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The Human Stain
The Human Stain
by Philip Roth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.28

5.0 out of 5 stars a riveting story, 12 Dec. 2011
This review is from: The Human Stain (Paperback)
I had heard about this Philip Roth novel after one of my friends told me about the movie she had seen and how much the story impressed her. I searched for the movie online and one of the results also mentioned the book it was made after, so I decided to read the book first (yes, I'm a book trumps film kind of person).
The second it arrived I plunged into it and was really won over by Philip Roth's narrative style. It's the first book I read by him (and surely not the last one) and the problems of identity, race, racism and war that he tackles all in one book are masterfully woven together in a very dramatic plot. The main character is a university professor who gets kicked out of his teaching position after some students interpret a remark he has made as being racist, even though he was just using the word with an older meaning, one with no insulting connotations (he refers to some students that have been skipping his classes as being "spooks", and he doesn't even know that they are African-American until he gets punished for this misunderstanding).
The love story that also takes place is a haunting one, and page after page you discover why the book is entitled the Human Stain (actually, I find more than one plausible explanation, because each of the important characters, including the Vietnam veteran, has a stain of his own.)
A great thought-provoking read. And now let us see if the movie compares...


The Book of Illusions
The Book of Illusions
by Paul Auster
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars To read and re-read!, 12 Dec. 2011
This review is from: The Book of Illusions (Paperback)
The book of illusions is definitely my favourite Paul Auster novel so far (even though I find them all complete and faultless works of art). It is a dark novel, following the depression of David Zimmer, who tries to channel all his negative energy and his sadness after having lost his wife and two sons in a plane crash into writing a book about the first person who made him feel like he was still alive after the tragic loss.

That person is a black and white, silent film comedian, Hector Mann, who seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth exactly while he had reached the peak of his acting career. Amazed and hypnotized by the skilled man's talents, David Zimmer goes on a quest to see all the existing films which seem to be scattered all over the world, at all kind of film centres. So, using the insurance money he received from the airline company after his relatives`death, he travels to see all the films, writes the most complete book about Hector Mann's career and finds himself later contacted by a woman claiming to be his wife and who says that Hector himself wants to meet up with him.

The book reads like a spellbinding journey to the very core of human suffering and healing, where love can put together even the most broken and seemingly lost human being and art itself is a cathartic process.
A book to read and reread and always discover more layers to, with stories within stories and heart-racing, page turning moments


Galt Toys Paintastics Five Colour Changing Plus Magic Wand
Galt Toys Paintastics Five Colour Changing Plus Magic Wand
Price: £3.77

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great gift, 9 Dec. 2011
I saw these at a friend of mine and decided to buy a set for my nephew and niece. They are ages 5 and 7 and they love drawing (luckily enough for me, because it keeps them quiet and happy for hours on end). So this set provided them with a lot of pleasure and they loved the "magic" quality of the pens and the wand that changes each pen into two other colours.

They are very careful with their drawing utensils, so they always put the caps back on. It is true that, as another review said, they dry up quickly, but only if you leave them without the caps on. It only happened with one of the colours that we lost the cap for.

It's fun to experiment with them and see how the colours change and interact and it is even more fun to see how enthusiastic the kids are about the magic of it all.


The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid: Travels Through my Childhood (Bryson)
The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid: Travels Through my Childhood (Bryson)
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 8 Dec. 2011
A highly enjoyable read mapping Bill Bryson's childhood. It is also an accurate and colourful depiction of the 50's and 60's in a rapidly changing America. With inventions being born every single day, it felt, with breakthroughs changing the world into what we know now. I love Bill Bryson's way of storytelling, always making you immerse yourself into his narratives, seeing everything he describes in detail. He brings back his childhood days and his thoughts back then and makes you fall in love with his adorable character, an imaginative boy who wishes he was a super-hero.

The book is full not only of personal references, but also of historical descriptions, and the two layers of personal and historical facts are interwoven in such a manner that you learn so much about those years in a pleasant way.
I loved the book!


Heelys Rapid Black/Charcoal Size 3
Heelys Rapid Black/Charcoal Size 3

5.0 out of 5 stars A lot of fun for energetic kids, 8 Dec. 2011
Something I always wanted to have but grew a bit out of the age for them...So I did the next best thing: I bought them for my nephew! He loves the idea of being able to switch from walking to skating just by leaning a bit on his heels, and a couple of weeks after he bought these, he already convinced some of his school mates to get some too. So now there's a gang of 8 year olds cruising around the malls in our town, bewildering the little old ladies who don't know how those boys do it.

The best part of it is that they're not only designed to be this hybrid pair of shoes with wheels inside: you can actually detach the wheels and use them as street shoes. We bought them in the charcoal colour and are very happy with the product, seeing as my nephew will soon need a new pair because he's in a growth spurt and already asked if he could get a new pair in his current size.


This Side of Paradise / The Beautiful and Damned (Wordsworth Classics)
This Side of Paradise / The Beautiful and Damned (Wordsworth Classics)
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.50

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 7 Dec. 2011
The novel "this side of paradise" is a very good one and I think is very important for someone studying Fitzgerald. I would certainly buy it and read it. It speaks about a young man who is rich. I read that Fitzgerald's first book is somehow immature and overly sophisticated in its tone but I don't think so necessarily. I think it is very suited with the atmosphere it depicts. It is very artistically written and very interesting.

The novel is full of incidents that are mixed up, sometimes imitating the way life is, just as jumbled. The plot is not clear but this fact only contributes to F. Scott Fitzgerald's intention to makes us feel the chaos and rush that were specific to wealthy Americans. The book has unity and force. The main character Amory Blaine is a symbol of selfishness and is quite despicable for the reader.

I am not a history or sociology expert but I am impressed by the details of that time that the author presents. I would hazard to say it could constitute a social and historical document of that period in America's history, not only this novel but F. Scott Fitzgerald's entire work. I always planned to buy all his books and make a study of America in those troubled crazy times, as seen by a very attentive insider.


Mother Tongue: The English Language
Mother Tongue: The English Language
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A very entertaining history of the English Language, 7 Dec. 2011
This book is an amazing piece of research on the history and sinuous development of the English language. It really opened my mind to the flexible nature of all languages in general, the impact that their relations with other countries have on the structure of the language.
All the chapters are full of all kind of interesting trivia, what various names mean, what several historical figures did to increase the vocabulary of the language... (An excellent example is Shakespeare who invented and adapted hundreds of words and introduced them into the language that we now call English).
I loved the bits of humorous observations Bill Bryson always makes and the way in which he managed to make any kind of scientific or academic knowledge sound fun and enticing.
A very pleasant read for those interested in etymology, history and stories of all kinds told with great talent!


Mertrado DMW-BLD10/10E Battery for Panasonic (850 mAh)
Mertrado DMW-BLD10/10E Battery for Panasonic (850 mAh)
Offered by Das Gute Geschäft
Price: £9.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars works just fine, 6 Dec. 2011
This battery pack for my Panasonic Lumix not only costs a lot less than the original that failed me quite soon after I bought it, but it also works just fine with the original product.
The user who said that it was a waste of his money should just take advantage of the 2 year warranty and return it, since that is possible. I don't see though how his didn't work, since mine hasn't given me any trouble.

I've already used it on my original camera and so far it hasn't shown any signs of being inefficient. Actually, surprisingly, it has worked better than the one I had with the camera. I say surprisingly because I wasn't expecting a replacement to work better than it, especially since the price is considerably lower than that of a Panasonic camera battery.

I'm very happy with it and would recommend it to those looking for a replacement for the Panasonic cameras compatible with it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 12, 2012 9:35 AM BST


Frida [DVD] [2003]
Frida [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Salma Hayek
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully accurate, 6 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Frida [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I loved this movie so much for several reasons: first of all, it is Salma Hayek's ambition which got it produced. She wanted to tell Frida's story and let the people know more about the life of such an interesting artist. Secondly, I am a big fan of Frida Kahlo's paintings and was always fascinated by her life and her way of expressing her pain and sorrow through her paintings. The movie is a brilliant combination of colours and emotions, with a soundtrack to complement the action, and the actors are very credible. Salma really transformed herself into Frida, and the actor playing her lover and husband, Diego Riviera, is also great in his part. Ashley Judd also makes a magical appearance and the dance between her and Frida expresses the sensuality and openness of Frida's personality.
The film doesn't sugar-coat any of the tragic moments in the artist's life: her accident, her spontaneous abortion, her husband's cheating, and her affair with Trotsky.
I loved the whole movie and cannot find any fault. A definite total of 5 stars for it!


The Beautiful and Damned (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Beautiful and Damned (Penguin Modern Classics)
by F Scott Fitzgerald
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Downfall was never this beautifully described, 25 Nov. 2011
This novel, "The Beautiful and the Damned" is, I believe, the second novel written by Fitzgerald. I loved it and I would advise anyone to read it and to buy the book. The main character, Anthony Patch is a young man coming from the good world in America. Fitzgerald is kind of obsessed with the drama of the rich but he is also fascinated by their world, we can easily see that from other novels he wrote, such as The Great Gatsby, "Tender is the night" and many others novels and short stories. Anthony Patch wants to become as rich as possible as soon as possible. He marries a girl just like him, rich and disoriented because he doesn't know what life is all about.

These two characters just drift in a world of laziness and hollowness. They spend their time going to parties and drinking but they do not succeed in having and experiencing any other feeling than fear. They cannot be happy and they go on partying and drinking just to forget about that thought and the fear that comes along with it. Of course, it is predictable that Fitzgerald goes on to show how the character decays somehow while still being alive and how his life and the life of his wife slowly wastes away and how they never make anything out of it, they lack the most basic courage and wisdom to seek and find a meaning for their existence.

This particular edition is also very neatly made and goes well with the content of the book. I recommend it!


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