Tag: Doug

Oct 26 2019

The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde

The Woman Who Died a Lot

Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series takes place mostly in an England that’s a republic a Wales that’s a socialist republic; of Scotland there is practically no mention, though I cannot say whether that is a comment or happenstance. The Crimean War was still being fought in 1985, and there are various other bits of history …

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Oct 23 2019

Edge of Empires by Donald Rayfield

Edge of Empires

Edge of Empires is a one-volume history of Georgia from the earliest discernible traces through June 2018, a remarkable feat of synthesis and scholarship. In fact, the main text runs just four hundred pages, so in some sense Rayfield positively gallops through four millennia of events in the Transcaucasus and eastern Anatolia. He’s very up …

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Oct 15 2019

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver

One of the unusual things that Naomi Novik does in Spinning Silver — so unusual, in fact, that I can’t think of another fantasy book that does it — is to state that some of her main characters are Jews. The first chapter lays out the hints: the characters are moneylenders in a small town whose …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/10/15/spinning-silver-by-naomi-novik/

Oct 03 2019

Structuring the State by Daniel Ziblatt

Structuring the State

At the start of the nineteenth century’s second half, Germany and Italy were both patchworks of states; by century’s end, both were united kingdoms taking their place among Europe’s great powers. Similar ideas drove the leaders of unification in both regions, yet the states that emerged from the wars and negotiations were quite different. Though …

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Sep 28 2019

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

Golden Hill

Entirely too much time has passed since I read Francis Spufford’s wonderful first novel (after five mostly non-fictional books, of which it has so far only been my pleasure to read Red Plenty) Golden Hill for me to be able to do it anything approaching justice. Nevertheless, a few words. The story is set in …

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Sep 26 2019

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, pt. 1

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

“Give it what it’s worth, Doug,” said my Cockney editor one afternoon before deadline when I asked how long a newspaper article should be. Richard Rhodes takes one of the most important stories in human history — the story of the discovery of atomic structure and how that structure could be opened up, releasing vast …

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Sep 21 2019

Schellingstrasse 48 by Walter Kolbenhoff

Schellingstrasse 48

For all that it is a Millionenstadt, Munich can also be quite a small town. Literary and artistic Munich even more so. Thus it’s not very surprising that in Schellingstrasse 48 (48 Schelling St.), Walter Kolbenhoff’s memoir of the Nazi era, POW internment in America, and early post-war Munich, other authors from the Süddeutsche Zeitung‘s …

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Sep 20 2019

Lines Composed a Few Yards from Schlachtensee, With Apologies to W.W.

Five years have past; five summers, with the length Of five long winters! and again I read These pages, rolled from their printing-press With a rotary hum.—Once again Do I behold those last and polished drafts That many a wild scene describe, Acts the more connected to themes And th’ arguments of the plays. The …

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Sep 14 2019

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Ben Franklin's Song

On the second page of his biography of Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson offers a thumbnail sketch of his subject: “He was, during his eighty-four-year-long life, America’s best scientist, inventor, dimplomat, writer, and business strategist, and he was also one of its most practical, though not most profound, political thinkers. He proved by flying a kite …

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Sep 12 2019

How To by Randall Munroe

How To

Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd, asks how to do various things — jump really high, throw things, build a lava moat, and a couple dozen more — and considers approaches that are both sound and absurd. Hilarity ensues. The book begins with an earnest disclaimer, a plea not to take the title as a guide. “Do …

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