Shop now Shop now Shop now Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now
Profile for A. Somerville > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by A. Somerville
Top Reviewer Ranking: 472,568
Helpful Votes: 213

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
A. Somerville "al131262" (Stroud, UK)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
A History of the Future in 100 Objects
A History of the Future in 100 Objects
Price: £3.48

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting jog thru social & technology ideas, 26 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As with all futurology, this book will become historic and wrong quite quickly. Yet its value lies in having a strong imagination of a possible future. The macro sense of change for all of Earth and its population over decades. The 100 objects conceit allows the author to jump between interesting issues and possibilities without being sucked into the mundanity of extrapolating every possibility.

I'd say this book was a better read in one day of the complexity of future possibilities than a year of reading Wired magazine.


The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
Price: £9.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long, detailed & very complex, 17 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Spanish Civil War has always interested & horrified me.

The problem is it is (more than many civil wars) viciously complex with multiple parties and personalities.

Beevor's book is a very good study of the war but it not easy going. The Communist infighting within the Republican movement adds layers that require concentration.

Having a map handy helps too.


Chineasy: The New Way to Read Chinese
Chineasy: The New Way to Read Chinese
Price: £7.19

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful book to understand both Chinese & structure of symbols, 18 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I read this book mostly from the angle of thinking about symbols and meaning.

I've known of ideograms for years but never been able to understand them. This book is lovely because it uses simple graphics to make them obvious.

I'd recommend this book to anyone interested both in Chinese and how to think about presenting information clearly.


The Circle
The Circle
Price: £4.99

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book with satiric warning about technology, 12 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Circle (Kindle Edition)
The Circle is a great book that expands, satirically, upon the direction of many of the technologies companies are developing now.

The Circle is a company that encompasses Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter. Thus points are made about all these types of social network and consumer systems.

There are some problems with the novel - the basic assumption that TruYou - the primary Circle product would come true is arguable. I'm OK with it, all satires need a jumping off point of assumptions to make the further steps into madness and ridiculousness necessary.

The book is very much along the lines of 1984 and Brave New World.

Some people, particularly those who are attached to the ideas of technological solutionism (see Evgeny Morozov's critique of this idea) will hate this novel. The Wired review reads like it was written by a Circle manager - not angry, just disappointed in Dave Eggers.

I liked it and finished in a couple of hours.


The Fear Index
The Fear Index
Price: £4.99

14 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Like TV's Columbo - you know what's going to happen & it's fun, 2 Oct. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Fear Index (Kindle Edition)
I did like reading this book but it is not a very good book.

The basic problem is that the plot and characters never go beyond cliche.

Think you can guess the plot from the blurb about a hedge fund wizard, who has developed a financial AI system, being harassed in Geneva by a mysterious enemy: well, you're right, it is who you think it is and it all rolls along as you'd imagine.

On the positive side, it's like a good Columbo episode: you know what's going to happen but it's a great ride. Also, rather like all the Crichton books, probably make a better film than a book.


Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world
Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world
by Mark Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.49

40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book make sure which Kindle edition you buy, 10 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good book but not recommended as a Kindle purchase since you don't get access to the guided meditation that comes with the printed book on a CD.

This may seem obvious but worth being aware of when choosing between editions.

CHANGE TO ORIGINAL REVIEW

There are now both enhanced (with audio) and standard copies of this book on the Kindle store. So original review no longer remains true. Good service from Amazon swapping my original copy for enhanced version too.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 26, 2011 10:50 AM GMT


Empire of the Clouds: When Britain's Aircraft Ruled the World
Empire of the Clouds: When Britain's Aircraft Ruled the World
by James Hamilton-Paterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like the Daily Telegraph obituary of the UK air industry, 12 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A reasonable but slightly drifting book on the decline of the British aerospace industry. The author is clear in his love of British aircraft and their place in both his personal life and his country's history since WW2.

Though well focused in many parts about specific people, projects or places, the book is unbalanced by the author's opinions and comments.

This book is not a simple history book but more like a well written, personal obituary or letter published in the Daily Telegraph. Full of derring do anecdotes and slightly blimp'ish criticisms of politicians, managers, unions and foreigners.


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product, ebook pricing only problem, 2 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Kindle is physically an excellent product with good design and simple user interface. The experience of starting it up and first use was the best I've ever had. The Kindle knew my name and account details with books I'd ordered on Kindle for iPhone app available instantly.

In terms of paying the additional charge for 3G: I'd highly recommend it. The use of the 'experimental' web browser for web and webmail for free, almost anywhere in the world, is great. It's worth mentioning also how good the Sync is between the different software versions of Kindle (I use PC, iPhone and iPad). Books are matched up and sync'ed on all hardware automatically.

The only downside of the Kindle is the cost of ebooks. Given the close integration of the physical technology and the ebooks, this is a valid thing to criticise. There are too many books where the price is startlingly higher than available in physical form elsewhere. The availability of free books is good but it spoils the whole Kindle experience when some titles are so pricey.

Overall, highly recommend Kindle but just watch out for aggravation of pricing amongst the great design and user experience.


2-Year Protection Plan Plus for Kindle (6" Display, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, Latest Generation), U.K. customers only
2-Year Protection Plan Plus for Kindle (6" Display, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, Latest Generation), U.K. customers only

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How to ruin the Kindle experience, 2 Dec. 2010
Up until today, I've been extremely impressed by Amaon and the experience of buying and using a Kindle.

Sad then to have it knackered by an email selling this useless product.

2 year warranty which is actually only 1 year (due to standard product protection laws) and even that's not good value.


This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation
This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation
by Barbara Ehrenreich
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.08

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too short, too lite, too much like a Michael Moore book, 25 Jun. 2009
A witty collection of short articles on a lot of the key political and social problem areas of the United States. Thematically linked into areas such as health and work.

However, it is much too short (I think I finished it all in a couple of hours, maybe less) and so it comes across much too like one of those angry/radical-lite Michael Moore books than any of her previous books.

I highly recommend her other books which cover the social issues and ills of US society very well through her embedding herself in the lives of others less fortunate. Read this book when you've finished them and prepare to be slightly disappointed.


Page: 1 | 2