Recommended Read: The Boy on the Bridge (The Girl with All the Gifts #2) – M.R. Carey

The Boy on the Bridge (The Girl with All the Gifts #2) - M.R. Carey Notes: Although, this book is classed as the second book in the Girl with All the Gifts series, this story precedes The Girl with All the Gifts (TGWATG) by around 20 years. The great thing about the original TGWATG story was how it developed slowly, revealing its world bit by bit as the story progressed. When I read it, I had no idea what it was about. All I knew is that many people whose opinions I respected were highly recommending it. In fact, if…

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A Domestic Goddess

Obviously, it was not what was originally envisaged. But, as you probably know, very few of these things are, especially not if that original envisaging is mostly instigated through the medium of advertising. Once an old advertising slogan went along the lines of ‘it does what it says on the tin.’ Mostly though, things have a tendency not to, especially these days. After all, most of us know that advertising doesn’t work and we know that we – in particular – are too wise to fall for its blandishments. We have seen it all, by now, and seen through all…

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A Real World Out There?

This world is not the world I remember. It has been some years, how many I do not know. But it goes beyond that. Changes over the time I’ve been away I could expect and understand. But this – these changes – go beyond mere alterations made by the passage of time. Something fundamental is different from this world to the one I left behind. It should be a matter of subtracting the year I left this world from the current one to give me an idea of how much time I lost while I was… away. But the calendar…

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Recommended Read: How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking – Jordan Ellenberg

How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking - Jordan Ellenberg Notes: This is an excellent and thought provoking book about mathematics and its application to everyday life. It begins with a fine example of its subject matter when Ellenberg describes how a mathematician, Abraham Wald, helped the US air force solve a problem. The problem was where was the best place to add armoured reinforcement to the air force’s bombers. Applying armour to the entire plane would make it too heavy to fly, so they had to find the place where armour would have the most effect.…

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The Sensual Mathematician

It is usually not until after the age of puberty that we realise just how sexy the number 7 is. After that, it seems we become obsessed with mathematics and seeing numbers in all their naked glory. Back in the days before the internet how many of us used to lie under the bedcovers at night with a torch and a book of six figure logarithmic tables, despite the warnings from our elders and maths teachers that it could make us go blind. Then there were the dreams of simultaneous equations and vulgar fractions that made us wake hot, sweaty…

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No More Stories

It used to be so easy. I would find the women. I would discover their closely-guarded secret. Then I would weave a story around that one thing they desired more than anything else. I would tell them the story I’d made for them. They would show their gratitude, happy someone had come along into their lives and shown them something beyond their small world. It was easy travelling from village to village, making up stories to tell to those who needed to hear them. Being a mere storyteller meant that the outlaws ignored me, at least until they needed someone…

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Recommended Read: The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) – William Shakespeare

The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare, Stanley Wells (Editor), Gary Taylor (Editor)   Notes: I’ve read all the way through this about three or four times now, and I’m currently reading it again, on and off. Each time I read it I find more reasons to come back to it again. There is a great deal in the book beyond the texts of the plays and poems that is also fascinating. See the synopsis below. As a physical book, it is a bit unwieldy because of its size, but as an ebook it is much more manageable.  …

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How Cheese Made Civilisation Possible

Many people these days are familiar with how evolutionary psychology has shaped the human mind. For back in the early years, when humans were small groups of hunter gatherers, there was little or no naturally occurring cheese to be found. Those who did discover the natural cheese deposits began to mine it and develop the various stone tools that archaeology has shown were used to mine the cheese. Although rather primitive by today’s cheese mining technology, those early stone tools enabled many of these small bands of hunter-gatherers to settle in places where the cheese could be mined. Originally, archaeologists…

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The Shadow Dancer

Sadjil was a Shadow Dancer. We met – if met is the right word – one night back in the Year of the Green Death. I was walking the streets unable to sleep. I’d lost my ability to dream after a bout of the sickness that bought the Green Death. Without my dreams to sell I had no money left to buy a place to sleep, and since the Green Death had taken my wife and children I had no wish to call any place home. I walked both the days and the nights in that part of the city…

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Recommended Read: The Siege of Trencher’s Farm – Gordon Williams

The Siege of Trencher's Farm - Gordon Williams Notes: The first time I read this – many years ago, probably in the late 1970s – I had no idea that this was the book that infamous film of my youth Straw Dogs was based on. I saw the film before I read the book, and as I read on I slowly came to see the connection. However, the book is much, much better than the film. A far more involved story of greater depth and subtlety than the film, which goes for action and visual effect than the more psychological…

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