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Craigmeister

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The Icon Painter
The Icon Painter
Price: £3.55

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Someone who knows the craft, 31 May 2014
This review is from: The Icon Painter (Kindle Edition)
I think I breathed a sigh of relief when I began reading this. It was apparent quickly that the guy really knew what he was doing - someone who's a career writer with some prestigious awards, etc. If anyone's read my horrible experience with my last read (just goes to show what Booker means...) - they'll understand! The preface is very technical and demands concentration but should itself probably be on the curriculum of every University creative writing course.
Took me a little while to settle into the unusual approach of constructing the book around e mail conversations but I think that's because I wasn't expecting it - I felt that could have been highlighted (as a positive point, actually) in the spiel on Amazon.
This isn't a light read, nor is it heavy - if you sit down and immerse yourself in it it's rewarding and utterly convincing - you actually feel these people have moved to this island and been through these things. They're intelligent characters and as a result their observations are intelligent. INteresting historical detail that demonstrates high grade research is woven effortlessly in. First book I've read by this guy and yet he's written quite a few it seems. Possibly an unsung hero of Brit lit.


Ancient Greek Myths
Ancient Greek Myths
by James Ford
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, 26 May 2014
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This review is from: Ancient Greek Myths (Paperback)
This book is a fun and interesting way of either reminding oneself about these fantastic stories or teaching kids. Fun pictures, nicely written with a nice balance of detail, etc


Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection (Digitally Remastered) [DVD]
Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection (Digitally Remastered) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Basil Rathbone
Offered by Direct Entertainment Supplies
Price: £17.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely a yes for Sherlock fans, even if you already have some of the Rathbone collection, 26 May 2014
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Rathbone is the best Sherlock just like Connery WAS Bond. An dthe UCLA crowd have done an amazing job of restoration.


The Thief Of Bagdad [1924] [DVD]
The Thief Of Bagdad [1924] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julanne Johnston
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £10.69

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok but..., 26 May 2014
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...get the version which uses Rimsky Korsakov's Scherezade. Trust me on this and then it will be a beautiful, surreal experience
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 10, 2015 11:17 PM GMT


Never Let Me Go
Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars OMG please let this unrelenting grind of style over substance end..., 26 May 2014
This review is from: Never Let Me Go (Paperback)
Oh, first of all, some spoilers here folks. But really, the biggest spoiler is devoting the time to actually completing what became a total yawn fest but hey, it's your call....

I couldn't decide whether to call this review 'Style over substance' or just 'OMG let it end...' - so I combined the two. I hope you like that. This book was recommended to me because I have been known to enjoy the odd, well thought out, character driven science fiction psychological thriller and when I first started it, I was encouraged and excited. It drew me in with the odd subtle promise of dark and thrilling things. The relaxed prose, full of random and well-observed detail made me think that when the reveals came and the plot takes off, I'd easily be able to allow myself to be carried along with it. So I committed to the book, and I can't tell you the exact point at which it started to really annoy me - but it was no later than the half way point. Probably quite a bit before.

Lots of problems:

1) A certain self conscious pretentiousness? Look at me everyone, not only am I writing as a woman in the first person but look how I'm describing these little details in a beautiful way.....to which one must say, yes, you are, but please, get over it? Stop spending entire paragraphs talking about what sort of particular fence was stopping you from entering a field and how your friend sometimes chose not to endorse you on some trivial matter that only the previous day you'd been bonding over - like a piece of rubbish you saw in a puddle. (And no, I didn't make that one up...)

2) Huge issues simply ignored. These clones are very intelligent, self aware. They're indistinguishable from non-clones and yet they just accept their fates? No one decides 'f*** this' I'm outta here?' OK I know my language is flippant but it really is the basis of my frustration and it's not just that there was some great thriller waiting to leap out from this book (which obviously wasn't the writer's aim) - it's just that these are questions these clones WOULD HAVE ASKED. Instead they just bumble around accepting their fates? Also, if not them, then some normal humans would have questioned the whole issue of donations, in the same way that we have strong animal rights movements.

3) There are other problems but I just can't be bothered. I feel like I've subjected myself to some angsty teenage girl's diary that had a 0.1% content element of something else. To say I feel soiled or violated by that would be an exaggeration but I may have to go and over compensate by reading a Dan Brown or something, instead of the Faulks I was looking forward to....
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 14, 2014 5:06 PM GMT


Canton Elegy
Canton Elegy
by Stephen Jin-Nom Lee & Howard Webster
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, engaging, easy read, 9 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Canton Elegy (Hardcover)
I wasn't sure how much I'd like this book but it was recommended by a trusted source so I ordered. I found it a really fast read (in a good way) actually. One family's fortunes (& misfortunes, tragedy and near tragedy) told through the eyes of the father, doing the best he can in a period of history that is interesting - in a way which is both devastating and fascinating at the same time: pre & during WW2 China (before it was a superpower of course) getting terribly treated by Japan and then heading into Mao's Communist reign and starting to treat its own people terribly. Lots of fascinating incidental details and randomness of events make the book's validity very convincing. Some of the events were extraordinary but it was extraordinary times - to survive them one needed a dose of the extraordinary - now I get that. I think the professors at Berkeley have added it to their lecture source/background reading material for subjects related to American/Chinese history. Recommended - you feel like you're learning but without effort since you're engaged in the course of this man's life. Should be a film.


The Chrysalids /The Day of the Triffids
The Chrysalids /The Day of the Triffids
by John Coles Notes Staff Wyndham
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misguiding title, 30 April 2013
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I thought I was ordering an old library copy of Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids but instead I got a set of study notes. If you look under the title you see in tiny letters 'published by Coleridge' because apparently that means I'm supposed to know it's a set of study notes - misleading. Disappointed.


Pathfinder: A Special Forces Mission Behind Enemy Lines
Pathfinder: A Special Forces Mission Behind Enemy Lines
by David Blakeley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Most definitely a 'yes', 1 Mar. 2013
I must confess to being a bit sceptical when a friend recommended I read this. It's been ten years & I kind of thought all the best books had come out about this war - and said so. I'm ex-forces and like the genre but not so much I can suffer an average or worse book - esp as I'm normally a slow reader. So I was wrong and I'm big enough to write my penance! The book was excellent on all levels and really swept me into his world and carried me along. Obviously the events/story = v strong & truly edge of the seat stuff but what I think it has over, say Bravo 2 Zero, etc is that the guy can obviously WRITE. It has that writer's need to convey but still maintain the ease of reading - descriptions, characters become real, their motives and why decisions are taken (at all levels, top to bottom - partly helped by the fact that Blakeley was 2IC of the unit AND fighting with his patrol, leading from the front). It's also honest eg the moments of self-doubt and the loneliness of being in charge: as an officer you can't ever quite relax as one of the boys. This honesty is what I found lacking in books like Chris Kyle (RIP)'s account. There's the laugh out loud stuff that I think only ex-service writers can convey. I like Sebastian Faulks but even in WW1 the soldiers were having laughs - it's what bonds and makes a unit great. I actually would have given this 5 stars if the book had been bigger - I've waited this long to hear this story and I felt like I could have done with more, say about his early days. Maybe that wasn't the writer's fault or maybe he's going to do more. I hope the latter. Penance done, enjoy!


Overcoming Worry
Overcoming Worry
by Mark Freeston
Edition: Paperback

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars v gd but heavy going, 2 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Overcoming Worry (Paperback)
Obviously well researched but hard work to get through for some reason. Wanted to know why one of my team is fantastic in certain scenarios - disastrous in others. Question answered.


Executive Advantage: Resilient Leadership for 21st-Century Organizations
Executive Advantage: Resilient Leadership for 21st-Century Organizations
by Jacqui Grey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not the normal fluffy, superficial approach, 2 Feb. 2013
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The author presented part of a conference I was at. I found some of the stuff she was talking about quite amazing (although some of it should have been obvious to me I suppose). eg Lloyds chief struggles with stress, has to resign, share price goes down dramatically. Made me realise there's so much happening in business today (good and bad) because of people's personal stuff, background, programming and this book addresses that without one feeling like they're attending therapy. Read it as if you're on a workshop. Use the case studies to relate to yourself and to those you work with (or have to put up with depending on how you look at it!) Gave me clear understanding of how to veer towards the more ideal solution/approach, what personal areas I need to be aware of - and by understanding them I deal with them.


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