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Joseph Barry Garner (Agassiz, Bc, Canada)
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Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars
Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars
by Camille Paglia
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.00
63 used & new from CDN$ 8.55

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, disappointing selection, Dec 15 2012
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This book offers a review of western art from Egyptian tomb painting of 1200 BC to George Lucas, Revenge of the Sith, 2005. Twenty-eight works of art are discussed in separate chapters. The format is a reproduction of the art-piece followed by about four pages of discussion. The author writes extremely well, but the selection of art pieces was, for me, very disappointing. Twelve out of the 28 pieces chosen were completed after 1900, and the 20th century was the century of ugly art. Art that may send a message but not art with which to live. Imaginative realism is still alive and well. Robert Bateman in Canada, James Gurney in the US, and almost any issue of the International Artist magazine would provide examples of beautiful contemporary art with which one could live with delight.

Death Comes to Pemberley
Death Comes to Pemberley
by P.D. James
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.06
48 used & new from CDN$ 3.68

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying and compelling, Jan. 8 2012
Review of P.D.James: 'Death comes to Pemberley'.
This mystery novel is set as a sequel to Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice'. It opens with a very brief account of the Bennet family from the view point of an envious gossiper from Meryton, and then moves smoothly into the married life of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy, six years after the close of P &P. The family continues to be dogged by the improvident, malicious, sly and envious George Wickham, Darcy's playmate from school days, who remains irresistibly attractive to bored young ladies.
The author has absorbed the characters and added some interesting additional persons. She writes this novel in a style similar to that of Ms Austen and manages to tie together all the loose ends. The novel reads very smoothly and is a real 'page-turner'. I read it twice on one rainy week-end day! Very satisfying and highly recommended! The author's intellectual vigour at the age of 90 is remarkable

Engineering Mechanics - Statics with Statics Study Pack PKG
Engineering Mechanics - Statics with Statics Study Pack PKG
by Hibbeler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 36.09
14 used & new from CDN$ 29.59

3.0 out of 5 stars Good coverage, poor demonstration, Dec 29 2011
Statics is a branch of Applied Math dealing with engineered structures in equilibrium. This 11th edition of Hibbeler, (''H''), is a 656 page book covering a first course in Statics. At U of Alberta, ''H'' is used in the first semester of the engineering degree. ''H'' is clearly printed with diagrams and photos in colour. At the close of the chapters there is a very good Review section, there are many worked examples and problems and there is considerable additional support material available, if the student has time to access it. I did not examine this latter material.
Essentially all the results of Statics were known 200 years ago. The contribution of the 20th century was the gradual introduction of the vector notation and algebra, which greatly simplifies 3-D problems. This text serves as a student's first introduction to vectors, as Math typically introduces them in second-year Calculus. ''H'' has poor and opaque initial explanations of theory. Results need to be proved rather than just stated. The algebra of vectors is the algebra of 'free' vectors. ''H'' ignores this terminology until page 152. A force is not a free vector since it and its scalar multiples have a unique line of action. So, one of the major problems in statics is the addition of skew forces, the subject of Chapter 4. ''H'' does not give a demonstration of the distributive law for vector products: a x (b + c) = a x b + a x c. The result is absolutely basic to the text, the proof is non-trivial (see Beer & Johnston, 'Statics') and is set as a problem without a solution. Determinants are used without any explanation, and yet school trig results are carefully reviewed in Appendix A. The 'scalar triple product' is used in section 4.5, {Moment of a force about an axis}, without development of its properties. Use of these properties would show that this moment may be expressed as 'Fd sin(A)', where F is the size of the force, d is the signed minimum distance between force and axis, and A is the angle between force and axis; a standard result (not given).
The vital sections on couples are marred by notational problems. The force-vectors F and -F cannot form a couple, since F + -F = 0, by definition (they have the same line of action). So the demonstration of the moment of a couple is without content. Possibly for the sake of brevity, the notation F is often used when what is meant is a force-vector having the Cartesian components of force F but a different line of action. The sections would be correct if scalar methods were used, lines of action represented by the arrows and the letters indicating size of the force. These notational problems occur again in sections 6.1, 6.4, and 7.2, in which force vectors with the same lines of action but opposite senses are given the same label. The writer seems to relax in the later chapters, which are generally in 2-D and simpler. The worked examples on virtual work are interesting and varied, but an example in 3-D with vectors would be instructive.
All the worked examples in the text which use vector methods can be solved quite as simply by scalar methods. So the power of vector methods is not demonstrated.

Calculus: Single Variable
Calculus: Single Variable
by Robert A. Adams
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 104.60
10 used & new from CDN$ 4.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thorough introduction to calculus, April 1 2011
Calculus is required for engineering, physics, chemistry and scientific statistics, besides mathematics. It is so important that in some universities, physics begins their first semester covering basic calculus. Differential calculus gives rules for the slopes or rates of change of general expressions or functions. These rates of change are called derivatives. Integral calculus shows that the rate of change of an area under a curve is given by the formula for the height of the curve and so the area itself is found by the inverse operation of differential calculus or the anti-derivative.
A knowledge of basic differentiation and integration would be so straightforward to impart at high school and so useful, but usually it is not. Ontario used to cover calculus in Grade 13 which I believe is now defunct.In BC over the last 20 years, simple ideas on calculus seem to drift in and out of Grade 12.
So why do some physics departments cover calculus in the first semester? Because the large majority of first year math courses on calculus take so long to get to the actual calculation of rates of change: so long that often integral calculus is reached only in the second semester, and this is what the physics programs need.
There are a great many good texts on single variable calculus available. Robert Adams' text is certainly one of the most thorough and complete of these. I have not taught from this text, but I was very favourably impressed by the companion text on Calculus of Several Variables which I consider the finest text on this topic that I have ever seen. I only wish it had been available when I was an undergrad 56 years ago.
Anyway, the single variable text covers the usual first year material including series and power series, a very good chapter on ordinary differential equations, and brief but useful introductions to Fourier Series and complex numbers. The examples in the text are interesting and seem to cover most of the difficult points that I can remember. The presentation is very careful and yet very readable and the author attempts to prove every result. It is a wonderful text for a mathematically inclined student. A weaker student would require direction on which sections to study, in my opinion.
There is no mention of vectors in this sixth edition which was a disappointing surprise since my 3rd edition of the several variables text refers to vector-valued functions of a real variable as being covered in the single variable text. A significant omission from a practical view point.

Tuckahoe Slidebottle
Tuckahoe Slidebottle
by Neil McKinnon
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.95
9 used & new from CDN$ 4.87

5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, relaxed reading, March 31 2011
This review is from: Tuckahoe Slidebottle (Paperback)
A collection of short stories from a very small prairie town, Tuckahoe, at varying times in the twentieth century. The stories are not about the earnest hard working farmers and homesteaders who formed the backbone of those types of communities but about the loungers, the drifters, the children, the pastors, the teachers, who attach themselves willy nilly to any congregation of humans.
The stories are off-beat with usually a great sense of underlying humour. The author catches characters deftly with a few words and each of us can soon imagine the domestic scenes he is describing. The book is just perfect for bedtime reading or during a flight. A great story with which to start is my favourite, 'Proud not feed chickens', a happy love story.
Sometimes the behaviour of the characters may seem 'American', but, of course, many inhabitants of those towns came from the States. My wife grew up in the southern Alberta town of Raymond, founded by the Knight family from Utah. She finds the book very true to life.
Emile Slidebottle is a character in one of the stories, but otherwise the book title is not helpful, nor is the cover art. The 'Books in Canada' review is very condescending and does not reflect the pleasure given by the tales.

The 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom: The Portuguese Irregular Verbs trilogy omnibus
The 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom: The Portuguese Irregular Verbs trilogy omnibus
by Alexander McCall Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.57
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The world of the Full Professor, March 8 2011
Professor Dr Moritz-Maria Von Igelfeld is a Full Professor at the Institute of Romance Philology (essentially the structure and syntax of languages, past and present, spoken in Europe), Regensburg, Germany. Although intelligent, erudite and talented, he takes himself and his subject very seriously. The tales follow his progress to academic conferences and invited visits to academic institutions in other countries as well as the usual academic plotting and backbiting at his own institute. McCall Smith skewers the pomposity of many academics and the pettiness which pervades bureaucratic institutions. Almost all the tales are hilarious and so true to life. In 'On being light blue', von Igelfeld goes to a Cambridge college where the German pedant meets English obliqueness. The atmosphere reminded me of my brief career in an English private boarding school in the late fifties. McCall Smith has a wonderful understanding of the human heart.
The only tale which rang a false note was 'A leg to stand on', in which von Igelfeld feels that he has to impersonate a veterinary surgeon because of an earlier misunderstanding, forgetting his family motto of 'Truth Always'. Otherwise I highly recommend this collection for reading and rereading for laughter and for a deeper understanding of our fellow human beings.

Painting Trees and Landscapes in Watercolor
Painting Trees and Landscapes in Watercolor
by Ted Kautzky
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.68
27 used & new from CDN$ 9.24

5.0 out of 5 stars An oldie but goodie!, March 6 2011
Originally published in 1952, this is a Dover re-issue. The only difference is that the color plates have been collected together in the center of the book. Kautzky was a well-known watercolor artist and author. This book is/was a sequel to his 'Ways with Watercolors'. He briefly deals with materials, brushes, paints and paper, then gives illustrated suggestions about composition, values, painting fog and rain scenes, road puddles, types of road, types of brush strokes for painting trees, and looking into and out of a forest.
Then he systematically describes how to paint 10 different types of trees, illustrating each type of tree with a watercolor especially painted for the book based on an American landscape, New England, Carolina, Colorado, California and so on. For each painting he suggests the colors to use and the order of painting, e.g. sky, mountain, mid-ground, left foreground, right foreground, river and reflections. Finally he adds some additional sketches for the student to use.
The 16 paintings are not simplified and are really fun to try since the student achieves a worthwhile result. Each painting is carefully composed, so the notions of composition are subtly inculcated. Currently, I am attempting each painting in acrylics so to learn their use. Kautsky suggests painting the darks first which really helps with values. He uses very simple palettes so one has to learn mixing. Some colors he suggests are not lightfast so be careful, for example use quinacridone red, or just modern versions. This is a really satisfying book for the artist who is seeking to move past the 'beginner' stage.

A Red Herring Without Mustard
A Red Herring Without Mustard
by Alan Bradley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.77
8 used & new from CDN$ 3.41

4.0 out of 5 stars A Red Herring without Mustard, March 1 2011
This is a really fun read. Flavia is always engaging. However, I missed the chemistry wizardry this time as events follow one another so quickly that Flavia rarely has time to escape to her laboratory.

A very enjoyable book.

Barry Garner.

The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman
The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman
by Walt Whitman
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.99
39 used & new from CDN$ 1.10

4.0 out of 5 stars A unique voice, Aug. 23 2010
Not prose, scarcely poetry, all-inclusive, democratic and utterly American. I wanted to read Walt Whitman before I died (I am 74) and here are all his poems together with a very helpful introduction. His poems on the death of Lincoln are stirring. He embraces everyone, male, female, freeman and slave. A remarkable glimpse into the nineteenth Century America. I recommend this book to everyone.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
by Alan Bradley
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.40
39 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A fun book, May 1 2010
This is a whodunit with protagonist 11-year old Flavia de Luce who lives with two older sisters and a remote father in a large ill kept English country house in 1950. The author has caught the atmosphere of 1950 in England very well. I spotted only one anomaly. Flavia is a very intelligent, precocious person with a strong knowledge of chemistry. To me she was quite a believable character since I knew a very similar (male) person dating from the same period. In those days, schools were much more relaxed in their demands on children outside of classes, and crimes against children were almost non-existent, so that children were given much greater freedom. We would wander everywhere without fear. The police are also represented correctly. Our local village policeman would cycle everywhere, extremely slowly, and behave in a benevolent and avuncular fashion. This was life before many people had automobiles, telephones were slow since calls would be routed through a manual exchange, still some food rationing and many furniture items in short supply. The pace of life was very slow.
The book is written from Flavia's perspective and is suitable for anyone who is able to read it.

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