Monday, January 23, 2012

Between excursions out into the snow.

The new job is going well.  Now that I've finished some parts of the training and am getting to do stuff with my department, it is more exciting.  I like to see *results*.

One to Nine: The Inner Life of Numbers, by Andrew Hodges.    I sometimes worry about my innumeracy; this was to help me with that.  The introduction was good, very basic and written in a personable style.  However, once the chapters started, it was rather a let down.  It started quickly using advanced (I dunno, for me, anyway) ideas, and what wasn't uber-advanced was quoted.  It seemed that the author spent an inordinate amount of time reviewing previous works and quoting huge pieces of them.  Not an enjoyable book.

Zero to Lazy Eight: The Romance of Numbers, by Alexander Humez, Nicholas Humez, and Joseph Maguire.  513.2  This book was more enjoyable and easier to follow.  There was alot about different theories that, I admit, I didn't always follow and certainly don't really remember, but I made it through the book without feeling completely lost.  The author's style was readable.

Kate, by Kathleen Magill.    I don't know what I read about this that made me want to read it.  It started out interesting and got bad quickly.  But I kept reading it because it was like watching a train wreck; it kept getting more and more absurd, and most of the book's entertainment value was in watching that unfold.  It is not worth the shelf space in any library.

Beastly, by Alex Flinn.    I was holding on to this since this past summer (or was it two summers ago?), when it was popular, a recent movie adaptation, and one of our teen summer reading program giveaways.  Yeah, so however long ago that was.
The writing could have been a little better, but it was acceptable, certainly appropriate for the intended audience.  The retelling was interesting; I didn't get everything out of it that the author said she included in her notes at the end, but it was much more than an updating of the Disney movie.

and now for something completely different!  I'm going to try including media I consume, since that is now under my purview as well.  I might stop, or change how I do it, or experiment otherwise.

Hamish MacBeth, starring Robert Carlyle, by the BBC.  I am mid-way through the final season (there are three), and I really enjoy this series.  The reason I tend to like BBC shows is that, unlike alot of American TV, the episodes just tell a story.  There's not a horrendous amount of drama or suspense, there's no forced comedy; I'm making it sound boring, but that is not the case. BBC is like reading Little House on the Prairie; American TV is like James Patterson.
Some notes on the production: like many BBC DVDs, subtitles are not an option on these.  Subtitles would be especially appreciated in this series, because it is set in Scotland, and some of the accents are so thick I have trouble following.  There are some inconsistencies with the sound as a result of how it was filmed; the parts that are loud are really really loud, the whispers are completely inaudible.  These detract a little from the watching, but aren't enough that I would stop buying BBC productions.
The only other thing giving me a little trouble is that, after season one, two of the actors for fairly central characters were replaced.  The show takes place in a small town, and there are a ton of characters to keep track of, and the switch makes it a little harder. 


Ted Viveiros said...

I'm a "right brained", straight line numbers guy. I wonder if I would enjoy "Zero to Lazy Eight: The Romance of Numbers". I think it's time to start the first book of the year, 1 of the 3 I read per year. Can you tell me a little more about it?

sarah said...

/Zero to Lazy Eight/ covers a range of topics: primes and some mathematical formulae,the pythagorean theorem, four-dimensional hypercubes, but mostly i remember all the roots and word origins it talked about, and some idiom explanations. it was very interesting to read, but much of it isn't the kind of thing i imagine anyone would be able to remember for very long. the author has a readable style, so i'd say give it a try, but it doesn't look like your library has it. it's a 1993 publication date, so i doubt they would order it, although it is still in print and available through amazon. i don't recommend it highly enough that i'd want you to buy your own copy.

sarah said...

i did write down a quote from the book: "Alex is the borther of Nick. Nick is the brother of Alex. // This relation is not reflexive because none of us is his own brother." i think this is funny, because my son is his own cousin. but even my husband doesn't think it funny.