Having had the great pleasure of meeting Mr Eyres at a reading/lecture promoting this book recently, I was able to tell him that I was new to Horace a...moreHaving had the great pleasure of meeting Mr Eyres at a reading/lecture promoting this book recently, I was able to tell him that I was new to Horace and that this book re-awakened in me a desire to learn more Latin. He was pleased, and I said I would read more of Horace's poetry. I doubt however that I could get a better overview than this book. Part biography, part poetry, part philosophical commentary, it is warmly written and easily grasped and accessible. Eyres' style of writing is conversational, intelligent, friendly and is best enjoyed with a glass of wine - truly Horatian.
Known to most for his column in the Financial Times (UK), Eyres in this writes about his rekindled relationship with the ancient bard, and how Horace has informed his life choices and his life was parallel in many ways. Born relatively humbly, striving for beauty in literature, learning, language and epicurean delights, and bucking the establishment in many respects, Eyres and Horace appear to have much in common - Eyres is also a writer of books on wine, somewhat an expert, Horace was a vineyard owner at his small Sabine farm and a connoisseur.
The translations that Eyres proffers in this book are bang up to date - mentioning tsunamis, the Taliban and current events - and I am sure are good modern tellings of Horace's poems.
I couldn't put this book down and know I will read it more than once, and now that it is signed as well I'm sure it will continue to be a treasure, opening up new literary vistas to me. I highly recommend it for lovers of classics, literature, gentle humour, language and philosophy.(less)
I wanted to read this because I'd loved the film and I wanted to know more about the story and the characters. The film turned out to be almost verbat...moreI wanted to read this because I'd loved the film and I wanted to know more about the story and the characters. The film turned out to be almost verbatim of the dialogue in the book, which meant the book was incredibly tied into the film.
This is Sci-Fi, a dystopian view of a future New York, and a day in the life of self-made mega-millionaire where he tail-spins and falls into a decline as his business unravels while he takes a limo trip across town to get a haircut and craziness ensues.
DeLillo's style of writing is informal and clipped, but he uses beautiful language and adjectives to describe mundane items, experiences and feelings, and it is sometimes almost poetic. His descriptors are insightful and the pictures he paints, albeit succinctly and pithily, are vivid and memorable.
Whether DeLillo's story is simply the narration of events, simply told, or whether it is laced with metaphor as seems more likely/obvious in the film. To me the book is a study in depression and the disillusion with capitalism and modern rich lifestyles where there is no striving in life because everything is easily bought. My take on the story is that the characters are almost archetypes and aspects of Eric Packer's own psyche as well as characters who act on him. I read it as metaphor and story and as such I think it is superb. I look forward to reading more of DeLillo's work and this book will sit alongside the likes of William Gibson and Philip K Dick on my bookshelf. (less)
Thoroughly enjoying this book. Interesting, written engagingly and humourously, it has mass appeal. The anecdotes about the elements are often fascina...moreThoroughly enjoying this book. Interesting, written engagingly and humourously, it has mass appeal. The anecdotes about the elements are often fascinating and the book isn't dry at all. It's not evenly, with some of the elements clearly having more exciting "lives" than others, but I skipped through the book quickly and hopefully took a lot in. The illustrations are oftentimes a little off-beat and not really helpful, but the text doesn't really need them.
The writer obviously has passion for his subject and that boyhood sort of fascination comes across really nicely. I think that Aldersey-Williams has struck the right balance between geeky-factoid-fanzine, academic-reference and popular-science-for-the-masses-text. It's approachable, relatable, not too science-high-brow and ultimately really very readable.(less)
This is more a booklet than a book, and consequently I got through this in one sitting very quickly. It's 101 small pages, and large font make it an e...moreThis is more a booklet than a book, and consequently I got through this in one sitting very quickly. It's 101 small pages, and large font make it an easy read. It is interesting but like many "proof" books covering a lot of topics it only skims and might be suited to someone without a scientific background.
There are some really amazing paragraphs where the author cites Bible verses that highlight principals that were not accepted scientific thought for, in some cases, over 2,000 years since writing. Of course hindsight is 20:20 but some of the below are compelling. For example, paragraph one: Job 26:7 (written c1500BC when contempories believed the world was on the back of an animal/giant and carried through space) says that God "hangs the earth upon nothing." That Earth is free-floating in space was not "discovered" until 1650... and more of the same:
The earth is round not flat Matter is built up of atoms The Water cycle Radiowaves Entropy and the second Law of Thermodynamics The Earth's rotation on it's axis causing day and night Hygiene Laws and bacteria Nuclear winter/weaponry The stars are too numerous to count The universe is expanding The sun isn't stationary etc ...
Of course there is a large portion of the book given to Creation vs Evolution and here his arguments are not as clear cut, a little sweeping, although still thought provoking if you have an open mind although he's clutching at straws and I'm no expert but can see some of his statements are misleading at best. Much ink is given to the inacuracies of carbon dating (old news) and he mentions an experiment where a living seashell was dated as 27,000 years old, worrying to be sure, and of course the good old Piltdown man was dredged up again, and the other well-known and documented fakes/hoax skeletons in Darwin's closet! I've just finished reading The Origin of the Species and Darwin often states - when you can get him off the topic of his blasted pigeons - how his theory could be disproved or how it is just a theory, and an unlikely one; he never claimed it to be 100% fact. He was rather reasonable about it, in fact. Comfort's book states that there are categorically NO "intermediate" species on the planet (lungfish - good candidate surely?) and like many Creationists has got a skewed vision of what Darwin proposed. There are quite a few progressive eyes, for example, from rudimentary light sensors all the way through to the masterpiece that is the human eye. Argumemts in this book are those given by people who have a Noah's Ark Toy view of the rich fauna of the world; cat, dog, giraffe, cow, pig, monkey, fish, lizard, bird etc. There are some really weird creatures out there which could easily be fitted into a branching progression of creatures showing evolution of species - macro-evolution. I half expected him to say "and why aren't some babies born with tails as throwback if we evolved from monkeys?" They ARE sometimes born with vestigial tails, dear, but the surgeons remove them before they get seen by the rset of the family, and in the past they would have been killed a birth!
There are few sciemtific references in this book and that always annoys me. And no index. One citation from a dictionary definition used as proof that creation was true and evolution was a theory was a little laughable.
A middle portion of the book is given to famous people (mainly Americans) quoted as saying things that show they believe in God. If so and so believes, it must be true sort of thing. Lots of very unreliable people believe in God and the Bible too... it's not proof in an of itself, but the portion on the great scientific minds who believe is significant: Newton, Kepler, Farraday, Galileo, Pasteur, Kelvin, Da Vinci, Bacon, Joule, Compton, Einstein, Pascal and even our great Hawking is quoted in there (not as someone who believes the Bible per se but someone who doesn't see disproof of the Bible/God).
Overall, a good little book to have around to refer to at more length and look into the arguments further, a conversation starter or debate opener. Taken on it's own, written in an easy evangelical style, it is too limited to be entirely convincing but opened my eyes to a few things I didn't know in scientific principals in the Bible ahead of their "discovery" and whilst I don't see eye to eye to him on Evolution/Creation there was much that was new to my understanding.(less)