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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


Gigi - Colette 15 year old Gigi is being groomed to become a courtesan. I loved the following passage, where her tante Alicia, a great courtesan herself in her day, is evaluating Gigi's chances with her usual objectivity:

- Fais attention à ce que je te dis : tu peux plaire. Tu as un petit nez impossible, une bouche sans style, les pommettes un peu moujikes...

- Oh! tante! gémit Gilberte.

- ... mais tu as de quoi t'en tirer avec les yeux, les cils, les dents et les cheveux, si tu n'es pas complètement idiote. Et pour le corps...

Elle coiffa de ses paumes en conque la gorge de Gigi et sourit :

- Projet... Mais joli projet, bien attaché. Ne mange pas trop d'amandes, ça alourdit les seins.

I've never read anywhere else that eating almonds can have this effect. I wonder if she made it up?