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MannyRayner

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
Krapp's Last Tape - Samuel Beckett [Night. Interior. The REVIEWER, an elderly man, is seated alone in front of his laptop; a large screen above the stage shows that he is currently looking at the Goodreads page for "Krapp's Last Tape". Sounds of thunder, lightning, torrential rain from outside. The REVIEWER shakes his head, reaches into a drawer, changes his mind, reaches in again, takes out a banana, eats it. He continues to look at the same page. He takes out another banana and eats that too.]

REVIEWER: I've reviewed it eighteen times.

[He clicks his way to one of his reviews, which is clearly very long. As scrolls up and down, we see fragments of text:
A harsher Proust, in a major key and without the redemptive quality of art... reductio ad absurdum of the theatre of the absurd... distillation... semantics...
He jumps up and paces around the room.]

REVIEWER: Jesus Christ, what a fucking wanker. Did I really write that?

[He shakes his head]

REVIEWER: Wanker. Let's look at one of the autobiographical ones.

[He clicks to a second review:
I sat, looking at the stage, but more at my companion, who was leaning comfortably against me, sound asleep. I wondered if I should adjust her dress, which was showing a generous amount of cleavage; but in the end, I only smoothed her hair. She turned towards me and smiled, half pleased, half irritated. I couldn't tell if she was was still asleep.
The REVIEWER suddenly screams twice, then smiles at the audience.]

REVIEWER: Here's my first one.

[He clicks to another review. The whole text consists of the single line:
I DONT GET IT. BORING.
He shrugs.]

REVIEWER: Well, at least that's honest.

[He clicks back to the second review and scrolls down:
... I wondered if I should adjust her dress, which was showing a generous amount of cleavage; but in the end, I only smoothed her hair...
He starts shaking his head again.]

REVIEWER: I shouldn't have done that. She never liked me touching her hair.

[He starts to open another review, then suddenly closes the laptop.]

REVIEWER: Enough. I'm glad I don't have to do any more of those.

CURTAIN