oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

10 Famous Book Hoarders

(I think we may contest the term 'hoarders' for people with lotsaboox, hmmmm?)

In most of those cases I think we do see a real love of books, though I'm not sure about Hearst and whether 'ostentation' was not on his mind rather than use?

In some cases those appear to be the personal libraries that have fetched up in public collections, and one wonders whether there was a certain amount of weeding and selection at the point of accession. (I'm not saying that Houdini or Arendt also had vast collections of pulp westerns or school stories or whatever, but I'm not ruling out that choices were made at some point.)

And indeed, while calling your private collection 'the Library of the History of Human Imagination' is indeed quite a long way along the pretentiousness scale, I look at that picture: 'It has three levels, a glass bridge, floating platforms' and feel a certain covetousness.

And even if it's ponceyness turned up to 11, it's not as cringe-making as this, which crossed my radar pretty much on the same day: Meet The App That Revolutionized Book Reading For 2 Million People

We sort through the approximately 2,200,000 books published worldwide to find the best nonfiction books out there. Then, our subject specialists, writers, and editors identify the key ideas from each of these hand-selected books and transform them into smart, useful summaries of insights we lovingly polish and refine until they are nothing but the absolute most essential elements of the writer’s main ideas. We do the filtering for you, then we share those ideas with you the way your dream-friend would.
Tonstant Weader called for a stiff drink.

*'Twenty-two acknowledged concubines, and a library of sixty-two thousand volumes, attested the variety of his [Gordian II's] inclinations; and from the productions which he left behind him, it appears that the former as well as the latter were designed for use rather than for ostentation.' Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol I.

redheadedfemme: (read a book)
[personal profile] redheadedfemme
The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire

4 of 5 stars

This is the eighth book in the October Daye series. I actually skipped ahead to this one because I'd heard so much about it, and despite my not having read some of the previous books in the series, it doesn't disappoint. Seanan McGuire has a nice, flowing prose style, with little to no infodumping, and does very well at revealing only what you need to know at any given moment. This avoids slowing the story down, and inspires trust in the reader. You know the twists are coming, but in the meantime, you've got a bang-up story to enjoy. 
 
What's outstanding here, however, is the worldbuilding, the characterizations, and the relationships. The world of Faerie existing concurrently with our modern world is a staple in urban fantasy, to the point of become cliche, unfortunately. However, few urban fantasy writers dive as deep into Faerie as McGuire. (I would say the only author to match her is Laurell K. Hamilton, but Hamilton's Faerie is much more pornified.) Toby's world is rigorously thought out and explored, with all its implications and potential (and real) nastiness. (Such as the racism exhibited towards changelings, for example.) This is a world that has left a deep mark on its protagonist, a world where Toby has suffered and has the scars to prove it. 
 
Toby herself, as the central character, is just lovely. She's deeply loyal to her friends, and if in the past she had a habit of charging off half-cocked, she's making a conscious effort to slow down and think. She's also working on accepting help from other people, in particular her boyfriend Tybalt. The foundations of her relationships and family--both her blood family and her found one--are dragged into the open and examined here, and like everything to do with family, the results are sometimes messy. Not all hurts can heal, and not all things can be forgiven. All of these little ins and outs of the people in this book are fascinating, and (as so many people have said) the Luidaeg is a delight. She can scare the piss out of Toby, and does, but Toby loves her anyway, and does something for her that will obviously have major repercussions going forward. 
 
This book is smartly plotted and paced, and very satisfying. Urban fantasy, as a genre, is not as popular as it used to be, and for good reason: in past years, the market was glutted with it, and a great deal of it was not so great. (I know, as I read quite a lot myself.) But this series is superior, and definitely a keeper.

Culinary

Jun. 25th, 2017 08:47 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

During the week, baked a loaf of the Shipton Mill 3 Malts and Sunflower Organic Brown Flour.

Friday supper: Gujerati khichchari - absentmindedly used ground cumin rather than cumin seed but I don't think the effect was disastrous.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft rolls recipe, 2:2:1 strong white/wholemeal/dark rye flours with maple sugar and sour cherries.

Today's lunch: redfish fillets rubbed with Cajun seasoning, brushed with milk and egg and coated in panko crumbs, panfried in olive oil, served with steamed samphire tossed in butter and baby leeks healthy-grilled in avocado oil and splashed with gooseberry vinegar.

(no subject)

Jun. 25th, 2017 12:34 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] shana!

I now know

Jun. 24th, 2017 11:16 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
It takes roughly 3 hours to pack 4000 MMPB.

I had an amusing thought: donate them to UW, to keep the B. P. Nichol Library of Science Fiction company.

Catching the Refrigerator

Jun. 25th, 2017 08:45 am
stevenpiziks: (Default)
[personal profile] stevenpiziks
You know the old joke. The lady calls the repair man and says, "My refrigerator won't stop," and he says, "Then you better catch it!"

This is us.

The refrigerator won't stop running.  Or rather, it mostly won't.  It runs, then clicks audibly off for a second, then clicks back on, then clicks off, then on, then off, then on.  It still keeps food cold and merrily makes ice, but clearly there's some kind of problem.

Meanwhile, the dishwasher went on strike.  It operates with pushbuttons atop the door, and abruptly none of them worked.  We were forced to wash dishes in the sink.  (Oh, the humanity!)

I called an appliance repair place, and they dutifully sent out a repair technician the next day.  After some rummaging around with both appliances, he said some wires had burnt out on the dishwasher and needed replacing.  An easy fix.  But the fridge had problems with its circuit board.

"The factory that made the boards was wiped out in the Japan tsunami," he said.  "So the part is really hard to get.  We're talking $600."

Eep.

So he fixed the washing machine, and next we have to hunt for a new refrigerator.

Planning for Ireland

Jun. 26th, 2017 08:24 am
stevenpiziks: (Default)
[personal profile] stevenpiziks
Darwin and I are going to Ireland.  Yay!

We've been talking about it for a long time.  I love Ireland and have visited before.  Darwin has always wanted to go.  He was uncertain about going this summer, and I pointed out that for the first time in years, I'm not under contract this summer, meaning I can go without worrying about a writing deadline.  So he decided it would be a good idea.

The first part was settling on a date.  After some finagling, we choose the second and third weeks of August.  And then when we had the dates all set, I played with the ticket buying program and discovered if we stayed one more day, the plane ticket prices dropped by over $200 each.  That would more than pay for an extra night in Dublin, so we happily extended the trip.

Then we had to figure out where to stay.  After more finagling and discussion, we decided to do what I did last time--spend a few days in Dublin, move to a rural cottage for several days, and then come back to Dublin for the end.  In fact, I discovered the same cottage I stayed before at was available!  Clonleason Gate Lodge  is an easily driveable distance from several archaeological sites we want to see, and there's a bog and a ruined castle nearby, so it's a perfect place for us.  We booked it.

And we ran into problems with finding places to stay in Dublin.  Man!

Darwin and I don't like hotels much.  (Who does, right?)  They're sterile, the amenities are limited, they're small, and if you're tired and just want to hang out for part of a day, you feel foolish sitting in a hotel room to do it.  That's why we like renting cottages or flats.  You have all the amenities of home, you have more space, and if you want to zone out for a day, you feel like you're doing it in your own living room. 

Like a lot of people, we use Airbnb to book places and have had wonderful results in the past.  This time, though, the places that turned up were too expensive or badly located.  When we were looking for a place to stay at our arrival, two times we tried to book places and the host turned the booking down, once because the host said she was looking for people to stay for at least a week, and another who just didn't answer.  At last we managed to find a nice flat.

But the REAL challenge was for the few days before we left.  We needed a place Friday through Monday, and the number of places dwindled sharply, or were REALLY expensive.  In the end, we gritted our teeth and booked a place that was quite a distance from the center of the city and still more than we wanted to pay.

And then . . .

I was surfing around the web site for Trinity College.  TC houses the Book of Kells, which we'll want to see, and I wanted to find out what the College's museum hours were.  Quite by accident, I discovered Trinity College rents out its student rooms and apartments during the summer. (!)  The location would be perfect, of course, and the prices were startlingly low.  In fact, booking a two-person apartment for three nights would cost about $200 less than the flat we'd found, and several hundred less than any hotel.

I canceled the flat and booked the flat at Trinity.  My only regret is that there wasn't an apartment available for when we arrived--they only had rooms with a single bed.

So now we just need to rent a car!



Salt Potatoes

Jun. 24th, 2017 07:56 pm
stevenpiziks: (Default)
[personal profile] stevenpiziks
I came across a reference to salt potatoes as being a really good treat.  I researched them and found they looked interesting, so I decided to try them out on Darwin and the boys.

Salt potatoes are basically new potatoes simmered in heavily-salted water.  Once the potatoes are done, you pour most of the water off and bring the remaining brine back to a boil, rolling the potatoes around in it all the while.  When the water is nearly gone, you take the pot off the heat and keep rolling until the water is gone and you're left with a salty crust that forms on the potatoes and makes them look wrinkly.  You eat them plain or dip them in butter or an herb sauce.

I served them with plain chicken and a fruit salad.

The boys were dubious.  What the heck were these things?  Even Darwin "Salty McSaltSalt" McClary, who once salted a slab of bacon, wasn't sure.  But once they tried them, all doubts melted.

You can't eat salt potatoes timidly.  The salt crust is very powerful, and you have to bite all the way through the potato to bring the mealy inside into contact with the outside salt.  But when you do . . . they are delicious.  And heavy.  Boy, are they heavy!  Two pounds of new potatoes--a weensy bag--was more than enough for two adults and two teens.

The recipe is a keeper, but it's a once-in-a-while treat, not a regular dish.

Huh. So that happened.

Jun. 24th, 2017 03:58 pm
klgaffney: Lightning at night striking the far shore over otherwise calm water. (lightning on the bay.)
[personal profile] klgaffney
Apparently I missed a 'wind event' (it was a small tornado), touching down briefly (video has a nsfw warning for a rather excited gent fluent in NJ's favorite words) at the Home Depot store just 2 miles down the road from us.

W said he woke up to the emergency alert on his cell, but supposedly my response was to mumble something about 'having already done talked to the North Wind last night, *hand-wave-gesture* and it's fine,' upon which I went back to sleep. When I woke up properly it was in fact, fine, I had no idea the storm was that severe, or that it had done anything else other than rain a bit. It had been a clear starry night when I went to bed, and when I woke up, the rain was stopping and nothing in the yard was disturbed.

The passing low-pressure thingy probably contributed a lot to me being a miserable non-verbal cuss this morning though. I never considered it because I'd completely missed the thing.
klgaffney: (Default)
[personal profile] klgaffney
So I didn't even get to interview for the local title processing position I really wanted; someone else came over from another title company and filled the position. At least she sounded genuinely unhappy to break the news to me. I've met some very nice people while scouting for new/different work? I can appreciate that.

***

I may have been too formal when I answered the phone just now--the party on the other end (undoubtedly either a telemarketer or a research group from the background noises) apologized for calling a business instead of a private residence and hung up. ...I'm okay with this.

***

I may have accidentally a flat of brandywine tomatoes and a flat of basil from the local growers market. I do not have a garden bed ready to put them in. I should do something about that.

***

Whatever Disney princess keeps flitting through our yard with all the animals in her wake needs to stop that shit at once. Also, our local wildlife is super sassy.

The chipmunk follows us around the yard all roaring and tiny and fierce, like "Keep walking! That's right! This is MY yard!"

There's a rabbit that enjoys body-slamming the robins in the front yard for sport. He knocks the unsuspecting birds head-over-heels and then does that happy little rabbit headshake and jump-kick.

The deer just sorta run through. We see them leaping past the windows, and then there's raccoons and possums, and skunks that shuffle by each night. There's a fox, though that was a bit further down the road, and coyotes, though we haven't spotted any yet.

Baby vulture can be seen now, perched at the entrance to the hayloft, peering down at everyone and everything. Its feathers are a bit more than halfway in. It is the scruffiest.

the groundhogs, tho. a rant. )

My lil' sister is one-upping us pretty hard; she apparently has cougar cubs rolling around in her backyard, and she's not even that far into the wilds of PA. I wonder if I can borrow them to kill all the groundhogs when they get big? Granted, if they're in eastern PA, I'm willing to bet NJ has its own cougars by now. I'm just glad we don't have to deal with bears. So far, anyway.
klgaffney: (Default)
[personal profile] klgaffney
Daily Toss for 06-24-2017. )

A pique-nique of linkspam

Jun. 24th, 2017 02:57 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

I am fairly hmmmm about this piece on empaths, and wonder if some of those consultant empaths are employing the cold-reading tricks attributed to psychics, but buried in it is actually an interrogation of how useful quivering responsiveness to emotion is and the suggestion that 'empathy alone is not a reliable way of coming to a moral decision', and

Empathy is not action. It’s much more useful to be knowledgable about what’s happening so you can effect structural change. If everybody’s swimming in a sea of feelings, it’s an impediment to action.

And possibly somehow related to this, on the advantages of scheduling over spontaneity.

See also, review here of Selfie by Will Storr: 'This engaging book links the ‘self-esteem’ industry to Ayn Rand and neoliberalism. But is the selfie-taking generation unusually narcissistic?'. And is there not something problematic about making a big deal out of a single young woman who takes a lot of selfies? (shoutout here to Carol Dyhouse's Girl Trouble and the constant motif of young women's behaviour epitomising what is supposedly wrong with These Here Modern Times.)

And in Dept of, Countering National Stereotypes, the French minister who wants sexual harassment fines and is annoyed by the cultural myths about Frenchwomen.

Born in 1799, Anna Atkins captured plants, shells and algae in ghostly wisps and ravishing blues. Why isn’t she famous? - how long have you got to listen to my answer?

A book on hares which is, it sounds like, more about hares than the writer's journey and epiphany from their encounter with nature

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Why YouTube did this seems unclear so I am just going to jump to a conclusion completely unsupported by the available evidence and assume this is yet another example of right-wing trolls gaming a site's complaint mechanisms.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Without spoiling the title, it's old timey SF from a series set on the worlds of the nearer stars. Wikipedia has a current list. In my day, the right hand column would have been filled with "here there be dragons," not lists of exoplanets.

That one KSR about how if you send a generation ship filled with the learnedly ignorant, colonization will surely fail aside, are there any SF novels recent enough to use the exoplanets we now know of as settings?

=(

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:50 pm
klgaffney: a popular comic book heroine, in a mohawk, dressed in armor, wielding a mighty weapon. (x-men: storm in asgard.)
[personal profile] klgaffney
Just finished watching Logan. I knew what it would be going in, but fuck that. I'm fuckin' gutted. Absolutely wrecked. I'm also out of beer.

(Watched Moana first. It was awesome, but we really should've done this in reverse order.)

Recent Reading

Jun. 23rd, 2017 06:04 pm
ann_leckie: (AJ)
[personal profile] ann_leckie

Some things I’ve read recently!

The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata

If you didn’t read Nagata’s The Red Trilogy, well, you might want to consider doing so. But whether you have or you haven’t–The Last Good Man is near-future military sf. It’s tense and compelling, and features a middle-aged woman protagonist, an ex-Army pilot who now works for a private military company. During a rescue mission she discovers something that casts a new and disturbing light on an event that she’d thought, well, not safely in the past, but over and done with and accurately understood. But she wants the truth, no matter the cost. If near future and/or military is your jam, don’t miss this.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

This is volume 1 of the Murderbot Diaries, and I suspect a certain percentage of my readers don’t need to hear anything more. Go, purchase, download! You will enjoy this.

Murderbot is a SecUnit–a security android, part organic part mechanical, that isn’t supposed to have any sort of free will. It does, though, and having achieved that free will it secretly names itself Murderbot and then works hard to hide its freedom of thought from the corporation that owns it. It doesn’t actually want to murder anyone, though. It just wants to be left alone to watch its stories. Unfortunately, someone is trying to kill the humans Murderbot has been tasked to protect.

I’m not kidding, I can almost guarantee that my readers will enjoy this. I have already pre-ordered volume 2, which is out in January.

Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns

So, Lesbian Space Pirates. Out at the end of October. That may be all I need to say.

Or not. Our heroines hijack a colony ship in a bid to join a famous band of space pirates–only to discover the pirates are not, as widely believed, hiding out on Barbary Station rolling in money and loot, but are in fact trapped there by the station’s renegade AI. Why is the AI doing what it’s doing? Is it conscious? Does it matter when it’s trying to kill you?

This book is good fun. Set in the Solar System, lots of action, I really enjoyed this, and I bet you will, too.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

a man with an artic tern on his head

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:12 pm
lamentables: (Default)
[personal profile] lamentables
Proper post with proper photos coming soon, but in the meantime: we went on a boat trip around the Farne Islands today. We saw amazing things, were dive-bombed by artic terns, and got thoroughly drenched. It was fabulous.

Man with an artic tern on his head #farneislands @abrinsky

birds and seals )

Invitation to the dance

Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:57 pm
oursin: Illustration from the Kipling story: mongoose on desk with inkwell and papers (mongoose)
[personal profile] oursin

Well, not literally.

But I have finally managed to have a discussion with the editor at the Very Estimable and Well-Reputed Academic Press whom I had hoped to get together with during the Massive Triennial Conference the other week, which did not happen for, reasons.

And they are very keen about a book I have been thinking about for ages, which is not the Major Research Project of the moment, though somewhat tangentially related, and I'm hmmmmmm about it.

Because it's a book where I haven't done more than research rather a small part of one angle of the bigger picture, but on the other hand, I do know what has to be in there and where to look.

And unlike the Major Research Project, which is large and contains multitudes, this would be a discrete project that wouldn't (I hope) keep starting yet more hares for me to go baying after.

*Wibble*

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