Posts Tagged ‘challenging’

The Hidden Reality

March 28, 2012

Author: Brian Greene

Title: The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos

Genre: Non-Fiction, Popular Science, Science Writing

Publication Date: January, 2011

Number of Pages: 384

Geographical Setting: The Cosmos

Time Period: Present

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Physicist and popular science writer Brian Greene successfully takes ideas and theories on the cutting-edge of modern-day physics and makes them accessible to a wide audience in The Hidden Reality.  The purpose of the writing is to introduce the scientific theories in physics that allow for parallel universes and to explain how scientists came to them.  Greene demonstrates how, rather than seeking out any possible scientific excuse to talk about alternate realities, scientists came to these various theories reluctantly. According to Greene, while trying to make mathematical sense of strange phenomena uncovered in quantum physics and cosmology, scientific theories that allowed for parallel universes began to emerge.

To accomplish the goal of the book, Greene reviews, in accessible language, the chains of scientific discoveries in math and physics from the 19th century to the present day.  The ever growing complexities of the scientific findings he outlines are sure to challenge most readers.  Greene takes great care, however, to shield the reader with poignant analogies and simple language.  For the more mathematically adept, he includes the formulas behind the theories he references in the notes section.  Once he is satisfied the reader has the requisite understanding of the questions and gaps in scientific understanding, he introduces readers to the exotic theories scientists have come up with to explain and fill those gaps.  Finally, Greene brings the reader up to speed on the current debates and experiments in physics and cosmology.  He explains what discoveries scientists, working at CERN and elsewhere, may uncover that could advance or dispel confidence in the various theories in The Hidden Reality.

Subject Headings: Physics, Theoretical Physics, Cosmology, Quantum Physics, General Relativity, Astronomy

Appeal: fascinating, compelling, educational, scientific, well-researched, challenging, engaging, thought provoking, scientific theory, accessible, analogous writing, academic, complex, awe-inspiring, mysterious

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe the Book: challenging, scientific writing, thought provoking

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Grand Design (2010) by Stephen Hawking

Hawking takes the concepts of multiple universes and string theory and explains how scientists are using them to create a unified theory on why the universe exists the way it does.

Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions (2005) by Lisa Randall

This book is also a popular physics book that uses analogies to explain the current theories in quantum physics.  Randall focuses on string theory and its multiple hidden dimensions, a large topic in Greene’s book.

– Decoding Reality: The Universe as Quantum Information (2010) by Vlatko Vedral

This popular science book explores the theory that the mysteries of quantum physics can be better understood through the idea that information is physical and is the basic building block of the universe.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Spin (2005) by Robert Charles Wilson

This science fiction book runs wild with the theory of general relativity with a plot that involves aliens suspending the entire planet Earth in time.  It also deals with cosmologically ideas on the eventual death of our solar system and galaxy.

Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal and Quantum Physics (2000) by Rebecca Goldstein

One of the gaps in modern physics that Greene outlines in his book is the failure of scientists to link general relativity with quantum mechanics.  The characters in this literary fiction novel attempt to do just that.

The Light of Other Days (2000) by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter

This science fiction novel expands on the current understanding of quantum physics. The story involves scientists with an advanced knowledge of quantum physics who can create wormholes. The wormholes can bridge distant points, even into the past.

Name: Noel M.

The Book Thief

February 16, 2012

Author: Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 552

Geographical setting: Germany

Time Period: Word War II (1939-1945)

Plot Summary:  Liesel Meminger knows death.  It is the reason why she is in foster care.  After suffering the loss of her mother and brother, this young German girl develops a knack for stealing books.  Her talent is of even greater value when she learns to how to read, and can regale the stolen stories to her family and neighbors.  Her obsession takes her on a number of adventures to obtain what she desires most – books.  Set during the Holocaust outside Munich Germany, this haunting work of fiction is captivating and powerful.

Subject Headings: 1. Germany–History–1933-1945–Juvenile Fiction. 2. Books and reading–Fiction. 3. Storytelling–Fiction. 4. Death–Fiction. 5. Jews–Germany–History–1933-1945–Fiction. 6. World War, 1939-1945–Jews–Rescue–Fiction.

Appeal: haunting, moving, dark, absorbing, character-driven, intense, complex, compelling, lyrical, challenging, sophisticated, powerful.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: absorbing, haunting, sophisticated

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1. Night, Elie Wiesel – a narrative of a boy who survived the Holocaust in various camps.

2. Auschwitz: a new history, Laurence Rees – a historical account of what happened in Auschwitz.

3. A Lucky Child: a memoir of surviving Auschwitz, Thomas Buergenthal – an autobiography of wht it was like to survive Auschwitz at the age of eleven.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1. Auschwitz, Pascal Croci – a graphic novel that tells the story of two survivors of the concentration camp

2. Postcards from No Man’s Land, Aidan Chambers – similar in that it is character-driven, stylistically complex, compelling with to references Word War II.

3. Keturah and Lord Death, Martine Leavitt – a dark, gripping fantasy in which, Death is one of the main characters.