Monday, August 8, 2011

A Few Mini-Reviews

I've decided to compose a short list of a few  of my favorite books I've read over the past year or so and would like to share, with a few comments about what I think of them. I thought this would be the next best thing to giving full reviews on things I've read some time ago.

Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman

Inspiring. Lightman looks at time and creates a new world in each chapter based on a different interpretation of it. There's, also, some biographical information about Einstein. I read this book a chapter a night - before I would go to bed. Every chapter was inspirational and made me look at the world and life in a different way. That's what (good) science fiction is supposed to do: awe and inspire. It was recommended to me by a creative writing professor of mine at Fordham U. I highly recommend it to all lovers of science, Einstein, or time.

Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

This is like the hard SF writer's Bible - for real. Not only that, but it's really a great read: tons and tons of information and detail about the laws of physics and how they apply to all the classical science fiction technologies (ray guns, starships, invisibility, time travel, teleportation) and whether they are possible or impossible. It's all told in a readily readable and comprehensible fashion, which, given the subject matter, is a testament to Kaku's expertise.

Brainiac by Ken Jennings

A trivia nerd's delight and a must for Jeopardy! fans. (I'm one.) Ken Jennings, the biggest winner (via winning streak) in Jeopardy! history, talks about his journey on the show and about trivia and its history and importance in society. My favorite quote from the book: "Trivia is the marijuana of knowledge."

Sex on the Brain by Daniel Amen

Dr. Amen is famous for his emphasis on brain scanning and brain abnormalities to explain psychological and interrelational issues. Amen's books are very readable and educational (though somewhat repetitive), packed with lots interesting factoids. It's a great read for couples or anyone interested in improving their love lives - warning: Amen does not approve of "unloving sex," so don't expect a guide for casual sex. Not that I did - I'm just saying.

That's about it. I've read some other books - but these are my favorites from the past year or so. Enjoy.

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