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Books, A Year in Review - 2011, Part II

Old Book Bindings, from Wikimedia Commons Here is the second part of my review of the books I read in the last year. Part I was an analysis of my reading habits, while this entry will give a brief review for each book.

I usually try to point out my favorite books from the year in this part. In years past, I've had some difficulty because there were just so many books that I liked. This year, though, there were a few standouts. My favorites were Dragon's Keep, All My Friends Are Dead, Why Evolution Is True, Two Years Before the Mast, and Castle. That's not to say that some of the other books weren't really good, but those five, at least to me, were exceptional.

Here's a list of all the books reviewed below. Click on any of the titles to jump to that review.

Balook
by Piers Anthony

Anthony may be a renowned author, but it's not for this book. To quote part of the School Library Journal review on Amazon:
Beware, dear readers, of the book that includes a lengthy rationalization of its troubled publishing history. Take note especially of an author's note like Anthony's that follows, rather than precedes, the story. Although he goes to great lengths to convince his audience that editors bounced this book due to differences in ideological beliefs, readers will find a simpler explanation: it's bad writing.
To be honest, I thought the book was decent. It was set in the future, where a research project had brought back to life an extinct giant rhino, the Baluchitherium, nicknamed Balook (the current taxonomic consensus is that the genus should be called Paraceratherium - it's also been referred to as Indricotherium). A young boy becomes involved in the project, and the book is about his adventure when Balook escapes from the compound.

If you have this book laying around, or come across it for cheap at a used book store or garage sale, it's worth reading.

 

Through the Looking Glass
by Lewis Carroll

Well, this book is a classic, and it's very imaginative, and it's the source of numerous references in literature, and many people like it, but I couldn't get into it. It was just too disjointed, jumping abruptly from scene to scene, without much tying it all together. There was no real plot or central theme, other than the chess references and the loose connection to the Red Queen throughout. Maybe that's the whole point. I read one review that stated, "Rather, the reader is meant to focus on the fleeting nature of childhood and its fantasies, reflected by the many things and events Alice encountered in the Looking-Glass world that were present one moment, but over and gone the next."

Oh well, I suppose this is probably worth reading to understand the references to it, and I'm sure many other people will enjoy it more than I did.

 

Dragon's Keep
by Janet Lee Carey

My daughter recommended this book to me, and I agree with her that it was great. It's a fantasy set in the universe of King Arthur, but many generations later than Arthur. The story took place on the small island nation of Wilde Island, which had a long standing uneasy relationship with dragons. The dragons would periodically come and steal an islander to eat.

The princess, Rosalind, was born with one finger as a dragon's claw. Merlin had told a prophecy of her, "The signs all point to the twenty-first queen of Wilde Island.... Three things the stars say of this queen. She shall redeem the name Pendragon. End war with the wave of her hand. And restore the glory of Wilde Island....And yet I see darkly in the stars...a beast." The book tells the story of how she eventually fulfilled that prophecy.

The book ended at a good spot, but left open much more that could have been told. I didn't know much about the book when I read it, so I was hoping that maybe it was the start of a series. Unfortunately, it wasn't. I was pretty disappointed when I found out. Maybe Carey will eventually write a sequel. In the meantime, I highly recommend this book.

 

The Fire Within
by Chris D'Lacey

When Elizabeth Pennykettle put out an ad for a room available for rent in her house, it was answered by college student, David Rain. Liz lived with her daughter, Lucy. She made a living by making and selling clay dragons, and David was struck by all the dragons throughout the house. But he also noticed that Liz must have been moving the statues all the time, since they always seemed to be in different places.

The book differs from many other fantasy novels I've read in that it doesn't have a lot of action. It's mostly about David building a relationship with the Pennykettles, and trying to understand just what's going on with those clay dragons.

The book is good, and my daughter and I would both recommend it. It's also part of a series. So far, I've read one sequel, and plan to read more. My daughter has read three or four of the books in the series.

 

Ice Fire
by Chris D'Lacey

Warning - Contains spoilers for The Fire Within

After learning the truth about the Pennykettles' dragons, this book starts off with David doubting everything again. He's unsure with himself about whether or not he was just dreaming everything that happened in the conclusion of the first book.

This book introduces a few more characters. David's love interest from the previous book is gone - off on a job in an African game reserve, but he meets a new girl at college, Zanna Marindale. There's also the Pennykettles' Aunty Gwyneth, who David is unsure what to make of at first. There's also Dr. Bergstrom, a college professor of David's, who's trying to get David to join him on a trip to the Antarctic.

This still isn't an adventure book, but compared to the first book of the series, it does have a bit more action. It also reveals more about the Pennykettles and their dragons.

 

Killing Mr. Griffin
by Lois Duncan

The story takes place in a high school in Arizona. A group of students are fed up with one of their teachers, Mr. Griffin, who's very strict and demanding. One of the students hatches a plot, and convinces the other students to go along with it. As the book description on Amazon says, "High school can be tough. But with teachers like Mr. Griffin it can seem impossible. They only planned to scare him. But sometimes even the best-laid plans go wrong."

Overall, the story was good, if a bit slow. However, there was something odd about the version I read. I'm sure I'm not alone in trying to put myself in the time frame from when a story was written. It helps in visualizing everything, and understanding the mindset of the characters. This book is relatively modern, but a few statements early on made me think it might have been from a few years ago. So, I turned to the title page, and saw that the story was first published in 1978. So, I put myself in that time frame, and visualized cars, clothing, and houses from the '70s. But then, I'd read something about somebody using a cell phone, or checking something on the Internet. It turns out that Duncan had gone back through the story and tried to update it to the present day. The problem, in my opinion, is that it wasn't a complete update. There were still parts of the book that read like a late '70s period, juxtaposed with present day scenarios. It was a bit jarring. So, if you do decide to read this book, I'd recommend looking for the old, non-updated version.

 

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne

Just for anybody who doesn't know what this book is about, it describes the adventures of Professor Pierre Aronnax, a noted French marine biologist, his assistant, Conseil, and a Canadian, harpoonist Ned Land. The three were on a ship that was hunting for a 'sea monster' that had sunk several ships. Arronax was knocked overboard after an encounter with the monster, and Conseil jumped in after him. After hours of swimming, they found Ned Land, who had also been knocked overboard, but who was now riding the monster. They were soon to learn that the monster was in fact a submarine, commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo. The rest of the book deals with their adventures.

This book was interesting, but I didn't find it terribly engrossing. Of course, Jules Verne is well known as one of the fathers of science fiction. And his description of the submarine has been described as prophetic. But, in much the same way as I complained about Through the Looking Glass, this book didn't have a strong central plot. It was mostly a series of short stories, bouncing around from one undersea location to another.

Given when the book was written, it required a bit more suspension of disbelief than a typical sci fi story. Sci fi stories often times tread on the boundary of what's known and what's still a mystery. It gives the writer a place to let his imagination run wild. But when stories like that are read by later generations, much of what was once unknown has now been discovered. So it was with several scenes from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

As I've learned of many books, especially from that time period, translation can be an issue. As a Frenchman, Jules Verne wrote in French. Some of what he wrote wasn't so flattering to the British Empire. So, when the book was first translated into English by Reverend Lewis Page Mercier, nearly a quarter of the content was censored. That original translation also had numerous errors that were down to incompetence. So, if you do decide to read this book, check to make sure that you're getting a good translation, first.

 

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

I really enjoyed this story. It's the famous tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, and his nightly visit by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the three Christmas ghosts. I don't know what I could write about this story that hasn't already been written. And it's so familiar thanks to its many adaptations, that even including a plot summary seems superfluous.

I will mention that if you've watched the 1984 adaptation with George C. Scott, that it's very, very close to Dickens' story. In fact, I think it may be the most faithful adaptation of any book that I've read personally.

 

Left Behind
by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

Although it's not a 'full' review, I've discussed this book twice already on this blog, in the entries, Some Early Thoughts on Left Behind and More Thoughts on Left Behind After Finishing the Book.

To quote myself from the second of those entries, "Left Behind wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible, either. It wasn't, as Slacktivist said, "The Worst Book Ever Written." At the very least, it gives you some insight into the mindset of premillenial dispensationalists. If you can get past the corny dialog, unlikeable heroes, and lack of detail, and then suspend your disbelief about the implausible scenarios, you can enjoy the book. I liked it enough that I'll probably read the rest of the series."

 

The Color of Magic
by Terry Pratchett

This is the first book in what has become the incredibly popular and extensive Discworld series. To quote from Wikipedia the Discworld is "a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A'Tuin," who, to quote from the book itself, is "swimming slowly through the interstellar gulf, hydrogen frost on his ponderous limbs, his huge and ancient shell pocked with meteor craters."

There are wizards and magic and gods like typical fantasies, but elements of science as well. The story (as well as the whole series, from what I understand) is also humorous. As an example, one of the characters from a far away land had a magic picture box that made little pictures of people. The locals were convinced that there must have been a little man inside painting tiny portraits. Of course, this is a reference to what primitive peoples have thought when they've encountered cameras. But in the book, after numerous pictures were made with the magic box, the little man finally stuck his head out and said that he was running out of a certain color paint.

This story follows the adventures of Rincewind, a cowardly and somewhat incompetent wizard, and Twoflower, a tourist from the far away Agatean Empire (and owner of the magic picture box). The story line is rather rambling, going to scene from scene without much tying it all together. Much of what happens to the two main characters is being controlled by the gods, resulting in the ultimate deus ex machina. By the end of the book, you've quit worrying about whether or not the two will escape whatever improbable scenario they find themselves in, because they always do.

Overall, the book was fairly entertaining. It had enough humorous elements to make up for the lack of plot. And it's whet my appetite enough that I'll probably read more of the series in the future.

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain

This is another classic that hardly needs any praise from me. It's the story of the rascal, Huck Finn, as he runs away down the Mississippi River with the run away slave, Jim, who's hoping to eventually escape North where he can earn enough money to buy his family's freedom.

Since there's nothing for me to add, I'll just quote my favorite passage from the book. Recall that the story took place in a time of deep racism, and in a time when churches supported that racism. People were told that it was immoral to aid runaway slaves. Huck Finn, despite all his adventures with Jim, was worried that he was doing the wrong thing by helping Jim out, and that he'd end up in Hell because of it. So, to 'ease his conscience', he wrote a letter that he was going to deliver that would reveal the full truth about Jim.

It was a close place. I took it up [the letter], and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:

"All right, then, I'll go to hell"- and tore it up.

It was awful thoughts, and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out of my head; and said I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and the other warn't. And for a starter, I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog.

Even if it wasn't my favorite book I read this year, it's practically required reading. If you haven't read it yet, go read it.

 

Frankenstein
by Mary Shelley

Although this book is a classic and has inspired many interpretations, I think most people know of Frankenstein more for the 1931 movie with Boris Karloff than for this book. The book is the story of Victor Frankenstein, a gifted natural philosopher who discovered the secret of life. His secret in the book is never actually revealed. Electricity and lightning bolts were certainly never mentioned. Armed with this secret, Frankenstein built his own human like creature. But once he animated the creature, he was repulsed by it and abandoned it. Eventually, he came back in contact with the creature, and it wasn't a happy family reunion. The story ended in tragedy, but without any pitchforks, torches, or burning buildings.

The story has been described as one of the first sci-fi stories. And although we usually associate it with the horror genre, when you stop and think about it, there are no supernatural or mystical forces in the book. It's all based on Frankenstein gaining an understanding of life through experimentation and observation.

It took me a little while to get into the book. It was written, as Wikipedia describes it, as a frame story. It started off being told by Captain Robert Walton, a man on an expedition hoping to reach the North Pole, in a series of letters to his sister. Later, he writes of meeting Frankenstein, and the book transitions to a narrative from Frankenstein's point of view. It was those introductory chapters being told by Walton that were a bit hard for me to get through. So, if you start this book and similarly find that section dull, soldier through it and give the next part a chance.

As an interesting side note, I'd just read Carl Zimmer's Soul Made Flesh not long before. It was a nearly perfect book to read first, to help you understand all the names involved in Frankenstein's studies, and to understand the scientific thinking on biological matters at the time. Yes, we've learned more since Shelley wrote her book, making the particulars of her premise a bit hard to swallow, but it was still an interesting story.

 

All My Friends Are Dead
by Avery Monsen and Jory John

I already wrote a review of this book. Since the review's so short, I'll just quote it in its entirety.

"I just recently bought a rather silly book that I happen to like quite a bit, All My Friends Are Dead. It's described as "either the saddest funny book or the funniest sad book you'll ever read." At only 96 pages long, with only a handful of words per page, it can be read cover to cover in less than a quarter of an hour. It's pretty funny, in an off beat way. I've handed it to nearly everyone who's come to the house since I bought it, and so far everyone's laughed out loud while reading it (not necessarily at every joke, but at quite a few). If you want a taste for what's inside, the book's website shares a few of the pages:

Official Website for All My Frieds are Dead

I definitely recommend this book.

 

The End of Biblical Studies
by Hector Avalos

I never wrote a full review of this book, but it did prompt one entry on this site, Reliance on Bible Translations. It described how different translations can affect our understanding of the stories in the Bible, and how some peope can dishonestly translate to try to make the Bible seem better than it actually is.

The book, as the title suggests, is a condmentation of Biblical studies. Avalos covered a broad range of topics in the book, from textual criticism, to archaeology, to criticism of the Journal of Biblical Literature. Unlike Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, Avalos looked at the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments. However, I also found this book a bit drier than Ehrman's. So, out of the two books I've read on this topic, I'd recommend Misquoting Jesus first, even though it was more limited in scope. But for those wanting to learn even more, The End of Biblical Studies was very informative.

 

More Than a Carpenter
by Josh D. McDowell and Sean McDowell

I've already written a full review of this book.

To quote from that review: "The book was bad. Practically every chapter relied on the Gospels being more or less reliable accounts, and then went off defending Jesus's divinity from there. As I've said plenty of times, if non-believers accepted that the Bible was true, we'd already be Christians. But we don't, so citing scripture as proof is nearly pointless. It would be like trying to prove Mormonism by quoting the Book of Mormon, or Buddhism by quoting the Buddhavacana. McDowell only spent one chapter (Chapter 6) trying to make a case for the Gospels being reliable, and didn't really succeed. And without that base, the rest of his book just falls flat."

And from the closing of that review, "This book won't convince anybody who's given serious thought to the question of Christianity, and doesn't even present any particularly thought provoking arguments."

The full review is actually a fairly detailed chapter by chapter discussion of the book, if you really want more.

 

Thousands, Not Billions
by Donald B. DeYoung

I've already written a full review of this book in two parts: Part I and Part II.

To quote a bit from that review, "The book is a summary of a research project known as Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (RATE), associated with The Institute for Creation Research (ICR). The book was written by one of the Researchers, Dr. Don DeYoung.

"The subtitle of the book, "Challenging an Icon of Evolution, Questioning the Age of the Earth", might lead you to think that there'd be a bit of discussion of evolution. There wasn't. The book looked only at the age of the Earth, and focused entirely on radiometric dating."

There were many problems with what these 'researchers' did. First, as they even admitted in the book, they assumed that Scripture must be correct, and channeled all of their data to fit their preconceptions - exactly the wrong way to do science. But even in their science there were numerous problems, most of which I covered in Part II of the review. What I consider the fatal flaw of their argument, to which I devoted Part I of the review, was their conjecture that accelerated nuclear decay could be responsible for their 'findings', without ever accounting for all the heat that would have generated

To quote the closing of the full review, "I usually end my reviews with a recommendation for or against reading the book. In this case, I definitely recommend against, unless you already know enough about the science, or are willing to put in the effort to research the claims. Otherwise, the arguments can sound convincing, and could mislead most of the people who read the book. If you don't know about these topics already, go read a real science book on geology."

 

Leaving Christianity: A Collection of Essays
by Jeff Lewis

Leaving Christianity, Cover
Leaving Christianity: A Collection of Essays
by Jeff Lewis
$4.99 from Lulu.com
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.
This book was incredible, great, fantastic - possibly the best book I've ever read on this subject. It was just long enough to be engaging and informative, without being long and overwhelming...

Okay, okay. This was the book I wrote and self published. It may not be the best book ever written, but I do think it's worth the time it takes to read it. It is, as the title suggests, a collection of essays I wrote during and after my 'deconversion' from Christianity. I did actually keep it to a length that should be informative without being overwhelming (~100 pages), so it could be a good primer on non-belief. I've given copies to several friends, all of whom have said it was interesting. Obviously, you wouldn't expect friends to tell you your book was horrible, but one of them even went out and bought 10 copies so that he could give it away to other people.

So, in all honesty, I think this is a decent book to introduce people to atheism, and I think everybody should rush out and buy a dozen copies. (Well, metaphorically rush out. You can only buy the book online from Lulu or Apple's iBooks.)

Oh, I suppose I should mention that all of the essays in this book are available for free on this site, in my Religious Essays section. So, you can read it all for free if you want to. I just think a print copy is nice (not to mention a great gift).

 

What Do You Care What Other People Think
by Richard Feynman

This was Richard Feynman's follow up to his popular book, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character). This sequel was also a collection of many anecdotes, but overall it was more serious. He spent a good deal of it discussing the death of his first wife. He devoted nearly half of the book to discussing his involvement with the investigation into the Challenger explosion. Given that so much of the book was devoted to two topics, it didn't have the variety of the first book. It didn't have the same adventurous feel as the first, either.

If you really like Feynman, or have an interest in the Challenger disaster, this would be a good book for you. For most people, though, I'd recommend they read Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! first.

 

Why Evolution Is True
by Jerry A. Coyne

I've already written a review of this book. To quote from it:

"I've just finished reading Jerry Coyne's book, Why Evolution Is True. This is one of my new favorites for introducing evolution to people who don't currently understand or accept it. It contains a great balance of theory and evidence, or in other words, explaining how evolution works, as well as showing the evidence of how we know that."

"In short, this book is a great introduction to people who don't understand evolution. Donald Prothero's Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters may have a more detailed discussion of the fossil evidence, and Carl Zimmer's The Tangled Bank may have a more detailed discussion of the mechanisms, but Coyne's book has just the right balance of theory and evidence, especially evidence from a broad range of disciplines."

I'll also add, as I already mentioned in that review, that Coyne spends just the right amount of time debunking creationism, without dwelling on it to the point of distracting from the actual science.

Out of all the books on evolution that I've read, from now on, this is going to be the first one I recommend to people who want to learn more about it.

 

Two Years Before the Mast
by Richard Henry Dana

When Richard Henry Dana was a young man studying at Harvard, he began having trouble with his vision and thought a stint as a sailor might help improve his constitution. So, on August 14th, 1834, he climbed aboard the ship, the Pilgrim, to start what would become a two year trek.

The ship set sail from Boston harbor, went south and around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America, and then on to California. The ship went up and down the coast, trading for hides, periodically returning to port in San Diego to empty their current load of hides to make room for more. At one point, Dana stayed behind in San Diego to work on the hide preparation while the ship went back to trading. After nearly two years of this, Dana got to go home. This time, he was aboard a different ship, the Alert.

The book was interesting for a variety of reasons. First, it gave insight into life aboard a sailing vessel, from the point of view of a common sailor. I've always found that topic fascinating, but never really looked into it before. I even remember wondering what there was to do aboard a ship, and imagined that, apart from short bursts of activity, it would have been a pretty idle life. But apparently, there was always something to do on board, and the crew had very little time for leisure. The book also showed the absolute power that a captain had aboard a ship, and how little recourse there was for the crew if the captain abused that power.

The other aspect of the book I found fascinating was its description of California in that time period. Dana travelled there while California was still a part of Mexico, before the Gold Rush and before California entered the Union in 1850. It was only sparsely populated, at the time, and it's prime industry was the hide trade. Many of the names we now recognize as big cities were in the book, but the settlements were relatively small at the time. San Francisco Bay, for example, had the Presidio, the Mission of Dolores, and a few villages. What makes this more interesting is that in the 1869 edition of the book (the one I read), Dana added an appendix where he wrote of his impressions after visiting California 24 years after his first trip. His second visit was after the Gold Rush and California's statehood, and you could read a first hand account of the changes that had taken place.

The book was hugely popular when it was published, and especially during the Gold Rush as it was one of the few 'guides' to the region. Herman Melville even wrote of it, "But if you want the best idea of Cape Horn, get my friend Dana's unmatchable Two Years Before the Mast. But you can read, and so you must have read it. His chapters describing Cape Horn must have been written with an icicle." If you have any interest in sailing or the history of California, I recommend this book.

 

Soul Made Flesh
by Carl Zimmer

The subtitle of this book was 'The Discovery of the Brain--and How it Changed the World'. The descriptions I'd read beforehand billed it as mostly following the research of Thomas Willis. However, both of those statements are a bit misleading. The book is far more ranging than that. It looked at the beginning of the modern understanding of the human body, from understanding that the circulatory system was actually circulatory (not one way), to finishing the book with a chapter discussing MRI machines, while touching on the English Civil War and the founding of the Royal Society. The book was written with Zimmer's trademark storytelling, making the people involved more than just names associated with discoveries.

There's actually a very good review of the book on Amazon, that says exactly what I wanted to say.

If you like Carl Zimmer (and who doesn't), or are interested in how we came to actually understand human anatomy, this is a good book to read.

 

Castle
by David Macaulay

Back when I was a kid, I watched the documentary, Castle, on PBS, and I loved it. It was such an interesting animation showing how castles were built and used in the Middle Ages. Once I found out there was a book it was based on, I'd always wanted to read it. I finally got around to doing so this year, and it was great.

The book was written in McCauly's signature style - detailed ink illustrations accompanied by text to explain it. It was the fictitious story of the Lord of Aberwyvern building a castle, but based on how castles were actually built, and how people actually lived in the Middle Ages. The book is short. I read it in a night or two, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and plan to read it again. It was good enough that I went out and bought another of McCauly's books, Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction.

I suppose it's also worth mentioning that this book earned the Caldecott Honor in 1978 (one of two runner ups that year).

 

Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax"
by Philip C. Plait

This is the first of the two books that Phil Plait has written (so far - I wouldn't be surprised if he wrote more in the future). The other, Death from the Skies!, I'd read a couple years ago.

If you've ever read Plait's Bad Astronomy blog, you'll know that he's passionate about science, particularly astronomy, and that he's also passionate about correcting misunderstandings and urban legends. The reason for the title of this book is because Plait was addressing 'bad' astronomy. He covered such wide ranging topics as the Coriolis effect (and how people mistakenly believe it's responsible for the direction toilets flush), the 'Great Planetary Alignment of 2000' (and the disaster it didn't cause), and the Moon-landing hoax (which wasn't a hoax).

All in all, it was a very informative book, and entertaining at the same time. However, having read Death from the Skies first, it's apparent that Plait's writing has matured. If you have the time, then by all means, read both of these books. But if you're looking for a single book by Plait to read, I'd recommend starting off with Death from the Skies.

 

The Meaning of Tingo
by Adam Jacot de Boinod

This book carries the dubious distinction of being one of the few books I've started and not finished. I picked it up from the clearance rack of the local book store, and it seemed to have an interesting premise. The author collected interesting words and phrases from around the world, organized them by subject, and put them in the book. It's an interesting way to see how different attitudes get manifested in language. For example, 'tingo', from the title of the book, comes from the Pascuense language of Easter Island and supposedly means 'to take all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by borrowing them'.

However, I decided to look the book up on Amazon while I was in the middle of reading it, and I checked a few of the reviews. A native Chinese speaker complained of Boinod mistranslating the Chinese. A native German speaker complained of mistranslations of German. A native Russian speaker complained of mistranslations of Russian. So, with all those people complaining about so many inaccuracies in the book, I lost my enthusiasm to read it. And it's a shame, because like I wrote above, it really was an interesting concept.

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