This is a summary of non-Computer Science related books I’ve completed in February. As you may remember, at the beginning of this year I decided to increase my reading, with a goal of reading minimum 50 pages a day.
For February, I’ve read 1672 pages, with the average 60 pages/day, and completed 7 books. My best day was 113 pages, while my worst was about 20 pages during February.
For 2018, so far I’ve read 3615 pages, with the average 61 pages/day, and completed 15 books.
Below is the list of books I’ve completed in February:
Ernest Hemingway – For Whom the Bell Tolls
1940 | p.485 | Finished 02/03/2018 | Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
For Whom the Bell Tolls covers 4 days from the life of an American university instructor, now a demolition expert, fighting on the side of the Republic in the Spanish civil war against Franco. 4 detailed days in 400+ pages. By reading this book you get to observe minute-by-minute play behind the enemy lines. The reader is constantly reminded of the brutality of a war through some flashbacks, stories, and military actions. Hemingway delivers a story about life and death, and the thin line connecting these two. I enjoyed the book. It was a moderate read. I also liked how Hemingway seamlessly incorporated Spanish and Spanish slang in the narrative.
Erich Maria Remarque – Three Comrades
1936 | p.423 | Finished 02/09/2018 | Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
My introduction to Remarque was through All Quiet on the Western Front some 8 years ago. I quite enjoyed reading the book, even though it was dark. I decided to give a try to another book by Remarque. This time it was his novel Three Comrades, the novel that he wrote in an exile.
Germany, late 1920s. World War 1 has been over for about 10 years. On the contrary, the devastation and consequences of the war have still been haunting the population. The book follows three friends during these difficult times through the narrative of one of them. It is a story of life, love, and death. I am amazed by Remarque’s ability of switching from an ordinary narrative to dismal topics like poverty, unemployment, suffering, and death, and then switching it back as if nothing happened. Death is a separate topic. Remarque is probably one of the few authors who can describe death in such vivid colors with few words possible. This book is like a glass half full / half empty, I think everyone reading the book will draw a conclusion related to them.
F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
1925 | p.138 | Finished 02/13/2018 | Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
The Great Gatsby. That’s it? That was the feeling I had when I completed the book. I have no clue why this book is so praised. Incomplete story-line, messy storytelling, just words, etc.. Fitzgerald would go on writing about unnecessary stuff in great detail, but would skim over the important parts. Story started as nothing and ended as nothing. Such a disappointment. In my opinion, it hardly deserves the rating I gave it.
Douglas Adams – So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
1984 | p.170 | Finished 02/16/2018 | Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
So Long, and Thanks for All The Fish is the 4th book in the Hitchhikers series, continuing the story of Arthur Dent and his adventures. This book was also written in a fast pace, but was no longer as sci-fi as the previous ones. I don’t think the story was fully developed, even though it managed to put multiple plot-lines together. At a times it felt like the author was jumping from one story to another in an abrupt manner.
Isaac Asimov – The Gods Themselves
1972 | p.259 | Finished 02/20/2018 | Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
The Gods Themselves was everything I was missing in Science Fiction genre. I’ve been introduced to Asimov through The Foundation series, so I knew what to expect from the book. I’ve heard the story about the pump before; I remember reading about it in one of Michio Kaku’s popular physics books. However I didn’t remember the name of the book that the story came from. Once I started reading The Gods Themselves, I realized that this was the book. It is a captivating, extremely detailed, and fast to read book. Asimov had the ability to see the future, to use science to describe the future, and keep the reader entertained the whole time. It is a must read sci-fi book.
Aldous Huxley – Brave New World
1932 | p.196 | Finished 02/25/2018 | Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
Brave New World is a dystopian novel, set in a future London. The citizens are now engineered through artificial wombs, divided into predetermined classes, free of religion, politics, living in their happy, predestined bubbles. The book is definitely written ahead of its time. Written in 1932, it has been innovative, and captivating read. The book can be split in two parts. I was really satisfied with the sci-fi aspect of the first part of the book. The second part of the story wasn’t that intriguing, and somehow felt abrupt, it ended way sooner that it was supposed to. Overall I enjoyed it. I wish the story was a bit longer.
Gary Smith – Standard Deviations
2014 | p.270 | Finished 02/28/2018 | Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
As it states on the cover, the book is about flawed assumptions, tortured data, and other ways to lie with statistics. The book covers the whole spectrum of fraud researches, publications, and their effect on general population. It is like magicians tricks revealed, but in this case magicians are previously respected scientists and researchers. One of the valuable lessons I got for myself: If you look long enough at the data you will find a theory or pattern, which most likely is not there or real. At some point I thought that the author was taking personal pride in revealing the wrongdoings of his fellow colleagues, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. I like it.