The First Rule of Book Club


… Is we talk about books.

self-portrait, 2017

self-portrait, 2017

Back in the day when people had personal websites and other people looked at them, I had a couple of pages listing my favorite books, my favorite CDs, and my favorite movies. At the bottom of each of those lists, I had a “trade one for one” offer, which I’d like to reiterate here.

If you send me a book, I’ll send you a book in return. If you send me a CD, I’ll send you a CD in return. If you send me a movie I’ll send you a movie. Or you can tell me, here, what I should read and if I haven’t read it yet I almost certainly will or I’ll tell you why not (i.e: if you suggest “Atlas Shrugged” I will explain that I’ve tried that one a dozen times and usually wind up facedown in my plate)

Anyway, feel free to drop suggestions here (I may retaliate with my own) or email me – my contact info is on the left bar. Also, feel free to drop postings of “these are my favorite books” or just “here’s what I am reading right now.”

Originally I thought I might start this thread by posting some pictures of my book shelves, but I’m kind of embarrassed: my library is not what it used to be; I had about 3x as much space in the library in my house in Maryland, all full of books. When I moved to the farm I got rid of 4 suburban-loads of books to the local library. I’m not as bad as my dad’s old colleague at Johns Hopkins, who bought a row-house, had it gutted, and installed floor to ceiling shelves everywhere, then added chairs and tea-making gear. Around the time he filled that house the one next door came on the market, so he bought that one too, made doors at each floor, and turned the other house into a library, too! When he died he left the whole thing to the university, which presumably has someone full-time clutching their head trying to figure out what to do with it.

Some favorites, in no particular order:

Charles Mann 1493 Brilliant and fascinating. If you liked “Guns, Germs, and Steel” you’ll love this book. It describes some of the global impact of the discovery of the Americas, from a “big picture” perspective. Initially, it’s a bit hard to wrap your brain around the idea that slavery in the USA was chosen as an alternative to indentured servitude (or just plain employment) because of European colonists’ susceptability to malaria. The book is chock full of amazing nuggets like that. I’m going to probably re-read it once a year for the next decade – it’s that dense.
G.K. Chesterton The Man Who Was Thursday A wild and irreverent poke at the mind of the law enforcer. An idealistic young policeman sets out to infiltrate the secret central committee of anarchists. And discovers that he’s running in circles.
John Stevens Sword of No-Sword: Life of the Master Warrior Tesshu Tesshu was a fascinating character and a great martial artist. Definitely a “running against the wind’ kind of guy.
Lois McMaster Bujold Cordelia’s Honor It’s a space opera! It’s a romance novel! It’s a romance novel and a space opera! I’m unashamed. I love the entire Miles Vorkosigan saga and sometimes even get the sniffles when I read it.
Edgar Rice Burroughs The John Carter of Mars series The uber-granddaddy of swords and sorcery. The men are all manly. The women all tough and womany – except for where they become weak pawns to drive the plot forward. The bad guys are dastardly. Through the series is an interesting hint of anti-religiousity that shows just how far ahead of himself ERB really was. I read these when I was a kid, attracted by the lurid (and beautiful) covers by Frank Frazetta. I know that these books, along with Kurosawa’s “7 samurai” had a profound effect on me.
E.E. Doc Smith The lensman series The uber-granddaddy of space opera. The men are all manly. The women all tough and womanly. The bad guys are dastardly. It’s just great stuff!!! There is a lot of eugenics-inspired reasoning which is … interesting. Fortunately he avoided outright racism.
Baron de Marbot Memoirs The memoirs of Baron de Marbot, one of Napoleon’s cavalry officers, are an amazing inside view of the Napoleonic wars. All the cool stuff that happened during the wars – Marbot appears to have been in the middle of it. Amazingly, these tales of derring-do are all true. Some of Marbot’s gear (his pelisse from the duel with the Englishmen in Spain) is in the French army museum in Paris. The French weren’t always so lame on the battlefield!
E.D. Swinton The Defense of Duffer’s Drift A classic military manual. Follows Leftenant Backsight Forethought through a series of blunders during the Boer War, until he finally learns how to defend a static position. (Outdated tactics)
John Antal Armor Attacks Antal’s entire series of modern tactical warfare books is excellent. They’re done as a flow-chart so you can see how you fare as a modern armored company commander. Good luck! Very accurate rendering of modern mechanized warfare.
Joe Haldeman The Forever War An interesting view of warfare across time and space. In later sequels to this book Haldeman has quite ruined the premise. This was a ground-breaking novel when it was published.
Tim Powers Last Call Creepy and weird – Tim Powers takes Las Vegas and turns it into the battleground between sorcerors, gamblers, and corpses. Utterly creative and “out there” Powers’ writing is delicious.
Robert Littell The Company Based on a lot of truth, this is a very well done novel of the CIA. Larger than life characters like James Jesus Angleton and William King Harvey (in the book thinly hidden as “the sorceror”) walk the pages of this delightful romp through the cold war.
Connie Willis Bellwether Researching fads and sheep, a couple of young scientists have some strange adventures. A light-hearted romantic comedy about bureaucracy and science.

My farm is named “Bellwether Farm” – though I have no sheep, I’m leader of my own little flock.

John Steakley Armor What “Starship Troopers” should have been. When you talk about fighting aliens, what if they’re really alien? And there are a lot of them. As in – a planet full? Steakley’s other book “Vampire$” was made into a mediocre movie by John Carpenter – avoid the movie but you might enjoy the book.
Darrell Huff How to Lie With Statistics An accessible (no need to be a statistician) and charming explanation of how people manipulate statistics to create false impressions. Great illustrations, too!
Patrick O’Brian
The Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin series
Keep an eye on his paragraph lengths!
George MacDonald Fraser
The Flashman series / The MacAuslan Tales /
Quartered Safe Out Here
The MacAuslan stories are some of the best military humor, ever. The Flashman books are what made me fall in love with historical fiction and military fiction as a kid. Fraser writes beautifully and with a great deal of dry wit. And if you can read “The Sheikh and the Dustbin”  or “Johnny Cope in the Morning” and not shed a tear, you’re tougher than you should be.
Robert E. Howard
The Sowers of the Thunder
The author of Conan does historical fiction. It’s turgic! It’s dramatic! It has gorgeous illustrations. It’s a paen to toxic masculinity! Glorious death everywhere.

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The “Book Club” soap was produced from a master cut in polypropylene for me by Scott Conti on a CNC machine; I then made silicone soap molds around Scott’s master object. To make the soap bar look I didn’t use actual soap, I poured resin with white and red pigment – the resin “soap bar” holds up better than an actual soap one. Shot in my kitchen sink with hipstamatic and a variety of grunge filters.

Anyone want a “Book Club” resin soap bar prop? It takes about 2 minutes for me to make one and they are more or less indestructible. Let me know if you want one and I’ll whip one up for you. Also available: stainless steel donuts, bronze cookies, Fight Club prop bars, and commie pinkos. My commie pinkos collection is a set of pink resin statues of Marx and Lenin.

Comments

  1. AndrewD says

    Marcus,
    You might want to look at these 3

    The Failure of Nonviolence: from Arab spring to Occupy by Peter Gelderloos (The author is an unabashed Anarchist)

    Languages of the Unheard by Stephen D’Arcy

    and On Resistance, A philosophy of Defiance by Howard Cayhill ( A more philosophical book tha the other two)

  2. says

    I’m so looking forward to trying soap making once we move into the house…
    Oh, wait, this was book club, right?
    Unfortunately I can hardly swap stuff with you since I pretty much swore off dead tree editions (and it wouldn’t be practical cross continental, though it just occurs to me to set you folks on getting me some vintage editions…). I’m currently reading Lagoon by Nnedi Okarofur and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. The latter is a “classic” of Chicana literature and I was mostly motivated to read it because it is popular in both English and Spanish classes here, but I really enjoy it. It’s easy to read on the surface but goes really deep.
    The former is sci-fantasy, and if you’re tired of white dude fantasy and white dude space operas, Nnedi Okarofur is there for you.

  3. Eric Riley says

    Connie Willis!
    “To Say Nothing of the Dog” – a Victorian romance mystery – with time travel! Lighthearted fun – I read it aloud to my (eventually, though not at the time) wife. That it was a pleasure to read aloud is, I think, a credit to her writing. It is also, importantly, a _fun_ book to read. A nice break from dystopian nightmares.

    Anything by Stephen Brust
    While his books have some variation in ‘goodness’, he is a solidly good writer with occasional greatness. He has an extensive series, plus a number of stand-alone books.

    Iain (M.) Banks – he (sadly) passed away a couple of years ago, but has a number of great works both science fiction (generally published with the ‘M’) and contemporary gothic fiction (published without). He can get quite dark and macabre – but is a great writer with an impressive number of works to his name. “The Wasp Factory” often makes ‘top 100’ lists (rightfully, in my opinion) when they include modern works.

  4. Brian English says

    My farm is named “Bellwether Farm” – though I have no sheep, I’m leader of my own little flock.

    Wether noun A castrated Ram.
    Too much information!

    I’m reading (apologies if the links bork) :

    The Astronomer and the Witch by Ulinka Rublack. It’s about Kepler, his time and his defense of his mother who was accused of Witchcraft. I’ve only started, so that precise might be just the back of the (virtual) cover take-away.

    Quantum Mechanics, the theoretical minimum by Leonard Susskind. I suspect I won’t understand QM any better after finishing this book, but we’ll see…

    This isn’t really a read, but it’s my latest purchase, in dead trees too, but there’s something about paging through a big book….
    Russian Dictionary

    There’s some interesting books in your list Marcus. I have no idea about military tactics or strategy – didn’t you say real generals only care about logistics? – so that intrigues me.

  5. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    “Harpo Speaks” by Harpo Marx (and Rowland Barber). The story of the USA from Victorian age to space age, as seen from the grassroots level. Harpo was an entertainer who toured everywhere, from prohibition bars to Mississippi steamers, and eventually Hollywood. It’s not just all comedy all the time. There is lots of thought between the lines, e.g. the story of his children.

  6. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    Currently reading: “The Cambridge Companion to Nietsche”. A good introduction to Nietsche, but the timing is really bad. He predicted far too well what right-wing populists are thinking.
    And just to compensate, “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

  7. Dunc says

    Kinda meta, I’d strongly recommend Azar Nafisi’s “Reading Lolita in Terhan”, which is as semi-autobiographical novel about her experiences teaching literature in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, centering on a women’s-only book club she ran in secret once she could no longer teach openly. It’s a wonderful book in many ways – as a portrait of subtle resistance to a totalitarian regime, as a study of women’s lives under the Islamic republic, a view from the other side of the Iran/Iraq war, and most importantly as a paen to the importance of literature. It’s very readable, but packs a lot in.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    It’s turgic!

    Turgidly tragic? Tragically turgid?

    Liturgic w/ ‘tude?

    Am currently plowing through Jack Beatty’s Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900. Worthwhile analysis and revealing anecdata, such as the day the combined railroads forced the entire US to synchronize previously idiosyncratic local timekeeping.

    Also Somewhere to be Flying, one of Charles deLint’s Newford urban fantasies: imaginative and well-told, but woe to the reader who loses track of a wide array of characters!

  9. bobmoore1 says

    “The Beginning of Infinity” by David Deutsch. On AI, creativity, the multiverse’s role in quantum computing, the reach of explanations, etc. Very positive.

  10. John Morales says

    For heroic fantasy, David Gemmell can’t be beat.

    (Formulaic, unrealistic… but damn good)

  11. says

    It seems trite to say it, but anyone who has not read To Kill a Mockingbird ought to. Nevil Shute is often a good read, Trustee from the Toolroom being my personal favorite. And one of the weirder books I have enjoyed is Nicholas Monsarrat’s The Tribe that Lost Its Head is a fascinating examination and defense of British colonialism. It is remarkable, to me, in how close it comes to being persuasive.

    I will pack up something or other and send it off.

  12. Owlmirror says

    I’m more than a little surprised to see Tim Powers on there — sure, he writes good stories, but you were straining at a story that posited a God, angels, and immortal souls as being ridiculous. As I recall, Last Call posits multiple different kinds of spirits, ghosts, gods, archetypes (as real entities magically interacting with their representations), genii loci, and probably more that I’m forgetting the terms for. It’s a supernatural smörgåsbord!

  13. Owlmirror says

    As for my own book recommend — I’m liking Sean M. Carroll’s The Big Picture. I’ve been meaning to comment on Mano Singham’s thread where EnlightenmentLiberal was trying to promote some of Carroll’s ideas, but was having trouble. It’s definitely worth reading Carroll in the original.

    For fiction — have you read any of Charles Stross’s Laundry Files books? It seems to me that many of many of your interests have a strong intersection with his: computer technology; military tech; espionage tradecraft; an extremely cynical and jaundiced view of politics.

    Here’s “The Concrete Jungle“, an early story in the Laundryverse.

    Here’s “A Colder War“, not in the same universe as The Laundry, but gives a sample of similar writing.

  14. jrkrideau says

    @ 2 Giliel

    Local library has at least 4 Nnedi Okarofur books. They look excellent. Heck, I may have to break down and buy some of them (and I’m cheap)

    @ 3 Eric Riley

    To say nothing of the dog.

    I am a great fan of Jerome K. Jerome and Connie Willis’ book was fantastic. As was the Bellweather and … well anything else I have read by her. I do admit I only clued in to who Moriarity (?) was in the JKJ book about near the end. Well perhaps half way but I doubt it. And of course it took me a while to realize what Willis was doing. Not all that swift :(

    #4 Brian English

    The Astronomer and the Witch by Ulinka Rublack.

    Just read a review of the book and it’s on my list of must-reads. Have you had a looked at David Wootton’s relatively new book “The invention of science”?

    Russian Dictionary

    A single book, wow! Back in the dark ages when I studied Russian we had an English-Russian dictionary (approx 500 pages) and a Russian-English dictionary (same page number). My Russian was abysmal then and worse now but I got a lot of exercise.

  15. says

    Meta: Some of the comments here (as I had hoped they would) may inspire separate additional commentary. In those cases, such as Stross/Fraser/Marbot I almost certainly owe you other postings. Especially Marbot and Fraser and Stross, but there are more.

  16. Rob Grigjanis says

    You’ve listed some of my stalwarts (Fraser, Haldeman, Burroughs).

    SciFi/Fantasy: I was a breathless fan, and remain a fan, of anything Zelazny or Le Guin wrote/write. An almost-breathless fan of Samuel R. Delany.

    The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison remains a favourite, if only for the quality of the writing (Eddison was a dick, despite being born in Leeds).

    The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. Great stuff, and he turned me on to Tokaji Aszú wine.

    Others: The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen.
    Visitants by Randolph Stow.
    General Theory of Relativity by Paul Dirac. Short and sweet, but requiring some mathematics.

  17. Raucous Indignation says

    Read it. Read it. Read it. Haven’t read it, but it’s on the shelf. Read it. Read it over and over and over …

  18. Raucous Indignation says

    I’m so happy John Steakley’s Armor is on the list. I’m sure you read the Bolo series in part or total. Do I remember them correctly? Are they really as wonderful as I remember?

  19. Rob Grigjanis says

    Owlmirror @13:

    I’ve been meaning to comment on Mano Singham’s thread where EnlightenmentLiberal was trying to promote some of Carroll’s ideas, but was having trouble.

    You’re not the only one. Neither EL nor Carroll seem to understand the difference between “there is no evidence for X” and “theory rules out X”. If you peddle the latter, you have to actually show your work, which neither of them do.

  20. says

    AndrewD@#1:
    All three of those sound really interesting!! I’ve queued up the first two.

    Topically, that’s right up my alley, as you no doubt realized.

  21. says

    Rob Grigjanis@#21:
    Oh, and Stanisław Lem

    Oh, yes!!!
    Futurological congress is one of my favorites because I’ve spent too much time daydreaming at computer security conferences similar to the one he describes. And the bit in Pirx the pilot, with the fly…

  22. says

    Raucous Indignation@#19:
    I’m sure you read the Bolo series in part or total. Do I remember them correctly? Are they really as wonderful as I remember?

    I can confirm that the Bolo series is great stuff. Laumer’s take on “military glory” really resonates with me, the way some of the bolos are so .. noble and unflinching, destructive yet gentle. I always thought that the Bolo books may have been an influence on Iain Banks, I see reflections of them in his shipminds.

    Armor and the Bolo series both have this sort of downbeat sensibility – reluctant warriors of great power, dusty old military gear, death deferred and finally confronted head-on.

    Some of the short story group books about Bolos are pretty good, too.

  23. says

    I recently finished “Revenger” by Alastair Reynolds. It’s pretty neat! Space pirates and scavengers and scaliwags in a sort of steampunky future.

    I get Peter Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds confused sometimes; their books have a similar feeling, to me. Speaking of Hamilton, I loved “Pandora’s Star” – The Prime’s attitude toward encountering new life-forms is pretty darned awesome.

  24. says

    owlmirror@#12:
    I’m more than a little surprised to see Tim Powers on there — sure, he writes good stories, but you were straining at a story that posited a God, angels, and immortal souls as being ridiculous. As I recall, Last Call posits multiple different kinds of spirits, ghosts, gods, archetypes (as real entities magically interacting with their representations), genii loci, and probably more that I’m forgetting the terms for. It’s a supernatural smörgåsbord!

    Interesting point!!
    I had to think about this one for a while but I think I can explain it, though my explanation may not satisfy. Powers’ approach to religion (similarly to Gaiman in “American Gods”) keeps the myths at arms’ length: they’re clearly myths and we’re not expected to grapple with them seriously, or to be inside the head of a protagonist who does. I am probably being unfair to Ted Chiang. When I tried to read about Neil, who really believes all this stuff, and it’s deeply significant to him, I tried to get inside the head of someone for whom religion was personally very real. And I was too busy rejecting everything about it, to feel sympathy for the character – I just thought “what a doofus.” In Powers and Gaiman, the characters are coping with these supernatural events and are slightly (or more than slightly) befuddled by them – unaccepting – and I can get right into that mind-set without triggering my “NoooOOO!” response.

    This is making me realize the degree to which a piece of fiction depends on the believability of the characters, so we can empathize with them. I find it much easier to empathize with an ancient artificially intelligent tank, than with someone who is so profoundly fooled by religion that he’s an alien to me.

  25. says

    Rob Grigjanis@#17:
    An almost-breathless fan of Samuel R. Delany

    Oh, yes!!! I had protracted arguments with my father about whether it was OK to throw some of the rules of written English out the window for narrative effect. I felt that Delaney did it because he owned the language so thoroughly, my dad felt he could have done as well without cheating. Happy memories.

    “Dahlgren” was so beautifully weird and downbeat and strange, and I am pretty sure it was the first book I read where I was so thoroughly embodied in the characters that I didn’t blink at gaysex – I think I read it when I was probably 15 or 16 or thereabouts, and that opened my mind a little bit. “Nova” was insanely great, the characters are so vivid and weird.

    I went to see Delaney speak at University of Maryland in the late 80s and was disappointed that he didn’t speak as beautifully as he wrote. It took me a while to forgive him. Also Douglas Adams, who read from his own book and tittered irritatingly at his own jokes. I learned to be a bit more open-minded about not expecting my heroes to be like me.

    Oh, and Babel-17! WOW!

    Thank you for dredging up some interesting memories. I may need to go re-read “Nova” now.

    Memories of great reads of the 80s are cascading like a torrent – how did I not have Alfred Bester’s “The Demolished Man” on my list? Or “The Stars My Destination”!? I apologize! I apologize! Tenser, said the tensor, tenser, said the tensor!

    The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen.

    I was thinking that was by the author of “I Am Legend” and ran to buy it, but then discovered it wasn’t, and got it anyway. It sounds amazing.

  26. says

    Owlmirror@#13:
    I’m liking Sean M. Carroll’s The Big Picture. I’ve been meaning to comment on Mano Singham’s thread where EnlightenmentLiberal was trying to promote some of Carroll’s ideas, but was having trouble. It’s definitely worth reading Carroll in the original.

    Oh, yeah, I’d been meaning to get that. Thanks for the reminder. I watched the talk Carroll gave when he was doing the book tour, and I thought it pretty good (though I didn’t like how sure he sounded about a lot of stuff, it was probably just his delivery) I need to read that and Mano’s book, both of which are now queued.

    Stross is loads of fun. I’ve read all the Laundry books, but I think “Iron Sky” and “Accellerando” are my favorites of his. I especially love the bit with the lobsters in “Accellerando” Stross’ mind moves in strange ways. The laundry books are OK, but kind of like eating cheetos. Nothing wrong with that, but you get what you expect.

  27. says

    Pierce R. Butler@#8:
    Turgidly tragic? Tragically turgid?
    Liturgic w/ ‘tude?

    Actually, it was just a simple typo. But since you’ve gone and commented on it, now it’s committed to history, and I’ll leave it. Besides, some day someone may use it.

    Has anyone else here read “The Sowers of The Thunder”?? I think it’s head and shoulders above the rest of his work, which isn’t saying a huge amount.

  28. says

    Eric Riley@#3:
    I’m with you. I’ve read everything by Willis and Banks and a great deal of Brust. (he introduced me obliquely to Emma Bull and “war for the oaks”) His bit in the draegarian book about Haverferd ford bridge, or whatever it was, still makes me giggle. His recounting style reminds me too much of some of the old farts who used to pontificate around the hotel bars at worldcon when I was a teenager; I can only absorb a certain amount before I am ready to move on.

    Banks – I’m selfish enough to wish Banks and Pratchett had lived longer just so they could have written more for me.

  29. says

    Brian English@#4:
    Wether noun A castrated Ram.
    Too much information!

    I did not know that was the origin. I knew the word only for a specific meaning: the sheep that all the other sheep in the herd tend to like to follow. Your “bellwether” is important: you want a sensible one that won’t go charging off and elect a wolf for president. I named the farm after the book, because I had just finished it and loved it and I like sheep (I spent some summers herding sheep as a child, they are very charming and smelly wool-factory dingbats) and it seemed to fit with how I felt about IT trends at that time.

    Quantum Mechanics, the theoretical minimum by Leonard Susskind. I suspect I won’t understand QM any better after finishing this book, but we’ll see…

    You might also want to take a look at Smolin’s “The Trouble With Physics” – though there are some on this thread who might have an opinion that is better-formed than mine.

    There’s some interesting books in your list Marcus. I have no idea about military tactics or strategy – didn’t you say real generals only care about logistics? – so that intrigues me.

    I quoted Napoleon as saying that amateurs speak of strategy, professionals of logistics. Napoleon, who was legitimately a great military genius, concerned himself with all of those to an incredible degree. It’s a life-long study to even understand how awesome (but not awesome enough!) his instinct for war was. I’d be confident in saying that if he had been commanding either side during the American Civil War he would have won it in under 6 months, probably 3. He probably would have been able to crush Caesar (based on what I expect was a certain amount of justifiable exaggeration of his skills on Caesar’s part) He really was that good. But he still made the bad mistakes at the worst time, and Wellington knew how to play a defensive game and let him defeat himself.

    By the way if you want an amazing discussion about logistics, I highly recommend Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast episodes (the “Armageddon” ones) about World War I. There are some descriptions he gives about the logistics of the German army on the march – how much it takes to move 1 million troops and their supplies, and their supplies’ supplies, and their supplies’ supplies’ supplies…

    The Swinton book was a favorite of mine when I was playing a lot of miniatures in high school, and Antal was a lot of fun when I was reading up on modern warfare in the late 90s. Antal’s books are interesting if you want to get a feel for how the US experience in Iraq could have gone, but didn’t. His predicate is that the US military is fighting an opposition force that actually has a chance of holding the field against them – which is interesting: today’s military is used to being able to be strategically stupid because they are tactically so powerful they can get away with almost anything. That was the same mistake Napoleon made, only he made it bigger. Napoleon was like that, too.

  30. Rob Grigjanis says

    Marcus @27:

    “Dahlgren” was so beautifully weird and downbeat and strange

    Ahem “Dhalgren”. Yeah, I first tried reading it in my early twenties. It was much like listening to King Crimson’s Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (see my gravatar) for the first time. “What is this incoherent tripe from a source that has been reliable until now?”. Then, in both cases, coming back a year or so later and “Holy fuck, this is beautiful!”.

  31. Rob Grigjanis says

    Also, I’d read or watch anything by Lenny Susskind before most of the current crop of physics popularizers. Brian Cox is OK, though…

  32. Owlmirror says

    and a great deal of Brust.[…] His bit in the draegarian book about Haverferd ford bridge, or whatever it was, still makes me giggle.

    Bengloarafurd ford. As the pages says, see also Torpenhow Hill

    His recounting style reminds me too much of some of the old farts who used to pontificate around the hotel bars at worldcon when I was a teenager

    Um. It’s worth emphasizing that Steven Brust is given to stylistic experimentation, and that the book that Bengloarafurd appears in is notionally translated by Brust from the writings of a Dragaeran, Paarfi of Roundwood, whose verbose style in turn is suspiciously similar to that of Alexandre Dumas (père).

    It’s all very meta.

    It is also not the style used in the other sequence of books about Dragaera (about Vlad Taltos) by Brust, which are closer in style to that of Raymond Chandler and similar pulp detective-story writers for the first few, and vary in style in the later ones.

  33. says

    Speaking on books: just got a ebook of Rules for Radicals, looking forward to reading it
    and
    Marcus responding to your response to me on freethought resistance: I did go look at Politifacts, the judge on HRC too. (pls note i cant respond there bcuz pz decided to be petchulant and block me)

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