books

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Anders Winroth (born in 1965) is a Swedish historian who received his PhD from Columbia in 1996 and now holds an endowed professorship in history at Yale. He has written several books on the Viking Period for lay readers, the latest one of which I’ve been given to review. The main contents of The Age…

Rocky Horror References John Carter

“He was a splendid specimen of manhood, standing a good two inches over six feet, broad of shoulder and narrow of hip, with the carriage of the trained fighting man. His features were regular and clear cut, his hair black and closely cropped, while his eyes were of a steel gray, reflecting a strong and…

Shades of Dr. Jones

I’ve read Marilyn Johnson’s forthcoming book Lives in Ruins. Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble. It’s a collection of lively and enthusiastic portraits of contemporary archaeologists in their professional environment. Some may find the tone a bit too enthusiastic, pantingly so in parts, but that’s a matter of taste. Archaeologists should arguably be…

I’ve been reading a 1974 edition of Sigfrid Steinberg’s 1955 classic Five Hundred Years Of Printing. Overall I’ve found it interesting and instructive, with a fine touch of sarcastic humour. But I came across a few paragraphs on the value of universal literacy that are so alien to me that I almost had to rub…

I put Tove Jansson’s Moomin character the Muddler, Sw. Rådd-djuret, into a presentation. It’s about multivariate statistics for archaeologists, and I accompany the picture with the following quotation. How could you forget about the Muddler when you launched the ship, Sniff said accusingly. Did he ever get his button collection back into order? Oh yes,…

Pimp My Book Manuscript

Since late ’09 my main research project has concerned the Bronze Age in the four Swedish provinces surrounding Lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren. I’ve looked at the landscape situation of the era’s deposition sites, which is pretty much where you find bronze objects. Yesterday I finished the first draft of the book (except the descriptive gazetteer,…

Nudge, nudge

Only one of these books was given a title with the word “nudge” in it by people with a frame of reference similar to mine. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Thaler & Sunstein 2008. Monty Python and Philosophy: Nudge Nudge, Think Think! Gary L. Hardcastle et al. 2006. Nudge: Awakening Each Other…

Best Reads of 2013

Here are my best reads in English during 2013. It was a really good year for quality, though I didn’t read very much: 41 books, twelve of which were e-books. The latter number was boosted by the Humble E-Book Bundle that I bought at Junior’s recommendation (sadly no longer up for sale). Find me at…

Here’s a fun case of me not anticipating an imminent technological development, not thinking that last centimetre of far enough. In July of 2007, six years ago, I wrote: Lately I have come to think of books as computer devices, combining the functions of screen and backup medium. All texts these days are written and…

In this well-written, painstakingly annotated and beautifully designed book, physicist Baruch Sterman (with contributor Judy Taubes Sterman) traces the history and prehistory of a certain blue pigment, along with its cultural and religious significance through the ages. It’s what the Torah and Talmud calls tekhelet, and it’s made from a gland harvested from Murex sea…