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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Thursday December 27, 2001
04:41 PM

Christmas books

[ #1801 ]
The big gift was a portable DVD player (no screen, just a wafer-thin player--it's amazing to see). But the smaller gifts were books, and I got some doozies.

Brother-in-law gave me two books on Islam. I'm not sure what he's suggesting. They'll make interesting reading, but higher on the priority list is Life in a Medieval City. I'm already up to Chapter 3, and it's super interesting. Ever wondered what people wore, when they ate, what they ate, who attended the village markets and what you could buy there, or anything else about everyday life in 1250?

In the same vein, my parents got me a popular history book on Ancient Rome (lots of descriptions of the appearance of people like Cicero and Octavian, as though they were characters in a novel). I'll try to chew through it fast so I can give it to Damian at biocon at the end of January. If I can't get through it by then, the next time I'll see him will be early April.

But for now, it's back to the grindstone of the PHP book. I caught the flu last Friday, and in the NyQuil-fuelled haze I deleted all modern versions of chapter 2 and left myself with a version that lacks about 20k of work. Fortunately there were enough people working on the book that someone had a nearly-up-to-date copy that I'm now bringing back up to where I had it before my brain died.

I hope you all had a good time with family and/or friends, and are looking forward to a fun year ahead ...


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  • If you like Life in a Medieval City, you might also enjoy The Medieval Machine : The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages [], by Jean Gimpel. The author is an academic, a self-described medievalist, and one of a dying breed of historian.

    The book is quite readable, and points out a host of issues that we frequently overlook today. Like how a medieval monestary was designed like a machine, including running water. Cathedrals are also a testament to the stone masons and architects of the day, building on

    • Cool! I also read Michael Crichton's latest book, Timeline [], which is about time-travelling archaeologists. There was a lot of "this is what it was really like" medievalism there, too. Like the RenFair without the fat chicks in velvet.

      Historical architecture is cool. Some day I'll finish the copy of Vitruvius I keep in the vomitorium :-)