Monday, March 15, 2010

Mini Reviews

The Periodic Kingdom: A Journey into the Land of the Chemical Elements by P. W. Atkins

The book is written in a travel guide format which led me to believe that the point was to make the information accessible to everyone and more enjoyable to read than a text book. I think it only partly succeeded. It does give you some good general ideas about how the periodic table came about and how everything goes together but when it goes into detail the narrative bogs down and becomes hard to read. Sometimes the information is just too dense and without some previous knowledge of the subject it will be read but not quite understood and then quickly forgotten.

Halting State by Charles Stross

I liked the premise of this book. I liked the idea of a virtual bank robbery. I liked how it took place in the not so far off future so you had interesting new technologies but they were in a world you still recognized. I liked the changing point of view. I even liked the way it all wrapped up. So I really wished I had enjoyed actually reading the book more. Maybe it was because I am not the target audience for this book. Or maybe I just needed to concentrate a lot harder. But I found myself reading and getting just the gist of the story without ever fully understanding what people were saying. I didn’t have trouble with the Scottish accent or the changing point of view but as soon as anyone started to explain how something worked everything went hazy. It was worth reading and I was able to follow the plot but a lot of the finer points were lost on me. Although maybe someone who is more into virtual reality and online gaming would not have this problem.

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