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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Simply Dirac (Great Lives)
Helge Kragh
Progress: 30/115 pages
Information Theory: A Tutorial Introduction
James V. Stone
Progress: 76/260 pages
An Introduction to Magnetohydrodynamics
P.A. DAVIDSON, E.J. Hinch, S.H. Davis, Mark J. Ablowitz
Progress: 27/452 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 359/700 pages
Plasma physics
R.A. Cairns
Progress: 4/244 pages
Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics)
Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad
Progress: 37/272 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 108/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 76/448 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 115 pages.

Simply Dirac (Great Lives) - Helge Kragh

The author's opinion that one doesn't need a physics background to follow this book seems to me to be hopelessly wrong; someone who hasn't at least read a good popular account of relativity theory and quantum mechanics is not gonna have a clue about the scientific discussion.

Reading progress update: I've read 120 out of 352 pages.

Flatland & Sphereland - Dionijs Burger, Edwin A. Abbott

Flatland

 

Abbott's classic, exuberant look at life in two dimensions and how hard it would be to understand a third deserves a wide audience; much wider than stereotypical maths or science nerds. Not only does it remind us that our direct perceptions are limited and limiting, it also acts as a severe critique and satire on Victorian society and hubris that we would do well to take note of even today. Finally, it ends on a bit of a downer note, telling us how visionaries are often treated as crazy.

Reading progress update: I've read 76 out of 260 pages.

Information Theory: A Tutorial Introduction - James V. Stone

No rigorous proof of Shannon's Source Coding Theorem is given; presumably it's difficult.

Reading progress update: I've read 176 out of 320 pages.

Feynman Lectures On Computation - Robin W. Allen, J.G. Hey, Anthony Hey, David Pines, Richard P. Feynman

Reversible computing is slowly becoming clearer to me...it's not at all obvious.

Reading progress update: I've read 1070 out of 1344 pages.

The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare, John Jowett, Gary Taylor

Pericles rocks up in rusty armour and without a shield; is roundly disparaged by all but King Simonides.

Reading progress update: I've read 85 out of 169 pages.

A Modest Genius: The Story of Darwin's Life and How His Ideas Changed Everything - Sarah Darwin, Hanne Strager

The scientific discussion is pretty much entry-level; it's probably great for those who've never read anything on the subject before - but I have! Again, wrong book, not bad book. However, a few glimpses of the kind of thing I wanted have shone through; Darwin spending 8 years on mollusc anatomy and classification; writing a list of pros and cons on the topic of getting married. Suffering anxiety and depression.

Reading progress update: I've read 280 out of 352 pages.

A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literatures - Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson

The delights of the hermit's life, surrounded by nature.

Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 169 pages.

A Modest Genius: The Story of Darwin's Life and How His Ideas Changed Everything - Sarah Darwin, Hanne Strager

This is pleasant to read and a good introduction to Darwin's ideas and how they relate to the history of geology, biology and theories of evolution. Unfortunately I am not getting a strong sense of the character of the man, which is what I am looking to gain. A case of wrong book rather than bad book and since it's a short book I intend to finish.

Reading progress update: I've read 66 out of 260 pages.

Information Theory: A Tutorial Introduction - James V. Stone

I've never found an XKCD cartoon in a formal textbook before!
Fascinating discussion of the information of letters in English; the informational entropy of Romeo and Juliet is approx. 4.12 bits/letter. The correlation length of blocks of English text is 10 letters (including a space). No account seems to be taken of punctuation or upper vs. lower case in this discussion.

Reading progress update: I've read 1069 out of 1344 pages.

The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare, John Jowett, Gary Taylor

Shipwreck! I wonder if it was as common in life as in Shakespeare plots?

Reading progress update: I've read 323 out of 517 pages.

Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being - Ted Hughes

Some time ago I concluded that this book is more illuminating of its author than its subject.

Reading progress update: I've read 172 out of 320 pages.

Feynman Lectures On Computation - Robin W. Allen, J.G. Hey, Anthony Hey, David Pines, Richard P. Feynman

I would hazard a guess that Feynman's favourite science outside physics was molecular biology and it appears here in the guise of a naturally occurring "computer"; the copying of base sequences to mRNA is the computation at hand and is completely reversible. The computation is made to go in the desired direction by the relative abundance of necessary chemicals in the cell. Illustrates what reversible computing really means better than anything preceding.

Reading progress update: I've read 277 out of 352 pages.

A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literatures - Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson

A remarkable "keen" for a murdered husband; the kind of story that would make for a great ballad.

 

Only the "Religion" section remains.

Reading progress update: I've read 197 out of 1327 pages.

The Riverside Chaucer - Geoffrey Chaucer

The Pardoner, by his own admission, is a completely unpious conman, selling fake relics and telling sermons against greed, solely in order to profit from them himself - but he claims he can tell a moral story.

 

This is sooooooo much easier than reading the Pearl Poet! It's a wonder I ever thought there was anything difficult about it. Alliterative verse still wins over iambs and rhyme every time, in my opinion, though.

Reading progress update: I've read 54 out of 260 pages.

Information Theory: A Tutorial Introduction - James V. Stone

Shannon's Source Coding Theorem is one of those results that tells you a thing is possible but nothing at all about how to achieve it!

Reading progress update: I've read 1067 out of 1344 pages.

The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare, John Jowett, Gary Taylor

Interim report, having crossed the half-way mark of the Sonnets:
Snooze.