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Bev Rogers

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Peter Abelard
Peter Abelard
Price: £5.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Become wrapped up in this intense book., 12 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: Peter Abelard (Kindle Edition)
I found out about this book purely by chance and thank goodness I did. I will confess to often being sniffy about historical novels, but this one was written by an author who was a genuine medieval scholar and she did not tailor her book to suit a modern, less religious audience. It is the most extraordinary mixture of an intense love story and theology and consequently both emotionally moving and thought provoking. In our impulsive, ill considered age it is remarkable to have to watch the characters trapped in a situation where their own feelings, that of society and the church and their obligations to all these things have to be worked out. This is a very well known story and yet I found this an exciting, absorbing and, at times, poignant read. I feel haunted by it. Thank you Helen Waddell.


Out Into The Beautiful World
Out Into The Beautiful World
Price: £6.34

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out into the incredibly varied world of Theodore Dalrymple., 14 Sept. 2015
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In most of his books Theodore Dalrymple gives the impression that we are all going to Hell in a handcart. He may not agree entirely with this statement as he is an atheist, but everyone to their own. This book is a little different as he frequently touches on the pleasures of life and what a fascinating and varied read it is. He touches on such themes as the constant threat of apocalypse, the joys of nature in his garden, car parking, serial killers, academia, snobbery and aesthetics, to name but a few. One of the joys of older books is the glimpses we get of the authors character. Many more modern writers hide themselves, but Theodore Dalrymple does not and shares his views and passions with us and is often very funny. The essay on the joys of going to the local cinema to watch opera did make me laugh as I know exactly what he means. The tale of the tyrants money was very amusing too. I like to look at Hogarth's 'Gin Lane' as I cook the tea. He also addresses the darker side of life and this writing is equally engrossing in its own way.
As always, this book is beautifully written and well considered. The author is always generous in guiding you towards other people and matters that he thinks might be interesting. He touches on Dr. Johnson, Alexander Pope (wonderful man), Joshua Reynolds (very interesting), Dickens, Robert Graves, Hazlitt and others, pricking your curiosity. He has that brilliant Montaigne like habit of leading you all over the place in an essay and at the end you think, wow, that was interesting, but how on earth did we get here?
Theodore Dalrymple is puzzled by the modern world and it's evasions, but fortunately for him, and for us, his experiences of civil war, political correctness, hospitals, litter, tattoos, bad architecture, prison, multiculturalism and all his other obsessions have not made him entirely jaundiced. He comments at one point, on the subject of human behaviour, 'We shall never explain it; we shall never cease trying to explain it'. Precisely, and this is his own contribution to that task and a very fine, thoughtful and elegantly written piece of work it is. Well done. Thoroughly recommended.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2016 8:30 AM BST


Drones
Drones
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 Aug. 2015
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This review is from: Drones (Audio CD)
as you would expect from a brilliant band


Berghaus Men's Light Trek Hydroshell Jacket, Carbon/Black, Large
Berghaus Men's Light Trek Hydroshell Jacket, Carbon/Black, Large
Price: £102.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent coat does what you need, 4 July 2015
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excellent lightweight coat, packs very small, seems to be fully waterproof and is very light


A Visionary Madness: The Case of James Tilly Matthews and the Influencing Machine
A Visionary Madness: The Case of James Tilly Matthews and the Influencing Machine
by Mike Jay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wide ranging and fascinating tale., 7 Dec. 2014
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I came across the case of James Tilly Matthews totally by accident, followed a link to this book and am I glad I did. This is one of those wonderful books that throws a lot of fascinating material at you and gives your mind a feast. 'A Visionary Madness' is a mixture of history, both social and political, biography, psychology and cultural history. In this book, Mike Jay relates the history of James Tilly Matthews and examines it from a variety of angles.
Instead of writing in a chronological way and in one set manner, Kay begins the book with a fictional and, by his own admission, speculative account of the events that led to Matthews arrest. The tale then covers the French revolution and Britain's response to that momentous and increasingly bloodthirsty event. The story essentially revolves around the question of whether Matthews was a political prisoner or was locked away because he was genuinely mad, because he believed he was being controlled by a bizarre piece of apparatus called the air loom.
This case is important because it occurs at a point in the history of psychology where delusions no longer involved God, the devil and religion, but were changing with the world as machines came into everyday life. It is also of interest because of the political aspects. Did a combination of a repressive regime and a heartless doctor, Haslam, driven by his own ambition and blinkered views, conspire to unjustly imprison an individual? One of the themes of this book is the price the individual can pay when living in 'interesting times'. Where do we draw the line on this matter?
Kay draws a very sympathetic portrait of Matthews and his unfortunate, rather shadowy, family, but never tells us what to think. All the varying views of this man are given a voice, including his own. Matthews comes across as a thoroughly decent man who can understand his own situation and that of his fellow patients and the staff in Bedlam, where he is incarcerated. Whilst an inmate there he designed a new hospital with the aim of improving the conditions and treatment for his companions and their carers.
As well as the political side to this book, Kay writes much, and with sense and humanity, on the subject of 'mad doctoring'. He also covers how Matthews has been portrayed in history and culture since his death, proving what an elusive and slippery thing history is and how much of it is simply a reflection of the time in which it is written. There are many exhortations to make us think, but we are never told what to think and Kay is constantly on the alert for the problems posed by the benefit of hindsight.
As you read this book, you are depressed by how much of this is still relevant and how little has changed. We all hear about the ill treatment of the mentally ill, the poor conditions in which they are kept, the neglect by governments of those who have helped them and the sometimes conflicting rights of the individual and society.
So much is covered in this wide ranging book, yet it is very readable and genuinely exciting. This is a fine piece of work, so buy it, read it and find a place in your memory and heart for James Tilly Matthews, for his story contains much that we really do need to think about.


No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars A chance to read George Buck for yourself., 7 Jan. 2014
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Firstly, a warning about this book. As explained at the beginning of it, it has been 'read' by computer from an old book and, as you soon realise, the computer was unable to cope with either the language or the typeface. This makes portions of the book illogical and even unreadable. Furthermore, for state educated people like me, the Latin is not translated which adds to the difficulties. However, if you are really interested in this subject it is worth persevering with.
We hear much about George Buck through other historians interpretations of his work, so it is good that his original words are available to read, even if in a rather corrupted form. What is fascinating is how much material and how many theories he had and how complex the subject had become in such a short space of time. Especially noteworthy is the fact that he had access to the infamous letter from Elizabeth of York to the Duke of Norfolk and his thoughts on the matter are not only interesting, but rather different to the general fury and disgust on this matter.
Personally, I found George Buck himself just as interesting as his subject matter. One of the joys of pre-18th century writing is that the author often comes alive in a very vivid way that is totally absent and so different to the self indulgent and self deluded writing of later times. He is open about his loyalty to the heirs of the Duke of Norfolk and why he is so. Part of his interest in the subject seems to stem from his outrage at the lack of respect shown to a former monarch who was unlucky enough to be on the losing side. He appears outraged [rightly, in my view] at the double standards used when debating Richard lll. Why, he wonders, was it fine for Henry Vll to behave more brutally than Richard and yet Richard is censured for it, whilst Henry is not? It pays to be the victor. Why, if Richard had no legitimate claim to the throne, was everyone, parliament and much of the nobility included, happy to go along with him? Did a few thousand badly equipped northern troops really intimidate the whole of England into submitting to a usurper? Buck asks many such questions.
His respect for other people and politeness are engaging and he has good things to say even about Edward lV, who he blames for the whole situation. If only he had had a less complicated love life! He also understands and supports Henry Vll s claim to the throne, mainly finding fault with him for his aggression in claiming it. Whilst his politeness and honesty are good, to a modern reader his writing is entertainingly rambling, meandering from one topic to another in an occasionally confusing fashion. He does apologise for this at one point! I can honestly say that I enjoyed his company.
This is not an easy read, but it is interesting and thought provoking and it is a chance to see for yourself one of the earliest reappraisals of Richard lll, but it is strictly for real enthusiasts. Read it, whatever your views, for, as Seneca says, its not necessarily going over to the enemy camp, its reconnaissance!


PURATISE AIR-CON CLEANER
PURATISE AIR-CON CLEANER

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best deal, 16 Oct. 2013
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this is by far the best product I have used
delivery and service was top rate
would recommend to anyone who really wants to clean their aircon


Richard III
Richard III
Price: £3.99

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyably opinionated!, 7 July 2013
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This review is from: Richard III (Kindle Edition)
Desmond Seward is always a thoroughly entertaining read and well able to entertain as well as inform. It is good that he has updated this book in light of the current discovery of Richards body. He makes no secret of the fact that he is enthusiastically anti Richard and does explain why and makes good use of the sources available. My major quibble with this book is its over enthusiasm and reliance on Thomas More as a reliable source. I think Mores book is a brilliant read, but in the end More may have been a brilliant man and a very brave and principled one, but he is as subject to prejudice, vanity and mistakes just as much as any of us. Since when were lawyers infallible? The fact that he never finished or published his book to me also speaks volumes. I think part of my problem is just a feeling of weariness with the whole ludicrous polarisation of this subject. It is possible to do terrible things as well as good, especially in the days of absolute, or near absolute, monarchy. Richards legal reforms were a positive move and I cannot understand why Desmond Seward regards Richard contemplating what he would do in the event of his brothers death as an indicator of bad character. Anyone in a position of power, whether a relative or not, would have thought about such matters in those times when a change of leader could be a death sentence. But enough of this. This is an exciting read and whilst it did not give me any radical new thoughts on the subject I did have fun reading it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2016 10:53 PM BST


Ingenious Pain
Ingenious Pain
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional journey, 31 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Ingenious Pain (Kindle Edition)
I have read other books by Andrew Miller and thought they were brilliant, so decided to leap into his first work. Better late then never. In this work we follow the life of James Dyer, seeing him turn from a strange child with no emotions or ability to feel pain into at man who has to experience all that the rest of us feel in very short space of time. I f you sat down and related the plot to someone with its time in Paris, Bath, Russia and the sideshow and Bedlam and the curious character of Mary it would all sound rather improbable. However, Millers extraordinary talent is to create and develop believable characters who you end up caring for. It is not just in this book that he does this. I admit I found it a little difficult at first. Dyer is an odd chap, but I felt totally bereft by the end of it and as you can see I gave it five stars. The part of the story set in Bedlam is heartbreaking, vivid and occasionally funny in a very black fashion. Read this, but be prepared for what you will feel at the end of it.


Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
Price: £5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Books and Families, 21 Jan. 2013
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I read this book at a mad pace and found that it struck a real chord in me and I suspect that it will do in anyone who cares for books and needs to ponder on their role in their family. Part biography and part appreciation of the written word it is both thoroughly entertaining and thoughtful. Moving too. What a weird life Jeanette Winterson has had, but like her I am glad that she had it when it results in such wonderful work as she produces. Read this. If you need to get your head around things without resorting to cranky stuff, also read Michel Dr Montaigne. I hope Jeanette Winterson has read him too.


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