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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Iain Pears: Stone’s Fall

Iain Pears’s 1998 novel An Instance of the Fingerpost was one of the most addictive novels I’ve read, one of those books where you plan your life around when you’ll get to read it. It’s a long murder mystery set in 17th century England, told by a succession of unreliable narrators who keep exposing the […]

Sergey Ivashchenko et al: Chess School 1–3

If you know anyone who plays the board game Go, try asking them, “Hey, I learned the rules, I’ve played a bit, and I want to improve; can you recommend a good book?” I will lay even money that they will say, “Go this minute and read Graded Go Problems for Beginners.” GGP is a […]

Philip K. Dick: Time Out of Joint

I had never actually read a book by Philip K, Dick before, despite having seen what must be around twenty movies based on his works. I forget how this particular one — it’s not one of his more famous books — ended up on my reading list, but there it was, and I was in […]

Mnemosyne update

Mnemosyne is a spaced repetition program for aiding memorization; see my first post about it for the whole scoop. That was the one-month report, and it’s now time to post a three-month report. The chess opening memorization is still going very well. I’m now up to 471 positions in my database and am reviewing about […]

Agatha Christie: The Mysterious Affair at Styles

The other day I was in need of a comfort-food book, and what is more comfort food than Agatha Christie? Only her first couple of books are out of copyright and freely downloadable, so I grabbed the very first one. I read dozens of these as a kid, including this one, although of course I’ve […]

Jack Vance: Night Lamp

Another Vance novel — I guess I’ve read over twenty by now —and it pretty much goes according to formula, but hey, I love the formula. An adventurous young man has to achieve his destiny by overcoming a smattering of obstacles on various worlds spanning the galaxy, each of which has some charmingly odd culture […]