The Book Thread 2022

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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#101  Postby Kaleid » Mar 24, 2022 1:37 pm

1. The Five - Hallie Rubenhold
2. The Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain - Ian Mortimer
3. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
4. The Golden Strangers - Henry Treece
5. White - Marie Darrieussecq

6. Villette - Charlotte Brontë

The best book by a Brontë. Very little plot, but it almost doesn't matter because of how superb her characters are, and how rich with allusions her prose is.
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#102  Postby Kaleid » Mar 24, 2022 1:46 pm

don't get me started wrote:10. Persepolis Rising - James S.A. Corey

Well that was a belter of a read (pun intended!). Picked up where the TV series left off. Transitioning from the audio-visual medium to words-on-the-page was an interesting way to come at it. I think book first and Film/TV second is the usual order for me.


I'm very picky when it comes to sci-fi (old-school stuff mostly), but I remember hearing good things about the series from a friend, Caliban's War particularly, so I should get round to Leviathan Wakes one day I suppose. The series seems like it'll be my kind of thing.
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#103  Postby Blip » Mar 24, 2022 4:43 pm

Kaleid wrote:[...]
6. Villette - Charlotte Brontë

The best book by a Brontë. Very little plot, but it almost doesn't matter because of how superb her characters are, and how rich with allusions her prose is.


A bold assertion! However one of my closest friends, sadly no longer in this vale of tears but a teacher of creative writing during his time here, shared your view. He always called the opus 'I Love Lucy'. ;)
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#104  Postby Evolving » Mar 24, 2022 5:01 pm

lol
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#105  Postby Kaleid » Mar 24, 2022 5:01 pm

It's far more refined than Jane Eyre imo, and had the depth of character that Wuthering Heights does, without making you despise them all. A niche opinion though obviously, so I'm glad to hear your friend agreed. Calling it 'I Love Lucy' is very good!
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#106  Postby scott1328 » Mar 24, 2022 11:15 pm

1. Caliban's War, James S A Corey Book 2 in the Expanse Series.
2. Time’s Eye, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
3. Sun Storm, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. Sequel to Time's Eye.
4. The Firtstborn, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
5. Abaddon’s Gate, James S A Corey, Book 3 in the Expanse Series.
6. Cibola Burn, James S A Corey, Book 4 in the Expanse Series.
7. Nemesis Games, James S A Corey, Book 5 in the Expanse Series.
8. Babylon’s Ashes, James S A Corey, Book 6 in the Expanse Series.
9. Persepolis Rising, James S A Corey, Book 7 in the Expanse Series.
10. Tiamat’s Wrath, James S A Corey, Book 8 in the Expanse Series.
11. Leviathan Falls, James S A Corey, Book 9 in the Expanse Series.
12. Fragment, Warren Fahy
13. Memory’s Legion,James S A Corey, Collection short stories and novellas set in the Expanse universe.

14. Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi. A light-hearted sci-fi comedy about a secret agency whose mission is to study and protect the Kaiju residing on an alternate Earth who onky occasionally cross-over to our Earth.
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#107  Postby Macdoc » Mar 25, 2022 5:04 am

Scalzi is hilarious at times ...reborn Heinlein.
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#108  Postby don't get me started » Mar 25, 2022 6:54 am

1. Cognitive Discourse Analysis: An introduction - Thora Tenbrink
2. Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender And Identity- And Why This Harms Everybody – Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay
3. A History of the World in 12 Maps – Jerry Brotton
4. Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language – Patricia T. O’Connor & Stewart Kellerman
5. Peer Interaction and Second Language Learning - Jenefer Philip, Rebecca Adams & Noriko Iwashita
6. Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin
7. Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World - Nataly Kelly & Jost Zetzche
8. English Words: A Linguistic Introduction - Heidi Harley
9. Questions: Formal, Functional and Interactional Perspectives Jan P. de Ruiter (Ed.)
10. Persepolis Rising - James S.A. Corey

11. English Prepositions: Their meanings and uses - R.M.W. Dixon

440.pp

The author is not widely known to the general public, but a giant figure in the area of linguistic typology. I've read a fair amount of stuff by him.
This book is intended mostly as as a reference book, but I decided to read it through, because, you know- reasons. There was a wealth of detail and some interesting insights into the conceptual underpinnings of these words in English. One of the best sections was on the concept of pairings between prepositions. Many prepositions come in pairs (on/off, in/out, up/down etc.)
Dixon posits the following properties for these pairings: (pp.11-12.)

"i) The major member is far more common than the minor one.
ii) The major member has a wider range of meanings and grammatical possibilities; it is likely to feature in more prepositional verbs than the minor member. Some of the senses of the major member also apply to the minor member, mutatis mutandis. Other major member senses have no correspondents. The minor member has some independent senses, but rather few (in comparison with thiose of the major member).
iii) In most instances, the basic meaning of the major member is provided with a positive specification, with that of the minor member being, in a rather rough sense, the opposite of this. "

You'll notice that when both pairs appear together, it is usually the case that the major one is first and the minor one second.
In and out/ up and down/to and from. Although other senses can prevail; The pair 'before and after' take temporal order as the collocation pattern.

Studying a foreign language it is often these small words that present endless problems of the learner. In German you go 'auf uralub', you live 'auf dem Lande' and you meet people 'auf einer Party, while in English you go on holiday, live in a country and meet people at a party. (Taylor p.112)
The Japanese system is based on POSTpositions. They come after the noun. 'I Tokyo to went', and the senses mostly don't align with English. I recall having confusion trying to say 'I waited for my friend' which came out as 'I waited for the benefit of my friend' because I failed to understand two senses of for in English (Reason and benefit) are differentiated in Japanese.

Interesting book with a huge number of well-chosen examples. The author mentions at the end some of the recent trends in English, such as using the preposition 'of' instead of the auxiliary verb 'have' in some constructions.

'I should of paid more attention in grammar class.'

Indeed.


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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#109  Postby don't get me started » Mar 26, 2022 2:39 am

1. Cognitive Discourse Analysis: An introduction - Thora Tenbrink
2. Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender And Identity- And Why This Harms Everybody – Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay
3. A History of the World in 12 Maps – Jerry Brotton
4. Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language – Patricia T. O’Connor & Stewart Kellerman
5. Peer Interaction and Second Language Learning - Jenefer Philip, Rebecca Adams & Noriko Iwashita
6. Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin
7. Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World - Nataly Kelly & Jost Zetzche
8. English Words: A Linguistic Introduction - Heidi Harley
9. Questions: Formal, Functional and Interactional Perspectives Jan P. de Ruiter (Ed.)
10. Persepolis Rising - James S.A. Corey
11. English Prepositions: Their meanings and uses - R.M.W. Dixon

12. Draußen vor der Tür - Wolfgang Borchert

202 pp.

I was minded to read this again because of its theme of the aftermath of war.
The work is a drama that was first performed on the Radio in early 1947 and deals with the return of a German soldier to his native Hamburg after the war's end.
I dug out my old, heavily annotated copy that I used when I was studying German, oh so long ago.

It opens thus:


Ein Mann kommt nach Deutchland.
Er war lange weg, der Mann. Sehr lange. Vielleicht zu lange. Und er kommt ganz anders wieder, als er wegging.

A man comes to Germany. He was long away, the man. Very long. Perhaps too long. And he comes back as a different man from the one who left..

The play is vivid, abstract, surreal and stylized. It reminds us that wars don't end when the shooting stops.

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I also found a performance of the work (in German) on Youtube. (How I would have loved having this resource back in the early 90's!)



Edit for capitalization of German nouns...duh
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#110  Postby scott1328 » Mar 26, 2022 7:05 pm

1. Caliban's War, James S A Corey Book 2 in the Expanse Series.
2. Time’s Eye, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
3. Sun Storm, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. Sequel to Time's Eye.
4. The Firtstborn, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
5. Abaddon’s Gate, James S A Corey, Book 3 in the Expanse Series.
6. Cibola Burn, James S A Corey, Book 4 in the Expanse Series.
7. Nemesis Games, James S A Corey, Book 5 in the Expanse Series.
8. Babylon’s Ashes, James S A Corey, Book 6 in the Expanse Series.
9. Persepolis Rising, James S A Corey, Book 7 in the Expanse Series.
10. Tiamat’s Wrath, James S A Corey, Book 8 in the Expanse Series.
11. Leviathan Falls, James S A Corey, Book 9 in the Expanse Series.
12. Fragment, Warren Fahy
13. Memory’s Legion,James S A Corey, Collection short stories and novellas set in the Expanse universe.
14. Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi.
15. Old Man’s War, John Scalzi. The Colonial Defense Force must protect Eath’s colonies from dozens of hostile species, To do that they recruit Earth’s elderly.
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#111  Postby Evolving » Mar 27, 2022 7:47 am

1. Professor Unrat, Heinrich Mann
2. God is not Great, Christopher Hitchens
3. The Ill-Made Knight, T.H. White
4. Northern Lights, Philip Pullman
5. The Subtle Knife, Philip Pullman
6. The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman

7. The Character of Physical Law, Richard Feynmann

This is not one of the books that I had on the go the last time I posted in this thread: I took myself by surprise by picking it up and reading it - or re-reading it (though I'm not sure that I had ever read the whole thing from cover to cover before).

Why? It started with my daughter, who is, very pleasingly for her mother, developing an interest in physics. She's doing well in physics at school, but it's still very elementary: they've been doing basic concepts like momentum, and looking at simple electrical circuits; all sound stuff, but I suspect she's gathered from me that physics becomes so super amazingly cool once you get into much deeper ideas.

Recently she had a question about the second law of thermodynamics, which I had evidently talked to her about before, and we went through it, how it works, and why it's so fundamental to the way the whole universe works, at all scales. We went through the classic example of two different coloured gases in a box, separated by a partition, and what happens when you slide out the partition, and why. She got that, and then asked, well, what if one of the gases is heavier than the other: they'll still be ordered, won't they, even after time. And that's quite true, but I pointed out that it's not a closed system if gravity is allowed to have an effect, and the second law only applies to a closed system.

And the next thing she said merits its own paragraph, because it was so good: What if gravity is inside the system? So we're looking at a whole planet, and in fact this is the whole universe, no stars or anything around to muddy up the picture with their own gravitational fields, and we then do the experiment with the gases in a box? Or just with some gases around the place, never mind the box. Everything will collapse to the centre, won't it? (my daughter has known for years that this is how stars form), and if that isn't order, what is?

Such a good point. So I was able to explain (after a slightly stunned interim period while I remembered that the universe consists of energy as well as mass) that the second law is obeyed once you consider the increase in entropy in the heat, and in explaining entropy, including the alternative definition as energy that is unavailable for useful work, I resorted to the wet towel comparison in the classic Feynmann lecture. I've never forgotten that, and I enjoy re-reading that passage now and again ("...pretty soon you discover a horrible thing...").

And that's what inspired me to re-read the whole set of lectures: partly because I thought they might help me formulate some more physics in laygirl's terms, when my daughter has her next questions, but also because they're simply fun to read.

I've also finished in the meantime two other books:

8. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams
always a pleasure to re-read this one
and 9. Knight Crusader, Ronald Welch.
Why on earth did I read this children's book? Well, because of when Kaleid mentioned Henry Treece, and I thought, my goodness, I haven't heard that name since I was at school, and that got me thinking, and remembering, and I remembered this cycle of novels all covering the adventures of various members of the same family over centuries of English history, which I must have read from the school library when I was about 12. So I looked it up, re-discovered what it and its author are called, and downloaded the first one on Kindle.
What a boys' book this is. And how politically scandalous (the Crusaders had absolutely no business occupying that land in Palestine). And above all: how did I not notice those two things, especially the first one, when I read these books the first time?
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#112  Postby Macdoc » Mar 27, 2022 9:10 am

Evolving you and your daughter might really enjoy
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#113  Postby Evolving » Mar 27, 2022 11:12 am

It seems this may be available on Netflix. My daughter has had a Netflix subscription for over a year (bought it with her birthday money last year), and for nearly as long she has been telling me that she will share the log-in details with me. If she ever does, I'll take a look at that series!

Why do all the actors speak with this weird fake accent? (Maybe I'll watch it in French so that this doesn't happen.)

Here is the wet towel passage from the Feynmann lecture:

https://geobeck.tripod.com/frontier/entropy.html
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#114  Postby Evolving » Mar 27, 2022 11:16 am

And this much more detailed explanation of entropy, from around the same time as Feynmann, is very good:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj5tqM5GZnQ

The prof got what he was saying back to front at one point (and clearly noticed, but didn't correct himself), when he meant to say that physics is concerned with how, not why, but actually said the opposite. Apart from that, then, the lecture is very good.
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#115  Postby scott1328 » Mar 27, 2022 9:31 pm

1. Caliban's War, James S A Corey Book 2 in the Expanse Series.
2. Time’s Eye, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
3. Sun Storm, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. Sequel to Time's Eye.
4. The Firtstborn, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
5. Abaddon’s Gate, James S A Corey, Book 3 in the Expanse Series.
6. Cibola Burn, James S A Corey, Book 4 in the Expanse Series.
7. Nemesis Games, James S A Corey, Book 5 in the Expanse Series.
8. Babylon’s Ashes, James S A Corey, Book 6 in the Expanse Series.
9. Persepolis Rising, James S A Corey, Book 7 in the Expanse Series.
10. Tiamat’s Wrath, James S A Corey, Book 8 in the Expanse Series.
11. Leviathan Falls, James S A Corey, Book 9 in the Expanse Series.
12. Fragment, Warren Fahy
13. Memory’s Legion,James S A Corey, Collection short stories and novellas set in the Expanse universe.
14. Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi.
15. Old Man’s War, John Scalzi.
16. The Ghost Brigades, John Scalzi, Sequel to Old Man’s War.
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#116  Postby scott1328 » Mar 28, 2022 8:40 pm

1. Caliban's War, James S A Corey Book 2 in the Expanse Series.
2. Time’s Eye, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
3. Sun Storm, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. Sequel to Time's Eye.
4. The Firtstborn, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
5. Abaddon’s Gate, James S A Corey, Book 3 in the Expanse Series.
6. Cibola Burn, James S A Corey, Book 4 in the Expanse Series.
7. Nemesis Games, James S A Corey, Book 5 in the Expanse Series.
8. Babylon’s Ashes, James S A Corey, Book 6 in the Expanse Series.
9. Persepolis Rising, James S A Corey, Book 7 in the Expanse Series.
10. Tiamat’s Wrath, James S A Corey, Book 8 in the Expanse Series.
11. Leviathan Falls, James S A Corey, Book 9 in the Expanse Series.
12. Fragment, Warren Fahy
13. Memory’s Legion,James S A Corey, Collection short stories and novellas set in the Expanse universe.
14. Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi.
15. Old Man’s War, John Scalzi.
16. The Ghost Brigades, John Scalzi, Sequel to Old Man’s War.

17. The Last Colony, John Scalzi, Third in the Old Man's War series.
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#117  Postby Kaleid » Mar 29, 2022 12:27 pm

1. The Five - Hallie Rubenhold
2. The Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain - Ian Mortimer
3. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
4. The Golden Strangers - Henry Treece
5. White - Marie Darrieussecq
6. Villette - Charlotte Brontë

7. The Dark Island - Henry Treece

Second in the Celtic Tetralogy, it's the tale of the native Celts defending against the invading Romans. Unusually for a lot of historical fiction, Treece always manages to make his characters seem very human.
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#118  Postby NamelessFaceless » Mar 29, 2022 4:38 pm

Audiobooks in Italics

1. Hope of Heaven - John O'Hara
2. Pal Joey - John O'Hara
3. Invitation to a Beheading - Vladimir Nabokov
4. Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever - Bill O'Reilly
5. Haroun and the Sea of Stories - Salman Rushdie
6. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky
7. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#119  Postby scott1328 » Mar 30, 2022 12:59 pm

1. Caliban's War, James S A Corey Book 2 in the Expanse Series.
2. Time’s Eye, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
3. Sun Storm, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. Sequel to Time's Eye.
4. The Firtstborn, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
5. Abaddon’s Gate, James S A Corey, Book 3 in the Expanse Series.
6. Cibola Burn, James S A Corey, Book 4 in the Expanse Series.
7. Nemesis Games, James S A Corey, Book 5 in the Expanse Series.
8. Babylon’s Ashes, James S A Corey, Book 6 in the Expanse Series.
9. Persepolis Rising, James S A Corey, Book 7 in the Expanse Series.
10. Tiamat’s Wrath, James S A Corey, Book 8 in the Expanse Series.
11. Leviathan Falls, James S A Corey, Book 9 in the Expanse Series.
12. Fragment, Warren Fahy
13. Memory’s Legion,James S A Corey, Collection short stories and novellas set in the Expanse universe.
14. Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi.
15. Old Man’s War, John Scalzi.
16. The Ghost Brigades, John Scalzi, Sequel to Old Man’s War.
17. The Last Colony, John Scalzi, Third in the Old Man's War series.

18. The Human Division, John Scalzi, Fifth book in the Old Man's War series. (Skipped book 4 for now)
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Re: The Book Thread 2022

#120  Postby Blip » Mar 31, 2022 6:02 am

1. A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson
2. The Expectation Effect by David Robson
3. Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
4. Road Ends by Mary Lawson
5. A Brief History of Earth by Andrew H Knoll
6. Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö translated by Lois Roth
7. The Man Who Went Up in Smoke by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö translated by Joan Tate
8. The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson
9. The Man on the Balcony by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö translated by Alan Blair
10. Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes
11. The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö translated by Alan Blair
12. Monsieur Ka by Vesna Goldsworthy
13. The Fire Engine That Disappeared by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö translated by Joan Tate
14. Gorski by Vesna Goldsworthy
15. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
16. Murder at the Savoy by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö translated by Joan Tate
17. The Abominable Man by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö translated by Joan Tate
18. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

A little too much teleology and sentimentality for my taste but on the plus side, Shafak is a fine storyteller.
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