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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


Saga - Tonino Benacquista Everyone in the francophone world seems to read Tonino Benacquista, but he still hasn't become at all well-known among English speakers. He's a great entertainer, and Saga is particularly likely to appeal to members of this site.

So here's how it starts. Four down-on-their-luck writers turn up for a job interview. For various legal reasons, the TV company has to screen 80 hours of French-language programming over the next few months. They want the writers to put together a soap for them. Pay is lousy, the production budget's going to be pretty limited too, but here's the upside: they can do anything they want.

"Anything?" ask the bemused writers.

"Well, yeah," says the scummy exec. "It's going to be aired at 3 am, so it doesn't matter. Have yourselves a ball. All we ask is that you deliver the material on time."

The writers grit their collective teeth, but the exec has called it right: they have no options at all, and this job, terrible as it is, is too good to pass up. But they can at least have some fun, right?

Of course, you've already guessed that the show becomes a hit. But that's just the first of many twists...