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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Broken Angels
Richard K. Morgan
Progress: 56/468 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 454/700 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 166/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 164/448 pages
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
I Am a Cat
Graeme Wilson, Aiko Ito, Sōseki Natsume
Progress: 410/638 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 164 out of 448 pages.

She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics) - Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith

It's Main Event time: She Stoops to Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith.

Asterix and the Class Act, Goscinny and Uderzo

Asterix and the Class Act - Albert Uderzo, René Goscinny

The collected Asterix short stories!


These are as varied as they are fabulous!


We see: a story about how the animals of the village also hold out against Roman Imperialism; a story about Gaulish fashion; the birth of our heroes; Asterix in the styles of several other comix; the Obelix family tree; how Lutetia won a competition to host the Olympics; how Spring defeated Winter with the help of the village of Indomitable Gauls; a lot of Roman-bashing; and numourous other adventures! Absolutely top-notch work from Goscinny and Uderzo, spanning 40+ years of Asterix comics history.

Aurora, Melanie Windridge

Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights - Melanie Windridge

This is a blend of travelogue, scientific explanation and cultural and scientific history. It is most successful at the travelogue and least successful at the scientific explanation. The author unfortunately suffers from the "Curse of Knowledge" at times, whereby understanding gained over many years of hard study becomes second-nature and one forgets that even the basics are unfamilar to most people - even most well educated people. This makes some of the attempts to explain the origins of the aurora somewhat muddled. It's worth reading, though, if you are interested in the aurora, polar exploration or how vulnerable much of our technology is to events utterly beyond our control, whose ultimate origin is our sun.

Reading progress update: I've read 222 out of 1327 pages.

The Riverside Chaucer - Geoffrey Chaucer

Debate by quoting Authorities (Mainly Biblical or Classical): Not unusual at the time of writing according to the editors. Piers Plowman certainly had an abundance - usually in Latin - at least it's mostly in English here.

Reading progress update: I've read 215 out of 297 pages.

The Complete Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) - Truman Capote

House of Flowers: one of the better stories - also appearing in my edition of Breakfast at Tiffany's, which explains why it felt familiar.

Reading progress update: I've read 218 out of 1327 pages.

The Riverside Chaucer - Geoffrey Chaucer

The Tale of Melibee: A lengthy prose tale again narrated by Geoffrey himself - a close translation of a French source that in turn is adapted from earlier works.

Altered Carbon, Richard Morgan

Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan

Chandler In Spaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

 

OK, it's mostly on Earth but it starts on another planet and it is about 2/3 Raymond Chandler noir detective story and 1/3 William Gibson cyberpunk. There's nothing original here but it is well executed and gripping.

Reading progress update: I've read 236 out of 526 pages.

Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan

Phot the wuk is going on? Best part of this story is the mystery aspect.

Reading progress update: I've read 90 out of 526 pages.

Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan

The explanation has been there all along and I was just being dumb: There's a continuous local back-up "cortical stack" in your body. As long as this isn't destroyed when your body dies, you can remember your "death." It still isn't in reality possible to download this into a random body because your brain structure matters - you'd end up a different person. Personal clones might work? But the story is internally consistent, at least.

Reading progress update: I've read 72 out of 526 pages.

Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan

How does Kovacs remember right up to where he was "killed"? Does he continuously "back-up" somehow? This unexplained possible error is distracting me.

Reading progress update: I've read 38 out of 526 pages.

Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan

Looks like we're on for a future-noir detective story.

Reading progress update: I've read 17 out of 526 pages.

Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan

So far another take on: we can upload your mind and download it into a new body if you get killed. Too early to see what any original wrinkles might be.

The Walking Dead Compendium 3, Kirkman/Adlard/Rathburn

The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 3 (Walking Dead Compendium Tp) - Charlie Adlard, Charlie Adlard, Robert Kirkman

Rick continues to oscillate wildly between unhinged psycho-killer and alleged Greatest Leader the World has Ever Seen. Negan turns out to just be The Governor dialled up to 11. Far more interesting is the latter parts where we focus more on Carl and we get new antagonists, the Whisperers. They are an intriguing psychological response to the Zombie Apocalypse, which seems to have been going on for a while now.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, Sydney Padua

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer - Sydney Padua

What a fabulous book!

 

A mixture of comic strip silliness, delightful anecdote and thorough research (aided by the spiritual successors to Babbage's never realised Analytical Engine) that provides the perfect introduction to the designer of the world's first computer and the author of the world's first computer science article!

 

This dynamic duo have to face: visits from Royalty! Funding problems! Infestations of monkeys! And more! Meet such supporting characters as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Marian Evans (better known as George Eliot) and a Leopard!

 

Enjoy such additional delights as: extensive footnotes that take on a life of their own! Primary sources! An explanation of how the Analytical Engine was supposed to work! And an Epilogue! And more!

 

Seriously, read this book to laugh while you learn and wonder how history would have gone if Babbage had just completed even one of his designs...

Reading progress update: I've read 260 out of 320 pages.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer - Sydney Padua

Ever more bonkers...sad to have arrived at the appendices - I want more Lovelace and Babbage!

Reading progress update: I've read 214 out of 448 pages.

Watchmen: International Edition - Dave Gibbons, Alan Moore

Is it weird that I have the most sympathy for the character that is no longer human?