In the New Years holidays, I finally got round to shopping for books — I had received several boekenbonnen “book coupons”, and was aching to spend them. This has kind of triggered me into a reading frenzy. Here is a short overview of what was read and what is still pending:
- Bill Bryson – A Short History of Nearly Everything
A popular science book — a weakness of mine. It’s a fun read, although near the end its focus is on pre- and early human earth history (no, not the egyptians, but from apes and monkeys onwards). That is not my preferred type of popular science, as it turns out. All in all, an interesting read. Learned several new things. Forgot most of them by now :).
- Michio Kaku – Physics of the Impossible
Michio is a theoretical physicist. In this book, he speculates on how certain cool technologies from scifi could theoretically eventually be achieved by technology, given our current understanding of physics. Subjects he treats: force fields, teleportation, starships, phasers, the death star, invisibility, faster than light travel, etc. His treatment is mostly focused on the physics involved — you don’t get blueprints, just a feel whether or not a technology which for all practical purposes mimicks the SF gimmick is possible according to physics. Fun read. Then again, I am a nerd ;-)
- Mohsin Hamid – The Reluctant Fundamentalist
A very interesting story, told in first person perspective, about an American in Pakistan, who is suddenly greeted by a local while the American is sitting down for a drink. The local begins to slowly tell him a tale…
I really liked the book, and heartily recommend it! I won’t divulge more so as to avoid spoilers.
- Cecelia Ahern – Thanks for the memories
Apparently, Cecelia wrote a famous book, which led to her becoming an established author. Fine by moi. This book is the first I’ve read from her, and it’s okay. In points it is quite good, in others it dragged on a bit much. It’s a story about a man who is divorced, moved back to the UK, and now trying to reestablish his life, and a woman who at the beginning suffers a trauma. (Wanted to write “terrible trauma”, but thtat would be a tautology, wouldn’t it?) Of course it’s a romantic book, although perhaps not trodding down every known path. It’s a fun read if you’re on a reading binge — and I am :)
Still to read:
- J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter et Le Prisonnier d’Azkaban
Yep, it’s my second go at reading an HP book in French. And boy, did my French decline… I’ve started, but got distracted and have little incentive to continue. Still, with perseverence, determination and… well, French, I will actually read the damn thing and hopefully whoop my French back into a semblance of shape.
- Richard Feynman – QED
Besides meaning “Quod Erat Demonstrandum” (What has been proven — used to denote the end of a proof), “QED” can also mean Quantum Electro Dynamics — the unification of quantum theory with electrodynamics. And the latter field is the one where Richard Feynman got his Nobel prize in physics. It’s not a big book, so perhaps it’s readable. Who knows? Then again, Feynman was a very good theoretical physicist, and I am not. Still, who knows, I might enjoy it :)(update: took a short break, started reading, so far it’s captivating)
- Douglas Hofstaeder – Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid
Yes that’s a reread. Halfway through, been at that for more than one year.. probably closer to two. Anyway, will finish it eventually :)
- Roger Penrose – The Emporer’s New Mind
This is Roger Penrose doing his version of Gödel, Escher, Bach. And that is ouch. Where Feynman is a wellknown and good theoretical physicist, Penrose is (apparently) lesser-known, but sure as hell not one bit less theoretically or physicisty. In order to explain how the mind might work, according to him, we need some background info. So in one chapter, he treats classical physics. From Ptolemaic astronomy up to and including the theory of relativity. Le ouch. And that is just background info, so Penrose gives you a feel for Weylian tensor’s role in relativity theory. You are spared the details. So yeah, pending.
So what can I say about this reading binge except that I’m focusing a lot on PopSci? Not much… except that I am almost out!! PANIC!
Luckily I brought back Prince of Persia and Beyond Good and Evil for the GameCube. Especially the latter has an interesting story arc — in a way, it is a story waiting to be read. Just a bit more active.