Things To Get

This is a list of media-type things i intend to buy, borrow, lend, and/or steal. My interest in these varies considerably, some of the following items are in the ``may be fun'' category, while others are at the forefront of my conscience 24 hours a day ;-)

As usual, entries may contain material snarfed from the net.

The language is extremely mixed.

Eckhard Henscheid: "Welche Tiere und warum das Himmelreich erlangen können. Neue theologische Studien". Verlag Philipp Reclam jun., 181 S., geb., 34,80 DM Hab ne Rezension in der taz gelesen und mich gekringelt. ``Das Buch ist mit seiner subtilen Kasuistik, die etwa dem Nacktwombat die ewige Seligkeit mit guten Argumenten verwehrt, seinem Vetter, dem niedlich behaarten Haarnasenwombat aber - mindestens - ausgezeichnete Chancen einräumt, eine wahre Schule der Differenzierung, einer Fähigkeit mithin, die zumal in Zeiten postmoderner Beliebigkeit zunehmend ins Hintertreffen gerät und ergo geübt werden muß, damit wir nicht alle der Marcusischen Eindimensionalität und am Ende -fältigkeit anheimfallen. Ob allerdings der Nacktmull tatsächlich schon bloß seiner Nacktheit wegen so eindeutig des Teufels ist, wage ich zu bezweifeln. ''
The Language Instinct
I just saw the umpteenth reference to it. Hey, I want to be in the in!
``A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language,'' Randolf Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik, Longman Inc., New York, 1986
"It's about 2000 pages, full of the most interesting counterexamples. About $80. Longman has an 800 number in White Plains, NY, as I recall. The book will defeat any inclination implement natural language processing."
Peter Hoeg: Smilla's Sense of Snow
urspruenglich Daenisch, krimi, groenland?!, andere buecher besser?

"The Importance of Living" by Lin Yu-Tang
This book made an enormous impression on me as he had a section on 
i	The joys of scratching
ii	his ideal bed
iii	talking with friends
I think I've heard or read about this book somewhere else, long ago... it is too expensive right now, as the only edition I could find was
               Title: The Importance of Living
              Author: Yutang, Lin
           Publisher: Buccaneer Books
            Date Pub: 06/91
             Binding: Hardcover Text
                ISBN: 089966766X
          Price U.S.: $31.95

The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis", Joe Morgenstern, The New Yorker, vol. LXXI, no. 14, May 29, 1995, pp. 45-53
on a architecture/statics crisis; similarities to SE problems

Dawkins, R., Gaps in the Mind; in Cavalieri, P. and Singer, P. (ed.), The Great Ape Project, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1993.
Judging from the following excerpt, another fascinating read:
``The lawyer would be surprised and, I hope, intrigued by so-called 'ring species'. The best-known case is herring gull versus lesser black-backed gull. In Britain these are clearly distinct species, quite different in colour. Anybody can tell them apart. But if you follow the population of herring gulls westward round the North Pole to North America, then via Alaska across Siberia and back to Europe again, you will notice a curious fact. The 'herring gulls' gradually become less and less like herring gulls and more and more like lesser black-backed gulls until it turns out that our European lesser black-backed gulls actually are the other end of a ring that started out as herring gulls. At every stage around the ring, the birds are sufficiently similar to their neighbours to interbreed with them. Until, that is, the ends of the continuum are reached, in Europe. At this point the herring gull and the lesser black-backed gull never interbreed, although they are linked by a continuous series of interbreeding colleagues all the way round the world.


Let us imagine [setting up a chain] along the equator, across the width of our home continent of Africa. It is a special kind of chain, involving parents and children, and we will have to play tricks with time in order to imagine it. You stand on the shore of the Indian Ocean in southern Somalia, facing north, and in your left hand you hold the right hand of your mother. In turn she holds the hand of her mother, your grandmother. Your grandmother holds her mother's hand, and so on. The chain wends its way up the beach, into the arid scrubland and westwards on towards the Kenya border.

How far do we have to go until we reach our common ancestor with the chimpanzees? It is a surprisingly short way. Allowing one yard per person, we arrive at the ancestor we share with chimpanzees in under 300 miles... The ancestor is standing well to the east of Mount Kenya, and holding in her hand an entire chain of her lineal descendants, culminating in you standing on the Somali beach.

The daughter that she is holding in her right hand is the one from whom we are descended. Now the arch-ancestress turns eastward to face the coast, and with her left hand grasps her other daughter, the one from whom the chimpanzees are descended (or son, of course, but let's stick to females for convenience). The two sisters are facing one another, and each holding their mother by the hand. Now the second daughter, the chimpanzee ancestress, holds her daughter's hand, and a new chain is formed, proceeding back towards the coast. First cousin faces first cousin, second cousin faces second cousin, and so on. By the time the folded-back chain has reached the coast again, it consists of modern chimpanzees. You are face to face with your chimpanzee cousin, and you are joined to her by an unbroken chain of mothers holding hands with daughters. If you walked up the line...and down again the other would nowhere find any sharp discontinuity. Daughters would resemble mothers just as much (or as little) as they always do. Mothers would love daughters, and feel affinity with them, just as they always do.

Our chain of African apes, doubling back on itself, is in miniature like the ring of gulls round the pole, except that the intermediates happen to be dead. The point I want to make is that, as far as morality is concerned, it should be incidental that the intermediates are dead. What if they were not? What if a clutch of intermediate types had survived, enough to link us to modern chimpanzees by a chain, not just of hand-holders, but of interbreeders? Remember the song, 'I've danced with a man, who's danced with a girl, who's danced with the Prince of Wales'? We can't (quite) interbreed with modern chimpanzees, but we'd need only a handful of intermediate types to be able to sing: 'I've bred with a man, who's bred with a girl, who's bred with a chimpanzee.'

Randolph M. Nesse, M.D., and George C. Williams, Ph.D., _Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine_, 1994, Times Books, New York; ISBN 0-8129-2224-7. The posted price is $24.00, but I got a copy for substantially less. If your library has it, the call numbers should be either R723.N387 or 610.1.
From the dustjacket:
We inhabit bodies of exquisite design with near-miraculous capabilities. Why, then, are we plagued by a thousand flaws and frailties that make us vulnerable to disease? If evo- lution by natural selection can shape organs as sophisticated as our eyes, hearts, and brains, why hasn't it shaped ways to prevent nearsightedness, heart attacks, and Alzheimer's dis- ease? If our immune systems can recognize and attack a mil- lion foreign proteins, why do we still succumb to pneumonia? If our DNA can reliably code for ten trillion specialized cells, why can't we grow a replacement for a damaged finger? If we can live a hundred years, why not two hundred? Why do we need to sleep? Why does sex exist, and why does it so of- ten cause problems?
And yes, the book does answer the question "Why do we sometimes choke on a piece of food?" For the benefit of Richard Sharpe, Jeffrey Shallit, and Kermyt Anderson, this is the best new book I've read so far this year.

-- Herb Huston

Of course many of these questions are answered in Dawkins' books, but it is still interesting to see an application of the 'selfish gene' paradigm to medicine.

               Title: Why We Get Sick : The New Science of Darwinian
              Author: Nesse, Randolph M., M.D./Williams, George C., Ph.D.
           Publisher: Time Life
            Date Pub: 01/95
             Binding: Trade
                ISBN: 0812922247
          Price U.S.: $24.00

umberto eco: die perfekte sprache
ich warte aufs pb. seine Sachbücher sind ziemlich dense, und eher Pflicht als Kür für mich. Im (deutschen) Books-In-Print (die 94/95er Ausgabe, sollte aktuell genug sein) hab ich nur die eine Hardcover-Ausgabe gesehen (Hanser war es glaub ich; und die verlangen immer gleich 49.- oder ähnlich horrende Summen.) aber das thema fasziniert mich nun mal, und letztendlich ist _alles_ von ihm lesenswert.

CS Friedman: _When True Night Falls_
continues "black sun rising"

Guy Gavriel Kay: _Fionavar Tapestry_
``Reading something really exceptional has often caused me to purge the merely mediocre which pale by comparison. The most extreme case of this was when I was living in Harrow in 1987 and read the Guy Gavriel Kay _Fionavar Tapestry_. It led to me getting rid of virtually all my other fantasy, almost none of which has been replaced.'' (jo walton)

tom robbins:
Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (44;- urgs!)

imaginary homelands (essays on literature)

Will Cuppy: The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody
``But you should read Will Cuppy's _The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody_, or, at least, the chapter on Attila. It is funny. While hardly new, Cuppy was downright persnickety about his research, and tends to be accurate even when humorous.''

``I've taken to rereading books for the first time in a while. Will Cuppy's _The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody_ is still worth a lot of laughs for his keen observations on the ludicrousness of the behavior of great men and women in history, and the historians responsible (at least in part) for their current reputation. I noticed this time, however, Cuppy's even-handedness with respect to gender. That is, a lot of great women pass through this book (Hatshepsut, Cleopatra, Godiva, etc.) with chapters of their own. But that isn't all. Cuppy keeps up a running commentary on what various historians have had to say about the behavior of these people, that is, of a judgmental nature, and Cuppy tends to nail double standards as that. It contributes a lot to the charm of the book, as it isn't done in a screechy way at all. I mean, "Now, really." directed at Gibbon for accusing Honoria of "indecent advances" for proposing to Attila _really_ can't be called screechy, now, can it?

And it's wonderfully well-researched. ''

Paul Auster: (the new york trilogy)
``You know of any others writers who are similar to Banks? I've bought a couple of Paul Auster's novels, which have a similar feel about them. THE NEW YORK TRILOGY is a series of 3 novellas set in, not surprisingly, New York. The author himself assumes the narrative voice in each. I can't say too much about them without giving a lot of stuff away -- each story starts off quite harmlessly, but gradually spirals into a complex web of disturbing mystery & paranoia. Psychological thrillers, you might call them. I've also bought IN THE COUNTRY OF LAST THINGS and MR VERTIGO, but haven't read them yet. They're both meant to be better than NYT, so I should be in for a treat. ''

(?) Weller: "Science Made Stupid: the Discomprehension of Everyday Things", and "Cvltvre Made Stvpid: A Misguided Tour of Illiterature, Fine and Dandy Arts, and the Subhumanities"
``Weller's inimitable humor bears a periodic reread very well; I get more out of it every time (the Escrow joke for the black hole finally made sense, for example).

If you've never seen these, take yourself off to the humor section of a largish bookstore and look for a couple of tall, skinny paperbacks. _Science Made Stupid: the Discomprehension of Everyday Things_ is a tour of the history and practice of the sciences, including particle physics and dinosaurs. Cut out and use your own Personal Planetarium. Learn how to build your own nuclear reactor in a plastic garbage can with some sand, pvc piping, water and uranium. And so on.

Then, progress to _Cvltvre Made Stvpid: A Misguided Tour of Illiterature, Fine and Dandy Arts, and the Subhumanities_. In addition to explaining the mysteries of cinema and bookbinding, Weller provides some excellent tips on how to get more for your money, cvltvre-wise. But wait! There's more! Names of composers and artists you can teach your dog and cat!

I got the Bassinette/Massenet joke in the opera section. Finally. I figure, some day, I'm going to reread these and laugh uproariously all the way through, and I will then consider myself Truly Educated.

Ah, well.

Highly, highly, highly recommended.

'' (Rebecca Crowley)

(there are supposed to be two successors to the "werevolves of london", which i really liked. The horror and magic run from lovecraftian to matter-of-factly. The figures are rather believable. The "secret history of the world" is a nice background) (09.01.96) the second one is called "The Angel of Pain", the third (1 year old now) "Carnival of Destruction". on the latter, a comment:
It's been out in hardcover for a while; I got it from the local library last fall. It's...unexpected. The nature of the universe turns out to not really be what _anyone_ in the first two books thinks, and there's a genuinely beautiful section in the middle of the book dealing with this revelation. And the resolution is most satisfying.

aegypt & "love and sleep" (the newest one?)

Glen Velez: Portrait of Signatures
one of the few pure drumming CDs

tori amos:
es muss irgendwas neues von ihr geben, hab zumindest eben was im radio gehoert, was ich noch nicht kannte. (kurz vor Sat Mar 4 15:17:30 MET 1995, ORB)

bobo (and white wooden houses): (the new one, "cosmic ceiling"?)
sounds bjork-ish, and since "the anchor song", i am a sucker for anything bjork-ish ;-)

walter jon williams
``Have you read "Aristoi" or "Days Of Atonement"? Admittedly, when I read the "cyberpunk" Williams, I wasn't impressed until I read "Voice Of The Whirlwind." That was one of the best treatments of Zen in SF that I had ever read, so I decided to try the later stories.''

(So far, "Aristoi" is the only book by WJW that I've managed to find. As someone wrote, it shows "Cyberspace evolved beyond the Cyberpunk era", which is reason enough to read it. Stuff like the daimones and the posures are just an added extra;-)

_The Pooh Book of Quotations_, compiled and edited by Brian Sibley
``Dutton Children's Books, 1986, $12.50 (as marked on my copy at least) in hardcover. A lovely little book, with the original decorations by Ernest H. Shepherd. The quotations are broken up into subjects -- for instance, "Animals of Hostile Intent: In which we find Quotations about such Strange Creatures as Heffalumps, Woozles, Wizzles, Jagulars and Spotted or Herbaceous Backsons" and "Everybody Is All Right, Really: In which we find Quotations about Getting On With (and Putting Up With) Others."''

W. V. Quine: Word & Object, The MIT Press, 1960.
as a side note, "referential transperancy" comes from "referential opacity" as coined by Quine. interested parties should refer to Word & Object, chap 4 "Vagaries of Reference" &30. (His _Ontological Relativity and Other Essays_ is recommended by SubG as an aside.)

Emma Bull
``Emma Bull (Finder, War for the Oaks) is excellent, and has a similar "feel" to De Lint. Slightly different approaches are Matt Ruff's Fool on the Hill and Pamela Dean's Tam Lin. Both of these are "college novels", and as Elizabeth Willey has pointed out, the Ruff suffers a bit from wish-fulfillment (I STILL want to meet the Bohemians). But they're both interesting, nonetheless.''

(I have read De Lint's Moonheart, and it is good. Ruff's Fool is also one of my favourites. If those are representative of what "urban fantasy" is a about, i could stomach more.)

Paul Quarrington
*them...then, tonight, it hit me -- I strongly suggest Paul Quarrington
*(canadian author) especially _Whale Music_ and _Civilization_.  Has anyone
Yep. He'd be a good one. I've recommended him a time or two my own self on
this particular newsfroup. I dug Home Game, too. I suspect though that he's

Mary Gentle's "Grunts"
is great fun. (good-vs-bad from an orc's perspective)

"Astra and Flondrix" by Seamus Cullen.
"Very wierd piece of pornographic high fantasy involving some inventive ideas of the sex lives of elves, dwarves, and so on. Also very funny. I have always suspected it to be Phillip Jose Farmer under a pseudonym. It reads like him."

William T. Vollmann: Butterfly Stories
``To all of those mired in everyday muck, get off you couches and delve into the sea of blood and cream, brutality and beauty which is William T. Vollmann's _Butterfly Stories_. It'll knock your stinky socks off. All of this because once upon a time, as V says, a journalist and a photographer decided to whore their way across Asia. So it's not for the faint of heart; but all you sturdy hearted cretins will love it. It came out in paper recently.''

joan d. vinge: The Summer Queen & World's End
sequel von winter queen. "World's End is essentially recapped in Summer Queen, but it does have a lot of detail on what BZ Gundhalinu does after he leaves Tiamat, and how he's responsible for the Hegemony's early return."

teilhard de chardin: ?
keine ahnung, was es von ihm gibt. aber er wird dermassen oft zitiert, und sei es nur en passant, dass es hochgradig peinlich ist, absolut nix von ihm zu wissen.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a Catholic priest and a paleontologist; he made important contributions to the study of human evolution, but he is best known for his philosophical work that (he believed) unified Catholic theology and evolutionary theory. You can read about his beliefs in his book The Phenomenon of Man. You can also read about Teilhard in quite a different context, in some of Stephen Jay Gould's essays.

There was a recent article in _Foundation_ which dealt with _Childhood's End_. The author's thesis was that Clarke was exploring (in strictly humanistic terms!) the Omega point of Teilhard de Chardin's theology. If there ever was a man who predicted a Singularity first, it was de Chardin. Look for _The Phenomenon of Man_ - it may be theology, but it's *speculative* theology! It's probably the only specific theology to have inspired several different Sf writers...

Edouard de Pomaine: French Cooking in Ten Minutes
``Allow me to recommend Edouard de Pomaine's _French Cooking in Ten Minutes_, which has an equally idiosyncratic, if considerably less leisurely, attitude toward food preparation. (Note that this book was originally produced in 1930, before the advent of the microwave.) After a Preface including the immortal words, "I am writing this book for students, dressmakers, secretaries, artists, lazy people, poets, men of action, dreamers, scientists, and everyone else who has only an hour for lunch or dinner but still wants thirty minutes of peace to enjoy a cup of coffee," de Pomaine has advice for all food occasions, replete with charming chapter and section headings (e.g. "A few words on how to behave at the table"--advice on serving and clearing up--and "Some indispensable concepts for understanding this beautiful book"), as well as even more unlikely asides, such as "No one, except your doctor, would tell you that you shouldn't start your lunch with half a dozen really fresh oysters, opened for you by the man who sells them." Almost more reading time than cooking time!''

From: (Joann Zimmerman)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.books
Subject: Re: Reviews of new and recent cookbooks
Date: 25 Aug 1995 18:31:12 MET

Robert Wright: "The Moral Animal"
Matthew Ridley: "The Red Queen"
I would recommend "The Moral Animal" by Robert Wright and "The Red Queen" by Matthew Ridley. Both are on the same topic as "The Selfish Gene" listed above, but are far more recent and contain many new ideas. All the books are about new ideas in evolution- the two I listed are specifically about evolutionary psychology. That is the application of the ideas of natural selection to the formation of human nature. It's amazing how powerful these ideas are and how much of human behavior they are able to explain. It's also a little scary and could change the way you look at the world.

-- Doug Turnbull

machiavelli: the prince
well, it is a classic. I now have it (don't link to it; it will probably vanish when i have read it).

dante: divina comedia
i have read it once (well, in german), but could need an examplar for reference purposes. annotations would be a good idea, the raw text is somewhat confusing if you don't know contemporary political scandals.

anthony burgess: ?
mehr von ihm. er ist relativ gut lesbar, und die historischen hintergründe sind manchmal faszinierend.
Try the Enderby trilogy ("Inside Mr.Enderby","Enderby Outside", and "A Clockwork Testament" plus a fourth one called "Enderby's Dark Lady" that I've never read.) They're hilarious, scatological social novels about a lower class poetic genius and his travails with fame. Any novel whose first page includes the phrase "posterior riposte" is almost certainly bound to be a work of genius... Also try out "The End of the World News". I've never really been able to figure out whether it's a good novel or not, but it's very audacious, being a counterpoint of three stories: Freud, near his death, being rushed out of Vienna, A Broadway musical about Trotsky's visit to New York in 1917, and an end-of-the-world SF story about the world being destroyed by an asteroid. Kind of silly at times, but no one else even tries to do stuff like that.

He did a very interesting little book called _99 Novels_ : a page or so each on--surprise--99 novels that had come out since around 1940. It pointed the way to several writers whose work I would later enjoy, particularly Anthony Powell.

You think `Earthly Powers' has no point to make? You must have ducked. If you bother to look behind you you'll find, among other things, a couple of large spears labeled `God' and `The nature of evil' embedded in the wall.

"must read" lists
From: (Alex Johnston)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.books
Subject: Re: must-reads
Date: 08 Mar 1995 00:33:10 MET
Organization: SCRG, Computer Science Department, Trinity College Dublin
Originator: (Leslee Lesniewski) writes:

>I would like to catch up on some reading of American and world literature
>that "every educated person should have read."  Please give some names of
>books that you feel MUST BE READ.

This is virtually impossible to answer.  I decided I'll only list
things that a.) I've read, b.) I'm glad I read, c.) I'd urge someone
else to read.  Not that I uncritically love or agree with them, but they're
all important to me.  In other words, my personal list of classics.
And even then an incomplete one.

Shakespeare - Hamlet
Wm. Blake - Songs of Innocence and Experience
	    The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Arthur Rimbaud - Illuminations
James Joyce - Ulysses
Franz Kafka - The Transformation (Die Verwandlung)
	      The Trial (Der Prozess)
Marcel Proust - Remembrance of Things Past 
Gustave Flaubert - Madame Bovary
		   Sentimental Education  
Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace
Laurence Sterne - Tristram Shandy
Denis Diderot - Jacques the Fatalist
Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow
Sir Walter Ralegh - poems
Jorge Luis Borges - Fictions
Vladimir Nabokov - Pale Fire
		   The Gift
Italo Calvino - If on a winter's night a traveller
Georges Perec - Life A User's Manual
Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights
Emily Dickinson - poems
Herman Melville - Moby-Dick
		  Bartleby the Scrivener
Roland Barthes - Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives
		 Roland Barthes
Ludwig Wittgenstein - Culture and Value
Friedrich Nietzsche - Twilight of the Idols
		      The Birth of Tragedy
James Boswell - Life of Samuel Johnson
Jonathan Swift - A Tale of a Tub
Samuel Johnson - Life of Richard Savage
		 The Vanity of Human Wishes
T.S. Eliot - poems
Ezra Pound - poems
Robert Walser - stories
Thomas Bernhard - Correction
                  The Lime Works
James Joyce (again) - Finnegans Wake
Samuel Beckett - Waiting for Godot
P.G. Wodehouse - The Code of the Woosters
George Orwell - essays
Nikolai Gogol - The Nose
		Diary of a Madman
		The Government Inspector
Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Discourse on the Arts and Sciences