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Rev. C. V. Smith (Merseyside)
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Wayfaring in Many Lands (Great Stories from Many Lands) (The Open Road - Book III)
Wayfaring in Many Lands (Great Stories from Many Lands) (The Open Road - Book III)
by Stella Mead
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My very first book, 6 Sept. 2013
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I first read this book pre-1941 - before I started at Infants' School - and many of the marvellous stories have stayed in my imagination ever since. I suppose it was also a useful primer in international culture which left a lasting impression on me, though today it might be regarded as 'old'hat'.
I would still recommend it as a very good read for new readers; it has lovely pictures, too!


Israel (Bradt Travel Guides)
Israel (Bradt Travel Guides)
by Samantha Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.18

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sanitized history, 6 Sept. 2013
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A search of Amazon shows that in place of the excellent 2000 Palestine guide there are now two separate Bradt Guides to the Israel/Palestine region - 'Palestine' by Sarah Irving (2011) and 'Israel' by Samantha Wilson (2009; 2nd edition 2011). This split seems a natural, not-before-time move, but I was immediately alarmed by the thought that Bradt might have bowed to pressure to produce a sanitized pro-Zionist guide to Israel, such as might be acceptable in the USA. So I sent for both books and carefully considered their respective authors and history sections.
Sadly, my fears were confirmed. According to Samantha Wilson, Israel is a 'vibrant and colourful little land'; it is her 'second home' and (reading between the lines) where she met her Jewish Israeli husband. And Palestinians do not exist. (Though not intending to comment on the book's tourist information, I noticed that the Golan Heights, not legally part of Israel, are included in the itinerary, and are rather incongruously described as a region that 'exudes a peace, harmony and beauty that few other places can claim' [p229])
More seriously, I found that the history section leans heavily in the direction of Zionist propaganda, the bland misinformation that has been fed to the world at large for more than 60 years. One may look in vain here for mention of the various anti-Palestinian initiatives adopted by Israel, such as Operation Defensive Shield, the building of the separation wall, the demolition of Palestinians' houses, destruction of their olive trees, restrictions of movement, the building of housing estates ('settlements') for Jewish Israelis on Palestinian land and so on. There is no mention of the shameful massacre, with Israel's connivance, of Palestinian refugee families at Sabra and Shatila camps in 1982. The assault on Gaza in December 2008 is mentioned without naming it but giving, without using the word 'disproportionate', the casualty count - 1400 Palestinians killed, 13 Israelis. A timeline of significant events from Abraham to date is provided which (in the manner of timelines) is inevitably brief, factual and fairly selective.
To sum up; The Bradt Travel Guide to Israel is the work of a British travel writer whose stance is that of an enthusiastic supporter of the State of Israel, and who therefore seeks to present as rosy a picture of the country as she can, though as far as modern history goes this involves overlooking a great number of 'elephants in the drawing room'. The result is a guide which may give accurate descriptions of places of interest but seriously misrepresents the past and present events and the realities of life in a state undergoing ethnic cleansing; no concern is expressed for those alienated by it. The Publisher's Foreword oddly makes no direct comment on the book which is a new addition to its range.


Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell
Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell
by John Shelby Spong
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bishop Spong's Debunking of the Christian Faith, 6 Mar. 2012
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Bishop Spong is a man with a mission - to disabuse Christians and non-Christians of old-fashioned theological ideas and replace them with something modern. This leads him in the case of this book to attempt a very ambitious ground-level up debunking of just about every doctrine of traditional theology. 'Debunking' may seem a harsh judgement considering how ambitious his objectives are and how good his intentions, but I was constantly irritated by simplistic arguments adduced to caricature, discredit and misinterpret aspects of the faith, arguments which were familiar from the works of Richard Dawkins. At times I had to check the top of the page, expecting it to say 'The God Delusion'. In particular Bishop Spong's elevated view of the supposedly devastating effect of 'modern science' on Christian belief is something not easily understood by those of us who have no great problems in that area. The conclusion - what we may expect by way of eternal life re-interpreted - was no more able to put the ineffable into words than the familiar metaphors of the New Testament. This is not to say it was not worth trying if only to get away from the prospect of heaven as an interminable church service, but I don't think a new vision can stand comfortably on such a negative platform as the preceding chapters furnish.


Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World
Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World
by John Shelby Spong
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The gospel according to Spong, 6 Mar. 2012
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Bishop Spong is a man with a mission - to disabuse Christians and, in this case, non-Christians of old-fashioned ideas and replace them with something modern. This leads him in the case of this book to attempt a very ambitious layman-level introduction to the main books of the Bible, and its overall structure. For me the book does not really succeed in its objective; much of the introductory material is informed with a sort of quirkiness which results from Bishop Spong's evangelically unorthodox position. He has a theory, for instance, about the Jewish liturgical structure of the synoptic gospels which is interesting but does not give any notion of the broad field of interpretations that exists. That being said, this is an interesting and in its way admirable attempt to breath fresh air into an old subject.


Bach: The Works for Organ Volume 7 / Das Orgelbüchlein
Bach: The Works for Organ Volume 7 / Das Orgelbüchlein
Price: £13.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Little OrganBook, 9 Feb. 2011
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In Novello's Book XV of Bach's organ works (on which I cut my teeth as an amateur organist), each prelude is prefaced with the words and music (SATB) of the hymn in question, so that you can see where the prelude is coming from devotionally as well as musically. This scheme was followed by Peter Hurford (with the choir of St John's Cambridge) on an LP set I picked up 2nd-hand some time ago, which has proved very enjoyable though the quality of reproduction inevitably leaves something to be desired. So I thought I would try a more recent digital recording and got Kevin Bowyer's version of the Orgelbuchlein (with the Finnish Chamber Choir). This performance is far from a clone of Hurford's moody (in the best sense) interpretations, quite startlingly so in places, but is excellent nonetheless. I am glad I bought it, though if pushed to choose, I think I would stick with Hurford, 'pops' and all.


The Punishment of Gaza
The Punishment of Gaza
by Gideon Löwy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Punishment opf Gaza, 9 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: The Punishment of Gaza (Paperback)
In many ways this is a depressing book, because the abuse of the Palestinian population which it catalogues over a number of years continues and if anything worsens; but full marks and great admiration go to Gideon Levy for his courage in speaking out against his Zionist compatriots (and government) and to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz which was willing to publish his views.


Song of Mary: Vocal score
Song of Mary: Vocal score
by Richard Shephard
Edition: Sheet music

5.0 out of 5 stars song of Mary, 9 Dec. 2010
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This music is a refreshingly different take on the Magnificat in a modern paraphrase. It deserves to be sung and heard much more often


Toshiba DVR20 Digital DVD Recorder and VCR with Freeview
Toshiba DVR20 Digital DVD Recorder and VCR with Freeview

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colin's review, 5 Oct. 2010
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This is the second model we have bought, as the first has been (and still is) fine. It enables us to record programmes either on tape or dvd so that we can manage a gradual transition. No problems.


Toshiba DVR19DTKB2 Freeview DVD/VCR Recorder Combi - Black
Toshiba DVR19DTKB2 Freeview DVD/VCR Recorder Combi - Black

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Toshiba DVD/VCR, 25 Nov. 2009
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Bought to replace an analogue, single-tuner VCR for every day use, the Toshiba DVR19DTKB has enabled a seamless transition to digital channel tape recording. The DVD recording facility has been tried out successfully but is not in regular use at the moment.
Controls are somewhat pig-headed, though the machine will eventually do what you request; there's room for improvement here with practice.


Suite Bergamasque / Arabesques
Suite Bergamasque / Arabesques
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £11.89

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Debussy comme il faut, 29 Sept. 2009
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I bought this CD for Clair de Lune in particular. It is Debussy's masterpiece but artistic interpretation is all important in the final analysis. Having heard many other great pianists play it I must award the laurels to Tamas Vasary for this absolutely spot-on version. Very highly recommended for the other pieces also.


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