Read this in preparation for an upcoming discussion on the Higgs Boson given by my local science club. This book gives a wonderful and engaging historRead this in preparation for an upcoming discussion on the Higgs Boson given by my local science club. This book gives a wonderful and engaging history of the physical, mathematical and intellectual hunt to complete the Standard Model of the atom, including the quest to discover if Peter Higgs was right all those years ago about the existence of a field which essentially gives matter its mass. While "Higgs" is a fairly easy read, in terms of writing style, I wouldn't recommend it for people who have not taken a basic physics or chemistry class. The author does not spend time explaining how atoms function, but assumes his readers already are familiar with such fundamentals. There are some mathematical explanations, but still intelligible for non-math majors. It will be interesting to see how our further understanding of atomic structure will translate into improved technological innovations. All-in-all, an excellent read for those interested in particle physics....more
Excellent read! I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Not as academic as I thought it would be, but still an engaging and compulsively readable story. TheExcellent read! I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Not as academic as I thought it would be, but still an engaging and compulsively readable story. The story centers around a Harvard Doctoral candidate, Connie, and her quest for an elusive family heirloom which could be used as original source material for her dissertation on New England colonial life and the Salem witchcraft trials. With many other storyline threads woven throughout the story, author Katherine Howe explores the possibility that maybe "witchcraft" was practiced in colonial New England, but perhaps not the "witchcraft" or deviltry many believe the term to represent....more
This would have been an interesting and engaging book about the British Virginia Company's attempts to colonize Virginia but, sadly, it was excessivelThis would have been an interesting and engaging book about the British Virginia Company's attempts to colonize Virginia but, sadly, it was excessively repetitive and long-winded. The entire story could have been summed in a much tidier and more linear storyline. The author must have felt that repeating events over-and-over and presenting the storyline out of sequence made for a more scholarly read. Whatever. This fascinating story ended up becoming boring and painful to finish. Not recommended....more
This is a well-written (fictional, of course) memoir, by a girl named Sylvia, of her early life leading up to the 13th century Children's Crusade acroThis is a well-written (fictional, of course) memoir, by a girl named Sylvia, of her early life leading up to the 13th century Children's Crusade across Europe and the trials and tribulations which occurred during the journey.
The first two-thirds of the book concentrates on her life prior to the Crusade: first her drunken, raping father and dead mother; then her life as a traveling performer; her life as a nun; and, her life as an ex-communicated, then re-enstated member of the Catholic Church of Rome. The final third of the book concerns her role as an organizer and spiritual leader in the Children's Crusade. Though little is known about this scantly mentioned historical event, existing accounts testify that the children were attempting to recreate the flight of God's children from Egypt by journeying to Jerusalem.
I am a huge fan of Bryce Courtenay's books. This is the first of his books, that I've read anyway, which concern a time and event so far into the past. Typically, his books are WWI, WWII or Vietnam/Korean war era. While I don't dislike this story, because I did enjoy the story quite a bit, I just didn't feel that typical Courtenay'esque-ness. Hard to explain. Maybe because the entire book was written from the perspective of a young girl, rather than his more common young Australian/South Africa lads (with interjected sections from the POV of a female). It was experimental for him and I'm sure a very challenging departure from his normal authors voice (I have yet to read "Jessica" so I could be entirely off the mark here). Anyway, the gamble worked but it still, in my opinion, could be further honed. A recommended read for fans of medieval historical fiction....more
Ah, Follett! One of my favorite historical fiction authors. This is one of his earlier works, but every bit as intriguing, suspenseful, humorous, inteAh, Follett! One of my favorite historical fiction authors. This is one of his earlier works, but every bit as intriguing, suspenseful, humorous, intelligent and engaging a read as his later works like "Pillars of the Earth" or "The Fall of Giants". This story revolves around the stories of the passengers for the first commercial flight of the Pan American clipper airplane from England to America. Thieves, debutants, adulterers, exiles, fascists, entertainers, businesspeople, and many more. The dramas, the happiness and despair, the urgent need to escape circumstances or change them, the beauty of new love. This book has all! A recommended read for those who love good literature and multi-threaded stories....more
The hardest part about finding good crime thrillers for someone who has a strong science foundation and a penchant for reading well-written crime noveThe hardest part about finding good crime thrillers for someone who has a strong science foundation and a penchant for reading well-written crime novels is having to wade through the mediocre to find those rare diamonds (well, I guess the same can be true for much of life, like dating). Unfortunately, this is another one of those oh-hum, mass market appeal, watered-down forensics story. Bummer. The storyline felt sloppy, loose and totally predictable. Well, predictable except for one minor revelation at the end that was really unimportant. I had high hopes for this series, since it seemed similar to Kathy Reich's Temperance Brennan books. Alas, Reich's still reigns. I wouldn't recommend the story to a friend unless they can't find anything better. And, there's ALWAYS something better....more