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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
A Book of Nonsense - Edward Lear I grew up reading A Book of Nonsense, which left me with a permanent weakness for limericks. (It's possible that there were other side-effects too). Here's my favourite Lear:
There was an old man of Thermopylae
Who never did anything properly
But they said, if you choose
To boil eggs in your shoes
You will never remain in Thermopylae!
I'm afraid I kept thinking of this all the way through 300, which did rather take the edge off it. Though to be honest, the art of the limerick has advanced significantly since Lear's pioneering efforts - a major breakthrough was realising that the first and last lines didn't have to end with the same word. Some more favourites:
There was a young fellow named Tate
Who dined with his girl, at 8.08
But I'd hate to relate
What that fellow named Tate
And his tête-à-tête ate at 8.08.

She frowned and called him Mr.
Because he boldly Kr.
And so in spite
That very night
That Mr. Kr. Sr.
(Non-Brits may have trouble with the next example)
There was a young curate from Salisbury
Whose manners were quite halisbury-scalisbury
Once morning in Hampshire
He took off his pampshire
Though his vicar had told him to walisbury
Last and, in a certain sense, least, I only discovered the following sequence of minimalist limericks very recently. I'm surprised it isn't more famous! First:
There was a young lady of Crewe
Whose limericks stopped at line two
Having read that, you'll hopefully appreciate the logical continuation:
There was a young man of Verdun
And then, of course there's the third one. It appears that limerick technology is still advancing...