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Pirlo (London)

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The Romanovs: 1613-1918
The Romanovs: 1613-1918
by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A history of the Russian court, but not Russia, 10 July 2016
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This book makes sense if you've heard the author speak. SSM is entertaining, a bit camp, obsessed with the sex lives of his subjects, and also the theme of anti-Semitism (which becomes increasingly prominent in this book as the nineteenth century developes).

He is very strong on Catherine II (unsurprisingly given his previous books) and Alexander II - who are arguably the most attractive personalities in the Romanovs (it may be no coincidence that they also had the most rampant sex lives).

But when it comes to Nicholas II, the weaknesses of the book are apparent, ie an emphasis on court life and too little context about what was happening outside the palaces. I had to re-read the section about 1905 three times to see if I'd missed why the first Duma had been called. But, unlike Alexander II, whose personal life was fascinating, I suspect very few are interested in knowing the pet names Nicholas II and Alix have to their genitalia.

It is extremely ambitious to write a book that covers 300 years and this emphatically is not a history of Russia. But the cast of thousands makes it an at times difficult book to read when the protagonists are less interesting (eg the tsarinas and tsars from Peter I to Catherine II).

It is a book that probably won't interest the academic historian. Like his book on Jerusalem, it is very much a personal guide to a fascinating dynasty. But at the risk of slinging prudish, the balance could have been better drawn between private debauchery and political history.


Marathon
Marathon
by Hal Higdon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

1.0 out of 5 stars Bilge, 28 Mar. 2016
This review is from: Marathon (Paperback)
Hal Higdon is great. And modest. But mostly great, at running but also writing. Hal Higdon is a - the? - great American hero, age-defying in his greatness. And let's not forget, inspirational to the throng of slack-jawed and moist eyed plebs who attend his booth at various expos, in floods of tears at his great wisdom.

Did I mention just how great Hal Higdon is?

Good. Now you don't need to read this book. You're welcome.


Bluetooth Sports Headphones, Mpow Swift Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Sports Earphones Headset with Mic and AptX for iPhone 6s 6s Plus 6 6 Plus 5 5c 5s 4s Samsung Galaxy S6 S5 S4 S3 Note 3 and Other Android Cell Phones,Black
Bluetooth Sports Headphones, Mpow Swift Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Sports Earphones Headset with Mic and AptX for iPhone 6s 6s Plus 6 6 Plus 5 5c 5s 4s Samsung Galaxy S6 S5 S4 S3 Note 3 and Other Android Cell Phones,Black

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cheap as chips and about as useful as chips if you want to go for a run, 2 July 2015
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Cheap earphones, cheap packaging, didn't charge properly.
The sort of things you might win at a fairground and then feel a bit cheated when you opened them up.


Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books
Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books
by Claudia Roth Pierpont
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb. The best book I've read all year., 30 Oct. 2014
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An absolutely superb summary of Roth's life and novels. I really can't praise it too highly - I was fascinated by the insights into Roth's disastrous marriage(s), the controversies about his alleged misogyny and his relationships with writers such as Updike and Bellow.

What I loved most was the author's ability to explain Roth's books without resorting to impenetrable literary criticism. A must for anyone who has loved Roth's American Trilogy, Portnoy's Complaint - or really anyone interested in the life and works of a great author


Andrea Pirlo: I think therefore I play
Andrea Pirlo: I think therefore I play
by Andrea Pirlo with Alessandro Alciato
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.48

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter gibberish by Alano Pernice, 5 Jun. 2014
Unless this is meant as a big joke, the utter fatuousness of this book is astonishing. For example;

"I knew fine well what was going through their [other trainees] minds when they found themselves in quicksand, corroded and imprisoned by the worm of jealousy".

If an English player had written a similar "book" of such rambling nonsense, ranging from the assertion (twice) that "all my free kicks are my children" to boasting of how he went from playing his Playstation the afternoon of the World Cup final, he would be laughed out of the game.

Just a ridiculous book from the terrible translation to the numerous blank pages padding out the length. No insights. Pirlo comes across as a sort of Italian Alan Partridge.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2016 10:09 PM GMT


Dominion
Dominion
Price: £5.49

2.0 out of 5 stars Clunk clunk clunk, 26 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Dominion (Kindle Edition)
As counter-factual history goes, the premise of Dominion is ok. There's a certain plausibility about the consequences of peace in 1940, i.e. USA not entering the war, Nazi concentration on USSR leading to a longer Russian war and a Vichyesque regime in the UK under Lloyd George/ Beaverbrook.

This would have made for a reasonable interesting essay.

But Dominion isn't an essay. It's a 500+ page pot boiler involving an extremely slight narrative which boils down to moving one person 150 miles. The characters lack depth and interest and several central plot points are maddeningly stupid (you really don't need to speak German/ Yiddish to understand what a dying mother means when she says "ich hab dich lieb" to her son).

There are some good passages - describing bullying in a miserable Gordonstone-like boarding school - but others are terribly weak (Churchill), the blithe epilogue which seems to adopt the concept of the good Nazi (Speer/ Wehrmacht over the SS).

At the end, and to his credit, Sansom commends Harris's Fatherland as the pre-eminent novel of this genre. Amen to that.


Pete Townshend: Who I Am
Pete Townshend: Who I Am
by Pete Townshend
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.43

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's hard, 30 Aug. 2013
Anyone who has ever wondered what exactly Tommy is all about will find a partial answer here: this autobiography, like Tommy, refers back regularly to Pete Townshend's troubled childhood, his spirituality (the largely unexplained Meher Baba) and rock and roll excess.

But it doesn't really satisfy. Townsend, unlike Keith Richards in his recent autobiography, comes across as petulant, shambolic and self-pitying. For a spiritual man he has shows little capacity for empathy or self-reflection. And, as another reviewer had commented , his anecdotes

The plan behind Lifestage is revealed as a mess and it is interesting that Pinball Wizard and the whole pinball motif was added as an afterthought to Tommy because it was otherwise too.

Anyone wanting to read about the Who should read the superb biography of Keith Moon ("Dear Boy").


Apple iPhone SE Screen Protectors - 6 Premium Screen Protectors for Apple iPhone SE / 5 / 5S / 5C  Retail Packed with Cleaning Cloth and Application Card (Lifetime Guarantee)
Apple iPhone SE Screen Protectors - 6 Premium Screen Protectors for Apple iPhone SE / 5 / 5S / 5C Retail Packed with Cleaning Cloth and Application Card (Lifetime Guarantee)
Offered by MOFRED PRODUCTS
Price: £9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Diabolically useless, 26 Mar. 2013
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These are cheap (as you can see) and don't fit very well (as you might expect)

What you don't anticipate is that there is a small white sticker on each screen which doesn't come off cleanly, leaving a square of white paper on the screen.

Even though these are very cheap, they are also very useless.


The John Lennon Letters: Edited and with an Introduction by Hunter Davies
The John Lennon Letters: Edited and with an Introduction by Hunter Davies
by John Lennon
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Marginalia and trivia, 29 Jan. 2013
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John Lennon wasn't a very prolific or good letter writer. Which should come as no surprise. The fact that his collected 'letters' (read: one line postcards, replies to questionnaire with at most five vaguely interesting letters concerning Paul McCartney) have been published is a bit desperate. The book is handsome and Hunter Davies does his best to pull together these fragmants but it amounts to very little.

I write as a Beatles fan and someone who finds Lennon interesting - but not so fascinating that I'd recommend this book (one step above rummaging through Dylan's dustbin) to anyone.


The Imperfectionists
The Imperfectionists
by Tom Rachman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant novel set in a failing newspaper, 29 Sept. 2011
This review is from: The Imperfectionists (Paperback)
I can only say I'm amazed to read these mixed reviews. I found The Imperfectionists funny, true, captivating and in a couple of the linked stories, heart-wrenching.

Deservedly nominated by the New York Times Book Review as one of the outstanding novels of the past year.


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