95 Followers
66 Following
arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Nonlinear Time Series Analysis
Thomas Schreiber, Holger Kantz
Progress: 129/320 pages
The Politics of Neurodiversity: Why Public Policy Matters
Dana Lee Baker
Progress: 191/239 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: 359/700 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 110/1102 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
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: 357/638 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 153 out of 336 pages.

A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings - Charles Dickens, Michael Slater

The Haunted Man suddenly developed an intriguing premise.

Reading progress update: I've read 252 out of 414 pages.

The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript: Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: - Ronald Waldron, Unknown

The Lord and his retainers are up and out early, hunting deer. Meanwhile, Gawain is asleep in his bed when the Lady creeps in and sits on his bed. What does she want?

Reading progress update: I've read 1264 out of 1344 pages.

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

Katherine is getting a wronged innocent portrayal.

Reading progress update: I've read 140 out of 336 pages.

A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings - Charles Dickens, Michael Slater

Wowzas! Can this guy labour a point, or what?

Reading progress update: I've read 180 out of 239 pages.

The Politics of Neurodiversity: Why Public Policy Matters - Dana Lee Baker

"Stereotyping and humour can sometimes be helpful in educating the public."  The author seems to have dimly grasped that subversion of stereotypes and satire can be useful but fails to explicitly use those terms. To horribly stereotype, I suspect this is because of the USA's weak grasp of the concept of irony...

Reading progress update: I've read 462 out of 782 pages.

The Sagas of Icelanders - Martin S. Regal, Ruth C. Ellison, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, Andrew Wawn, Anthony Maxwell, Katrina C. Attwood, Robert Kellogg, Bernard Scudder, George Clark, Jane Smiley, Various

A lava field is mentioned. This is the first reference to the volcanic nature of Iceland that I remember from any of the sagas I've read.

Reading progress update: I've read 454 out of 782 pages.

The Sagas of Icelanders - Martin S. Regal, Ruth C. Ellison, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, Andrew Wawn, Anthony Maxwell, Katrina C. Attwood, Robert Kellogg, Bernard Scudder, George Clark, Jane Smiley, Various

I am suspicious that this body of work is more consciously literary than it at first appears. There's a uniformity of style across so many works over such a long period that a single author is very unlikely. There are some subtle indicators of narrative manipulation that belie the matter-of-fact historical tone e.g. the hurriedly glossed over, not very likely but convenient behaviour of animals, particularly horses, and the small number of occasions when obviously fantastical elements become central. Assume face-value historical validity at one's peril, methinks.

Reading progress update: I've read 250 out of 414 pages.

The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript: Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: - Ronald Waldron, Unknown

Gawain and the lord of the castle strike a bargain to swap whatever they gain over the day, as Gawain stays in and rests from his long and testing journey and the lord goes hunting in the forest. Little does Gawain know that he is being set up for another moral test, even as he faces a potentially fatal one in only another two days.

 

End of Part II.

Reading progress update: I've read 1262 out of 1344 pages.

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

Interesting to hear Katherine; everything else I've read about this great historical crisis has focused on More, Cromwell, Wolsey and Henry, neglecting even Anne.

Reading progress update: I've read 170 out of 239 pages.

The Politics of Neurodiversity: Why Public Policy Matters - Dana Lee Baker

Interesting point about the effect of celebrating neurodiverse high achievers: does this devalue people who simply aren't capable of excelling at something or does it make clear that having some cognitive difference isn't an automatic barrier to contributing to society? 

Reading progress update: I've read 248 out of 414 pages.

The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript: Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: - Ronald Waldron, Unknown

Gawain learns that the Green Chapel is only two miles away; he can stay until New Year's morning.

Reading progress update: I've read 426 out of 782 pages.

The Sagas of Icelanders - Martin S. Regal, Ruth C. Ellison, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, Andrew Wawn, Anthony Maxwell, Katrina C. Attwood, Robert Kellogg, Bernard Scudder, George Clark, Jane Smiley, Various

The Tales were all brief and amusing. Skipping back to the shorter Sagas, now. What's the difference between a Tale and a Saga? Tales are always short. Sagas aren't necessarily. That's about it.

Reading progress update: I've read 651 out of 1220 pages.

The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen

Mansfield Park **


This is allegedly Austen's least popular work and Pride & Prejudice must surely be the most popular. Why? Comparison may be instructive.

 

P&P's romantic heroes are a dashing, rich, titled, educated and intelligent man and a pretty (but not the most beautiful), educated, intelligent woman who knows here own mind and insists on being appreciated for that mind. Mansfield Park's romantic heroes are a stick-in-the-mud boring but kind and principled second son likely to be comfortably off but not set to inherit the Estate and a timid, shy, submissive, boring girl who at least grows enough spine to not accept a loveless marriage to a morally defective but rich suitor.

 

The tone of P&P is one of wit, sardonic humour and sly social observation. There is little of this in Mansfield Park. It is replaced with a preachy moralising.

 

That's probably enough right there. I just don't think modern readers are nearly as receptive to the ideals presented by Fanny and Edmund as compared to those of Lizzy Bennet and Darcy and similarly, wit goes over better than sermons these days.

 

I struggled with much of the first 4/5ths, at times finding it hard to differentiate all the characters, especially the two Misses Bertram and to establish the connections between them all - especially so in the amateur theatrical week which proves crucial to all that comes later. Eventually I found myself intrigued as to how it was all going to resolve, making the final (sensational) fifth much more interesting.

Reading progress update: I've read 625 out of 1220 pages.

The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen

Oh noes! Tom is seriously ill!

 

Somehow, Austen has sucked me in to caring how everything turns out and there isn't so very many pages to resolve it all in. Well done, Austen - not sure how you did that, since the first 200p were mostly a chore and the characters are uniformly unappealing, except for William.

Reading progress update: I've read 717 out of 782 pages.

The Sagas of Icelanders - Martin S. Regal, Ruth C. Ellison, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, Andrew Wawn, Anthony Maxwell, Katrina C. Attwood, Robert Kellogg, Bernard Scudder, George Clark, Jane Smiley, Various

Thorstein Shiver meets a demon whilst going for a night-time piss and holds a very matter of fact conversation with it.

Reading progress update: I've read 596 out of 1220 pages.

The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen

Fanny is off to see her family. Will William be posted on one of Jack Aubrey's commands?