When I was having lunch with Kurt the other day, I started to tell him how when we lived in England, we used to go to Longleat to see the dragons… guess it is their year after all.

No, I did not go running today. I didn’t do anything at all today; I curled up in bed and slept a lot and read a lot. My knees hurt like… bad rude words. I am definitely going to a traditional Chinese doctor when the New Year holiday ends.

I finished Death Comes to Pemberley. It was ok — well written (such a sight for sore eyes after all those awfully edited ebooks), and PD James did a beautiful job with Austen’s characters, although I question her choice to make Darcy such a wimp? and I would have expected Elizabeth to take more of a detectivey role… in fact, there was very little detecting done, I don’t know. This isn’t a real book review, I am just thinking aloud. I suppose it would have made it a sort of pastiche if PD James had just gone along with the stereotypical personalities that we have assigned to the characters over the last couple of hundred years. Instead, they are much deeper, more interesting and less predictable personalities. But… I would have enjoyed a touch of the biting Lizzie sarcasm or a good Darcy put-down.

I moved on to The Friar and the Cipher, which I hadn’t realised was about the Voynich Manuscript. I went through a brief period of obsession/fascination with the Voynich Manuscript four or five months ago, and was certain I had written a post about it, but apparently not (yet another mystery to add to the pile!). I was a bit disappointed when I realised this was the topic of the book, because I felt like I already knew the whole deal, but in fact it is a really fascinating work which covers so much more than just the document itself. I’ve been really enjoying the early chapters, which discuss greek and arab philosophy, theology, the establishment of universities and the historical and social context of Roger Bacon’s Europe. I hate being told things I know already (or think I know already…) but love learning new things — and for the 70 pages I’ve read so far alone, was totally worth it. In fact, this book is a good reminder of the fact that there is a huge difference between reading the Wikipedia page and a few fan websites, and reading an actual scholarly work which has been thoroughly and passionately researched. I’m so lucky that I was probably in the last few years of university before students gave up on reading books and began leaning so heavily on internet resources… I have a few bad habits of my own as it is, but the temptation of just googling the crap out of things instead of reading infinity library books must be crushing for students nowadays!

I’m interested to see how the author ties the Voynich Manuscript to Roger Bacon, as that theory seemed to have been discredited in the articles I read last year. If only this counted as studying Chinese…


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