31/08/2018

Reading - August 2018

The Chandler's Ford Story by Barbara Hillier & Gerald Ponting (2005)
Short history of the town, but then the place is not particularly old. At one point it says that "generations of schoolchildren" have been told how the body of King William II, also known as William Rufus, was carried up our road on its way to Winchester. But, given that the oldest school was established in 1881, it can't have been more than four or five generations. Interesting if you live here though!
The Economist (4 August 2018)
Troublesome Words by Bill Bryson (1984)
Short, but informative and useful. Bryson explains in clear, non-technical terms how phrases and words should be used. He's broadly in favour of retaining words that provide useful distinctions, even if those are minor. He also points out that language changes, and so it would be interesting to consider how it has changed since this book was written. For example, under "data", he notes that the "shift is clearly in the direction of treating data as a singular", which is clearly now true; although I was amused to notice that The Economist still treats it as plural, and sounds silly for doing so.
The Guitar Magazine (Vol 20 No 12)
Marshall's new Origin amps, Lowden's GL-10 electric guitar.
Cider With Roadies by Stuart Maconie (2003)
For some reason I had it in my head that I hadn't read this for years, and reading it again didn't make me change that opinion. But according to my records it was only four years ago. Although I enjoyed the book (again), it clearly isn't that memorable!
The Economist (11 August 2018)
Brother Ray by Ray Charles & David Ritz (1978 / 2004)
The first time I read this, it was a copy borrowed from the Central Library in Manchester, and someone had laboriously gone through the entire book and carefully scribbled out every single swear word or offensive (to them) phrase. Given the way the book is written, which is very much in Ray Charles's own voice, this meant there were barely any pages left untouched by the mystery censor. Nevertheless, it didn't take away from the story, which is superbly enjoyable; so it has been a real pleasure to come back to it thirty years later - this time, thankfully, in unsullied form. It really is a remarkable story, even if the author is perhaps liable to painting himself in a favourable light, and entertainingly told.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (2003)
Part diatribe against lax punctuation, part guide to improving it, and nicely light in tone. I think my job - writing code - gives me a preference for precision in language and so this book appeals to the pedant in me.
The Economist (18 August 2018)
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)
Having enjoyed the film, despite its differences to the book (watching on an enormo-screen in 3D probably helped), and then again on DVD recently, I thought I should revisit the novel for the first time in a couple of years. Still great, more satisfyingly retro and geeky than the ever-so-slightly generic film, and obviously with both a good and romantic ending.
The Economist (25 August 2018)
Reel History: The World According To The Movies by Alex von Tunzelmann (2015)
An amusing and insightful, if necessarily somewhat selective, wonder through the history books as perceived via the lens of Hollywood. Obviously showing up the more egregious lies and mistakes is way more fun, but one is left with the view that most historical films are mainly complete rubbish. Also, I don't think she likes Mel Gibson much.

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