Interesting Blend Of Real-World Physics And Paranormal Into Top-Notch Action Thriller. Sexton… you’re doing it again. You just said this book was a “top notch action thriller”, yet it is set in the *midwest*. What are you smoking, and can I get some? Why yes, yes I did say that – and I mean it. The tale opens with an all-consuming fire… in the middle of a torrential rain. As we get the perspectives of about a half dozen or so different characters, we find that one of them somehow has psychic abilities. When the scientist and the psychic meet… things get rather interesting and the tale becomes rather twisty yet also very down to earth and relatable. The ending itself is almost Christopher Nolan-esque in how mind-bending it is, and some of the scenes getting us there are edge of your seat thrill rides. Overall an intriguing series starter, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where Mejia takes this. Very much recommended.
This review of To Catch A Storm by Mindy Mejia was originally written on December 31, 2022.
Solid Exposition Of Applied Physics. This book truly is one of the better written, more approachable books on applied physics for the “layman” that I’ve come across. It takes most every easily observed physical force, from a simple push to gravitational to magnetic to torque and beyond, and explains the basics of the known history and science behind them all, and it does this in a very conversational and even, at times, humorous tone. Truly, a great book on the subject for those who either don’t know much or simply want an easy and lighthearted look and things they mostly already know.
The two star deductions are more of a standard form for me, and don’t actually speak to the overall nature of this book *too* harshly: The first is because of the COVID discussions in both the early and late parts of the text. *I DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT COVID. PERIOD.* And I am waging a one-man war against the topic everywhere I encounter it in booklandia. The single star deduction is really the only weapon I have in this war, so it is used where applicable. The other deduction is the short-ish bibliography, clocking in at just 14% of the text here when 20-30% is more normal of such texts in my experiences.
Ultimately this really was a great and engaging look at its topic, and it is very much recommended.
This review of Force by Henry Petroski was originally written on September 11, 2022.
Physics, Metaphysics, and Poetry. I read the Audible version of this while driving to my hometown in another State (a solid book for such a mid-distance, 6 ish hr drive) and thus had the unique pleasure of having Alan Turing himself (as played in The Imitation Game and read here by Benedict Cumberbatch) lecture me on theoretical physics, metaphysics, philosophy, and poetry. If you’re looking for a more concrete look at the exact theoretical physics at hand… this isn’t the book you’re going to want to pick up. If you’re looking for more of an easy-read, high-level, pop science level look at whether or not time exists… this is a very good book from that perspective. And indeed, ultimately the text is all about perspective. At the most distinct levels, time simply does not exist, according to Rovelli. And yet obviously we humans experience time. So how can these two prior statements be resolved? Read this book for Rovelli’s solid examination into the question and attempt at resolving this seeming paradox. Very much recommended. Particularly the Audible. 🙂
This review of The Order Of Time by Carlo Rovelli was originally written on November 8, 2020.
Intriguing Theoretical Astrophysics. If it wasn’t clear from the description of this book, this book is *all about* theoretical astrophysics and the author’s new theory of the origins and nature of time. If words like Newtonian and General Relativity and Leibniz and thermodynamics are part of your every day lexicon, you’ll probably enjoy reading this. For the rest of us… at least there isn’t much math involved in the actual text here? Specifically of the Calculus variety, which gives even many math-oriented people the heebie jeebies? Truly an intriguing work, but I’ll be the first to say that I didn’t fully follow or comprehend all of it – it is simply that high level. Even though Barbour tries to use narrative examples and structures designed to allow most anyone to have some idea of what is going on, at the end of the day this is still advanced theoretical astrophysics, of the kind that even Stephen Hawking wrestled with. While others more learned in the actual science may find fault here, for what it is I could find none. Very much recommended.
This review of The Janus Point by Julian Barbour was originally written on August 19, 2020.
Prooftexting In A Science Book? This was a first- prooftexting, the technique of taking random Bible verses out of context to “prove” a point, in a science book. Here, Dr. England looks at the origins of life from a physicist’s perspective… while using the life of Moses (he of the “Pharoah, Let My People Go” fame) as the overarcing narrative. One of the more prosaic, academic oriented science books I’ve read this year, Dr. England does a decent job of explaining high order thermodynamics – literally a form of rocket science – in an easy-ish way for most to understand. He simply does it in a way that is on the harder side of the actual reading experience from other science books I’ve read over the last year or two in particular. Truly fascinating stuff though, and very illuminating on the physics side of things, particularly as they relate to the future of “smart” polymers – which is not a subject Dr. England directly addresses here. Very much recommended.
This review of Every Life Is On Fire by Jeremy England was originally written on July 20, 2020.