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Bretonista "Bretonista" (UK)

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Kikkerland Stone Resin Rosie Bookend Pair, Black
Kikkerland Stone Resin Rosie Bookend Pair, Black

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 May 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Solid and good looking :o)


Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit [DVD]
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit [DVD]
Dvd ~ Geraldine McEwan
Price: £6.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 May 2017
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Wonderful adaptation of a very fine book!


The Sound of Arvo Part
The Sound of Arvo Part
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!, 7 April 2017
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This review is from: The Sound of Arvo Part (Audio CD)
Wonderful music, good performances, terrific value. Recommended.


Reasons to Stay Alive
Reasons to Stay Alive
by Matt Haig
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.19

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs A Health Warning?, 27 Nov. 2016
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This review is from: Reasons to Stay Alive (Paperback)
Matt Haig's book contains some good stuff on the reality of depression and anxiety. However, it should come with a health warning IMHO. Haig constantly reiterates that it is the unfailing support of his partner Andrea that is the prime factor - aside from his own courage, to be fair - that gets him through his depression. Andrea features often, and is perhaps the key "reason to stay alive" that Haig leans on in the early stages of his depression - along with the equally unfailing support and understanding of his family.
Why is this an issue? Well, for many sufferers the lack of a loving intimate relationship, family issues, and problems of social isolation are key factors in their depression. Many of those who suffer from depression are survivors of bereavement, damaged families/relationships, or the breakdown/absence of social networks. For such people - in my opinion - this book could actually be dangerously undermining. Haig has in place the very elements that are missing for many - though of course not all - fellow sufferers.
So the fact that this book is being touted by other reviewers as an effective "cure all", a book that should be recommended as a "life saver", is both misleading and worrying. There is much here that is of use, but this is emphatically NOT a book to recommend to anyone who has suffered bereavement, or who does not have a strong, supportive partner/family network to lean on.
My other problem with the book is that when Haig does try answer the question of why someone should "choose life", his material is thin and occasionally rather glib. Worst of all is the section where he includes hashtag responses from members of the public - the existence of bacon rolls or someone else's cat may not be all that helpful for most of us. I can see what he's trying to do - humour is a great weapon in the struggle against despair - but I don't think he pulls it off.
Perhaps I'm being overly harsh, but it seems to me that anyone who aims to answer the biggest existential question that any of us are ever likely to face had better make sure that he gets it right. I don't think Haig does. For some people, this book will help. For others, it may well plunge them deeper into despair. If you're tempted to recommend this book to a friend, a client, or a patient - make sure you read it first!


[The Lives of Erich Fromm: Love's Prophet] (By: Lawrence J. Friedman) [published: February, 2013]
[The Lives of Erich Fromm: Love's Prophet] (By: Lawrence J. Friedman) [published: February, 2013]
by Lawrence Jacob Friedman
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Another 'prophet' ill-served by his biographer!, 6 Jun. 2016
Prophets tend to be ill-served by their biographers, and sadly this book is no exception to the rule.

Let's start with the good news. There is a wealth of information contained within these pages - hence the three stars. Friedman has meticulously researched his subject, and presents his findings with clarity. For academics and Fromm 'completists', this text is an essential addition to the library, whatever its short-comings.

However, there are two major issues for me with this biography.

First, there is the style. The book is dry as brick dust. There is none of the vibrancy, elan or brio that we find in Fromm's own writing - even when he is tackling exceptionally difficult material. Instead there is the careful prose style of a traditional senior academic, meticulously chronicling every detail of Fromm's life in a formal style that strangles one's enthusiasm as a reader. After finishing a good book by Fromm, I feel more alive. After finishing this book, I had almost lost the will to live.

Second, there's the hidden agenda. Friedman makes comment after comment sniping at Fromm's supposed lack of intellectual rigour, particularly in his later books. Given the long history of this accusation against Fromm in certain academic and 'traditionalist' Freudian circles, I would be interested to know what position Friedman has previously taken on this subject. However that might be, his consistent sly carping quickly becomes annoying. Whether Friedman is right or wrong, it doesn't make for a good read.

As I read this book I was inevitably reminded of Mark Polizotti's biography of Andre Breton. Polizotti, like Friedman, presented a highly detailed, admirably academic account of his subject's life. In the process however he subtly undermined his subject's credibility, and produced a book that was in many ways the precise opposite of everything his subject's life and work represented. Friedman's book is not quite as bad as Polizotti's, but it doesn't lag far behind.

All in all, a huge disappointment.


Weaponsmith (Weaponsmith Chronicles Book 1)
Weaponsmith (Weaponsmith Chronicles Book 1)
Price: £0.99

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Misfiring Hackbut, 22 Jan. 2015
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First of all, let me say that in giving this book just two stars I recognise - judging from the feedback others have left - that I'm in a minority. Most reviewers seem to love Weaponsmith, and my issues with it may just be personal bugbears. But a couple of issues with the book seem worth flagging up. They had a big impact on my enjoyment of it, and that might go for other prospective readers too.

The author clearly knows his stuff when it comes to the warfare of the period, and equally he is all too familiar with the realities of the battlefield. I suspect that this book was something of a labour of love, and there is a commendable attention to detail. However, this has to be weighed against two big negatives IMHO - the first is a matter of style, the second of narrative plausibility.

The book is a first person narrative, and Mike Crawshaw has made a very deliberate decision to have the narrator tell his tale in an entirely - some would say jarringly - modern voice. At first, this doesn't grate too much. But as the story unfolds and moves into a series of battlefield accounts, the narrative becomes increasingly clipped - and increasingly like military reportage from, say, the front line in Afghanistan or Iraq. The language becomes that of the squaddie or the NCO on a modern battlefield, and the contrast with the historical setting becomes increasingly absurd. Characters not only talk in a way that no 17th century person would have talked - they think in an utterly anachronistic way as well. Now, whether this bothers you or not is perhaps down to your personal tastes, but it simply didn't work for me in the end. When the hero of our tale explains to a subordinate that "sh*t happens", well - that was more or less the last straw for me.

The other issue is about the plausibility of the narrative itself - the core story. Without giving the plot away, let's just say that the young narrator's sophisticated and urbane grasp of an increasingly broad array of battlefield strategy and tactics - all of it arrived at, apparently, through a kind of inner spark of genius in the absence of much in the way of experience - pushes the bounds of credibility well beyond their limit. Hired as a blacksmith, the narrator becomes a one-man moderniser of the 17th century art of war. It simply doesn't add up.

When it's done well, historical fiction can be wonderfully immersive. But I'm afraid that for me, Weaponsmith is hobbled by its author's decision to cut through the problem of 'voice' by simply steering around it, and by his hero's implausible elevation from blacksmith to field marshal in one small jump. Ah well, sh*t happens, as Gustavus Adolphus used to say...
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2015 1:12 AM GMT


Pike and Shot
Pike and Shot

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Wargame!, 5 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Pike and Shot (DVD-ROM)
I love this game! I think it's a blast, and it has the potential to become a real classic. I've found computer wargames disappointing since the early days of Great Battles and Age of Rifles, but Pike & Shot really works for me. Its graphics reflect the way the period was depicted by contemporary artists. And, crucially, the AI has been developed to the point where it provides the human player with a real challenge. The developers have taken the trouble to faithfully model many of the specifics of the period, for example the alarming tendency that cavalry had to pursue fleeing enemies right off the field of battle, and the ways that the various pike and shot formations morphed from war to war and from nation to nation.

In brief, Pike & Shot is a turn-based, battlefield-level simulation of the period, and includes scenarios from the Italian Wars, the English Civil War and the Thirty Years War. There are a number of different difficulty settings, and the usual tranche of adjustable on-screen options. There is also a `Skirmish' facility, which enables the player to generate endlessly varied random scenarios from all three of these wars; within this you can either trust the computer to select your forces for you, or you can select your army yourself. Size of battle and terrain can be customised, as can the type of battle - Attack, Defence, Open Battle, Reinforcement and Flank Marches. The type of battle selected will influence the AI's behaviour. This means that in effect the game has endless replayability value.

Even better, there is a built-in editor, and this is likely to ensure a steady flow of new scenarios, as well as providing enthusiasts of the period with the chance to build their own battles. I suspect this will be taking up a fair bit of my time once I've got into it. So far I've added new armies for the English Civil War, with Montrose's royalists next on my list. It's even possible to edit the technical parameters for various aspects of the game - e.g. arquebus range or effectiveness of artillery - either to personalise the feel of the game in line with your own interpretations of history, or in order to adapt it to represent different wars altogether. So in effect you can use this game as a Pike & Shot era 'toolkit', and build on it in whatever way you choose. Someone on the game forum is already close to completing a free mod for the Samurai era! Or you can just use it vanilla flavour, straight out of the box...

Wars covered in the basic game are - Italian Wars, English Civil War, Thirty Years War. The battles included with the game are as follows: Seminara, Fornovo, Ravenna, Novara, Marignano, Bicocca, Pavia, Ceresole, St Quentin, Gravelines (Italian Wars), Wimpfen, Lutter, 1st Breitenfeld, Lutzen, Nordlingen, Wittstock, 2nd Breitenfeld, Rocroi (Thirty Years War), Storming of Bristol, Relief of Nantwich, Cheriton, Marston Moor, Lostwithiel, 2nd Newbury, Naseby (English Civil War).

I've been very critical of - and disappointed with - computer wargames in the past. But I have no hesitation in recommending this one!

NB A reviewer over on the US Amazon site has written a very critical and, IMHO, quite unfair critique of the game. He claims for example that combat results are weighted in the AI's favour - this is SIMPLY NOT TRUE, as a quick look at the game's online forum would confirm. Sometimes it seems that people just need to find an excuse for losing a battle ;o)


Prometheus [DVD] [2012]
Prometheus [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Noomi Rapace
Price: £5.00

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ridley Squat, 24 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Prometheus [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
This over-cooked Space Turkey really is an absolute stinker. Risible storyline, vapid dialogue, incoherent plot, cliched CGI, laughable characters, schoolboy philosophy. Avoid!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2014 3:26 PM GMT


Homage to Pan (Creation)
Homage to Pan (Creation)
by Nevill Drury
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful biography of an exceptional individual, 29 Nov. 2012
Drury's critical biography of Rosaleen Norton is a well-written and well-researched account of her life and work, and of the various esoteric influences that shaped her approach to both. She is a fascinating figure whose life revolved around visionary art, magical practice and self-exploration. It covers everything from her rebellious childhood to her brief spell of notoriety as a "witch" (a label she enjoyed playing up to) and as an unrepentant practitioner of sex magic. It includes a particularly interesting comparison of her artwork and inner landscape with that of Austin Osman Spare. Norton comes across as a likeable, funny and wildly imaginative figure, and genuine one-off.

There are many illustrations, and although the reproduction quality could be better there really isn't much to complain about at this price. Highly recommended for anyone interested in modern visionary art and its connection to magical consciousness.


The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic
by Chalmers A. Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Empirical Analysis Of US Power, 7 Nov. 2012
William Podmore has already written a very thorough review of the hardback edition of this fine book, and I'm not going to try to cover the same ground as he's already done such an admirable job. I just want to add my own brief observation that, in amassing such a weight of empirical evidence, and in presenting it in such readable form, Chalmers Johnson has produced a keynote study that in its way is actually rather more persuasive than the polemical efforts of Chomsky et al (much as I admire their work also). It is all the more telling and poignant for the fact that Johnson writes from within the US establishment and as an American "patriot". This is mainstream liberal analysis at its best.


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