All posts tagged "what i'm reading"

Portrait of a neighbor (07 Nov 2016 | Tags: , , )

Spiritually, too, he passed for a typical Dorimarite; though, indeed, it is never safe to classify the souls of one's neighbors; one is apt, in the long run, to be proved a fool. You should regard each meeting with a friend as a sitting he is unwittingly giving you for a portrait - a portrait that, probably, when you or he die, will still be unfinished. And, though this is an absorbing pursuit, nevertheless, the painters are apt to end pessimists. For however handsome and merry may be the face, however rich may be the background, in the first rough sketch of each portrait, yet with every added stroke of the brush, with every tiny readjustment of the "values," with every modification of the chiaroscuro, the eyes looking out at you grow more disquieting. And, finally, it is your own face that you are staring at in terror, as in a mirror by candle-light, when all the house is still.

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Die, Die Harley, Die (11 Aug 2016 | Tags: , , , )

South African rappers Die Antwoord say the new Suicide Squad movie has jocked, or gijockan I suppose, their style. They're right, but … how could it possibly matter?

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The Hobbit in Esperanto, Chapter 6: Out of the Shtetl and Into the Goblin Army (15 May 2016 | Tags: , , )

The goblins in The Hobbit are smarter — or at least wittier — than their counterparts in The Lord of the Rings. They even improvise rhyming songs1:

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Books I finished in April, 2016 (09 May 2016 | Tags: )

As always, nothing I gave up on, nothing that's still in progress, just the books I finished.

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The Hobbit in Esperanto, Chapter 5: Riddles in the Translation (25 Apr 2016 | Tags: , , )

Christopher Gledhill translated the text of The Hobbit into Esperanto, but William Auld translated the poems.

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Gore jewels and otter payment (09 Apr 2016 | Tags: , )

I started Snorri Sturluson's Edda expecting rip-roaring Norse mythology. And there's some of that. But mostly, it's a thirteenth-century poetry course.

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The Hobbit in Esperanto, Chapter 4: Drawing the Line (08 Apr 2016 | Tags: , , )

Esperanto is fond of compound words — elsewhere in Chapter 4 the goblins ĝojkriis, "shouted for joy", while the dwarves' captured ponies kunpremiĝis, "huddled together" ("pushed themselves together"). Bilbo can't even egalpaŝi, "keep up" ("walk equally").

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Books I finished in March, 2016 (04 Apr 2016 | Tags: )


The Hobbit in Esperanto, Chapter 3: Esperanto Runes (18 Mar 2016 | Tags: , , )
It's like finding Elrond's yearbook picture
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The Hobbit in Esperanto, Chapter 2: In a Mutton Kind of Way (11 Mar 2016 | Tags: , , )

Last time I wrote about the Esperanto translation of The Hobbit, I mentioned Esperanto's trick of coining words out of long chains of smaller roots. There's plenty of that to appreciate in Chapter 2.

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The Hobbit in Esperanto, Chapter 1: An Unexpected Locomotive (03 Mar 2016 | Tags: , , )

1. I like reading books in translation. I like seeing the translator's choices, whether that's a turn of phrase that seems perfectly equivalent to the original - which isn't to say it was easy to do - or a surprising but logical change to make a poem or a riddle work out correctly. Translations give you a fresh view of familiar stories. Reading one is like getting to read a book for the first time all over again.

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Books I finished in February, 2016 (02 Mar 2016 | Tags: )

Just the books where I actually reached the last page, not the in-progress stacks on the nightstand.

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Beginner's Icelandic review (27 Feb 2016 | Tags: , , )

You can only lose your virginity once. And you can only learn Icelandic for the first time once.

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Teach Yourself Icelandic review (21 Feb 2016 | Tags: , , )

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Teach Yourself books. On the one hand, they are often the only textbook for less-commonly-taught languages, and I've appreciated the way they let you bootstrap up to more complicated books. On the other hand, Teach Yourself's quality control is spotty, and if there are two or three textbooks for a language, there's probably a better one.

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Books I finished in January, 2016 (05 Feb 2016 | Tags: , , , , )

Some friends are keeping logs of everything they read in 2016, and I joined the club. These are just books I finished, with one exception, so I don't have to keep adding the same books in progress month after month.

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Gerda disappears, but she never goes away (31 Jan 2016 | Tags: , , )

Claude Piron's Gerda Malaperis ("Gerda Vanished") is a rare treat – not because it’s an original Esperanto novel (there are loads of those), but because it's an instructional text that's both cleverly constructed and entertaining in its own right. And I just found out that someone filmed the whole thing!

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Cats in space - and Tennessee (03 Jan 2016 | Tags: , , , )

A friend bought me a used copy of Bill Fawcett's Cats in Space and Other Places anthology of cat stories, which clearly came from a cat-owning home, as Nekojii immediately set about rubbing his face on the pages. It's mostly famous stories by famous writers – Heinlein, Leiber, McCaffrey, Cordwainer Smith; familiar to SF readers but worth re-reading. (In fact, this anthology probably isn't the best place to discover a story like Arthur C. Clarke's "Who's There?", which wants readers to forget there's a cat in the story until the big twist, or C. J. Cherryh's "Chanur's Homecoming", a novel chapter that's incomprehensible without its context.)

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So they still live for all that love them well (30 Nov 2015 | Tags: , )

There's no scene where the narrator of My Dear Watson discovers that her husband, the great Doctor Watson himself, has been carrying on a decades-long love affair with Sherlock Holmes. But there is a scene where she chides Watson for forgetting what year a case took place. And that's the clue that tells you how to read the book.

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Caves, clubs, coconut aminos (18 Oct 2015 | Tags: , )

Gary Taubes's Good Calories, Bad Calories convinced me I'd be better off with a lot less sugar and flour in my life. His 1200 dense but readable pages set out the history of nutritional research – research that shows that fat isn't as bad for you as you've probably heard, and simple carbohydrates are a whole lot worse.

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