Books

I am amazed by how much you read. This is my year so far. Nothing really stands out on my shelf here, the Tattooist of Aushwitz was good though, so I am on a good streak!

Station Eleven was a book about a virus - that looked like the flu - which takes down the worlds population. Wouldn’t really recommend.

I am reading anything by V.E Schwab who wrote the Shades of Magic trilogy which I really got into. I am getting through another series of hers at the moment which isn’t as enjoyable… it’s still good reading for me through.

Alice was a rewriting of Alice in wonderland, quite different and violent compared to the original story. I did enjoy it though.

The Terry Pratchett book… I don’t know, I wanted to find something that was part of a larger series that I could follow for a while. Something dependable that i know will be good to look forward to if I come across a bad batch of books and need something dependable. I still am yet to find this series as I wasn’t sold on The Colour of Magic.

How are you tracking your books? I use goodreads but your lists look much nicer

That is Goodreads!

Oh awkward. I didn’t see you could change it from a list to grid view!

I’ve got the Master Switch coming up next on my to read list

have you read:

The Soul of a New Machine (Data General minicomputer development and inspiration for Halt & Catch Fire)

Dealers of Lightning (XEROX PARC)

The Idea Factory (Bell Labs)

A Mind at Play (Claude Shannon)

Def queue up Close to the Machine too.

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Polished off Repo Virtual last night and returned to Minitel: Welcome to the Internet

Finished Nick’s book last night. 5 stars from me.

This is not really the sort of book I would seek out, I do have a few adventure related books on my list of books to read - Mountain crossings etc, but a book about sailing would have never have piqued my interest. I am very glad I read it. Having met Nick a few times makes this a bit more ‘real’ in a sense but the book is well worth a read for those that don’t know him either.

Thanks for writing the book!

Voyage for Madmen is another good sailing book. Endorsed by Nickj strongly.

Sailing related:

I’m ready Moby Dick at the moment, it’s strangely amusing but I’m not sure it’s supposed to be.

Read Sea People earlier this year which is about Polynesian seafarers and navigation, it’s very good. It mentions whaling crews visiting the Marquesas islands which Herman Melville (author of Moby dick) lived on for a month.

Other non-sailing related books I have read recently and enjoyed:

Pachinko - history of a Korean family in Japan

Thousand Autumns Jacob de Zoet - semi historical account of Dutch trading Post in Nagasaki

Child of God - Cormac McCarthy, dark but very good

There there - Native Americans in modern Oakland

Poisonwood Bible - American missionarys in 1960’s Africa

Do Audiobooks count.

If so I’m ‘reading’
“At Home: A Short History of Private Life”
by Bill Bryson.

I’ve read it twice before, but I forget books quickly.

And
“The Body: A guide for occupants” also by Bill Bryson.

The three thing that stuck with me from that one are:

  • Hormones are fucking rad.

  • We are never in the present moment.
    In the 13milliseconds it takes for your brain to process what you are seeing, it fills the gap by predicting what is happening.
    (Trippy bro.)

  • you are completely made up of about $600 (US) worth of chemicals.
    (This provides a good starting point of how much you should pay for a person if you are ever in that position.)

  • Nobody actually knows why medicines work until they work.

  • Mastectomies were horrific in the 19th century.
    (I will be skipping that section on my second listen)

Highly recommend this one.

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Saccadic masking is bonkers

Found The Body far more interesting than Home. Think i read The Body in a couple of sittings. A Short History of Nearly Everything is also rad. Both full of super fascinating stuff.

this totally spun me out when I read about it. so damned amazing.

O @MikeD, I missed your edit. I liked Pachinko, I thought I’d read Thousand Autumns but maybe I haven’t? Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy is a SE Asian colonised trading post trilogy if you want more. and you might enjoy Fuschia’s memoir to accompany your cookbook?

yes.

Finished book 1 of the Daevabad trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty last night, and currently slowly reading Clive James’ translation of The Divine Comedy (out loud, with Kate, swapping at each canto)

Sounds interesting. Thought i’d read some Ghosh but apparently I haven’t. I do like me some Indian fiction: Rushdie, Aravind Adiga, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai etc. Will have a look at the Ibis Trilogy soon I reckon.

For now, I’m just re-reading Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time. It’s pretty much all I can handle, mental-health-wise, at the moment.

Thats crazy. I cant wait to tell this to a friend, but get one part wrong and backtrack, forget where i was up to, start again, give up, ask them to hold on while i quickly google it, find the information, then discover that the conversation has moved on, so quietly let it go.

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I LOVE The Divine Comedy. Mark Musa does a great translation (not sure if its in Audiobook format)
Inferno is great, so is Purgatory. A lot of people stop at Inferno, but Purgatory has some amazing imagery. Never read Paradise.

I’m keen to find a plain language audiobook translation of Ovid’s Metamorphosis because i think Felix could get into it. Creation myths are just fun with kids.

I haven’t read any other translations, but Clive’s doesn’t try to force the terza rima into English and instead it’s a quatrain with a couplet at the end of the canto, plus some of the traditionally footnoted material is inserted into the text due to English taking up less space than Italian.

I’ve mentioned it upthread, but if you haven’t read Emily Wilson’s translation of the Odyssey, do yourself a favour! Cannot wait until she finishes the Iliad.

This is next!

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damn! to read list just got a HUGE top up… kinda sad our libraries are all shut right now.

but my ebook backlog just got a lot longer…

also - I’d been meaning to ask blakey who did that translation of the odyssey as i remembered you and hamish raving about it. now noted.

at the first lockdown, tas libraries started dropping 100+ titles a day for a couple of months. they must have diverted budget lines heavily to overdrive titles.

Recently:
Cal Newport - Digital Minimalism

Currently:
Part II of the Daevabad trilogy
The new Rebecca Solnit

Soon:
Tim Wu - The Attention Merchants