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MannyRayner

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
Armer Pettersson - Sven Nordqvist A charming Swedish children's book about depression. Pettson is an eccentric farmer who lives alone with his manic cat Findus - there is a whole series, and one can safely assume that this won't be the first time the reader has met them. Usually Pettson is no worse than grumpy and a little out of it, but now he's suddenly got no energy at all. He sits listless and dejected, with a symbolic rain cloud hovering over his head. (The artwork tends to be on the magical realist side). Findus does his best to cheer him up with his usual mad antics, but all that happens is that Pettson yells at him. This shocks both the man and the cat. Pettson apologises, but then just reverts to his apathetic state.

But Findus isn't beaten yet. He knows exactly what Pettson needs, and starts a clever campaign to persuade him that he should take his boat and go fishing on the lake. Fishing, Pettson! Fishing is funnnn!!! My favourite picture is the one where the cat is sitting in the washing-up bowl and pretending it's the boat, as he play-acts fishing on the living room floor and catches imaginary pike out of the rug.

After a while, he coaxes a grudging smile out of the farmer. Aha! It's starting to work! And, sure enough, Pettson laboriously hauls himself out of his chair and gets his fishing rod. They set off through the late October forest with Findus in Pettson's backpack and go down to the water.

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As they sit in the boat, Findus notes to his satisfaction that Pettson is now almost back to his usual self. He doesn't need to do anything else - the sunlight and fresh air will take care of it for him. And, indeed, when they set off home with two freshly-caught perch, everything is okay again.

You will gather that SAD is a big problem in Sweden, and kids need to learn about it early on.