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Pentax 10x25 UCF X II Binoculars
Pentax 10x25 UCF X II Binoculars

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent lightweight general purpose binoculars, 5 Mar. 2011
These are lightweight and small. The optics have good edge to edge clarity, no discernable distortion or fringing, good colour rendering and reasonable light gathering power. 10x magnification is right for me but others might prefer the slightly better light gathering and wider field of view of 8x.

They feel nice in the hands (mine are small) and can be used one handed. Focussing is smooth and precise. I like the pop in and out right eye focussing knob which is tucked out of harm's way when not in use. The depth of field is small, so viewing obects at varying distances requires refocussing. They focus down to about 1.5 metres. The case is soft, lightweight plastic, tough but doesn't give much protection.

If you have a specialist requirement for binoculars you'll look elsewhere, but otherwise these are excellent for the general user.


Language: The Basics
Language: The Basics
by R.L. Trask
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.34

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 7 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Language: The Basics (Paperback)
The author reveals some fascinating facts about language, such as how and why the written and spoken versions diverge over time. I like his style of writing and the book provides a good introduction to linguistics for the general reader. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in linguistics, which should be everyone since we all use language.


50 Economics Ideas You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas)
50 Economics Ideas You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas)
by Edmund Conway
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good resume, 7 Nov. 2010
This is a good resume of the economics concepts that you hear about every day, succinct and well written. My only criticism is that 50 is an arbitrary number, no doubt set by the publisher, so some 45 topics have been stretched to 50.


Collins Spanish Dictionary: Complete & Unabridged
Collins Spanish Dictionary: Complete & Unabridged
by Author
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for advanced students, 31 Aug. 2009
My thoughts on whether you need this book are that it depends not on your level of expertise but on your use of the language. If you only expect to use Spanish for casual conversations and reading notices, advertisements, etc. the answer is no. It is definitely not portable and a pocket dictionary will meet your needs. Collins do a good one of those too.

If you plan to read Spanish and/or write it other than in a class situation (where the vocabulary is limited and structured) the answer is a resounding yes, because neither the people who write Spanish nor the ideas you want to express are limited to the words in a pocket dictionary. For example a child's book with simple grammer and vocabulary might include the word peonza (spinning top) found on page 687.

I use and study Spanish several times a week in conversation, reading and writing and find this dictionary excellent. The layout makes it easy to find the word and specific meaning I require, especially considering how detailed it is, and there a lots of phrases showing how words are used in context. I have yet to encounter a word that the dictionary did not explain, for example Soltarse means to get free or come undone, but in the context of the article I was reading it meant to become fluent in a language, which I found on page 843.


The Stories of English
The Stories of English
by David Crystal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but flawed, 31 Aug. 2009
This review is from: The Stories of English (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book but was irritated by it in equal measure. The enjoyment came from its exploration of how English developed down the centuries and its wanderings along the bye ways of the language, but three aspects annoyed me. Firstly I found the author's style pedantic and a heavy read. Secondly there is very little about modern versions of the language except American and British. I would have loved to know more about Indian, Aussie, Kiwi, West Indian and other varieties. Thirdly the author has a down on correct standard English which he associates with racism and class warfare. He worships Middle English as the golden age of dialect diversity but English is now a world language which needs standards for global intelligibility. If he had cut out the political diatribe and told us more about modern versions of the language it would have been a better book.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2014 11:17 AM GMT


The Complete Brigadier Gerard Stories (Canongate Classics)
The Complete Brigadier Gerard Stories (Canongate Classics)
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It, 13 Feb. 2009
A series of short adventure stories in which Conan Doyle pokes gentle fun at his creation; a brave, loyal, chivalrous but egotistical and stupid cavalry officer in Napoleon's army. A pleasant easy read, great fun and with more humour than usual.


Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Vocabulary (Practice Makes Perfect Series)
Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Vocabulary (Practice Makes Perfect Series)
by Dorothy Richmond
Edition: Paperback

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of practice, 23 Dec. 2008
This book is well structured taking the reader through the key aspects of the language and providing lots of exercises at each stage, in total there must be thousands. If you read it cover to cover and do the exercises you will get the practice you need to become proficient.

Some exercises are rooted in US culture, but just ignore them as there are plenty that aren't. Most of the vocabulary you will never use, but the examples do use common words more frequently.

Highly recommended and a steal at the price.


Collins Gem Spanish Dictionary (Collins Gem)
Collins Gem Spanish Dictionary (Collins Gem)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good carry around dictionary, 23 Dec. 2008
Small enough to carry around, lightweight, durable plastic cover. The words to be translated are printed in blue bold type making them easy to find. An amazing number of words squeezed into 600 pages but like all pocket dictionaries it trades content for size. Excellent value for money but printed on thick, presumably cheap, paper which makes it bulky at 40mm thick, hence 4 stars.

I can also recommend the excellent Collins Gem Spanish Grammar for travellers who take their Spanish seriously.


Parallel Worlds: The Science of Alternative Universes and Our Future in the Cosmos
Parallel Worlds: The Science of Alternative Universes and Our Future in the Cosmos
by Michio Kaku
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.13

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but heavy going, 5 Nov. 2008
The topics covered are profound, mind bending and require a fundamental shift in thinking from what we are accustomed to regard as normal. Kaku has set himself a difficult task in attempting to explain them to a general readership. Some of his explanations are good, but I found parts of book heavy going, especially string theory which is his specialism.

The book falls between two stools, being too hard for the amateur but not a textbook for physics students.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2010 8:46 PM GMT


Collins Gem Spanish Grammar (Collins Gem)
Collins Gem Spanish Grammar (Collins Gem)
by Collins Dictionaries
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent traveller's companion, 5 Nov. 2008
This tiny book covers most everyday Spanish grammar, is small enough to take on a trip and neatly complements a pocket dictionary. It would be a good beginner's guide to Spanish grammar too for anyone who did not want to delve too deeply or spend too much.

A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish by Butt and Benjamin is excellent too and far more comprehensive, but it is also much too heavy to live in my rucksack.


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