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Member: hnn

CollectionsYour library (3,718), Currently reading (4), Kindle (3), To read (7), Just read (808), Borrowed (70), Valise (5), Lost in transit (6), Sold (13), Favorites (63), Wishlist (33), All collections (3,747)

Reviews15 reviews

Tagshistory (478), biography (459), fiction (357), india (255), france (226), historical fiction (220), french revolution (199), french history (199), memoir (187), philosophy (172) — see all tags

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Recommendations18 recommendations

About meAfter having graduated in Applied Physics, and worked as a researcher in neurophysiology, building computer models of neural networks, I spent the rest of my working life in the the IT industry. Being retired, I now have time for my hobbies: books, languages and grandchildren. First, I took up French where I had left it at school, and continued it at the Univ. of Stockholm with a Master thesis, doing a "computational linguistics" study of the old french used by Villehardouin and Robert de Clari (see authors in LT) in their chroniques of the conquest of Constantinople in 1204.

From old French, I continued onto Latin, Roman history and history of Christianity. From there I have moved on to the religion and atheism, origin of life and evolution.

More recently, I have moved on to my old loves, which had been forsaken for so long, and where much had happened since I visited them last: genetics and microbiology, cosmology, particle physics, quantum theory and its history, astronomy and its history.

By chance, I read a book about the Silk Road, which led me to study that subject more in detail, which led to books about Central Asia, Pakistan, India, Hinduism,and Sanskrit...
Then I happened to read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, which led to English history, following it back through the Norman Conqeust to Anglo-Saxon times. And now I am just thrilled by Old English and Beowulf!
...Where this journey will end, nobody knows...

About my libraryThe largest part of my book collection is probably still french litterature, grammar, history, old french and latin. But the science part is gradually increasing. And recently, it's a lot of books about atheism, religion and history.

GroupsCombiners!, Historical Fiction, History Fans, I Survived the Great Vowel Shift, Lingua Latina, Romance Languages, Skeptic's book club, Swearing, Swedish Thing

Favorite authorsDouglas Adams, Jean d'Aillon, Honoré de Balzac, Alain De Botton, Ferdinand Brunot, André Castelot, Nina Catach, Cicero, William Dalrymple, Richard Dawkins, Alain Decaux, Denis Diderot, Maurice Druon, Alexandre Dumas, Umberto Eco, Richard P. Feynman, Max Gallo, George Gamow, Stephen Jay Gould, John Gribbin, Peter Hopkirk, Horace, Victor Hugo, Hans Küng, G. Lenotre, Colleen McCullough, Robert Merle, Jules Michelet, Rohinton Mistry, V. S. Naipaul, Amélie Nothomb, Michel Onfray, Abraham Pais, Georges Perec, Michel Peyramaure, Salman Rushdie, Stendhal, Eugène Sue, Paul Theroux, St. Thomas Aquinas, Henriette Walter, Marina Yaguello, Carl Zimmer, Émile Zola, Michel Zévaco (Shared favorites)


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Real nameHans Nilsson

LocationVaxholm, Sweden

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/hnn (profile)
/catalog/hnn (library)

Member sinceNov 26, 2006

Currently readingBeowulf: A New Translation by Seamus Heaney
Njals saga by Lars Lönnroth
Färder till Sveriges födelse : en samlingsutgåva by Mats G. Larsson
Gryningssång i gräset by Thor Vilhjálmsson

Leave a comment


Hello Hans,
You must understand that the Chinese language is one of my passions and it is very good to be able to share some tidbits from my meager studies. I want to introduce you to a book I hope you will find interesting and oddly enough was written by one of your countrymen. The book is "Learn to Write Chinese Character". It is very short and begins with a short historical background on the language followed by some instruction and exercises for writing characters. The author begins his instruction with hints on writing the strokes which I found very helpful. He starts with the basic strokes and then goes to compound strokes. There is a chapter on radicals and then a poem and additional characters to practice. I enjoy writing Chinese and I enjoy using this book to help me practice.
Best regards.
Hello Hans,
I have noticed recently your purchases of Chinese language books. I studied the language in college and more recently in classes given at a local Chinese-American center. Are you taking classes or simply studying on your own? I think it is a beautiful language. I love practicing writing characters. I have a shelf of Chinese language study materials collected over many years. I have materials in both the simplified characters and the old characters. Since the simplified characters are taught in the Chinese schools I think it is important to know something about them.
I have a very interesting Chinese-English, English-Chinese dictionary on my phone. It is sold for IPhone and Android phones by a company named Pleco and they have been in business for some years. I hope I am not boring you about something you are familiar with. You can take a picture of a character with your phone and the dictionary will tell you what it is. It has very many good features.
I use graph paper to write characters on since each character is proportioned like a bisected square. I will stop, I feel myself rambling about a topic I have loved for years. There is a not very active group on Ancient China. Two elderly scholars who named themselves "The Fogies" are very knowledgeable.
Enjoy your language study.
Hi Hans!

Thank you for going through my collection and finding it interesting. It is true that we share a common interest in Asian history. I am particularly interested in the history of the Indian sub-continent and its neighboring regions, including Central Asia. I am very happy that you picked up "Finding Forgotten Cities" after browsing through my list.

My collection is not as diverse as yours and as I continue to develop an interest in the histories of areas beyond the Indian sub-continent, I am sure I will make use of your library to pick up some books.

Loved your comment on retirement plan. Basically what I am doing....through the grandchildren are now almost grown.
Dear Hans,
I just found your page by clicking the "French Revolution" tag. I am currently reading a historical fiction series (the Sandra Gulland ones) set during the Revolution, and I'm realizing that my understanding of the time is woefully inadequate. I'm looking for a single-volume, readable to a non-historian overview of the lead-up to the French Revolution and the time during and just after the Revolution.

Can you make any recommendations? Thank you very much.

Thank you for the invitation. I am at the moment studying the American Revolution, actually the period 1776-1815. If you say it was expensive your study of the topic must have involved some traveling. I also plan to study the French Revolution to compare the process of political change. I just finished an extensive study of the American Civil War which in its own way was a revolution, see "Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World" one of my favorite books on the topic of modernization and political change
Hello Hans,
If I may take a moment. I followed you from a comment on "History Fans". I just became a member of the site. I have a few books on the French Revolution. I have four volumes of the Claude Manceron set and four volumes of Georges Lefebvre. Any comments from an expert? I think French is a beautiful language. For me it stands for a specific period of history, perhaps from Louis XIV to the defeat of Napoleon, but you know better than I. LibraryThing casts a net over the world with technology.
You are invited to visit my library and write a note if you are so inclined.
Thanks for clearing up the word "grutier".

It will help a lot in what I'm writing.

I have noticed that you have a great collection in French Language. I am looking for the

English of two Idiomatic French phrases, which I have never seen before, and which I cannot

find through my French dictionary -- a fairly good one, but not unabridged -- well one is just

a single word (noun). he other is a phrase, an idiomatic phrase, I assume. They are:

GRUTIER (noun) --from the context, it is apparently an occupation, which might be done

"at the waterfront".

"PASSAGE A TABAC" The context of this in what I am translating has nothing to do with smoking;

It says that the story being critiqued is that of a "young, disabled Hawaiian's "passage a Tabac' . . . "

If you are familiar with eithe of this, or can look them up, I would greatly appreciate it.

Roland Perkins
Hans, thanks for the suggestion about Elisabeth Badinter! I do, indeed, read in French... This is where living in NY becomes restrictive; shopping for books in French is possible only online... I have the first volume of the three in my 'panier', ready for when I have the financial resources to hit the button, along with a Jean d'Aillon novel (I see you are a fan as well) set, apparently, in the middle ages.

Have you read Medici Money yet? (I noted that you have added it to your library...) I think it's one of the most fascinating multi-disciplinary books about the Medici and their world, and written in a very lively way. (Well, Parks is a novelist...)
Tak. Jeg har valgt, i første omgang, at koncentrere mig om Oplysningstiden/Enlightenment, lægge bøgerne på gradvist, & til gengæld levere en mini-review hver gang.

Du har også en imponerende samling, i kvalitet såvel som kvantitet, med en del bøger om den periode der også interesserer mig (c1650-1900). Jeg glæder mig til at følge din side.

Your "about me" is an inspiration - I'm one the cusp of retirement (3 yrs, if I'm lucky, at least 6 more, if I'm not).
I'll bet you've seen "Le Souper" too--Talleyrand and Fouche negotiate the future of France following Bonaparte's defeat at Waterloo--a great stageplay turned into an excellent film!
Hey Hans,

I thought of updating Wikipedia several years ago. But at that time I was still building my Jefferson collection and didn't want to cause prices to rise by advertising Jefferson's role. I guess I need to get around to updating Wikipedia soon. As to my website and blog, no one ever posted a comment. Volney is so forgotten, and no one speaks about Natural Law any more, so there was no audience, no demand. After a while I decided it was better to focus on novel writing, not blog writing. I believe it's my job as a writer to establish a new awareness about Volney and his works. If the novel sells, then the awareness and the demand will happen naturally...AZB, TCW
Hi Hans,

I recommend the first; it's a reprint of the Jefferson translation. The second is a translation from the UK...

If you buy the first, it may have a biosketch called Life of Volney by Count Daru. It's a few pages long. The absolute best biography of Volney was written by Jean Gaulmier. "Volney--Un Grand Témoin de la Révolution et de l'Empire" was published by Hachette in 1959. The same book was reprinted by Slatine as "L'Idéologue Volney, (1757-1820)" in 1980. This is a very indepth, academic treatment of his life. "Il se faisait appeler Volney" by Jean Sibenaler was published by Hérault in 1992. It is much shorter and draws on Gaulmier's work. Both these books can be found in my library.

Please let me know if I can be of further help. All Zee Best, TCW
Forgot to mention before, Hans, I would love to read your work on the Toubon Law! Many thanks for the offer!
Hello Hans, thank you for accepting my friends invitation. I was adding a number of books to my library yesterday and noticed you were the only one in the entire LT system to have a copy of Tulard's 18 Brumaire in your collection. Given your background in French literature, I thought you might be interested in Volney's Ruins too. I also saw you have Hitchens' God is Not Great in your library: note the reference to Lincoln's reading Volney in Chapter 13 (page 179 in the hardback). I appreciate your offer of sending me books. However I am something of a specialist in Volney, Bonaparte and the French Revolution. I too have overflowing shelves! Please don't hesitate to contact me if you're thinking about making a Volney purchase, or if you happen to be visting Paris. All Zee Best, TCW
Dear Hans:

Thank you for your note and thank you for finding my library interesting. I apologize for the mistake in my blog address. The proper address is http:/ I have another at I am not content with what I have done with my blogs so far. I am attempting to improve them so that they may be more worthy of consideration. I am also working on a better review of Discovering God. The current one was written rather quickly while my blood was boiling. I will let you know when it is finished. Once again, thank you for your interest and I look forward to corresponding with you. Best regards, George
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