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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
Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages - Ammon Shea - Have you come across a book called Reading the OED, Professor?

- Yes, I believe I leafed through it in bookshop once. Frightfully vulgar little volume. Do pass the port, there's a good fellow.

- By all means. And what fault did you find with it, if I may ask?

- Oh, the author attempted to entertain his readers with words he had found in the Oxford English, which he apparently believed were unusual and obscure. Some of his choices were, how shall I put it, a little surprising to me.

- Would you care to give us a few examples?

- Let me see. To begin with, "tricoteuse" and "introuvable"...

- He is writing for people who don't know French then.

- I am told that such people exist. "Zugzwang"...

- Not for people who know German either. Or chessplayers.

- Not ones who have ever read a chess book, at any rate. "Opsigamy"...

- I must confess I don't know that word.

- But I'm sure you can guess its meaning.

- Let me see. Opsi... that sounds familiar. The rabbit in Thomas Disch's Camp Concentration?

- You're getting warmer, young fellow.

- "Opsi" is short for "opsimath", one who learns late in life. Hence "opsigamy" is late marriage.

- Well done, sir! More port?

- Don't mind if I do, actually. Rather good, isn't it?

- Better than that dreadful book, anyway. Cheers!

- Cheers!