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Sustainable Supply Chain Management in the Chocolate Industry
Sustainable Supply Chain Management in the Chocolate Industry
by Oliver Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.90

2.0 out of 5 stars Of interest but lacking balance, 20 Oct. 2012
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This is a short seminar paper (16 pages of text) dating to March 2011. It does an efficient job in defining what Supply Chain Management and Sustainable Supply Chain Management are, and their growing importance for business and in a political context. Further, the summary of the chocolate industry and supply chain for the industry is succinct and informative. However, where the paper falls apart for me is when the author addresses how to implement Sustainable Supply Chain Management in the chocolate industry. Fair Trade (not defined) is suggested as the obvious way forward. However, no mention is made of alternative models such as the Rainforest Alliance approach, despite the fact that the author identifies some issues with Fair Trade. Finally, it is unrealistic to look solely to chocolate companies to improve the situation without also making some reference to the fundamental requirement for improved political stability in the countries in which cacao is grown.


A Rage in Harlem (Penguin Modern Classics)
A Rage in Harlem (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Chester Himes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vibrant and vicious classic, 12 Mar. 2012
In "A Rage in Harlem" the reader is immersed in a 1950's town full of vivid characters, of depth, culture, atmosphere and ever present danger. This is a world in which black Americans exist in a parallel universe from their white compatriots, a world in which the only whites we see are cops; habitually arrogant but with not a glimmer of understanding of the subtle sophistication of Harlem. The novel focuses on an undertaker's driver, Jackson, who, driven by a desire to keep his girlfriend in the manner in which she would like to be accustomed, is duped by a criminal gang who purport to turn $10 dollar bills into 100's. It all goes horribly wrong and Jackson, in essence a straightforward and honest working man, gets sucked into the Harlem underworld; a world where no one is as they seem and where extreme violence is casually accepted. This is the book in which Chester Himes introduces his famous black detectives, Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones, but in fact their roles are subsidiary here to that of Jackson, a man whose ever more desperate attempts to keep one step ahead of the law and the bullet, keeps the reader gripped to the end.


Shakespeare on Toast: Getting a Taste for the Bard
Shakespeare on Toast: Getting a Taste for the Bard
by Ben Crystal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare 1 Iambic Pentameter 0, 4 Mar. 2012
I liked the idea of being able to understand Shakespeare more easily than before, to find him more accessible and, frankly, less hard work. Does "Shakespeare on Toast" achieve this? I think it does, for the most part. The success of the book comes in placing Shakespeare in historical context, in being able to understand the kind of theatre and the kind of audience he was writing for, of what plays meant in a world where very few people could write and where very few pictorial representations of life existed. It was fascinating to learn about how the structure of Shakespeare's verse contained strong directions to his actors (in a time where no actor would have ever have had a full text, nor a Director to guide him) as to how to deliver the lines to best effect, including when to pause, when to stress something, when to slow down, or speed up. The difficulty in Shakespeare still remains that although only 5% of words used are unknown today, that is still quite a lot. Further, the complexity of Shakespeare's sentences, aligned to the fact that plenty of the words we do know have a slighly different meaning from 400 years ago, means that reading, or listening, to Shakespeare, requires an effort of concentration that not even this book can entirely remove. One last point, although Shakespeare apparently wrote mostly in "iambic pentameter", I don't think I really needed to understand its technicalities any more than for any other playwright; it is sufficient to have had explained to me how Shakespeare played with his verse structure to maximise its effect, without knowing what the technical terminology was behind it. Overall, a worthwhile and educational read.


Thank You, Jeeves: (Jeeves & Wooster)
Thank You, Jeeves: (Jeeves & Wooster)
by P.G. Wodehouse
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Thank you P.G., 4 Mar. 2012
The first Jeeves and Wooster novel, as opposed to collection of short stories, finds Jeeves having parted company with Bertie over the latter's recently taken up pastime of banjo playing. Bertie's landlord and fellow tenants are also less than keen on Bertie's playing, so Bertie jumps at the chance of staying in a cottage on Chuffy Chufnell's estate, where he can strum to his heart's content. Matters soon become complicated however when the Stokers arrive on the scene. Bertie was briefly engaged to Pauline Stoker, and her father, a rich American magnate, hates Bertie's guts. Pop Stoker has decided to buy Chuffy's crumbling estate for use as a sanitorium by Sir Roderick Glossop (well known nerve specialist). Honoria Glossop is another of Bertie's exes and not only does Sir Roderick despise Bertie, but he also thinks him certifiable. To add further complications, Chuffy is deeply in love with Pauline Stoker (a mutual love) but is too principled to propose until he has the money from the sale of his estate. He is not too pleased to find that Bertie was previously attached to her, and even less pleased to hear of Bertie's kissing her (as part of a Wooster plan to make him jealous and so propose more quickly). Pop Stoker is also appalled by the thought that his daughter might still be in love with Wooster, and he is man prone to violence! As everything disintegrates in a series of escalating misunderstandings Jeeves, now in Chuffy's employment, brings his masterly (and somewhat scheming) intellect to bear in order to save the day, and Bertie's neck. A thoroughly enjoyable read.


The Story of English: How the English language conquered the world
The Story of English: How the English language conquered the world
by Philip Gooden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful addition to the canon, 4 Mar. 2012
I'm not quite sure why Philip Gooden decided to call his book "The Story Of English" when there is already an excellent book by Robert McCrum of the same title, linked to a TV series from around 25 years ago. That being said, this book is a useful addition to the canon on language history. Gooden simplifies matters by looking at the development of English under broad headings, corresponding to well known periods of European or British history. He is good on how spelling has changed over the years, how English has taken in many words from other languages, and how it is non-mother tongue countries that are now driving its development. I suggest that if you are interested in the subject you read this book, along with McCrum's, and Bill Bryson's "Mother Tongue".


A Study in Scarlet (Penguin Classics)
A Study in Scarlet (Penguin Classics)
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Origin of the species, 3 Mar. 2012
Sherlock Holmes has always just been there, an instantaneously recognisable character such as, for example, is James Bond. Any yet, I had no idea of his origins before reading this, the first book in the series. In "A Study In Scarlet" we learn of how Dr Watson (recently invalided out of the army after being injured in Afghanistan), links up with Holmes (carrying out experiments in a University laboratory but apparently not a full time student), in their mutual search for low cost but respectable lodgings. Holmes is already training himself to be a master detective, and is already known to the police as a useful source to be consulted, but as yet has won no public fame. Watson, initially skeptical about Holmes's powers of deduction (but fascinated by his somewhat eccentric character), is quickly won over as the police bring him in to assist with the baffling murder of an American gentleman in an empty London house; a murder with no apparent reason or cause. A significant part of the book thereafter is taken up with the history leading up to the murder, something which, to my surprise, takes us back to Salt Lake City and the Mormon religion. The result of this is that the book reads like an adventure story and a detective story, rolled in to one. Once Holmes solves the murder he then explains to Watson why, although on the surface this was a difficult case to crack, it was easy for him. And so the book ends with Holmes providing the reader with a clear explanation of his techniques of detection; techniques that will ultimately bring fame to both he and his creator, Conan Doyle. An excellent start to the series.


To War with Wellington: From the Peninsula to Waterloo
To War with Wellington: From the Peninsula to Waterloo
by Peter Snow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brings to life Wellington's campaigns against Napoleon, 29 Feb. 2012
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What I love about this book is the way that Peter Snow intercuts the story of Wellington's military campaigns against Napoleon with the individual stories of those who served with him, from privates to generals. Thus the book becomes an intimate history that draws the reader in; I cared for the characters involved and wanted to know what happened to them. Further, by weaving the tales of real serving soldiers into the narrative the reader gets a tremendous sense of what it must have been like to serve in the army of the time and to fight in battle (brutal and terrifying). Peter Snow has infused his history of Wellington with all the natural enthusiasm he has displayed on televison over the years, but without the histrionics. He would make a wonderful history teacher, and this well researched and beautifully flowing history should be on any reading list for students (of all ages) of the period.


A Tale of Two Cities (Wordsworth Classics)
A Tale of Two Cities (Wordsworth Classics)
by Charles Dickens
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most powerful endings of any book, 14 Feb. 2012
A book about the lead up to the French Revolution, and its consequences, A Tale Of Two Cities is a Dickens novel that dispenses with embroidered language and concentrates on action and the delivery of a strong moral message. The French aristocrats are portrayed as sneering and evil (with exceptions) and treat the poor as scarcely human. However, once the Revolution occurs the masses prove to be just as evil in their own way. The novel concentrates on a handful of key characters, all of whom are interlinked by marriage, friendship, or servitude. Key to the book is the fate of Charles Darnay, a young French aristocrat who moved to England well before the Revolution, anglicised his name, renounced his title, and earned his living honestly as a teacher. He is married to the only daughter of a French doctor who spent 18 years locked in the Bastille without charge - a victim of the old aristocratic regime. Darnay's life is placed in deep peril when he rushes to France to come to the aid of a former servant who has been thrown in prison. Despite Darnay's condemnation of the old regime he is nevertheless viewed as part of it. Can he possibly be saved by the ingenuity of a dissolute but keenly intelligent English barrister whose help some years back secured Darnay's release from an English court (and certain death) on a trumped up charge of spying for the French? I won't spoil the plot, but the ending of the book is one of the most powerful, memorable and moving pieces of writing I have ever come across.


Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria
Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria
by Noo Saro-Wiwa
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars An eye opening view of Nigeria, 31 Jan. 2012
The sign of a good book is that it sticks in the mind after reading it. When I read the book a few weeks ago I wasn't sure about how good it was; despite the vibrant and chaotic land being described there were points where I found the narrative just a touch dull. However, the stories of modern Nigeria, with its natural beauty, amazing music, and cultural richness and diversity, contrasted with urban ruin, violence, and endemic corruption, have left a powerful impression in my mind. As a Nigerian but, having been brought up in the UK, an outsider in Nigeria, Noo Saro-Wiwa makes a good guide around a well known but little studied country. Well worth the read.


Stop What You're Doing And Read This!
Stop What You're Doing And Read This!
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best bits are inspirational, 31 Jan. 2012
As an avid reader it was a given that I would read this book. The benefits of reading, both for pleasure and as a source of lifelong learning and discovery, simply cannot be overestimated. That being said, having read the book I struggled with whether to award it five stars or three, eventually compromising on four. Five stars because the concept of the book is fantastic, and what could be better than having eleven leading writers share the joys of what reading means to them with the reader. Three stars because, and this is perhaps inevitable with a multi-authored book, some writers' styles appeal to me more than others, even when they are writing about a subject that I hold dear. However, my recommendation is that you do read the book as the best bits are inspirational (although your best bits may differ from mine!)


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