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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

Whom God Would Destroy

Whom God Would Destroy - Commander Pants - Boy! What are you sniggering at?

- Uh, nothing sir.

- Exactly what kind of nothing would that be? Maybe the rest of the class could be enlightened?

- Uh, a book sir. Sorry sir.

- And who, pray, is the author of this book, which is evidently so much more amusing than an English lesson?

- Uh, Commander Pants sir.

- Don't be ridiculous, boy. Give it here. Ah, hm, I see that is his name.

- Yes sir.

- Boy, can you explain the difference between "it's", with an apostrophe, and "its" without?

- Ah, yes sir, with an apostrophe it means "it is" and without it means "of or belonging to it".

- I'm glad to discover that you occasionally pay attention in class. I fear your new favourite author was somewhat less attentive.

- Yes sir.

- Command Pants's magnum opus seems to be on the smutty side. I notice a startling number of occurrences of the word "cunt".

- Ah, sir, that's often used as an acronym, standing for Contact Undercover...

- Spare us the details, boy. Can you tell us what this book is about, apart from sex?

- Ah, well sir, it's actually more about religion and the nature of reality. I mean sir, how do we know that anything is real?

- Well boy, if nothing is real then you can comfort yourself with the thought that the detention which I am about to give you isn't real either.

- Well, yes sir, that's just it sir. Maybe you aren't real. Maybe I'm not real. Maybe this is all a dream. Maybe God is playing games with us. I mean, for all I know, we're both characters in some sketch someone's put together to amuse...

- Boy, have you been reading Philip K. Dick?

- No sir.

- Jorges Luis Borges?

- No sir.

- Douglas Adams?

- No sir. Just Commander Pants sir.

- Well boy, when you have finished it you may want to broaden your reading habits a little.

- Please sir, can I have it back sir?

- I shall return it to you tomorrow, boy. Now, I would like you all to open your copies of The Tempest to page 84, and write a short essay on the speech by Prospero that you'll find there. "Our revels now are ended."

- Sir?

- Please refrain from disturbing me, boy. Ah, that's what CUNT means.

- I'm sorry sir?

- Nothing, boy. Never mind. Continue.