Book Report: Sacrifice (Age of Bronze collection vol 2)
It's another volume of Eric Shanower's great comic adaptation of the Iliad. Learn the strange story of Telephus. Feel even queasier about the fate of Iphigenia as you put a face to the name. See wonderfully-rendered drawings of people wearing historically accurate funny hats.
Book Report: the Founding Fish
John McPhee writes about shad. Shad are fish. That description should make you want to read this book. Go. Go! Maybe you read his shad articles in the "New Yorker". Maybe you think "Surely I now know everything that I could ever want to know about shad". You must, as a responsible scientist, test this hypothesis; you will find it to be false.
This book is about shad. It's the life of a shad, the life of a shad fisherman, shad's place in history, shad's place in the food chain. It's conversations with tackle-makers, biologists, fisher-folk, and ordinary citizens.
Why are you still reading this book report. Why have you not run to your local bookstore and purchased this book? Go. Go!
Between the time I read this book and the time I got around to posting this book report, I read a comic book about Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth. That comic book does not mention that Booth was aided in his flight from justice by shad fishermen. McPhee mentions this. McPhee has the good stories. Go read McPhee.
(Though, now that I think about it, McPhee's book could benefit from some illustrations by Rick Geary, who did that comic book. But there is not much use wishing for books that do not exist, unless you are willing to become a book publisher. And that way lies ruin.)
Have you read the book yet? Go. Go!
Meme: Banned Books
Here's a list of the top 110 banned books. Bold the ones you've read. Italicize the ones you've read part of. Put an exclamation point by the ones you've never heard of before. Read more. Convince others to read some. (Meme via Journeywoman)
#1 The Bible
#2 Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
#3 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
#4 The Koran
#5 Arabian Nights
#6 Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
#7 Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
#8 Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
#9 Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
#10 Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
#11 The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
#12 Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
#13 Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
#14 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
#15 Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
#16 Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
#17 Dracula by Bram Stoker
#18 Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
#19 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
#20 Essays by Michel de Montaigne - !
#21 Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
#22 History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
#23 Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
#24 Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
#25 Ulysses by James Joyce
#26 Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio - !
#27 Animal Farm by George Orwell
#28 Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
#29 Candide by Voltaire
#30 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
#31 Analects by Confucius
#32 Dubliners by James Joyce
#33 Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
#34 Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
#35 Red and the Black by Stendhal
#36 Das Kapital by Karl Marx
#37 Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire - !
#38 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
#39 Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
#40 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
#41 Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
#42 Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
#43 Jungle by Upton Sinclair
#44 All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
#45 Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
#46 Lord of the Flies by William Golding
#47 Diary by Samuel Pepys - !
#48 Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
#49 Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
#50 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
#51 Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
#52 Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
#53 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
#54 Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus - !
#55 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
#56 Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X - !
#57 Color Purple by Alice Walker
#58 Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
#59 Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke - !
#60 Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison - !
#61 Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
#62 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - !
#63 East of Eden by John Steinbeck
#64 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
#65 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
#66 Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau - !
#67 Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais - !
#68 Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
#69 The Talmud
#70 Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau - !
#71 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - !
#72 Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence - !
#73 American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser - !
#74 Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
#75 Separate Peace by John Knowles
#76 Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
#77 Red Pony by John Steinbeck - !
#78 Popol Vuh
#79 Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith - !
#80 Satyricon by Petronius - !
#81 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
#82 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
#83 Black Boy by Richard Wright
#84 Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Second et Baron de Montesquieu - !
#85 Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
#86 Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George - !
#87 Metaphysics by Aristotle - !
#88 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
#89 Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin - !
#90 Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
#91 Power and the Glory by Graham Greene - !
#92 Sanctuary by William Faulkner - !
#93 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
#94 Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
#95 Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig - !
#96 Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
#97 General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud
#98 Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
#99 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown
#100 Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess - !
#101 Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines - !
#102 Emile Jean by Jacques Rousseau - !
#103 Nana by Emile Zola - !
#104 Chocolate War by Robert Cormier - !
#105 Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin - !
#106 Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - !
#107 Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
#108 Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck - !
#109 Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark - !
#110 Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Book Report: The Hero's Walk
Anita Rau Badami wrote this family drama set in an India in transition. It's a difficult read because so many of the characters waste so much effort being mean to each other. You grit your teeth at them. But by the time you're done, you can say, "Yes, it's set in an India in transition" and nod wisely as if you've gained some insight into something.
Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere
I walked from U.C. Berkeley towards the BART station. I was at the tail end of a comics and library run. I'd picked up a few good books, and many good comics.
So my pack was heavy and it was hot and I directed my steps to a boba tea place--I was ready to sit down and drink something cold. Sitting at a table was Ian Tullis of the team Kittens Kittens Kittens. He was writing something in a notebook. I asked him if he was getting ready for BANG 10.
He wasn't. That made sense--Kittens Kittens Kittens was running BANG 10 the next day. But I'd play-tested a few of their puzzles a few days earlier, and they seemed to have their act together.
But he said he was working on puzzles. So I guess if Kittens Kittens Kittens runs any more puzzle hunts, they'll be ready.
Book Report: A Storm of Swords
Book Report: Innocents Aboard
Book Report: Consider the Oyster
Holy moly, M.F.K. Fisher sure could write. I don't want to eat oysters, but I could read Fisher's writings about oysters all day. Except I can't really, because this was just a short little book. But it was full of poetry. Not poetry as in poems, those awful things. This was poetry as in prose that sings.
Apparently, she's a well-known food writer. I think I should seek out more of her stuff.
What would you do if you had a time machine? Some people would go back in time to kill Hitler. Some would visit with Buddha and ask for clarification on a few topics. Me, I would scoop up M.F.K Fisher and John McPhee and send them to an appropriate time so that they could write about the dawn of the Mission-style burrito.
Link: Parallel Analysis with Sawzall
People ask me what I do at work. I did not write the academic paper Interpreting the Data: Parallel Analysis with Sawzall (Pike, Dorward, Griesemer, Quinlan 2005). But I did revise the tutorial for the described system/language.
(The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.)
Book Report: The Cruise of the Acheron
Sheila Natusch did a lot of research tracking down logs and reports for this description of "her majesty's steam vessel on survey in New Zealand waters 1848-51". She figured out that two documents in two libraries on two continents were in fact two ripped-asunder halves of one whole document.
The voyage itself is probably only of interest if you want to read about a ship sailing around colonial New Zealand. There are interactions with colonists. There are observations of natives. I occasionally enjoy reading about that sort of thing. You might not not. I liked the fact that the captain was named Stokes and it was a steam vessel, yes I did.