Worth Reading 100: Under the command of Lucius Vorenus

And after a few years of link collection, we get to the first major milestone:

Marches of Folly – Paul Krugman on how groupthink helped make the case for war in Iraq, and is doing the same for austerity.
How We Learned to Set Aside Our Moral Qualms and Love the Bomb – Some frankly frightening research from the US on how willing people are to use nuclear weapons.
7 Reasons Why You Should Stop Bitching About People On Benefits – Perfectly explained.
CHRONICLES OF MANSPLAINING: Professor Feminism and the Deleted Comments of Doom – It’s somewhat amusing to see how idiotic some men can get, but also depressingly sad to realise that we live in a society that encourages this. (And as a request, if I’m ever mansplaining something to you, please point it out to me)
Twenty-one tips to make your book better, for new writers – Advice from Sophia McDougall

Worth Reading 99: If you liked it, then you should have stuck a flake in it

There’s either been not enough or too many things being written on the internet recently, but here’s some of the more recent ones I’d recommend taking a look at.

The Shame of Selling Yourself – Stuart Millard on the hard tasks faced by a self-promoting self-published author.
Beware the New Fascism. You might not even recognise it. – A warning from Jason O’Mahony
David Howarth responds on secret courts – Probably needs a better title (like ‘David Howarth calmly and methodically demolishes the government’s arguments on secret courts’ for instance) but a reminder of what we lost when he chose to leave Parliament. Yes, I know we got Julian Huppert instead, but why can’t we have both of them?
The press is throwing a toddler’s tantrum over Leveson – Alex Andreou on how the press is living up to its bad reputation as it campaigns against Leveson proposals
The Rape of James Bond – Author Sophia McDougall on the use of rape in fiction and whether that use is realistic (obviously, trigger warnings for rape and sexual assault)

Worth Reading 47: Nothing to do with Star Trek

A Rocket To Nowhere – Setting out the case that the Space Shuttle programme has been a wasted opportunity. (via)
In the depths of some men’s minds – The Gaping Silence on some of the causes of the Norwegian mass-murder.
Western culture still very much there, say experts – The Daily Mash deadpans another direct hit. “The bus is filled with a variety of people. None of them try to undermine my values. They mostly just sit there.”
Bad Habits, Bad Days – Sophia McDougall on addiction and eating disorders (warning: “This post discusses addiction and eating disorders, particularly the dangerous appeal of the latter. If you are likely to be harmed by reading such content, please don’t read on.”)
Raised expectations – Brian Kellett dissects the latest piece of idiocy to emerge from the head of Liz Jones

Worth reading 45: And how many revolutions will you start this minute?

@petehague’s piece on This Week’s Pod Delusion – Jennie Rigg on the concept of Schrodinger’s Rapist (which was a term I hadn’t heard of before her post) and what’s rational behaviour for women.
My encounter with the News of the World – When you hear someone talking about how the non-phone-hacking staff of the News of the World were saints and angels who loved bunny rabbits and kittens, read this and remind yourself of their regular modus operandi.
Capes, wedding dresses and Steven Moffat – Sophia McDougall on why (to paraphrase violently) a wedding dress and the Batsuit are the same thing.
Our democracy is over – Steven Baxter asks why no one thinks of the poor oppressed plutocrats. “The very future of free discourse in this country is under threat. We have no democracy any more. This ragtag-and-bobtail army of leftist thought police are going to stop us from being able to ring up dead kids or bereaved families and listen to their messages – and what then? Criminals and crooked politicians are going to get away with it, that’s what.”
A Punishment Beating – Flying Rodent on the oh-so-tedious Johann Hari vs Nick Cohen deathmatch feud important struggle for liberal values vital intellectual contretemps playground spat. “Let me put it this way. During the week when the Guardian – a paper that Nick and his pals have spent years dumping oceans of shit over – rocked the foundations of the world’s most powerful media empire, shut down a criminal enterprise and brought a genuine scandal of public interest to the front doors of Number 10 and the Metropolitan Police… …A small but determined bunch of angry berks were engaged in the honourable task of helping one of the nation’s most ridiculous hacks wreak his pissy vengeance upon a nationally-discredited twerp for the crime of penning a mildly critical and dishonest book review, years ago.”

Savage City by Sophia McDougall (2011 book #24)

This is the final book in the Romanitas trilogy – the first two of which I read last year and wrote about here – though it’s worth noting that the first two books have been reissued by a new publisher in advance of Savage City, and there has apparently been some re-editing of them for the new releases. However, as far as I’m aware there have been no changes in the story along the way.

Anyway, the full review is after the ‘read more’ link, and I would warn you not to click it if you haven’t read the book and are planning to, as it’s almost impossible to review without dropping some major spoilers (this review by Pornokitsch attempts it, however). In capsule, though, if you’ve read the first two books in the series then you should get round to reading this as soon as possible, and if you haven’t then take a look at my review from last year.

And that’s the last of your warnings. Look away now if you don’t want to know the result.
Continue reading Savage City by Sophia McDougall (2011 book #24)

Worth Reading 24: Still a better channel than ITV News

Yes, we still have links, even if we don’t have much other content:

The Battle for the No Campaign and a Prime Minister in Peril – Interesting WSJ piece on the AV referendum. I’d question some of the assumptions in it, but worth reading nonetheless.
Tuition Fees: Did The Coalition Get Its Sums Wrong? – Just in case you thought the whole tuition fees issue wasn’t a big enough debacle, here’s another complication.
The Beasts in the Arena – A free short story in the Romanitas universe from Sophia McDougall. Works as a good introduction to the series if you’ve not read them.
NUS President will not stand again – What I find most interesting about Free Radical’s thoughts on the NUS is that I heard most of them twenty years ago when I was involved in student politics. I’m not sure that NUS has ever been properly representative, or has ever had a strong idea of what it’s for. (via)
David Cameron: Gun Slut – Justin McKeating on what David Cameron’s doing after talking up democracy in Cairo: selling weapons to dictatorships.

Romanitas and Rome Burning

These aren’t New Year resolutions – look at the date, this post is on December 30th – but I’ve decided that I need to post more here and also to get back in the habit of reading more books, as I’ve got out of the habit of reading regularly and need to rectify that.

So, in one of those coming together of ideas, I’ve decided to borrow a habit from several other bloggers and write a post about each book after I’ve finished it. Not only does this help keep me posting regularly, it’s a good way to keep track of how much I’m reading.

Anyway, as a special introductory offer to this new series of posts – which, like other great blogging ideas I’ve had in the past could well splutter into nothing after an initial burst of enthusiasm – here’s a two-for-one offer for a novel and its sequel: Romanitas and Rome Burning by Sophia McDougall.
Continue reading Romanitas and Rome Burning