books and more books

One of my greatest hobbies is, and has always been, reading books. This may seem weird coming from a mathematician, but it is one wonderful thing I share with my husband. Our tastes may sometimes be very different, we can both sit and read for whole afternoons and evenings if we have time. I used to read at least one book a week, but this number has come down since I started commuting by car instead of public transport. That still saves me two hours a day though. Since I love to read book recommendations, I thought I would share some of my favourite books I read lately.

  • Let me start with my favourite writer, Paul Auster. His best book in my opinion is oracle night. It is about a writer who is recovering from some kind of illness, and starting to write again. Basically, it is a book about a writer writing, with very interesting things happening. My all time favourite book, and the one I had signed when I went to a reading and signing session two years ago!
  • Another highlight, and more recent. I know that the second world war still plays a large part in our (or at least in the European) literature, and you would think that all has been said about it. I think it’s role is comparable to the black/white issue in American literature (please note that I am not an expert, just an avid reader, so please don’t take me wrong here). However, the book Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martell is very good and original. It makes you think in ways that “literal” novels don’t. Not a book that makes you cheerful though.
  • No book list should be without a maths book! I have read Finding moonshine by Marcus du Sautoy recently and I think it would be interesting for everyone who would like to know the fun of maths, even when they didn’t like it in school. This books describes the search for understanding the concept of symmetry, and one object in particular. It is not related to my field (which is applied probability, not geometry), so I consider myself totally a layperson and I found it very accessible.
  • If you wondered how perfectly normal people can react in a bad way when something they theoretically support comes too close, try reading T.C. Boyles The tortilla curtain. It is about a rich white man living close to Mexico who is confronted with the problem of Mexicans trying to cross the border illegally. He has always been supportive of sharing the wealth and being tolerant to them, but as the story unfolds this changes slowly as the issues come closer and closer to his home and family. A very moving ending turns the story on its head. A must read in my opinion.
  • The last one on the list is a very recent novel, Room by Emma Donoghue. Most of it is set in one room, and gradually it becomes clear why a small boy and his mother are in this room. See if and how they get out, and wat happens then. Very well written, and the thoughts and behaviours of the little boy are exactly as I think they would be. Great and quick read.

These are a few of the books I read last year, I hope you enjoyed reading it. Any recommendations for me?

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1 Comment

  1. Hi! I’m so glad to find you….a blogger who doesn’t run the other way when “math” is mentioned! No kidding…I enjoyed the post. I love to read to. Just finished The Sparrow. Next two on the list: A Reliable Wife and Inherit The Wind. My Book Club keeps me reading!

    My math blog is http://www.realmathinaminute.com No one ever goes there but me. HaHa. True.
    My other blog is http://www.reallifeinaminute.blogspot.com There are math posts from last year still on this blog. I will be checking back in. Subscribing too.
    Sandra

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