Ian Brawn

Helpful votes received on reviews: 81% (22 of 27)


Top Reviewer Ranking: 50,916 - Total Helpful Votes: 22 of 27
Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (&hellip by Samir Okasha
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal Introduction, 27 April 2014
If you're interested in the philosophy of science, this is a great place to start: it's cheap, it's lucid, it provides a broad overview and a comprehensive set of suggestions for further reading. The main areas covered are the definition of science, the problem of induction (Hume), realism vs. anti-realism, the nature of scientific revolutions (Kuhn), criticisms of science, and some specific problems (the nature of space, classification in biology and the modularity of the mind).

Others have mentioned the brevity of this book. Personally, I was happy with the breadth and depth of the material presented, with a couple of caveats: Id have liked an explanation, or at least an… Read more
Essays (Penguin Modern Classics) by George Orwell
This book contains all of Orwell's most famous essays. Broadly, the subjects are politics, aspects of English life, aspects of Orwell's life, other writers and, to a lesser extent, language.

The best essay in the book is possibly Politics and the English Language, which contains much sage advice for writers of all types. Generally, though, it is in the recollections and descriptions of life that Orwell excels. To these he brings the eye of a novelist. The images are evocative, the observations are astute and timeless, the results are always interesting and frequently gripping.

Time has been less kind to his political essays. He was, after all, writing in an age of… Read more
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars First-Class Fantasy, 7 April 2014
This is a fantastic novel, in at least two senses of the word. It's set in the nineteenth century of a world that is not quite our own. As Britain battles Napoleon, two magicians set about reviving the practice and reputation of English magic, which once played a key role in the history of the nation.

Magic, prophecy, foreboding and weirdness ensue. Clarke's inventiveness is impressive, spilling over into footnotes about fairies, magicians and kings. The pace is teasingly relaxed, propelled as much by a comedy of manners as it is by the plot, which would be a bad thing if it wasn't genuinely funny.

My only small complaints are that the finale was painted on a slightly… Read more