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Authors, papers, books

  • The most exciting moment at the RSA, for me, came when a presenter cited one of my father's articles in his paper.

  • There was one RSA session I went to because it featured a paper on the origins of science fiction. A happy byproduct of this was being present for the paper before it. The speaker was introduced as - among her many other achievements - the author of a medieval cookbook. "Tell me more!", I said, afterwards. She's one of the co-authors of Pleyn Delit, a staple of modern medieval cookery, and one which I own. "Do you cook from it?", she asked, and I admitted that I had only read it. She enthusiastically recommended really cooking from it, given how well-tested the recipes are. The session was, overall, a delight, in large part because everyone else already knew each other and were friendly, welcoming, and somewhat casual. ("You all know who our next speaker is." said the chair. I replied from the audience, "I don't!" and it was all good.)

  • Last night's BSFA interview, of la_marquise_de_ being interviewed by desperance, was more than usually interesting for me, as, structurally, I have more than usual in common with the person being interviewed. She is an early medievalist, now novelist as well. Perhaps I never thought to become a philologist, her original choice of undergraduate degree, because I was raised by art historians.

  • The volcano-induced emptiness of the London Book Fair brought advanced reading copies of the forthcoming David Weber novel, along with its author and editor, to the BSFA and dinner at the local Thai restaurant afterward. Weber is, apparently, a good Thai cook himself.

  • In anticipation of possibly seeing itsjustaname on Friday, I am finally getting around to reading Simon Winchester's biography of Joseph Needham. It's an enthralling read, if moderately intimidating. I don't have a photographic memory, two major careers, major publications before the age of 30, and the creation of, in effect, an entirely new field under my belt. On the other hand, I am a far better poet than Needham was.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 22nd, 2010 12:55 pm (UTC)
I've cooked several recipes out of that book, and can definitely recommend the roasted carrots and the chykens in hocchee!
Apr. 22nd, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the endorsement; it's a further incentive to get around to making use of it. (I mostly read cookbooks rather than cook from them.)
Apr. 22nd, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
Needham's a trip.

I'm glad you liked the book. Unfortunately, when Winchester talked to a history of Chinese science conference he seemed to have turned the people off; further, the comments I've gotten on the text range from "there's not enough Chinese science in it :(" to "MISREPRESENTATION!"

It's in storage waiting for me when I get back to LA (and discover some spare time).
Apr. 22nd, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
I'm only about a third of the way through, so there's still plenty of space for it to go downhill. I'll keep you posted.
Apr. 22nd, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
Aargh. If I weren't neck-deep in work and other problems right now I might have remembered that it was BSFA yesterday, even though I probably wouldn't have made it either way.

Glad to hear the Winchester's good (or at least enjoyable); I loved The Surgeon of Crowthorne, thought his book on the OED was good (if somewhat of a retread), and found his other stuff I glanced at pedestrian.
Apr. 22nd, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
You might not have remembered it was the BSFA. It's usually on the fourth Monday, not third. This was an exception to avoid conflict with the Clarke award ceremony.

The Winchester's enjoyable so far anyways. I'm not finished with it. I found the beginning of the OED one slightly dull and never did continue reading much beyond the first chapter. I should try it again to see if it improves.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )