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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
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick I felt intimidated by the idea of reviewing Hugo Cabret, and wondered if anyone would help me. Luckily, the cast of Terry Gilliam's 1989 movie The Adventures of Baron Munchausen were delighted to come to my rescue. Here are some selected comments:


The Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson

I do not approve of this absurd confection, which even the most cursory glance will reveal to be utterly lacking in rationality. A small boy cannot hide in the walls of a station and tend its clocks; a clockwork automaton cannot write a lengthy novel, complete with pictures; and even the author admits that his portrait of a distinguished French film-maker is, I regret to say, entirely the product of his deplorable imagination. People who flout these elementary principles are liable to come to a very sticky end. Now I am afraid I have important business which I must attend to. Thank you and good day.


Baron Munchausen

You say you are impressed by the meticulous craftsmanship, loving execution and unusual plot. I concede that my diverse adventures - trips to the Moon, routing the Turkish army, and other such trifles - have hitherto prevented me from demonstrating my own literary talents. Nonetheless, I wager that I can, within the hour, create a graphic novel which in every way is far superior to this one. If I fail, you may cut off my head. These are my terms: what are yours?


Sally Salt

If I did have a brother, I wish he was like Hugo. And if I had a sister, I wish she was like Isabelle. And I think Uncle Georges is a bit like the Baron.

Paris looks very pretty. Next time we go there, I won't just stay in the theater all the time.


The Goddess Venus

Mr. Selznick, what a handsome mustache. Shall we... dance?