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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
Underworld - Don DeLillo I'm surprised to see how many people here had the exact same reaction I did. They start reading, they find a few bits that seem quite gripping and well-written, they lose momentum, and they stop. Some hypotheses:

- None of us are smart enough to get the point.

- There is a clear point, but you have to reach the end to discover what it is, and we didn't have the requisite fortitude. (Also, it must be like The Mousetrap: readers who find out are sworn not to reveal it).

- The point is that life feels this way if you're a certain kind of person, i.e. interesting in places but ultimately pretty meaningless.

- The book just isn't very good.

Now that I write it down, I do feel vaguely interested in discovering which of the above guesses is closest to the truth. But not interested enough to open it again.

When I try to imagine Untitled, the spectacularly unsuccessful novel that Richard writes in Martin Amis's The Information, I must admit that the first thing I think of is Underworld. At least DeLillo's book doesn't cause nose-bleeds, sinus headaches or inexplicable drowsiness. Okay, maybe the last one.