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More Christmas shopping fun

Literature

Isn't Christmas shopping fun ? Most people resent the fake Christmas atmosphere with the Jingle Bells sound terrorism, but if the place isn't too crowded, I really like it. Today I was browsing The Fnac bookshop for a good book for mum, when I suddenly discovered that there's a new print of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, by Stephen Donaldson. It's one of the most powerful and complex fantasy trilogies since Lord of the Rings : each character-driven book introduces unexpected plots, sub-plots, and a host of magical beings so believably rendered you'd believe you might bump into them on your way to the bookstore.

If you love The Lord of the Rings, but dislike the arcane language, you should really give The Chronicles a try. Anyway, I treated myself on yet another Christmas present :)

Lorem Ipsum

Literature

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC.

If you ever need a random paragraph of text, and are bored of using the Lorem Ipsum text, head over to the MaleVole Text Generator.

Project Gutenberg

Literature

Ever wished you could read a downloaded Sherlock Holmes story in bed instead of in front of your computer? Now you can : Project Gutenberg offers electronic versions of texts whose copyright has expired; almost all major classics (and more) are covered. Unfortunately, these texts come as plain ASCII, which is very platform-independent, but also a pain to read. With a little LaTeX formatting, maybe these things can be reformatted to someting more readable. I noticed also that Debian includes a Gutenbook program, which allows you to browse the Gutenberg library online.

The Excellent Prismatic Spray

Literature

I was browsing Proxis, just to discover they had nearly nothing available in Dutch of my two favourite writers, Jack Vance and Stephen Donaldson. I ended up ordering Rhialto, the Marvellous. Nice to see that Proxis decided again not to charge anything for shipping.

Anyway, Rhialto is a part of the Tales of the Dying Earth rogue series, a very amusing set of books which tell the tale of Cugel, who tries to survive by his wit and luck - with varying results. I especially recommend The Eyes of the Overworld; pick it up if you find it in your local library.

DyingEarth.com is a site about a RPG based upon these novels. On the site, you'll find different amusing PDF files explaining the scenery in which the game takes place, and provide an excellent introduction to get you in the mood. Part one and three of these PDF files, called The Excellent Prismatic Spray, are free for download, and nicely illustrated.

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