Category Archives: Book reviews

“Travels with Alice” by Calvin Trillin

Like his fiction, Trillin’s nonfiction humor occupies a place in my life similar to Wodehouse: something you can pick up when you need a guaranteed laugh, good for the level of commitment of just-before-bed reading. The opening piece contains some … Continue reading

Advertisement

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Dinner | Leave a comment

“Oranges” by John McPhee

So I love reading pretty much anything by McPhee — the man knows how to craft a sentence — and this book is full of interesting information (even when you discount for the fact that presumably most of it is … Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Trees | 2 Comments

“Fraternity” by Benjamin Nugent

A collection of short stories, focused around a fictional fraternity at UMass. The opening story God was wonderful, and I enjoyed the other stories in the collection with overlapping characters. For some of the others I had more trouble finding … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Book reviews, Books | Leave a comment

“Super Sushi Ramen Express” by Michael Booth

I found this book to be lazy in a variety of ways. For example: more than one chapter amounts to little more than quoting promotional materials from a PR officer; every city visited gets a paragraph that could be ripped … Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Dinner | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Magical Mathematics” by Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham

This was a gift from my wonderful friend AHM, following the death of Graham last year. I enjoyed it quite a lot, but it’s also very weird. For example, chapters bounce around dramatically in tone and content (some are about … Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Combinatorics, Math | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“Mathematical education” by G. St. L. Carson

This is the other book I mentioned finding at the Book Barn.  It is a collection of eight lectures delivered by the author in 1912 and 1913, and a fascinating historical document.  Some features that I found particularly interesting follow. … Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Combinatorics, Education, Math | Tagged , | 4 Comments

P.G. Wodehouse

So I started reading a few of his novels, including the collection “What Ho!” What to say? He’s generally good for a laugh; much of the humor has a timeless aspect that stands up pretty well after decades. I would … Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews, Books | Leave a comment

“Ever since Darwin” by Stephen Jay Gould

I picked this collection of essays (selected from Gould’s mid-1970s contributions to Natural History) up during a recent visit to Rodgers Book Barn (along with “The Panda’s Thumb”, and another book I’ll write about later). Pop-science writing always runs the … Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews, Books | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“Jackson, 1964” by Calvin Trillin

Trillin is wonderful and I would read pretty much anything he writes (though Tepper isn’t going out wasn’t my favorite). This collection (published in 2015) is of his reporting on race over 40 years, beginning in 1964. (There is another … Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews, What's the news? | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Finding the magic coins

I’ve been reading through Daniel Velleman and Stan Wagon’s puzzle book Bicycle or Unicycle? and generally enjoying it – the puzzles include simple variations on classics, clever things I haven’t seen before, and some nontrivial uses of real mathematical thinking … Continue reading

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Combinatorics, Math | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment