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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

The Delirium Brief
Charles Stross
Progress: 106/368 pages
Ack-Ack Macaque
Gareth L. Powell
Progress: 249/792 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Isaac Newton
James Gleick
Progress: 32/289 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: 468/700 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 242/1102 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

Reading progress update: I've read 106 out of 368 pages.

The Delirium Brief - Charles Stross

Bob has lost his voice. Or, more accurately, Stross has lost Bob's distinctive voice, which is disappointing as it's a big factor in the fun of these books.

Reading progress update: I've read 32 out of 289 pages.

Isaac Newton - James Gleick

Newton didn't just sit down one day and write "F = ma." Already as an undergrad, he was thinking about motion and gravity, groping towards concepts and definitions that would lead to the most important equation in the history of physics.

Reading progress update: I've read 239 out of 1327 pages.

The Riverside Chaucer - Geoffrey Chaucer

The Tale of Melibee


Despite the valient defense in the Introduction, I found this pretty naff - it's a moral debate about revenge, justice and mercy that's predictable in general and boring in execution. Lobbing Biblical and Classical quotes at one-another just isn't that exciting to a modern audience.

Reading progress update: I've read 9 out of 289 pages.

Isaac Newton - James Gleick

Newton was clever and influential...

She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies, Nigel Wood (Ed.)

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

Wild Oats, O'Keefe

Veering more in the direction of farce and piling the coindicences higher than the other entries in this volume, Wild Oats nevertheless delivers the laughs, no doubt gaining much in performance.

 

This collection gives a nice overview of 18th Century comedy and preserves some of the more obscure but still worthwhile examples - but She Stoops to Conquer stands head and shoulders above the rest, deserving of its fame.

Reading progress update: I've read 223 out of 1102 pages.

Complete Poems, 1904-1962 - E.E. Cummings

An amusing prose Foreword to the collection, "Is," in which Cummings uses many of the idiosyncratic punctuation techniques found in his poems.

 

Also, he wrote a lot more "erotic" poems than I realised before.

SPOILER ALERT!

V For Vendetta, Moore & Lloyd

V for Vendetta - David Lloyd, Alan Moore

I remember teen-me liking this a lot more than middle-age me does. I couldn't appreciate the art style at all this time round and - in agreement with David Lloyd's Introduction - thought the early chapters were not so good - if you can call nearly the whole first half "the early chapters." It got interesting when Evey got "imprisoned." The psychology of Evey and V's relationship then became fascinating and was really what pulled me through the remainder. I couldn't care less about anybody else.

 

The politics seem naive - it's all very well to say you have to destroy the despotic and fascist rulers and their power structures in order to create something better but examine history to see what happens after you succeed in that: take the Paris Commune as an example. There's no guarantee that the replacement will be any different or any better. Prevention is better than cure in these matters.

 

I also didn't seem to notice back then how V seems able to magically do anything he wants without ever receiving any explanation as to how, beyond his access to Fate -which in turn is never explained or justified.

 

Disappointing.

Reading progress update: I've read 234 out of 1327 pages.

The Riverside Chaucer - Geoffrey Chaucer

Still throwing Authority Quotes at each other: Prudence is winning.

Reading progress update: I've read 230 out of 1327 pages.

The Riverside Chaucer - Geoffrey Chaucer

Less than 100p of the Tales to go!

Reading progress update: I've read 204 out of 1102 pages.

Complete Poems, 1904-1962 - E.E. Cummings

More progress on this in one day than the preceding month, I think!

Reading progress update: I've read 256 out of 448 pages.

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

Here we go! Mistaken identity about to lead to comedic shenanigans...

Reading progress update: I've read 195 out of 1102 pages.

Complete Poems, 1904-1962 - E.E. Cummings

"Effie's brain is made of gingerbread"

Reading progress update: I've read 248 out of 448 pages.

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

Well, the villain is...villainous.

Reading progress update: I've read 224 out of 1327 pages.

The Riverside Chaucer - Geoffrey Chaucer

The depression/anxiety induced hiatus was so long that I had to go back to the beginning of the Tale of Melibee and start over...

Reading progress update: I've read 235 out of 448 pages.

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

Wild Oats, O'Keefe.

Bath: Past and Present, Joyce & Wells

Bath: Past and Present - Noel Joyce, H.Mary Wills, Maria Joyce

So here's a great idea: Take an archive of old photos of Bath then try to replicate them as accurately as possible to illustrate the changes and similarities between then and now. But "now" has become "then" too since we are talking about a project undertaken in '86-87. This actually adds to the charm as it is now a historical record twice over; we need an update - even a big project that takes images from every decade to show the slow evolution of the city.

 

The research about each image and what has changed in the intervening time is excellent and interesting - this is a fab little book.