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Book Review: 17 Equations that Changed the World

3 Jan

17 Equations that Changed the World by Ian Stewart 2012

http://www.businessinsider.com/17-equations-that-changed-the-world-2014-3

My previous book review of Cosmic Numbers, The Numbers that Define Our Universe by James D Stein 2011… declared it “fantastic.”

I did not reread it immediately, because my young friend (recent Mechanical Engineering graduate) had also loaned me 17 Equations that Changed the World.  Going from numbers to equations is an order of magnitude (or more) level of difficulty.  Each chapter could be a book it self.  Ian Stewart does an amazing job putting the mathematical developments into historical context with an engaging narrative to pull the readers along.

The last three chapters were new territory for me with subjects of information theory, chaos theory and the Black-Scholes equation used by the financial services industry.  Wow!  I have questions…not for my readers…but as an inquiring mind.

Again, this book is a great recommendation for students young and old(er) interested in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math).  I added a new page to this website with a STEM reading list.

BTW I asked Glenda where she got this book…thinking it was required reading with course work…No….how fun is this?  She found it at Shakespeare and Company Kilometer Zero, a bookstore in PARIS!

Book Review: Cosmic Numbers by JD Stein

28 Nov

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12467274-cosmic-numbers

https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?asin=B005FFPMY4&preview=inline&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_z40gAb1RRJ250

Previous book reviews included a book with an author having my maiden name as well as a book with a photograph of my niece on the cover.  This recommendation is a challenge.  Stein explains the universe with numbers and why.

A new friend who is also a recent Mechanical Engineering graduate and world traveler loaned me Cosmic Numbers.  I studied physics, chemistry, thermodynamics and differential equations completing my engineering degree…in the last millennium.  Differential equations:  my least favorite subject.  Cosmic Numbers is fantastic!  I plan to reread it and go deeper.   To engage us with his passion for science and why it matters to us, Stein wisely includes personal stories with biographical stories of the scientists credited with the discoveries.  Check out page 147.  Stein includes a theory on why James Bond is also known as 007…

Do you know a young person interested in STEM?  Stein describes how twelve scientists came to their conclusions as well as building on the work of others.  Consider recommending this book to inspire interest in STEM.

Book Review: A Year of Biblical Womanhood

29 Aug

Love this!

This book has sat on my shelf for years.  This morning it captured my attention and held my attention all day.  Smart, witty, insightful, creative, knowledgable, curious, honest…

Rachel’s year of Biblical Womanhood was naturally organized with monthly themes based upon scripture.  Each month Rachel had a TO DO list for herself based upon scripture (sometimes the list included cooking, sewing, sleeping in a tent).  Occasionally, photos and her husband’s journal entries are included.  Raised evangelical, Rachel explored this subject with correspondence exchange with a Jewish woman, 3 day retreat at a monastery, Amish and Quaker experiences, extensive internet research, short stories of women of the Bible….and an extraordinary curiosity.

Fantastic resource!

Another review:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/23/a-year-of-biblical-womanhood_n_2006184.html

Book Review: A Country of Vast Designs

24 Jul

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6895978-a-country-of-vast-designs

Excellent reading for a period of American history that is rarely studied.

James K. Polk committed himself to being the most consequential single term US President 1845-1849 by adding Texas, California and Oregon territories; reestablishing an independent Treasury and reducing tariffs.  The territorial expansion fulfilled the national “Manifest Destiny”…the goal of being a nation from Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans (sea to shining sea).

Polk was an unlikely candidate having lost two races for Governor of Tennessee.  (However, he had been the Speaker of the House for Andrew Jackson and a one term Tennessee governor.)  He won the Democratic nomination on the sixth ballot!

James K. Polk accomplished great things in an era when letters were delivered by horseback.  Railroads were a novelty.  Newspapers were the media for the masses.  Imagine!  The author Robert W. Merry brought authenticity with many quotes from Polk’s diary, congressional records and newspapers of the day.

 

Book Review: Miramont’s Ghost

20 Jun

For my previous book review, I chose Matilda Empress because my niece is featured on the cover.

I chose Miramont’s Ghost because the author ‘Elizabeth Hall’ grabbed my attention.  Elizabeth being my middle name and Hall being my maiden name…I answered to ‘Elizabeth Hall” for over 30 years….no I am not the author….I like seeing my name on the cover 🙂

Miramont’s Ghost is historical fiction.  Most of the narrative is set in France in the early 1900s (before WWI).  It concludes at Miramont Castle in Colorado.  One theme dealt with the dilemma of Adrienne’s clairvoyance which disturbed her family and the community.  Later in the book, Adrienne pivots, realizing her insights could/should solve problems rather than “be the problem”.  This was a history subject I was not familiar with.  I enjoyed the drama revealed in this book.

Book Review: Matilda Empress

23 May

 

I judged this book by its cover!  It features my niece (one and the same with my previous post)!  Not only was she best in her class, but also a fashion model during high school working in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Cape Town, Singapore and more.

Matilda Empress is historical fiction from an obscure period of British History.  Matilda was the daughter of Henry I and mother of Henry II.  The narrative is elegant with elaborate details of the days and times of 12th century England and Europe.  Descriptions of clothing, meals, medical treatment, religious customs/beliefs and more…evoke an appreciation of the life and times.

The author does a lovely job introducing each chapter.  I needed more information.  I was lost a few times.  I recommend reviewing (then referring to) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Matilda  to follow the story which closely follows the historical time line.

My favorite character is Greta, Matilda’s lady’s maid… for her devotion, dedication and resourcefulness during decades of service.

 

Book Review: Sewing can be Dangerous by SR Mallery

25 Apr

Sewing can be Dangerous and other small threads…the title grabbed my attention.  As much time as I have spent sewing over the years, I never thought of it as dangerous.  Sooo…how is sewing dangerous?  S.R. Mallery’s collection of eleven short stories have fascinating characters from eleven times and places.

Danger exists in conditions in the garment district, delivering a warning message, communicating directions, disguising passports…to name a few.  My favorite short story is “Precious Gifts” set in the Washington Territory in the 1870s.    Mama bought a new Singer Perpendicular Action Sewing Machine.  You have to read the story to find out why she set up her new machine in the corn field.  The story tells of her passion for sewing, aiding a young Chinook Indian on his Spirit Quest, exchanging gifts and adverting a conflict due to her quilt making magic.  Love it!

Book Review: The Einstein Prophecy by Robert Masello (2015)

28 Feb

This work of historical fiction is like “The Monuments Men” meeting “Indiana Jones” with a Biblical history mystery plus a love story.  I thoroughly enjoyed the details of the Princeton University campus circa 1944-5.  The story of Saint Anthony of Egypt’s life and times was new to me.  I found the details of Albert Einstein’s life and work in America during World War II engaging and compelling.  (Spoiler:  The details of Einstein’s prophecy are explained at the end of the book.)

Book Review: Tenzing Norbu Mysteries

15 Jan

The First Rule of Ten, The Second Rule of Ten, The Third Rule of Ten, Fourth….This series is engaging…a charming young Chinese American male takes us on his journey from Tibetan monastery to private investigator in Los Angeles. The plots and character development improve with each sequel. Ten’s rules remind me of the famous rules of Special Agent Gibbs in the NCIS TV series…interesting with Norbu’s Buddist connection. The authors take on contemporary problems of violence and crime with compelling compassion.

Indy Star: Haunted house brings H.H. Holmes’ horror to life

21 Oct

From Indy Star

Haunted house brings H.H. Holmes’ horror to life

http://indy.st/2eVPyJM

The crimes of H.H. Holmes are the stuff of horror movies. A handsome young doctor who lures young women to his hotel with promises of work or love, but the hotel is a warren of death, filled with gas chambers, trap doors and chutes that led to subterranean dissection table and crematorium. All set against the dramatic backdrop of the “White City” constructed for the 1895 Chicago World’s Fair.In all, Holmes — born Herman Webster Mudgett — is believed to have murdered as many as 200 people from 1886 until his capture in 1894. The exact number is unknown. And while he is best known for his so-called “Murder Castle” in Chicago, Holmes left his mark on Indianapolis.