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Old 12-09-2017, 02:21 PM   #26671
MickeyC
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Not at all.

Any order is fine. Many of the earlier ones are zanier and crazier than the later ones, but they can be read in any order.

You have to remember these simple facts: Shell Scott is a man whom women want. No woman can resist him. And Shell Scott wants every woman.
Thanks
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Old 12-09-2017, 07:05 PM   #26672
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Finished Writing with a Word Processor by the late William Zinsser, a columnist and much-respected writing teacher who has apparently written some classic how-to writing guides which popped up in the Customers Also Liked section while I was browsing some sale listings, and were recommended elsewhere as well. The passage of time has turned this into a retro memoir of his experiences switching over from his trusty old typewriter to his very first computer, alongside encouragement and practical tips for others contemplating doing so, circa 1983.

It was an era when IBM still existed and also sent systems engineers over to your office to give you getting started lessons and fix things that went wrong with your hardware and your software, which is a level of service you don't get from the Apple Store's Genius Bar. Admittedly, computers costing enough that Zinsser, presumably a decently-paid professional who was the editor of the Book of the Month Club back then, considered the 3-year lease with payments towards eventual purchase option to suit his budget better than a more expensive 6-month rental or outright purchase might have had something to do with that.

Intending it to be a walk-through guide for the ordinary person, he wrote this book from a personal level as an individual customer, paying all costs out of his own pocket and not taking advantage of business client-level discounts or services available to him. This succeeds admirably, exemplifying Zinsser's principles of clarity, simplicity, and humanity in writing.

Proclaiming himself as a mechanically-ungifted individual who's notoriously bad with gadgetry but sees the word processor as the wave of the future which he wants to try out, he gives a very relatable account of his expectations and concerns going in, and how each of them is dealt with in turn, as well as his encounters with other unexpected but related challenges which include mechanical failures, dataloss, and the customer service people he liked getting reassigned to other divisions from which they could no longer help him.

The sections of generalized how-tos on accomplishing various tasks with the word processor is very outdated, but also described clearly in such a way that even though basically no one (save hardcore Unix geeks) still writes with a purely keyboard interface in what amounts to a full-screen Terminal window, you see exactly how it's supposed to work to your advantage. It almost makes me want to give another go-round to learning Vim or Emacs again. (But then I remember that I'm on a Dvorak keylayout and would have to remap a whole bunch of jkl+ navigation shortcuts that are optimized for QWERTY users.)

While the task-oriented tips belong to a now bygone era, he also offers ones that last through any age: the equipment is more delicate than it looks, treat it with care; save your work early and often; make external backups of the system (apparently contained entirely on diskettes you had to pre-load back in the day) and your work for safekeeping; take rest breaks and adjust the lighting to reduce eyestrain; don't be afraid of change, but a little wariness until you adjust is perfectly understandable.

I borrowed this from the library via Freading to see if I liked his writing enough to buy some other books of his which are currently discounted, and the answer is a definite “yes”, alongside his other works going on my wishlist. I ended up enjoying this rather more than I thought I would going in, and would recommend reading it from the library as a charming nostalgic look back at how computers worked back then when they were just starting to take over as business/home office/individual professional tools and also how people viewed and adjusted to their increasing use, if you're interested.

Also finished Guy Gavriel Kay's Children of Earth and Sky, which takes place in the same thinly-veiled historical setting as several of his previous fantasies. This one is set quasi-Renaissance, with conflict between analogous Venice, vague-Croatia, and faux-Ottoman Empire shortly after the conquest of Istanbul-not-Constantinople.

This one felt more personally focused than his previous novels, dealing more with themes of unexpected life changes leading his main characters down paths other than the ones they'd initially set down upon, and tangentially changing portions of their world in the process. It seemed more butterfly effect than his previous storytelling approach, with things like viewpoint Character A with 5 scenes seeming to be set up for some plot-important role, which actually turned out to be their almost off-handedly leading walk-on Character B with only 1 scene to set into motion a plan which then goes on to significantly affect lead characters D through H, and then practically retiring from the rest of the story.

Overall, an okay tale which I'd rank in the lower-middle tiers of his work. It was nice to see more of the world fleshed out, and the storytelling and character plotlines were generally pretty cromulent. But somehow it felt like the book overall seemed to lack as much as a overarching plotline to combine all the individual threads together as his previous ones had. Although technically, it did start and end with characters setting out or being set on missions which most of them accomplished; for whatever reason, it just didn't feel as cohesive about that as prior works even though almost everyone's story threads cross-connected in some way.
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Old Yesterday, 04:56 AM   #26673
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Just about to embark on an epic re-read of "The Count of Monte Cristo", 1844. Half a million words, 117 chapters, and more characters than a small city. The version I am reading is from an 1888 edition, in five volumes, each of around 100,000 words.

I haven't read it for many years, but it has a seminal plot, since used by dozens of authors in many different disguises, some of them very thin indeed. (One of the cheekiest is "Destry Rides Again!" by Max Brand, 1930).

It has also been filmed numerous times. The one I remember best had Richard Chamberlain as Edmond Dantes/Montecristo. I think it was a made for TV movie.

I'll report in when I reach the last page!

Afterthought: I wonder how many people noticted that the movie "Independence Day" was based on H G Wells "War of the Worlds"? Right down to the invading aliens being defeated by a virus (computer virus, that is!)

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Old Yesterday, 06:25 AM   #26674
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Originally Posted by Pulpmeister View Post
Just about to embark on an epic re-read of "The Count of Monte Cristo", 1844. Half a million words, 117 chapters, and more characters than a small city. The version I am reading is from an 1888 edition, in five volumes, each of around 100,000 words.
Have fun! I first read all 1400 plus pages of this wonderful book back in 2011, and whilst it's too early for a re-read just yet, I will do in a few years time.
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Old Yesterday, 07:12 AM   #26675
Dr. Drib
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Originally Posted by Pulpmeister View Post
Just about to embark on an epic re-read of "The Count of Monte Cristo", 1844. Half a million words, 117 chapters, and more characters than a small city. The version I am reading is from an 1888 edition, in five volumes, each of around 100,000 words.

I haven't read it for many years, but it has a seminal plot, since used by dozens of authors in many different disguises, some of them very thin indeed. (One of the cheekiest is "Destry Rides Again!" by Max Brand, 1930).

It has also been filmed numerous times. The one I remember best had Richard Chamberlain as Edmond Dantes/Montecristo. I think it was a made for TV movie.

I'll report in when I reach the last page!

Afterthought: I wonder how many people noticted that the movie "Independence Day" was based on H G Wells "War of the Worlds"? Right down to the invading aliens being defeated by a virus (computer virus, that is!)
I bought the Robin Buss translation a few years ago, but haven't yet read it.

I also have the translation in the Delphi Classics edition, which may be the same version you have.
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Old Yesterday, 08:46 AM   #26676
Luffy
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I have no help there as at one point in my life, I was severely underweight. This came mostly from drinking, smoking and eating every three days.
I hope that's a joke, but even if it's not, you've hopefully got rid of this lifestyle.
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Old Yesterday, 11:23 AM   #26677
astrangerhere
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Just finished reading Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch series: Ancillary Justice; Ancillary Sword; & Ancillary Mercy. I wasn't planning to do a binge read of these, but once I got started, I just couldn't put them down. A solid 4 stars for the series as a whole, with the final book in the series a full 5 stars. Impressive, and unexpected.
I enjoyed the absolute hell out of those books when I read them last year. Breq is hands down one of my favorite sci-fi characters of all time.
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Old Yesterday, 02:45 PM   #26678
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I enjoyed the absolute hell out of those books when I read them last year. Breq is hands down one of my favorite sci-fi characters of all time.
I probably wouldn't go that far, but I definitely enjoyed them. And very much enjoyed the whole gender ambiguity. A refreshing change.
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