cybermathwitch: (Default)
from [ profile] celli Random question of the day: what's your favorite nonfiction book of all time? You know, the one you'd read over and over, the one that reads like fiction but is excitingly/terrifyingly true.

Of the ones on my list, I think the one that best fits the criteria is this one:
Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper -- Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell -- Patricia Cornwell explores the case of Jack the Ripper, in particular investigating the posibility that artist William Sickert was actually the Ripper. She does a brilliant job of retelling the events of both his life, as well as the Ripper murders, and presents some very compelling evidence, including mitochondrial DNA testing, as well as looking at the artist's works from around that time and how their subject matter is related to the case.

However, there are several other non-fiction books that I love and adore and ought to mention:

The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft by Ronald Hutton -- Hutton is a historian, not a practitioner, and set out to investigate the historic, social, and academic origins of British Witchcraft (and by extension, a big chunk of modern paganism, but he focuses on the movement and religion in Britain). He is neither "for" nor "against" the movement, but he does shed a great deal of light on the actual origins rather than the mythology that is commonly quoted as being "true history." It's an academic text written to be accessible for most everyone with an interest in the subject, but it's a fairly dense read even then. Still, it's useful beyond just it's own area and has really good information for students of mythology, anthropology and folklore too, because of how it discusses those movements around the turn of the century.

A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman -- This book goes through the sense one by one and is a combination of anecdotes, science facts, and very poetic prose regarding how we experience the world and what is in our world to experience via our senses. It's just really, really beautiful to read with lots of great information.

A Natural History of Love by Diane Ackerman -- It's similar to her other book, but she talks about the human experience of love from just about every angle you can view it from - biological, literary, artistic, poetic, anthropological, and psychological.

The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony by Roberto Calasso -- This is "shelved" at in the Fiction -- Fairy Tales section, but most bookstores have it in either the mythology or literary criticism sections. It's a dream-like exploration of the language, meaning, history, and form of some parts of Greek mythology that goes back and forth between retelling the myths and explaining them and the thought and beliefs behind them. The explanation I just gave doesn't really do the book justice, but it's probably one of my favorite books, period, and certainly my favorite book on the subject.

Your turn!


May. 24th, 2009 04:50 am
cybermathwitch: (Default)
Um.  Hi.

I haven't been around much.  And I'm not actually 100% sure that this is a change in that particular trend, but ::shrug::.

I want to write things down and record them.  I want to keep a running tally of my life, online, and use the materials and tools that I have at my disposal to do so... I'm just not sure *how* to do that.

That's not exactly right.  I suppose, in an abstract way, I do know how to do it.  I could write you manuals and papers about how all these things work, but I'm not sure how to apply them to my life.  What things do I want to record?  How do I want to keep up with them?  Like my physical surroundings, if I had a cut and dried system of where things went and how things should be sorted and what kinds of classificiations and distinctions I should be making, then I could impose some kind of order on things.  I'm just not sure what those things are *for me*.

Take ravelry, for instance.   I can record what yarns I own, what projects I'm working on, etc.  There's also a tagging system, that would allow me to organize and categorize and classify my projects, my queue (projects I want to make someday), and my "favorites" (things I just thing are neat) into categories that are meaningful to me.  I know that many people are able to create and use tags in a completely organic way, and that works for them.  I, however, can guarantee you I need a better basic structure than that (because I've *tried* the completely organic thing, and it doesn't work).  So I need to decide at the outset that I'm going to mark all my books with a tag "book" and further that I'm going to call science fiction "speculative" and not "sci-fi", "scifi", "science fiction" and "science fic".  Because I *WILL* do the later if I'm not properly prepared beforehand.

Then there's the age-old question of "what kind of a planning system do I need to be using?  What do I need to keep track of?  I have several little peices and ideas, but I don't know what the picture is yet or even what shape the puzzle is.  I know that I need a hard copy, paper calendar I can carry around, that's small and lightweight, and has the months in it with plenty of room to write.  I finally figured out a year or so ago that I "see" and "think" of time in months, so that's the best way for me to see my schedule.  Daily pages are *way* too excessive, and weekly pages seldom get used.  I know that I need some kind of contact/address book, and it needs to have both a high-tech component and a low-tech (ie, written on paper) component as well.

Going back to calendars for a moment, while I know I need a paper calendar, I also want/need to use my Google Calendar because that's where many of my events and activities first get posted, and I have several friends calendars I'm linked to.

I have my LJ tags where I want them (I think) but none of my others are that organized.  (Also, I feel like I should at some point go back and tag the old LJ entries from the before times when there weren't any tags so that they'll be searchable too.)

Any thoughts/advice/etc would be appreciated.


In completely other news, I'm on Clue 1 of the new Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl, and while I can't say that the Knit Picks' Gloss Lace is flipping my switch all that much as a yarn overall, I LOVE the color I'm using (Mango).  It's a nice, cheerful orange-y peach that makes me happy when I look at it.  Which is a good thing, considering how depressed I've been lately. 

I've finished one of two socks for the Hogwarts Sock Swap (5), and I know I need to get cracking on the other one (it's due the 28th).  

My swap-ee for the Reducio! swap seemed very pleased with her package, and I'm pretty pleased with the idea/execution of said idea that I came up with.


The House season finale blew me away and left me climbing the walls for next season.  I still need to go watch the season finale of Dollhouse, but I really liked "Briar Rose".  We're having to wait to watch the last two eps of NCIS because I had to put the Netflix on hold until I can deposit my next check (I was stupid, didn't keep up with my money well enough and accidentally went overdrawn).   Castle was lovely, though, and I'm THRILLED BEYOND BELIEF that it's coming back.  

I'm both looking forward to, and a bit nervous about the new season of Jon&Kate+8 starting on Monday.

I got a look at the 2009-2010 Upfronts at and I have to say I'm pretty happy with them.  I don't see the House spin-off though?  But there's a bloody lot of genre shows, which pleases me to no end.  And I've already checked out the pilot ep of Glee and can't wait to see more.  

I'm loving the new season of In Plain Sight (Mary/Marshall for the win! though Brandy/Peter are pretty cute, too) and the more I see of Royal Pains the more I want to actually watch it.  


I'm reading New Moon right now, and liking it ok.  I'm not turning into a rabid fan, but I don't think that it sucks, either.

Speaking of rabid fan-girl-ness, I want more Star Trek OMGOMGOMG.  I also loved Wolverine, and was quite pleased with Angels and Demons.  The pacing of A&D is much better than it was in The DaVinci Code, I think.  I've finally see the original Night at the Museum, and want to see the sequel.  I wouldn't mind seeing Terminator: Salvation in the theatres either, which is kind of weird since I never liked any of the original Terminator movies.  But Christian Bale is lovely.  Speaking of lovely, "Australia" was lovely - and Hugh Jackman is ::guhdroolguh::.  

WhedonFest is going to eat my brain.  I know it is.  And I'm going on a trip the weekend before, and GI Joe comes out somewhere in there.

Oh, and Skin Trade (the new Anita Blake) is out on the 2nd of June.  Want. Badly.

Finally, I got a Nintendo DS for my birthday this month.  My Brain Age is 42 right now, I've cleared all the Basic Sudoku levels, am on World 6 in the New Mario Bros. and am trying to find all the zoo animals in My Sims Kingdom.


cybermathwitch: (Default)
I'm on GoodReads now. I think I like it much better than Library Thing. It's a little less technical and a little more user-friendly, to me, anyway. I wish there was a site similar to it for TV shows/DVDs.

Sunshine Sunshine by Robin McKinley

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Borrowed from Bekah ([ profile] kadollan)

Spoilers Ahead )

View all my reviews.
cybermathwitch: (Default)
The Big Read thinks the average adult has only read six of the top 100 books they've printed below.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicise those you intend to read
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read less than 6 and force books upon them.


cybermathwitch: (Default)

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