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Dickens of London
Dickens of London
by Wolf Mankowitz
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Readable, 11 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Dickens of London (Hardcover)
This is an entertaining and very readable brief biography of Charles Dickens, perhaps the greatest English novelist ever. Its well-written, and very well (and copiously) illustrated throughout, and is an interesting and enjoyable read. Its by no means an "academic" biography, nor a work of literary criticism, but for those just wishing an enjoyable overview of Dickens life and career, this book is tailor-made. It also prompted me to read further - and more deeply - about both his work and life.


Karl Marx
Karl Marx
by Francis Wheen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.13

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Honest, 11 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Karl Marx (Paperback)
As said in other reviews, this a biography not a critique of his theories. And what a biography! Its extremely well-written, and highly interesting - I read it over a couple of sittings as I just couldn't put it down; not the reaction I'd expected when I first started reading. Its a sympathetic account of Marx's life, without indulging in hero-worship. Wheen's expertise on Marx shines through, but so do his wit and humour. The book is also fascinating about many of the other individuals in Marx's life, and as soon as I finished this I bought Tristram Hunt's biography of Engels.


1, 2, 3 John (Focus on the Bible)
1, 2, 3 John (Focus on the Bible)
by Michael Eaton
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Commentary., 10 Sept. 2011
Unlike a previous reviewer, I haven't read any of Michael Eaton's other books, so this review is based entirely on his commentary on 1, 2 3 John. Even then, I have to concede that its not based on the entire book, which I found to be so badly written (or edited) that it was impossible to finish despite several attempts.
This commentary is dull, lifeless, uninspired and badly written. It manages to achieve something I would have thought impossible - it makes John's epistles seem dull.
There are much better books out there on John's Epistles - for me, this one is not worth the effort.


Buddhism For Dummies (For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback))
Buddhism For Dummies (For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback))
by Jonathan Landaw
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative - but hardly for dummies., 9 Sept. 2011
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This is a well-written and informative book whick packs a lot of information between its covers. For me, looking only for a general overview of the key aspects of Buddhism, there was too much information and more detailed/"technical" than I needed. I suspect though that its a book I'll go back to and dip into from time to time, and it is undoubtedly good value for money.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 18, 2011 9:33 AM GMT


Saint Benedict for the Laity
Saint Benedict for the Laity
by Eric Dean
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Benedictine values, 9 Sept. 2011
The author of this brief book is a Prebyterian ministar who is an Oblate of a Benedictine abbey. In this short but informative introduction, he reflects on the fact that we can learn much even today from St Benedicts Rule, and illustrates that using some of the key messages from the Rule, particularly those concerning humility, obediance, service, discipline and committment. It isn't a detailed commentary on the Rule, nor is it a "how to to be a Monk" book. Instead it attempts, in a gentle and thoughtful way, to show how we could benefit from adapting and adopting the values of the rule in our normal, everyday lives. Its a short, straightforward book - but one that packs a lot into its pages.


A Concise History of Kentucky
A Concise History of Kentucky
by James C. Klotter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple History of Kentucky, 9 Sept. 2011
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Kentucky is known primarily for horses and Bourbon, followed by coal mining and tobacco. Yet there is a lot more to the state than that, as this book illustrates. All aspects of Kentucky's history is covered - frontier wars, the Civil War, its government and social life, its geography and music, and some of its key historical personalities (such as Daniel Boone, Henry Clay, Abe Lincoln, Muhammad Ali).It is simply and clearly written, and well illustrated with maps, drawings and photographs.
My only reservation is that it feels as if its written by schoolteachers for schoolchildren, and is perhaps just a bit too basic.
That said, if you know nothing about Kentucky, its a useful starting point and gives suggested sources for further research.


The Essence of Buddhism: An Illuminated Insight into One of the World's Major Religions
The Essence of Buddhism: An Illuminated Insight into One of the World's Major Religions
by Jo Durden Smith
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear and Straightforward, 9 Sept. 2011
This is a clear and straightforward guide to Buddhism. It starts with a brief history of Buddha, and of Buddhism, then goes on to explain and discuss, in a well-written and understandable way, the main aspects and forms of Buddhism. Quotes from key Buddhist texts are used well to illustrate key points.


Great Expectations (Penguin Classics)
Great Expectations (Penguin Classics)
by Charles Dickens
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Enjoyable Novel from the Greatest Novelist., 8 Sept. 2011
Like other reviewers, this is a novel I go back to again and again. It is my personal favourite from all of Dickens novels - the best novel from the greatest novelist in the language. It is funny, sad, rivetting, and most of all - thoroughly entertaining.


Thomas Merton: I Have Seen What I Was Looking for: Selected Spiritual Writings
Thomas Merton: I Have Seen What I Was Looking for: Selected Spiritual Writings
by Thomas Merton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.40

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Introduction to Writings of Thomas Merton, 8 Sept. 2011
I warmly encourage you to buy and read this book, which offers a superb introduction to Merton's writing. The extracts have been selected by Fr Basil Pennington, himself an accomplished writer (of over 40 books), a Trappist monk and an expert on Thomas Merton. The selections cover all of Merton's life, and his various formats including books, essays, poems and even some unpublished notes. All are well-written, frequently poetic, and always thought-provoking.
Apart from being wonderful reading in intself, this book provides lots of ideas about what next to explore among Fr Merton's rich catalogue - I have already ordered my next three books from Amazon.
The book will refresh those familiar with Merton's work, but will be a real eye-opener for those who have read little of his writing, or have pre-conceptions based on having read from only one period of his life; as Merton points out in one of the pieces in the book, his writing broke down into three main "phases" each very different as he himself was different.I particulary enjoyed the selections from his more mature years.
The selections in the book are broken down into the following sections -
The autobiography - and on it went.
Friends and more.
First of all a poet.
The spiritual master.
The concerned monk at the heart of the world.
The later poetry.
Final integration.
Apothegmata.
Sources.
There is also a brief chronology of Fr Merton's life and work.


Readings on "Great Expectations" (Literary companion series)
Readings on "Great Expectations" (Literary companion series)
by Lawrence Kappel
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful companion to Great Expectations, 5 Sept. 2011
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This volume is one of the "Literary Companion" series, aimed primarily at young adults. It contains 15 critical essays, split across three areas -

Major themes in Great Expectations
1. Enjoy Dickens with me.
2. The Theme of Love and Money.
3. The Theme of Original Sin.
4. Love in Great Expectations.
5. A Negative commentary on Victorian Society.

Symbols and Structure in Great Expectations.
1. Relationships and their Meaning.
2. The Importance of Place.
3. Food in Great Expectations.
4. Examining the Role of Magwitch.
5. Fearful Dreams.

The Character of Pip.
1. Pip's personal journey to adulthood.
2. Pip unifies the novel's structure and characters.
3. Pip's bought self.
4. Pip's moral journey.
5. Parallel's between Pip, Orlick and Drummle.

A number of the essays are by well-known Dickens scholars, and I enjoyed the essays, and felt that they added to my enjoyment of Great Expectations - already one of my favourite novels.

I enjoyed this volume so much, I intend to look at others in the "Literary Companion" series.


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