost his two young sons, and whose marriage is imploding under the weight of grief and blame.
Away from the context of its tragic novel source, this little tale may seem odd and slightly unsettling. Having said which, it's beautifully illustrated and my four year old daughter (who hasn't read the novel!) finds it utterly intriguing, probably because it's different to most kids picture books. I wouldn't agree that it's too disturbing for young minds; if anything, its depiction of children being troubled by their own imaginations may resonate with many youngsters and help to show them how the imagination can play tricks.


Canon SC-DC55A Traditional Black Leather Case For PowerShot G9
Canon SC-DC55A Traditional Black Leather Case For PowerShot G9

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and practical, 25 Nov. 2008
This is a really nice camera case that houses a G9 perfectly, yet allows quick and full access to all controls when unclipped. It makes a huge difference having a proper case that you don't have to extract your camera from before taking a shot.
As others have said, it has a pleasing traditional look and feel which will only be enhanced through use; it's of sturdy construction too. Overall, recommended if you use your G9 a lot and want to look after it properly. Only possible gripe is the price - yes, it's a tad pricy for a wee case, and there are cheaper options but if you've invested in a G9 and want it protected in a practical, stylish way, it's money well spent.


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