Advertisement

You are browsing the archive for books Archives - Mountain Beltway.

24 October 2017

The View from the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman

I’ve been reading a fair bit of Neil Gaiman over the past year or so: American Gods, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Each of those books is good in its own way, and each is fiction. I just finished a compilation of Gaiman’s nonfiction, and there is enough about it that I think is applicable to the audience of this blog …

Read More >>

No Comments/Trackbacks >>


16 October 2017

After On, by Rob Reid

It turns out that Rob Reid can write. This “novel of Silicon Valley” is a tour de force of writing. Reid shows off his chops at writing potboiler adventure stories, ironic Amazon reviews, and sparkling dialogue. It’s a story of Silicon Valley culture, of start-ups and venture capital and social navigation in the Bay Area, but it’s also a novel that explores artificial intelligence (AI) in a fun, engaging way. …

Read More >>

No Comments/Trackbacks >>


9 October 2017

Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Braiding Sweetgrass is a collection of thematically-linked essays by Robin Wall Kimmerer, an environmentalist, academic, and Native American. The themes that unite them are plants, the human relationship to the natural world, and love.  I’ve read Kimmerer’s essays in Orion before, but there’s a sort of literary force multiplier when you get a whole book full of her thoughtful insights, story after story, back to back.  Braiding Sweetgrass is a …

Read More >>

No Comments/Trackbacks >>


20 September 2017

Make It Stick, by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel

This past spring, when I attended the InTeGrate workshop called “Teaching About the Earth Online,” one of the participants recommended the book Make It Stick, by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel. Months later, the volume finally moved up in my reading queue to the top. It’s a fascinating account of the empirical research about how people successfully learn. I found it absolutely engaging and stimulating, in particular the …

Read More >>

1 Comment/Trackback >>


13 September 2017

Life 3.0, by Max Tegmark

A new book on artificial intelligence (AI) has just been published. It’s Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, by MIT physicist Max Tegmark. Tegmark was one of the trailblazing thinkers interviewed by James Barrat in his book Our Final Invention, which I thought was terrific, so I was eager to see what he had to say when writing for himself. I finished the audiobook version of …

Read More >>

No Comments/Trackbacks >>


1 September 2017

Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

Well, I did it again: I read another Neal Stephenson novel. As noted in this space previously, I really enjoyed Seveneves, but was relatively underwhelmed by Cryptonomicon. In discussing these other books with friends, Snow Crash was recommended as the ne plus ultra of Stephenson’s style. In terms of coherence of plot and interesting characters and overall satisfaction, Snow Crash is up there with Seveneves, but I would still have …

Read More >>

2 Comments/Trackbacks >>


31 August 2017

Geology Underfoot in Southern Idaho, by Shawn Willsey

I love the “Geology Underfoot” series published by Mountain Press – the same folks who have published dozens of titles under the “Roadside Geology” theme. “Underfoot” is better than “Roadside,” I think, because it tells the story of discrete places, suggesting ideal places to visit. Each chapter is self-contained and useful without extraneous details, and avoids the redundancy of many roads crossing through near-identical geology. The latest title in the …

Read More >>

No Comments/Trackbacks >>


31 July 2017

Great Surveys of the American West, by Richard A. Bartlett

After reading Passing Strange, I found myself wanting to learn more not only about Clarence King, but also about the other great surveys of the American West – those of Hayden, Powell, and Wheeler. I’ve read Powell’s account of descending the Colorado River, and I’ve been delighted this decade past to explore Hayden’s territory in the northern Rockies (but didn’t know the details of his work). Of Wheeler, I knew …

Read More >>

No Comments/Trackbacks >>


18 July 2017

The Mountains of Saint Francis, by Walter Alvarez

I’ve just finished three weeks of travel in Italy, and I was absolutely delighted to read this terrific book by Walter Alvarez while I was there. Alvarez is famous the world over for being the nucleus of the team that proposed an extraterrestrial meteorite impact as the cause of the end-Cretaceous extinction, prompted to that bold hypothesis by the discovery that the clay seam marking the boundary between the Mesozoic …

Read More >>

1 Comment/Trackback >>


17 July 2017

We Have No Idea, by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson

Jorge Cham will likely be known to most of the folks who read this blog as the cartoonist behind the spot-on examination of grad school called Piled Higher and Deeper / PhD Comics. If you’ve read this comic, you’ll know that Cham’s visual style is simple and engaging, and his sense of humor is terrific. In a new book about the unknown territory of physics that we still need to …

Read More >>

No Comments/Trackbacks >>