2019 – To Be Read (1) begins…

Offspring gave me three titles on Christmas Day. (And a good friend – to whom I gave my collection of crime novels by Stuart MacBride, and M. J. Arlidge – returned the favour by giving me a twenty-dollar book coupon, yet to be redeemed.)

As you see, they reflect offspring’s awareness that I’ll tackle anything, but also that they know my interests

xmax to be read

The first one – the entree –  I dived into from the three is Brian CLEGG’s Infinity (full title – A Brief History of Infinity, the Quest to Think the Unthinkable, published 2003 by Robinson. It is his third of a series – Light Years, and The First Scientist, both published by Constable in 2002.

Within his well crafted presentation of the mathematical delving into the concept of infinity, in the first three chapters alone he quotes or explains Douglas Adams’ Hitch-hikers Guide the the Galaxy, physicist Richard Feynman, Plutarch, counting nursery rhymes, the philosopher Zeno’s tale about Achilles and the paradox of dichotomy, Edward Kasner’s origins of a ‘googol’ to name the numeral 1 with a hundred zeroes following it… My mind raced to keep up as Clegg described the patterns and pitfalls of early reasoning! Brain Food! Einstein then Maxwell’s theories of stopping time; left-brain / right-brain thinking; David Fowler’s The Mathematics of Plato’s Academy; Acrophonic numeration; a tiring frog whose each hop could only be half the length of the hop just before; Erwin Schrödinger’s cat; Aristotle’s schools in Academos then later in Athens… And I’m only on page 32 of 243… I’m going to enjoy popping out of the book to read more on all the leads Clegg offers.
(Where was a book like this when I was at secondary[1] school? I’ve missed so much!)

For the second course, I’ll feast on editor Jon E LEWIS’s A Brief Guide to NATIVE AMERICAN MYTHS and LEGENDS, published 2015, an updated version of  Lewis SPENCE’S work, Myths and Legends of North American Indians (2012). (I think I have that correct.) With so many updates, there has to be something in there worth reading.
Something tells me one of the offspring is well aware of my ‘bent’, when teaching Years Seven/Eight in New Zealand schools, to select North America (the U.S. and Canada) as the focus for studying multi-cultural societies. I selected Canada and focussed on the Inuit. When I selected the US, I focussed on the Cherokee, and read to the class Asa Earl Carter (under the pseudonym Forrest Carter) The Education of Little Tree,  I’ve read and reviewed author Dan Strawn’s books Lame Bird’s Legacy, Isaac’s Gun, and Black Wolf’s return, all  with real enjoyment.
I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to Lewis’s collection –

For the third course, the rélève, I’ll be feasting on Billy CONNELLY’s Made In Scotland My Grand Adventures in a Wee Country, written with Ian Gittins, published 2018. I’ve watched him (tele only) reducing his audience, me, and himself to tears of laughter. Only a Scot who can laugh at his own jokes makes a good comedian. The offspring and I have together watched Billy perform, and we’ve rolled with helpless laughter and pleasure.
I always have loved Scotland’s Billy, so I’m looking forward to enjoying his style.

Reviews may be posted at Red Penn Services‘ blog


[1] School? A Catholic girls’ boarding school, 1963-67. Only two nuns trained as teachers. Textbooks out of date. Now closed.


Leave a Comment, advising me which title to redeem that book token with? Thanks.

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