2 Followers
23 Following
Teiresias1960

Teiresias1960

Currently reading

Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur: A New Modern English Translation Based on the Winchester Manuscript (Renaissance and Medieval Studies)
Dorsey Armstrong, Thomas Malory
Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction
Benjamin Percy
The Human Comedy: Selected Stories
Jordan Stump, Peter Brooks, Honoré de Balzac, Linda Asher, Carol Cosman
Breaking the Maya Code
Michael D. Coe
The Conquest of New Spain
Bernal Díaz del Castillo, John M. Cohen, J.M. Cohen
Jungle of Stone: The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya
William S. Carlsen
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Hugh Kenner, James Joyce
We
Yevgeny Zamyatin, Clarence Brown
Frankenstein
Mary Shelley, Maurice Hindle
Beauty Is a Wound
Bill Tucker And Annie Berry, Eka Kurniawan

7 Science-Backed Ways Reading Makes You Healthy [Infographic]

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

- Joseph Addison

 

Reading is more than just a pleasure. Books make your life better. Reading challenges your mind and delights your soul. It keeps you well informed and entertain. If you lack the reading habit, make sure you overcome the reluctance and grab a book as the following infographic prepared by Global English Editing will prove reading can make your life longer, less stressful, full of dreams and social gatherings. 

 

Keep on reading! 

 

 

Source: https://geediting.com/7-science-backed-ways-reading-makes-healthy-infographic/

Source: http://geediting.com/7-science-backed-ways-reading-makes-healthy-infographic

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton Aptly titled!

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel - Bryn Greenwood While troubling to some, I would call this an unconventional love story. There were certainly moments that made me wince. But that's art's job isn't it? To challenge convention? If one strips away the theme that everyone objects to, what's left is a harrowing story of survival--in the aftermath of a family's implosion. This survival story was successfully accomplished by an appropriate use of all the elements of fiction: The characters were well-rounded, including those I despised; the dialogue was crisp, spare and realistic. The emplotment was multi-perspectival. Occasionally, I grumbled, wanting some other point of view at a particular time. But if one is fair, the chosen perspective was appropriate for that particular time and place. Overshadowing it all was the damaged heroine with more fortitude than ten Penelopes. She becomes the center around whom her reforged family eventually begins to coalesce: Not a cheap happy ending, more of a sigh of relief that those who survived had made it this far.

Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth (Princeton Science Library)

Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth (Princeton Science Library) - Andrew H. Knoll Andrew H. Knoll is a paleontologist who is particularly conversant with the integrative approaches of modern day evolutionary science. Rooted in the rocks, he writes with skill about the geological and geophysical processes at work in early earth formation, and their implications for the evolution of life. He explains the complex geochemistry that became, in time, a biochemistry. He describes the so-called evo-devo (I.e., evolutionary developmental biology) revolution with verve-both as an observer, and a participant/contributor. He describes in some detail how the evolution of life is largely one of microbiologic changes through geologic time. Some critics fault him for leaving the good stuff for the end-a bizarre criticism given that the "good stuff" (I.e., complex multi-cellular animal life) has only been around since very recent times in geological terms. Knoll deftly defeats this prejudice by pointing out that while animals are the kings of morphological variety, it is the microorganisms that are the exemplars of metabolism. Microbes have evolved diverse mechanisms for surviving on a catastrophically evolving planet. It is in fact, the microbes that made the planet habitable for animals. This is a story as epic and heroic as any produced by evolutions most complex, and ridiculously recent, product. If I had a quibble with the book, it was with the decision to include the final chapter about the possible Martian origin of terrestrial life. Not to say this story wasn't interesting, but it would have been better left to another book. Finally, Knoll's conclusion attempts to reconcile the seemingly ever-opposed science and religion and is reminiscent of Stephen J. Gould's "twin magisteria" argument. The stronger part of his conclusion reminded us that past may be prologue: That current action or inaction may have consequences in what could be, but doesn't have to be, our own evolutionary endgame.
The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide - Mary Lou Heiss, Robert J. Heiss

The Story of Tea is a beautiful piece of work, valuable to all tea lovers. Many gorgeous photographs suggest the cultivative art, while a strong discussion of production methods in various regions is the real heart of the book. For those interested in a description of production down to the village level, this is one of the few works that will provide it. This section is followed by a longish chapter called "Journeying along the tea trail," which is both meandering and somewhat redundant, while at the same time providing many interesting vignettes. By the finish of these two parts, the reader will have a decent knowledge of which regions produce the more famous teas, and why. With that said, I was disappointed by the rather spare, even perfunctory, history of tea, trade and the tea trade's role in the world economic system. As for the "drinking guide" section of the book, I much prefer the author's better known "The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas." Moreover, the structure of the book lends itself to overlap, leading to duplication of information. Even given these deficiencies, I consider The Story of Tea to be a must read for anyone seeking knowledge about the worlds most popular beverage. It remains the best single volume concerning all things tea-related.

SPOILER ALERT!
The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles is a beautifully written account of the life and doom of Achilles from the perspective of his best friend, Patroclus. Miller combines material from Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, as well as Vergil's Aeneid, to tell what is essentially a love story. This telling is from the perspective of a very different Patroclus than the one we meet in the Iliad. We learn of Patroclus' exile and boarding with Peleus, his time as a student with Achilles under the tutelage of the centaur, Chiron, of his troubled relationship with Thetis, Achilles' goddess-mother, and the myriad forces that pushed a reluctant Achilles into the Trojan War. In passages that are at times quite lyrical, Miller describes the playing out of the connected fates of the lovers, and those of their closest relations, including the captured Trojan, Briseis, and Achilles' horrid son, Pyrrhus. Overall, a very enjoyable novel, reminiscent of the best work of Mary Renault.

Master Han's Daughter: Tales From Depraved Neo-Tokyo

 Based on a review I had read, I was expecting a novel that included all of my favorite elements:  Sci Fi + Cyberpunk + Neo-Tokyo + Kinky Sex.  Midori's book included all of that (and more), but was most definitely not a novel.  It is a series of short stories based on the same setting, with loose ties, and a few parallel themes linking them together.  As science fiction goes, I enjoyed most of the stories.  The author successfully captured the cyber-punk mood and rhythm, and the often predatory element of its citizenry.  Midori is clearly a talented writer, and I look forward to a novel along similar lines.  The short stories couldn't quite carry through on some of my other interests.  For example, I would've preferred a more detailed discussion of her version of Neo-Tokyo, and its stratified society.  As for the sex, as other's have mentioned, it was pretty hot stuff--well beyond vanilla--let the buyer beware.  Midori's book was quite reminiscent of Bacigalupi's "Windup Girl," without the detailed descriptions of the devastating effects of climate change on economies and societies.  It had the same dystopian tone, including that element of hopelessness, and actors with few redeeming moral qualities.  All in all, a worthy effort, though quite short for those looking to spend a bit more time in Midori's "depraved Neo-Tokyo."    

Master Han's Daughter: Tales from Depraved Neotokyo

Master Han's Daughter: Tales from Depraved Neotokyo - Midori Based on a review I had read, I was expecting a novel that included all of my favorite elements: Sci Fi + Cyberpunk + Neo-Tokyo + Kinky Sex. Midori's book included all of that (and more), but was most definitely not a novel. It is a series of short stories based on the same setting, with loose ties, and a few parallel themes tying them together. As science fiction goes, I enjoyed most of the stories. The author successfully captured the cyber-punk mood and rhythm, and the often predatory element of its citizenry. Midori is clearly a talented writer, and I look forward to a novel along similar lines. The short stories couldn't quite carry through on some of my other interests. For example, I would've preferred a more detailed discussion of her version of Neo-Tokyo, and its stratified society. As for the sex, as other's have mentioned, it was pretty hot stuff--well beyond vanilla--let the buyer beware. Midori's book was quite reminiscent of Bacigalupi's "Windup Girl," without the detailed descriptions of the devastating effects of climate change on economies and societies. It had the same dystopian tone, including that element of hopelessness, and actors with few redeeming moral qualities. All in all, a worthy effort, though quite short for those looking to spend a bit more time in Midori's Neo-Tokyo.
SPOILER ALERT!

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

1Q84 - Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel, Haruki Murakami

After reading most of Haruki Murakami's oeuvre, it's safe to say that he is my favorite living writer. At his best, he can paint a picture with words, adding layer after layer of description to a canvas that, as a whole, avoids becoming dense or encrusted, but rather maintains both delicacy and depth simultaneously. His characters can often be both non-descript and unique, which he often achieves with a simple parenthetical: "In order to flee from responsibility, Tengo learned early on in life to make himself inconspicuous. He worked hard to negate his presence by publicly displaying very little of his true abilities, by keeping his opinions to himself, and by avoiding situations that put him at the center of attention...It was necessary for him to keep such contrivances in mind at all times, like the orphans in Dicken's novels." 1Q84 is a long novel in three books. Like many of Murakami's works, it involves fantastical elements and synchronicities, not to say, coincidences. It would probably be going too far to describe it as a work of magical realism. I often prefer to think of some of his fantastic contrivances as metaphors--I'm thinking of his "INKlings" from the earlier Hard-Boiled Wonderland. In 1Q84, one can only do that for so long before "air chrysalises" run into actual "little people." But Murakami-lovers must have the fortitude to get beyond, or behind, such details. Murakami is known for building his stories around an earlier novelistic archetype--e.g., his Kafka at the Shore is primarily an Oedipus story. 1Q84 is obviously riffing on Orwell's 1984, and it carefully builds and maintains throughout the oppressive mood created by Orwell's surveillance machinery. Further, 1Q84 is similarly a romance, though in this case a decades long romance between an assassin avenging the wrongs suffered by the abused and molested, and a gifted, yet not overly successful, math teacher and novelist, neither of whom has been able to surpass their life-changing grade-school encounter. And this, all set against the machinations of a fanatic and powerful cult, bent on controlling the actions of these characters and those close to them. The first two books were set up as opposing third person narratives of the stories of the two main characters, and their inter-connections. I went through the set-up, and middle portions of the book--i.e., books one and two--like the proverbial knife through butter. But in the third book, where Murakami should have continued to cleave quickly while building forcefully to his conclusion, he chose to add a third perspective--that of the representative of the afore-mentioned surveillance machinery. This character was himself, quite interesting. I enjoyed seeing this weird world through his eyes. Unfortunately, the third perspective, meant the story began jumping back and forward on three tracks. It became a chore to decipher where we were in each characters stories. At this point, I put the book down for an extended period of rest and recuperation. Eventually, though, I had to know the end of the story: Would the lovers end up like Orwell's victims of the machine? I expected so, and was haunted by that potential. I won't spoil the resolution, but however it came out--and it did include elements that were macabre at best, I was quite satisfied with the conclusion. In sum, while not my favorite of Murakami's novels, I probably prefer Wind-up Bird or Kafka, or possibly, Norwegian Wood, I consider this 1157 page door-stop, well-worth anyone's time.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/412521759

Accelerando (Singularity)

Accelerando (Singularity) - Charles Stross Charles Stross...injects...? (I was going to say throws, but that's somehow inadequate) more ideas into one's brain per page than any four other authors. His cautionary tale, following the vicissitudes of a remarkable 21st century family, across the centuries, and through the wormholes, spawning copies of themselves, backing up their various incarnations, and all the while being manipulated by a toy A.I. An A.I. whose intelligence has evolved as far beyond the human as human intelligence has beyond the tapeworm (Stross's analogy), while playing with forces that essentially put the continued existence of the species in doubt. Stross builds incredible worlds with amazing iterations of technology. But his story comes across as fragmented, by the lapses of time, and the vast leaps in technology. There's a beginning and an end, but the middle is a bit gooey. It's quite a ride, but at the end, you're still wondering where you've been.

Bookstore Tourism: The Book Addict's Guide to Planning & Promoting Bookstore Road Trips for Bibliophiles & Other Bookshop Junkies

Bookstore Tourism: The Book Addict's Guide to Planning & Promoting Bookstore Road Trips for Bibliophiles & Other Bookshop Junkies - Larry Portzline Larry Portzline had a great idea: Help save struggling independent bookstores by promoting "Bookstore Tourism," the goal of which is to get booklovers to group up for road trips to nearby mega book hubs like Greenwich Village. He provides most of the necessary tools, and several recommendations for making a successful trip. He also provides a few examples of destinations. I would've preferred to see a much more extensive list of destinations (and one less eastern-centric). Also, a more detailed chapter on the bookstores themselves with brief descriptions of their histories and quirks would've added options, as well as fodder, for potential book-tourists. One idea that Portzline described that strongly resonated with me was that of "Bookcrossing:". Where people are encouraged to read a book and then leave it "out in the wild" for others to find and read before passing it on themselves, Participants are encouraged to record their transactions online so that the books may be tracked, creating a sort of world library. Lots of great book-related ideas around! Portzline promises an updated, and potentially more-detailed, next edition. I have high expectations for this version.


girls

girls - Nic Kelman, Iris Weinstein I came to this book as a result of a review I read that described it as a modern day "Lolita." It's not that. I'm not even sure I'd call it a novel. If it is a novel, it's emplotment is very complex. It is built around several longish vignettes-all between 5 and 16 pages-that are related by theme, if nothing else. The use of a second person narrator throughout often makes it difficult to determine whether he's talking about the same character. Most of the characters are very rich, and think themselves very powerful. It's only when he describes one of his contra characters, a photographer, for example, that you "know" he's describing the experiences of a different character. His preoccupation with using "maybe" and "perhaps," as if to avoid admitting any of his characters' crimes-- which is what sex with a sixteen year old is in most places-leads the reader to doubt whether he's faithfully describing events that actually occurred. In like manner, he often shifts, within the vignettes, from the second person narrator to the third. Between the vignettes, he uses a cornucopia of aphorisms and quotes from the Iliad, Odyssey and Aeneid to illustrate the timelessness of his themes-I guess, as sometimes the quotes don't fit with the events described. He also likes to describe the evolution of words like "love" and "cock," for example. It's during these often interesting interludes that one doubts that Kelman has written a novel, and not a Pillow Book a la Sei Shonagon. Several times I found myself chuckling at the pretentiousness of his "rich men," as I thought "all that money, and this is what they do with it? How pathetic!" It's clear Kelman is a talented writer, willing to experiment. I look forward to the time when he uses his talent on a subject with more depth, and less bodily fluids.

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood - James Gleick A wide-ranging exemplar of the History of Ideas, Gleick's "The Information" tells the compelling story of our Information Age. Focusing on fascinating characters such as Charles Babbage, and more particularly, the brilliant Claude Shannon, Gleick deftly weaves together the disparate strands of technology, cryptology and psychology that lead to his "Flood." Those familiar with the "Steampunk" world-view will find many common strands here. A solid math background, while not essential, certainly enhances the experience. I've now added Gleick's "Chaos" and his biography of Newton to my soon-to-be-read list.

For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire and the Secret Formula for the World's Favourite Drink

For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire and the Secret Formula for the World's Favourite Drink - Sarah Rose Ms. Rose has written a very interesting popular history, that would have been strengthened with more detailed discussions of several subjects: e.g., the relationship between tea and opium, the tea manufacturing process, the playing out of the demise of the East India Co., and the rise of the tea clippers. This book is really a brief intro to the China tea trade and the role that Robert Fortune played therein. I feel about this book the way Sarah Rose feels about the lack of a sufficiently detailed, and well-written history of the Honorable East India Company.

The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution

The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution - Keith J. Devlin "The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution" enthusiastically summarizes the little that is known about Leonardo of Pisa, later more famously called Fibonacci. Those who read medieval primary texts have become used to the dearth of direct evidence related to such texts, as well as the admirable, if Herculean, labors medievalists are forced to perform to prove the most basic biographical details. In the case of Leonardo of Pisa, the proof for his role in the "arithmetic revolution" has been fairly well-established, and is nicely summarized here. Well-known for his Fibonacci sequence, his greater contribution may have been the role he played in the transmission of arithmetic and algebra from Moslem North Africa to medieval Italy. Interestingly, this transmission appears to have proceeded along two tracks: First, in a formal, Latin primer on algebra--the famous Liber Abaci (1202)--via the educated elite, and second, through transmission to the Tuscan mercantile community in a format more suitable for the problems that would interest them via a lost primer--Di minor guisa--on commercial arithmetic for the "abbacus schools." Thus, Leonardo of Pisa seems to have played a significant role in both the rebirth of classical arithmetic and science, and the economic revolution that was already beginning to pull much of Italy into its cultural renaissance.

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier - Neil deGrasse Tyson Tyson is an eloquent spokesman for his "Cosmic Perspective." Though Space Chronicles is a non-book (i.e., a compilation of "15 years worth of commentaries"), it manages to include much useful information, packaged in bite-sized snippets. Those looking for a treatise on astrophysics, or a detailed rendition of the latest cosmologies will have to look elsewhere. This is popular science, the audience of which, appears to be the intelligent voting citizen. Tyson makes the case for NASA funding ad nauseum--figuring, I guess since the politicians don't have the brains to adequately fund science, that it is up to the semi-literate public to properly motivate them. He may be correct, and they could do worse in looking for a political primer on astronomical matters than this book.