Monday, November 27, 2006

NYTimes Top 10 & 100 Notable book lists of 2006


NYTimes Top 10 books for 2006

NYTimes Notable 100 books of 2006 list

I've yet to read any of the books listed, so don't quite have a grasp on whether or not I agree with the list. But this will undoubtedly be a good source for books to check out.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

In summary, I rather enjoyed this classic.

(Updating this a year later...)
I noticed it touched upon a number of more abstract individual and society issues that Rand grappled with in Fountainhead, specifically pertainining to super-talented people. (i.e. if you think of people on a bell-curve for talent, those to the far right). What are the responsibilities of these individuals to society and what can they get away, if anything?

An aside, I wonder if these type of issues were just something the Russians liked to think about during that period?

One of the interesting things I found was that there was an overall sense of progression towards ... I guess enlightenment would be the best word. This occurs both for the protagonist and the reader. To clarify, the novel begins as a jumble of mixed irrational emotions, during which the protagonist commits his crime. Afterwards, the protagoniosts expectedly goes through various emotional states and then the interesting part occurs. As time passes by and the protagonist still has not been caught, he begins to really internalize what has happened and figure out what he should do. And this was what I really liked about the book - an intelligent main character, working out his responsibilities for his crime.

The reader gets a broader vision of what's going on, getting a chance to see friends' and the detective's perspective on the story, all of whom are intelligent as well.

I think it's pretty difficult to communicate abstract concepts without sounding foolish, but it's done with a great deal of grace in this one.

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
by Douglas R. Hofstadter

Perhaps if I had more time on my hands, I might have finished reading this. It's well written, especially when you consider the complexity of some of the topics. But as I feel strapped for time these days and felt as I already had been introduced to many of the concepts, finishing reading the book didn't seem worth it.

I mention it here as a recommendation for those who might be interested in logic and mind-binding stuff, but haven't yet had the education in it.