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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Shadows and Light
David McLaughlin, Michael Gray
The Traders' War: A Merchant Princes Omnibus
Charles Stross
Progress: 230/624 pages
The Penguin Classics Book
Various Authors, Henry Eliot
Progress: 342/460 pages
Summer Morning, Summer Night
Ray Bradbury
Progress: 84/176 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 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
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 744/1102 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 712 out of 1102 pages.

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

"THANKSGIVING (1956)" appears to castigate the UN and USA for not supporting the Hungarian Uprising: did no-one ever explain Mutual Assured Destruction to you, Cummings?

Reading progress update: I've read 312 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

This graveyard at midnight is busier than Oxford Street at midday!

Reading progress update: I've read 52 out of 624 pages.

The Traders' War: A Merchant Princes Omnibus - Charles Stross

With only a vague memory of the previous two books' plot, this is a bit mysterious.

Reading progress update: I've read 22 out of 128 pages.

Celebrating Britain: Canaletto, Hogarth and Patriotism - Steven Parissien

Bernado Canal had a son whom he named...Bernado...and hence was nicknamed Canaletto, "Little Canal" - a monicker that has stuck for circa 300 years, because the little Bernado became probably Italy's greatest ever painter of views. He spent more time working in Britain than Van Gogh spent painting in his lifetime (nine years).

Reading progress update: I've read 438 out of 784 pages.

The Complete Short Stories: Volume 1 - J.G. Ballard

OK, so themes of dubious doctors and mental instability are showing through, now.

The Curve Paintings, Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley: The Curve Paintings, 1961-2014 - Robert Kudielka

Op Art was the first Fine Art movement I ever engaged with, way back in my early to mid teens. I found a book about it in the school library. Its geometrical aesthetic appealed to me very strongly, so much so that I even made a few pencil drawings of my own that fitted in the genre - I might even still have them somewhere. So when a local  art gallery held an Op Art retrospective (I think Brits only) I dashed along to see if I still liked that kind of thing. - Yep! Still love it - bought every book they stocked about it. This is one of them. It's an exhibition catalogue, with an interview with Bridget Riley and a short biography of her, focusing almost exclusively on her artistic accomplishments. The art is fab, given as much space as the middling sized format (for an art book) allows and carefully reproduced to preserve the colour effects of the original.

Reading progress update: I've read 435 out of 784 pages.

The Complete Short Stories: Volume 1 - J.G. Ballard

Vermillion Sands is one of the most unsettling story settings I've ever come across; you'll find it in the Uncanny Valley between our world and the outright made up worlds of SF and fantasy. The people that live there are as strange as the place.

Reading progress update: I've read 25 out of 96 pages.

Bridget Riley: The Curve Paintings, 1961-2014 - Robert Kudielka

I loves me some Op Art.

Reading progress update: I've read 702 out of 1102 pages.

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

Some disappointing aspects of Cummings' work: a poem that seems unavoidably sexist; repeated use of "nigger". I suppose everyone is of their time in some respects, even if they are extraordinary innovators in others.

Reading progress update: I've read 302 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

Epic quantities of bawdy double entendres.

Reading progress update: I've read 230 out of 460 pages.

The Penguin Classics Book - Various Authors, Henry Eliot

George Eliot - what do you recommend as a first novel to try?

Seurat, Hajo Duchting

Seurat - Hajo Düchting

A competent and affordable introduction to the life, work and impact of the artist, the inventor of the Pointillist style of painting. it's slightly irritating that the text is often discussing a painting reproduced several pages away, but - y'know, books in this series don't cost more than some paperback novels, so don't be complaining too hard...

Seurat had a number of important influences, including the contemporary Impressionists, but perhaps the most significant were not artists but scientists. He absorbed all the latest theories of colour and used them to develop the extraordinary effects of Pointillism - paintings composed entirely of dots of colour - usually of unmixed, single pigment paints, relying on proximity of dots and distance of the observer to create mixed colours in the eye, which the science had demonstrated gave a brighter, less muddy colour effect.

 

Oddly, his genius was better recognised during his lifetime than in the immediate aftermath: Thirty or so years after his death, The Metropolitan Museum of Art turned down the purchase of one of his greatest works - it was bought instead by the Art Institute of Chicago, where it still hangs. Now, of course, he's considered to have been exceptional and a sad loss, dying young, but leaving a huge impact on the development of Western art - the second step towards Abstract art after the original Impressionists. It's a pity that no sane format of book can ever really do justice to the Pointillist technique when fully reproducing even modestly sized paintings, but this gives you an idea - go see the real things if you ever have opportunity.

Reading progress update: I've read 185 out of 460 pages.

The Penguin Classics Book - Various Authors, Henry Eliot

The Enlightenment.

Reading progress update: I've read 45 out of 96 pages.

Seurat - Hajo Düchting

La Grande Jatte: two years' effort and no less than 34 preparatory works went into making what appears to be the first Pointillist painting. It was turned down by the Met (!) and now hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago, where I've seen it two or three times.

Reading progress update: I've read 31 out of 96 pages.

Seurat - Hajo Düchting

An entire chapter on Bathers at Asnieres: I've had the good fortune to see it a couple of times (National Gallery, London) - it's vast - and amazing. As well as showing/discussing preparatory works, the text tells how Seurat used the current scientific knowledge of colour to achieve his colour contrast and blending effects.

Reading progress update: I've read 684 out of 1102 pages.

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

A spate of good 'uns! I don't think of Cummings as a nature poet but here's one about a blue jay. Also the first poem I clearly remember from elsewhere: "maggie and milly and mooly and may."
https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/maggie-and-milly-and-molly-and-may