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Philip (China)

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Any Human Heart
Any Human Heart
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest books I have ever read, 23 April 2016
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This review is from: Any Human Heart (Kindle Edition)
Any Human Heart is one of the finest books I have ever read – along with Compton Mackenzie's Sinister Street. The book is a fictitious autobiography (if that is not a misnomer), narrating the life story of Logan Mountstuart – from his upbringing in Uruguay, through his time at Oxford and on to his extraordinary adventures across the world.

Throughout the book, there are undertones of his sexuality and we meet his three wives, his lovers and notable friends, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf. All his adventures are fascinating, including his time as a naval officer and spy and also a spell in prison.

The book is written as a diary, rather than a novel, but the syntax and descriptions of people and places are compelling. The reader feels at one with the 'author' and, although the book is lengthy, I never bored of picking up the story where I left off.

Any Human Heart is a must-read, in my view, and I recommend it as compulsory reading. William Boyd has written many other novels and I am now reading A Good Man in Africa – equally outstanding as a piece of fine writing.


The Photographer's Wife
The Photographer's Wife
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A clever and intriguing story – recommended reading, 14 Dec. 2015
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As a photographer myself, I was initially drawn to this book by its title. This is a clever and intriguing story which slowly unfolds without giving too much away too early. The first chapter, set in Shoreditch, London during World War II, describes a family struggling with poverty and the war. The narrative then jumps to 2011 and is concerned with the next generation. Thereafter, the story alternates between the two generations. I began to anticipate the outcome as I read the narrative but always needed 'reinforcement' for my theories, which means that the book was, for me, a page-turner.

The book is well structured and written in a straightforward and readable style. Some further editing/proofreading would help but I often find that the editing of Kindle books, especially where indie authors are concerned, is somewhat lacking.

Strongly recommended.


The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book – ostensibly a thriller but with a deeper and more meaningful side to the story, 4 Nov. 2015
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This is a brilliant story about an ordinary girl commuting every day to London. But nothing is as it seems once the reader becomes involved in the characters whom she sees from the train. The story is narrated by three of the principal characters and the author, Paula Hawkins, cleverly interweaves their different viewpoints and relationships. Ostensibly, this book is a thriller but there is perhaps a deeper and more meaningful side to this story; that of a girl who is alone and depressed with no future.

This is definitely a page-turner and strongly recommended reading. It works well as an audiobook too. I believe there is talk of a film, which I would definitely want to see.


Even More Ketchup than Salsa: The Final Dollop
Even More Ketchup than Salsa: The Final Dollop
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buying a bar in Tenerife – more madness than sense!, 8 Oct. 2015
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Having read and written a not entirely positive review of the first instalment of Joe's story, 'More Ketchup than Salsa', I decided to give part two the benefit of the doubt. After a dubious start, I was quickly engaged and thoroughly enjoyed the book – the second half (of the second book) more than the first half.

Taking the story as a whole, it is a good read and, of course, it is based on a true experience, albeit twenty years ago. I particularly enjoyed the epilogue, although the author leaves us in suspense when it comes to his next story …? His parting touch was a link (on Kindle) to photographs of his time in Tenerife, which I followed. These photographs really put the whole experience into context and enabled the reader to gain a much greater understanding of the place and the people involved.

Recommended, starting with 'More Ketchup than Salsa'.


More Ketchup than Salsa
More Ketchup than Salsa
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read but I am ambivalent, 8 Sept. 2015
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I enjoyed this book, despite the rather artless narrative. The story is engaging and amusing in parts but lacks any real substance. Perhaps the title of the book says it all. I have been in two minds whether to buy the sequel, Even More Ketchup than Salsa, particularly in view of the mixed reviews. However, on the spur of the moment, I have just bought the Kindle edition. Time will tell.


Mary Barton
Mary Barton
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful classic which reveals the hardships of everyday living in England in the early 19th century, 4 Aug. 2015
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This review is from: Mary Barton (Kindle Edition)
I would not normally choose to read a classic novel of this nature. My interest in history is not strong enough to motivate me and I usually find the style of writing quite difficult to read. However, my wife had just finished the book and strongly recommended that I read it because Mary Barton is a powerful story and tells us much about England in the first half of the 19th century.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The story of Mary Barton (and her father and friends) is fascinating and makes one realize just how hard life was for the poor during these times: often no food or heating; and no electricity or running water. And employment conditions – one of the main components of this book – were appalling. Fighting the wealthy mill owners proves to be a difficult task.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone who has even a slight interest in English history and living conditions in the 19th century.


Mr Phillips
Mr Phillips
Price: £5.03

3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing book, which seemed to be going nowhere, 16 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: Mr Phillips (Kindle Edition)
I didn't really understand the point of this book; it all seemed rather aimless. It appears to be little more than a random selection of slightly odd experiences and thoughts, many sexual in nature, during the day after Mr Phillips is made redundant. Some of the descriptions are quite amusing but there seems to be little substance to the book. Mercifully, it was quite short so that I was able to dispatch with it quickly. What a shame after the excellent Fragrant Harbour and Capital.


A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: from the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube
A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: from the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube
Price: £6.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written but so pedestrian, 8 Dec. 2014
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This book narrates the story of Patrick Leigh Fermor's walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople (as it was then). The descriptions of the actual walk and the people he met on his way are fascinating; vivid landscapes, rivers, mountains, castles and all sorts of extraordinary people who apparently went out of their way to look after this young intrepid traveller.

Unfortunately – for me, at least – Leigh Fermor tends to be diverted from the main travel story and spends many words going into related subjects that have little interest for me. Many readers may say that this is what gives the book its real interest but I would prefer that he sticks to the good old-fashioned travelogue.

I became bored after reading about fifty per cent of the book, but I did persevere and finish it. I will not read this author again.


Lighting for Architectural Photography The Digital Photographer's Guide to Flash and Ambient Lighting for Interior Spaces by Siskin, John ( AUTHOR ) Mar-15-2012 Paperback
Lighting for Architectural Photography The Digital Photographer's Guide to Flash and Ambient Lighting for Interior Spaces by Siskin, John ( AUTHOR ) Mar-15-2012 Paperback
by John Siskin
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A great guide to lighting interiors professionally, 30 Mar. 2014
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This is a straightforward guide to lighting buildings and interiors. Many digital-camera users believe that you can point and shoot – even interiors – but of course you cannot. Balancing ambient light with flash to produce a properly lit interior is a real skill and John Siskin does a good job explaining the techniques involved. Best of all, he uses many examples of actual interior-lighting set-ups, taking you through the lighting positions, trial shots and the final result.

This is an excellent book for all those wishing to improve their interior-lighting skills. I shoot a lot of interiors on a commercial basis and learned a great deal from this book.

Recommended.


Under a Mackerel Sky
Under a Mackerel Sky
Price: £4.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a lovely autobiography which I can strongly recommend, 1 Dec. 2013
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This is a lovely autobiography - I simply cannot think of a better adjective to describe this charming story of Rick Stein's life, which describes his failures and successes, both culinary and personal. Beautifully and simply written, the reader quickly becomes involved in Rick's day-to-day life, from the 1950s when he was a small boy right up to the present time. One realizes - not surprisingly - that there is a great deal more to his personality than is visible in his television persona.

I particularly enjoyed this book because I was able to empathize with so many of his experiences: from the places he knows, through school, the swinging 1960s, parties and girlfriends, to his love of Australia. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, which I can recommend to anybody.


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