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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
1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up - Julia Eccleshare, Quentin Blake All rules have exceptions, and here's a stellar example of that principle: other titles I've seen in this series have varied between dull and nauseating, but this one is absolutely terrific.

I spent an hour leafing through it this afternoon, and I was blown away by the brilliant selection. It's wonderfully balanced, and if the editors have any prejudice I didn't spot what it was. They have all the obvious old classics - Alice in Wonderland, Winnie-the-Pooh, Little Women - and all the new ones - Harry Potter, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Twilight. But they've also found an absolute wealth of more or less obscure books, including most of my Swedish favorites. These are people with enough taste and judgement that they don't think it's redundant to include Pippi Långstrump and Bröderna Lejonhjärta, or Kometen Kommer and Hur Gick Det Sen?, or Godnatt Alfons Åberg and Alfons och Odjuret. They have Tomi Ungerer's Crictor, die gute Schlange and la Comtesse de Ségur's Les malheurs de Sophie. They even had 100万回生きたねこ, a book I've unsuccessfully been trying to locate for years. Wow. Impressed doesn't begin to cover it.

I only have one criticism: somehow, they've managed to omit Ainsi va la vie. How is this possible, when they do have the vastly inferior Titeuf?? I will write and ask them. Maybe I can get them to include it in the next edition.