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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Charles Darwin: A New Life
John Bowlby
Progress: 204/527 pages
An Introduction to Magnetohydrodynamics
P.A. DAVIDSON, E.J. Hinch, S.H. Davis, Mark J. Ablowitz
Progress: 27/452 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 359/700 pages
Plasma physics
R.A. Cairns
Progress: 4/244 pages
Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics)
Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad
Progress: 37/272 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 108/1102 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: 76/448 pages
Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being
Ted Hughes
Progress: 367/517 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 344 out of 517 pages.

Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being - Ted Hughes

With over 150p remaining this book, which has never been easy, is getting to be a real strain - in large part because I've lost all faith in the author's basic premise.

Reading progress update: I've read 26 out of 160 pages.

Selected Poems: Carol Ann Duffy - Carol Ann Duffy

Some of these could really just as well be prose, which is disappointing.

Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 115 pages.

Simply Dirac (Great Lives) - Helge Kragh

The author claims that the imbalance between occurrence of matter and anti-matter in the universe is understood; I didn't think so - must investigate further.

Reading progress update: I've read 85 out of 260 pages.

Information Theory: A Tutorial Introduction - James V. Stone

Mutual information; I can see potential uses for this concept.

Reading progress update: I've read 185 out of 320 pages.

Feynman Lectures On Computation - Robin W. Allen, J.G. Hey, Anthony Hey, David Pines, Richard P. Feynman

Billiard ball computers...and next up, quantum computers!

Reading progress update: I've read 1071 out of 1344 pages.

The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare, John Jowett, Gary Taylor

For some reason, Shakespeare chooses to hold the jousting tourney off-stage...

Reading progress update: I've read 335 out of 517 pages.

Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being - Ted Hughes

If I've got this right, Hughes is saying the Patriarchy came about because men were jealous of women's "magical" power of creating new life; I've never been jealous of that, but then, it's not really considered magical anymore, is it?

Reading progress update: I've read 8 out of 128 pages.

Emily Dickinson Everyman's Poetry - Emily Dickinson, Helen McNeil

These poems are written in a remarkably modern idiom, considering they were composed circa mid 19th Century.

A Modest Genius, Hanne Strager

A Modest Genius: The Story of Darwin's Life and How His Ideas Changed Everything - Sarah Darwin, Hanne Strager

This book tries to cover a lot of territory in a short space; biography of Darwin, discussion of his scientific ideas and how they fit into the history of evolutionary theory right up to the present, somewhat discordant look at the conflict between Christian fundamentalists' literalist take on Genesis vs. the scientific consensus of an ancient Earth and evolution of species, also right up to the present.

 

This inevitably means that the book is somewhat superficial and is probably weakest on the biographical front. The scientific angle is entry-level and probably good as such but will seem a little patronising to people already familiar with the basic ideas. It's also slightly out of date in that it pays no heed to modern epigenetics or the whole Gould vs. Dawkins controversy.

 

I wanted a much deeper insight into the character of the man, but that doesn't make it a bad book, just the wrong book. It might be just what you are looking for.

Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 115 pages.

Simply Dirac (Great Lives) - Helge Kragh

The author's opinion that one doesn't need a physics background to follow this book seems to me to be hopelessly wrong; someone who hasn't at least read a good popular account of relativity theory and quantum mechanics is not gonna have a clue about the scientific discussion.

Reading progress update: I've read 120 out of 352 pages.

Flatland & Sphereland - Dionijs Burger, Edwin A. Abbott

Flatland

 

Abbott's classic, exuberant look at life in two dimensions and how hard it would be to understand a third deserves a wide audience; much wider than stereotypical maths or science nerds. Not only does it remind us that our direct perceptions are limited and limiting, it also acts as a severe critique and satire on Victorian society and hubris that we would do well to take note of even today. Finally, it ends on a bit of a downer note, telling us how visionaries are often treated as crazy.

Reading progress update: I've read 76 out of 260 pages.

Information Theory: A Tutorial Introduction - James V. Stone

No rigorous proof of Shannon's Source Coding Theorem is given; presumably it's difficult.

Reading progress update: I've read 176 out of 320 pages.

Feynman Lectures On Computation - Robin W. Allen, J.G. Hey, Anthony Hey, David Pines, Richard P. Feynman

Reversible computing is slowly becoming clearer to me...it's not at all obvious.

Reading progress update: I've read 1070 out of 1344 pages.

The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare, John Jowett, Gary Taylor

Pericles rocks up in rusty armour and without a shield; is roundly disparaged by all but King Simonides.

Reading progress update: I've read 85 out of 169 pages.

A Modest Genius: The Story of Darwin's Life and How His Ideas Changed Everything - Sarah Darwin, Hanne Strager

The scientific discussion is pretty much entry-level; it's probably great for those who've never read anything on the subject before - but I have! Again, wrong book, not bad book. However, a few glimpses of the kind of thing I wanted have shone through; Darwin spending 8 years on mollusc anatomy and classification; writing a list of pros and cons on the topic of getting married. Suffering anxiety and depression.

Reading progress update: I've read 280 out of 352 pages.

A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literatures - Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson

The delights of the hermit's life, surrounded by nature.