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think geek

when i go to a book store, i like to go with an open mind. rarely do i enter a store with a title already selected. i peruse every genre. i wander the aisles and wait for an interesting cover or clever title to grab my attention. sometimes, all it takes is the click of recognition when i discover the name of a great author absent from my literary edification.

today, i shuffled aimlessly for an hour and only ayn rand jumped out at me. this is great, since i consider the fountainhead and atlas shrugged my two most favorite novels. however, this sucks, because i already own both volumes. while i would get great joy in handing these two tomes off to my friends and family, i doubt too many of them would be highly receptive to their weighty masses.

besides, the whole point of this excursion was for my own personal reading pleasure.

i decided to explore the science section, but couldn't seem to find it. so, i settled on philosophy. there, i found godel, escher, back, a book once loaned to me by the great spencer-pierce. i had skimmed this book then, back in high school, but couldn't seem to find the time to really dive into it between my frenzied academic and extracurricular activities.

this book further sparked my interest in science/math subjects, but i settled for history, since i couldn't locate those departments. well, lo and behold! the science section was right there amidst the history cove. i tried terribly hard to find something about physics to purchase, but all i really wanted to read was alice in quantumland--an allegory of quantum mechanics told through the adventures of alice's explorations of the world of modern physics, with quanta depicted as eccentric characters similar to those in wonderland, and quantum laws as the nonsensical or counter-intuitive rules governing Carroll's world--which they did not have. [ <-- excellent giftmas present idea here!]

on the reverse side of the shelf, i found mathematics. here, i ran across geek logik: 50 foolproof equations for everyday life, a book i read about in the star today and considered buying for jqr. while it would be funny to calculate should i apologize?, should i be pissed?, should i get a tattoo? and is it time to see a therapist? once or twice, the book, realistically, is logically impractical.

so, i moved on.

after debating intellectually heftier works by authors such as stephen hawkings, i settled on flatterland, a sequel to a book (flatland) i was always envious of my brother getting to read (more like having to read) in mrs. cummins' 9th grade gifted and talented math class, but have never actually read myself, and letters to a young mathematician, which is already motivating me to get back on track with my own studies and teaching goals.

as a few people have already pointed out to me tonight, i'm a complete nerd. and it's true, but that's ok.

i could have easily picked up some forgettable novels about murder, mystery, sex and love. and i do enjoy reading these books. i enjoy the escapism entrenched in fiction.

but i like thinking sometimes too.


Nov. 3rd, 2006 05:34 am (UTC)
Blah! So much brainwork in those books... I prefer to read fiction - when I read I want to escape :) I guess this would be the reason behind my rather below average intellect! When I try to read non fiction, I find myself reading whole paragraphs then having to read them again because I was thinking of something else. Does that happen to you?
Nov. 3rd, 2006 12:02 pm (UTC)
for as smart as people think i am, i actually have way below average reading comprehension. even in fiction (and children's fiction like harry potter) i cannot seem to remember characters' names and am often confused when they are used, thinking to myself "who the hell is that?"

in fiction, i can't bring myself to re-read pages unless i was actually distracted by something major (like someone trying to talk to me) and, even then, i often pass, thinking "oh, i'll figure it out later."

i get too caught up in stories and become desperate to reach the conclusion as fast as possible, regardless of what information i miss in the process. that's probably why i can re-read all my favorite books every year--i barely remember anything about them.

so, at least with these brainy, thought-provoking books, it's ok to just read a page or two, then sop to process and digest the information.

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