Books finished in July:
(Warning: reviews are unpolished and quickly written.)
Reamde: A Novel (2012) by Neal Stephenson. Not what I expected from the author of Cryptonomicon and the Baroque cycle. It starts off promisingly with modern, hot topics like a bitcoinlike virtual currency, the mmorpg T’Rain and its gold farmers, and ransomware, but quickly develops into a simple action story packed full of unbelievable coincidences, with a conflict between evil, largely unidimensional Muslims and others. Disappointing.
The Book of Daniel: A Novel (1971) by E. L. Doctorow. Novel based on the story of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were put on trial for espionage and executed for treason in 1953. In the book they are called Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, and the story is told through their son Daniel. From his viewpoint, the pair, and particularly the father, come off as self-righteous and somewhat narrow-minded, though harmless, and likely innocent. According to Wikipedia, in the real world the children also believed in their parents’ innocence for a long time, though were convinced otherwise in the end. Finished the book a few days after the death of E. L. Doctorow. Interesting to learn about the people executed for espionage against the US in recent times, but I would not really recommend the book. (Trivia: The story ends in Disneyland, where Cory Doctorow‘s novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom takes place, but apparently the two are not related.)
Ratings and old books are in the library.
I also read Reamde in July and I’m also a bit disappointed: the action/criminal part is fine, the standard Stephensonian part (technology/science) is good as well, but the first part takes way too much volume. And Stephenson has a hard time creating good female characters, so having a girl as a main character was risky. I have higher hopes for the Seveneves though.
Agreed. Me too, though now I just started Apex, the final book in a trilogy by Ramez Naam (the first two are Nexus and Crux). Check out Nexus if you don’t know it.
I’ve read Nexus two months ago and now I’m finishing Crux now – it’s good and enjoyable. It’s a pity that in the second book there are no poster sessions or attempts to get the post-doc…
Btw, check this list of good books on science for general audience http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/apr/03/steven-weinberg-13-best-science-books-general-reader. I have read The Elegant Universe recently and it is great.
Thanks. The only one I have read is The Origin of Species, but that was before I started making notes, so I do not remember anything from it. I have not read any “serious” Feynman, but “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” and “What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character” are great.