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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Beyond compare: Art from Africa in the Bode Museum
Paola Ivanov, Julien Chapuis, Jonathan Fine
Progress: 71/216 pages
Top 10 Berin 2018
Jürgen Scheunemann
Progress: 157/192 pages
The Sixth Watch
Sergei Lukyanenko
Progress: 40/400 pages
Summer Morning, Summer Night
Ray Bradbury
Progress: 71/176 pages
Ack-Ack Macaque
Gareth L. Powell
Progress: 495/792 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Four Revenge Tragedies: The Spanish Tragedy, The Revenger's Tragedy, The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, and The Atheist's Tragedy
Cyril Tourneur, Thomas Kyd, Thomas Middleton, George Chapman, Katharine Eisaman Maus
Progress: 135/464 pages
What Is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches
Erwin Schrödinger, Roger Penrose
Progress: 140/194 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

Reading progress update: I've read 368 out of 792 pages.

Ack-Ack Macaque - Gareth L. Powell

Spitfire vs. UAV combat drone!

Reading progress update: I've read 35 out of 216 pages.

Beyond compare: Art from Africa in the Bode Museum - Paola Ivanov, Julien Chapuis, Jonathan Fine

A couple of great ivory carvings, one a German Crucifixion scene, the other a tusk carved with numerous vignettes.

Reading progress update: I've read 43 out of 176 pages.

Summer Morning, Summer Night - Ray Bradbury

Quiet stories about a quiet town.

Reading progress update: I've read 26 out of 216 pages.

Beyond compare: Art from Africa in the Bode Museum - Paola Ivanov, Julien Chapuis, Jonathan Fine

Great, thought provoking Intro covering a wide range of subjects connected to art history, history in general, museums and exhibitions and how we intrepret objects and art. Now on to the catalogue! Fab statuette of a Portuguese soldier...

Artemis, Andy Weir

Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

I seem to remember reading a lot of reviews expressing disappointment with this book when it was first released, but, whilst not perfect, I thought it was actually a big improvement on The Martian, even if our protagonist is only a female criminal version of Mark Watney.

 

It feels like Weir learned an enormous amount about novel writing between the two books; character development, differentiation and impact on plot are all enormously better. The plot is, by comparison with The Martian, a sophisticated and not entirely predictable thriller, holding more interest than purely survival/engineering problems.

 

That's not to say there aren't still flaws - Weir's love affair with exposition explaining how everything works is still somewhat out of control which makes for a first third that is slower than necessary. Some of it could be cut and explained in the relevant plot moment (because it is, causing a repetition) or just cut altogether because it's never relevant.

 

There's some clumsy moments that include details you just know are going to be super plot-crucial later - not well disguised despite the barage of similar details. The protagonist at times verges on being unsympathetic and the reaction of the general populace to her actions during the denouement seems not entirely realistic.

 

There are much worse novels by much more experienced novelists than this, however and if Weir can carry on learning he will become a really good writer.

Reading progress update: I've read 98 out of 194 pages.

What Is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches - Erwin Schrödinger, Roger Penrose

Mind and Matter: A tacit assumption that nothing supernatural is going on. Brief argument that conciousness is associated with nervous systems, followed by an argument that conciousness is associated with learning - it is at least implied idea that we conciously learn everything that the brain does - this must surely be wrong? How could crucial autonomic functions be conciously learned by a foetus? But the model of concious learning seems right and a more detailed version is widely used in learning theory.

Reading progress update: I've read 113 out of 464 pages.

Four Revenge Tragedies: The Spanish Tragedy, The Revenger's Tragedy, The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, and The Atheist's Tragedy - Cyril Tourneur, Thomas Kyd, Thomas Middleton, George Chapman, Katharine Eisaman Maus

The Duchess commits suicide, to the approbation of many; it's very similar in The Rape of Lucrece. The idea that suicide restores the honour of a rape victim seems like the extreme of victim blaming, to me.

Reading progress update: I've read 294 out of 792 pages.

Ack-Ack Macaque - Gareth L. Powell

Hive Monkey: Everyone's favourite profane, gunslinging Spitfire pilot that also happens to be a monkey is back and there's already an intriguing mystery, an explosion and a lot of hard drinking...

Reading progress update: I've read 155 out of 192 pages.

Top 10 Berin 2018 - Jürgen Scheunemann

Bonus Buddy Bear Quadriga pics:

Reading progress update: I've read 154 out of 192 pages.

Top 10 Berin 2018 - Jürgen Scheunemann

So can anybody explain this:

 

I mean, it's clearly this:

 

but with the horses and human replaced with bears, but why? I know there's some association between Berlin and bears (no idea why), too, but *shrugs* is it just a bit of a sculptural laugh, or what?

Reading progress update: I've read 98 out of 305 pages.

Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

Getting exposition heavy; too much time explaining moon colony engineering, not enough advancing the plot.

Demon Road, Derek Landy

Demon Road - Derek Landy

The best novel I've read by Landy! It also has the best reason to get rid of the parents I've ever come across in teen fantasy. I suspect its inspiration resides heavily in the TV show, Supernatural, and the level of explicit horror was startling. Trade-mark Landy quiping and comic-relief idiot are all present and correct, though toned down compared to early Skulduggery Pleasant.

Reading progress update: I've read 54 out of 305 pages.

Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

Imagine a female criminal version of Mark Watney from The Martian and you're not far off Jazz, our protagonist.

 

PS. I really, REALLY want someone called Jazz to have twins and name them, Rhythm & Blues.

Reading progress update: I've read 160 out of 512 pages.

Demon Road - Derek Landy

Clearly Derek Landy as much because of the contrasts to Skulduggery Pleasant as the similarities.

Railhead, Philip Reeve

Railhead - Philip Reeve

Initially the obvious rip-off of Peter F. Hamilton (an interstellar rail network links planets via wormholes), Iain M. Banks (AI controlled vehicles), even William Gibson (Neuromancer-style web-diving) was off-putting but as the story progressed I got caught up in the characters, mysteries and plot twists that kept things unpredictable and exciting until the denouement. By the end I was eager for more.

Reading progress update: I've read 16 out of 216 pages.

Beyond compare: Art from Africa in the Bode Museum - Paola Ivanov, Julien Chapuis, Jonathan Fine

This book is based on an exhibition pairing African and European artistic objects currently in the Bode Museum, Berlin. The Introduction forcefully points out how the setting and context of exhibitions affect interpretation (e.g. whether in an art museum or an anthropological one) and how we are still only in the initial stages of emerging from a History of Art that is really just a History of Western Art and how this is just a symptom of how History is still just the History of the West, in turn a symptom of Western cultural hegemony and assumed superiority.