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Teapot (Mexico)

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The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
by Paulo Coelho
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.84

9 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars X Factor for dunces, 31 Aug. 2007
The Alchemist is the literary version the TV show, the X Factor, where all the contestants believe that they are special and unique and that anyone can succeed if they only try hard enough.
My message to anyone whose life was touched by this book, is that you should take its message to heart and follow your destiny. You will surely become that wonderful, successful, attractive, popular, rich, athletic and happy person you always knew that you deserved to be. You will find your personal treasure. Give it a try.........and when you have failed and realise that you don't have the talent, or the looks, or the voice,or the physical stature, or the qualifications, or the intelligence to be that person, then you might feel a little bit happier for getting to know yourself a bit better.


The Witch of Portobello
The Witch of Portobello
by Paulo Coelho
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn, 21 Aug. 2007
I picked up this book in an airport, when I realized that I had left my book at home and was facing the next 10 hours with nothing to do. In retrospect I should have just tried to get some sleep.
The book is so full of hot air that it could have kept the aeroplane suspended in the air for 10 hours by itself.
The point of the book is clearly to pass on the author's muddle-headed theories of life and its meaning, because the storyline is utterly crass and the characters are unintentionally hilarious. Poorly written and lacking any thread of credibility, this has to be one of the worst books I have ever come across


News of a Kidnapping
News of a Kidnapping
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A factual novel, 21 Aug. 2007
This review is from: News of a Kidnapping (Paperback)
In News of a Kidnapping, Gabriel Garcia Marquez rewinds temporarily and returns to his journalistic roots, covering the personal histories of some of the most notorious kidnap victims in contemporary Colombian history. Whilst in the foreground, Gabriel Garcia Marquez leads us through the horror of the daily lives of several of Escobar's most prominent kidnap victims, he carefully paints Colombia's political and social backdrop, revealing the part these victims had to play in the terrible tug-of-war that took place between the country's most prominent druglords (most noteably Pablo Escobar) and Colombian government.
Although unaccustomed to his journalistic style, I really enjoyed reading this book and really appreciated that it was so cold and clear and stripped of any magical realism and folklore.


Ham On Rye
Ham On Rye
by Charles Bukowski
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catcher in the Ham on Rye, 28 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Ham On Rye (Paperback)
This is a truly great book and although there are many surface differences with JD Salinger's wonderful Catcher in the Rye, their similarities are much greater.

Although Henry (Hank) Chinaski and Holden Caulfield live in different decades and occupy different ends of the social spectrum, they are of the same mould. They are both non-conformists, unable to settle into their respective social groups. They both see through the superficiality of their respective worlds and are unable and unwilling to adapt themselves to it. They both see the futility of their lives, leaving them feeling alienated and alone, unable to communicate with their peers or with their disfunctional families. They are both unbending in their respective morals, revolted by injustice and bullying. They are both self-destructive, finding more solace in drink than in human relationships.

I loved this book, but thank heaven that I didn't read it as a teenager.


Memories Of My Melancholy Whores
Memories Of My Melancholy Whores
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tales of a dirty old man, 28 Jun. 2007
Finding beauty and romance in child prostitution is unforgivable, no matter how deceptively a writer might frame it. In Memories of My Melancholy Whores, GGM returns to a theme which he seemingly cannot leave alone, that of paedophilia. As in Of Love and Other Demons, the subject matter is the love between an adult and a child. In the case of this book, the child is 14 years old and is forced into prostitution by economic hardship. Repulsion is the only word I can use to describe what I felt when I read this book.
Do none of the other readers who have waxed lyrical about this book see this, or has child prostitution and paedophilia become OK amongst the intelligensia????


Del Amor y Otros Demonios
Del Amor y Otros Demonios
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Un amor puro???, 28 May 2007
What has amazed me most about Del Amor y otros Demonios is that Garcia Marquez is such a good storyteller that he has made so many other readers wax lyrical about the love between a 12 year-old child and her 36 year-old paedophile priest.

Admittedly the story is written in a bygone century, when such things were more socially acceptable, by why do readers with today's morals find the story so beautiful? I give the story 5 stars for duping other readers into thinking so. Amazing.


Of Love and Other Demons
Of Love and Other Demons
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step back and weep, 28 May 2007
What has amazed me most about Of Love and Other Demons is that Garcia Marquez is such a good storyteller that he has made so many other readers wax lyrical about the love between a 12 year-old child and her 36 year-old paedophile priest.
Admittedly the story is written in a bygone century, when such things were more socially acceptable, by why do readers with today's morals find the story so beautiful? I give the story 5 stars for duping other readers into thinking so. Amazing.


Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Chronicle of a Death Foretold
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem, 28 May 2007
Revealing from the outset how the story is going to end is not your classic approach to story-telling, however in the case of Chronical of a Death Foretold, it is a master-stroke. Afterall, everyone in the book knows that a murder is going to happen in advance, so why shouldn't the reader?

The story is essentially about Fate and its unerring and at times illogical path. Despite the perpetrators broadcasting to the whole population their intention to commit the murder, so that as they can be apprehended and relieved of their duty to avenge their sister's honour, Fate conspires to force their hand.

This is the first Gacia Marquez novel that I have read, where I have been able to fully appreciate his lauded status as one of Latin America's greatest authors.

Masterful from start to finish.


La Casa Verde (Coleccion UNESCO de Obras Representativas)
La Casa Verde (Coleccion UNESCO de Obras Representativas)
by Mario Vargas Llosa
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard work, but worth the effort, 21 May 2007
I gave up reading this novel the first time, because I became confused and irritated with the non-sequential (and at times, non-sensical) development of the story and the continual shift of perspective from one character, scene or setting to another. At times, when not even a new paragraph is given to indicate a change of character, it felt as though Vargas Llosa was just trying to experiment, seeing how far he could push the reader's patience and powers of concentration. I failed the first time and gave up.

I re-read this book again a year of so later, and this time found it much more rewarding and more fluid. It is not a book you can pick up and read in a spare moment, you need to set aside a few hours or days to really get to grips with the story and understand the tempo and the flow. At first the plot seems like a puzzle and you try to fit all the pieces together, but this novel is more like a river that meanders, has a different currents and speeds and you really have to let yourself go and get swept along. You just have to trust the author will get you there in the end, which he does. I am really pleased I re-read this novel, because I would have really missed out had I not.


The Green House
The Green House
by Mario Vargas Llosa
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.34

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard work, but worth the effort, 21 May 2007
This review is from: The Green House (Paperback)
I gave up reading this novel the first time, because I became confused and irritated with the non-sequential (and at times, non-sensical) development of the story and the continual shift of perspective from one character, scene or setting to another. At times, when not even a new paragraph is given to indicate a change of character, it felt as though Vargas Llosa was just trying to experiment, seeing how far he could push the reader's patience and powers of concentration. I failed the first time and gave up.

I re-read this book again a year of so later, and this time found it much more rewarding and more fluid. It is not a book you can pick up and read in a spare moment, you need to set aside a few hours or days to really get to grips with the story and understand the tempo and the flow. At first the plot seems like a puzzle and you try to fit all the pieces together, but this novel is more like a river that meanders, has a different currents and speeds and you really have to let yourself go and get swept along. You just have to trust the author will get you there in the end, which he does. I am really pleased I re-read this novel, because I would have really missed out had I not.


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