Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

This book by Mohsin Hamid has a very interesting schema for telling the story. A Princeton educated Pakistani returns to Pakistan, meets an American in Old Anarkari. He says he will be of service as surely the American is searching for the perfect cup of tea. Off they go to the tea house where the story unfolds. I think of this as a serious Pakistani Bob Newhart. Hear one voice, but you know all this is being said or surmised.

We need to read more stories that provide us with some other ways of thinking as this book does. I find it interesting though that Hamid lives in London and not Lahore!

Good, fast read because you cannot put this beautifully written book aside.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Virginia Woolf and the Brain

This is one interesting story that was on Weekend Edition Saturday on August 2. If you have read Virginia Woolf you may be interested in this story about art and science.

The photo is from Barcelona. I just find it interesting.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Friend's web site

Like poetry? Try reading something new. One of my high school and actually, college, friends has a website where he posts his poetry and more.

We both attended the University of Colorado (when there was only one main campus and thus, just known as CU. Now it is UCB.) We had but one class together, a senior level literature class. The lowly math major sat in this class with all these brainy literature majors. I remember one fellow who could tell us all about the music in Ulysses. I sat in awe, but it was fun and I was glad I escaped with a B. I even wrote what I considered an interesting paper. I wonder if I would now.

In that class in addition to Ulysses by James Joyce, we read Passage to India, Mrs. Dalloway, Sons and Lovers, and a few other books, plus one separate book of our own choosing for the paper. I will find my notebook and remind myself what else we read. I am glad I can remember each of those books and, especially, those authors. It was really good class and definitely different from my math classes.

Interestingly, I still read quite a few books, but rarely prove anything mathematically. I do still help kids with math, however, and I love mathematical and logic puzzles, as well as, reading Clifford Pickover and Martin Gardner. I have to add that without the math degree, I would never have worked at NBS and learned to program computers. Who would have thought in 1958 that the first home computer I had would be as powerful as the one I used to program a gigantic book of Microwave Spectral Tables and other scientific endeavors such as the velocity of light as determined by several experimental setups.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Oh, oh.. this book is a must read for those who like dogs or who like modern versions of Shakespeare's plays. I don't know how many of these novels have been written, but surely this one sets the bar a little higher. The other book based on a Shakespearian play moved to modern times is A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. It is an older book and also worth reading.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle will make you cry and occasionally laugh, but you have to keep reading, day and night, until the book is done. Almondine is as much a character as anyone else in the book. You will marvel at how Wroblewski can write about dogs and how a dog thinks and feels. Each dog in Edgar's litter, that he has been given to raise and train, has a personality and each is different.

This book took ten years to write and I believe it. It is so well done. The author, David Wroblewski, writes software for his day job, but maybe he will give it up and write more novels.

Friday, July 18, 2008

This is a lily from the north side of my house

Summer Books

I don't know why I don't update this blog more often. I could be taking my book notes right here. Well, that might be boring to others. I read the book that a local high school is using for its all school read this fall. The book is Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. The book is an easy read, as they say, and the story is gripping. There is so much to discuss in this book. I hope all the students and faculty read it and that they will have a great time the first few days discussing this book while they are waiting to come up to snuff in the various classes. What a grand idea.

I also finished Randy Pausch's Last Lecture book. It is small book, but lovingly written and it offers some simple advice for living. Mostly Have Fun.

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is well-written. You can certainly get an education about the Dominican Republic by studying the foot notes and looking up some of the history yourself. Why are there such evil people in the world and why do so many become leaders of small countries? When you figure it out, leave a message for me.

So many good books are out there and there is so little time to read each and everyone.