creative [kree-ey-tiv]: adjective. Synonyms: clever, cool, innovative, inspired, prolific, stimulating.

criticism [krit-uh-siz-uhm]: noun. The act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

25 Nov 2010

Pourquoi rêvons-nous? Pourquoi dormons-nous? - Michel Jouvet

This slim (only 120 pages long!) book answers all the basic questions of sleep, the Where? When? and How? of all the kinds of sleep that exist (deep sleep! Rapid Eye Movement sleep - or "sommeil paradoxal", as they say in French!) and related phenomena (circadian cycles!). It also points out some interesting hypotheses about the Why? of sleep - but, as it states repeatedly, nothing's proven yet.
Honestly, it was an interesting book about the physiology of sleep (physiology! neuroscience!), and it was a very accessible read; it follows a kind of question-and-answer format, where the questions were asked by a teenager and the answers were tailored in accordance.
Also, it's pretty obvious that it was written by a physiologist: there's numerous references to physiology as "the queen of all sciences", and the author doesn't shy away from being highly skeptical about the importance of genetic research. Intra-biological sciences rivalries: love it!
Yay, sleep!
Oh, and for those who care about such things: the Dewey numbah is 612, so it's a book about Technology, more specifically the Medical Sciences, or to be even more precise, about Human physiology. Yay, physiology!

8 Nov 2010

Heroes of the Valley - Jonathan Stroud

This book was pretty good! Even if the cover art is a bit meh.
Legends of the past heroes of the valley and their grand deeds, tradition, superstition, humour, revenge and a definite sense of adventure all come together in this novel by Jonathan Stroud.
 It has pretty much everything you'd want in a novel: some strong characters, a lot of action scenes, even some slapstick, a lot of humour (and irony) and some genuinely scary parts. Also, it explores how a society's tales and legends can have a great impact on the lives of its inhabitants.
I liked it.

7 Nov 2010

10 Things I Hate About You - That 1999 movie

Heath Ledger (as the male lead/love interest).
Julia Stiles (as the awesome lead female character, the "shrew" if you will).
A young Joseph Gordon-Levitt (!).
A Shakespearean teen romantic comedy - an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew.
Also, some 90's fashion and music and cultural references.
I liked it.

Consider the Lobster - David Foster Wallace

And Other Essays.
This compilation of essays was very good, but that's probably because it shows how David Foster Wallace was an excellent writer. The essays covered quite a range of subjects: from the 1998 Adult Video News Awards to Kaftka's funniness to that campaign where John McCain ran against George W. Bush to become the presidential candidate (as seen from the McCain campaign's perspective) to the Maine Lobster festival (hence the book's title).
I enjoyed the sometimes excessive use of footnotes.
So, according to the numbers on the spine this is a 814 on the Dewey scale; a book on literature, more specifically of American literature, or rather American essays.

4 Nov 2010

The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins

This book was pretty good, actually.
Now, it's true that I might be biased about this - I'm in a biology- and biochemistry-related program, but still, even if you have no idea what DNA is made of (or if you don't know anything about genes and how they work), you'll be able to easily follow and understand this book. The style is concise, precise, easily readable and sometimes rather amusing: in the last chapter of the original edition, Dawkins coined the term "meme" (I liked his idea that religions are memes), and in this 30th anniversary edition an endnote for this chapter has been added that can essentially be summarized as "look, hackers, my computer's been infected with some viruses and it's not funny. Stop it." I was amused, at any rate.
So yeah. An enjoyable, interesting and informative read.  With a Dewey classification number of 576.5, this book is about Science; more specifically, about the life sciences; and even more specifically, about genetics and evolution.