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Gargantua Pantaloon "The Limarian" (london)

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Faithfull
Faithfull
by Marianne Faithfull
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fractured not broken, 2 May 2017
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This review is from: Faithfull (Paperback)
What can you say, it's an interesting read, a reminder of the energetic, colourful and creative swirl of the period. For sure an antidote to the coma inducing digital, political, media dominated world of now.
Marianne does not come out well from this book however. i can't remember a single part of her life story that shows much more than a driving hedonism, a greedy profligency, a bulemic irresponsible shagfest and the ghastly personal fall out it all produces. It's all objectively interesting as a social history but after i while i just felt a bit sickened by the hysterical waste of it all.
You wonder where these people were before rock and narcotics came along. There have always been people with too much money, too much time and too much of a restless spirit. They would have wormed themselves into high politics or the Royal Court I suppose. You don't have to like them. At best just be amused by the chaos they create for themselves and each other as they crash hungrily through the world.
Anyway, soon all that sound and fury will be gone, layered over by time, the book wll be just a musty yellow collection of words on a squeaky wooden shelf. All that siren loveliness, all that running around will be just a tale, more forgotten than remembered.
P.S. I feel sorry for the wretchedness Marianne must have been through in her incredible life, but i can't help feeling much of it was self induced. Some people just can't break the cycle, can't find the father.


Death And The Penguin (Panther)
Death And The Penguin (Panther)
by Andrey Kurkov
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Dont expect to die laughing, 16 Jan. 2017
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I don't get the rave reviews at all - I have read enough by now to know a good book when i read it and this just ain't it, I laboured on through this lightweight flimsy piece of work written in the spare superficial style of an eleven year old, hoping to gain some new deeper insight into the Ukrainian Zeitgeist. I didn't find much in the way of new or revealing commentary. Perhaps it reflects too accurately the stifling grey post Soviet world to hold the interest. It did strike me however that the story would lend itself very well to an amusing art house film if somebody were to snap up the rights. The elements are there - it does have a plot, potentially interesting characters, movement and novelty, just in the writing it lacks the depth and colour to givit it any vitality. Not my cup of tea anyway.


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars do not buy one of these - you have been warned, 30 Mar. 2016
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The instructions are rubbish - written in broken english. The parts did not fit together properly and i never got as far as a proper test. The instruction video was inaccessible - you just get an error message. Damn, fooled again.


The Dream of Rome
The Dream of Rome
by Boris Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writing Boris but just remember you are mortal, 27 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: The Dream of Rome (Paperback)
i have read three of Boris books now - on Churchill, London and Rome and have found each to be utterly absorbing. Boris seems to like the grandiose in history and i am beginning to have visions of him at home reclining on a chaise in his toga while he churns out this wonderful stuff. i touched on a lot of the Greek and Roman stuff at school years ago and reading this reminds me how much fun i could have had if i had taken it all a bit more seriously. i intend to revisit the book with a marker pen and underline all the things to which i should have paid more attention while Colonel Roberton and Mr Morris had me declining conjugating and wading unhappily through Pliny. Above all, the book reminds you of the ebb and flow of the tide of ambition in history; the wars, the invasions, the massacres, the shift of territory from one wageing clan of power hungry despots to the next. i don't know how many researchers helped to assemble this tome but you have to admire the breadth of learning and the illuminated view of the last couple of thousand years enjoyed by the author. i learned a lot and will enjoy boring my few remaining friends with the detals of the Roman games, the cruelty of the rulers and the rise and fall of the Roman empire. Wonderful stuff - thank you Boris,


The Road
The Road
by Cormac McCarthy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2.0 out of 5 stars Again-enough of the rave reviews already!, 13 Oct. 2015
This review is from: The Road (Paperback)
Again-enough of the rave reviews already!

You might as well open the book at page 295, because the remaining ten pages are the same as all those preceding, I.e. father and son wander through post apocalyptic landscape dodging the usual perils that we have been aware of since Mad Max - plus slushy ending.
Don't swallow all the inexcusably over the top reviews, This book said nothing useful and I can't really see the point of it.


Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Penguin Modern Classics)
Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Franz Kafka
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars metamorphosis, 8 Oct. 2015
Before I tell you about the Metamorphosis I need to put things into context. It's not that i'm trying to wind you up - I just need to explain a few things first. If things had worked out differently... , well let's just say they didn't. If I had passed that exam like I had intended, with flying colours, things would have been different. I don't know what went wrong - I had been taking it all in, the tutor had finished the Kafka talk explaining that he wasn't writing about paranoia - that he actually was the paranoia and my essay was finished and ready for his comments. This is where things started to unravel. I obviously hadn't read the question properly. Instead of the required response, what I had submitted was an extensive review, page by page, over the years of all the women in my life. This was a catastrophe. I could see clearly there was no time to repair the damage. This was the end of the line for me. I would have to resign, and I was supposed to be briefing the PM imminently. I remember following my team to his door and realising with horror that I simply didn't belong there after the essay fiasco. I just had to resign. And the Metamorphosis?, well it doesn't really matter, it's just not that important. I need to sleep now-perhaps some other time.


Spies
Spies
by Michael Frayn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Take the overblown adulation with a pinch of salt., 8 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: Spies (Paperback)
This book is 99 percent pot boiling window dressing with endless references to the smell of privet and one percent tediously spun out plot. Now i've finished and put it down and forgotten it, I just wish I'd spent my time reading something a bit more worthwhile. All the guff on the cover about the curiously confusing magical world of childhood - if you want a proper account of that time read Adam Thorpe or even Alain Fournier's heavyweight Grand Meaulnes. Here's the basic plot; a rather insecure young boy in the shadow of domineering friend. Anxious to please he gets sucked into an unhappy misunderstanding that eventually all gets clarified in the last two pages, by which time I couldn't have cared less.

This is harsh, the writing was OK in a sort of churn it out sort of way. It just gets on my nerves when people rave about such mediocre stuff when theres so much better around. People don't have to write just for the sake of filling up shelf space do they? Now I feel guilty and hate myself for saying all these nasty things.


The Spirit of London
The Spirit of London
by Boris Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous stuff, 8 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: The Spirit of London (Paperback)
I was encouraged to read this after thoroughly enjoying his Churchill book.
I learnt a lot from this one and the historical reminders were genuinely refreshing.

To be fair, it's not a book specifically about London's characters, more of a catalogue of the many individuals involved in shaping and setting standards for the rest of the world-who just happen to have had some link at some time with the capital where I grew up.

In a puffed up sort of mood I actually thought of giving the book to my Greek landord to remind him of where we Brits come from and our glorious treasury of national heroes until it dawned on me that he probably has a similar list, along with just about every other country. That objectivity does rather get drowned out as Boris tends to labour the point (without saying it aloud) about how special and wonderful we Brits all are, standing on the shoulders of such giants and in some subtle way suggesting that a bit of them has probably rubbed off on us. It's good marketing i suppose, but maybe look at it this way i.e. These great individuals are all over the place it's only circumstance that has thrown them up just as the conditions were ready for them.

In spite of that jaundiced view and in spite of the fact that I had nothing to do with any of this catalogue of national treasures and their triumphs and achievements, and while i feel completely detatched from any feeling of being part of the country's significant history in any way, I stlll think this book should be compulsory reading for all immigrants and adolescant students, just to put things in place and explain why we are, justifiably, such a arrogant bunch.


Lenin`s Embalmer
Lenin`s Embalmer
by I.B. Zbarskii
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Rest in Pieces, 8 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Lenin`s Embalmer (Hardcover)
I wonder if anybody in the FSU has ever read this book. I hope they have. It should help put the psychology of their current leaders into its' correct historical perspective - i.e. more of the same but in sharper suits and with better P.R.
It's hard to separate the truth from propaganda and brainwashing, even here in the UK. But the thoughtcrime saturated Stalinist era and the work of its' parasitic cronies are a long way further along the continuum.

The process of embalming and ritual worship of the corpses of national heroes documented here, woven in with the author's life experience under Stalinism in the years of 'The Terror' seems totally weird by any rational measure - but then rationality can be twisted when politicians are in control of the definition itself. For the best part of a hundred years that is what happened under the will of the murderous psychopaths who held the reins at that time-and not just in Russia.

There is plenty of quality supportive background to the narrator's experience around this general topic of thought control, social engineering and that era of nuttiness; 'In the Court of the Red Baron' Solzenitzen's Gulag Archipelago', Zhores Medvedev 'A Question of Madness' and George Orwell's 1984 of course, as well as 'Staziland' by Anna Funder

It's almost as though a whole intricate web of self reinforcing parallel universe type madness is created in these totalitarian regimes, you can still see it in North Korea of course defying logic and burying individual thought and expression under the whims if the 'Divine Leader'.

Anything that documents, and clarifies how these repressive systems work has to be worth reading and absorbing. You never know when it might come in useful if the time comes to stand up and be counted.


A Delicate Truth
A Delicate Truth
by John le Carré
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.49

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a shame, a really poor bit of pot boiling trash, 14 Sept. 2015
This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Paperback)
Interesting that so few reviews here have picked up on the dreadful writing style. Very few of the gushing reviews here mention it. Like other negtive reviewers I felt this was unlike the other Le Carre books that i have read in the past where my attention has been galvanised and i have been pleasantly whisked along. I wonder if he even wrote this one himself - it reads more like the work of an Edwardian schoollboy. At the very best the language is stuck awkwardly somewhere in the 1940's. The situations belong to PG Woodhouse, the dialogue is hopelessly false. The set piece situations are tediously drawn out ad infinitum and the characters are an improbable and unreal assemblage of cliches. Bizarre is the right word for this sad and soppy rag and bizarre that there are so many favourable reviews. two thirds through i only bothered to read the rest, with little interest or commitment, because i was waiting for a plane and already bored out of my mind.


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