Profile for Miriam Daly > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Miriam Daly
Top Reviewer Ranking: 654,691
Helpful Votes: 69

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Miriam Daly (Ireland)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
SmartItalian Audio CDs Beginner - Learn Italian w/Italians
SmartItalian Audio CDs Beginner - Learn Italian w/Italians
Offered by Smart Language Intl
Price: £32.95

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Way to Learn Italian, 11 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have tried many Italian programmes in order to get a good grasp of Italian for beginners and to perhaps be able to speak it a little. Some are quite good but the truth is that in order to really get a good understanding and feel for the language you need to hear it being spoken, regularly, by Italian people.

This is the first language programme that I have ever purchased that enables you to listen to considerable extracts of real conversations and to learn the pronunciation, the flow of the language and the meaning of what is being said, at a reasonable and manageable pace.

Although the conversations are given using the real people interviewed one of the things I found essential on the CDs is that the teacher, Roberto, initially delivers these conversations (at the beginner and intermediate level, the advanced level is slightly different). You are first required to listen while he reads through the interview. On the following track he then repeats the conversation in short phrases and you are asked to repeat what is being said. On the following track you both repeat the phrases and read along while you are repeating and listening to him. (The English translation of all conversations are given in the accompanying booklet) As you progress, common grammatical constructions and Italian idioms and terminology are explained. I have to say I found this the most helpful and instructive method I have ever tried in getting to know the Italian language. The instructor's diction and clarity is excellent and I found I was able to master a lot of pronunciation that I had previously found difficult (if not impossible).

The inclusion of the conversations by the actual people interviewed is, of course, the other crucial element of these CDs. At first I found it very difficult to understand because some of the people interviewed speak incredibly fast but having gone through each of the steps with the instructor I understood far more of a "real time" conversation than I would have thought possible. A chef being interviewed (I think while actually cooking something) deserves a special mention. He wins the prize for fastest talker and I'd love to try what he is cooking!!

I will use these CDs regularly until I am able to master the conversations completely and this is the first time for me that going back and progressing a bit more with each repetition will not seem like a chore. The interviews are varied and interesting and I really feel that with practice I will be able to speak a little bit of this beautiful language and be able to understand a lot more Italian than I had thought I was capable of.

Note
I would recommend that anyone starting this programme should also purchase the SmartItalian Introduction to Italian CDs. They explain the conjugation and tenses of the most commonly used Italian verbs and also provide basic lessons regarding gender use and basic language construction (a lot of which you will then hear on the CDs).


Learn Italian with Paul Noble (Collins)
Learn Italian with Paul Noble (Collins)
by Paul Noble
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £47.99

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Italian Products for Beginners, 21 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These CDs by Paul Nobel are an essential acquisition for anyone who wants to begin learning Italian and who wants to learn to speak it a little right from the start. Although a booklet is provided with the CDs Paul Noble emphasises that in order to really understand, learn pronunciation and progress with this programme it is vital that you start off by listening to the lessons and speaking aloud during the spaces provided within the course.

The method used of explaining something, getting you to use the phrase/word/grammar and then coming back to it again later really helps you to remember and understand fully the language that you are being taught and ensures that you retain the information.

I would highly recommend this programme for anyone who is travelling to Italy and would like to know a little Italian in order to be able to do the usual things; book a room, book a table, order a drink and food, buy a train ticket, enquire where things are etc. However, for me, the real value of this language programme is that it enabled me to have the confidence to progress with my study in Italian.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 24, 2012 8:57 AM BST


Escape into Night - The Complete Series
Escape into Night - The Complete Series
Dvd ~ Vikki Chambers
Price: £6.75

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Television Series - The Stones with the Eyes, 29 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have wanted to see this television series ever since I read the book upon which it is based "Marianne Dreams" by Catherine Storr. There was a film made in the 1980s also based on the book entitled "Paperhouse" which was a very good film but which only took certain elements from the book and made extensive changes to the basic story. The DVD is in black and white but this actually enhances the atmosphere and eeriness of the production.

Following a riding accident (an illness in the book) Marianne is confined to bed for six weeks. After finding a pencil in her grandmother's workbox she draws a house in her sketchbook. She then has a dream in which she finds herself in a desolate landscape with nothing but a sinister house offering a refuge from it. However she is unable to enter the house as there is no door handle and the house appears to be empty. When she wakes she realises that the house she dreamed of is the one she drew in her sketchbook and so she draws a door handle and someone at the window so that she will be able to enter the house.

This is the beginning of a strange dark journey for Marianne. The figure she drew at the window materialises in her dream as a boy named Mark and they have an antagonistic relationship caused by their fear of the surroundings and the fact that Mark is ill and can't walk. As the series continues and Marianne discovers through her home tutor Miss Chesterfield that there is a boy called Mark in the "real" world who is ill her dreams grow more sinister and frightening. One day when she is in a temper Marianne draws stone sentinels with one eye outside the house in her sketchbook and of course they appear in all their grim horror in the dream. The increasingly frightened children must put aside their differences and try to escape from the house before the malevolent stones completely entomb them or break into the house to kill them.

This television series is one of a kind. The atmosphere and sense of pervading evil is reminiscent (to me) of the film "The Innocents" (although the stories are completely different). There are no highly technical special effects but the camerawork, lighting and sets generate extreme menace and create images that stay in the mind. I would recommend this series to anyone, not just for children, as it is a thought provoking and imaginative story and if you bear in mind that it was produced for television in the 1970s you may be amazed at how quickly you can become immersed in the events depicted and also be reminded that gore and sudden shocks are not needed for something to be truly frightening.


Samuel Richardson: Minute Particulars within the Large Design (Leidse Germanistische En Anglistische Reeks)
Samuel Richardson: Minute Particulars within the Large Design (Leidse Germanistische En Anglistische Reeks)
by M.Rudnik- Smalbraak
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Study of the use of Similes, Allegories and Symbolism in Richardson's Books, 14 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book studies in detail the symbolism and allegories Samuel Richardson used in his writing.

This study enhances the appreciation any reader will have of the thought and care Richardson used when choosing recurring images to define the inner workings of his characters minds.

One of the most intriguing images this study examines is that of the spider as used repeatedly by Robert Lovelace in "Clarissa" and how this reveals the characters lack of a stable identity as Lovelace begins in one letter by denigrating the image of the spider and ends by identifying with it. (This could also reveal Lovelace's inferiority complex).

This book is written in a very straightforward way and uses simple language which makes this potentially difficult subject both interesting and often compelling. It is also enlightening that a study of similes and allegories can lead to some of the most insightful character studies of the characters in Richardson's works.


Samuel Richardson and the Eighteenth Century Puritan Character
Samuel Richardson and the Eighteenth Century Puritan Character
by Cynthia Griffin Wolff
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book On Samuel Richardson's Works, 14 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book gives an excellent analysis of the works of Samuel Richardson from the perspective of a Puritan viewpoint. Puritan religious beliefs and concerns permeate Richardson's works and greatly influenced all his works.

Cynthia Griffin Wolff examines the depth and scope of Richardson's religious views and the way in which Richardson used his writings to attest to his own faith and inspire his readership with renewed spiritual commitment.

Many people feel that in Pamela, Richardson's first published novel (and a great success in it's day), the puritan vigour and discipline he was trying to inspire was undermined by the repetitive and even vulgar descriptions of Mr. B's attempts to seduce Pamela and by a "happy ending" which sees her marry a man who has been portrayed as a rake.

Perhaps Richardson realised that the romantic comedy novel was ill suited to his more serious purposes as his next novel Clarissa is an unremitting tragedy. It portrays a fallen world in which the higher duties of life and eventually the heroine, Clarissa, are sacrificed to greed, egotism and violence within families and interpersonal relationships. Wolff gives a fascinating criticism of this work exploring Richardson's ambitious attempts to convey both a serious religious message and to portray realistic characters in a work that would appeal to his contemporary readers.

I would recommend this book for anyone interested in eighteenth-century literary criticism and particularly the works of Samuel Richardson as Wolff is an intelligent and insightful writer who writes with great clarity and with an easy to read style. This book can easily be enjoyed by non-academic readers (like me) who wish to gain more insight Richardson's works.


Speaking in Hunger: Gender, Discourse, and Consumption in Clarissa (Cultural Frames, Framing Culture)
Speaking in Hunger: Gender, Discourse, and Consumption in Clarissa (Cultural Frames, Framing Culture)
by Donnalee Frega
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Psychoanalytical Theories Applied to 18th Century Novel, 18 Aug. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book undertakes to analyse the novel Clarissa by Samuel Richardson using modern psychoanalytical theories of eating disorders and how these eating disorders manifest themselves in the main characters. Frega also studies the psychological implications of being the perfect child and paragon on the character of Clarissa and how it affects her relationship with both her family and Lovelace. This book explores how often refraining from eating or being excluded from communal eating is emphasised in this novel and how this is used by various characters to isolate themselves or others. Frega also presents an analysis of the deeply imbedded insecurity and jealously of Lovelace and how his position in his own family might have contributed to his damaged emotional development and his lack of ability to form a positive and mutually enhancing relationship with Clarissa. The book is fascinating for anyone interested in discovering how some very modern psychological theories emerge from novels written long before such theories were formulated and how characters within an 18th Century novel conform in some of their behaviours to people suffering from disorders commonly thought to have 20th Century origins. The characters within the novel Clarissa are emotionally and psychologically rich and complex and Frega's discovery of the display of symptoms within the characters which might be diagnosed as some form of emotional or mental illness were the characters to exhibit such behaviour today adds to a readers appreciation of how timeless and multidimensional Richardson's characters are.


Anger, Guilt, and the Psychology of the Self in Clarissa (American University Studies Series 4: English Language and Literature)
Anger, Guilt, and the Psychology of the Self in Clarissa (American University Studies Series 4: English Language and Literature)
by Victor J Lams
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable Literary Criticism Work on Clarissa by Samuel Richardson, 18 Aug. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is essential for anyone studying Clarissa or for anyone who wishes to increase their knowledge and appreciation of this novel. The author gives an excellent analysis of the family dynamics at work in the novel and also of the two major characters Clarissa and Lovelace. I was particularly gratified by Victor Lams study of Clarissa's family whose behaviour to Clarissa seems so inhumane and incomprehensible and who on initial reading I dismissed as being a weakness of this book as their portrayal seemed to paint them as merely one dimensional and blacker-than-black villains. Lams analysis of why Clarissa's family turn so brutally against her immeasurably enhances the first two volumes of the novel and also enriches the character and emotional dilemma of Clarissa herself. The book also examines the psychological and emotional makeup of the depraved Lovelace and offers new ideas about the possible reasons for his selfishness, cruelty and inability to empathise with others. I would highly recommend this work for anyone wishing to broaden and deepen their enjoyment and understanding of Richardson's unique novel.


Samuel Richardson (British and Irish Authors)
Samuel Richardson (British and Irish Authors)
by Jocelyn Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading on the novels of Samuel Richardson, 13 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is not an autobiography of Samuel Richardson (it contains a very brief outline of his life) but it is one of the best literary criticism books I have read on Richardson's work and in particular on his masterpiece Clarissa. Jocelyn Harris presents a wonderful reading of Clarissa and Lovelace and gives a fascinating view of their characters, psychological make-up and tragic destiny. Harris is very easy to read and uses clear, concise and completely accessible language to develop and investigate her theories. Whether or not any reader disagrees with Harris's theories and conclusions this book provides what many other literary criticism works on Clarissa fail to do, it provides a very refreshing viewpoint on Richardson's most famous characters (Lovelace and Clarissa) and does so with great clarity while leaving the reader free to question if they agree or not. I highly recommend this book as it is short, sharp and to the point and provides a truly accessible analysis of this great novel.


Samuel Richardson
Samuel Richardson
by Sterling Professor of Humanities Harold Bloom
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.07

5.0 out of 5 stars A Book of Excellent Essays on the Works of Samuel Richardson, 13 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Samuel Richardson (Paperback)
This book contains some excellent essays on the works of Samuel Richardson by several excellent authors. I was particularly interested in those essays on Clarissa and these are invaluable to anyone who is either studying this book or has an interest in it. The fact that the essays are by various authors enables the reader to gain insights into many different points of view and diverse approaches to the novels. I would recommend this book to those with an interest in the works of Richardson and also to those with an interest in literary criticism of 18th century works.


Toward A Recog Androgyny (New)
Toward A Recog Androgyny (New)
by Carolyn G. Heilbrun
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thought Provoking Book, 13 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I found this to be a concise and thought provoking book and it would be a good starting point for anyone becoming interested in literary criticism. My only real interest in the book was in Heilbrun's theories on Samuel Richardson's Clarissa and on Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. The book does not contain a vast amount on these literary works but what it does contain may open up your views on these novels and encourage you to look at them from a different perspective (even if you do not agree with it).


Page: 1 | 2