Ottaviani & Purvis – The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Purvis (illustrator)

Date read: 15-16 August 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc, 2016nfc

Cover image of The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Purvis

Hardback, 234 pages
Published 2016 by Abrams ComicArts
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [QA 29 .T8 O772 2016]

 

I enjoyed this, just as I enjoyed Ottaviani’s Feynman, which I read in 2012. I also just marked most of his books as To Read in Goodreads.

“I still work as a librarian by day, but stay up late writing comics about scientists.”

I didn’t know he was a librarian too!

Aha! That’s right. “He now works at the University of Michigan Library as coordinator of Deep Blue, the university’s institutional repository.[1][2]” [per Wikipedia].

The book consists of some prefatory material, 222 pages of graphic novel, an author’s note a bit over a page long, an annotated 3-page bibliography and recommended reading, and 6-pages of notes and references.

The graphic novel proper consists of the following sections: “Universal Computing” (pp. 1-66), “Top Secret Ultra” [think Bletchley Park] (pp. 67-152), and “The Imitation Game” (pp. 153-222) [links are to Wikipedia].

Highly recommended! If you know about Turing, and have, like me, perhaps read his papers on universal computing and the imitation game (philosophy and applied computer science undergrad), then this is still a great resource with all of the notes and references to specific works that might be of particular interest to you.

If you know little to nothing about Turing then this is a great introduction. Far better even than the recent (2014) movie, The Imitation Game, with Cumberbatch and Knightley. The presence of actual citations and sources are the basis for this claim.

This is the 41st book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 20th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

This is actually way past 20 nonfiction books for me this year; I simply have failed at reviewing quite a few, or finishing reviews, which is essentially the same thing. Many were started.

Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables

Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables John J. McKendry, selector

Date read: 18 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016transl, 2016gnc

Cover image of Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables

Hardback (Museum issue), 96 pages
Published 1964 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Source: COCC Barber Library

Gorgeous in so many ways! Boy did I luck out listening to the universe on Friday.

Four stars as many of the morals are as or more cryptic than the fables themselves.

There is a five plus-page introduction by McKendry, the Assistant Curator of Prints, that does a wonderful job of situating Aesop’s Fables as possibly the finest work to show “the history of the printed illustrated book,” along with providing an overview of the evolution of the illustrations made for it and the various translations, along with revolutions in printing and image-making technologies that accompanied it.

In this lovely edition the images paired with the fable are fairly contemporaneous. For instance, the first eight are translations by William Caxton in 1484 with illustrations from four different sources, with the biggest difference being all of thirteen years. There are a couple at the end translated by Marianne Moore in 1954 with the illustrations from between one and nine years difference.

The introduction mentions that:

“Although the fables had been illustrated from early times, the invention of the printing press produced a virtual onslaught of the illustrations and made them a major par of our pictorial history. Before the end of the fifteenth century, there were over twenty different illustrated editions of them. The earliest editions are those of Mondavi, Ulm, and Verona, all published between 1476 and 1479, which are among the best books of the fifteenth century” 97-8).

Holy cow! That is insane and seriously supports the selectors contention regarding their importance to the history of the printed illustrated book.

There are forty fables included, with translations ranging from William Caxton (1484) to Marianne Moore (1954) and including ones from every century in between.

If you read this book PLEASE read the introduction. It provides so much context and makes watching the evolution of printing/image-making technology as it advanced and is represented by the included illustrations far more understandable and interesting.

The copy COCC holds has a bookplate which states: “Donated by Dr. Orde Pinckney to Central Oregon Community College Library.”  

Highly recommended but more for its description and depiction of illustrated book history than for the fables, many of which are in hard-to-understand English, irrespective of when translated.

There seems to be copies in some shape that are affordable. May look into acquiring one.

This is the 3rd book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Fetter-Vorm – Trinity

Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

Date read: 11 January 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016nfc

Cover image of Fetter-Vorm's Trinity

Hardback, 154 pages
Published 2012 by Hill and Wang
Source: Deschutes Public Library

An excellent and well-researched book that details the Manhattan Project and the Trinity test. From there it goes on to discuss Little Boy and Fat Man and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with some side excursions into events like the firebombing of Tokyo and many other Japanese cities.

We get the usual cast of characters and locations: Gen. Groves, Oppenheimer, Fermi, Lawrence, Szilard; Hanford, WA; University of Chicago; Oak Ridge, TN; and University of California, Berkeley.

Groves, then a Colonel, was given the task of overseeing the Manhattan Project after earning his reputation for overseeing the construction of the Pentagon (17). The logistics involved, not to mention the ridiculous sums of money or the secrecy, were incredible and the author tries to give the reader an appreciation for them.

The graphic novel leads the reader through the scientific and technical advances required to pull the off in a clear and understandable way. It then goes on to raise the question of whether it should have been done. It was understood by those at the top that if it was built it would most likely be used.

Bert the Turtle in “Duck and Cover” makes an appearance. If you are unfamiliar with “Duck and Cover” then YouTube that shit [or read about it at Wikipedia]. It is the kind of thing they were still indoctrinating kids with in the mid-to-late 60s when I was in grade school. It was my first introduction—at least that I remember—to the surreal. It would be years before I knew the word and its definition but there it was: a mind-boggling mixture of fact and fantasy, of hope gone awry. There I was under my desk, with my head down and hands on the back of my neck, somehow, knowing full well this was utterly batshit insane. Knowing that we could not survive this. I was 5 or 6-years old.

The book is not heavy-handed in any of its questioning, makes clear the scientific and technical details, and tries to give a sense of the immense scope of the project and its aftermath. There’s Teller and the 1st hydrogen bomb, Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), “Duck and Cover,” and the permanent weapons industry which grew out of it. The US government alone has detonated more than 1,000 nuclear weapons (143). As we still do [from today’s newspaper].

Highly recommended.

This is the 2nd book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 1st book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Reading goals for 2016

My reading goals for 2016 are as varied as usual.

This is what I said near the end of my Books read in 2015 post:

“I want to keep reading things in translation; I feel I did well this year. I should try to read a bit more poetry and erotica, sex & gender this year. I am satisfied with the amount of re-reading, the number of ebooks, and of nonfiction. I hope to read a few less graphic novels and more varied things in literature & language; e.g., more actual lit, more on language and more poetry as previously mentioned. Maybe some re-reading there. Poetry books are close at hand.”

  • More poetry; re-reading encouraged here.
  • More Erotica, Sex & Gender.
  • Less graphic novels.
  • More literature.
  • Librariana? Didn’t read any in 2015. “Who have I become?,” one might ask.
  • Translations check.
  • Ebooks check.
  • Nonfiction check.
  • More essays and short stories.

In a more specific vein I offer the following up to myself:

Books currently reading being read [2016current].

Finish all nine of the books I am supposedly currently reading.

  • Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living
  • Farhi – The Breathing Book
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and Its Role in the Evolution of Human Society
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Gilbert – Collected Poems
  • Bennett, ed. – Japanese Love Poems

2016 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2016poss]

Key: * = currently reading, [on pause] = on pause

Total of 44 books, including some 8 on pause and 2 that I am currently reading. Of these, I challenge myself to complete 12.

Beer and Brewing

  • *The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food – Garrett Oliver
  • Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements) – John J. Palmer and Kaminski
  • The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp for Beer Geeks: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes – Joshua Bernstein

Central Oregon

  • Hiking Oregon’s History – William L. Sullivan [DPL]
  • Bend: A Pictorial History – Elsie Horn Williams [COCC]

Erotica, Sex & Gender

  • Straight: The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality – Hanne Blank [Summit]
  • Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation – Elissa Stein [Summit]

History

  • Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend – Karen Essex
  • The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse – Brian Cowan [COCC online]
  • Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage – Stephanie Coontz [DPL]

Librariana

  • Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age – Alex Wright
  • The Discipline of Organizing – Glushko, ed.
  • Everyday Information: The Evolution of Information Seeking in America – Aspray & Hayes, eds. [COCC online]

Literature and Language

Language and Related

  • Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything – David Bellos
  • Integrating Reality – Roy Harris
  • Integrationist Notes and Papers 2014 – Roy Harris

Literature and Literary Theory

  • The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language – Mark Turner
  • Imagination in Place: Essays – Wendell Berry
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Calvino
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë [Summit]
  • Seven Gothic Tales – Isak Dinesen

Philosophy [loosely defined]

  • *The Power of Ideas – Isaiah Berlin
  • Culture in Mind: Cognition, Culture, and the Problem of Meaning – Bradd Shore
  • The Sovereignty of Good – Iris Murdoch [Summit]
  • You Must Change Your Life: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Birth of Sense – John T. Lysacker
  • Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals – Mark Edmundson
  • The Nature and Value of Happiness – Christine Vitrano [COCC]

Renewal

  • The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book: Protect Yourself and Your Family from Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Allergies and More – Jessica K. Black
  • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain – John J. Ratey, MD and Eric Hagerman
  • The Wayward Mind: An Intimate History of the Unconscious – Guy Claxton
  • Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict – Tsultrim Allione [DPL]

Tech & Software

  • Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas – Seymour Papert
  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts – Garfield
  • Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation – Pollan [DPL]

Assorted/Too Lazy to Classify

  • How to Worry Less about Money – John Armstrong [Summit]
  • Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat – John McQuaid

On Pause

  • Second-Hand Knowledge: An Inquiry into Cognitive Authority – Patrick Wilson [Philosophy]
  • Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight – James Atlee [Assorted]
  • Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Taosports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life – Chungliang Al Huang & Jerry Lynch [Assorted]
  • The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook – Rev: 250 No-Fail Recipes … – Beth Hensperger [Renewal, Assorted/Cookery]
  • Take Control of Automating Your Mac – Joe Kissell [Tech & Software]
  • The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest – Timothy Egan [DPL ebook]
  • Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain – Carol Krucoff [Renewal] [Summit]
  • The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason – Mark Johnson [Philosophy, Renewal] [Summit]

There are, of course, tons of others and those I will come across this year, whether for the first time or not.

The only book not followed by a source [library x] that I do not own and did not find an easy source is the one on Bettie Page.

2016 Goodreads Challenge

My goal is 100 this year, up from 75 last year. I have been alternating between demolishing my goals and being a bit over here for several years.

Challenges hosted elsewhere

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2016 [2016NFC]

Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

I did this one last year and this is how it turned out [per my Books read in 2015 post]:

“Completed 20 April 2015 [includes 1 reread from previous year + 3 in graphic novel challenge also; does not include 3 on pause or 1 I never reviewed]. I finished 68 nonfiction books but clearly did not review or link then to the challenge.”

Guess I’ll just declare myself for doing the Master level right now as I plan to read over 20 nonfiction books.

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2016 [2016TRANS]

Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

I want to keep reading books in translation so this seems like a good one. It only takes 10-12 for the top level of Linguist and I read 21 titles in translation last year. Currently working my way through a book of Japanese love poetry which I started on January 1st.

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2016GNC]

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

I started this one slow last year and ended up creaming it early.

“52. Completed on 25 April 2015. In total, I read 99 graphic novels or manga [does not include rereads: 2015 2 + previous years 2 + 1 gave up] but did not post & link reviews for the challenge.”

I think I’ll begin with 12 for Modern Age this year also. Hoping to shift some of my graphic novel and manga reading into other things but seeing as I read almost twice what I needed in the end and that I had read and reviewed the 52 I needed before the first third of the year was up I think I’ll be fine.

Wrap-Up

These reading goals for 2016 should do it for now. I know there are many other reading challenges out there but seeing however as every last one requires additional work—such as keeping track, writing a review (which I want to do more of), placing said review online somewhere, linking to the proper challenge, etc.—I think this is a more than good start.

Now I need to go create 2016-possibles, 2016nfc, 2016transl and 2016gnc shelves in Goodreads and “stock” them.

Maybe I can actually get back to reading soon?! If I had spent half the time reading as I have on data and writing about reading in the last couple of days I would have finished a couple decent length books already.

Books read in 2015

It looks like I read 171 titles in 2015 with another 7 re-read which were previously read in other years and 2 re-read which were also first read in 2015. There were, of course, titles skimmed, put on pause and given up on.

This year I have been tracking my reading in a Google Sheet and at Goodreads. Still working out workflow for this mess of an activity; i.e., tracking book reading.

The first grouping will be data from my Google Sheet, followed by some from Goodreads, links to previous 2015 reading-related posts, and a list of titles read in 2015 by gross categories.

Google Sheet

This data consists of total entered in Sheet, breakdown of reading status of titles brought forward from 2014, titles entered in 2015 and their breakdown of reading status, reading challenges, books re-read, ebooks, “genre” breakdowns, and sources for the books.

Total

198 [all are in Goodreads]

Brought forward from 2014:

Total 7
Finished 3
On pause 3
Currently Reading 1

Entered  in 2015:

Total 191
Read 171
Gave up 4
Skimmed 3 [skimmed many I did not enter in Sheet; 34 in 2015 according to Goodreads]
On pause 11
Currently reading 8 + 1 started in 2016

Reading Challenges

My own reading goals for 2015: 9 Read [of 12 committed to] + 2 currently reading + 3 on pause. I may post on this separately but calling it met, if barely.

2015 Reading Challenge: 35* of 50 categories. I may’ve accomplished some of the others but I have no good way of knowing re a couple categories. Not concerned. I may post on this separately. Calling it met; had no real criteria in mind so 35 seems fair.

2015 8th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge: 52. Completed on 25 April 2015. In total, I read 99 graphic novels or manga [does not include rereads: 2015 2 + previous years 2 + 1 gave up] but did not post & link reviews for the challenge.

2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge: 20. Completed 20 April 2015 [includes 1 reread from previous year + 3 in graphic novel challenge also; does not include 3 on pause or 1 I never reviewed]. I finished 68 nonfiction books but clearly did not review or link then to the challenge.

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: Goal of 75, reached 29 April 2015. Recorded 166 books for 221% of goal. These totals do not include ~3 books re-read nor those titles read and re-read in 2015.

Books Re-read

Total 11
Read 1st in previous year 8 [Nonfiction/Beer, NF/Literature & Language, 2 Graphic Novels, 4 Lit]
Read 1st & 2nd in 2015 3 [Nonfiction/Beer, 2 Graphic Novels]

Titles Re-read

Saunders – Dinner in the Beer Garden
Doyle – Through the Magic Door
Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 1: Flora & Fauna $
Folio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City (Girl Genius 13) $
Vaughan & Staples – Saga, Volume One
Vaughan & Staples – Saga, Volume Two
Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Adams – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Adams – Life, The Universe and Everything
Adams – So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Boak & Bailey – Gambrinus Waltz $

[$ = read & re-read in 2015]

Ebooks

Total 36 + 2 on pause (1 each)
Kindle 3 finished (2 Beer, Erotica)(incl. 1 re/read 2015 Beer) + 1 on pause (Tech)
PDF 34 (2 Assorted, 30 Graphic Novels + 1 on pause (Tech)

I read so many PDF graphic novels as they are all from either the Girl Genius series via a Kickstarter or from a Dungeons & Dragons Humble Bundle I bought earlier in 2015. I have done a couple Humble Bundles and have read few of them; I tend to forget them. So I wanted to get to work on that and chose these first.

Genre

NF [includes 6 graphic novels, 1 of which is of war poetry + memoir]

Total 92
Finished 68
On pause 11
Currently Reading 7
Gave up 3
Skimmed 3

Fiction

Total 104
Graphic Novels 93 + 1 gave up
Erotica 2
Lit 8
Poetry 1 + 1 currently reading

Other Breakdowns

Photo 6
Beer 26 + 2 currently reading
Graphic novel 99 + 1 gave up [includes 11 manga & 6 nonfiction]
Erotica 2
Poetry 3
Memoir 3 + 1 gave up
Central OR 4 + 1 currently reading
History 10 + 1 currently reading
Translations 21

Together

Read 1
On pause 1
Switch to ind. reading 1
Currently reading 1

Sources

Own 92 + 3 more bought after getting from a library
DPL 77 + 1 gave up + 3 on pause + 1 skimmed + 3 then bought (1 of which still reading) + lots more skimmed. 85 total.
COCC 6
ILL 0 [acquired 2 : 1 gave up and 1 on pause]
Summit 6 + 2 currently reading
Friend 1

Goodreads

This data from my Goodreads account includes, 2015 Goodreads Challenge status, reading status breakdown, and some numbers from specific shelves (mostly used to verify same info from elsewhere).

2015 Challenge goal 75
Read 163 [does not include 7 re-reads]
Currently reading 8 + 1 from 2016
Gave up 2
Skimmed 34
On pause 6

Shelves

2015-gnc 61 [does not include rereads: 2015 2 + previous years 2]
2015nfc 21 [includes 1 reread from previous year; 1 review not written]
translation 21
together 1 + 1 currently reading + 1 on pause + 1 switched to individual reading

Other 2015 reading posts [re challenges, etc.]

List of 2015 Books Read by Category

Assorted

  • Quadback-Seeger – World of the Elements: Elements of the World
  • Attlee – Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight [on pause]
  • Backes – Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana [on pause]
  • Kondo – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
  • Stilgoe – Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places
  • Stivers – Hair of the Dog: Irish Drinking and Its American Stereotype
  • Scerri – The Periodic Table: A Very Short Introduction
  • Rubel – Bread: A Global History (The Edible Series)
  • Jung – Man and His Symbols [gave up]
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future of the Pacific Northwest [currently reading]
  • Rothenberg, ed. – White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism
  • Egan – The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest [on pause]
  • Sahlins – Waiting for Foucault, Still
  • Babauta – Focus: a simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction

Assorted Cookery

  • Robertson – Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker
  • Steen & Noyes – The Great Vegan Protein Book
  • Scicolone – The Italian Slow Cooker

Assorted Memoir

  • Nguyen – Stealing Buddha’s Dinner [gave up]
  • Pollan – A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams

Beer & Brewing

  • Boak & Bailey – Brew Britannia: The Strange Rebirth of British Beer
  • Yaeger – Oregon Breweries
  • Allen and Cantwell – Barley Wine: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes
  • Mallett – Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse
  • Saunders – Dinner in the Beer Garden [re-read]
  • Dunlop – Portland Beer: Crafting the Road to Beervana
  • Amato – Beerology: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer … Even More
  • Fix – Principles of Brewing Science: A Study of Serious Brewing Issues
  • Coutts – The Perfect Keg: Sowing, Scything, Malting and Brewing My Way to the Best Ever Pint of Beer
  • Mosher – Mastering Homebrew: The Complete Guide to Brewing Delicious Beer
  • Barich – A Pint of Plain: Tradition, Change, and the Fate of the Irish Pub
  • Alworth – The Beer Bible
  • Nelson – The Barbarian’s Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe
  • Beechum and Conn – Experimental Homebrewing: Mad Science in the Pursuit of Great Beer
  • Acitelli – The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and Its Role in the Evolution of Human Society [currently reading]
  • Boak & Bailey – Gambrinus Waltz: German Lager Beer in Victorian and Edwardian London [read & re-read this year]
  • Palmer – How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right the First Time
  • Bostwick and Rymil – Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer
  • Mosher – The Brewer’s Companion: Being a Complete Compendium of Brewing Knowledge … [skimmed]
  • Foster – Pale Ale: History and Brewing Techniques, Recipes: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes
  • Papazian – The Complete Joy of Home Brewing 4th ed
  • Hughes – A Treatise on the Brewing of Beer
  • Zainasheff & Palmer – Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food [currently reading]
  • Shales – Brewing Better Beers

Central Oregon

  • Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide) [currently reading]

Central Oregon Memoir

  • Waterston – Where the Crooked River Rises: A High Desert Home

Central Oregon Memoir & History

  • Ramsey – New Era: Reflections on the Human and Natural History of Central Oregon

Erotica, Sex & Gender

  • Williams – Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History
  • Christina – Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories about Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More
  • Tyler, ed. – Luscious: Stories of Anal Eroticism

Graphic Novels

  • Foglio, et al. – The Secret Blueprints For Volume One (Girl Genius 0)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne & the Beetleburg clank (Girl Genius 1)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City (Girl Genius 2)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Monster Engine (Girl Genius 3)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus of Dreams (Girl Genius 4)
  • Bendis & Maleev – Scarlet
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess (Girl Genius 5)
  • B. and MacOrlan – The Littlest Pirate King
  • Pham – Sumo
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Golden Trilobite (Girl Genius 6)
  • Abnett and Culbard – The New Deadwardians
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Voice of the Castle (Girl Genius 7)
  • Kerascoët and Hubert – Beauty
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones (Girl Genius 8)
  • Vehlmann & Kerascoët – Beautiful Darkness
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm (Girl Genius 9)
  • David and Lopez – Fallen Angel
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse (Girl Genius 10)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell (Girl Genius 11)
  • Mina, et al. – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 1
  • Mina, et al. – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 2
  • TenNapel – Ratfist
  • Moon and Bá – De: Tales: Stories From Urban Brazil
  • Tobin and Dewey – I Was The Cat
  • Merveille and Tati – Hello, Mr. Hulot
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (Girl Genius 12)
  • Cruse – Stuck Rubber Baby
  • Pedrosa – Three Shadows
  • Perlow, et al. – Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black
  • Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 1: Flora & Fauna [read & re-read this year]
  • Collins & Rayner – Road to Perdition
  • Moning, et al. – Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha
  • Lucke – The Lunch Witch (#1)
  • Wilson and Alphona – Ms. Marvel: No Normal
  • Wilson, et al. – Ms. Marvel: Generation Why 2
  • Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 2: Amphibia & Insecta
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 1: Cold Dead Fingers
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 2: Crossroads
  • Greenberg – The Encyclopedia of Early Earth
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 3: Bound
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 4: A Town Called Penance
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City (Girl Genius 13) [read & re-read this year]
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 5: Winter Wolves
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 6: Ghost Dance
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth gun: Book 7: Not the Bullet, But the Fall
  • Nolan – Hunters of the Great Forest
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume One [re-read]
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Two [re-read]
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Three
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Four
  • McCloud – The Sculptor
  • Carey, Willingham, et al. – The Unwritten: The Unwritten Fables, vol. 9
  • Carey & Gross, et al. – The Unwritten: War Stories, vol. 10
  • Miller & Varley – 300
  • Vance & Burr – Kings in Disguise: A Novel
  • Hagio – A Drunken Dream and Other Stories
  • Remender – Strange Girl Omnibus
  • Fawkes – The People Inside [gave up]
  • Moore & O’Neill – Nemo: Heart of Ice
  • Ralph – Daybreak
  • Kelso – The Squirrel Mother
  • Selznick – The Marvels
  • Doctorow and Wang – In Real Life
  • Fleisher, Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 1
  • Grubb, Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 2
  • Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 3
  • Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 4
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: Cutter
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 1
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 2
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 3
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 4
  • Greenwood, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms, Volume 1
  • Zub, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt – Neverwinter Tales
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt, volume 1: Homeland
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt, Exile
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Shadowplague
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: First Encounters
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Down
  • Foglio, et al. – Girl Genius: Second Journey Book One: The Beast of the Rails

Graphic Novels Manga

  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 1
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 2
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 3
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner Chamber, vol. 1
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 4
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 5
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner Chamber, vol. 2
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 6
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner chamber, vol. 3
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner chamber, vol. 4
  • Anno – Sakuran: Blossoms Wild

Graphic Novel Nonfiction

  • Redniss – Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love & Fallout

Graphic Novel Nonfiction History

  • Wilson, Dickson, et al. – Fight the power!: A visual history of protest among the English-speaking peoples
  • Stavans and Alcaraz – A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States
  • Bagge – Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story

Graphic Novel Nonfiction Memoir

  • Abirached – I Remember Beirut

Graphic Novel Nonfiction  War Poetry

  • Duffy, ed. -Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics

History

  • Schivelbusch – Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants
  • Swaby – Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World

History Memoir

  • Coe – Frontier Doctor: Observations on Central Oregon & the Changing West

Literature & Language

  • Ozecki – A Tale for the Time Being
  • Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #1) [re-read]
  • Adams – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #2) [re-read]
  • Adams – Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #3) [re-read]
  • Adams – So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker’s Guide #4) [re-read]
  • Johnson – Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia
  • Brontë – Wuthering Heights
  • King – Euphoria [2016 DPL A Novel Idea Selection]
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2009-2011
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2012
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2013
  • Doyle – Through the Magic Door [re-read]
  • Ramsey – Thinking Like a Canyon: New and Selected Poems, 1973-2010
  • Gilbert – Collected poems [currently reading]

Literature & Language Graphic Novel War Poetry

  • Duffy, ed. – Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics [also listed above]

Philosophy

  • Wilson – Second-Hand Knowledge: An Inquiry into Cognitive Authority [on pause]
  • Wellmuth – The Nature and Origins of Scientism
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas [currently reading]

Photography

  • Atkeson – Oregon, My Oregon
  • Atkeson & Miller – Ski & Snow Country: The Golden Years of Skiing in the West, 1930s-1950s
  • Atkeson – Oregon II
  • Atkeson & Ross – Oregon III
  • Marbach and Pokarney – Oregon Harvest
  • Curtis – The North American Indian: The Complete Portfolios

Renewal

  • Huang and Lynch – Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Taosports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life [on pause]
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness [currently reading]
  • Johnson – The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason [on pause]
  • Segal – Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse [on pause]
  • Levine – Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences
  • Farhi – The Breathing Book: Good Health and Vitality Through Essential Breath Work [currently reading]
  • Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning
  • Smalley & Winston – Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness
  • Krznaric – How To Find Fulfilling Work
  • Black – More Anti-Inflammation Diet Tips and Recipes
  • Wahls – The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine
  • Gunaratana – Mindfulness in Plain English
  • Krucoff – Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain [on pause]
  • Moore & Gillette – Lover Within: Accessing the Lover in the Male Psyche [on pause]
  • Cooksley – Seaweed: Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease, and Revitalizing Body and Soul [skimmed]
  • Brantley & Millstine – Five Good Minutes in Your Body [skimmed]
  • Fallon – Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

Tech & Software

  • Kissell – Take Control of Automating Your Mac [on pause]
  • Martinez and Stager – Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom [on pause]
  • Rawlins – Slaves of the Machine: The Quickening of Computer Technology [gave up]

Final Comments

I think this slices and dices this data more than enough for me this year. I would not mind having a breakdown of authors by gender but that is loaded with many problems (multiple authors, determining gender of some, etc.) and I am not that concerned about it. I read fairly widely and try to read from a diversity of diversities, knowing that I can always do better.

I want to keep reading things in translation; I feel I did well this year. I should try to read a bit more poetry and erotica, sex & gender this year. I am satisfied with the amount of re-reading, the number of ebooks, and of nonfiction. I hope to read a few less graphic novels and more varied things in literature & language; e.g., more actual lit, more on language and more poetry as previously mentioned. Maybe some re-reading there. Poetry books are close at hand.

All in all, I’m calling 2015 a good year for me and reading. I met all of my goals, and only one of them I feel could have been more solidly met.

I am very happy to be ending some part of my 2015 with a great score for the year. Particularly happy to have the thought documented.

Here’s to your (and my) reading in 2016.

[Post(s) coming soon]

 

DigiWriMo 2015 update

I got off to a great start but then tapered off dramatically. Also, much of my word count came from writing prep; not that much was actually finished.

I never got Scrivener Finals Target working so I created a minimal Google Sheets spreadsheet. But it required me to ensure I recorded some reasonably accurate idea of each day’s count at the end of the day before heading to bed. Not sure why I didn’t get Finals Target to work as I had it working for DigiWriMo 2014 and 2012.

Was I successful? However I might want to define that. Before attempting to answer the question, though, let me say that I just don’t care. I lost my motivation early, clearly, and several other events intervened at the end of the month to keep me from making any real progress.

A fairly accurate word count is 27695. I was aiming for 35k so 27695 / 35000 = 0.7912 or almost 80%.

At habitually probing generalist (here) I had 3 posts with one about one of the topics I had hoped to cover and two related to DigiWriMo itself.

At by the barrel I had 5 posts with only one about DigiWriMo and one guest post from my wife. I did not get any homebrew posts written but I did do The Session #105 and a book review.

I also had one post at Commonplacing. Had hoped to get a few more added.

hpg

  • # posts 3
  • Health 0
  • Pilot Butte 1
  • 2016 GIP 0

BBL

  • # posts 5
  • Home brewing 0
  • Session #105 check
  • Book reviews 1

I had almost no engagement with anyone else although I did poke at some of the official blog posts and such from the DigiWriMo crew. I was the only one who could make me write and I would or I wouldn’t. I also had very little interest in pursuing multimodal “writing” projects. Those sorts of things are theoretically interesting but not really my thing.

Success? Whatever.

Trying to wrap my head around moving on to next year. I still have a major project I “failed at” this year ahead of me. It will not go away until it is taken care of. Period. So it is a major project again this coming year. Lots of smaller projects are still projects.

Leaving 2015 behind. Thank you.

Swaby – Headstrong

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—and the World by Rachel Swaby

Date read: 09-25 April 2015

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cover image of Headstrong by Swaby

Paperback, xiv, 273 pages

Published 2015 by Broadway Books

Source: Deschutes Public Library (509.2 SWABY RACHEL)

I found this book on one of the new nonfiction shelves (Biography?) at Deschutes Public Library.

[Sorry for the crap review. All of these women deserve better. Life is kicking my ass lately. There it is. I said it. Deal. I’m still trying to. Besides, here’s a review after I said I was done for now.]

The book opens with a four-page introduction, then the 52 profiles (~3-5 pages each), followed by acknowledgments, notes, bibliography and index. The 52 profiles are divided into seven major areas: Medicine, Biology and the Environment, Genetics and Development, Physics, Earth and Stars, Math and Technology, and Invention.

A few of my favorites are as follows:

Medicine

Gerty Radnitz Cori (1896-1957) Biochemistry – Czech

Amazing woman! She and her research partner/husband Carl provided a firm foundation “of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen for which they received a Nobel Prize in Medicine.” They did so much more. Much of it truly foundational work.

Elsie Widdowson (1906-2000) Nutrition – British

Therefore when Elsie proposed the idea of extending their analysis to cereals, dairy and miscellaneous items such as drinks, so as to produce a practical set of tables showing the composition of British foods, Robert McCance took no time at all in agreeing and in 1934 The chemical composition of foods was born, with the first edition being published in 1940. This is now in its sixth edition and is regarded as the foremost nutrition publication and is the basis of most nutritional databases around the world.

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-1994) Biochemistry – British

Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances.”

Biology and the Environment

Mary Anning (1799-1847) Paleontology – British

I absolutely adored the opening sentence! “Before she was struck by lightning, Mary Anning was a dull child.” It continues, “But after she was lifted from the grisly scene and sponged off (her babysitter and two friends dead and a horse-riding event ruined), the baby had changed” (54). It just gets better from there. I mean, Dickens wrote about her! (18 years after she died. [Or not.])

What a story. Her and her brother discovered “the world’s first ichthyosaur fossil” (55). I’m not going to forget Mary. Class is a bitch! Class and gender …

In 1811, she saw some bones sticking out of a cliff; and, hammer in hand, she traced the position of the whole creature, and then hired men to dig out for her the lias block in which it was embedded. Thus was brought to light the first Ichthyosaurus (fish-lizard), a monster some thirty feet long, with jaws nearly a fathom in length, and huge saucer eyes, some of which have been found so perfect, that the petrified lenses (the sclerotica, of which it had thirteen coats) have been split off and used as magnifiers. People then called it a crocodile. Mr. Henley, the lord of the manor, bought it of the enterprising young girl for twenty three pounds. It is now in the British Museum.” She was 12 years old FFS!

Ellen Swallow Richards (1842-1911) Chemistry – American

So many important contributions! 1st woman admitted to MIT. Her biography at MIT Archives.

Genetics and Development

Nettie Stevens (1861-1912) Genetics – American

The real discoverer of sex determination. Died “of breast cancer eleven years after her career began” (85). Wikipedia entry. Article at Nature.

Earth and Stars

Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) Astronomy – American

“Maria Mitchell worked as a librarian by day, but it was her other office—a makeshift observatory on the roof of her parents’ home in Nantucket, Massachusetts—that was her favorite workspace,” is how this entry begins (155). How can I not like that?

My first thought was, “What kind of librarian?

As a young woman, Mitchell worked briefly as a schoolteacher, then as a librarian at the Nantucket Atheneum, while still continuing her astronomical observations. Her father encouraged her, and through him, Mitchell was fortunate to be able to meet some of the country’s most prominent scientists, though generally as a young woman she was shy and avoided company.

Maria Mitchell, the first female professional astronomer in the United States, became instantly famous in October 1847, when she was the first to discover and chart the orbit of a new comet, which became known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.”

Math and Technology

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) Statistics – British

Stats!

Commentary

Most of these women I had never heard of, but I have heard of a dozen or so and had some idea of why they were famous. But then there’s a woman like Florence Nightingale who many think of as the epitome of nursing and while she quite probably was an exemplary nurse, her statistical work “marked the beginning of evidence-based medicine” (187). She also created the first modern nursing curriculum and many other important contributions.

And I left out many amazing women such as Ada Lovelace, Sally Ride, Rachel Carson and others.

Interesting read with a fair few sources. All of the links I used came from the book.

Going to have to find that Dickens’ piece on Mary Anning. [Citation: Dickens, Charles, “Mary Anning, the Fossil Finder.” All the Year Round, July 22, 1865.] And here it is!

Harris – Integrationist Notes and Papers 2012

Integrationist Notes and Papers 2012 by Roy Harris

Date read: 01-02 February 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Integrationist Notes and Papers 2012 by Roy Harris

Paperback, v, 103 pages

Published 2012 by Bright Pen

Source: Own, via amazon

“These papers address questions at the junction between philosophy of mind and philosophy of language.” (Preface, 1)

“In the study of mind, words are vague shapes emerging unbidden from swirling mists. Many theorists seize gratefully upon them. For without them the terrain is dark and nebulous, with no clear landmarks.

The integrationist, on the other hand, takes the presence of a word to indicate always the presence of other signs, even if they are not appartent.” (Preface, 2)

Contents:

  • Preface
  • 36 Russell Revisited
  • 37 Minds, Brains and Language Machines
  • 38 Logic and Babel
  • 39 Reason and Truth
  • 40 Laws of Thought
  • 41 Ordinary Language
  • 42 Forms of Talk and Forms of Action
  • 43 By Any Other Name
  • 44 Any Questions?
  • References

Similar to previous volumes, the papers fairly straightforwardly address the topics of their titles. One small production note, there are five citations missing from the References. That is not horrible but it is not good, either.

I enjoyed it immensely.

This is the 5th book in my Traditional Chesterfield armchair

10th Blogging Anniversary

Today, 29 January 2015, is my 10th blogging anniversary. Public blogging anyway. My 1st public blog was on Typepad and was called … the thoughts are broken…. It is a line from the Grateful Dead’s Ripple. First post: So, what is this about, and for?

The blog has been many things over the years and as of Jan 2013 I have had two more of them. I used to do a weekly “Some things read this week …” post of serious things read seriously and there were a couple years of hardly any blogging and now this month of January 2015 I already have posted 32 reviews of graphic novel and manga. WTF is that?! Not doubt many other odd juxtapositions could be found. Graphic novel reading challenge that I got off to a far better start than imagined possible is the “the” of the WTF, by the way.

As for 10 years, I’m stuck between saying, “So what?” and wanting someone to do a serious multi-faceted analysis but seeing as that would only be me the hell with it. I guess I can’t quite just say “So what?” either.

I as said, it was initially called … the thoughts are broken…, then became Off the Mark (Jul 2006), and has been habitually probing generalist since July 2009. The story of naming(s) can be found in the assorted posted linked below. Some are anniversary posts and some are more about naming or somehow seem relevant to me.

Anniversary posts

29 Jan 2005 Inaugural post

12 Jan 2006 Sort of a pre-anniversary post

29 Jan 2006 1st anniversary post and metaphors of orality

2008 3rd anniversary post and LISNews Top 10

Let there be songs to fill the air.”

2009 4th anniversary

“She found me in an alley and my life will never be the same.”

6 years later: I had no idea how true that statement would become and how deep it could resonate, nor did I have any idea the state of good represented by the proposition.

2010 5th anniversary [good shorthand version of history]

Other posts

20 Jul 2006 Welcome to Off the Mark Name change the first

20 Oct 2006 habitually probing generalist: the story of a label

20 Jul 2008 Mark has been Off for 2 years 2nd anniversary of Off the Mark

19 Jul 2009 habitually probing generalist Name change the second

24 Jan 2013 Two new blogs

Some numbers and a list

  • Most posts/month: 50 in May 2005; 2nd is 43 in November 2005
  • Most posts/year: 371 in 2005; 2nd is 296 in 2006
  • Least posts/year: 6 in 2013; 2nd is 10 in 2014
  • First month 0 posts: November 2008
  • Longest stretch no posts: 9 months (23 January – 22 Oct 2014); 2nd is 5 months (21 April – 22 September 2013)

As one can see above and definitely below, I got off to an amazing start. The content was highly varied back then too. I have no idea how I managed the first few years as I was a full-time grad student and worked 20 hours/week. Clearly I was generating a large quantity of writing for my degree(s) work also. Crazy.

It was a heady time and many of us—students and otherwise—were cranking out so many words trying to have discussions and move the field along: Chad, Joy, Jenica, Dorothea, and so many others. Some are still around; some aren’t. Some are in different venues and I couldn’t point you at the old “them” if I wanted. That’s fine; I just wish the reasons were less innocuous than they are in a few cases.

In my 1st year (actually a little less as am going to calendar year end not 29 Jan), I posted over 31.7% of all existent posts. In 2006 it was 25.3%, in 2007 18.8%, with 2008 (4th year) being the first year to be under one-tenth of the total at 7.6%. So in my first two years I posted 57% of my content and by the end of the third has posted 76.1% of it all. Wow!

Then again, over 33 posts before January ends (as I am already at on the 26th; with a couple more in draft for Jan.) has, well …. Well. Look at that. It has never been done before. The most in January was 27 in 2006 and then 20 in 2007. Ha. Go, me!

Number of posts per month by year

2005
Jan 8
Feb 18
Mar 23
Apr 42
May 50
Jun 29
Jul 30
Aug 23
Sep 34
Oct 41
Nov 43
Dec 30
Total 371

2006
Jan 27
Feb 28
Mar 35
Apr 32
May 17
Jun 20
Jul 17
Aug 23
Sep 20
Oct 22
Nov 30
Dec 25
Total 296

2007
Jan 20
Feb 31
Mar 10
Apr 21
May 30
Jun 21
Jul 17
Aug 17
Sep 13
Oct 15
Nov 10
Dec 15
Total 220

2008
Jan 16
Feb 11
Mar 11
Apr 11
May 11
Jun 10
Jul 5
Aug 6
Sep 6
Oct 2
Nov –
Dec 1
Total 90

2009
Jan 4
Feb –
Mar 2
Apr –
May 2
Jun 1
Jul 2
Aug –
Sep –
Oct 1
Nov 1
Dec 1
Total 14

2010
Jan 1
Feb 3
Mar 2
Apr 4
May –
Jun –
Jul –
Aug 6
Sep 9
Oct 11
Nov 2
Dec 4
Total 42

2011
Jan 7
Feb 5
Mar –
Apr –
May 1
Jun –
Jul 4
Aug 5
Sep 2
Oct 1
Nov 3
Dec 4
Total 32

2012
Jan 6
Feb 4
Mar 2
Apr 3
May 1
Jun 4
Jul 2
Aug 1
Sep 2
Oct –
Nov 24
Dec 6
Total 55

2013
Jan 2
Feb 1
Mar –
Apr 1
May –
Jun –
Jul –
Aug –
Sep 1
Oct –
Nov –
Dec 1
Total 6

2014
Jan 2
Feb –
Mar –
Apr –
May –
Jun –
Jul –
Aug –
Sep –
Oct 1
Nov 4
Dec 3
Total 10

2015
Jan 32 (25 January 2015)

2005-2015 1169 posts total

Cheers for making it all the way down here. I have no idea how this blog will continue to manifest but I am still saying things, even if much less (here), so will keep it. I honestly wish I had more time to read back through it. The 100s of 1000s of words I wrote contain a few good ones, along with a couple excellent ideas. It shows a fragmented, erratic, (somewhat) incoherent path but it was mine.

There is also a lot of insight and wisdom in the comments by others. I want to thank every last person who made one or more since the beginning.

I’m still “sewing.” I’m still listening. I keep trying to make some sense but … the thoughts are broken ….

Thanks to all who were along for the ride and those here now and in the future.

Peace and love.

Morton – Tortillas: A Cultural History

Morton, Paula E. 2014. Tortillas: a Cultural History. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Date read: 16-31 December 2014

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cover of Paula Morton's Tortillas: a Cultural History

Cover of Paula Morton’s Tortillas: a Cultural History

Paperback, xxiii, 157 p

Published 2014 by University of New Mexico Press.

Overall I enjoyed this book. Throughout it kept me exceedingly hungry for “proper” nixtamilized corn tortillas made completely from hand. Of course, the horrifically gendered work that went into them is a non-starter. The work that went into them—no matter who’s doing it—is a non-starter.

Despite being on an academic press this is definitely a general audience book. There is a notes section in the back with a couple of paragraphs per chapter but not proper notes. There were one or two claims made that I wanted to look into but could find no references to them.

I chose a lot of categories for this post as the author does cover issues of gender, language and word issues, pop culture, technology, and so on.

The book is an easy read but I really wanted more out of it. A bit more scholarly, perhaps, but not enough to throw most people off. The author is a journalist so it has some of that feel. My biggest gripe is the easy nonchalance in which the author reported on wholesale cultural genocide. “Aw, shucks. It happens eventually to everyone [paraphrase].” The sheer bloodiness of European expansion into Central America and Mexico is enough to make us sit up and reconsider our own cultural heritage. At the least. And as European expansion was pretty much bloody everywhere, it simply cannot be “Aw, gee shucks” awayed.

Near the end as she’s wrapping up loose ends (somewhat) and bringing us fully up-to-date, the author provides some statistics. I believe they are completely and utterly incorrect and highlight an utter fail of editing (on everyone’s part):

“In 2002 in Mexico the average daily consumption of corn tortillas per person was 548 pounds. In 2010 the daily consumption was 346 pounds, according to the Mexican National Household Income Expenditure Survey (ENIGH in Spanish)” (124).

Um, No one, I say no single person, is (or was) eating either 346 or 548 pounds of tortillas per day! Not even once on one day. That figure could be the annual total per person perhaps or it could be the weight eaten by all Mexicans in a day but for that it seems way low. Either way, that last cock-up sealed the feeling I’d had about the book all along. I wanted—I expected—more. So I only gave it 3 stars.

Still I learned a fair bit and will be on the lookout for much better tortillas on occasion.