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Gabriel's Inferno
Gabriel's Inferno
by Sylvain Reynard
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.94

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a horrible book, March 2 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Gabriel's Inferno (Paperback)
I bought all three books after reading a favorable review. What a mistake. I wasn't able to finish any of them. I winced through the frequent repetitions of descriptions of the bulge in his grey slacks and so on. Ack. These are the most dreadful books I've attempted to read in a long time.

Gabriel's Rapture
Gabriel's Rapture
by Sylvain Reynard
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.85

1.0 out of 5 stars What was I thinking, March 2 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Gabriel's Rapture (Paperback)
I bought all three books after reading a favorable review. What a mistake. I wasn't able to finish any of them. I winced through the frequent repetitions of descriptions of the bulge in his grey slacks and so on. Ack. These are the most dreadful books I've attempted to read in a long time.

Dean Spanley [Import anglais]
Dean Spanley [Import anglais]
Offered by usedsalesca
Price: CDN$ 3.99
8 used & new from CDN$ 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Sam Neill has a star turn, March 2 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I enjoyed the whole movie and all the great actors in it, but Sam Neill's long monologue near the end is one of the most mesmerizing things I've ever experienced. For my second watching I will be sure to have a bottle of Tokay at hand. Maybe two.

Bossypants
Bossypants
by Tina Fey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.80
167 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Self indulgent, hastily written, not funny, not insightful, June 24 2011
This review is from: Bossypants (Hardcover)
I read Tina Fey's piece in a recent New Yorker and was so impressed that I bought this book. But the book is nothing like the article. The article was honest, brave, relevant, insightful, funny... this book is embarrassing. The attempts at humor rarely go beyond self-deprecation. A lot of the anecdotes about her life are incredibly boring. There's an over-emphasis on her Sarah Palin impersonation that makes you think that she wrote the book to capitalize on her 15 minutes of fame... well I guess she did. Had she spent some more time working on the book, she might have come up with something half-way good (as evidenced by the New Yorker article), but instead she published what is mostly just drivel.

Age Of Bronze Volume 1: A Thousand Ships
Age Of Bronze Volume 1: A Thousand Ships
by Eric Shanower
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.12
44 used & new from CDN$ 0.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Accurate and good, Feb. 19 2011
I am fascinated by stories of the Trojan war and reread the Iliad frequently. These are very good, well researched graphic novels about the Trojan war. Still, I'm a bit disappointed. The reviews I read were so glowing that I expected more. The drawings are in black and white, and would be a lot more effective in color. The bindings are not great so you can't open the books up all the way. The drawings are very good but don't use as much interesting perspective as other graphic novels have. The story is good but doesn't build in suspense and excitement the way other graphic novels do.

Maybe the problem is that the author is trying too hard to be accurate to his sources, and isn't filling in the characters enough.

So I'd say: good, well-researched, worth a read, but not brilliant.

Nurse Jackie: The Complete First Season
Nurse Jackie: The Complete First Season
DVD ~ Edie Falco
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 21.99
12 used & new from CDN$ 12.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but way too short to be a TV season, Aug. 23 2010
Beware... this product is five and a half hours in total. That's way too short to be called an entire TV season. It makes this purchase a very expensive item, at least at the price I paid ($30).

As for the quality of the show, it's pretty good. If it were on regular TV I would watch it regularly. But it has been over-hyped, and IMO is not really worth buying.

Eleventh Hour
Eleventh Hour
DVD ~ Patrick Stewart
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 43.94
10 used & new from CDN$ 12.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mostly entertaining, Dec 13 2008
This review is from: Eleventh Hour (DVD)
There are four one hour episodes. Three episodes are good (the third, dealing with global warming, is weak). Cap'n Picard is, as always, a joy to watch, but I wish the show had done a bit more to develop a distinct character for him. He's a bit of a hapless nerd, but not really. The show would have been immeasurably better if it had a few little scenes to flesh out his character and his relationship with his body guard Rachel. Also, do they have an office somewhere? They seem to be forever driving around in a car as if they're on holiday or perhaps just trolling for scientific mysteries.

Ashley Jensen (who also plays the Scottish designer in Ugly Betty) is his Special Branch sidekick, and she is equally good - in some ways a more interesting character than Patrick Stewart's.

I tried watching the American remake of this miniseries and found it unwatchable, despite the star turn by the delightful Rufus Sewell. (If you haven't seen "Cold Comfort Farm" you are really missing something!)

The White Hotel
The White Hotel
by D M Thomas
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from CDN$ 6.57

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time has changed this book, Dec 13 2008
This review is from: The White Hotel (Paperback)
I first read DM Thomas's novel The White Hotel when it was published in the early 80s. I loved it but found it extremely disturbing. This week, after 27 years, I read it again. My second reading was profoundly different from the first. It was still rewarding and disturbing. I cried pretty steadily for the last hour of reading and a while after. But the world has changed so much in 27 years that it's a different book.

The White Hotel (don't read on if you don't want to know what happens) is about several things, but is essentially about Freud's article Beyond the Pleasure Principle, in which he posits that humans are motivated by the life instinct (creativity, harmony, sexual connection, reproduction, and self-preservation) and the death instinct (destruction, repetition, aggression, compulsion, and self-destruction) - by sex and death.

In the novel, the historical Freud is helping a young woman who has debilitating pain that doctors think is psychosomatic. As part of her treatment she writes Freud a poem, followed by a narrative explaining the events in the poem, in which she describes a passionate tryst she has in a hotel in the Alps (which she calls the White Hotel) with a man she identifies as Freud's son. She has never met Freud's son. In this fantasy, while the lovers have sex other guests are killed in all sorts of horrific ways. Bodies fall outside their window.

The poem is meant to be shocking: it's obscene, erotic, sometimes gross, and jarringly personal in the way she keeps referring to her lover as "your son". When I read the book in 1981, the sex section at the beginning of the story balanced the shocking death scene at the end. However, in the intervening 27 years our measure of what is sexually shocking has changed markedly. Now the sex can't provide that ballast, and the brutal violence at the end of the book doesn't fit as well - it might almost, to a first-time reader, feel a little tacked-on.

The story could be read as a novelization (and hence sort of proof) of Freud's theory of sex and death as the two great motivating forces. It's also a repudiation of Freud, as in the story Freud has let the young woman read his papers, and then she creates a fantasy that perfectly proves his theory. But also, in the novel the character Freud believes in clairvoyance, by which he means the ability to read minds and see into the future. (I don't know if the real Freud believed this, but he probably did, given Thomas's scholarship.) Given that Freud believes that, all his explanations for his patients' problems are turned on their heads, because he was treating mainly young Jewish women 30 years before the Holocaust, which would profoundly affect all of them: if they had any clairvoyance at all, it surely would explain their hysteria.

At the end of the story our heroine is killed, along with thousands of others, by German troops at Babi Yar. Thomas was criticized for lifting some of the description of the massacre directly from the text of a survivor (although he credits him on the copyright page), but I thought it was appropriate. Certain things are so horrific that they shouldn't be fictionalized. Thomas' handling of this portion of the book is extraordinarily sensitive.

The book has a coda in which all the characters (Jewish or not) are in heaven, which takes the form of Palestine. I don't see how the book could exist without this coda. It's like Thomas is taking the reader by the hand and leading us to the end of the experience, helping us cope, reminding us that although many died, life continued.

In one sense, things feel a little over-explained in the book: explanations are a bit too pat. I think Thomas was trying to write for a wide audience that wouldn't necessarily be able to fill in gaps. But I also feel after my second reading that I need to read it many more times. I don't understand the purpose of the various perspectives (different narrators and the disturbing second case in "your son") or the reason the plot unfolds as it does, or why our heroine spends so much time on trains.

Not that you need to understand any of the mechanics of the novel to feel the emotional impact. In an ironic twist, the book leaves me thinking about Freud's rival Jung. The novel has added to our collective unconscious this image of a large, stately hotel in the mountains, a place we might unexpectedly find ourselves while on a journey somewhere else. If it hadn't been for the coda I might have thought of the White Hotel as heaven, but instead I see it as our inner life (maybe the id). The lulling sound and motion of a train might hypnotize us into a visit to the White Hotel, deep in our psyche, where every character is an aspect of ourselves and events show us - well, that's the mystery.

On The Take: Crime, Corruption And Greed In The Mulroney Years
On The Take: Crime, Corruption And Greed In The Mulroney Years
by Stevie Cameron
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some reviewers are partisan, but the book is honest and accurate, Nov. 12 2007
Some supporters of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney have trashed this book without, apparently, having read it. There is no question of the accuracy of the book. It is meticulously researched and explained. Most importantly, the litigious Mr. Mulroney did not sue anyone over it. It's all true.

Do other politicians take advantage of their power? Undoubtedly. But I question whether this level of graft and greed has been known in Canada in modern times. The details of the myriad ways the Mulroneys financed their lavish lifestyle go on and on and on and on. Some we read about in the newspaper during the Mulroney years. Most are fresh revelations.

In light of recent news about Schreiber giving Mulroney $300,000 in cash in hotel rooms and the subsequent re-opening of the Airbus bribery scandal, all Canadians should read this book.

Bleak House
Bleak House
DVD ~ Anna Maxwell Martin
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 75.58
8 used & new from CDN$ 22.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Show is great; DVD is not, March 25 2007
This review is from: Bleak House (DVD)
It's great... riveting, great acting, great screenplay, etc etc. It's one of the best series I have ever seen. I think everyone would enjoy it.

But... BBC Video really dropped the ball with the design of the DVD case. They jammed three DVDs into a small case, and the release lever in the middle of the DVDs do not work properly. I actually broke one of the DVDs trying to get it out. Damn you, BBC Video! I borrowed it so now I have to lay out another $[] for a new one.

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