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The Associated Press Stylebook 2017: and Briefing on Media Law
The Associated Press Stylebook 2017: and Briefing on Media Law
by Associated Press
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.20

4.0 out of 5 stars It is what it is -- and here is a guide to what that is..., 19 Sept. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is repeated from one for an earlier edition....
It is clear from some previous reviews that the nature and purpose of this book need to be explained: it is an everyday working tool for professional journalists who are editing material using Associated Press style, which is probably the most widely-used US newspaper style. These editors will be using it together with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
The AP style guide is not for casual dipping into. Nor is it a dictionary. It is NOT something that will tell you how to write well or something to keep you entertained and, above all, it is NOT for anyone who intends to write in British English. If you are not sure whether you are writing US or British English, you definitely do not need this book. (Hint: this review is in British English, with British grammar, syntax and spelling.)
If you are required to use AP style professionally, you need to use this book, and the latest edition of it. It doesn't really matter whether it's good, bad or indifferent -- if you need to use it, you need to use it. If you are not required to use AP style, you don't need to buy/consult the book.


The Improbability of Love: SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
The Improbability of Love: SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Caricatures rather than characters, 2 Dec. 2016
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I wanted to like this, but found it rather thin and at best workmanlike rather than impressive. The points I would make have been touched on by previous reviewers: not characters but one-dimensional caricatures -- we're in Hogarth country here -- difficult to care about or be much amused by, great lumps of art exposition inserted here and there holding up the pace, an ending where Rothschild just ties everything up in a single huge knot with a "There, done!" flourish. The one item I thought that was clever, witty and worked well was the 'talking picture', which almost persuaded me to take a closer look at Watteau -- though I see other reviewers disagreed.

I found it strange that this should have been nominated, and short-listed, for a prize. Those interested in this subject might take a look at Giles Waterfield's earlier satirical novel, 'The Hound in the Left-hand Corner', which I recommend wholeheartedly.


The Hound in the Left-Hand Corner (International Handbooks on Information Systems)
The Hound in the Left-Hand Corner (International Handbooks on Information Systems)
by Giles Waterfield
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously, wickedly bitchy art world satire, 2 Dec. 2016
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This is a most entertaining book and it is a great pity it is so hard to get hold of these days. (I have just bought a secondhand copy to share it with a friend since I read it on Kindle.) It is deliciously, wickedly bitchy -- and I am sure that those who could identify the real people behind the fictional characters laughed themselves into paroxysms. Not being an art world insider, I couldn't do that, but I enjoyed it greatly nonetheless.

It is a satire, yes, but the main characters are fleshed out, not caricatures, and it has a workable plot, with an excellent twist in the end. As previous reviewers have devoted column-inches to the plot's ins and outs, I will leave it at that. Waterfield was good at character, dialogue and pace. My only (tiny) criticism would be that the big set-piece banquet scene droops a bit in the middle, which should have been fixed at the editing stage...

Recommended. How sad there will never be any more.


A Stain in the Blood: The Remarkable Voyage of Sir Kenelm Digby
A Stain in the Blood: The Remarkable Voyage of Sir Kenelm Digby
Price: £4.99

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Author's style makes this remarkably hard going, 16 Jun. 2016
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I bought this book because I read a glowing review in a broadsheet newspaper. I should have remembered that the paper also has a business selling books -- because I did not find much to enthuse about here. In fact, I did not finish it, infuriated by the author's style. (I hope if he ever thinks of writing fiction, someone quickly disabuses him of the idea.)

The subject of the book is potentially a very interesting one, Sir Kenelm Digby. Not only was he the son of one of the Guy Fawkes plotters, but he married the woman considered the society beauty of her day, and they lived in a fascinating historical period. So far, so good.

I had two problems: 1. Moshenska appears to need constantly to tell his readers that his subject (Digby) is remarkable, handsome, charismatic, etc, etc, -- instead of just stating this once, ideally at the beginning, and then letting Digby's actions, words and writing illustrate these qualities thereafter. This is also true for his subject's wife. 2. Moshenska's writing style. I was determined to persevere, but I found reading this like a long journey driven slowly over speed bumps. It is what my English teacher used to describe as 'purple prose'.

Let me illustrate what I mean. The following three sentences are chosen randomly. ('She', here, is Digby's beloved, later his wife.)

1. "Her body seemed to shimmer elusively even as he got to know it better than anyone, eluding him altogether or revealing hidden depths and further levels of complexity that mirrored the layers of her character."
2. "She was magnetic in such moments, fearless and adept, more inadvertently herself than in the quiet moments they were able to snatch elsewhere."
3. "He refracted her instinctively through the prism of the antique writers whom he revered."

I rest my case.


Young Montalbano Series 2 [DVD]
Young Montalbano Series 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michele Riondino
Price: £16.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More convincing chemistry, 21 Feb. 2016
Where I feel this series scores over the 'later' one, with Luca Zingaretti, is that there is a genuine chemistry here between the younger actors playing Montalbano and his ever-patient Livia. Sadly, I have never been convinced by the relationship between the older actors -- they don't even seem to like one another, never mind fancy each other so frantically that they frequently travel the length of the entire country to see one another. (Mind you, this is a man who sleeps in a T-shirt at the height of the Sicilian summer...)


Better Writing: International Edition
Better Writing: International Edition
by Richard Harrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.00

4.0 out of 5 stars For EFL students, not aspiring writers, 7 Nov. 2015
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What needs to be explained about this book, but isn't given much prominence in the blurb, etc, is that it is intended to improve the writing in English of non-native English speakers -- i.e. it is for students of English as a Foreign Language. That is to say, it is more about the writing of correct English (language) than simply how to write better, in English.

Hence this was not what I was hoping for, since the concern of the students with whom I intended to use it focuses on writing better, as such -- producing better written documents -- rather than writing better English language.

I'm sure for advanced EFL students, and anyone teaching them, it is a useful tool. Arguably, though, its title is at least a little misleading.


The Associated Press Stylebook 2013 (Associated Press Stylebook & Briefing on Media Law)
The Associated Press Stylebook 2013 (Associated Press Stylebook & Briefing on Media Law)
by Associated Press
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What the AP style guide is and does. And what it isn't, 19 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is clear from some previous reviews that the nature and purpose of this book need to be explained: it is an everyday working tool for professional journalists who are editing material using Associated Press style, which is probably the most widely-used US newspaper style. These editors will be using it together with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

The AP style guide is not for casual dipping into. Nor is it a dictionary. It is not something that will tell you how to write well or something to keep you entertained and, above all, it is NOT for anyone who intends to write in British English. If you are not sure whether you are writing US or British English, you definitely do not need this book. (Hint: this review is in British English, with British grammar, syntax and spelling.)

If you need to use AP style professionally, you need to use it. It doesn't really matter whether it's good, bad or indifferent. If you are not required to use it, you don't need to buy the book. Incidentally, the 2015 edition -- which has some changes, though nothing substantial -- is now out.


My Salinger Year
My Salinger Year
Price: £6.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming period tale of US publishing, 19 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Salinger Year (Kindle Edition)
I found this a charming quick read, with interesting characters but rather flimsy plot development, clearly autobiographically based. I think it is probably true to say that it will be of more interest to those in and around the publishing business -- and possibly to Salinger devotees -- than to those who are neither. (I admit my first job was very like Joanna's, though in the UK, hence my initial interest.)

The author lost me a bit with her frequent descriptions of Joanna's outfits, though I think I take the point that the office culture was such that she felt the right clothes were vital. My other criticism would be that, having decided to tidy up all her loose ends in a conclusion, it's as if Rakoff tied them all up together quickly in one gigantic knot, breathed a sigh of relief, stood back and said, "There. Done."


InterDesign Kyoto Bar Soap Holder for Bathroom Shower, Vanities, Kitchen Sink - Brushed Stainless Steel
InterDesign Kyoto Bar Soap Holder for Bathroom Shower, Vanities, Kitchen Sink - Brushed Stainless Steel
Price: £6.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Attractive design, but prone to rust, 26 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This product is an attractive design, a neat size and a good, solid weight. BUT, and this is a massive but, after less than three weeks' use in my shower, it has begun to rust quite badly at more than one of the joints. Disappointing, as I believed it was solid stainless steel. I have had to clean it up and move it to a location where the soap is rarely used, as it is more of a decoration than a functional bathroom accessory.


Zack Scopo 40103 Soap Dish
Zack Scopo 40103 Soap Dish
Offered by Novia-be
Price: £17.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Self-draining and well-designed -- apart from the feet, 16 April 2015
This review is from: Zack Scopo 40103 Soap Dish (Misc.)
I have three of these now -- plus one of the square ones. They all share the same problem -- the tiny rubber feet, which are necessary to prevent scratching shiny surfaces, fell off almost instantly. And went straight down the plughole, despite efforts to grab them. One or two were caught and returned to the soap dish, but pretty soon followed their fellows down the dark hole.

So far, so bad. BUT there are pluses. Feet aside, the design and finish of both round and square models is excellent and they are of good quality stainless steel. AND they are simply the only self-draining, stylish metallic soap dishes I have found. I absolutely loathe soggy soap floating in a solid soap dish, and equally I hate soap dishes that retain cold suds in their base and need to be frequently emptied. I'm not sure either is desirable from a health point of view. These Zack dishes ensure dry soap as the water drains through the slits into the basin.

With my latest purchase I intend to try supergluing all four feet to the soap dish before use, which will be fiddly. It would be really good if the manufacturer could do this for us…?


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