Report on a Gentleman in Moscow

“If one did not master one’s circumstances, one was bound to be mastered by them.”

Was also thrilled that everyone enjoyed the read of A Gentleman in Moscow and it fared so well in the ratings.
It was praised for the deep, rich and effective characters and setting and for engaging storytelling. I hope that those still to finish enjoy it right to the end. The parallel to Hotel Budapest was well pointed out – something that I freely admit to having missed. The setting and the tale was totally alive for me and I quite enjoyed the twists, turns and was left with a most satisfied feeling on having been invited into the Count’s world. Continue reading

Report on a Shrinking Violet: A Field Guide to Shyness

As always a great discussion and a book well considered.
Thanks to those who thoughtfully provided their reviews in advance.
Mike did the leg work clearly and there was general agreement with his assessment.
Adding to Mike quite comprehensive and thoughtful treatise:
All attending completed the book and agreed that the quality of prose was quite good, anecdotal, but well told little snippets. The book itself was full of great anecdotes and Jim aptly described it as a Trivial Pursuit sort of novel. Lots of great little nuggets. A parallel was drawn between this work and those we have enjoyed from Bill Bryson. 

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EuroBookVision 2016 at the Gentlemen’s Book Club

The crowning event of our book club year is our annual get together to review the year and rank our reads. One of the intriguing and fun aspects of this is how our scores change over the year and how (when forced to rank) as a complete series the measures compare to our monthly evaluation of the books.

This year we enjoyed the hospitality of the Royal Irish Yacht Club courtesy of one of our distinguished members. The atmosphere was warm, convivial and wonderfully festive. The company a pleasure as always and the ranking spectacular good fun. Continue reading

The Gentleman’s Book Club Reads

gbooksThe Gentleman’s Book Club was inaugurated in April 2011 following late night deliberations during the count for the General Election of that year. After some discussion we settled on meeting in Smyth’s pub to share our thoughts on our first read. The location has remained our favoured haunt although we have on occasion strayed. Our numbers have remained constant and remain a very convivial 7 to today. December has become the month when we choose a ‘lighter’ read and gather to reflect on our reads of the year as part of a ‘Eurovision’ style ranking of the 12 reads of the year.

We remain vibrantly engaged with our reads (some of which have our brief reviews linked) which over the years include: Continue reading

Report on the Killing Floor

by Lee Childs

Last night’s symposium shed little light on Mr Reacher. In fairness, it was chosen as a lighter read to follow the highly appreciated but magnitudinally-challenging biography of Hamilton. In that light I think it passed the bar – although lighter it was also definitely darker. I think the consensus was that it did not masquerade as higher literature, offer intricate plot or character development but it did end up delivering predictable entertainment. Continue reading

Using Onodo to Learn Network Analysis and Visualisation

During our seminar on Network Analysis and Visualisation in DH6010/6019 this past semester as a group we enjoyed a case study involving network analysis of the Star Wars characters presented by Evelina Gabasova (http://evelinag.com/blog/2016/01-25-social-network-force-awakens/index.html#.V7Mn5WXi-f4). She does a superb job of combining analysis, explaining her methodology, deriving some fascinating deductions – all with a fun cinematically familiar network. The familiarity combined with Gabasova’s well crafted blog posts really helped everyone grasp the basic precepts of graph theory and set up hands-on network visualisation instruction using Gephi.
Screenshot 2016-08-16 16.33.22
One of the challenges in approaching and using Gephi (http://gephi.org) is that it has so much flexibility, power and such powerful capabilities that is can be off-putting for new users. The interface is not immediately intuitive and even with many of its panels minimised it tends to scare people off. It takes time and a deeper understanding of graph theory to appreciate its benefits and to be able to use it effectively – especially for analysis.

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Report of the Silk Roads

by Peter Frankopan

Thanks again to Brian for sharing his thoughts in advance. A fine review covering in fine detail aspects which certainly helped stimulate our discussion.

There were mixed, but I think generally favourable reactions to the book as a whole – noting that some were reading it and others having it read to them by a rather poor narrator. Continue reading