Cave Dweller

got a head full of lightning a hat full of rain
Memoirs of Hadrian - Marguerite Yourcenar, Grace Frick Wonderful book.

I've already read it twice (Croatian and English translation) since I've first picked it up last September, and no doubt will I read it again few more times.

Since I am bad at writing, I feel like I would have done great injustice to this book if I were to review it, so I can only higly recommend it.

Definitively one of my all-time favourites, and best motivation for me to finally start learning French.
The Weird of the White Wolf - Michael Moorcock Oh, Elric. Do thou not knoweth? One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

And congratulations Mr. Moorcock. You managed to reduce Elric to whiny, spineless, predictable, pathetic wimp (and no, putting your tongue into every single female that says 'Hi' does not change that).

So many good ideas, all gone to waste.
The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays - Albert Camus Since it is 'the thing' nowadays to put lots of sparkly gifs and pics in a review, who am I to differ?



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"They bear away from their light, while their strict lord Death bids them to dance... and the rain washes, and cleanses the salt of their tears from their cheeks."

Absurd enough.

to be continued..

Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos - Seth Lloyd I really like Seth Lloyd. There are many extremely smart people today, but only few of them are able to explain and present certain theories so they are comprehensible to other people (especially in QM). So, in a way, Lloyd is like a modern Richard Feynman, also because he is witty, funny and easy to follow. Even though he deals with subjects that are way beyond our everyday experience, and even in that category, are very hard to conceptualize and understand, cause at a time they can be very counterintuitive, he still manages to connect them with things slightly closer to 'our world', so they become more presentable to people who are not so familiar with QM and information theory, and at the same time, offer a new perspective to people who are (and you can never have enough different perspectives of entropy, trust me). So this book is never boring even if you have previously encountered theory of universe as ultimate quantum computer, entropy explained through known and unknown qubits, connection of all of that with ToE...
In certain fields you can never find a middle ground between popular science literature and strictly scientific literature, and as someone who studied CS and will also be studying physics, lately I try to stay away from the first and focus on the second, but nonetheless, I really liked and enjoyed this book.
Also,I used to think I would be willing to give a kidney to be able to attend Lloyd's lectures @ MIT. I was wrong. Now I KNOW I would gladly give both of them.

The Feynman Processor: Quantum Entanglement And The Computing Revolution (Frontiers of Science (Perseus Books))

The Feynman Processor: Quantum Entanglement And The Computing Revolution (Frontiers of Science (Perseus Books)) - Gerard J. Milburn Although it was a good book, I really do not understand the point of writing books like this. Too complicated for someone without basic knowledge of quantum theory and computer science, and probably too basic for someone familiar with those two fields. Having mentioned and explained things like GHZ state, Bell state, Hilbert space, EPR paradox, Turing-Church principle, Feynman diagram... and at the same time explaining how do you convert decimal numbers to binary and add them, in the same book, is rather silly and pointless. And also in one chapter he used certain terms like they were interchangeable, while they're not.

Maybe I'll have better luck with Mermin, Nielsen, Bell and Zeiliger, while waiting for Makarov to write something.
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco Regardless of how one feels about the Bible, Christianity and religion, one can't deny that they (especially the Bible) had a huge impact on today's culture, art and literature. While reading this book, I felt almost ashamed of my ignorance and lack of knowledge and understanding of certain historical events and the Bible, even though I've read it before.

I plan to correct that in the near future, and read the book again after I finish re-reading the Bible, this time with much more respect than I gave it while I was reading it for the first time. And not because this book had turned me into a religious fanatic or a believer, but because I'm sure that I'll enjoy it even more with proper understanding, or at least, knowing the Bible (and also after having read works by Occam, Aquinas and others mentioned) and better understand symbolism of certain things and events.

I must admit that I'm not a fan of mystery novels, mainly because the solution of the mystery is often trivial and without any deeper meaning. It's like - let's make things complicated, so we could make them less complicated, and in between write some shi**y book. The End. (??)

But here, the mystery served wonderfully as a basis, background for bringing up many things for the discussion between characters. Not one single page bored me. Like I said before, not a fan of mystery, and although it kept things more interesting and suspense, my main points of focus were dialogues between William and Adso, which I especially enjoyed. I also liked the way William was slowly leading Adso to the solution, and revealing him (and the reader) just enough information so he can properly ponder over it.

And if only more men of faith had his views towards religion, faith and science, they could have saved the world a whole lot of trouble, and we would live in much different society today.

All in all, excellent book.
Highly recommend.
Mount Analogue - René Daumal 'The ice is near, the loneliness is terrible—but how serenely everything lies in the sunshine! How freely one can breathe! How much one feels lies beneath one!'
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury The only thing I regret about this book, is that I haven't read it when I was younger. Would have loved this one as a kid.
The Wind from the Sun - Arthur C. Clarke Not among Clarke's best work, still, a very fine collection of short stories.
It's always such a treat to read intelligent sf written by an actual scientist,
especially one as good and imaginative as Clarke. Mainly because there are many things that would easily be overlooked by someone who is not so familiar with actual physical laws, also because someone who does scientific research would be more inclined to observe and question negative consequences of scientific revolutions and discoveries on society which often does not follow hand in hand with its mentality, and to explore new possibilities imposed by them.
Most of the stories are rather blah and unimaginative, but few of them stand out.
The wind from the Sun, Transit of Earth, Crusade and A meeting with Medusa are among my favorite from this collection.

Autobiographical Study

An Autobiographical Study - Sigmund Freud, James Strachey Not exactly what I expected. Like Freud already mentioned at the end of the book, he kept his private life for himself because he thought it was not relevant (at least for this book). So this 'autobiographical study' is actually a brief summary of his work, development of his ideas and (some) thought processes behind it. Not detailed enough to provide reader a deeper understanding of psychosis, neurosis, dreams etc.. and lacking almost all informations needed to understand Freud and his state of mind during formation of all this concepts. Still an interesting read.
Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem - Simon Singh "My butter, garcon, is writ large in!"
a diner was heard to be chargin'.
"I HAD to write there,"
exclaimed waiter Pierre,
"I couldn't find room in the margarine."

Ever since I recently stumbled upon the documentary called 'The Proof' I've become extremely interested (almost obsessed) in Wiles's proof of Fermat's last Theorem and have been searching for a good book that would provide me with a real, mathematical explanation of it (mainly the connection between modular forms and elliptic curves), because the documentary was rather simple and basic. Unfortunately, so was this book and my quest continues.

Nonetheless, this book is very interesting and well written, and shows you how many things that appear to be simple and almost intuitive can be incredibly complex (that's what's so beautiful about math). In situations like this, people always tend to give all the praise to people like Andrew Wiles, without realizing on how much work and discoveries made by other people his work relies on. And even though Wiles deserves all the fame and recognition he can get for his persistence and determination, it's nice to see all the other great mathematicians who greatly contributed being mentioned. Like old saying goes: nanos gigantium humeris insidentes, and if anything, by showing how complex the proof is, it leaves you wondering, did the Fermat really have the solution?

If you are only slightly interested in mathematics and were just curious about this certain topic and ideas on which the proof was based on, or are looking for a good place to start, I would definitively recommend this book. But to be fair, you can get all of that by watching previously mentioned documentary and it would cost you much less time. On the other hand, if you want something more complex and mathematical, you won't get it here.

Pervertitov vodič kroz film

Pervertitov vodič kroz film - Slavoj Žižek Kažu da kad Žižek ide u kino kupuje 3 ulaznice: jednu za sebe, drugu za Freuda a treću za Lacana. Znajući to može se otprilike pretpostavit što se može očekivati od ove knjige. Iako fali sustavnosti i organiziranosti, budući da je Vodič više-manje zbirka članaka o filmu, koji nisu tematski ni ikako povezani, a i Žižekov tok misli je sam po sebi poprilično eratičan, ova knjiga daje nevjerojatan uvid u svijet filma iz perspektive jednog od najvećih mislioca i poznavatelja filma današnjice. I to samo zahvaljujući njegovoj, danas rijetkoj i poprilično zakržljaloj, sposobnosti jednostavnog - razmišljanja. Time film više ne služi kao jeftin ego trip kvazi intelektualaca i snobovskih kritičara, već način gledanja i reflektiranja svijeta gdje i filmovi koje je 'in' mrziti imaju jednako mnogo toga za reći kao i filmovi koje je 'in' voljeti. Često više i o samom gledatelju kroz način njegovog doživljaja filma, nego čisto o samim likovima i radnji.
Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell i'm disappointed with amount of time this book had taken away from me (and i've read it in one afternoon). It could easily be written in 30 pages instead of about 300 without loosing its point.
he does indeed makes some valid conclusions, but nothing remarkable and new. he points out some interesting connections and problems related to educational system that should be handled in a different manner so more children would get necessary opportunities, but he lacks more, and more detailed research and data. we all know that real success is a specific combination of talent, background, environment, hard work and luck (to be in the right place in the right time). the only thing this book does is that it connects some of this elements with real-life examples. it's too simple, lacks more detailed insight and in the end too obvious. not a complete waste of time, but in the end, really nothing special.
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman It started off great. The concept is amazing and amusing, characters are intriguing and are starting to develop well, the whole idea of satirizing religion and how people take it seriously in such intelligent and 'elegant' way, by imagining what could possibly go wrong if the religious predictions were to come true, is refreshing, and from the moment I started reading the book, I couldn't put it down because I so wanted to see what will happen next, and still, despite that, there were many parts where I just stopped and paused, cause the whole story is full of ideas and things that just make you wonder and think about them, or explore them further if they have already crossed your mind. And when you laugh, you in a way laugh at yourself in the same way Adams makes you do in The Guide. But what disappointed me most, is the ending. It's like one third of the book is missing or something. Hills were shaking, a mouse was born. You expect something really special, and you get....hmm. Everything unfolded to quickly. Like they got bored with writing it, and the just wanted it to end. It was way to naïve and simple. The characters that were introduced in such a big way, so you expected them to do something big, and important simply vanished in a way that you start wondering why were they even there?! (I'm speaking of course about the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse, and I have to add that the concept of Pollution really amazed me since in the Bible the fourth rider besides Death, War and Famine is not so clearly defined as the other 3, so thumbs up for Gaiman's and Pratchett's interpretation, warning in a way). Like I said, generally, very amusing and intelligent, too bad about the sloppy ending. Otherwise, it would be whole 5 stars. (P.s. It would be really great if somehow they would change their minds and decided to write a sequel, so I'm hoping for that.)

The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown I've read this book few years ago, and since it was so good, informative, and intriguing, I remember almost nothing related to it except the feeling that the hours spent reading it, are the hours I'll never get back.

Currently reading

Feynman Lectures On Computation
Robin W. Allen, J.G. Hey, Anthony Hey, David Pines, Richard P. Feynman
Escape from Freedom
Erich Fromm
The Scar
China Miéville
Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia
Orlando Figes
The New Penguin Russian Course: A Complete Course for Beginners
Nicholas J. Brown
Schaum's Outline of Linear Algebra
Seymour Lipschutz, Marc Lipson
Meditations
Marcus Aurelius, Martin Hammond, Diskin Clay
Apology
Plato, James J. Helm
Letters from a Stoic
Seneca, Robin Campbell
The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
Roger Penrose