The Inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur
Finished reading on March 24, 2013
I started reading this book in the end of last week, but only now did I finally get to the end.
It’s about an Indian guy who goes to the US for a year to study at a college and about what he sees and experiences there. It starts out funny – Gopal’s love for coke for example . Then there are the odd phrases that Americans use that baffle Gopal, such as “get out of here”, “so long” and “cool it”. And the gem – a certificate saying that Gopal’s the most promising young man in the hair oil business, which he thinks would impress American girls.
Despite all the humour, I found it sad by the end – the main character’s loneliness and withdrawal and the final departure to India made me think of rainy gray weather and depressing vocal music. The saddest part was when he goes to the mall on Christmas Eve just to be with other people.
Well it might have just seemed to me that the book was sad, as I’m spending my Sunday home alone…
But then again, Gopal’s kind of naive and odd (classic nerd??) and if you’d move the plot to my country and my college class, remove the difference in skin colour and cultural heritage and add computer games – then you’ve got some of my acquaintances and I stop feeling sad and rather get annoyed.
The book’s okay and good fun, as long as one doesn’t start digging into deeper issues there.
The Stars of Heaven by Clifford A. Pickover
Finished reading on March 23, 2013
The book, as the title might suggest, is about stars. It’s about their evolution, different types, thermonuclear reactions etc. But not just about that. There’s also some fiction in the book that makes it a little more fun (and somewhat childish as well).
It gives a good overview of the topic and even I found something I hadn’t known before, so in general it’s fine. It’s easy enough to be understandable to most people.
However the writing is not as interesting as with some other authors.
“Visions” by Michio Kaku
Finished reading on March 22, 2013
I seem to have had this book on my bookshelf for ages. I’ve even started reading it twice, thinking “wow, that seems like a good book” and just left it there as I was reading something else at the time.
Now I finally had the time to read it.
As the subtitle says, it’s about revolutions that one might expect in 21st century science. (The book’s first edition was published in 1997). the topics that got coverage were computers, robots, medicine, quantum physics and space travel.
I must say, it was really interesting, although I’m usually not that interested in advances in medicine, then Kaku’s writing was really exciting, I was reading the part about genetics etc last weekend on a bus and I was really sad when I reached my destination without having finished reading it. It was just so good!
Also, the future that Kaku predicts for technology and science doesn’t look too bad. Actually I just can’t wait to see it all happen :).
Although the book is already 15 years old, then it’s still relevant and definitely a book worth reading even if you’re usually as far from science and technology as can be.
Death by Black Hole by Neil Degrasse Tyson
Finished reading on March 14, 2013
I found all the essays in this book rather interesting, some more illuminating than others, but ultimately wonderful and well-written.
It hasn’t got any mathematics to drive people away and it’s in bite-size pieces so one can read one essay from the end, one in the middle etc. and you’d still understand what he’s writing about – mostly astronomy.
There are 42 chapters or essays in the book, and since they’re not really all that connected then it’s rather difficult to describe what they’re all about in all but the most general terms….
The essay I liked the best was about “the fear of numbers”. It’s about how some high buildings don’t have a 13th floor and go from 12 straight to 14, and how planes don’t seem to have a 13th row of seats… Well, that’s not really fear, it’s superstition, but I find it funny. (FYI May 13th is a Monday – Beware! Mwuahaha [evil laughter] :D) Though the fear of numbers is tragic.
Dr. Tysons style of writing is as cool as his talks, so enjoy this one: