June 30, 2018

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, June 2018

Attention conservation notice: I have no taste.

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less
Perhaps only in early 21st century America, among the educated upper-middle class, would it be necessary to preach the virtues of rest, relaxation, and working to live rather than living to work, by turning rest into something to be done "deliberately", with checklists, promises of efficiency, and a ladder of skills. But here we are, and Pang's message is a good one. It has made me feel much less guilty about getting in only about four hours of creative work a day, and I have taken to handing it to friends and relatives in a pointed manner.
(Read because it was (1) handed to me in a most pointed manner, and (2) I liked Pang's blog, back in the bronze age of the Internet.)
Jane Haddam
  1. Not a Creature Was Stirring
  2. Precious Blood
  3. Act of Darkness
  4. Quoth the Raven
  5. A Great Day for the Deadly
  6. Feast of Murder
  7. A Stillness in Bethlehem
  8. Murder Superior
  9. Dear Old Dead
  10. A Festival of Death
  11. Bleeding Hearts
  12. Fountain of Death
  13. And One to Die On
  14. Baptism in Blood
  15. Deadly Beloved
The fist 15 novels in Haddam's "Gregor Demarkian" series (initially holiday-themed, but she gave that up). These are classically-constructed whodunnits, but they are also each a detailed portrait of a particular community or institution and its internal stresses. Haddam is very good at depicting desperation, the sense of having no way out. (I am also pretty sure that somewhere in her past she has close experiences with eating disorders and with caring for a senile parent.) I first read these in the 1990s, not long after they came out but out of order (as used book stores and libraries provided), but then raced through them all again this month, with deep enjoyment.
(Because they do come from the now-vanished past, it is striking how much some material things have changed --- phones! not knowing what strangers look like! New York City as a war-zone! the Internet as a friendly place full of bibliophiles! --- and how frozen the cultural wars are on all fronts.)
M. S. Bartlett, Statistical Analysis of Spatial Pattern
There's some interesting material in here, both about random fields on lattices and about point processes, which I cheerfully mind for my "Data over Space and Time" class. But mostly reading this makes me glad it's now possible to just put a 90-page review paper up on arxiv, rather than going through a vastly slower and more expensive publisher.

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur; Pleasures of Detection, Portraits of Crime; Enigmas of Chance; Data over Space and Time

Posted at June 30, 2018 23:59 | permanent link

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