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text 2018-06-12 15:43
The latest reading choice I'm facing
Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859-1888 - John C. G. Röhl

In a few weeks I'm traveling to my in-laws's farm for my summer vacation. I'm looking forward to it for many reasons, not the least of which is the uninterrupted hours of reading time I have while I'm there (my in-laws are generous in that way and many others). This, of course, then raises the question inevitable question of what to bring to read.

 

This time I'm not approaching it as a question of limited availability once I'm there; I have some books there left over from my last trip there, and I'll probably bring a paperback or two from my Star Trek novel stack. This time it's more an issue of what to prioritize among my current interests. Among them is the first volume of John Röhl's biography of Wilhelm II, which I started reading three years ago and DNF'd a fifth of the way in. t was a fine read, but its size limited my ability to take it with me to read while I was out-and-about and other priorities intruded. Miranda Carter's recent New Yorker piece about Wilhelm has definitely increased my interest, though, and with my desire to read more modern European history for the fall semester this seems like a prime opportunity to make this my main selection.

 

Unfortunately my interests as always spin in multiple directions at one. I also have a biography of Georges Clemenceau that has long gathered dust on my shelf, and which has the added virtue of greater portability, as well as one of Raymond Poincaré right next to it which might be an even more important read. David Weber's book on Spain's empire in North America is also looming large given my upcoming Southwestern history class, and there are also a couple of other titles on German history which seem appealing. Fortunately I still have some time to work all this out, but I'm hoping to do so before it becomes one of those last-minute panic issues.

 

So, which book would you be most interested in seeing reviewed?

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review 2018-05-27 10:32
Quantum Ontology: "What is Real - The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" by Adam Becker
What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics - Adam Becker

The Universal-Wave-Function vs. The Pilot-Schrödinger-Wave-Function vs. the Collapsing-Schrödinger-Wave-function as a Stab at Explaining Reality.

 

 

 

The diversity of possible comments on this book reflects ironically the Everett paradigm of quantum ontology. There are as many views of reality as there are observers. Thankfully in all instances, given the depth of some of the possible interpretations, the interaction of the observer state wave and that of the rest of the universe is extremely asymmetrical - the universe has a great effect on the observer but the latter's effect on the universe is mercifully, infinitesimally small. There is no doubt that the philosophical implications of the developments in modern scientific thinking are in lagging mode. This is because of the extreme complexities of the formalisms created to describe the reality as seen by human observers with a certain evolved sense of perception. The modern philosopher has to tread wearily through the theory before emerging tired and almost at wit's end to be in a position to even expound a valid opinion, least of all an emerging new philosophy, on the ontological basis of the quantum world. This is the first time I’ve read a book on Quantum Mechanics wherein three of the major outlier physicists appear: David Bohm, Hugh Everett III, and John Stewart Bell. 

 

 

If you're into the Measurement Problem in Quantum Mechanics, read on.

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review 2018-05-06 15:34
The Unfinished Sonata
The Unfinished Sonata - K.D. McCrite

This was my favorite story out of all the Annie's Attic Mysteries I've read. K.D. McCrite wove a wonderful mystery. It was such a touching story that I found myself not wanting it to end. I kept putting it down so I could dwell on the parts I'd read and didn't want it to end too soon. I collect trinket boxes so that made this story even more special to me. I will definitely be watching for any other books by this author.

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review 2018-02-26 14:08
Life Unfinished- Martin White

     White has created a very readable biographical fiction out of the life and times of Franz Peter Schubert. The book is very engaging, even for one that knows next to nothing about the ‘engineering’ of music. Period history is my fascination here, along with my naive appreciation of the music itself. I now know a good deal more about the history of the classic period of European music than I did before the enjoyable experience of reading this book.

     There are many books and films about the life of Schubert, all rather building on the same store of facts and sometimes rather weakly anchored conjecture. The widespread, if not consensual, view is that Schubert was bisexual. That is based only on the certainty that many of his acquaintances and friends in the worlds of music, theatre and painting were of diverse passions. Though whether he caught syphilis, a disease that in this account almost came to finally define him from a rare sexual encounter or from a promiscuous existence is debatable. In fact, contemporary records give little evidence that he even suffered from that particular disease, although his general decline in health is well documented. What is known as undisputed fact is that Schubert was extremely socially awkward. He was often shy to the point of this being psychologically overwhelming to his character and even damaging to his career.

     He fantasised about several women in his life, most either simply tragically unsuitable or deliberately chosen because of the extreme unlikelihood of any possible union. Whatever the deep reasoning for these ‘affairs’ never leading into meaningful shared physical relationships, he certainly had a talent for focussing his heart on those that were socially unsuitable. Whether servant or aristocrat, the women he cherished were consistently well above or below his social station. Schubert himself was born very much into the educated upper classes, all be it very far short of its summits. White builds on these known elements along with commonly conjectured plot based on his eventual death from syphilis. The second half of the story buildings very much on the medically observed course of the disease and its then treatment.

     White’s description of the music, especially of Schubert’s more serious works, which were rather passed over during his life, are very poetic. One is drawn into feeling like a genuine spectator not just in the room, but also one privileged to glimpse many imaginative and plausible mental thoughts. Although there is a drift into substantive speculation I have confidence that White never loses connection with what we know from genuine contemporary records.

     I have far from a complete idea as to how much of this book has been based on previous novels and films, and how much has been sparked with true originality. Not that that can make much difference to the enjoyment of this very plausible and generally sympathetic interpretation. What matters is that this is a very well written piece of biographical fiction based available documentation.

AMAZON LINK

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text 2017-12-30 14:51
December Wrap-up
Old Celtic Romances - P.W. Joyce
Sigil Witchery: A Witch's Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols - Laura Tempest Zakroff
Fairies:: A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folk - Morgan Daimler
Dreamtime Dragons - Nils Visser
The Grand Phantom - Harold Cloninger
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Plum Dandi Knits: Simple Designs for Luxury Yarns - Alicia Plummer,Melissa Schaschwary
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock - Imogen Hermes Gowar
The Toy Makers - Robert Dinsdale
About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution - Paul Davies

Yes, there's one more day but although I'm getting close to finishing Uprooted by Naomi Novik, I definitely won't be finishing any other books before January 1st.

 

I seem to have given myself a lot of non-fiction to read this month. Mostly from Netgalley.

 

I expect to finish Uprooted between today and tomorrow so I'm counting 11 books for the month. Not bad for me!

 

The stand out ones besides Uprooted (which I'm really enjoying) would be The Toy Makers and the Dreamtime Dragons Anthology. Both have given me a lot of reading pleasure. I enjoyed the re-reading of A Christmas Carol too. 5 of the books are non-fiction so only a couple of meh books.

 

I also got through some of the samples backlog again. I've only got about 80 left. I collected a LOT over Halloween!

 

I still have some non-fiction reads in progress so that may slow me down for January reading, but I seem to be averaging more in a month than I used to. I blame all of you.

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