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7 years Ago

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Read in 2014)

Published by marco on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Read in 2014)

Published by marco on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1880) (Read in 2014)

Published by marco on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg (Read in 2014)

Published by root on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris (Read in 2014)

Published by root on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Read in 2014)

Published by root on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (read in 2014)

Published by root on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (read in 2014–2015)

Published by root on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco (Dec. 2009)

Published by marco on

This article is more a compendium of notes I took while reading this book. It includes citations I found interesting or enlightening of particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation. In others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to... [More]

Rushdie on adaptation and Slumdog Millionaire

Published by marco on

A fine pickle by Salman Rushdie (The Guardian)

“In an interview conducted at the Telluride film festival last autumn, Boyle, when asked why he had chosen a project so different from his usual material, answered that he had never been to India and knew nothing about it, so he thought this project was a great opportunity. Listening to him, I imagined an Indian film director making a movie about New York low-life and saying that he had done so because he knew nothing about New York and had indeed never been there. He would have... [More]”

8 years Ago

Books read in 2013

Published by marco on

11/22/63 (2011)

by Stephen King

King takes on the legends surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy in the context of his first time-travel story. In typical King fashion, time travel is made much more difficult than in other stories. Paradox is dispensed with by assigning malevolent intent to capital-T Time itself. Time has an agenda of its own—maintaining the one true time-line.

A young teacher befriends the owner of a diner, who has been diving into the past to get inexpensive... [More]

9 years Ago

The Next 100 Years (2009) by George Friedman

Published by marco on

I was recently given the book The Next 100 Years (2009) by George Friedman by a friend. After the first few dozen pages, I’d made so many quizzical notes that I had to look up the author, because I’d never heard of him. It turns out that he’s “the founder, chief intelligence officer, financial overseer, and CEO of the private intelligence corporation STRATFOR, a global intelligence company founded in 1996”, according to Wikipedia. That helped set the context for the book a bit better.

There... [More]

Books read in 2012

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Firstborn (2007)

by Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter

This is the final installment in the Time Odyssey trilogy (although the end of the book is quite a cliffhanger that indicates that Baxter is considering soldiering on on his own). The book incorporates almost every hard-science theme you can imagine, flitting from topic to topic and seeming to hurry through the story. It’s quite inconsistent in the way that they kept shuttling people all over the solar system when that’s obviously such a... [More]

10 years Ago

Bad Erotica for the Masses

Published by marco on

If scooping information from the madly bubbling froth of the U.S. media lies at all within your purview, you will no doubt have heard of the latest rage in American literature, called 50 Shades of Grey. A modicum of research reveals that the epithet literature is a good deal more generous a term than the referenced work earns.

It’s more commonly called “Mommy Porn”[1] which seems to be the designator that U.S. culture is going to use to indicate that reading poorly written soft-core pornography... [More]

Books read in 2011

Published by marco on

Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism that Changed the World (2005)

by John Pilger

This book contains the best—or most legendary—articles from the best journalists of the 20th century. They range from Martha Gellhorn’s reports on Dachau to Pilger’s own reports from the Killing Fields to Fisk’s peerless reporting from Iraq in the early 21st century. It’s highly recommended for anyone who cares about history—and getting their news from people who got it right when it was happening.

... [More]

11 years Ago

Movies Without Reviews

Published by marco on

I’ve been keeping track of the movies I watched for a couple of years now, but have only recently been adding mini-reviews[1] to each so I can remember (A) what it was about and (B) whether I liked it.

Since I’m no longer maintaining the old text file in which I kept this list, I’m dumping the list here.

2008 (or so)

  1. Monster (2003) — 8/10
  2. The Good Shepherd (2006) — 7/10
  3. Breach (2007) — 7/10
  4. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) — 7/10
  5. Eastern Promises (2007) — 9/10... [More]

Books read in 2010

Published by marco on

  1. Foucault’s Pendulum (1988) (second half) – Umberto Eco
  2. The Great War of Civilization (2005) – Robert Fisk (second half)
  3. Naked Pictures of Famous People (1998) – Jon Stewart
  4. The Drought (1965) – JG Ballard
  5. Drowned World (1962) – JG Ballard
  6. Spook Country (2007) – William Gibson
  7. Free Lunch (2007) – David Cay Johnston
  8. Stardust (1999) – Neil Gaiman
  9. Heat (2006) – George Monbiot
  10. Unbowed (2006) – Wangari Maathai
  11. Grieche sucht Griechin/Mister X macht Ferien/Zeitungswesen in der Steinzeit... [More]

Struggling through the Lost Symbol

Published by marco on

It was the start of the long week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and it was time to start a new book. A quick scan of the book shelf revealed many interesting candidates, but most of those were a bit more challenging than a week of this kind warranted. But look who’s hiding on one of the shelves: good ol’ Dan Brown.

This copy of The Lost Symbol had been obtained from the local Salvation Army secondhand shop for only a couple of bucks. I’d gotten Brown’s two other books in the same way,... [More]

12 years Ago

Notes on Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod by Bastian Sick

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In an effort to continue improving my German, I read the book mentioned in the title, which is a rollicking guide to the finicky nuance of the German language. A few years back, I read Eat, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, which effects a similar service for the English language. Another absolutely wonderful essay on the issue of usage and grammar is Tense Present: Democracy, English, and the wars over usage by David Foster Wallace (a few citations of which are documented on earthli News),... [More]

Citations from Heat by George Monbiot

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Heat is a very accessible book on the state of the world’s climate, energy and heating needs today and going into the future. The author sets himself the task of coming up with a plan for our planet that is economically, socially and climatologically viable. His express goal is to keep convenience and freedom as much like it is now as possible while reducing CO2 emissions by 90% across the board—domestic usage, air travel, industrial, transports, construction and so on.

He will not... [More]

Books read in 2009

Published by marco on

  1. The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006) – Michael Pollan
  2. Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (1995) – Gregory Maguire
  3. Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture (1992) – Jeremy Rifkin
  4. The Great War of Civilization (2005) – Robert Fisk (partial)
  5. Armed Madhouse (2006) – Greg Palast
  6. The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2007) – J.K. Rowling
  7. Rough Music (2005) – Tariq Ali
  8. Fahrenheit 451 (1953) – Ray Bradbury
  9. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004) – John Perkins
  10. The Good... [More]

Citations from Tense Present: Democrac...glish, and the wars over usage by DFW

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The full text of the article can be downloaded in PDF at In memoriam by David Foster Wallace (Harper's Magazine). All of the articles he published for that magazine are available there.

“A Democratic Spirit is one that combines rigor and humility, i.e., passionate conviction plus sedulous respect for the convictions of others. As any American knows, this is a very difficult spirit to cultivate and maintain; particularly when it comes to issues you feel strongly about. Equally tough is a D.S.‘s criterion of 100 percent intellectual... [More]”
Pages 41-42

Citations from "Ein Tag im Leben des I...issowitsch" by Alexander Solschenizyn

Published by marco on

These are just rough notes to accompany the citations; the book was in German, but yours truly does not yet feel comfortable enough with his grasp of that language’s grammar to formulate the accompanying notes and thoughts in it. So, English it is. Apologies to all those who can only read half.


This small book quickly—so quickly—establishes the gulag life as normal that one hardly notices how restricted and miserable the lives of the inmates actually were because Schuchow’s[1] attitude was... [More]

Fabio Viale’s Unique Marble Sculptures

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Fabio Viale’s Hyper-realistic sculptures are all marble, but of everyday objects and with exquisite detail. Click on the images for more detail. Check out the site for much more. (Including a marble boat!)

Citations from A Supposedly Fun Thing ...ever Do Again by David Foster Wallace

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“A problem with so many of us fiction writers under forty using television as a substitute for true espial, however, is that TV “voyeurism” involves a whole gorgeous orgy of illusions for the pseudo-spy, when we watch. Illusion (1) is that we’re voyeurs here at all: the voyees behind the screen’s glass are only pretending ignorance. They know perfectly well we’re out there. And that we’re there is also very much on the minds of those behind the second layer of glass, the lenses and monitors via... [More]”
From E Unibus Pluram, television and U.S. fiction, page 24

Citations from Siddharta by Hermann Hesse

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“[…] fern und leise rauschte die heilige Quelle, die einst nahe gewesen war, die einst in ihm selber gerauscht hatte. Vieles zwar, das er von de Samanas gelernt, das er von Gotama gelernt, das er von seinem Vater, dem Brahmanen, gelernt hatte, war noch lange Zeit in ihm geblieben: mäßiges Leben, Freude am Denken, Stunden der Versenkung, heimliches Wissen vom Selbst, vom ewigen Ich, das nicht Körper noch Bewußtsein ist. Manches davon war in ihm geblieben, eines ums andre aber war... [More]”
Seite 63

Citations from A Connecticutt Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

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“Seven-tenths of the free population of the country were of just their class and degree: small “independent” farmers, artisans, etc.; which is to say, they were the nation, the actual Nation; they were about all of it that was useful, or worth saving, or really respect-worthy, and to subtract them would have been to subtract the Nation and leave behind some dregs, some refuse, in the shape of a king, nobility and gentry, idle, unproductive, acquainted mainly with the arts of wasting and... [More]”
Page 81

13 years Ago

Four Short Book Reviews

Published by marco on

Rough Music: Blair, Bombs, Baghdad, London, Terror by Tariq Ali
Ali’s scathing recap of the Blair/New Labour era in British politics reminds the world that the British have just as much to answer for as the Americans when it comes to picking absolutely corrupt leaders. It’s a very short book, but packed with a very succinct rundown of the depths of Blair’s moral depravity – depths which brings him to the nadir once monopolized by good old “iron balls” Maggie Thatcher.
Beyond Beef: The Rise... [More]

Books read in 2008

Published by marco on

  1. A Widow for One Year (1998) – John Irving (second half)
  2. Bleachers (2003) – John Grisham
  3. The Glass Castle (2005) – Jeannette Walls
  4. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) – C.S. Lewis
  5. Tuesdays with Morrie (1997) – Mitch Albom
  6. Die Weisse Massai (2000) – Corrine Hofmann (de)
  7. The Kite Runner (2003) – Khaled Hosseini
  8. A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007) – Khaled Hosseini
  9. The Book of Saladin (1998) – Tariq Ali
  10. The Great Gatsby (1926) – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  11. More Tales of the City (1980) –... [More]

Citations from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

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“The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break, it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these, you can be sure it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.”
Page 178

'It is the body that is old. Sometimes I am afraid I will break off a finger as one breaks a stick of chalk. And the spirit is no older and not much wiser.‘

‘You are wise.’

‘No, that is the great... [More]

Page 187