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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
Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung - Mao Tse-tung, Lin Biao More or less on impulse, we went on a short trip today to see the Musée Suisse du Jeu in La Tour-de-Peilz. The setting is extraordinarily charming: it's an old castle on the shore of Lake Léman, not far from Montreux.

Musée Suisse du Jeu

Our excuse for visiting was a simultaneous Go exhibition being given by a German 3 Dan player. I hadn't played for a couple of years, so I asked for a three stone handicap and after many vicissitudes finally managed to win the game. The German guy was a good sport about it, considering that my position had been close to lost at one stage, and we spent a while chatting about Go-related trivia after the game.

He had a bunch of interesting anecdotes, the best of which related to the infamous Little Red Book. I already knew that Mao had been a keen Go player in his time. What I hadn't heard was that he apparently used Go metaphors and comparisons quite frequently. The translators had however all decided that a Western audience wasn't going to understand any of that stuff, so they chose to render them as chess terms instead. Since Go and chess are fundamentally different games, and many Go concepts have no chess counterpart, the result is often utterly nonsensical.

This seemed almost too good to be true, and I was amazed I'd never heard the story before... but he seemed very sure of his sources, and among other things claimed to speak decent Chinese. Can anyone confirm or deny it?