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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
Eternity - Greg Bear I saw positive references to Eon, the first book in the series, in Brian Aldiss's Trillion Year Spree, and I bought it before a long flight. I think I had read most of it, or even all of it, before I arrived in California. It was pretty dull, but somehow I bought the second one too, and it was even duller. Chris was saying the other day that Bear reminded him of Asimov. I don't disagree, though I think I'm even more reminded of A.E. van Vogt, whom Damon Knight memorably described as "a pygmy writer working on a giant typewriter". All these zillions of years and squillions of parsecs, and it's about as inspiring as the back of a cereal packet.

But if I've given the impression that these books are useless, I'd like to correct that. Nothing could be further from the truth. I got back from my trip, and discovered that two castors had somehow come off the living room couch. We put Eon and Eternity underneath it, and they were exactly the right size to keep it level - they stayed there for several years, until we got around to buying a new couch, and we never had a minute of trouble with them. It's often like that. You just have to interpret the book in the right way, and not expect the impossible.