Russell James’ Tenure hacks

November 28, 2016

Read on the recommendation of Xykademiqz. Good read, espeically, if you are an early stage academic. Some of the parts might not be relevant for us in India. However, on the whole, gives a very different perspective to teaching and research.

Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees

November 28, 2016

Once in a while, you come across a book that completely changes the way you think about things. Wohlleben’s book did that to me for trees. For the past couple of weeks, I have been reading this wonderful short book and enjoying every page of it. As the subtitle of the book says, the book is about what the trees feel and how they communicate — discoveries from a secret world; and, what a fascinating secret world it is. After you read this book, the next time you take a walk, you will feel like giving the tree on the side a pat if not a hug. You will also feel the extrordinary urge to make all your friends read the book. Of course, the book will also make you worried and sad — worried about the way in which we carry out the destruction of these gentle giants and sad about the pain they have to go through simply because of our ignorance. A wonderful read and strongly recommended!

John Kaag’s American Philosophy

November 5, 2016

An entertaining read and strongly recommended. A couple of detailed reviews are here and here.

Louise Penny’s A great reckoning

September 5, 2016

A very satisfying and wonderful read. Strongly recommended.

 

Thi. Jaanakiraman’s Chembaruththi

September 4, 2016

I read Chembaruththi after more than a decade. The book is still gripping; parts of it are still so intense that I had to stop reading; and, still, days after reading the book, Chattanathan and Bhuvana keep popping up in my thoughts (as I noted a while back)!

One of the reasons, I think I enjoy Chembaruththi is the way Thi Jaa describes birds, flowers and scenery. The other is the fidelity with which he reproduces the speeches of his different characters. But the most important reason, I believe, is that in a few sentences Thi Jaa brings up his characters to life on the pages of the book — I read a couple of sentences and I feel as if I had known that person for ages!

A great novel and I am lucky that I can read it in the original and enjoy!

Alan Warner’s Their lips talk of mischief

August 22, 2016

After reading The Deadman’s Pedal, I have become a fan of Alan Warner. Warner did not disappoint me with Their lips talk of mischief. Wonderful writing and thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel!

Applied Minds

August 13, 2016

Guru Madhavan’s book on how engineers think is a short, interesting and fairly easy read. Some portions of the book are so great that I wanted to make copies of those few pages and ask my class to read them!

Recommended.

Yann Martel’s High Mountains of Portugal

August 8, 2016

Of the three parts, I liked the last one the best. However, though the book is not uniform, it holds your attention throughout. Recommended.

Hyperuniformity

July 16, 2016

And avian eyes! A very nice piece about quasicrystals and random packing and how all these are related to the arrangment of colour sensitive cone cells in the eyes of birds. Extremely well written and strongly recommended.

Kids under pressure

May 20, 2016

And how Ramanujan, the Mathematician can be their guardian angel:

… I see all these kids under tremendous pressure — rarely pressure that they understand the origin of. So many of these super-talented kids are just going through the motions, and aren’t passionate about their studies at all, and that’s terrible. I was like that too. I’d given up on ever trying to live up to my parents’ expectations, but somehow because I’ve had Ramanujan as a guardian angel, things have worked out well for me. It makes you a better teacher when you just tell people how hard it was for you.

A nice interview!