The usual list, this time, as I will be out a lot today.
If you would like to guest host on April 11, please let me know. I will be guest hosting Frugal Fridays.
If you like to trade books, try BookMooch.
cfk has bookflurries on Weds. nights
pico has literature for kossacks on Tues. nights, but it’s on hiatus
What are you reading? is crossposted to docudharma
If you have ideas for future weeks, let me know. Next week, I am thinking of “books that explain America”
Fermat’s Last Theorem by Simon Singh. What an annoying book. Singh has a problem: He doesn’t understand Wiles’ proof of the theorem. That’s not his fault….maybe 100 people on Earth understand it. I certainly don’t. But he is to blame for, e.g., getting facts wrong, and his overly gushy writing turns me off.
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. Stunningly good. This is really three or four novels, tied together. It all does connect. Novel 1 is set at the time of WW 2, and follows Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse, and his friend Alan Turing, in efforts to decode German and Japanese codes, and do other neat stuff (fall in love….). Novel 2 also takes place in WW 2, and features Goto Dengo, an honorable and intelligent Japanese soldier, placed in intolerable situations by the exigencies of war. Novel 3 (or 2A) is also in WW 2, and follows the adventures of Bobby Shaftoe, a gung ho marine. Novel 4 is in the near future, and features Avi, who wants to create a data-haven (and use the profits for a very good and interesting cause) – one of his colleagues is Randy Waterhouse (grandson of Lawrence) who is in love with America Shaftoe (grand-daughter of Bobby); one of his investors is Goto Dengo, now an old and very rich businessman.
Along the way we learn about cryptography, geology, mining, spying, mathematics….. along with the old standbys like the nature of love, duty, and honor.
My third time through this huge book. It won’t be my last.
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. A fascinating and very well-written biography of a fascinating man (hey, get this! He thought Black people might be as smart as Whites….he opposed slavery….he fought valiantly in the Revolution….)
Gaming the vote: Why elections aren’t fair (and what we can do about it) by William Poundstone. Fascinating. This isn’t about cheating or hanging chads or butterfly ballots, it’s about fundamental flaws in our system of voting, and proposed alternatives.
some technical stuff:
Digital Dice: Computational solutions to practical probability problems by Paul Nahin
Lattice: Multivariate data visualization with R by Deepayan Sarkar. Sarkar won a prize for writing Lattice, now he’s explained how to use it.