Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book 10: The Elegant Universe

Book 9: The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

By Brian Greene

Well. Where to begin. Part of why I haven’t updated this blog is because the review of this book was exceptionally intimidating. The book took me quite a while to read, (about 3 weeks) not because it was long, but because the concepts were difficult ones. However, this is not a book that I will brag that I read because it didn’t really make me feel SMARTER for having read it. Rather, I’d like to hide this experience under the proverbial bushel because god forbid someone ELSE read this book and would like me to speak intelligently on it with them.

Not going to happen. Because, even though I read it, I still don’t understand everything it was talking about. Let’s just keep that to ourselves. That’s a lot of time invested to not understand something very well.

The writing itself was well done. I can say that I understand the concept of the constant of the speed of light quite well now thankyouverymuch (having read that particular section 4 times). I got a bit lost in other parts, mostly because it’s difficult to keep ALL the different nomenclature for bits of physic thingies (my own grouping) straight. Branes and colors and quarks all blended together quite well and I had a hard time keeping it all straight. Which, over time, was quite a problem.

One thing that was communicated very well was that the universe runs according to a set of principles which are applicable here, there and everywhere (to quote the good Dr. Suess). And that IS amazing. Gravity, light, sound, it’s all the same IF the conditions are the same. And where the conditions are not the same, well, it behaves in a manner that is predictable with equations. The more I thought about it, the more that it boggled my mind. So, the if the title of the book is also the objective…well I get it.

String Theory…notsomuch. I now understand that Newton’s laws and Einstein’s laws are NOT in agreement. They work on large or small scales, but are not resolvable. So that is where string theory is supposed to come in. I didn’t get it.

Happily, I did some side internet research and found that String Theory is actually a bit outdated and has been experimentally and theoretically proven ‘wrong’. Something about the math being incongruent. I’d LIKE to say that I didn’t understand the book because I’m clearly far too intelligent and discovered the incongruities early on, but that would be a lie. I didn’t understand the book because I just didn’t get the concepts. Still, I did get some of them and that was more than I had understood before so it’s not a total loss.

Would I recommend the book? Sure! You may get it better than I, so I say…GO for it. And when you understand it let me know. I may just want you to talk to me about it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Book 9: The Host

The Host
By Stephanie Meyer

Yes, I have TWO other book reviews to do. I’m a bit behind and really it’s unfair that I would review THIS book first. However, I loved this book, read it in two days, and felt like reviewing it first. So here goes.

First, stop it.

Those of you scoffing the fact that I would read Stephanie Meyer. To you I say; “I also loved the Twilight Series”.

So there.

I am in no ‘Edward’ or ‘Jacob’ camp, I’ll take any guy who spends the majority of his waking hours vexing about how I’m doing, what I’m feeling, and if I’m eating enough.

Unfortunately (especially for those who read these books not yet old enough to know better) these guys don’t actually exist. Everyone has a life and whether you are with someone or not, you need to get on with it. A guy who obsessed like these characters would most likely be in an unhealthy mental state.

However, this is why I love reading her books, and probably why lots of reasonable, thinking women do to (though most will not admit it). They are love stories without excessive clothing casualties, and the guys DO obsess about the woman, all the while remaining effective in every-day life, and the woman is usually in need of some sort of protecting (because she is forever helpless), and there are lots of really cool details about everyday life in a world we don’t exist in.

In this book, much like in the Twilight series, the main character Melanie, or rather, Melanie’s parasite – named Wanderer; is so blah and plain that you can instantly step into her as a reader. I do get a little exhausted with how weak, and scared, and silent, and helpless, and ‘silently strong’ Wanderer is. Much like I got a lot exhausted with reading about how golden Edwards eyes were.  

Still, that’s allright.

Because it’s the END of the WORLD! (in the book)

There are very few humans left, and the parasites are called SOULS and they live inside humans and make everyone peaceful. However, the original Melanie is still in her brain, and she’s not going down quietly, and she’s still in love with Jared. What fun! So there is a body, with essentially TWO  consciousnesses in it, and it drags Wanderer to this human colony where Jared is dwelling. Who is still in LOVE with Melanie but who HATES Wanderer (because only Wanderer can talk) and another guy who falls in LOVE with Wanderer but isn’t so keen on Melanie. TWO guys hopelessly in love with the same body, but two different people!

Yep. Lots of fun. Hardly makes sense to type it out, but it was very well executed. Well, OK, it was very well executed if you hadn’t read Twilight. If you HAD…well, then it was all very predictable because very nearly the SAME character transformations happen in each book. But that doesn’t really make it any less enjoyable, much like eating one delicious brownie doesn’t really ruin you on ANOTHER delicious brownie. You just need to space them out a bit.

It was mind candy. It was wonderful. I would recommend it, especially if you need to tune out and head somewhere else for a couple days.