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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

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
Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights
Melanie Windridge
Progress: 205/320 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 164/1102 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: 159/448 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
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen
Jane Austen
Progress: 651/1220 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 88 out of 320 pages.

Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights - Melanie Windridge

The Sun from core to solar wind: Feels like the "Curse of Knowledge" has struck pretty hard; I can follow well enough with my extensive physics background but I wonder how well a naive reader would do. Much better in the travelogue/history/culture parts.

Reading progress update: I've read 65 out of 160 pages.

Selected Poems: Carol Ann Duffy - Carol Ann Duffy

A lot of the examples I like most are mildly comedic.

Reading progress update: I've read 78 out of 320 pages.

Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights - Melanie Windridge

Plasma as "the fourth state of matter." This notion, whilst popular, is wrong! Plasma isn't a "state of matter" at all. Plasmas can be found as solids, liquids and gases e.g. respectively, solid metals, liquid metals and ionised atomic hydrogen are all plasmas.

 

The attempt to explain major results about plasmas and classical electromagnetism in just a few pages without diagrams is, I suspect, not good for general readers.

Reading progress update: I've read 68 out of 320 pages.

Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights - Melanie Windridge

Early history of aurora studies; origins of Earth's magnetic field; Iceland and plate tectonics.

Reading progress update: I've read 47 out of 320 pages.

Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights - Melanie Windridge

Some Biblical and ancient Chinese documents contain very opaque passages that some allege describe aurorae; I find that interpretation entirely unconvincing - they're so vague as to be impossible to concretely ascribe any phenomonological interpretation to them. The notorious auroral noise is also mentioned. There's no sound evidence that this phenomenon is real. All claims in favour of it are amateur and unsound.

Reading progress update: I've read 27 out of 320 pages.

Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights - Melanie Windridge

Some basic atmospheric physics and a sketch of the auroral substorm phenomenon. Also discussion of Kiruna, Sweden, which is liable to be destroyed by the magnetite mine that started the community and hence is being rebuilt further down the road, with some of the historic buildings being moved from the centre of town to the new location. It's expected to take over a decade to completely shift the entire community. Oh yeah! - and aurora viewing in -25 Celcius conditions on a ski slope on the edge of town...

Reading progress update: I've read 159 out of 448 pages.

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

The Clandestine Marriage, Garrick and Colman

 

Clandestine marriages were a hot political topic at the time of writing (mid 1700s), with numerous young lovers eloping to Gretna Green in order to get married against parental wishes and avoid arranged marriages that had little motivation beyond the financial and social climbing aims of parents. This play comes down heavily and unsubtly on the side of young love, with every character's portrait singly coloured using a paint roller in order to fit in with the necessary scheme. A bunch of stereotypes, really, the worst of which is the Swiss idiot who exists solely so he can be portrayed as a moron with a silly accent whilst serving as confidente to someone else who is pivotal to the plot. Stereotypes heightened for comedic effect, bumbling around chaotically getting into a huge tangle that gets resolved extremely quickly in the fifth Act with much ado and hullabaloo preceding.

 

It's saving grace is that it is funny, whilst making its swipe at marriage laws, the crude taste of the nouveau riche merchants and speculators, the snobbery of Old Money and the notion that income is more important than affection when it comes to marriage. It would be even more so in performance, so it's disappointing to learn that the play has received little attention in recent years, though it has been filmed once. This, however, does not apply to the Epilogue which, despite its attempt at meta-humour about Society and Theatre, is just utter garbage.

The Walking Dead Compendium 2, Kirkman/Adlard/Rathburn

The Walking Dead, Compendium 2 - Robert Kirkman

This stuff is like a slab of chocolate...a really, really, BIG slab of chocolate. It's OK until you start it, then it gets really difficult to stop chomping through it until it's gone...even though you know it would be wiser to quit now and save some for later...

 

...also, Rick is a psycho.

Reading progress update: I've read 700 out of 800 pages.

The Walking Dead, Compendium 2 - Robert Kirkman

This stuff is like sugar...just can't stop eating it. The whole Terminus arc is missing...did they invent that one solely for TV?

Reading progress update: I've read 141 out of 448 pages.

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

Well things have got into a proper tangle (as they should in this kind of comedy)...how's it gonna resolve?

Reading progress update: I've read 10 out of 320 pages.

Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights - Melanie Windridge Travelogue mixed with pop sci.

Reading progress update: I've read 130 out of 448 pages.

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

Every characterisation is calculated to make a point, except maybe the Swiss dude who is just a joke.

Reading progress update: I've read 20 out of 800 pages.

The Walking Dead, Compendium 2 - Robert Kirkman p20...or some other page...BECAUSE THERE ARE NO PAGE NUMBERS! Aaaaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhh! Any number of zombies would be less annoying.

The Cut-throat Celts, Terry Deary

Cut-throat Celts (Horrible Histories) - Terry Deary

Thanks to BrokenTune for giving me this book!

 

A deliberately silly book for kids about everybody's favourite Iron Age culture (everybody who likes washing with soap, anyway - you're welcome). Of course it's superficial in adult terms but it does go a little into how much of what is "known" was written by the enemies of the Celts, particularly the Romans and is therefore possibly unreliable except when backed by other evidence.

 

Fun!

Reading progress update: I've read 110 out of 448 pages.

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

Nothing subtle going on here!

Reading progress update: I've read 122 out of 240 pages.

Cut-throat Celts (Horrible Histories) - Terry Deary

"History with the nasty bits left in," war, murder, animal sacrifice all present but the REALLY nasty stuff is absent e.g. the fact that Irish Celtic Kings were required to perform a public fertility rite that involved shagging a horse...