Monthly Archives: June 2009

Quality debunking of poor scientific thinking

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre This is an important book with two main themes. The first is what really goes on behind medical trials – the placebo effect; how many trials are poorly designed; how their data is reported and manipulated; and then how the media takes it, twists it and sensationalises it. The second is his personal crusade against… Read more »

The UK ABC of Amazon

I’m picking up on an item I saw in Gwen Dawson’s blog Literary License, where she refers to the predictive searching now on Amazon. Another US blogger came up with a list made by typing in the letters of the alphabet and seeing which books came up first. I thought I’d do the same for Amazon UK, and see if… Read more »

Boldly Going …

There are lots of great programmes on the TV at the moment celebrating the 40th anniversary of landing on the moon. I was nine when it happened, and remember watching the landing on the telly and being entranced by the whole event. I will still watch anything about space and I have many books on the subject, so I am… Read more »

Grim but gripping …

Once Upon a Time in England by Helen Walsh This book was totally gripping from the outset – the life experienced by the working class family within is truly grim; an unremitingly bleak existence, reinforced by a series of poor decisions and having to live with the consequences. Each time they pick themselves up, something else seems to happen to… Read more »

A three-hanky novel…

If I Stay by Gayle Forman I came to this novel knowing nothing at all about the plot other than it was a family drama; but I had read several recommendations of the book from respected sources. They all said that it was a novel best encountered fresh, that knowing would spoil the enjoyment of reading it. I concur wholeheartedly…. Read more »

Moviewatch: An American city girl in the English countryside is not good for one’s stiff upper lip!

Easy Virtue This adaptation of a Noel Coward play was great fun. It was full of great performances from an all-star cast, and some brilliant set pieces – involving a chihuahua, the can can, and a fabulous tango from Colin Firth, but I digress … The roaring twenties are in full flow when John Whittaker has a whirlwind romance and… Read more »

A vivid dissection of middle-class life

In a Summmer Season by Elizabeth Taylor Many have told me that I should read the books of Elizabeth Taylor – an author I’d not heard of until the publication of Nicola Beauman’s recent biography The Other Elizabeth Taylor by the wonderful Persephone Books. Published in 1961, it follows one summer in the lives of a family living in the Thames… Read more »

A page-turning and fun Victorian melodrama

The Equivoque Principle by Darren Craske Firstly, a word of explanation – Equivocation is the magician’s art making an outcome seem intended when in reality there are several – but all of which are prepared for. The punter doesn’t know this of course, and so is fooled every time when a card is forced on him, or his mind ‘read’…. Read more »

A book quote for the weekend

I’m currently halfway through a massive chunkster of a non-fiction book. I am enjoying it though, but it’ll take me a few days to finish. So today, instead of a book review, I offer you an interesting quote I found on http://www.brainyquote.com/ from someone I’ve never heard of called Erma Bombeck, (an American journalist who died in 1996). “Getting out… Read more »

When in Rome …

For those of us voting in the MEP elections in the South East yesterday, weren’t you just a little bit tempted to waste your vote in voting for ‘The Roman Party. Ave!’? I was, then reason overcame me and I voted more conventionally instead. I was intrigued however to look up The Roman Party. Ave! There’s virtually nothing on them,… Read more »

An great adventure read for 11+

The Secret Ministry of Frost by Nick Lake This novel for older children of about eleven upwards was our book group choice for May/June. As a group, we haven’t read a novel aimed primarily at a younger audience since the penultimate Harry Potter, (as opposed to adult books that are great for younger readers too). One of our number knows… Read more »