Books update

Recently read:

Close, A Very Short Introduction to Nothing – a neat and fascinating summary of contemporary thought about vacua. Turns out we can’t find nothing anywhere – there’s always something going on.

Menand, The Marketplace of Ideas – an intelligent summary of the history general education in American universities, including thoughtful suggestions and some incisive criticisms of professorial complacency.

Hofstadter, I am a Strange Loop – or, “I am a Self-Involved Mathematician.”

Stephenson, Anathem – wow. An adventure in a parallel universe where philosopher/scientists live in monasteries, walled off from a world of consumerism and fanatic religions, and are visited by a huge spaceship piloted by denizens of four other possible worlds. Really interesting and creative … but 900 pages?!

Now reading:

Barbour, The End of Time – “After 35 years of thinking about it, I now believe that time and motion are illusions.”

About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.
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3 Responses to Books update

  1. Had you ever read Stephenson before? I’m curious because my experience was that I found the first book of his I read (Cryptonomicon) endlessly fascinating and amusing. But by the first third of the second book I read (Quicksilver), it all started to seem pretty gimmicky and cutesy.

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  2. Huenemann says:

    I was also fascinated by Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash. I think I started Quicksilver, and lost interest quickly. He’s certainly a clever and talented author, but needs some editorial discipline (whack!). I really don’t understand why books keep getting thicker while attention spans get shorter.

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