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Gargantua Pantaloon "The Limarian" (london)

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Independent People
Independent People
by Halldor Laxness
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Quite quite extraordinary, 19 Jan. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Independent People (Paperback)
The finest of the few truly inspirational masterpieces I have had the good fortune to read, i.e;- 'Of Human Bondage', A Fine Balance', 'Crime and Punishment'. 'Germinal'. A true Icelandic saga. Cliches like 'towering feat of literature', masterful', 'epic' are not out of place. You will need to work at it - set aside an hour or so each day over a week to get through. This is a fine and caustic reflection on how hard it is to be a human - to be pulled and buffeted by the world - how every breath is a grinding struggle against fortune. The writing is beautiful, full of insights, asides and descriptive lyrical excursions peppered throughout. Halldor Laxness' breadth of scholarship is breathtaking. I am so glad i stumbled across it.


The Men Who Stare At Goats
The Men Who Stare At Goats
by Jon Ronson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars life's too short to take this piffle seriously, 27 Nov. 2009
We've all known that the Americans are mad since the Kennedy asassination. They look like us and you can more or less understand them when they speak, but underneath - well, one begins to wonder if they come from the same place. I have to admit I only skipped through this - we've heard it all before after all. It's confusing though, you want to believe that all the psy ops stuff is just a bit over the top and never really happens, but you have a sneaking suspicion that we do indeed live in a sort of Dr. Strangelove world where - while we just get on with things - a bunch of certifiable lunatics is really running the show. Personally, I just want to keep my head down and have a quiet life. Flimsy little rags like this thing from the remainder bin don't help me with my attempts at positive thinking.


The Lepping Name in History
The Lepping Name in History
by Ancestry.com
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an incident at Lepping's Leap, 3 Nov. 2009
It turned out that the Hoopi Indians had been right all along. The Great Spirit had given mortals fourteen days upon their death to tidy up their spiritual affairs before they could truly depart the material world and make their way upward to the Heavenly Resting Place. When Mikey's decomposing remains were found, solving the mystery of his disappearance, his spirit elements had already sorted out the wrinkles of his metaphysical existence and were halfway on their journey to the Long Beyond.

The ending had been quick enough, stumbling over slippery rocks at Lepping's Leap his ankle had given way and his wrist had slipped off the boulder he had reached out to for support against the fall. The side of his head had hit the rock just above the temple making an abrupt snapping sound. He had lost consciousness almost instantly, falling to the ground and smashing his forehead against an unusually upright smooth flat stone. His last conscious thought had been the ending of a pleasant reverie about a happy afternoon on his sixteenth birthday. Working at a holiday job alone in the tiny room above his father's office in the heart of the Great City he had inflated a dozen red balloons which he had pushed through the small window and watched as they drifted downwards to float gently along the pavement of the street below, bouncing gently out of sight along the incline of the narrow road.

But now the whispering Spirit Guide, who appeared first as a horse, then as his mother as a young girl and finally as a pleasant Capuchin monk, was reminding him that there was work to do. Much time was spent considering the events of his life. With the help of the Guide, and a growing understanding of the `Table of Relationships' and other exotic instruments too complex to elaborate here, the details of every thought and action was methodically allocated its' proper place in the scheme of things. The task was truly monumental and every moment of the allotted time was needed to put it all properly in place. One unhappy episode remained however and no matter how they worked at it could not be resolved. A year ago Mikey had been staying at' The Black Pussy Cat', a student hostel on the Amsterdam canal side and had found a pair of sunglasses in the communal bathroom. He had pocketed these and slipped them surreptitiously into the corner of his rucksack. When George, the pavement artist, had realised his loss, he had confronted Mikey. `'I need the glasses for my work'' he said - suspecting that Mikey had probably stolen them. Mikey had denied the theft, feeling sick to his stomach. In his impetuosity he had not considered the consequences of his light fingered moment. He had slunk away, later posting the glasses back to the Black Pussy Cat in a moment of guilt. This was his deepest regret and Mikey had gone over the consequences of his action a hundred times, never failing to tip pavement artists generously when he passed by and carrying his instant of foolishness with him like a leaden weight. Eventually, the Guide explained, all actions must meet their reaction. In the longest length of time what was done would be undone. Together they lifted the shaft of light, no bigger than a child's finger and threaded it through Mikey's eye, gently closing the eyelid over the emptied socket. `'One will be enough'' the Guide murmured, moving gently away as he and Mikey's incorporate essence dissolved away to wherever they came from.


Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel
Edition: Hardcover

19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfreezing the antique feeling, 28 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Wolf Hall (Hardcover)
This is a monumental piece of work, from a quite extraordinary talent, but it's not - for me - without its flaws. I found it a clumsy irritating, difficult, read. I don't think the chronology was well handled or the historical issues well introduced. The language especially was unconvincing, too much modern terminology in the mixture. I frequently got lost - having to re-read and concentrate hard to extricate who was doing or saying what to whom. The arrangement of the writing seems deliberately perverse at times. The more the book dragged on, the more bitty and clumsy it got. I didn't feel I was getting the spirit or atmosphere of the time or learning anything. There wasn't any historical framework to link things against. It felt like tediously chewing your way through cotton wool. Reading became a chore. Without a solid pre-understanding of the historical and political context it doesn't make much sense. Of course, if you stick with it, gradually your imagination and interest in the spirit of the ancient world is stimulated, but your investment is not rewarded. A missed opportunity to 'unfreeze the antique feeling' the living world that our ancestors moved around in, the way they thought, their schemes and their mad puppet shows. It's stuck between being an intimate biography, a history and a fiction without properly being either - but i'm glad I persevered, because it has whetted my appetite. I'd like to learn more about our primitive superstitious priest-ridden history and its' psychology. It's such a big part of our lives even today.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2012 8:35 PM GMT


The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House
by Kate Summerscale
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite fascinating, 28 Sept. 2009
Brilliantly narrated, interesting piece of work, shot through with all sorts of useful titbits re 19th century society, the culture and norms of a world emerging from superstition and darkness into the modern enlightened age. Lots of stuff about London in the 1850s. About the class- ridden social structures, about ideas of the time, the emergence of a police and detective force. I found it interesting, informative, enjoyable and entertaining. Several reviewers above have expressed dissapointment because they seem to have expected a thrilling whodunnit - which it never purports to be. If you approach it as a documentary, rather than a murder mystery you will be better pleased..


The Turn of the Screw (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Turn of the Screw (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Henry James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.99

10 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stuff and nonsense, 6 Sept. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If I had read this story in 1907 when it was first published I might have been impressed. Now it just belongs in the corner of a pile of dusty old curiosities. You find yourself wanting to scream 'just get on with it, stop pussyfooting around. Henry James' style makes you feel like you are at the dentist, with tooth - drawing sentences frequently over fifty words long and tortured with brackets, hyphens, sub phrases, afterthoughts and in the most difficult and archaic structures. It's like drowning in a bowl of word spaghetti. The characters are literally incredible. Quint and Mrs Jessell come across as some sort of painted Nos Feratu figures and there is no direct explanation of what their abominable lifestyle in their pre - ghost days were supposed to involve. Nobody is able to say anything directly,
it's all hints and diversions. I can see that the less that is explained about the horrors that are supposed to be around the more the reader's imagination is supposedly able to conjure up all sorts of phantoms, but it just seems irritating. One reviewer said that an interpretation of the story is that it's the distorted outpourings of a repressed paranoid madwoman - or words to that effect. I tend to agree, there's not much sense in any of it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 4, 2010 6:59 PM GMT


Dark Matter in Astro- and Particle Physics: Proceedings of the International Conference Dark 2000, Heidelberg, Germany, 10-14 July 2000 (Physics and Astronomy Online Library)
Dark Matter in Astro- and Particle Physics: Proceedings of the International Conference Dark 2000, Heidelberg, Germany, 10-14 July 2000 (Physics and Astronomy Online Library)
by H. V. Klapdor-Kleingrothaus
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a dark matter indeed, 5 Sept. 2009
When Willy finds that somebody has stolen his beloved McAllan banjo from the back of the school bus he begins to question his life at the Tiptree boarding school. He sees that he has just been 'bumbling along' pursuing his musical interests with no awareness of how wicked the world around him actually is. He has no real idea as to who would want to steal the banjo but his suspicions come to rest on Professor Moins, the chemistry teacher, when he finds the banjo case stuffed down the back of the cupboard in the science lab where they keep the bunsen burners. He remembers how Moins always seems to look at him in a strange way and, for want of any other suspects, concludes that Moins must be the thief. That evening, he comes back to the lab after the school has closed. He sets fire to one of the wooden benches, but the lab door blows shut and he finds himself locked in. He manages to smash the glass window in the door and climb out, but in his panic he drops his scarf and cuts his arm badly. The next day he is arrested and taken to the police station where he is charged with arson. The scarf apparently had a name tag sewn in by his mother and the cuts on his arm and torn clothing were enough for the police to make a strong case against him. He escapes going to prison with a conditional discharge but he never returns to Tiptree, continuing to study music at home with a private tutor. Several years later he gets a job with the london Philharmonia as lead percussionist. Nobody is aware of his past life and the incident at Tiptree, and eventually eventually his own memory of that dreadful evening fades away.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 24, 2010 4:17 PM GMT


Fat Pig Diet
Fat Pig Diet
by Michael Winner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My dear old chap....., 17 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Fat Pig Diet (Hardcover)
Thirty five years ago, when I was struggling for a start in cinematography, I wrote over two hundred letters to film people asking for advice on how to get a start. Michael was the only person to send a kind and supportive reply. I have since considered him a decent proper gent. of the old school and I will not hear a word against him. So those that say that 'Come the revolution, decadant overprivileged playboys like Michael will be put up against a wall and summarily shot for their bloated and overindulged lifestyle' will not be receiving Christmas cards from Yours Truly.
You only have to listen to Michael's light, relaxed common sense whenever he pops up on Question Time to know that you will just be getting good old home-grown advice from this guy - which is what you get in the book, together with a day by day peek into the foppish and indefensible lifestyle of the rich and famous. What a chocholate - coated, lotus - eating, sun-kissed, gilded existence! Good Luck.


In Search of Lost Time: The Prisoner and the Fugitive: Prisoner and the Fugitive v. 5 (Penguin Modern Classics)
In Search of Lost Time: The Prisoner and the Fugitive: Prisoner and the Fugitive v. 5 (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Marcel Proust
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evans, 4 Aug. 2009
Chris is one of the five student volunteers on work experience at 'The Sanctuary'. Part of his duties is to nurse the newest arrival, a one year old orphaned Orang Outang.
Chris decides to name him 'Evans'. For some reason he can't quite put his finger on he reminds him of Mr. Evans, (first name unknown), the manager of the corner shop down the road from where he lived back home. Unlike the majority of feral apes, Evans is young enough to become one of the domesticated animals at the centre. Chris quickly grows fond of Evans. There seems to be some special pleasurable bond between the two of them. Chris, who has always been something of a loner, finds to his amazement, that for the first time in his twenty five years, he is actually looking forward to something that has nothing to do with drink or sex - to his time with Evans. He takes pleasure for hours in his company and misses him when they are separated. These are feelings he has never experienced with his friends or the staff at the Sanctuary. He spends his days happily, he feels well, healthy and complete for the first time in his life. The time with Evans is spent grooming, sharing food, dozing and generally mooching together. Evans is easy going, undemanding and affectionate. Chris thinks he detects many of the finest human qualities in Evans-he is sensitive, considerate and respectful. In his fantasies, Chris even imagines that perhaps in some other incarnation, some other reality, there has been something special and close between them-some kinship, some brotherly bond. Chris has one secret desire for his relationship. If only Evans could communicate with him. Just a single word, just to make a connection would be wonderful. Chris spends many hours attempting to teach Evans the simplest of words, the most basic of responses, but it is hopeless. The concentration is completely absent. The whole vocal mechanism is impossibly incapable. And worse, it seems that Evans just doesn't care. He won't apply himself
and he refuses to make the slightest effort at mimicry, preferring to search through Chris' hair for nits with his strong bony fingers, or to attack some hard shelled nut or luscious fruit. Any attempt to secure Evans' attention is met with increasing grumpiness and truculence. The harder Chris tries, the more Evans resists or just ambles away. He can't help it, Evan's resistance makes him depressed and moody. It feels like a personal insult. Inside him a resentment festers that taints his feelings. He can no longer imagine why he found Evans so engaging. He begins to feel repulsed by the animal, to hate everything about Evans; the wispy ginger hair, the long bony prehensile feet, even the stupid name he himself has given him. Evans must have felt Chris' withdrawal. He no longer greets Chris, ignoring him from a corner. Chris spends longer and longer away from Evans, reading in his room or watching DVDs from the Sanctuary library. He spends more time too with Eva, the Dutch veterinary nurse who is teaching him Tai Chi. When Eva and Chris return from their week's Safari to Ancor Wat late one evening, Doctor Rosen the Sanctuary Director, is waiting at the gates. He seems subdued, taking Chris aside. ''You know we had a tragedy here while you were away'' he says. ''There was a rather nasty outbreak of some bug, we don't know what it was. It had all the makings of some kind of pneumonia. There was nothing we could do. It got a couple of the Capuchins. He looks away. '' I'm afraid that Evans must have picked it up too. He didn't survive. I'm sorry, I know you had got attached to him''.
Chris feels a stab of rising panic. He knows he has to stifle it before it grows and finds a personality, telling himself quickly that this was after all only an ape and pushing to one side the picture of the innocent upturned face and the large, soft, inquisitive brown eyes.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 26, 2010 10:14 AM BST


In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (In Search of Lost Time Vol. 2): In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower Vol 2
In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (In Search of Lost Time Vol. 2): In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower Vol 2
by Marcel Proust
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.48

1 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the earliest fully automatic steam iron was first produced around 1909, 25 July 2009
At a secret research laboratory in Switzerland, doctors have been working on a new approach to the treatment of infectious diseases. Late one evening, Doctor Carl Nürtur and his attractive assistant Jean are working together on the development of a new vaccine. When flirting together they accidentally knock over a test tube which spills on the floor and creates a reaction with the linoleum. Out of curiosity, Jean takes a sample of the new fluid and puts it under the microscope. It seems that the tiny fluid molecules are attempting to communicate by making the letters of a complex formula. When the doctors develop the formula they discover they have created a cure for measles. Further miracle cures are to follow, but the fluid starts to make unreasonable demands. It wants to be moved to a larger laboratory and that no other vaccines should be allowed within ten feet of its' tube. It also demands that the linoleum is moisturised. Dr Nürtur and Jean are by now famous Nobel prize candidates but they cannot cope with the incessant unreasonable demands of the fluid. They fight and the test tube containing the fluid is accidentally broken and the liquid escapes and evaporates. They agree that this was probably for the best.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2012 8:43 PM GMT


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