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Reviews Written by
Keith Mitchell "keith9452" (Wiltshire, England)

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Learn to Speak VIETNAMESE with PERFECT RECALL (2 CDs & book)
Learn to Speak VIETNAMESE with PERFECT RECALL (2 CDs & book)
by Perfect Recall Systems
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A little better than nothing, 28 Oct. 2008
Agree with previous reviewer. A list of words thrown at you, no sentence-building, no practice or revision options, no conversation sessions. It's a phrase book. If you want to learn phrases without any idea of which words mean what, and with no chance of understanding any reply, or actually conversing with the Vietnamese, then this is for you.

Rumpole and the Reign of Terror
Rumpole and the Reign of Terror
by John Mortimer
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You can't help loving it - but..., 5 Sept. 2008
If you've got this far and avoided the Yankee plot-spoilers, you will have gained the impression that Horace is getting old, tired and a bit repetitive. I can't disagree with that. But just as Hard Times is not good Dickens, not-good Dickens is streets better than no Dickens - and so it is with Rumpole and his terrorist. There are more loose ends than you'd find in a tin of Heinz spaghetti, more improbabilities than in the Heart of Gold, but it still keeps you turning the pages feverishly until the all-too-soon end. It takes 90 minutes to read if you're a slow reader. So what? Read it again!

The Anti-social Behaviour of Horace Rumpole
The Anti-social Behaviour of Horace Rumpole
by John Mortimer
Edition: Paperback

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An east wind blowing through Mortimer Mansions, 5 Sept. 2008
Fact - there is no bigger Rumpole fan than me. So I have to report with considerable sadness that the latest Rumpole is IMHO the work of a tired and/or ill old man.

Agree with other reviewers who comment on the extremely large text, the only method of adding substance to an otherwise flimsy, lightweight novella - and I'm being kind here.

But it's not that which upsets me - it's the weakness of the plot, and the characterisation. Our favourite denizens of Equity Court appear - without development or follow-through - say little, and for little apparent reason, fall in lust with each other. The plot - such as it is - fizzles rather than sizzles. Such a shame. This bottle of Pommeroys Very Ordinary is well past its drink-by date, and is a pale, ghostly simulacrum of the noble vintage which has gone before.

Buy it - secondhand - because you can't not read a new Rumpole. But don't spend much and be prepared for disappointment. In the words of his beloved Keats - "...the sedge is wither'd from the lake. And no birds sing."

It really pains me to write this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 26, 2010 7:07 PM BST

The Girl in a Swing
The Girl in a Swing
by Richard Adams
Edition: Paperback

4 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So poor it hurts!, 25 Dec. 2007
This review is from: The Girl in a Swing (Paperback)
Recommended by a friend, otherwise I would not have struggled through it. I never managed to summon up any interest at all in the main character.

The 'hero' is a virtually friendless anorak, still happily living with his mother ("Mummy") in his 30s - dull, tedious, unattractive. He meets a stunning woman in Denmark, who, by his own admission, could have chosen any man on the planet. She is so impressed by his wooing style - discursions on sonata form, quoting minor German poets, knowing the Latin names of beetles - that when he asks her to marry him (having politely failed to ask her anything about her life, family and friends), she throws everything overboard to jump on the first plane to England.

As believable as it is boring - Adams does mundane in tiresome detail. A few genuinely creepy moments cannot redeem this very poor tale. Save 6 hours of your life and read something else!
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2017 10:53 PM GMT

The Mission Song
The Mission Song
by John Le Carré
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More of the same, 12 Nov. 2007
This review is from: The Mission Song (Paperback)
John Le Carre is one of the the most accomplished writers around. I classify his writing as 'literature' - the detail, the dialogue, the characterisation, the prose style - all masterly.

Unfortunately, in Mission Song, this craftsmanship is largely wasted on a substandard, creaky plot. The other reviews largely agree on the lenghty, turgid conference scene, and predictable outcome, so I will instead concentrate some other weak points:

How can the intelligent Salvo be so, so dumbly naive?
How can Haj recover so quickly from his ordeal?
How come Salvo wasn't searched before his trip back?
How come he doesn't copy any of his material?
How come he doesn't get his missus involved?
How come Hannah or Haj don't get him any help?

This list goes on. A shame, because I get so much pleasure from reading Le Carre. But his recent books seem to follow the same pattern - the lone hero losing against big, corrupt organisations. I hate to say it - but predictable.

Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde - Ludwig, Wunderlich, Klemperer
Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde - Ludwig, Wunderlich, Klemperer

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two great recordings!, 26 May 2006
Yes - two! Wunderlich with the Philharmonia in Kingsway Hall, and Ludwig with New Philharmonia in Abbey Road, 29 months later. But you'd never know. Sound quality is excellent, although Wunderlich is somewhat forward. Wonderful singing and evocative, haunting playing. Simply the best...

Stars and Bars
Stars and Bars
by William Boyd
Edition: Paperback

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A weak man in America, 22 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Stars and Bars (Paperback)
If you liked Morgan Leafy (A Good Man in Africa), then you won't think much of Henderson Dores, the - I was going to say 'hero', but let's stick with 'principal character' of Stars & Bars. Dores is a pale parody of Leafy. Leafy was a lazy timeserver, but recognised and made an effort to work within his limitations. His downfall was humourously tragic and inevitable, but with a Graham Green-esque element of redemption.
Dores however is just a caricature - a pointless ragbag of weaknesses and shortcomings without a single redeeming feature. His downfall is a slapstick lurch from one improbable crisis to another, which I found embarrassing and hard to finish.
A poor attempt to rework the winning formula of its predecessor.

The Lark in Morning - The Early Years
The Lark in Morning - The Early Years
Price: £9.99

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misty-eyed, 7 Jan. 2005
This compilation comprises the first three albums by Steeleye Span. The first is good, but not especially ground-breaking. The second (Please to see the King) is the best electro-acoustic folk album ever made. The line-up changed to bring in Peter Knight and Martin Carthy; the imaginative scoring, tight, unusual rhythms, beautiful playing - and Maddy Prior's crystal voice soaring above everything. If this doesn't leave you misty-eyed, get the doc to sign your death certificate, because you have no heart. The third album seeks to recapture the freshness and artistry of the second. It fails, but nobly.
After this, the line-up changed again, still great sounds for a couple of albums. Then they got a drummer. So this compilation gives you the original and best - all good stuff, but the Please to see the King stuff is all sheer perfection. Forever England, forever young.

And She Closed Her Eyes
And She Closed Her Eyes
Price: £8.48

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So poignant..., 14 Dec. 2004
This review is from: And She Closed Her Eyes (Audio CD)
Interesting to read other reviews, and see their choice of favourites from this album. For me it's 'Murder in Maryland Park' - a desert island disc! Listen to the words, to the mood change, to the backing. But plenty of other top-notch stuff here too - When Debbie's back from Texas, Viewed from the spire &c. Most tracks are worth the purchase price by themselves - if you like mysterious, whimsical, disconnected, Northern....

No Title Available

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Slightly better than nothing, 12 Aug. 2004
You cannot learn anything more than the most basic Estonian with this DVD alone. You can learn a few words, numbers up to 20, a few simple phrases, but that is all. There is no accompanying book to refer to or work from, and no exercises to practice with - just some piss-poor memory tests. And obviously you cannot listen to it in the car! I was very disappointed and will not be buying again should I need to learn another language.

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