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Reviews Written by
Mr. Keith G. Tricker (Bishop's Stortford, Herts. UK)
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Timekeepers: How the World Became Obsessed With Time
Timekeepers: How the World Became Obsessed With Time
by Simon Garfield
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.94

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Time runs more slowly when you read this book!, 31 Oct. 2016
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There are better ways to spend your time than reading this rather dull piece of hack work in which most of the essays have only the most tenuous connection with Time. For example, Garfield spends the best part of one chapter describing a conference talk he gave which was scheduled to run for 17 minutes, but which he failed to deliver on time because he had too much material. Riveting stuff! . In another he illustrates the truism that time seems to go slower when you’re involved in an accident by recounting – blow by blow – and accident of his own. You begin to wish he hadn’t survived to tell the tale. Time, I can assure you, seems to run more slowly when you read this book. And trust me, you have better things to do with yours!


The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner
Price: £3.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like Pacman, the video game, but not so much fun!, 24 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The Maze Runner (Kindle Edition)
Remember Pacman, the 1980's video game? Well, this is Pacman the Novel. A bunch of kids try to thread a maze whilst being chased by squishy monsters with spikes that eat them alive given half a chance. And that's it really - not much more intellectually challenging than that. Oh, I forgot - spoiler coming - they discover they're being used as laboratory rats by sinister controllers known as the Creators, who are grooming the best of them to help rebuild a burnt-out post-apocalyptic planet. There's also a love interest, if you can call it that: a comatose girl who has a telepathic report with the hero, Thomas. It helped me kill a couple of hours on the beach, but Pacman the video game is far more fun, trust me!


The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars
Price: £4.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fautlessly Unsentimental, 2 July 2014
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As a bestseller, this book hardly needs my endorsement, but I have to say that, against all expectations, I enjoyed it immensely. A love story about two teenagers with terminal cancer, it really ought to be as maudlin as Dickens Little Nell. And yet the unsentimental freshness of the first person narration and the wit and intelligence of the dialogue save it from descent into bathos. She may be a figment of the author's imagination, but I love the way the heroine fiercely resists the temptation to succumb to cancer 'sainthood', and remains defiantly,amusingly and touchingly herself.


From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front Line Dispatches from the Advertising War
From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front Line Dispatches from the Advertising War
by Jerry Della Femina
Edition: Hardcover

1.0 out of 5 stars Dire, dated and disappointing, 22 May 2014
I have to admit to reading just a couple of chapters of this book, and I only got that far by thinking it had to get better. It didn't. I suppose at the time it was written, when the sexual revolution was just breaking, it must have seemed like a bombshell compared to, say, Lady Chatterley's Lover. But today it just seems smutty, puerile and self-indulgent, totally devoid of the wit and wisdom you might expect of such a memoir.

It stands in complete contrast to other adman's memoirs of time, like David Ogilvy's Confessions of an Advertising Man, which if a little vainglorious is also intelligent, insightful and instructive. If you want something a little more light hearted I recommend Dave Trott's Creative Mischief (see my review). He's a modern adman of course, but he knows how to write entertainingly.

As for 'Those Wonderful Folks..'


The Telegraph: All New Big Book of Cryptic Crosswords 2 (The Telegraph Puzzle Books)
The Telegraph: All New Big Book of Cryptic Crosswords 2 (The Telegraph Puzzle Books)
by THE TELEGRAPH
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Remaining Bit of The Telegraph!, 24 Dec. 2013
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I've long been a subscriber to the Telegraph, and in recent times its crossword is one of the few reasons I've remained one. Although the paper is now going the way of the tabloids with an increasing emphasis on sensationalism and celebrity worship,the cryptic crossword remains a reliable feature, and having it in book form has almost decided me on cancelling my subscription and working my way through the book itself (and others in the series), which are useful to keep in your bag to kill time when commuting, sitting in doctors waiting rooms, traffic jams etc.

If I have one gripe about Telegraph crosswords, including the ones included in this book, it's the fact that they neglect to publish the name of the compiler, unlike other quality papers. I think this is an insult to them (ie the compilers) and a (perhaps deliberate?) drawback for us solvers, who get to recognise the style of individual setters, and thus have a key as to how to approach a particular puzzle.

Still and all, this book is excellent value for money, and I thoroughly recommend it.


JW Library
JW Library
Price: £0.00

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb work of scholarship made freely available to all, 14 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: JW Library (App)
The JW Library, which currently consists of the Revised Edition of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, is a superb work of scholarship that represents many years of work and is all the more extraordinary in that it is made freely available to all who wish to download it for reading, reference and Bible study.

I was struck by its improved readability over the original version (published in 1950) and its use of contemporary language, updating expressions like 'long suffering' as 'patience'; 'revelries' as 'wild parties' and 'time indefinite' as 'forever', 'everlasting' or 'long ago'. It comes complete with some invaluable glossaries, appendices, charts and maps, and of particular value to those looking into the Bible for answers to life's big questions and problems, an introductory section that gives scriptural answers on such key topics as 'How can you find happiness', 'What happens when someone dies' and 'Is God to blame for human suffering'.


The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase
The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As a copywriter I was both shamed and delighted ..., 30 Nov. 2013
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A delightful romp through the rhetorical byways of our language from Alliteration to Zeugma. As a copywriter I was both shamed and delighted to realise that I make everyday use of this forms without actually being able to put a name to them! It's also refreshing in these educationally challenged days to read someone with a comprehensive working knowledge of the Bible and Shakespeare, even if his treatment of both is a little irreverent. Well done Mark, I wish I'd written it myself!


Dominion
Dominion
by C. J. Sansom
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a patch on Len Deighton's SSGB, 14 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Dominion (Hardcover)
From a writer of romantic historical dramas this turned out to be what you would expect: a cardboard theatre with largely two-dimensional characters. The most rounded portrait was that of the Nazi policemen pursuing the resistance group, and in the end I was beginning to hope he would succeed! The basic assumption of the plot - that the hapless Muncaster could have acquired sufficient knowledge of the A bomb to be dangerous - was difficult to believe, but having said all of that it was an engaging read that passed a few idle hours. However, for anyone wanting to know what Britain under the Nazis might really have been like I recommend Len Deighton's SSGB - a real red blooded thriller.


Creative Mischief
Creative Mischief
by Dave Trott
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, amusing and at times laugh-out-loud funny, 6 July 2011
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This review is from: Creative Mischief (Paperback)
This book should be subtitled 'The with and wisdom of Dave Trott'. It's full of aphorisms, anecdotes and cracker barrel philosophy, with only glancing reference to the advertising profession, of which he is an acknowledged master. But it's none the worst for that: after all, what do they know of advertising who only advertising know?

Personally I found it engaging, amusing and at times laugh out loud funny - check out the vignette of Ian Drury dropping in unannounced for a drink-and-drug soaked Christmas dinner with the Trott family, and Dave's account of Frank Muir mugging an innocent bystander in New York's Central Park (no, I didn't believe it either, but you'll have to buy the book to find out how this deliciously absurb incident came about.

All in all it reaffirmed my belief in copywriters as Clark Kent style super-heroes. (David Ogilvy once said that copywriters are the least visible people in an agency, but the most important). But then I'm a copywriter myself, so I admit to being a bit biased!


Strictly English: The correct way to write ... and why it matters
Strictly English: The correct way to write ... and why it matters
by Simon Heffer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.43

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The perfect antidote to political correctness, 10 Nov. 2010
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Some may find this book overly prescriptive. I welcome it because it recognises 'proper' English as a definable and achievable standard - a much needed antidote to the lost generation of English education, with its victims of dumbing down and political correctness.

Heffer is very authoritative, quoting Fowler, Onions, Orwell, Partridge et al on the finer points of English grammar, but it is his straightforward, no-nonsense style and witty asides that made this book an engaging read for me. His best advice is less on grammar than on writing style: keep your sentences short and pithy, and use killer nouns in preference to adjectives.


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