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This one has been very helpful to me as it gives precise yet comprehensible definitions. This is maybe the most important point of all.
I found it very easy to look up a word i did not understand and gain a conceptual understanding of that word after a short period of time. The definitions just make sense and are not too complicated and confusing.
It also includes example sentences and idioms and information for the further usage of a particular word.
It also has a section with colored pictures (maps, categories such as clothing, food, animals etc.) that provide a picture of the real thing that the word represents - a quite useful tool for foreigners and non native speakers like me.
If you are currently studying english, reading english texts (but have a limited vocabulary) or just don't want to run into too many complexities when using a dictionary and don't want to be too confused but you just want to know the meaning of a word and understand it, then this is the right dictionary for you.
As it is a dictionary for "learners" it does not include things like etymology and syllables (the only negative points), technical definitions (although it includes some where their appearance is reasonable) etc.
But it includes phonetic symbols at the bottom of each page and has, as all dictionaries, a section wich explains each symbol and abbreviation that can appear in an entry.
If there would appear some symbol or abbreviation in the entry that you wouldn't understand, you would find it easy to find its meaning as everything in this dictionary is exactly where you would consider it to be.
So you don't fool around loosing time and getting frustrated. I think the editors of some dictionaries assume that you already know all these symbols but include their definitions anyway in a very complicated way.
Not with this one.
I highly recommend this dictionary. You can buy it without reservations.
But...you should have a second one with etymologies at hand.
The dictionary has lots of pictures (over 1700) for words that can be explained but for which a picture is much more effective like "hinge". The words have a pronunciation guide with a mark (') showing the main stress. There are many useful appendixes like irregular verbs conjugation, usage of numbers, punctuation, family relationships and a few colorful maps.
Over 220 usage notes clarify the subtle differences among words such as dealer trader and merchant. Although it's mainly a British English dictionary the differences in spelling, use or pronunciation between American English and British English are stressed.
By far the most interesting feature is the extremely reduced defining vocabulary constituted of 3500 words. The great majority of definitions are written using that reduced defining vocabulary. This simplifies the definitions and it's a great starting vocabulary for the beginners. The use of such a small defining vocabulary rules out the use of this dictionary as a thesaurus but the advantages compensate this drawback.
My copy is a paper back that has been reinforced with adhesive tape. This makes the dictionary lighter and handy. I used to put it on my back pack and take it to all my classes when I started college in USA.
The drawbacks are the need of an additional thesaurus and the fact that the entries are not syllabified. Nevertheless I would give it 10 stars if I could.
Leonardo Alves - December 2000
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This book is an engrossing page-turner and a quick read. You will be caught up in the tale of 18 year old Edgar Christian and his mother's double-cousin, Jack Hornby, an experienced Canadian-Northwest Territories outdoorsman. Experienced he may be, but seasoned he is not. Impulsive, improvident, and arrogant to boot, he takes his cousin on what will be their first and final adventure together. Having relied heavily upon luck and upon the help of natives, Jack finds his luck has run out. He does try to spare his young cousin, but events proceed inevitably
to a tragic end. Powell-Williams relies upon the diaries of young Edgar to put together a chilling story of their days in a climate hostile to human life. Female readers may be tempted to ask, "Why would they want to do that?" The only answer is the famous one, "Because it's there!" Apparently that insouciant reply makes sense to males; but to a mother, it rings hollow.
75 years ago, 3 British men set out on a journey up the Thelon River (in Northern Alberta) and into the Canadian Arctic. None of them made it back alive. When their bodies were discovered by the RCMP, the investigators also found a diary. This diary, written by the youngest member of the party (Edgar Christian, age 18) chronicled the shift from courageous optimism in the early days of the voyage, into hopeless abandon as the 3 men starved and froze to death.
Clive Powell-Williams has taken this diary and researched the history behind the 3 adventurers. In Cold Burial, he tells the whole story; from their original meetings at school in Britain, to Edgar's last days, alone in the cabin.
Cold Burial is a tremendously well-written account that will certainy rank with the top adventure/disaster books of all time. An extremely good read. Highly recommended.
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"High Fidelity" was a funny, witty, novel that at some points dragged, but at most points was gratifying. I rarely do this, but I'm going to have to say it: this book I guarentee you will enjoy, even for a brief few chapters, but for most people, the entire novel is enjoyable. Good Luck with it!
I absolutely loved this novel. It was witty, exploring with a keen eye relationships and the reasons why men and women get together, and sometimes drift apart. Narrator Rob is a self-indulgent whiner who tries to make himself feel better after getting dumped by making lists to himself of "top 5 breakups", as well as lists of "top 5 breakup songs". He does something many of us 30-something men often think of doing, namely contact old flames out of an odd, morbid curiosity as to their whereabouts and marital status.
While Rob and his incessant ruminations on his past and present love life can sometimes get old, Hornby deftly changes gears whenever a change is needed and involves numerous excellent secondary characters, including record store employees and comrades-in-arms Dick and Barry (played amazingly well by Jack Black in the recent movie) as well as a folkie American female musician living in London. The scenes in Rob's second hand record store are priceless, as well as some memorable episodes in North London's pubs where Rob and the boys hoist a pint or two while they argue meaningless musical debates.
It is difficult to categorize the novel, but I can simply say that as a male of approximately the same age as the protagonist, it appeared Hornby (and Rob) were talking my language (albeit with a British flair), and I therefore breezed through this book quicker than most. You need not be male and over 30 to enjoy it, but reading it will reveal some of our secrets and obsessions. Pick it up, you won't be disappointed.
Hornby captures the longing, ennui, humor and bitterness of the single male so perfectly, that every guy is bound to see some of himself in the lead character. The use of "Top 5" lists is a brilliant literary device. It advances the plot in almost every instance, while at the same time painting a complete and well-rounded portrait of the protagonist (and his friends). Plus, it's a fun way to start a debate with your own friends. The writing is sharp, the characters real and the plot engaging.
As a footnote, I think the movie did a wonderful job of adapting the book. The book is better, of course, but the film stays remarkably true to the spirit and letter of the original. There are entire passages from the book that are repeated in the script, which is very, very rare among adaptations.
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