Physics was my least favorite class in high school, and I got my worst grade of all of grade school when stumbling through the AP version. So, I thougPhysics was my least favorite class in high school, and I got my worst grade of all of grade school when stumbling through the AP version. So, I thought this book might be nice to remind me of some of the basics and bring me up to speed on some of the newer concepts. Well, that was sort of what happened.
The book is nicely split into seven lessons, but the lessons are very uneven. I found that the first four were all things I remembered from high school or college, which was nice in a confidence-boosting way, but didn't bring anything new to the table. Lessons five and six were quite good, and helped me understand some concepts I hadn't previously. Lesson seven was a huge waste of time (one of the longest lessons!) that devolved into philosophy and navel-gazing. If I'd had a philosophy class, that would have been my least favorite. None of the lessons brought much math in, which was fine with me, but sometimes the flowery prose overtook the actual physics.
I listened to this on audio, which was narrated by the author. The accent took a bit to get used to, but as long as you're concentrating, you'll be fine (and if you're not concentrating during a physics book, what's the point?)
Anyway, for those who are looking for a decent and very non-math intro to physics, you could do worse than this book. You might be reminded of concepts you've already learned, but that's not always a bad thing. I would skip lesson seven, though....more
I think I decided against reading this and ended up reading it anyway. I felt like I was tired of it the whole time I was reading it, and it was a shoI think I decided against reading this and ended up reading it anyway. I felt like I was tired of it the whole time I was reading it, and it was a short book....more
I haven't read a book with such a low GR rating in a long time. (below 3.0! what was I thinking!) But I really did enjoy it, and I think anyone who apI haven't read a book with such a low GR rating in a long time. (below 3.0! what was I thinking!) But I really did enjoy it, and I think anyone who approaches it with a certain mindset would enjoy it as well.
As the book starts, the sticking points that many of the reviewers here mention are immediately apparent. The characters are incredibly unlikable. They get far too lucky and make some very improbably escapes. They also have minimal improvement and personal growth over the course of the novel, despite going into a war zone and being terrible naive. These idiots went somewhere they didn't belong, made a huge mess a little bit messier, and then (view spoiler)[managed to escape (barely) before they got dragged into something even dumber. (hide spoiler)] And what fun it was to watch.
It's a farce, a way of looking at stupidity in the same vein as many 90s TV shows, where the characters never change, but are stuck in their behaviors and attitudes -- another reviewer compared this to Friends, which I find apt. Armstrong includes a number of hints that the book needs to be taken less than seriously, and you can tell he's not really trying to write the book many reviewers seem to think he should be. (view spoiler)[My favorite is the sudden re-appearance of Simon, which the narrator makes almost no effort to explain. Why bother? He was just coming in to antagonize Andrew, no questions asked! (hide spoiler)]
Was part of my enjoyment of this book because I shared some traits with the main character? I'll admit that. I also enjoyed the humor throughout, the clear way it portrayed the Bosnian War (I learned so much, especially as I was constantly referencing Wikipedia), and the characterizations that were well-drawn and usually hilarious.
If you're ok with reading a comedy about a war zone -- I admit, that's not for everyone -- than this may be a great fit for you. You also might hate it, like so many of these reviewers, so don't blame me if it goes awry...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more