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Megan "Megan" (Massachusetts)

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LONDON RICH
LONDON RICH
by Thorold Peter
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 1.10

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, misleading title, July 16 2004
This review is from: LONDON RICH (Hardcover)
I was expecting a book about the history of class in London, particularly, well, the rich. This is not what the book is about, though.
The book is really about the history of the expansion of London. Most of this expansion was indeed due to the wealthy residents of the city, who frequently set up new chic neighborhoods, before watching them be slowly overtaken by slums and then moving on to the next new chic neighborhood.
This was an excellent and very interesting book. It discusses so many of the different neighborhoods of London, as well as the trends in architecture. It even reveals where you can find the city's remaining Tudor houses. It even goes right up to the modern day, to the revitalization of certain areas and the building of McMansions English-style.
I wholeheartedly recomend this book to anyone who is interested in the history of London, or in the history of architecture. Anyone who lives in London or enjoys travelling there would enjoy this book, and learn a lot of very interesting things about the city around them. However, if you are just looking for a social history of the upper class, it is probably best to look elsewhere.

Miracle on 34th Street (Full Screen)
Miracle on 34th Street (Full Screen)
DVD ~ Edmund Gwenn
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 14.59
12 used & new from CDN$ 0.04

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let the heartwarming plot fool you..., July 16 2004
Don't let cute little Natalie Wood and the heartwarming plot fool you... this is a wickedly funny comedy that is easily the best Christmas movie ever made.
Maureen O'Hara is wonderful as the scorned woman (isn't it funny how a female character in a romantic comedy from the 1940's is so strong and independant, while nowadays the romatic leads are usually scatterbrained flaky blondes?), and Natalie Wood steals the show as the perfectly well brought up little girl who confuses imagination with schitzophrenia ("it's when you think you see something that isn't there" she tells Kris Kringle).
I remember loving this movie as a child, but it is actually a grown-up movie. Politics, pop psychology, and commercialism all take a wicked beating... if you are looking for treakly magical endings, you might be surprised at the motives behind what finally 'saves the day.'
If you've never seen it, or if you've only seen the 1994 sacharine-sticky-sweet remake, then you must see this movie. It is great for all ages: the kids will see the heartwarming plot, and the teenagers and adults will understand the delightful cynisism that crops up in the most surprising places.

The Giver
The Giver
by Lois Lowry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 7.59
73 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant dystopian novel, July 15 2004
This review is from: The Giver (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a really brilliant book, which everyone should read.

When Poetry Ruled the Streets
When Poetry Ruled the Streets
by Douglas Kellner
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 29.92
20 used & new from CDN$ 17.21

4.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet, July 15 2004
This book is divided into two parts. The first offers a day by day account of the May '68 revolt in Paris. The second is primary documents.
There is not that much written in English about the May '68 rebellion, and until Mark Kurlansky's book came out this was the best source. That said, it is not perfect. It is not written by historians, but by two American students who witnessed (and participated) in the events. They are now both professors, so they are obviously very intelligent, but their lack of historical training is very evident. This book offers no real historical analysis of the events. It should probably be considered more of a "collective memoir" than anything else.
That being said, it is an excellent source. The primary sources in the back can be a little thick sometimes, but this is obviously not the authors' fault.
Although it is not a perfect book, it offers a great starting point for discussion. It is worth reading if you are at all interested in the events of 1968.

The Peasants' Revolt of 1381
The Peasants' Revolt of 1381
13 used & new from CDN$ 28.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Best way to find original sources about the Peasant's Revolt, July 15 2004
This book offers an exstensive collection of primary documents relating to the Peasant's Revolt of 1381. In addition to the documents themselves, it offers an in-depth analysis and background information for each source.
This is an invaluable resource for any student of history who does not have access to the original documents. As a college student in the US, I found this book useful for a few classes, and always managed to impress my professors with the sources in here.

Occasions
Occasions
by Kate Spade
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.33
73 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm, July 15 2004
This review is from: Occasions (Hardcover)
I bought this book as a gag gift for a friend, assuming that it would be full of cutsie little ideas for parties... maybe a few recipes and quotes and bits of ettiquette.
I read it on the way home, and was bored to tears. There's nothing I love more than entertaining and pretending to be sophisticated, but this book was niether. It told me almost nothing that even barely related to reality, and that which was complete common sense that any 5 year old could tell you about having friends over.
I ended up returning the book. It wasn't even worth it as a gag gift.

Number the Stars
Number the Stars
by Lois Lowry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
77 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History lesson in an exciting form, July 15 2004
As Hitler secretly prepared to round up all the Jews of Denmark, someone (to this day no one knows who, although there are some theories) warned the government. The result is that almost all of the 7,500 Jewish people living in Denmark managed to escape the country in the space of a few days, even though the country was already under the occupation of watchful Nazi troops.
This book is about that escape. Annmarie is 10 years old and lives in the same appartment building as her best friend, Ellen, who is Jewish. One day, Ellen's parents must flee and Ellen moves in with Annmarie and pretends to be her dead sister. Annmarie, her parents, and her little sister must band together with the rest of the Danish resistance to get Ellen to safety.
This is an exciting, fast-paced book about bravery and doing what's right. The characters are very realistic and human. This is an inspiring story for any child, and it teaches a very interesting history lesson to any adult who might not know the story of how practically no Danish Jews died under Hitler.

The Giver
The Giver
by Lois Lowry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 7.59
73 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant dystopian novel, July 15 2004
This review is from: The Giver (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a complex, beautiful book that offers a look into a futuristic dystopia in which there is no color, no aberation, no hot or cold, and no personal choices. Drugs are taken to repress sexual urges and even out temprament, and careers are chosen for children based on their aptitude. Children are raised in prearranged family units. There is no privacy and no personal choice, but is this really a bad thing if people have no concept of those things? There is no hunger, emotional pain, violence, crime, war, or sadness.
Growing up in this world is Jonas, a bright 12 year old who is about to receive his career assignment. He is given the important but extremely rare job of "Reciever": the keeper of "memories" of what life was like before the creation of his utopian world. Slowly, he begins to see color, to learn what love, hate, death, and heartbreak are like. He begins to understand that some of the "happy" things around him maybe aren't so happy.
The brilliance of this book is that the world unfolds gradually. Lowry does not hit us over the head with an up-front description: in fact, the place starts out sounding fairly normal if a bit Montesori. Slowly, though, the reader realizes quite how foreign this world is. Lowry is a deft writer with an excellent sense of subtlety.
Ultimately, this book is about the importance of cultural memory. The idea of cultural memory is probably a new one for kids, and some of the concepts of death and destruction might be a little disturbing, so I recomend that parents read this book too so that they can discuss it with their children. This in no way means that I think that it is innapropriate for kids: I just think that it is an amazing starting point for discussion about what makes us human. Please read my review of "A Wrinkle in Time" (also made today) for my thoughts on how these two books are related.
This is a moving, thought-provoking book that is a great read for adults as well as kids. Adults might find it interesting that the idea of a drugged-to-make-them-"normal" population where everyone is encouraged to analyze and discuss every aspect of their lives sounds eerily familiar...

Fly Away Home (Special Edition) (Bilingual)
Fly Away Home (Special Edition) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Jeff Daniels
Price: CDN$ 6.83
8 used & new from CDN$ 6.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie makes my dad cry, July 15 2004
And it's not just him. This movie came up amongst my friends in college and every female in the room said that their father KEPT watching this movie and they ALWAYS cried. Sort of brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "empty nest."
This movie is about Anna, who, after her mother's death in a car crash (Anna was also in the car), is sent to live with her slightly eccentric inventor father in Canada. He means well, but he just makes absolutely no sense to Anna. It is an exagerated case of "my dad is so weird" that any teenager can identify with. Meanwhile, the idea of a teenage girl is so foreign to her dad that the more he tries to bond, the more she stomps away.
Into the story comes a band of orphaned Canadian geese that Anna nurtures. They imprint her as their mother, so she more or less trains them. The only problem is that they must fly south for the winter, and Anna is their only role model. Luckily, she has a dad who builds space shuttles for fun. Suddenly, he has a way to connect with her and she has a reason to trust him.
Though it sounds sort of hokey, this movie that never delves into complete pathos. Instead, it is frequently quite funny and always touching. If you are looking for a father's day present, this is ideal. Just make sure to keep some tissues handy.

Sense and Sensibility
Sense and Sensibility
DVD ~ Emma Thompson
Price: CDN$ 5.97
54 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic based on a classic, July 15 2004
This review is from: Sense and Sensibility (DVD)
It seems that for a few years, Hollywood couldn't turn out Austen movies fast enough. This is the only English production of the bunch, and it is wonderful.
The casting is perfect. I thought it very silly that Emma Thompson was going to be the 19 year old Eleanor, and since she produced the movie I thought that was just silly vanity. But she is actually perfect as the too-sensible-for-her-own-good Eleanor. Kate Winslet is great as flaky Marianne. Even little Margaret (Austen's only fully-realized child character) is great as the spunky pre-teen. I remember when the movie came out one reviewer said that Hugh Grant's character "looks like he's forgotten to take the coat hanger out of his clothing" and that is so true... but he's so good as the clueless cad.
The film is beautifully shot, with great sets and scenery. It's a little hard for a modern person to understand why the Dashwoods were so upset to have to move to such a charming cottage! Historical perspective is maintained in the movie, though.
It is also very well written, with my very favourite line in any movie appearing (though I've read the book twice looking for it). Truly words to live by, Mrs. Dashwood tells blabbermouth Margaret that if she can't think of anything appropriate to say, "please keep your conversation to the roads and the weather!" Advice that has never failed me yet :-)

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