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Joined 5 months, 1 week ago

Reader of books, programmer of computers, raiser of children, drawer of art. My website: Also on Mastodon: (where I mostly post art!) The avatar is a watercolor painting (from my sketchbook) of Tux, the Linux penguin with a pipe and disheveled feathers on the head (Slackware Linux style) in a Roman-style robe and computing on a laptop atop a Roman column. He is leaning on a marble block that has a martini glass. You can't tell, but the martini glass just contains fish-flavored water.

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ratfactor's books

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ratfactor has read 0 of 50 books.

Heidi (Kingfisher Classics) (Hardcover, 2002, Kingfisher) 4 stars

The famous Swiss classic about Heidi, a five-year-old orphan girl who goes to live with …

Review of 'Heidi (Kingfisher Classics)' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

We're working our meandering way through the great western cannon of children's literature. Heidi is an interesting story. It's surprisingly repetitious, but that's part of the charm, I think. You really get into the cadence of life on the mountain. I like a feel-good story that gives me that vicarious thrill as our main character helps people and this has that, but not always in ways I expected. There was a religious aspect I wasn't expecting and I braced myself at one point because it looked like it was about to get real heavy-handed, but it didn't. Most of the characters were quite interesting and acted on motivations that were consistent but not always obvious (sometimes leaving us to guess what they were thinking, sometimes not). The humor was spare but much appreciated.

This is no Anne of Green Gables, but I liked it well enough and so did my …

Widow (2022, Amazon Publishing) 4 stars

Review of 'Widow' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Extremely entertaining! Tons of dark humor and a plot that could have gone anywhere at any time. I really enjoyed reading this and the pages just flew by. This sort of dynastic thriller (particularly political) are not my usual sort of thing and I have a feeling this book might be unusual even those circles. The use of narrators was great. The situations were crazy. I'm wavering between four and five stars because I couldn't have asked for more entertainment. It's nutty fun!

Seveneves (Paperback, 2016, The Borough Press) 4 stars

When a catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb, it triggers a feverish …

Review of 'Seveneves' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

All of the positive raving for this book is true! All of the criticisms are also true! Stephenson is his own thing and he breaks all the rules of fiction. He breaks them in a couple different ways in this book. When it's great it's REALLY GREAT. When it's not so great, it kinda sucks. At different moments, I wanted to give this five stars. It's a hell of a book and I absolutely recommend it to any "hard" SF fans. Know that the exposition can really be a brick wall in the storytelling and it's not artfully done at all. But Stephenson has certainly earned himself a place on the hard-core SF shelf with this one (if he hadn't already).

Turkey has long been a safe haven for Jews, marriage between a high-ranking Muslim girl …

Review of 'Last train to Istanbul' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Ooooh, tough one. The story is all over the place. Characters come in and out of focus. Plot threads come and go. But there is an overall tension that builds and builds and eventually turned the book into a page-turner for me.

I knew absolutely nothing about Turkey's relationship with other countries during WWII going into this. So that's a plus: I now know 100% more than I used to. (It doesn't have to be completely accurate to give me a taste of the subject.)

Disappointed in the translation! I'm used to really incredible English translations of popular works (in fact, I have a theory that translations are unusually poetic and beautifully written because the people doing the translating are language fanatics and the difficult act of translating produces unusual and delightful constructions.) Some of the writing in this fell completely flat. Clumsy stuff!

It's a wreck as a drama …

Thinking FORTH (1984, Prentice-Hall) 4 stars

Review of 'Thinking FORTH' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

The high praise for this book was well-earned. It just goes to show that the problems we've been dealing with since the dawn of programming have remained, largely, the same. While this is definitely a Forth-oriented book (and rooted in its time), the philosophy of simplicity and the encouragement to turn a problem on its head until it can be expressed simply is utterly timeless. The interviews were great and the examples were well chosen. In the year 2022, we still don't have the answers to a lot of these questions. Just opinions and more questions.