Monday, June 06, 2005

More Books

Recently, I've taken less time for light reading than I sometimes do. Oh, I had a grand time with Truesdell's Idiot's Fugitive Essays on Science, and if you can find a library copy, I encourage you to enjoy it as well. But I didn't read much while I was traveling. I did read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, and I recommend it -- Bryson is funny, and manages to fit quite a bit of information between the anecdotes. And last week, I read Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner, which left me a bit disappointed; the ideas were interesting, but about halfway through I found myself thinking I should put this book down and read the papers referenced in the end notes. I thought the same thing at the end of the book. I also read two Gemmel novels this week and, a little further back (while traveling?), a recent Modesitt book (the second-most recent Recluce book). Of the novels, I think I preferred the Modesitt book. I'm partial to his writing. Though the didactic tone and the constant use of half-overheard conversations sometimes irritates me, I find Modesitt's habit of describing his character's meals to be rather endearing. Food is so good.

That's about it for the past three weeks, at least for non-technical reading. On the technical side, there's the usual slew of papers plus books on integral equations (Hackbush), SAW devices (Campbell), and electromechanical filters (from the last third of the CRC Handbook of Electric Filters). There, again, it's been a lighter-than-usual reading month, mostly because of travels.

But I've got some stuff in queue now that I think will be a lot of fun.

First, I have Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. I was introduced to Willis when I read To Say Nothing of the Dog, which I thought was great (for the plot, for the characters, and for the writing style); and Willis has won at least four Nebula Awards and two Hugos, so there must be other folks out there who like her writing, too. I also finally picked up Turing: A Novel About Computation, which I have been thinking about reading for a while; it's written by Christos Papadimitriou, one of the professors in the department. I've also seen that the latest installment in George R.R. Martin's series finally has a concrete release date, and I'm looking forward to that. On the more technical side, I picked up Modulated Waves: Theory and Applications by Ostrovsky and Potapov, which is a nicely written text on some one-dimensional wave phenomena (linear and nonlinear) of a type that I keep encountering. Also, this summer I sould like to make my way through Mackey's Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, which has been sitting in my queue since February. Perhaps this way I'll finally feel like I understand some more of the quantum mechanical examples that I keep encountering. Not that I think the authors who use such examples to illustrate their eigensolvers actually understand any more quantum mechanics than I do, but still...

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