July 31, 2013

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, July 2013

Attention conservation notice: I have no taste.

Howard Andrew Jones, The Bones of the Old Ones
Mind candy. In which our heroes battle the malign spirits of the ice age. (Previously.)
Warren Ellis, Global Frequency
Mind candy. I remember liking this a lot when it first came out, but reading the re-issue I can't recall why; it seems like Ellis recycling themes he dealt with much better elsewhere.
László Lovász, Large Networks and Graph Limits
Lovász is one of the inventors and main developers of the theory of graph limits; I will not attempt to explain that here, but refer to my notebook on the subject. This is his most systematic and comprehensive account of the theory, and indeed the fullest account I know of. It's very much a mathematician's book, rather than, say, a computer scientist's, physicist's, or statistician's — I confess I still don't see the point of some of the most purely algebraic parts — but extremely clear for anyone with the necessary firm grounding, which should include graph theory, especially the theory of random graphs, some real analysis and probability (enough to appreciate weak and \( L_1 \) convergence and why they differ), and a fair chunk of abstract algebra.
Brian Hayes, Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape
How-stuff-works for grown-ups, guided by an aesthetic of fascination and awe, and integrally bound up to lovely pictures.
(This book came out years ago, but I have been reading it very slowly, to savor. Like Adina Levin, I'd like to see it "appear 50 years from now like a tour guide to Colonial Williamsburg".)
Mark Charan Newton, Nights of Viljamur
Mind candy: Yet Another Epic Fantasy. Picked up because of the dying-earth setting, finished because I started it. (I didn't find either the characterization or the politics convincing, and there was a lot of both.) I won't be looking for sequels.
Karin Slaughter, Unseen
Mind candy. The first time in years I'd figured out whodunnit long before the end.

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur; Scientifiction and Fantastica; Pleasures of Detection, Portraits of Crime; Networks; Mathematics; Enigmas of Chance

Posted at July 31, 2013 23:59 | permanent link

Three-Toed Sloth