Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Great British Comics: Celebrating a Century of Ripping Yarns and

Read by millions, British comics are world-famous. And for more than a quarter of a century, Britain’s writers and artists have had a significant influence on the American comic-book scene, revitalizing standards from Batman to X-Men and originating uniquely British characters of their own, such as Modesty Blaise and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Now, in a feast of cartoon graphics, Great British Comics celebrates the UK’s comic heroes, offering an invaluable resource for enthusiasts and collectors. Divided into themed chapters, and ranging from the 1920s to the 1990s, it charts the careers of all the familiar favorites. Featuring lively, informative text, Great British Comics is copiously illustrated with comic book covers, pages, and annuals, as well as toys, collectibles, and memorabilia. Paul Gravett, who has curated numerous exhibitions of comic art, is also the author of Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics and Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know.

Paul Gravett is a freelance journalist, curator, lecturer and broadcaster who has worked in comics publishing and promotion for over 20 years. He has curated numerous exhibitions of comic art, from the history of British comics for France's National Comics Centre to the annual Comica festival for the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. He is the author several books including the best-selling Manga, Great British Comics, The Leather Nun & Other Incredibly Strange Comics and Graphic Novels: Stories To Change Your Life.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
4In love with comics - perhaps too much so
By F.P.Barbieri
I know personally Paul Gravett, the joint author - and indubitably the leading spirit - of this book, and his personality is a great part of the much that is right and the somewhat that is wrong, or at least problematic, about it. Paul Gravett is quite probably the nicest person on Earth. It is possible to imagine that there may have been, somewhere, some time, one person whom he did not like; yes, possible, but very hard. He could get along with Timon of Athens. He is himself charming and a complete enthusiast about his subject, never tiring of exploring obscure historical byways and discovering forgotten comics and creators. And this book very much reflects his character. One has the impression that no comic book or strip ever published in the three kingdoms has escaped being placed somewhere in these pages, with an appreciative notice and some particularly well-chosen panels. But that is also the problem. Paul loves EVERYTHING; and when everything is brilliant, then nothing is outstanding. Now, to begin with, not every comic objectively deserves the enthusiasm Paul bestows on it. Our impression on leaving the book is that of a blazing, multi-coloured carnival and riot of invention and white-hot fun; and only personal acquaintance could tell us just how commonplace a great deal of these strips really were. Conversely, it also tends not to give honour where honour is due: when BRISTOW or AUGUSTA or ANDY CAPP or PERISHERS don't get any more space than any other newspaper strip, how are we to know that in their case, and specifically in their case, we are dealing with avatars of the national English genius for humour? With deserving equals of the Goons and of the Pythons, of Terry Pratchett, of JK Jerome and PG Wodehouse and Charlie Chaplin? Is it fair, is it even sensible, to give little more space to MODESTY BLAISE, the most successful and one of the most brilliant British comics of all time, as to, say, the comics adaptation of JAMES BOND? Let alone place her, completely out of position, among the girl characters, instead than in its proper hard-boiled context? And what about Alan Moore? The Greatest Living Englishman, as Neil Gaiman calls him with only moderate exaggeration, one of the greatest comics writers of all time, the most outstanding creative force in comics after Jack Kirby, an influence that has spread all over the world - he should have his own chapter, if nothing else because of the enormous amount of brilliant work he has produced. In fact he gets no more attention than anyone else.
Perhaps the saddest failure, however, is the failure to bring out the neglected brilliance of several old strips. After all, Alan Moore and MODESTY BLAISE hardly need this book's promotion, and neither do ANDY CAPP or EAGLE magazine. But how is anyone to know that BUCK RYAN, of which we only see a single daily strip, was as good an adventure/detective strip as anything by Milton Caniff or Frank Robbins? Who will explain to the public that Dennis Collins of PERISHERS was one of the finest artists the artform has ever seen? And sadder still, if possible: there is a strip called JANE, which is remembered, if at all, as a particularly dumb piece of wartime nostalgia. In fact, the wartime JANE was a very mediocre and forgettable strip, with gimmicky humour always leading up to the protagonist losing her clothes, and uninspired drawing; but someone really ought to stand up and show comics fans, and the rest of the public, that, in the fifties, a man called Mike Hubbard took over JANE and made it an extraordinary achievement, with a light touch in the humour/adventure writing, and some of the most wonderful artwork I have ever seen. This is the work of a master, utterly forgotten in his own home country, while JANE's poor wartime pratfall live for ever in the dubious medium of WWII nostalgia.
Having said all that, this is still a worthwhile book. Its learning is fabulous, its enthusiasm for its subject is commendable, and the warmth of its guiding spirit can be felt in page after page. As an introduction to the field of British comics, it is well worth having.

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
3Get out your cheaters for this across the pond funfest
By Christopher Barat
This colorful volume reminds me of nothing so much as an "across the pond" version of "Comix", Les Daniels' early-70s survey of the then-virgin territory of American funny books. As in Daniels' book, Gravett and Stanbury lump together a dizzying variety of different types of British comics, ranging from hoary old classics to the most ephemeral of "countercultural" modern works. The comics are arranged by subject matter (kids, families, sci-fi, adventure, women, etc.), with each sequence of sample strips presented in more or less chronological order. The effect of this parallel-track structure (to someone not well versed in the subject matter, that is) is to somewhat muddy the waters on the issue of what, exactly, does constitute a "great" British comic. I rather suspect that the trendy likes of, for example, "S**t the Dog" and "Johnny Fartpants" won't hold up as well in future years as "Judge Dredd" or "Modesty Blaise", but Gravett and Stanbury treat each item in a particular collection of themed strips with more or less equal gravity. Adding to the neophyte reader's difficulties, many of the strips reproduced herein are reproduced at such a small size that one literally needs an optical aid to dope them out. This may not be much of an issue to the British reader who knows these characters and creators, but for someone who actually wants to read the doggoned - er -- bloody things, it can be a problem. The accompanying text carries a whiff of the overwrought in its attempts to plumb social meaning, but it can easily be skimmed over when things get too thick. The authors maintain a Web site, [...] which they claim includes "lots more fun and facts" (and, hopefully, larger font sizes). Overall, this is a reasonably worthwhile purchase for someone interested in broadening their panelological horizons.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5Excellent book for British comic fans
By Bombina
If you were brought up on Beano,Dandy,Eagle,Lion,Film Fun etc you will love this book.A ton of information and profusely illustrated with images of your old heroes which are liable to evoke happy memories.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Beirut (Footprint Focus)

Go for an early morning walk along the Corniche – Beirut’s seaside promenade – and watch as the Mediterranean Sea laps against the rocks while the summits of Mount Lebanon dominate the horizon to the east. Enjoy a strong black coffee here before hitting Hamra to experience Beirut’s bustling commercial side or the old Central District to admire the elegantly restored Ottoman and French-colonial buildings – a demonstration of Beirut’s determination to become the ‘Paris of the East’ once again. Footprintfocus Beirut features practical advice on getting to and around this up-and-coming city, along with fascinating insights into Beirut’s culture and history.


·         Essentials section with practical advice on getting there and around.

·         Highlights maps of the region so you know what not to miss.

·         Comprehensive, up-to-date listings of where to eat, drink and sleep.

·         Detailed street maps for Beirut and key destinations.

·         Slim enough to fit in your pocket.


Loaded with advice and information on how to get around, this concise Footprintfocus guide will help you get the most out of Beirut without weighing you down.


The content of Footprintfocus Beirut guide has been extracted from Footprint’s Lebanon Handbook.


A small obsession with houmous and a large obsession with nomadic people led Jessica Lee to the Middle East in 2004 where she fell in love with the Arabic language and the incredible hospitality of the people. She has lived there full-time since 2007, working as a tour leader as well as a writer. When not on the overland trail between Cairo and Istanbul, she can usually be found among the fairy chimneys of central Anatolia where she is attempting to renovate a cave-house.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
4The best printed Beirut guide in English that I know of
By J B Carioca
The best printed Beirut guide in English that I know of. Things change so quickly that updates through internet searches are essential.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Lebanon on a Kindle
By Richard Duerksen
Thanks for the excellent travel guide of Beirut - and almost everywhere else in Lebanon I would want to go.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Very helpful
By sonyagrob
Thank you! This was very helpful on my recent trip to Lebanon!

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Europe with Kids: Full-Color Lifestyle Guide To Traveling In Europe

While one needn’t forgo the beaches and the sun, a family holiday in Europe can of course be about much, much more. How about taking the little darlings around the Louvre in Paris, or the Uffizi Gallery in Florence? Climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa, scale an Alp or two, or even watch Mount Etna erupt? Yes, it can be done. Footprint’s new guide to savoring mainland Europe with children shows how to put the fun back into foreign holidays with a cornucopia of family-friendly places to see and things to do, plus recipes, games, and great ideas on how to get the kids as excited about being in the Old World as you are.

"The perfect book to have to hand when planning your family's annual holiday" Junior Magazine "Top resources for vacationing: Travel with Kids by William Gray - exotic excursions, from hanging out under a pagoda in Kathmandu to puffin-watching in Wales." Nick Jnr Magazine (Nickleodean) "From tots to teens, this book helps parents get it right for different age groups, budgets and style of travel." Sticky Travel - MTV Magazine "Travel with Kids by William Gray includes lots of tips for eco-friendly family holidays worldwide - from tots to teens" Britain with Kids is a guided tour of all the goodness on our doorstep. Whether you want fun and free things to do, child-heavenly beaches, luxury places to stay, gorgeous woodlands, farm days or a guide to the best local food around the country, this is the place to find it. Chapters are helpfully divided by theme, as well as regions with listings of local attractions, costs, and a description. Great when you are not familiar with the area. Be inspired.A" Junior Magazine Britain with Kids is all you need to know - from the best fish & chips to the not-so-boring museums, and everything in between.A" Angels & Urchins Magazine

It's hard to say which was the more pivotal moment of William Gray's travelling career - surviving his first long-haul flight with toddler twins or clinching the coveted Travel Writer of the Year award in 2002. A member of the British Guild of Travel Writers, William wrote and illustrated his first book at the age of 23. Coral Reefs & Islands: The Natural History of a Threatened Paradise was highly commended in the Conservation Book Prize. A sought-after photographer, William supplies images to several leading agencies including Photolibrary, Travel Ink and John Warburton-Lee. In 1995 William accompanied Patrick Lichfield as guest lecturer on the Oriana's maiden Atlantic crossing and he now gives slide talks throughout the UK. William followed up his award-winning Travel with Kids with Britain with Kids and Footprint's recently published Cornwall with Kids. For more information, check out

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful.
3Its a starting point...
By D & S mum
How, how is it possible that a book called "Europe for kids..." would offer only 20 pages to the countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Swizerland? No, not 20 pages per country...20 pages IN TOTAL! Germany, Austria, and Switzerland easily deserve 20 pages (or more) a piece!

If you are looking for a guidebook to the touristy spots your children might enjoy, this may not be the book for you. If you want a book which will offer you prices and opening hours to attractions this is also not the book for you; very rarely are either offered. This book appears to have *some* helpful information and a few age specific pointers; it would be a great resource from your local library when you begin to plan your trip. When you want to get down to the meat of planning, you won't find a lot here. There is simply not enough substance here to justify the $18 price (especially when you consider Central Europe is but a whisper in this book!); surely at that price you are really paying for the beautiful photos.

On the pro side, each chapter has children's book suggestions for each country/region. Would like to have seen a longer list as notable books were left off the lists! Also enjoyable were the children's Top 10 lists for several countries. We will certainly be referring back to these. Finally, it was nice to see the inclusion of some recipes for each country. Although any google search could locate similar recipes, having them in one location as you prepare for the trip is handy. This book also has a decent amount of information (comparatively) on Turkey and Eastern Europe with kids.

This book was published in the UK. If you are in the US and considering this book, note that all prices given are either in pounds or euro. Also, most of the travel agencies listed are based in the UK.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
2Not very useful
By B. Fulsom
This book seriously lacks specifics. At best it offers rough ideas for things to do, but it is far too general. Lots of nice colour pictures taking up precious space, but I don't need someone else's beautiful vacation photos when I plan to go for myself. Hardly any useful maps, brief descriptions, and whole geographic areas left out. The author admits as much in the book, but even then it is a little thin on content.

As a North American, I was also a little put off by the book's very UK-centric nature: aside from the lingo, there is a strong focus on Britain/Ireland and sun-seeker destinations like Greece, Spain, and Italy. There is almost nothing about Germany and Switzerland. The different destinations and particulars for newborns and toddlers versus teenagers are barely touched upon at the start of each chapter. Again, lots of generalities and few details.

Overall, a waste of money for the price.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
4Four Stars
By Ludmila Forti
Arrive as promises and the book is in great conditions!

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Frommer's London with Kids (Frommer's With Kids)

  • Frommer's London with Kids has been extensively updated to reflect all of the latest changes in England's dynamic capital city so you can navigate and explore its neighborhoods with ease, whether you're toting a 5 year-old or towing a fifteen year old.
  • Our author hits all the highlights, from Harry Potter-related sites to puppet shows and the British Airways London Eye. This mom-in-the-know has checked out all the city's hotels and restaurants in person, and offers authoritative, candid reviews that will help you find the best choices for your kids' tastes, while being friendly to your budget.
  • You'll also get up-to-the-minute coverage of the best shopping--from toys and clothes to comics or candies; kid-size walking tours; accurate neighborhood maps; tips and tricks for planning a successful U.K. family vacation--right down to which hotels offer cribs and rollaway beds and which restaurants offer high chairs; and side trips to Legoland, Windsor Castle, Roald Dahl country, and more.

Let Frommer's Show You Where Your Kids Can:

  • Sleep overnight in a sailor's bunk
  • Mingle with animals at real city farms
  • Touch a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite
  • Learn about life in Shakespeare's day
  • Visit Harry Potter haunts
  • Ogle the dazzling Crown Jewels
  • Go biking, horseback riding, or learn to fly stunt kites

Plus Invaluable Travel Tips:

  • Age ranges for each sight and activity
  • Hotels that offer cribs and rollaway beds
  • A complete rundown on restaurants with kids' menus
  • Shopping for everything from baby booties to comic books
  • A local parent's words of wisdom on safety in the city
  • How to have a good time for less—or even for free

Rhonda Carrier settled in London in the mid-1990s, after studying languages and literature at Cambridge and the Sorbonne in Paris. For many years she worked as a writer and editor for leading London guides and listings magazines, as well as publishing award-winning short fiction. She currently lives mainly in Manchester, with her novelist husband Conrad William and sons Ethan, Ripley, and Zac. She is also the author of Frommer’s Brittany with Your Family, and regularly writes about family travel for Conde Nast Traveller and other magazines, newspapers, and websites.

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful.
5GREAT GUIDE! Very clever.
By Holly Rose
What I like most about this guide compared to other guides, is that you can tell this is a REAL mother visiting these places with REAL children. And most importantly, she tells you about the places to avoid, as well as the best places to visit.
when you're a mom, with two little boys, it is sometimes just as important to actually know the places NOT to go - as well as the places to go.
I laughed out loud when I read her review of Hamleys. We must have been visiting there the same day! I too saw the scary santa. who looked like he would've rather been any where else than where he was. I wouldn't let my boys near him. didn't even want them to see him he looked that miserable. Shame on Hamleys to allow that.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, we went for lunch and then to the bathrooms. Where to begin? The food was deep fried and disgusting, the whole place smelled of old frying oil. It was unedible AND very expensive.
Having to change a diaper is another story. The handicapped toilet with the changing tables was dirty and the floor was wet with wet tissue all over and partially flooded. There was a line to get in as well. I had to change my baby on the floor outside the bathrooms. Everything was filthy.
I will never go back there again.
Ms Carrier was right on the money with her description of her experiences there.

So, whenever I am in London with my boys, I always read her guide - because I know she is a real mom like me. I'll go where she says is a good place to go, but I'll also avoid the places she says to avoid.
When you find another mom who's judgement you trust, it's like gold! That's how I feel about this guide.
Good advice from another mom who's been there. It's great!

Can't wait till our trip to Brittany.
Thank you Rhonda!

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
4Kids and London Fun Together
By Susan S. Zucker
If you like Frommer's Guides in general you will find this one of the best guide books to use before and during your trip to London with your kids. I was with a 10 year old and she and I had a great time. Start at The Tower of London (we took the Regents Street double decker bus) and had a double treat just getting there. Public transportation is easy to use, just avoid rush hours when you have children with you. This guide has many suggestions including walks through neighborhoods. There are guides for places to eat and stay as well. If you are planning a trip to London with a child, buy Frommer's early, plan ahead, do not make a strict schedule and be flexible with your plans. We found that going to one major attraction per day was quite enough. Do your homework and enjoy every day on your trip to London with kids.

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful.
5Very comprehensive and updated
By Chen Hsiang Lei
I love this book very much which contains almost everything you need to know if you want to bring your kids to London. Cannot miss it if you want to bring your kids to London.

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Lonely Planet Belgium & Luxembourg

Discover Belgium & Luxembourg

Taste the difference between good and excellent in Brussels at the world's finest chocolate shops.
Find your favorite vantage point in fairy-tale Luxembourge City, town full of spectacular views.
Swathe yourself in the latest Antwerp fashion in hand-picked St Andries boutiques.
Get pelted wiht oranges by masked men in Binche, during Belgium's most bizarre carnival.

In This Guide:

Co-written by a native Belgian and a chocoholic - over 1300 hours of on-the-road research with two kids in tow.
Our special beer chapter will have you sampling the region's finest from divine Trappist brews to acidic lambics.
You asked for it, we researched it - more child-friendly activities, cycling information and battleground coverage.

…Lonely Planet, the intrepid traveler's bible...' --Los Angeles Times, April 2005

Who We Are
At Lonely Planet, we see our job as inspiring and enabling travelers to connect with the world for their own benefit and for the benefit of the world at large.

What We Do
* We offer travelers the world's richest travel advice, informed by the collective wisdom of over 350 Lonely Planet authors living in 37 countries and fluent in 70 languages.
* We are relentless in finding the special, the unique and the different for travellers wherever they are.
* When we update our guidebooks, we check every listing, in person, every time.
* We always offer the trusted filter for those who are curious, open minded and independent.
* We challenge our growing community of travelers; leading debate and discussion about travel and the world.
* We tell it like it is without fear or favor in service of the travelers; not clouded by any other motive.

What We Believe
We believe that travel leads to a deeper cultural understanding and compassion and therefore a better world.

A Lonely Planet publication.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful.
1Lonely Planet disappointment
By Sue and Bill
We, too, were shocked with the inadequacies of this guide, (along with the Netherlands guide). What's happened to Lonely Planet? Maps were almost unreadable, information attached to the maps was confusing, streets there were incomplete, addresses were wrong, and the tone was opinionated and unhelpful. To top it off, one of the hotels that was editor's choice cancelled our two-day booking when a full week booking came along from someone else, and we weren't told. No apology, only a remark that we wouldn't like the room with someone else in it. Who selected this place for inclusion in the book with an extra recommendation?

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful.
4My 3 years in Belgium is ending ... this book was a big help!
By JohnnyC
All in all, in my 3 years living in Belgium, I found this a really helpful guide book. Prices are always wrong in guidebooks, but I found the contact information (web, address, phone) nearly always right, and the descriptions accurate.

You will be very challenged to find another guidebook that has this level of coverage of Belgium in its entirety, as most seem to focus on Brussels, Gent, Bruges, and perhaps Antwerp. Belgium seems to typically be an afterthought on most tourists' itineraries.

I really enjoyed the author's picks, both hotels and restaurants. What can I say to the other reviewer where the hotel unfortunately cancelled their booking because they found a group that would pay them more? Is that the authors' fault? No, welcome to Europe, and to Belgium, where the customer is always ... wrong!!

So you're browsing guidebooks, and wondering which one to get?

I would have to say, based on my experience using an earlier edition of this book for the past 3 years (I imagine they're pretty similar!), if you're swinging through Belgium for 2 days, and going to see Brussels and Bruges, this book is probably not the best for you. You'll probably do better with a thinner city-specific guidebook. But if you're going to tour around Belgium, or spend an extended amount of time in a city or two, then the in-depth coverage of this book is a real benefit.

One criticim I do have to echo: Lonely Planet, let's face it, is not known for its maps, and this book is no exception. They're good enough, and I've never NOT been able to find something, but sometimes the maps, er, well, don't necessarily reflect reality.

So all in all, this is a solid book, and if you follow my advice in paragraph 5, I think you'll be happy with it.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
4Usual Great Standard from Lonely Planet
By Lisa Calder
I mainly use Lonely Planet for sites to see, city walking tours and information on the history. I use Trip Advisor now for accomodation and I think Lonely Planet needs to catch up, as people can research so much now on the internet so their several pages of accommodation are getting pretty close to redundant, they need to scale this back and increase information on interests in the respective city. This feedback is general across the Lonely Planet range and not aimed at the Belgium/Luxembourg book. The information given is easy to follow, but I did find myself flipping pages to read the special box text information a lot..

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Aimed Solar and Lunar Returns: What you can do when

English-speaking readers fond of Astrology already know the Author, thanks to his previous works - Transits and Solar Returns and Lunar Returns and Earth Returns, which have also been translated into several other languages. In a practice of almost forty years of astrological research, the Author has studied and guided over twenty thousand aimed birthdays; he has also published a dozen books specifically on Solar Returns and Lunar Returns. This is his fifth work in English; two of them can be downloaded free from his webpage – In this volume Ciro Discepolo deals with the second ‘resource’ on which his Active Astrology is based (the first one being the aimed birthday): the so-called exorcism of symbols. In these pages the Author suggests to the Reader about what can be done when you cannot aim, i.e. actively relocate your birthday (either your Solar or Lunar Return) by a practical application of the notion of ‘activating’ or ‘constellating’ a symbol. For example, Ciro Discepolo claims that if you can not leave for an aimed birthday to avoid Saturn being placed in the 5th House of your next Solar Return, during the twelve months covered by the SR, you had better devote more time to your kids, help them in their studies or in their sporting activities, pay the fee to enrol them in a course, perhaps abroad, where they could learn new subjects and/or nurture and improve their condition in a broad sense. Planet by planet, House by House, this volume contains all the suggestions of the Author on the exorcism of symbols – a useful practice also in the case you do relocate your Solar and/or Lunar Returns: for example if you have willingly left some dissonant position in your map of Aimed SR or of Aimed LR, and you wish to lower the threshold of risk a little more. The volume also explains the philosophical and psychological roots justifying the practice of the exorcism of symbols.

Ciro Discepolo is a journalist and a former researcher of CNR (National Research Council). He’s been dealing with astrology since 1970. He has written over sixty books – most of them on this particular subject. Astrologically speaking, he followed the school of André Barbault. He then founded the school of Active Astrology. He has been doing statistical researches from the very beginning of this interest in astrology. At the beginning of the ’90s, he obtained very brilliant results with researches on astral heredity on a sample of over 75,000 subjects. His works have been translated, from Italian, into English, Spanish, French, Russian, German, Hungarian, and Slovenian.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
5A professional's view
By Roy
I have been practicing astrology for a very long time, and generally avoid astrology books. When I discovered the work of Ciro Discepolo, and this book in particular, I was pleasantly shocked. Ciro's approach to working with clients is almost identical to my own. What I try to do with clients is to give them suggestions as to how to "ground out" or "discharge" the "difficult" planetary combinations. I have thought of hundreds of ways to help them do so, but Ciro probably has a hundred to every one I've thought of. Plus, he is the founder and foremost practitioner of "Aimed" return chart methodology in the world today. The clarity with which fundamental astrological principles shine through his writing is impressive, despite the translation. About that - if anyone has a hard time reading through the translation - study Hindu Astrology with the vow not to read a book written or co-written by a westerner on the subject.

Anyway, I've studied, used and taught many techniques of astrology (Sidereal, Hellenistic, Tajika, and others) in the past. I find Ciro's methods of "Aimed Birthdays" and "Symbol Exorcism" to be simple, succinct, direct and useful. Some of the suggestions may appear to be difficult, but the inconvenience is far less painful than accepting the worst possibilities of a difficult Solar or Lunar Return. This is my indisputable observation. My experience proves that these methods work, and I have several decades of it. Some may think this is an old-fashioned view of astrology. I don't really care, because I'm into what works. I look at the indications of the horoscope as being multifaceted; there are good and bad possibilities in everything. Generally, the undesirable possibilities have a tendency to manifest themselves more easily in our lives; that's how life is. Most professional analysts and therapists will tell you the same thing using different language. With Active Astrology, we use the chart in such a way that we give the unwanted possibilities something else to do, so that we don't have to suffer their imposition in our affairs.

I have written elsewhere that we have the fatalists and determinists of the past two or three thousand years to thank for coming up with reliable guidelines for quickly finding difficult astrological combinations. Mr. Discepolo's approach to "Aimed Solar and Lunar Returns" enables us to change our personal relationship to these combinations in order to moderate or antidote their worst possibilities. As opposed to the expensive and culturally dissonant "propitiatory" methods of Hindu Astrology (not to mention the almost indecipherable methods of "Lal Kitab"), the techniques of Active Astrology are almost universally applicable and produce startling results, without requiring a change in your belief system. And, more often than not, they are fun.

I must admit that I am rather excited about this method. I am in the process of developing a website to give people easier access to this technique. This project has Mr. Discepolo's "benediction", and we do correspond with one another. I am also somewhat of a minimalist as far as my artistic taste goes, and Active Astrology appeals to me in this way too, because it uses a minimum of simple astrological technology, and puts the emphasis on the experience. You can't control the wind, but you can control the sails, and the Solar and Lunar return charts, as described in his books, are one heck of a well-seasoned crew that can help you get your ship of life where you want it to go.

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
5Why should we go for an Aimed Solar Return?
By Georgiana Costescu
I went to different astrologers to receive answers on my life and get cure for the problems that I faced. They all indicated with precision the problems that I had and offered only psychological counseling, like "try to be more flexible", "think positive", "concentrate" or "wait ten more years and maybe you will get what you are looking for". Others even comforted me with the karma: "I'm sorry for you, but now you are paying for the wrong things you did in a past life" or even menaced "Stop all these things that you are doing now or you will pay double in a future life". Tired of all these "pieces of advice", I decided to find somehow a different approach in Astrology.

Luckily I discovered Ciro Discepolo's books on Solar Returns. This truly changed my outlook in life. His work on Solar Returns indicates exactly how to attain positive situations in life using Astrology. His book Aimed Solar and Lunar Returns shows in the purest way how to use the transits together with the Solar Returns in order to protect ourselves from the bad celestial influence and even achieve our goals in life.

I discovered that it is in our power to change bad situations into positive ones. We only need to understand the meaning of the aspects and transits and act accordingly to their nature. Ciro Discepolo explains all these aspects in his book and offers many examples. It is easy and important to identify problems on a chart, but it is more important and vital to find real solutions to these problems, otherwise Astrology would be useless. Mending trough personal actions challenging celestial influence defines Active Astrology. The individual no longer waits for bad events to arrive, not even confronts them, but manages to avoid or even eliminate them. This is simply wonderful!

This book, together with "Transits and Solar Returns", is a masterpiece of Astrology and the work of a genius. No one, until this point, has ever interpreted the Solar Returns and Transits this way before. This astrologer not only tells people how to get rid of forthcoming problems and disasters ("Transits and Solar Returns"), but also indicates, in this book, how to confront bad aspects and transits and manage to make it through.

Ciro Discepolo writes in a very direct manner, the journalistic style, and this makes the information very accessible to the reader. Anyone can understand how transits and Solar Returns truly work by simply reading Ciro Discepolo's books. He brought Astrology close to people that want to make a difference in life by manipulating good or bad astrological aspects.

Anyone should read this book, whether they are professional astrologers or regular people. "Aimed Solar and Lunar Returns" could be interpreted as a very strong and useful conclusion of a lifetime passionate research in the wonderful field of Astrology. Her author dedicated more than 40 years of his life studying hundreds of thousands of charts and doing researches on Solar Returns and transits, so this is 100% an authentic Astrology document.

Ciro Discepolo started a new era of science in Astrology seen eyes wide opened. There is no longer place in the field of sciences for philosophical or metaphysical Astrology. Traditional philosophical Astrology can only be read as a very good piece of literature that enriches ones vocabulary, but is not able to empower people to forecast and ease their future. We need straight answers to our concerns and substantial solutions to our endeavors for a better life. Encouraging and nice words like "the Sun in the 12th house of the Solar Return will make you grow spiritually" won't stop the unpleasant events to take place. A Saturn will always bring difficult situations or will completely block ones actions, even with good aspects. So, it is useless to promise spiritual growth, maturity and stability just for the sake of optimism.

It may seem that positive situations are difficult to achieve. It is true, but since we have this powerful tool called the Aimed Solar Return, we will finally be able to decide ourselves what to improve, achieve and, moreover, when.

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
By Raven Hawk
Ciro Discepolo is one of those rare Astrologers that get it.
His books are made to be easy to understand. If your a novice then you can learn from them and if your a professional then you can use them for reference.
I personally am a professonal Astrologer and have LOVED all of Ciro Discepolo books.
In this edition it teaches you how to interput the planets and their aspects in relation to the sun and its return to the birth position. Each year the sun return to the same degree when we were born, from this is called the Solar Return, indicators for the future year are given from this stand, and how to detect future possible problem areas.
With a Normal Solar or Lunar return the planets are based on where you are located at the time of your birthday. If this is not possibleto be in a better zone, then with AIMED SR AND LR you can find a way to help the balance of the planets.
Here Ciro shbows how to make the best of the planets in the location they are in.
AIMED SOLAR AND LUNAR RETURNS has been right on the mark with all the charts I have sampled it against.
I strongly recomend this book for anyone who is seeking the answers.
Well written and totally enjoyed
Cece Stevens, professional Astrologer

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Family Guide France (Eyewitness Travel Family Guide)

Spend more time sharing the experience of exploring a new place with those you love most with DK Eyewitness Travel: Family Guides France. This guidebook gives families with kids between the ages of four and twelve the travel information they need most to have fun together on vacation.

DK Eyewitness Travel: Family Guides France is written by parents who understand the unique needs of traveling families.

  • Major sights are "hub" destinations around which to plan your day.
  • "Let off steam" suggestions and eating options around all hubs enable the entire family to recharge their batteries.
  • Maps outlining the nearest parks, playgrounds, and public toilets.
  • Dedicated "Kids Corners" feature cartoons, quizzes, puzzles, and games to inform and entertain young travelers on the road.
  • Language section lists essential words and phrases.
  • "Take shelter" recommendations suggest indoor activities for rainy days.
  • Plus, this updated guidebook offers child-friendly sleeping and eating options, detailed maps of main sightseeing areas, travel information, budget guidance, and age-range suitability for major activities.

DK Eyewitness Travel: Family Guide France offers you the best things to see and do on a family vacation to Paris and the country of France. Each spread bursts with family-focused travel tips and ideas for activities that will engage children, from boat trips along the Canal du Midi in Languedoc-Roussillon to astronomy workshops at Le Pic du Midi de Bigorre in the Pyrenees to discovering the Musée du Louvre in Paris.

DK Eyewitness Travel: Family Guide France includes all the practical information you need for a fun, stress-free family vacation.

A Look Inside Eyewitness Travel Family Guide: France
(Click on images to enlarge)

"These books are packed with suggestions for kid-friendly restaurants, outdoor spots where travelin' tots can run free, rainy day fun, and more. They also offer tips for engaging your child's mind and sense of wonder at every stop." – Scholastic Parent & Child

"What makes this series unusual is the attention to detail. Yes, all the big sights are here, but even the famous places are given a slight twist — always with children and their parents in mind." – Chicago Tribune

"For families traveling with young people, it's hard to do better than this handsomely illustrated guide, which is arranged geographically and notable for its focus on family friendly activities." – Library Journal

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
4Nice Book, But Not Sure It Is a Substitute For a More General Guide Book
By Brett H
Dorling Kindersley have avoided the overcrowded mainstream market for travel guides with this series which is directed at families with children. In essence nearly all the suggested visits here will be covered by the other guide books, but this book makes an effort to look for child friendly angles which will appeal. For example, Giverny, home of Monet is included and I would not personally have thought that the house and gardens would be a place kids would enjoy, although most adults will love it, particularly the lily ponds which were the setting for many of Monet's most famous paintings. However, the advice is to let the kids let off steam playing in the garden of the Hotel Baudy, and ride a local road train - it is not clear if this is while the adults get on with the Monet visit or a bribe to behave themselves during the visit!

As is usual with guide books, the first thirty five or so pages set the scene with details of the highlights of a visit to France, where to eat, where to stay, where to shop etc. Then the main part of the book which covers the following 330 page or so is split into regions, six main areas subdivided into 17 smaller areas. At the end there is a useful mapping section which is worthy of note as, although it is not sufficiently detailed for a road tour of the country, it is far better than most of the inadequate maps in guide books which would require a strong magnifying glass to make any sense of. For each area there are quite a few suggestions of where to stay covering B&Bs, hotels and camping sites and suggested places to visit. On nearly every page there is a kid's corner section which asks questions or tells children what to look out for and I can imagine that many parents will find this very useful to entertain the smaller members of the family.

I have never seen a DK book where the printing was not of very good quality with thick pages, and this volume is no exception. However, I am not sure it works for a travel guide. We returned from a holiday in France this week and found that this guide at 420 pages weighed about the same as the Rough Guide we also had with us which had over 1100 pages. Surprisingly there were things in this guide which the other one missed, but clearly as it was so much shorter, the coverage overall was much less. It is a nice book, but I am not wholly convinced that families will want to carry it around with them as well as a more general guide book, as I feel that on its own it probably does not provide sufficient coverage for a visit to this very large country.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5the sidebars with questions and activities geared to children is a nice addition.
By mmesutton
It is very helpful to read practical details that apply to children, such as family style restaurants and parks. In addition, the sidebars with questions and activities geared to children is a nice addition.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
2Two Stars
By T. Gossard
The family guide is for very small children not twelve year olds.

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The Rough Guide to Cape Town, The Winelands and The

The Rough Guide to Cape Town, the Winelands, and the Garden Route is the ultimate travel guide to South Africa's most captivating city and its surrounding region. Full-color photography illustrates the finest of Cape Town's colonial architecture, vibrant neighborhoods, and iconic setting.

This guide will show you the best this cosmopolitan city has to offer — from fascinating museums, cutting edge fashion, and fine dining to whale watching, bungee jumping, and wine tasting. It's no wonder that Cape Town is an award-winning city, and The Rough Guide to Cape Town, the Winelands, and the Garden Route uncovers it all. Easy to use maps for each neighborhood make getting around easy. And, detailed chapters feature all the best hotels, restaurants and bars, live music and clubs, shops, theater, kids' activities, and more.

You'll be sure to make the most of your time with The Rough Guide to Cape Town, the Winelands, and the Garden Route.

Reliable, readable Rough Guides Conde Nast Traveller

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Most helpful and useful guide. My wife and I spent 7 weeks ...
By traveller
Most helpful and useful guide. My wife and I spent 7 weeks early this year in the Capetown and Western Cape region. This book helped us with the latest information and suggestions. Worth the price ad better than other older guides.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5This is a great book. Very up to date
By Candice Chow-Gamboa
This is a great book. Very up to date. Had a bad experience with the seller and ended up buying at a bookstore.

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5Five Stars
By marcelo moraes victor
Very nice book! Beyond my expectation!

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Monday, September 21, 2015

The Rough Guide to Thailand's Beaches & Islands (Rough Guide

A guide to the islands and beaches of Thailand, form the popular resorts of Phuket, Samai and Pattaya, to the tranquil coves on Ko Tarutao, Ko Lanta anbd Ko Chang. The guide includes detailed recommendations of the best beaches for both families and partying, as well as expert advice on diving, snorkelling, kayaking and other water sports.

Paul Gray has been a regular visitor to Thailand since 1987 when he taught English for a year at Chiang Mai. He is the co-author of the Rough Guide to Bangkok. Lucy Ridout has spent most of the last decade travelling in and writing about Asia. She is co-author of the Rough Guide to Bangkok, the Rough Guide to Bali & Lombok, and First-Time Asia.


Airline schedules decree that many beach holidays begin in Bangkok, and despite initial impressions, Thailand’s crazy, polluted capital is well worth a couple of days of your time. Within the city’s historic core you’ll find resplendent temples, canalside markets and the opulent indulgence of the eighteenth-century Grand Palace, all of which make a good antidote to the mind-boggling array of markets, boutiques and restaurants in the fashionable downtown area.

Within easy striking distance of Bangkok, the East Coast resort of Pattaya is the country’s most popular – and least interesting – destination, a concrete warren of hotels and strip joints that makes its money from package tourists who are unaware of what they’re missing. Yet just a few dozen kilometres further east sit the islands of Ko Samet and Ko Chang, whose superb sands are dotted with beach huts and bungalows designed to appeal to all budgets and tastes.

After an interesting inland diversion at the atmospheric, temple-filled town of Phetchaburi, the peninsular Gulf Coast kicks off with the historic resort of Hua Hin – now rather disfigured by excessive hotel development, though still a good place for a seafood dinner and a round of golf. The main draw on this side of the peninsula, though, is the Samui archipelago to the south: Ko Samui itself is the most developed of the three main islands here, but has kept its good looks and offers an appealing variety of beachside accommodation; Ko Pha Ngan, with its small resorts and desolate coves, is still firmly backpacker territory, drawing teenage ravers and solitude seekers in equal parts; while the last outcrop, Ko Tao, is the most rustic of the three, but has established itself as one of the world’s leading centres for scuba-diving courses.

Across on the other side of the peninsula, the Andaman Coast boasts even more exhilarating scenery and the finest coral reefs in the country, in particular around the spectacular Ko Similan island chain, which ranks as one of the best dive sites in the world. The largest Andaman Coast island, Phuket, is one of Thailand’s top tourist destinations and is graced with a dozen fine beaches; many of these have been over-developed with expensive high-rises and throbbing nightlife, but quieter corners can still be found. Ko Phi Phi has also suffered under unregulated construction, but its coral-rich sea remains an untainted azure, and the sheer limestone cliffs that characterize the coastline here – and elsewhere around the harbour town and beaches of nearby Krabi – are breathtakingly beautiful. The island of Ko Lanta has a more understated charm and is a popular destination for families. Inland attractions generally pale in comparison to the coastal splendours, but the rainforests of Khao Sok National Park are a notable exception.

Further down the Thai peninsula, in the provinces of the deep south, the edgy relationship between Thai sovereignty and Malaysian Islam – the kind of cultural brew that has characterized Thailand throughout its history – makes this a rewarding region for the more adventurous traveller to explore. The immediate attractions are the teeming sea life and unfrequented sands of Ko Tarutao National Marine Park and the islands off Trang, while Songkhla on the east coast is a good sand-and-see all-rounder, with miles of beach and several diverting museums.


The climate of most of Thailand is governed by three seasons: rainy (roughly June through October), caused by the southwest monsoon dumping moisture gathered from the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand; cool (November to February); and hot (March through May). The rainy season is the least predictable of the three, varying in length and intensity from year to year, but usually it gathers force between June and August, coming to a peak in September and October, when unpaved roads are reduced to mud troughs and whole districts of Bangkok are flooded. The cool season is the pleasantest time to visit, although temperatures can still reach a broiling 30°C in the middle of the day. In the hot season, when temperatures often rise to 35°C in Bangkok, the best thing to do is to hit the beach.

Within this scheme, slight variations are found from region to region. In southern Thailand, temperatures are more consistent throughout the year, with less variation the closer you get to the equator. The rainy season hits the Andaman Coast of the southern peninsula harder than anywhere else in the country – heavy rainfall usually starts in May and persists at the same level until October. The Gulf Coast of the southern peninsula lies outside this general pattern – with the sea immediately to the east, this coast and its offshore islands feel the effects of the northeast monsoon, which brings rain between October and January. This area suffers less than the Andaman Coast from the southwest monsoon, getting a comparatively small amount of rain between June and September.

Overall, the cool season is generally the best time to come to Thailand: as well as having more manageable temperatures and less rain, it offers waterfalls in full spate and the best of the flowers in bloom. Bear in mind, however, that it’s also the busiest season, so forward planning is essential.

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful.
5tons of info
By Jodi R. Thompson
Have been using this book while planning an upcoming trip to Thailand. I have used Lonely Planet books in the past but I think I will be switching to Rough Guide from now on. This book contains lots of helpful info on all areas of Thailand's beaches and islands as well as a thorough section on Bangkok. Unlike Lonely Planet, Rough Guide does not assume that only backpackers will be using their guidebooks and therefore makes an effort to review all levels of accomodation and restaurants.

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful.
5Good Book
By Brian Pressman
I used this book while traveling in Southern Thailand this past summer. The book is great! Having a section on BKK is also very helpful as almost anyone coming/going to Southern Thailand passes through.
The book is small and much more convenient than the larger country wide or SE Asia guide books. Assuming you are just going to Southern Thailand.. this is all you need. The format is clear and very well formatted. The prices were a tad off, but this seems to be the norm with guidebooks.

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful.
5Covers the road less traveled
By Christine Johnson
Great and giving advice and suggestions for areas that are less visited by tourists!!! Perfect for an independent traveler like me.

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The Rough Guide to Laos, 1st Edition

The most comprehensive handbook to one of Southeast Asia's least-known destinations. Features include detailed coverage of all sights, up-to-the-minute listings of the best places to eat and stay, practical guidance on exploring the remote northern hill villages, full-colour photos and more than 30 detailed maps.


The Guardian, London

When to go November to January are the most pleasant months to travel in lowland Laos, when daytime temperatures are agreeably warm and evenings are slightly chilly, necessitating a lightweight jacket. However, at higher elevations temperatures are significantly cooler, sometimes dropping to freezing point - a heavy coat is a must. In February, temperatures begin to climb, reaching a peak in April, when the lowlands are baking-hot and humid. During this time, the highlands are, for the most part, equally hot if a bit less humid than the lowlands, though there are places, such as Pakxong on the Bolaven Plateau, that have a temperate climate year round. Generally, the rains begin in May and last until September. This is important to keep in mind, as the rainy season affects the condition of Laos's network of unpaved roads, some of which become impassable after the rains begin. On the other hand, rivers which may be too low to navigate during the dry season become important transport routes after the rains have caused water levels to rise.

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful.
5great job with a tough subject
By A Customer
I never appreciated how difficult it must be to write a travel guide until I spent a week with the authors in southern Laos. Unlike the north, which has several bonafide tourist destinations, the south is still largely untraveled. A 50-mile trip between two provincial capitals took us more than four hours, packed into a "bus" (essentially a covered truck with wooden benches installed in the payload) in the dusty heat of the hot season. And at the end of the road, we found towns with no accommodation save the local government guest house, where the only "history" in evidence was the one stone wall remaining from the US bombing or the craters still lining the avenues.
But despite the hardships and the apparent lack of organized tourism, I would definitely go back again if I had the chance. Something unique about Laos - the scenery, the food, especially the people - gets under your skin.
This is where the authors achieve their greatest success, in their ability to communicate what is special about this amazing, but often overlooked, country. The Rough Guide's signature style, which tends to include social, cultural and historical information throughout (rather than just tucking a few pages into the introductory section) is of particular benefit here. The result is so much more than a bland recitation of towns, distances, modes of transport and places to stay.
This book definitely rekindled my desire to go back to Laos. And when I do, I know what I'll be using as my guide.

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful.
5Excellent guide book and an even better read
By A Customer
Unlike another reviewer, I did not have to benefit of travelling to Laos with the authors. But after reading this guide book, I felt as if I knew them, like they were old friends who were jotting down their travel notes to help me on my journey. By halfway through the book, i felt i could read between the lines to tell the good from the better, the bad from the horrible. As someone who generally hates guide books, I can honestly say, this one is all good. I only wish i could someday travel to Laos with Jeff Cranmer and Steven Martin. Such a fascinating read clearly could only come from fascinating people.

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful.
5This is where it's at, for Laos guidebooks
By Timothy J. Triche, Jr.
None of the guides to Laos are perfect. This one was at least helpful and the writing tolerable. That's all you can ask, apparently. It doesn't matter, though. If you make it to Luangphabang and stay for a while I don't think you'll care which guidebook was "best". You'll be too busy enjoying one of the most beautiful, romantic cities I've ever had the joy of setting foot in. If you're French visit the Dao Fe creperie, if you speak English, try to find the owner of the Duang Champa, and whatever you do, wherever you go, learn a little Lao so you can talk to people in their own language, like a proper human being. You can get away with speaking English in Vientiane and Luangphabang, but it's rude; in the villages they aren't going to be very interested in what you have to say if you can't at least speak a little Lao. So your choice of guidebook will quickly become an afterthought once the first few days have passed.

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