My Reading List:

  • "The Art of Learning" by Josh Waitzkin
  • "The Greatest Generation" by Tom Brokaw
  • "In Spite of the Gods" by Edward Luce

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Best American Poetry 2005

Part of the Best American Poetry series (published since 1988), this is a collection of nice, strange, and bizzarre poems by contemporary American poets.

It features a total of 75 poems, many of which I found hard to appreciate. Of course that does not mean they are bad poems, just that they did not touch me in any way.

One of the poems that I really liked was A.R. Ammon's "In View of the Fact," a touching poem about aging and loss. "Seesaws" by Samuel Hazo is another poem that struck a chord with me. A short poem pointing out life's yin and yang nature, this one keeps you thinking well after you have finished reading it.

I must mention a couple of bizzarre and witty poems that stood out before I close, so here goes. "A Big Ball of Foil in a Small New York Apartment" by Matthew Yeager and "Urban Myth" by Jamey Dunham are interesting reads.

There are other poems that I liked, "Ants" by Vicki Hudspith and "Some Words Inside of Words (for children and others)" by Richard Wilbur for example, but I don't want to ramble on.

Overall this book is definitely worth a few hours of your time over the course of a week or two. I recommend that you sip it like wine enjoying a poem or two now and a few more later.

Me, I'm going to go look for the other books in this series at the library.

Title: The Best American Poetry 2005
Author: Various
Guest Editor: Paul Muldoon
Series Editor: David Lehman
Foreword: David Lehman
# Pages: 207
Published by: Scribner Poetry (New York)
Year: 2005
L.C. Control #: 2005049982
ISBN #: 0-7432-5738

Monday, January 15, 2007

Louis Pasteur by Pasteur Vallery-Radot

Part of the "A Great Life in Brief" series, this is an old book that I found in the library while looking for inspiring biographies. Written by the grandson of the great French chemist Louis Pasteur ( his daughter's son ) this is a very well written book after the first few of chapters; I'll explain shortly.

Printed in 1970, the copy I read definitely had an old bookshop feel and smell to it. The book starts off a little before Louis Pasteur's birth detailing the youth of his father a tanner and soldier. The first part of the book involves a lot of French history, and I was a little lost in the confusing details of the tumultuous latter half of the 18th century French history.

Once the narrative exits this era and focuses itself on Louis Pasteur it really hits it's stride and makes for a very interesting read. It details the education and rise of Louis Pasteur as a prominent scientist in France. Trained as a chemist who gained prominence with his study of crystalline structure of chemicals, Pasteur went on to make significant and world changing discoveries in the fields of fermentation, vinegar making, beer brewing, wine making, silkworm breeding, and of course infectious diseases. A man of total dedication, scientific integrity, utmost humility, and very little patience for scientist of his era who did not base their work and criticisms on rigorous and thorough scientific study, Pasteur was definitely an inspiring person.

If not this particular book, I would highly recommend reading some biography of Louis Pasteur for anyone interested in biographies. On the other hand, this book having been written by his grandson has a very personal feel to it, and I would recommend that you read this one even if you have read another biography of Louis Pasteur.

I'm sure you have heard of "Pasteurisation", if you had not made the connection to this great scientist, now you know!

Title: Louis Pasteur A Great Life in Brief
Author: Pasteur Vallery-Radot
Foreword: Pasteur Vallery-Radot
Translator: Alfred Joseph (from French)
# Pages: 197
Published by: Alfred A Knopf Publisher (New York)
Year: 1970 (5th Printing)
L.C. Catalog #: 58-5828