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happy snapper (UK)

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Modern British Jewry
Modern British Jewry
by Geoffrey Alderman
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful, 30 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Modern British Jewry (Paperback)
I used this book for some university research and so only read the chapters relevant to my topic; however, I found it to be excellent and insightful and I am sure I will refer to it again.

Katie Woo Rules the School (Katie Woo (Quality))
Katie Woo Rules the School (Katie Woo (Quality))
by Fran Manushkin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for my daughter, 28 Aug. 2013
We discovered these on a recent holiday to the US. They are very much in the Princess Poppy mode - little stories with a gentle moral steer, about things that every young child is likely to come across such as teasing, taking the class guinea pig home, falling out with friends, learning not to be bossy, going to the beach, etc. They are simple for a child aged 6 or so to read to themselves. Will definitely be buying more.

Jule Styne: Bar Mitzvah Boy. Martin Goldstein. CD
Jule Styne: Bar Mitzvah Boy. Martin Goldstein. CD

5.0 out of 5 stars Love this recording - why is the CD so expensive?, 29 Mar. 2013
I never actually saw this show, as it came out when I was a child, but my parents went to see it and came back with the cassette. We listened to it for years, until some git broke into my car and stole the stereo which happened to have that very cassette in it at the time. I've tried to replace it but it's unavailable except at vastly inflated prices. Fortunately I can remember most of it word for word, which must be some sort of testament to the quality of the music.

According to his autobiography, Jack Rosenthal disliked the musical version of his play and believed that some of the songs were rejects from other shows that were palmed off on him. All I can say is that I can't imagine which ones were rejects - I love them all. The sequence at the beginning when the bar mitzvah boy, Elliott, questions "why all that makes me a man" and describes how OTT the whole thing has become is just a classic. His mother's melodramatic plea for death when Elliott fails to show up for his bar mitzvah ("One hundred and seventeen portions of chopped liver - come, kill me!") has furnished years of family jokes.

If only someone would take pity and make this recording available at a reasonable price!

A Discovery of Witches: (All Souls 1)
A Discovery of Witches: (All Souls 1)
by Deborah Harkness
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Deeply flawed and deeply irritating, 27 Dec. 2011
There are some good ideas here, but their handling is deeply flawed and deeply irritating. The two lovers, Diana the witch and Matthew the vampire, seem to have no real chemistry at all - a difficult trick to pull off in a romantic novel. They protest extreme love, but it's all just words that don't convince. And that goes for so much of this book.

The author constantly expects us to accept assertions that don't match up with what she's actually written. For example, we're frequently told by various characters that Diana is extremely brave and defiant, but this is not how she comes across at all. She's dedicated her life to working diligently, avoiding magic and being as normal as possible. Occasionally she will say No or Shan't, to which the other characters respond by shaking their heads in disbelief and exclaiming, "They told me you were strong-willed, but I had no idea!". Most of the time, however, she passively lets it all happen to her - more Sleeping Beauty than Lara Croft. Even her own wedding doesn't register with her - Matthew mates them for life according to vampire law without bothering to ask for her hand or even mention it until later, and she doesn't even comment. Surely someone supposedly so strong-willed and independent would have had something to say about that, even if only in principle? Captured and tortured by another witch, she seems to spend most of the experience in some sort of trance, then sits in her prison waiting to be rescued by Matthew. "I've never seen anyone fight like that," says Matthew, in awe. Before tucking her into bed like a toddler.

Deborah Harkness needs to realise that just saying a character is brave, even saying it many times, is not the same as creating a brave character.

We're supposed to believe that Diana and Matthew's love is daring, forbidden, taboo-breaking - but why? Because... er... the supernatural creatures' ancient treaty says so. Apparently witches and vampires can't be together. This doesn't create any real sense of drama or love across the divide, because there's no obvious reason why this should be so. There are a few mentions of good-looking vampires shagging around with mortal women, which seems to be fine, and all of the "good" creatures think that the rule is wrong anyway, so why should we believe it's so deeply ingrained in their culture? At least in Twilight one can see why the vampire authorities might frown on relationships with humans. But what's intuitively wrong about vampires and witches? It might as well be forbidden passion between elves and hobbits, centaurs and leprechauns, or dwarves and the Loch Ness Monster for all the emotional sympathy one feels.

Ultimately it's this mismatch between what the author keeps telling you and what she's actually written which accounts for the lack of chemistry between the lead characters. Matthew claims to love the wilful, spirited, "impossible" creature that Diana patently is not. On Diana's side, I'm prepared to buy the idea that she's an independent, intelligent, modern woman, but if so, the sort of cosseting mixed with condescension that typifies Matthew's behaviour towards her should make her want to deck him, not snuggle up adoringly.

The appearance of Juliette, Matthew's insane and unstable vampire ex-lover, promises to liven things up a bit. Until she gets killed off a few pages later. What a wasted opportunity! Having finally managed to create a character who shows signs of being genuinely interesting and unusual, DH can find no better use for her than as a cardboard cutout for Diana to kill (very quickly, from several paces away, with a crossbow), thus "proving" what an astoundingly brave fighter she is.

Repetitive use of the same phrases and actions rapidly begins to annoy. Again and again, Matthew greets Diana's utterances with an indulgently raised eyebrow and a patronising chuckle at her naivete. Diana is "scooped up" and tucked into bed as regularly as a Gina Ford baby. "You've got a lot to learn about vampires!" say the vampires, over and over. Is it supposed to be a catchphrase? I could go on. Given how many friends, relatives and professional editors apparently commented on this book in draft - the acknowledgements list goes on and on - it seems odd that no one saw fit to eliminate these jarring repetitions, let alone point out the inconsistencies in the writing.

Why, oh why can't academics stick to the day job? Because this pays better, of course. As Yale law professor Jed Rubenfeld cheerfully says, he sells half a dozen copies of his academic works, mostly to his mother, but his Freudian crime thrillers have sold in their millions. Despite her daft writing, Professor Harkness may really have a cunning plan. Write a vampire potboiler with some picturesque locations (Oxford, a French castle, Hallowe'en in New England), get yourself a decent agent, sell the film rights to Warner Bros and you'll never have to teach history to bored sophomores again. And who can argue with that? So, good luck to you, Professor. I might even borrow the sequel from the library.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 7, 2012 11:00 AM GMT

Twilight Treasure Ponies Surf
Twilight Treasure Ponies Surf
Offered by DurnickCom
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Appeals to small girls, but I'm not sure why, 28 Jun. 2010
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
The "story" accompanying these ponies - magic powers, twilight transformations etc - seems to have very little to do with the actual toy. When all is said and done, it's just a very basic plastic horse. But my daughter insisted on buying this with her pocket money and has played with it a lot, chiefly in the bath and paddling pool. I've no idea what the appeal is, but if she likes it, that's fine by me.

Philips Sonicare HX6014/33 Proresults Toothbrush heads - Standard four pack
Philips Sonicare HX6014/33 Proresults Toothbrush heads - Standard four pack
Offered by diezahnbuerste
Price: £18.75

8 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Emphatically not recommended., 18 May 2009
I bought a Healthywhite/Sonicare brush a while ago. Out of five brush heads used so far, two have snapped after only a couple of days' use. For what they cost, this is atrocious.

I used to have an Oral B which only gave up the ghost after about 5 years' continuous use, and their brush heads never snapped.

I asked my dentist about it today and he says no dentist would recommend Sonicare over Oral B - they are much more expensive and less effective. So there you have it.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 9, 2012 2:25 AM GMT

Before and after Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog
Before and after Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog
by Ian Dunbar
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.58

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The canine answer to Gina Ford, 30 Nov. 2008
Yes, I'm sure he knows his stuff. Yes, I'm sure his dogs are models of good behaviour. And yes, I'm sure he's never had to clean dog mess off the carpet. But the whole thing is written in terms of "If you don't do it my way, FAST, your dog's temperament will be ruined, he'll never be a good pet and you might as well write him off now." I was reminded very strongly of Gina Ford and her rigid-as-steel instructions on babycare. There is a lot of good advice here, but it's possible to be a little less obsessive and still bring up a lovely pet. Gwen Bailey's 'The Perfect Puppy' is a much better and less intimidating buy.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 4, 2011 8:15 PM GMT

Panasonic DMC-FX01BS Digital Camera - Silver [6MP, 3x Optical Zoom]
Panasonic DMC-FX01BS Digital Camera - Silver [6MP, 3x Optical Zoom]

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it love it love it, 30 Jun. 2006
This is my first digital camera, and I couldn't be happier with it. I'm not an expert and I can't give you a sophisticated comparison with other models, but I can say it's easy and fun to use, gives lovely clear photos, and as far as I'm concerned is worth every penny. Although it has lots of sophisticated settings which are not hard to get to grips with, it takes perfectly good pictures even in the point-and-shoot "simple" mode. The wide-angle lens is also a real plus. A delight.

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