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Harris

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Beethoven: The Man Revealed
Beethoven: The Man Revealed
Price: £5.69

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but frustrating, 6 Sept. 2014
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A fascinating but inevitably frustrating read. John Suchet brings a Classic FM light touch to the subject, but for me fails to 'reveal the man'. The problem he faces, of course, is that there are just not enough hard facts, and he's endlessly left speculating and trying to fill in the gaps - so much so that he verges on caricature at times. By the end of the book I was really none the wiser about this extraordinary and puzzling genius: the answer, I guess, is to listen to the music.
Some things were annnoying: the 9th Symphony is rightly given a big build-up, but the Missa Solemnis, which Beethoven himself regarded as his best work (I agree!), is downplayed to a couple of lines. Suchet pronounces the cause of his death as cirrhosis of the liver (it could have been a number of things) but an alcohol problem is never referenced throughout the book, as one might have expected. Perhaps the best you can say, is that it's fired up my interest.


Porterhouse Blue: (Porterhouse Blue Series 1)
Porterhouse Blue: (Porterhouse Blue Series 1)
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully funny .. for men, 4 July 2013
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This book is an absolute treasure: if you want something to cheer you up it's definitely the one to go for. I had to really restrain myself the other day on the train to avoid annoying fellow passengers by laughing out loud. Best to read at home so you can really let rip!
No female characters, other than the voluptuous bedder and the Master's wife - so doesn't really count. Tried a few passages out on my wife, but she didn't find them amusing, so suspect female appeal may be lacking.
A really fluid style that reminded me a bit of Trollope, and with lots to say as well about where right meets left, hypocracy, pomposity and big ego's as well, but always gentle and never pedantic. Am now going to plunge into the Wilt series.


The Warden
The Warden
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why isn't anyone called Septimus or Obediah anymore?, 15 April 2013
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This review is from: The Warden (Kindle Edition)
My first taste of Trollope and absolutely bowled over with it. I read the first two novels of the Barchester Chronicles before deciding to take a break. After Dickens it's an absolute tonic, if only for the wonderfully drawn female characters, so lacking in the big D's novels. And what a style - so beautifully written in an almost effortless way. Stand by for a panoramic exploration of a C19th ecclesiastical world you never knew existed, and it's certainly opened my eyes to the machinations of the clergy. But, you know what, I also loved his gentle assertion throughout that morals and kindness DO matter and if I had a picture of the mild hero, precentor Septimus Harding, he'd definitely be hanging on my wall. Why isn't anyone called Septimus or Obediah anymore by the way?


David Copperfield
David Copperfield
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Two Halves, 9 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: David Copperfield (Kindle Edition)
I've now read D.C. three times and it gets better every time. It was apparently his own favourite book and certainly seems to draw heavily on his own past at times. But ... there's always a point, just after the first half of the book, when it loses its initial momentum and brilliance - basically as David starts to grow up and become an adult. And at times it lapses into the mushy sentiment and melodrama that is always a bit of a mountain to climb for modern readers. In other words, it's at its best when David is a child, and the vulnerability that Dickens must have experienced so painfully himself, is always present. But there's always such a wonderful parade of characters throughout the book: Betsy Trotwood is one of the best female characters throughout his novels (and one of the few convincing ones to my mind) with her fear of intruding donkeys and blunt ways, and the sympathetically drawn mentally-fragile Mr Dick. The Micawbers, of course, and 'umble' Uriah Heap, who has to be one of the most loathsome villains in the history of fiction, and then there's the terrifying Murdstones, who never get the come-uppance you feel they deserve.
Although the narrator is the adult looking back, one feels that he never loses the boy he describes so well, and that I'm sure is probably true of Dickens, who unlike most adults, retained that inner child to an unusual degree. The caricatures that are such a hallmark of Dickens style, singling out oddities and building on them to create characters, is straight out of a child's mind, and never does he do it better than here.


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