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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why You Should Use Repair Pal

Do you want to find the best information about your car?  If so, you should look up Repair Pal.  This useful site contains reviews of different car models and information about recalls and technical service bulletins of many different cars.

Repair Pal also provides price estimates for repairs.  They tell you what you need to know about particular repairs.  They will even send a printable version of the estimate to your email.

You can also find a list of repair shops in your area by looking up Repair Pal.  You do this by entering your city or postcode. Then the company shows you the best repair shop in your area.  It also has user ratings and reviews of the shop.

This is an excellent website with lots of helpful information for car owners.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Books Read in May

Elizabeth of GlamisElizabeth of Glamis by David Duff

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Elizabeth of Glamis provides evocative and descriptive accounts of royal events and ceremonies.  The royal history is interesting.

However, you won't learn much about the Queen Mother from this book. She must have had a will of steel and she was very supportive of her husband.  She was also devastatingly charming and a wonderful hostess.
Duff seems to regard her as almost verging on sainthood! You won't find any criticism of her in these pages, let alone any scandal or gossip.

I am a fan of the Queen Mother's, but this book even got on my nerves in the end.  The writing was just too cloying.  The style is also rather old-fashioned and breathless, although I didn't mind that.

Me & Orson Welles by Robert Kaplow

This is a coming of age story full of excitement and drama.  When Richard is 'discovered' by Orson Welles and placed in his innovative Caesar, his life changes for ever.  He falls in love with the damaged Sonja, decides what he wants to do with his life, and meets stars such as Joseph Cotton.

Eventually Richard has to learn to judge what the enigmatic Welles and the other actors in the play are really like, and whether Sonja is worth it.

This fast-paced novel captures the fascination of 1930's New York, although I would have liked even more about this, and the strange character of Welles.  If only we could have read this type of book at school instead of the boring and dreary Josh by Ivan Southall!   I know that I'm being unpatriotic here, but Australian literature is often dreary and depressing.  Why?

View all my reviews
Elizabeth of Glamis: Story of the Queen Mother

Josh Hartnett Definitely Wants To Do This by Bruce Beresford

Diaries can often be quite dry and dull, but this one is surprisingly interesting.  Beresford drops lots of famous names and the difficulty of a director's life is made very clear.

                                      He writes about many celebrities, such as Barry Humphries.  He's also extremely honest about them.  For example, he tells how Jennifer Byrne did an interview with him and wanted to write about his teeth and argue that his political views were controversial.  He also relates how he got into big trouble for saying that Toni Collette's acting was over-rated.  I enjoyed all this.

I was surprised to learn how difficult a director's life is.  Beresford has to make films he's not at all interested in and he lost films such as Miss Potter and Amazing Grace because of contractual problems! He has to deal with people who he dislikes all of the time.

He also writes about some of the extreme political views of the people in the arts.  One woman told him that she admired Bin Laden, for example!  Beresford seemed to me to stick to the mainstream in his politics, but that apparently annoys many.  I'm not going to discuss politics here!

Josh Hartnett Definitely Wants to Do This--: True Stories from a Life in the Screen Trade

Ella: Princess, Saint and Martyr by Christopher Warwick

This well-written book captured the rich and colourful atmosphere of the Russian Imperialist era. However, I felt that I didn't learn that much about the personality of Grand Duchess Ella, the sister of the last Tsarina of Russia, except that she was incredibly brave and charitable.

Did she really love Sergei, her husband?  Warwick is very objective about him but he was universally hated and a nasty piece of work.  Was she cold or just extremely repressed?  What was her true attitude towards her wards, Dmitri and Marie?  I was not sure about the answers to these questions when I finished reading.

The Education of a Princess by Marie Pavlovna is helping me gain more of an understanding of Ella's true character.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley

When Andy Stanley was young, he and his girlfriend drove along a shortcut on a road that was closed.  Suddenly a black Monte Carlo drove up behind them at great speed.  This scared them especially when the driver of the car stopped and got out, waving his hands around.  He told them that if they continued along that road they’d wind up on a half-finished bridge! He then helped them get to the right road.

This is what Stanley’s book aims to do – direct people along the right paths in life.  He points out that good intentions and even goals don’t matter that much if you don’t do anything that helps you achieve them.  If you want to have a happy and successful life, you have to follow the correct path.  He writes that following a certain path will always lead to a destination.

Stanley uses many Biblical examples and examples from life to show that this is true. For example, he cites cases of single men who’ve had affairs with married women only to be puzzled when this got them into trouble.  He also gives the memorable example of a couple who found themselves in financial difficulties.  It wasn’t sudden – they’d overspent and had problems with mortgages.  At one stage they saw a financial adviser.  They told Stanley that he gave them a good plan which was very ‘do-able’.  When he asked them what they did with the plan they replied that they’d put it in the drawer! 

Stanley writes that there are always signs that people are heading in the wrong direction.  For example, the couple should have acted on the financial plan.  Everyone knows where affairs with married people lead. 
His book is designed to help his readers follow the right paths or return to the right paths.  He provides questions to help you to make decisions and see whether you are on the right track.  He also has a useful chapter on how you can determine your motives for following particular paths.

This is a very helpful book and certainly one of the best ‘self-help’ books that I’ve ever read.  If I’d read it when I was younger it would have helped me even more. The questions at the back of the book which are designed to help people examine their lives and their directions in particular categories in their lives are especially helpful.  Although it will certainly appeal mainly to Christian readers, this book will help anyone searching for the right direction in life.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Book Sneeze as part of their blogging programme.  The views expressed are my own. I was not required to write favourably about this book.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Books Read in April

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

This is a haunting book about a young Irish girl who has to leave Ireland for a new life in Brooklyn in the 1950's.  When she gets there, she suffers from terrible homesickness but she gradually starts to enjoy her new life and fall in love.  Eventually she has to return to Ireland where she faces difficult choices...

Toibin certainly captures the atmospheres of Ireland and Brooklyn in the 1950's and cleverly compares them.  He also has an uncanny ability to describe the way that Eilis, the main character, would feel in that situation.  He also makes her extremely likeable and memorable.

The only problem that I had with this book is that I felt that I had to read every word.  It seemed to require a lot of concentration for some reason, although it isn't by any means a difficult book to read.