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Reviews Written by
Pierre Gauthier (Montréal)

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Vienna: Art and Architecture
Vienna: Art and Architecture
by Achim Bednorz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 36.65
8 used & new from CDN$ 36.65

3.0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedic, Nov. 3 2013
This abundantly illustrated book sets out to chronologically describe Viennese art and architecture from Antiquity to the present.

Though by no means of artistic quality, the photographs are adequately reproduced. It is striking however that no map of the city is provided.

Worse, the text is poorly translated from the German and at times difficult to follow.

Clearly, the intention was not to produce a guidebook for visitors but rather a compendium for reference purposes. As such, this work is successful and will answer the needs of those wanting to deepen their knowledge of Vienna's art history.

FRANZ KAFKA AND PRAGUE
FRANZ KAFKA AND PRAGUE
by H SALFELLNER
Edition: Hardcover
2 used & new from CDN$ 51.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile!, Oct. 27 2013
This review is from: FRANZ KAFKA AND PRAGUE (Hardcover)
This fascinating short book, abundantly illustrated with period photographs, traces the life of Franz Kafka on the basis of his homes and his places of schooling, work and entertainment in central Prague.

As it turns out that he spent all his life in the historical portion of the city, the book provides an alternate itinerary to explore this enthralling environment, directing the reader's attention towards buildings that would perhaps otherwise have gone unnoticed.

The book includes on the inside covers a map of Prague from Kafka's lifetime and a contemporary map locating the `Kafka-sites' discussed.

All visiting Prague or preparing a trip there will find the book useful and interesting, even if those who have read only one or two of Kafka's works.

St. Peter's
St. Peter's
by Keith Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.80
8 used & new from CDN$ 10.54

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!, Oct. 27 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: St. Peter's (Paperback)
This short book written by a British, non-Catholic journalist presents in some detail the history, architecture and art of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Unfortunately, the lively and interesting text is marred by ironic comments on Catholicism and Italy that border at times on sarcasm.

Sadly, the book is only illustrated with small, poorly reproduced, black and white photos. Only a single tiny map is included. The layout is simply unworthy of the 21st century.

Thus, it can regretfully not be recommended to anyone.

Notre-Dame de Paris
Notre-Dame de Paris
by Dany Sandron
Edition: Paperback
5 used & new from CDN$ 47.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionnel !, Oct. 26 2013
This review is from: Notre-Dame de Paris (Paperback)
Les auteurs de ce généreux ouvrage utilisent les technologies contemporaines de dessin assisté par ordinateur et de mise en page pour livrer un produit original, innovateur et éminemment instructif.

Grâce à un texte bien écrit et synthétique et à de superbes images de synthèse, le lecteur peut aisément appréhender dans le détail l'évolution architecturale de l'un des plus importants monuments de France.

Pour les années allant de 1163 à 1350, l'information est abondante et le lecteur pleinement rassasié. Faute de données ou de temps de la part des auteurs, on passe ensuite directement à 1780 et il faut admettre que la suite des choses est plus sommaire.

N'empêche qu'il s'agit d'un ouvrage marquant qui intéressera particulièrement les amoureux de Paris et tous ceux intéressés par l'architecture médiévale et sa conservation au fil des siècles.

The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum
by David Watkin
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.64
27 used & new from CDN$ 12.14

2.0 out of 5 stars Great Text, pathetic Presentation, Oct. 22 2013
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This review is from: The Roman Forum (Paperback)
In this short book, Professor David Watkin chronologically details the evolution of one of the world's most significant historic site from Antiquity to its current archeological state (which he considers deplorable).

Though at times marked with minor repetitions, the text is lively, clear and well written. It includes several insights that derive from Professor Watkin's profound knowledge of the topic. As a bonus, the appendix presents tips for visiting as well as a generous bibliography.

Perhaps in an effort to keep the price low, the book is only illustrated with small, poorly reproduced, black and white photos. Only a single tiny map is included. The layout is simply unworthy of the 21st century.

Thus, it can regretfully not be recommended to anyone.

Atlas du Paris souterrain - La doublure sombre de la Ville lumière
Atlas du Paris souterrain - La doublure sombre de la Ville lumière
by ALAIN CLEMENT
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from CDN$ 126.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Magistral !, Oct. 20 2013
Ce livre grand format constitue en fait une véritable encyclopédie du Paris souterrain tant il est riche de renseignements. Toutes les facettes imaginables du sujet sont traitées : la géologie, les carrières et les mines, la culture des champignons, les refuges, les ossuaires, les conduites d'eau et d'égout, le métro et le RER, etc.

L'ouvrage est abondamment et superbement illustré tant avec des photos actuelles et d'époque qu'avec des cartes bien conçues.

Il est très bien structuré : deux pages par thème, très exceptionnellement une seule.

Le texte est clair et bien écrit, presque sans erreur typographique.

Globalement, il s'agit donc d'un ouvrage passionnant, qui sera grandement apprécié des amoureux de Paris comme de tous ceux intéressés par l'urbanisme en général.

Visual Aid: Stuff You've Forgotten, Things You Never Thought You Knew, and Lessons You Didn't Quite Get Around to Learning
Visual Aid: Stuff You've Forgotten, Things You Never Thought You Knew, and Lessons You Didn't Quite Get Around to Learning
by Draught Associates
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.00
53 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars Major Disappointment!, Oct. 19 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The premise behind this small book is extremely appealing: to graphically convey information on a wide range of topics, presumably on the basis that `a picture is worth a thousand words '.

Sadly, the result is disastrous:
* the graphics range from poor to very poor;
* there is no apparent organization in the positioning of the various thematic pages; one goes for instance sequentially from tall trees to wood joints to the human skeleton;
* there is no index and pages are not numbered;
* there is not a chance at being remotely comprehensive and the editorial choices made are unjustified; why a page on the rivers of South America and of no other continent?
* some information is plainly wrong, France and the UK appearing for example in the same time zone.

Except perhaps as a tool to challenge friends at a party, this publication is a complete waste of time and money.

Metamorphosis
Metamorphosis
Price: CDN$ 23.49
7 used & new from CDN$ 23.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting!, Oct. 13 2013
This review is from: Metamorphosis (Audio CD)
Physiologically, no insect could ever be as large as a human being.

Thus, this short story's premise of a young man waking up one morning as a huge insect is completely absurd.

Yet, the story is masterfully written in such a matter-of-fact style that the listener grants it almost undoubted plausibility.

The resulting nightmarish quality provides a lasting memory that brings one to ponder on social stigma and integration.

It is definitely a very worthwhile purchase.

MARIE-ANTOINETTE
MARIE-ANTOINETTE
by STEFAN ZWEIG
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 22.95
12 used & new from CDN$ 9.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Intéressant !, Aug. 25 2013
This review is from: MARIE-ANTOINETTE (Paperback)
Dans cette biographie écrite dans la première moitié du 20e siècle, Stefan Zweig dresse un portrait qui se veut cohérent de la vie tragique de Marie-Antoinette depuis son enfance à Vienne jusqu'à sa mort sur la place de la Concorde.

Ses efforts vers l'analyse psychologique sont louables mais un peu superficiels avec le regard plus affiné d'aujourd'hui.

Il ne commet que de rares anachronismes, référant par exemple aux musées et aux grands magasins parisiens ... qui n'existaient bien sûr pas encore au 18e siècle.

L'épilogue explique combien le choix des sources est épineux, plusieurs documents ayant été détruits par la Révolution et plusieurs récits ayant surgi à la Restauration. Cela soulève malheureusement des questionnements sur la parfaite objectivité de la démarche de Stefan Zweig lui-même.

500 TRUCS POUR ÊTRE CHAMPION AU SCRABBLE
500 TRUCS POUR ÊTRE CHAMPION AU SCRABBLE
by DIDIER CLERC
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 31.46
3 used & new from CDN$ 31.46

4.0 out of 5 stars Une référence !, Aug. 11 2013
Malgré son titre accrocheur, ce livre comprend essentiellement, comme on peut s'y attendre pour une production des éditeurs Larousse, diverses listes de mots. Celles-ci, par exemple de tous ceux comprenant la lettre `w', peuvent certainement être utiles pour un joueur de Scrabble.

Les trucs comme tels sont présentés en début d'ouvrage s'ils sont de portée générale ou dans chacune des sections portant sur une lettre `payante' ou sur un groupe de lettres significatifs comme `age', `gie' ou `ien'.

Il ressort de ce livre de référence que plusieurs prennent le jeu de Scrabble fort au sérieux, notamment dans des compétitions de type `duplicate'. S'il ne se sent pas écrasé par la masse d'information, le débutant y trouvera son compte même si l'ouvrage est d'abord d'intérêt pour les joueurs de Scrabble déjà expérimentés.

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