Monthly Archives: March 2015

March Books

Non-fiction: 3 (YTD 14) The Charm of Belgium, by Brian Lunn The Wretched of the Earth, by Frantz Fanon Shan Mohangi: 95 Harcourt Street, by Kevin Higgins Fiction (non-sf): 0 (YTD 2) SF (non-Who): 7 (YTD 31) The Jonah Kit, … Continue reading

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What is the best-known book set in Monaco?

See note on methodology I had expected that Monaco’s best-known twentieth-century resident would win here, but in fact there is a clear lead for yet another crime novel, published in 2002 by a writer who was much better known in … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 31-03-2015

27 hilariously bad maps that explain nothing *wince*(tags: maps funny ) Maisie Williams to Guest Star in Doctor Who Hooray!(tags: sf doctorwho ) Indiana Gov. Stunned by Number of People with Gay Friends Hits the mark.(tags: uspolitics sexandgenderandsexuality ) JK … Continue reading

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What is the best-known book set in Liechtenstein?

See note on methodology I know a bit more about Liechtenstein than I do about some of these small states, because when I got my first job in Brussels in 1999, Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein worked downstairs in the same … Continue reading

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The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

The classic anti-colonialist text, with foreword by Jean-Paul Sartre, explaining and legitimising violence against a colonial regime; the author was thinking particularly of Algeria to which he gave the last few years of his life, but also of the whole … Continue reading

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The Arthur C. Clarke Award submissions list…

…has now been officially announced and can be found here. This is my listing of the books using numbers from Goodreads and Librarything, ranked by the geometric mean of ownership on both systems. The top quintile for ownership and user … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 30-03-2015

21 Things That Happened On “Friends” That Would Baffle Kids Today I feel old.(tags: tv funny ) Teaching human evolution at the University of Kentucky This is how bad it has got.(tags: uspolitics biology ) Lords accuse Tories of ‘burying’ … Continue reading

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What are the best known books set on the Faroe and Åland Islands, and Svalbard?

See note on methodology Since I did the British-ruled non-sovereign territories of Europe a couple of days back, I felt it only appropriate to do the Danish, Finnish and Norwegian equivalents. (NB that Greenland is not in Europe, nor are … Continue reading

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Shan Mohangi: 95 Harcourt Street, by Kevin Higgins – Irish murder trials of 1963

As Ireland collectively draws breath after the conclusion of a high-profile murder trial, my eye was caught by this account of a similar such event from 1963 – a South African medical student who killed and then dismembered his fifteen-year-old … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 29-03-2015

German Power and the Ukraine Conflict @uli_speck looks at Merkel’s key role & her changed approach.(tags: germany ukraine eu ) I Made a Joke About Guns and a Man Threatened to Assault Me Everyday sexism online.(tags: internet sexandgenderandsexuality ) Breakaway … Continue reading

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What is the best-known book set in Andorra?

See note on methodology We are getting into the final stretch now, with the first of the micro-states of Europe, perched between Spain and France on the Pyrenees. Today’s winner – far ahead by ownership on Goodreads, and a close … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 28-03-2015

Why the new 2015 EU VAT rules are actively harmful to startups Sensible analysis.(tags: eu ) The top 10 myths about TTIP (pdf) Separating fact from fiction.(tags: eu ) An Upbeat Emotion That’s Surprisingly Good for You Awe, that’s nice.(tags: … Continue reading

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What are the best known books set on the Channel Islands and Isle of Man? (And Gibraltar?)

See note on methodology Since I started this series with the component parts of the United Kingdom, I guess I should also note those books set in dependent British territories (and Francis specifically asked about the Isle of Man). A … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 27-03-2015

Where Are London’s Missing Map Traps? The A-Z features that don’t exist.(tags: maps london ) Have any real-life Jonahs been swallowed by whales and lived? Probably not.(tags: biology ) Doctor Who 10th anniversary Messages from the cast.(tags: doctorwho )

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Thursday reading (a little late)

Current Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy (a chapter a day) Watership Down, by Richard Adams (a chapter a week) Beyond the Sun, by Matthew Jones ζ1 Wages of Sin, by Andrew M. Greeley Last books finished κ1 (did not complete … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 26-03-2015

Ronald Reagan’s genocidal secret: A true story of right-wing impunity in Guatemala How Christians commit war crimes.(tags: uspolitics war ) What has immigration ever done for us? Stating the obvious. Again.(tags: ukpolitics migration ) Why did Brussels become the capital … Continue reading

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What is the best-known book set on Iceland?

See note on methodology Some difficult judgements to be made here. A famous 1864 SF novel must be disqualified because only a short but memorable section is set on Iceland, the main action taking place in an underground setting completely … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 25-03-2015

Doctor Who: 2005-2015 [The Tenth Anniversary Trailer] One of many brilliant tributes.(tags: doctorwho ) Of the Rings of Powerpoint and the Third Age Business lessons from the Council of Elrond(tags: tolkien work ) Battle of Karánsebes I am not sure … Continue reading

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What is the best-known book set in Luxembourg?

See note on methodology My apologies to Luxembourg. I should have posted this entry yesterday instead of the one for Malta. It was a long day. This is one of those cases where there is a very clear winner, most … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 24-03-2015

We can only stand up to Russian propaganda by being true to ourselves How not to play the Kremlin’s game.(tags: russia lithuania ) #SluggerSoapbox: An electoral pact may be pointless but it’s all political Unionism has left Mick reflects.(tags: northernireland … Continue reading

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What is the best-known book set on Malta?

See note on methodology It took a little calculating here, but there is a very clear winner once all editions and collected works are taken into account. A sixteenth century play, a story of religious conflict, intrigue, and revenge, focusing … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 23-03-2015

Roy Hattersley on the fall of James Callaghan’s government …and the role of Northern Ireland’s MPs.(tags: northernireland ukpolitics ) Is There a Market for Peerages? Can Donations Buy You a British Peerage? Yes, and yes.(tags: ukpolitics houseoflords )

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BSFA Best Art

I usually find the award categories for art rather difficult to vote in, because I don't have a lot of confidence in my own taste, and I'm also not familiar enough with the technicalities to easily tell the difference between … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 22-03-2015

Time Traveler Caught in Museum Photo? Probably not.(tags: sf photos ) 5 French political maps (Can’t see them on my tablet, alas)(tags: france elections ) 7 Reasons America Is Stuck in Never-Ending War US militarism. Out of the bottle.(tags: uspolitics … Continue reading

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What is the best-known book set in Montenegro?

See note on methodology The book most often tagged “Montenegro” on both Goodreads and LibraryThing must, alas, be disqualified because only a small part of a very long book is set there. It does, however, have one of the best … Continue reading

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BSFA short fiction

There are only three nominees this year, all by women. I’m voting for “The Mussel Eater”, by Octavia Cade, a magical realist fairy tale; you are in little doubt where the story is going from the first few paragraphs, but … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 21-03-2015

Belgium chases Russian spy couple Gosh.(tags: belgium russia espionage ) Lead prosecutor apologizes for wrongful death penalty conviction Powerful.(tags: uspolitics ) Special Award Given To Azerbaijan’s Persecuted Journalists And Activists No end in sight.(tags: azerbaijan )

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What is the best-known book set on Cyprus?

See note on methodology The clear winner by ownership here (though not by tagging) is a famous seventeenth century play, set in a version of Cyprus which is so close to Venice that they hear about a planned Turkish invasion … Continue reading

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Links I found interesting for 20-03-2015

Pacts have a downside as well as benefits My piece for @beltel.(tags: northernireland ukpolitics elections ) Why was a 9th century Viking woman buried with a ring that says ‘for Allah’ on it? We don’t know, but it’s a good … Continue reading

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Thursday reading

Current Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy (a chapter a day) Watership Down, by Richard Adams (a chapter a week) Last Resort, by Paul Leonard κ1 The Wretched of the Earth, by Frantz Fanon Last books finished Grave Matter, by Justin … Continue reading

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