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Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten
Twilight and Philosophy: Vampires, Vegetarians, and the Pursuit of Immortality - Rebecca Housel, J. Jeremy Wisnewski (From the introduction I offered to write for them, which they inexplicably turned down. Honestly, what's wrong with these people?)

The idea that everything is crap was familiar even to the Pre-Socratics. Anaximander's ομνικοπρος outlined the initial form of a theory eagerly embraced by so many of his contemporaries that Sophocles saw fit to satirize it in The Turds: our choice is between being a "worm", burrowing through the world's shit, or a "fly", perching precariously on top of it. But, at the end of the renowned Dialogue with Scato from the Phaedrus, the greatest philosopher of antiquity shows us a possible escape route. The metaphor of the lily growing from the dung-heap famously encapsulates Plato's counterargument.

In just the same way, the Cullen family also succeed in transcending "this crappy world".

The rest of this review is in my book What Pooh Might Have Said to Dante and Other Futile Speculations