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review 2018-12-14 16:48
Stig of the Dump, Clive King
Stig of the Dump - Clive King,Edward Ardizzone

Initially the low stakes, slow paced ambience of this book was a shock in comparison to contemporary  world-saving, thrill-ride, kids' books but having accepted it for what it is, I found this book to be charming and by the end, delightful. It's heavily episodic, with no discernable through-plot, but Barney and Lou's adventures with Stig when they visit their grandmother are successively more extravagant and the last two chapters are particularly surprising and fun.

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review 2018-12-14 07:55
The Well-Tempered City by Jonathan F.P. Rose
The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life - Jonathan Rose

TITLE:   The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life

 

AUTHOR:  Jonathan F.P. Rose

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2016

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9780062234728

 

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DESCRIPTION:

"In the vein of Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—a visionary in urban development and renewal—champions the role of cities in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the twenty-first century.

Cities are birthplaces of civilization; centers of culture, trade, and progress; cauldrons of opportunity—and the home of eighty percent of the world’s population by 2050. As the 21st century progresses, metropolitan areas will bear the brunt of global megatrends such as climate change, natural resource depletion, population growth, income inequality, mass migrations, education and health disparities, among many others.

 In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—the man who “repairs the fabric of cities”—distills a lifetime of interdisciplinary research and firsthand experience into a five-pronged model for how to design and reshape our cities with the goal of equalizing their landscape of opportunity. Drawing from the musical concept of “temperament” as a way to achieve harmony, Rose argues that well-tempered cities can be infused with systems that bend the arc of their development toward equality, resilience, adaptability, well-being, and the ever-unfolding harmony between civilization and nature. These goals may never be fully achieved, but our cities will be richer and happier if we aspire to them, and if we infuse our every plan and constructive step with this intention.

A celebration of the city and an impassioned argument for its role in addressing the important issues in these volatile times, The Well-Tempered City is a reasoned, hopeful blueprint for a thriving metropolis—and the future.
"

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This is an interesting introductory text to what townplanners and city management should be aiming for in dealing with city planning and management.  However, I found the book too superficial and would have liked more detailed information, especially in terms of engineering specifics where some examples were used. The author also has a rather simplistic view of politics and human nature.

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review 2018-12-10 10:35
Fortunately, the Milk, Neil Gaiman
Fortunately, the Milk . . . - Neil Gaiman

Absolute genius!

 

Saying much about the plot would spoil the fun, so I will restrict myself to noting that Gaiman isn't the first author I've come across who has a bit of a dig at Twilight's sparkly vampires and that it's a safe bet the author has seen The Usual Suspects.

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review 2018-12-06 04:42
The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth
The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language - Mark Forsyth

TITLE:  The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language

 

AUTHOR:  Mark Forsyth

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2011

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9781848313071

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DESCRIPTION:

 

"The Etymologicon springs from Mark Forsyth's Inky Fool blog on the strange connections between words. It's an occasionally ribald, frequently witty and unerringly erudite guided tour of the secret labyrinth that lurks beneath the English language, taking in monks and monkeys, film buffs and buffaloes, and explaining precisely what the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening."

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I have no idea what I just read, but whatever it was, it was entertaining, amusing, irreverant and fairly interesting.  ;)  If you have an interest in the origin of words, this book might just be for you.

 

 

 

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review 2018-11-26 06:57
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux,David Coward

TITLE:  The Phantom of the Opera

 

AUTHOR:  Gaston Leroux

 

TRANSLATOR:  David Coward

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9780199694570

 

EDITION:  Oxford World's Classics

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DESCRIPTION:

"First published in French as a serial in 1909, "The Phantom of the Opera" is a riveting story that revolves around the young, Swedish Christine Daaé. Her father, a famous musician, dies, and she is raised in the Paris Opera House with his dying promise of a protective angel of music to guide her. After a time at the opera house, she begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine's childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous 'ghost' of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster. Leroux's work, with characters ranging from the spoiled prima donna Carlotta to the mysterious Persian from Erik's past, has been immortalized by memorable adaptations. Despite this, it remains a remarkable piece of Gothic horror literature in and of itself, deeper and darker than any version that follows."

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This is another one of those foreign language (French) novels that has a dozen awful translations with omissions and additions.  The new translation by David Coward is supposed to be true to the original.  I found no complaints with the style of the translation and the notes to be quite helpful.  The story itself is a love story/Gothic horror that differs a fair amount from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical production.  Interesting and entertaining.

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