The All-Thing

Formerly "William Hates Blogs"

集靈台﹒其一 (張祜)


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Wed, 03 Sep 2003

Sudden book influx

During the past week, three people at work have independently and without prior warning left books for me to read. I have:

  1. Lolita
  2. The Stars My Destination
  3. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Pirates

Was it something I said? Does this particular selection something about my personality?

This reminds me, I've been meaning to write a mini-review for Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others and China Mieville's Perdido Street Station, both of which I read in SA, but the very very short review (for both) is: <shrug>.

10:57 | /books | (leave a comment) | permalink

Tue, 19 Aug 2003

Language Modeling for Information Retrieval

Whoohoo, just received a complementary copy of my book. Ok ok, I just contributed to one chapter; it's not really mine. Still, it's pretty cool to have a hardback publication.

UPDATE 8/24/03: realized I had a link already for purchasing this book directly from Kluwer. The advantage is that they list the table of contents and you can verify I'm really there. :)

15:21 | /books | (leave a comment) | permalink

Mon, 21 Jul 2003

The Dispossessed

Been re-reading The Dispossessed again, probably for the tenth time. Which must mean I'm feeling morose, cause it's my favorite book and usually cheers me up. But for the first time, I'm having trouble really appreciating it. I think maybe I've matured too much to be able to buy into it any more—so much of the society on Annares just seems like a simple-minded feminist socialist utopia that it just rings hollow. I can't sufficiently suspend disbelief any more.

There are still pockets, here and there, of a kind of transcendental Zen bliss that I really enjoy (Shevek and Shevet, Shevek and Gimli), but overall, I can't get past the feeling that Annares is a thinly-disguised version of LeGuinn's own naively idealized society, a society that has, and depends on having, miraculously erased certain fundamentals of human nature.

22:49 | /books | (leave a comment) | permalink

Wed, 25 Jun 2003

Jazz Violin

Holy shit. I want this book so bad. I have been on an insane Grappelli kick, and the other Matt Glasser fiddle book that I have is fantastic.

It's cool to think that I'm only three degress away from Grappelli in terms of instruction.

10:35 | /books | (leave a comment) | permalink

Tue, 24 Jun 2003


Just finished reading Kokoro. I liked it more than I expected, given that I generally have a very low tolerance for classics (often near-regardless of time period or country of origin—someone who sees tremendous value in, or has the patience for, classics, I am not). The fact that the entire thing was a long exposition on man's fundamental loneliness, inescapable except through death, might explain my appreciation. I tend to dig that kind of thing.

Anyways, it's written in very simple, clear prose, and has a nice personal take on generation gap issues, which, I suspect, were particularly strong in Japan during the giant cultural transition that was the Meiji restoration. Worth reading.

10:52 | /books | (leave a comment) | permalink


Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good. -- Samuel Johnson