Friday, February 18, 2011

Books Recommended by Donald Knuth

You might be thinking what makes me so interested to read books recommended by some one else. I think my reason is I adore this personality, Donald Knuth for his contribution to Computer Science research and he reminds me of my favorite professor Dr. B V Rao, Ex IIT Bombay Professor under whom I did my thesis. I am posting this blog as a placeholder for future reference so that if I land in a bookstore someday, I will have some reference to start and if I like it, I will buy them.
  • Life A Users Manual by Georges Perec (perhaps the greatest 20th century novel)
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers (captures Oxford high-table small-talk wonderfully)
  • An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears (also Oxford but in the 1660s)
  • Death of a Salesperson by Robert Barnard (who is at his best in short stories like these)
  • The Haj by Leon Uris (great to read on a trip to Israel)
  • Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk (in-depth characters plus a whole philosophy)
  • On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee (applied biochemistry in the kitchen)
  • Food by Waverley Root (his magnum opus, a wonderful history of everything delicious)
  • The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth (the Great California Novel, entirely in 14-line sonnets)
  • The Age of Faith by Will Durant (volume 4 of his series, covers the years 325--1300)
  • Efronia by Stina Katchadourian (diaries and letters of a remarkable Armenian woman)
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity by Robert Kanigel (biographies of Ramanujan and Hardy)
  • Hackers by Steven Levy (incredibly well written tale of our times)
  • The Abominable Man by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (one of their brilliantly Swedish detective novels)
  • Blasphemy by Douglas Preston (the best novel to deal with "science versus religion" that I've ever encountered)
  • Blacklist by Sara Paretsky (a brilliant characterization of the tragic state of politics and class relations in America that also happens to be an action-packed murder mystery)
  • The Travels of Ibn Battutah edited by Tim Mackintosh-Smith (fascinating and eye-opening journal by a 14th-century Muslim scholar)
  • Murder in the Museum of Man by Alfred Alcorn (delicious caricature of academic follies)
  • America (The Book): Teacher's Edition by Jon Stewart (has graffiti even better than the marginal notes in Concrete Mathematics
If you have any recommendations of books for me to read, please post it in the comments section.

Thank you & Happy Reading.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Poor Numbers

"Torture numbers, and they'll confess to anything." -Gregg Easterbrook
"Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital. " -Aaron Levenstein
"If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull" -WC Fields
"Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable." ~Author Unknown