May 28, 2015

The universe and our place in it

Science enthusiasts, especially physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists, will love The 4% Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality. Richard Panek gives a detailed and thorough account of the history of cosmology (the study of the universe including its birth, composition, and laws). All of the heavy hitters are mentioned along with some I had never heard of (Adam Riess, anyone? Saul Perlmutter?). Mathematics abounds but if you're looking for diagrams or charts you've come to the wrong place which I personally found disappointing. The writing style is not written with the layman in mind. If you're unfamiliar with the standard terminology and not completely cognizant of some of the finer points regarding these specialized science disciplines you might find yourself a bit lost. However, if you are fascinated by what lays beyond our galaxy and how we fit into the grand scheme of things then you should definitely read this book (but be prepared to come away without all of the answers that you seek).

Now I've made a slight error in judgment and the books that I had placed on hold as far back as 2 months ago have suddenly all become available at the same time. This means that I may or may not review these next couple of books in a predetermined order. Also, some of these might be lumped into one single blog post (I'm looking at you novella prequels).

Here's what I've picked up:

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
Another English translation of the Swedish author whose work I recently reviewed. This is work of adult fiction featuring a South African girl who works her way up from being an illiterate poop hauler (Slumdog Millionaire, ahoy!) to the right hand of the King of Sweden (I think that's where this headed at any rate).

 Feed by M.T. Anderson
People are connecting themselves directly to the Internet via feeds to their brains. That's it. That's what drew me to this book because I am masochistic and have a real fear of technology destroying us all.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
A young woman stumbles upon letters written by her father which detail a quest to find out the truth about Vlad the Impaler (aka the guy who inspired Dracula). She must decide if she wants to follow in her father's footsteps and seek to unravel the mysteries that might just cross over into modern times...
No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige
We finally get to find out how Dorothy returned to Oz and what caused her to change from its savior to its ultimate enemy.

The Wizard Returns by Danielle Paige
Everyone assumed that when the Wizard floated off in his hot air balloon that he had returned to The Other Place but he didn't and when he woke up he discovered that he had no memory of who he was. Hooray we finally find out (I hope) what side he's actually on and maybe if he has a plan to dethrone Dorothy.

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