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Caterkiller (Darlington, UK)

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Nice Work
Nice Work
by David Lodge
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably Lodge's best, 13 Jan. 2007
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This review is from: Nice Work (Paperback)
David Lodge's books are always excellent and this one is probably his best. As in his previous books, "Changing Places" and "Small World",the book centres on two diametrically opposed views and attitudes and explores how these positions can be reconciled, one character existng in the "real" world of work and the other in a cocoon of academia where analysing the work of long-dead authors means she has no experience of the industries where these works are set. Nice Work is well written and the characters are excellently sketched, particularly the family of Vic, the factory MD, with a gone-to-seed wife, and layabout children. The problem with the plot is that, like in his previous works, Lodge works too hard to manufacture a happy ending for everyone; at the end Vic discovers there is more to life than work and learns to appreciate art and literature, and his family, whereas Robyn, when faced with the economic reality of university budget cuts suddenly has a triple whammy of good fortune with a publishing deal, a job offer and bequest from a late relative. All of this happens in such a flurry at the end that the conclusion of the book appears hurried and unrealistic but this is still an excellent read and a compulsive page-turner.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 14, 2016 2:11 AM BST


Bradman's Best Ashes Teams
Bradman's Best Ashes Teams
by Roland Perry
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK, but there are better books out there, 7 Jan. 2007
Great, the Don's selection for his greatest Ashes team. Except that's where his involvement ends. Roland Perry's pocket profiles of the 24 players the Don selects are the problem: he begins with describing the player's greatest Ashes innings and THEN explains their background, and profesional career which makes the book seem slightly disjointed. His profiles are quite dull, a collection of highest innings and series by series averages descends into a list of meaningless stats once you have read more than a few pages, and if you try reading the book cover to cover the sheer volume of numbers will probably give you a migraine. As the book was first published in 2000 players such as S. Waugh, Ponting or Warne do not make the cut and while that would not normally be a failing, the profiles of the players which are included are far to short, plus there are at least 100 pages of large type title pages within the book so you get a lot less writing than you think when you buy it. If you are really interested in the players featured then get a decent indivdiual biography; Fred Trueman's book adequately covers his own life plus some details of Hutton, Bedsar et al which are missing from this.


Killing Floor: (Jack Reacher 1)
Killing Floor: (Jack Reacher 1)
by Lee Child
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's murder reading this drivel, 4 Jan. 2007
I like thrillers. I was looking forward to reading this; Lee Child's new book got good reviews and on the basis of other reader's reviews I decided to give this a shot. The book relies on terrible characterisations: the washed up cop looking for redemption, red-necks, corrupt prison guards and obviously a red-hot supermodel who the main character can enjoy athletic conjugal relations with. The writing is poor: this makes Dan Brown's books seem like Middlemarch in comparison. There is a self-concious tough-guy style to the writing in which the protagonist fantasises about opening a can of "Wup-Ass" re: male characters, or "jumping their bones" re:female characters. The book would have been better written in the third person which would have allowed more character developement and would have moved the focus away from the rather unlikeable Jack Reacher. If you are really interested in the themes explored here such as betrayl, redemption and salvation then try the novels of James Ellroy or Ed McBain; they do it much better than this garbage.


Carter Beats the Devil
Carter Beats the Devil
by Glen David Gold
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story but overlong, 1 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Carter Beats the Devil (Paperback)
This book has it all: a dead president, magic, lions and rogue secret agents aplenty. That is the problem. There is a lot going on here and from a breakneck beginning at one of Carter's shows the book becomes very stop-start as too many plotlines are crammed in yet STILL the book has some very slow passages, such as the aftermath of the death of Carter's wife and an over the top plot incorporating the invention of television. Don't get me wrong,there is plenty to recommend this book,it just needs a brutal re-editing.


Death of an Expert Witness
Death of an Expert Witness
by Baroness P. D. James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather basic and uninvolving, 25 Nov. 2006
I was recommended this by fellow crime fans who regard James as the keeper of the legacy of Christie and Sayers. All I can say is that this is a great disappointment. The story is basic and the two murders in the book are not linked so there is no acceleration is the plot such as in Christie's "Mrs McGinty's Dead". The writing style is pretty bland, the motive's of the key suspects are explained but this takes up about half the book and the whole thing ends rather abruptly. Not one of her finest.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 6, 2009 1:39 PM BST


Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas
by David Mitchell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

8 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK, but what's the point?, 7 Oct. 2006
This review is from: Cloud Atlas (Paperback)
The key selling point of this book is the overlapping stories intercut with each other. Great idea, the problemis that the stories overlap in a very incidental way, with each prior story having little to do with the following one. It would be more rewarding to read each complete story in turn rather than in the intercut sequence set out in the book, but this would just illustrate that the plotlines are not particularly interesting.


Urban Grimshaw and The Shed Crew
Urban Grimshaw and The Shed Crew
by Bernard Hare
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

14 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One for the bleeding hearts, 25 Aug. 2006
Your Dad's long gone, your mum's on heroin and your role model is a borderline alcoholic. Let's face it, your life is pretty screwed up. But none of this is your fault, at least not according to Bernard Hare; you see this is the fault of Society, which has failed you and your whole community. Naturally you want to show your true inner creative side by sniffing glue, impregnating, fighting, or just stealing the property of someone who has worked their whole lives to accumulate a few possessions which you take in an hour, sell, and then drink, smoke or inject the proceeds. When the schools try to teach you, the police try to arrest you, or charities try to house you they are trying to Control you. Resist, before you are subsumed and brainwashed by their evil control mechanisms; it's much better for you to play a few games of chess, shoplift and then fight/impregnate/joyride your way through the rest of the day, all ultimately at the taxpayers expense. Anyone who reads this and starts a bout of hand-wringing about the state of society needs their head examining; the rest of us will just demand the demolition of the Welfare State or the introduction of compulsary sterilisation.


A Lot of Hard Yakka: Triumph and Torment - A County Cricketer's Life
A Lot of Hard Yakka: Triumph and Torment - A County Cricketer's Life
by Simon Hughes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of what happens in "the middle", 9 Jun. 2006
The key characteristic of Hughes' book is how cricket has changed since his 1980s-early 90s playing career. His descriptions of the catering at Lords are barely believable with three course lunches (including roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and syrup sponge, washed down by litres of tea; how would Flintoff and co. play after putting away that lot we must wonder. The insights into the team are riveting. These are players in the world's top cricket league yet they have to hold down off-season jobs, and have the constant risk of being "let go" at the end of every season; even when their county grants them a benefit year the player does all of the organising of benefit events! The highlight though was the description of the umpires dismissing batsmen lbw because they couldn't stand the low calibre "banter" between batsman and bowler. If only the same umpire had officiated in Steve Waugh's matches. Excellent stuff.


Letter from America: 1946-2004
Letter from America: 1946-2004
by Alistair Cooke
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unputdownable summary of the 20th Century, 24 May 2006
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To be blunt: Alistair Cooke's writing is of the highest quality. It surpasses most fiction and non-fiction writings in these terms. The key characteristic of "Letters from America" is that they were meant to be read aloud and so adopt a more authoratative tone than most published writings. Cooke's America is fascinating; it shows what has been forgotten as well as documenting the present. Past luminaries such as HL Mencken, who is now largely forgotten, are described in detail under the assumption that their memory would live forever. The one criticism is that Cooke covers the news with too light a touch. At least in this collection, the civil rights movement, the attrocities of the Johnson and Nixon administrations in Vietnam and Cambodia are only briefly referred to. Apart from that his writing on summers in Long Island, the death of the Kennedies and Clintongate are an absolute pleasure.


Homage to Catalonia (Penguin Modern Classics)
Homage to Catalonia (Penguin Modern Classics)
by George Orwell
Edition: Paperback

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Want to know why Franco won?, 21 Mar. 2006
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To begin, Orwell's book is captivating. The opening chapter vividly describes the proto-commune of Barcelona with "workers" unrestrainadly testing the boundaries of their new freedom. Then to the front: excrement, minimal rations, one rifle between six soldiers, and at least 500yds too far from the enemy for any meaningful soldiering. As he returns to Barcelona Orwell experiences the chaos of a "socialist" paradise as factionalism breaks out between anarchists, Stalinists, left-wing leftists, right-wing leftists and centerists, each denouncing the other as Franco sympathisers. This culminates in the police arresting messengers carrying military orders to and from the front if they suspect the messenger belongs to the wrong faction, and with no regard to the needs of the war effort. The enigma in this is Orwell. He barely explains why he is in Catalonia, why he enlists in the militia, and records the political infighting with (largely) a detached air (similar to his back-storyless experiences in "Down and Out....") . Although his objectivity is a strength of the book as readers we want to know more about HIM!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2010 10:52 AM BST


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