Oct. 8th, 2012

hawkwing_lb: (In Vain)
Books 2012: 185

185. Peter H. Wilson, Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War. Penguin, 2010.

Clocking in at 851 pages before notes, this is a lengthy, comprehensive overview of the Thirty Years War - and for a book of its length and scope, surprisingly readable. The scene is set with coverage of the events leading up to 1618-20 (Elector Ferdinand of the Palatine's short-lived reign as King of Bohemia is generally heralded as kicking off the larger conflict), and the conflicts within the Hapsburg possessions under Rudolf II and Maximillian are outlined with sufficient depth to provide context. Also contextualised are the parties from outside the empire who became involved in the struggles in the Hapsburg's imperial dominions - the Dutch Republic, Spain, Sweden, France, Denmark. Attention is paid to the course of battles and high politics, with diversions into economics: Wilson is not a social historian, but his writing is influenced by social perspectives, if that makes sense. As an introduction to the Thirty Years War, this book proves both accessible and detailed, and I suspect Wilson's achievement here won't be surpassed for a generation.

The endnotes span a further 75 pages, and I haven't bothered to count the index. I'd have liked to see the inclusion of a bibliographic essay, but I suspect it would have added at least half again as many pages to the notes, and is thus an understandable exclusion.

A very solid and accessible work of history.
hawkwing_lb: (In Vain)
Books 2012: 186

186. Colin Cotterill, The Coroner's Lunch. Quercus, 2010 edition.

1976: Kidnapped by the Party and appointed national coroner. (I often weep at the thought of the great honour bestowed upon me.)


Dr. Siri Paiboun

I can't remember where I first heard about the Dr. Siri Mysteries, although I think it might have been from [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel. Now that I've finally gotten around to checking out The Coroner's Lunch, the first instalment, it turns out it's quite my thing. Set in 1970s Communist Laos, starring septuagenarian doctor, reluctant coroner, sceptical seer-of-dead-spirits Dr. Siri Paiboun, it has a mild and delightful sense of humour and a decidedly interesting sense of place. The mystery's entertaining, and the pace and prose are rather well done.

I would like to know how accurate its treatment of 1970s Laos is; but I have too many other things to do than to research it.

Fortunately, The Coroner's Lunch is not a very demanding book, because my brain is still away with the cold drugs and my throat feels like raw meat. Concentration, it's not exactly the happening thing right now.

Yes, I do plan to continue whining until I feel better, thank you for asking.
hawkwing_lb: (Aveline is not amused)
To ward off brain death and boredom, and because I have completed as much Apology as is necessary for class, I'm going to try to hit up some Euthyphro and see how far I get. Practice, etc.

And besides, I'm not coherent enough to work on my paper. Papers. I lose track of my overall train of thought too quickly.


τί νεώτερον, ὦ Σώκρατες, γέγονεν, ὅτι σὺ τὰς ἐν Λυκείῳ καταλιπὼν διατριβὰς ἐνθάδε νῦν διατρίβεις περὶ τὴν τοῦ βασιλέως στοάν; οὐ γάρ που καὶ σοί γε δίκη τις οὖσα τυγχάνει πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα ὥσπερ ἐμοί.

οὔτοι δὴ Ἀθηναῖοί γε, ὦ Εὐθύφρων, δίκην αὐτὴν καλοῦσιν ἀλλὰ γραφήν.

What newer thing, O Socrakes, has happened, that you, leaving the amusements in the Lykeio, now here pass all your time around the Stoa Basileos? For surely you don't also have some lawsuit for the basileus like me?

These Athenians, O Euthyphro, call this [not a] lawsuit but an indictment.


τί φῄς; γραφὴν σέ τις, ὡς ἔοικε, γέγραπται: οὐ γὰρ ἐκεῖνό γε καταγνώσομαι, ὡς σὺ ἕτερον.

οὐ γὰρ οὖν.

ἀλλὰ σὲ ἄλλος;

πάνυ γε.

τίς οὗτος;

οὐδ᾽ αὐτὸς πάνυ τι γιγνώσκω, ὦ Εὐθύφρων, τὸν ἄνδρα, νέος γάρ τίς μοι φαίνεται καὶ ἀγνώς: ὀνομάζουσι μέντοι αὐτόν, ὡς ἐγᾦμαι, Μέλητον. ἔστι δὲ τῶν δήμων Πιτθεύς, εἴ τινα νῷ ἔχεις Πιτθέα Μέλητον οἷον τετανότριχα καὶ οὐ πάνυ εὐγένειον, ἐπίγρυπον δέ.

οὐκ ἐννοῶ, ὦ Σώκρατες: ἀλλὰ δὴ τίνα γραφήν σε γέγραπται;

What are you saying? Someone has, it seems, written a graphe against you? For I am not about to discover that thing, that you [have written a graphe against] another?

No, indeed.

But another [against] you?

Very much so.

Who is he?

Myself, I do not know him well, O Euthyphro, the man, for he seems to me [to be] someone young and obscure. However,they call him, I think, Meletos. He is of the deme of Pittheus, if you hold in mind some Pitthean Meletos, with long straight hair and not very much beard, and a hook nose.

I wouldn't think so, O Socrates. But he has brought some graphe against you?
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Many and complicated were the hoops I jumped through in order to watch this second episode...

We open at an AA meeting. "I have been sober..." Sherlock does not look patient. Bored is the word. Watson looks much more like she respects the proceedings.

Read more... )

Verdict: Something of an improvement on the pilot, in terms of smoothness and character-work: the actors bring a lot to their roles. I'm disappointed by the to-date maleness of the named police officers - and I'd be very happy to discover that this show isn't going to be just about murders - but based on two episodes' form, I think I'm going to continue to enjoy watching Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller at work.


hawkwing_lb: (Default)

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