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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

The Aeronaut's Windlass
Jim Butcher
Progress: 260/640 pages
Hainish Novels & Stories, Vol. 2
Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 107/789 pages
The Essential Shakespeare
Ted Hughes
Progress: 72/259 pages
Canaletto: Bernardo Bellotto Paints Europe
Andreas Schmacher
Progress: 286/360 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen
Jane Austen
Progress: 903/1220 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 260 out of 640 pages.

The Aeronaut's Windlass - Jim Butcher

The plot could move a little faster.

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 909 pages.

The Decameron - G.H. McWilliam, Giovanni Boccaccio

Seven women, three men, ten days, one hundred stories. Here we go! But not before the Prologue...

Reading progress update: I've read 286 out of 360 pages.

Canaletto: Bernardo Bellotto Paints Europe - Andreas Schmacher

Well, that's the catalogue over, but wait! There's even more essays to come!

Charlottenburg Palace, Rudolf G. Scharmann

Charlottenburg Palace: Royal Prussia In Berlin - Rudolf G. Scharmann

This slim but large-format book is really a souvenir for visitors to Schloss Charlottenburg and is therefore rightly primarily about the images, reproducing some of the art work as well as the palace exterior, interior and gardens. additionally the text gives an interesting, if superficial, history of building, gardens and occupants (the Hohenzollern Dynasty) from first construction to post-WWII reconstruction (which is on-going). It's got most visitors covered, I suspect, with editions in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian - even German! There were a couple of subtle translation errors, "plastic" again and "stove" for "fire-place," but nevermind - the pics are fab, inculding one of my favourite object from those I saw, the White Harpsichord, which is white (duh!) with Chinoise paintings all over and was played by Charlotte herself, who was a keen musician and all-round intellectual. This was particularly delightful to me as a fan of Baroque era music and harpsichord pieces in particular.

 

There are LOTS more pics I like from my Berlin visit but here's just four more:

 

Flagon and Speedy went to see Neptune in Alexanderplatz:

 

 

 

Flagon says, roar! I whoosh FIRE out of my nose! This character is whooshing WATER from his!

Speedy says, snuffle! Different!

 

They also visited Alte Nationalgalerie on Museuminsel:

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 38 out of 480 pages.

The Duchess of Malfi and Other Plays - John Webster

The prosecuting lawyer is incompetent.

Reading progress update: I've read 105 out of 640 pages.

The Aeronaut's Windlass - Jim Butcher

Well, my proposed neat structure has been up-ended by the introduction of a fourth protagonist - one of the cats. Said cats being the most interesting element of the book, so far.

Reading progress update: I've read 51 out of 66 pages.

Charlottenburg Palace: Royal Prussia In Berlin - Rudolf G. Scharmann

Parts of the Palace were heavily damaged during WWII; reconstruction work is still not entirely complete.

 

Here's some randomly encountered Berlin public art pics:

 

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 35 out of 480 pages.

The Duchess of Malfi and Other Plays - John Webster

Vittoria's on trial for adultery; Bracciano is conspicuous by his absence.

Reading progress update: I've read 52 out of 640 pages.

The Aeronaut's Windlass - Jim Butcher

Seems like we're cycling through three protagonists at one chapter per protagonist. This is potentially bad news. On the other hand - talking cats!

Reading progress update: I've read 33 out of 480 pages.

The Duchess of Malfi and Other Plays - John Webster

End of Act 2 and the shape of the thing begins to loom out of the mist. Also, magic, murder and dumb shows!

Reading progress update: I've read 40 out of 66 pages.

Charlottenburg Palace: Royal Prussia In Berlin - Rudolf G. Scharmann

The three storey Belvedere in the garden was designed by the same man as created the Brandenburg Gate - Carl Gottfried Langhans.

 

Flagon and Speedy went to the Brandenburg Gate:

 

 

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 480 pages.

The Duchess of Malfi and Other Plays - John Webster

Bracciano has more than mere adultery on his villainous mind!

Reading progress update: I've read 28 out of 640 pages.

The Aeronaut's Windlass - Jim Butcher

Hurghh! Unnecessary exposition in the middle of a battle.

Market Forces, Richard Morgan

Market Forces - Richard K. Morgan

The rising power of corporations has been a strong theme in SF since the '80s. It was a key element in cyberpunk and it's central to this novel. This isn't cyberpunk, though - cyber is largely irrelevant, certainly not a key theme or even an important part of the world building. Instead, Morgan extrapolates the trends of corporate power in the international political arena (in fairly conventional ways) and innovates by doing the same for corporate <i>internal</i> politics. These ideas are extreme and hopefully preposterous.

 

I found it to be a compelling read in that it's full of incident and yet, and yet...the actual plot develops slowly, is a little too predictable and our protagonist isn't a hero. Not even an anti-hero. Just an asshole. Which made it difficult to care - much like Kovac in the sequels to Altered Carbon.

Reading progress update: I've read 266 out of 360 pages.

Canaletto: Bernardo Bellotto Paints Europe - Andreas Schmacher

The Ruins of Kreuzkirche, Dresden: Another casualty of the Seven Years' War. Weirdly, all the surrounding buildings appear entirely unharmed. Usually the staffage were to give the illusion of capturing a specific moment in time. In this case an actual historical event is depicted. Men atop the ruins carry out the dangerous task of demolishing the remains brick by brick.

Reading progress update: I've read 35 out of 66 pages.

Charlottenburg Palace: Royal Prussia In Berlin - Rudolf G. Scharmann

If Frederick the Great gave you a snuffbox you could be sure he valued you highly.

 

I liked this building near the Holocaust Memorial. (The van, not so much.)