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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
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen: The Illustrated Novel (Applause Screenplay Series) - Terry Gilliam, Charles McKeown Don't read this book. Do see the marvellous film, which I have watched so many times that I virtually know it by heart. Here are some of my favourite bits of dialogue:

(Baron Munchausen meets the Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson, leader of the beseiged city)

JACKSON: You appear to have a rather weak grasp of reality.

MUNCHAUSEN: Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash, and I am pleased to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever!

(The Baron has persuaded the theatre company to build him a hot air ballon entirely constructed from women's underwear)

FIRST ACTOR: It's like the dawning of a new age! Of beautiful, intimate fings!

SECOND ACTOR: He's going to kill himself you know.

THIRD ACTOR: Yes, but what a way to go!

(The Baron and his followers have tied a rope around one end of the moon, and are trying to lower themselves back down to Earth)

MUNCHAUSEN: This is just the kind of thing that no one ever believes!

(The Baron has been introduced to the Goddess Venus, played by a radiant young Uma Thurman)

MUNCHAUSEN: Madame, I am overwhelmed! Your beauty surpasses even that of the late Catherine the Great of Russia, whose hand in marriage I once had the honour to decline.

VENUS: Baron, you flatter me!

MUNCHAUSEN: (Gazing at her d├ęcolletage) Not one jot, Madame! Not one tittle!

(The Sultan is about to cut off the Baron's head)

SULTAN: Any famous last words?

MUNCHAUSEN: Not yet.

SULTAN: (puzzled) "Not yet"? Is that famous?

(After an exceptionally confusing reversal of fantasy and reality)

MUNCHAUSEN: And that is merely one of the many times I have died! An experience I do not hesitate most heartily to recommend.