Category Archives: Books

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

A novel – by Junot Diaz, and winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. An MIT Professor of Writing, Junot Diaz was born in the Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo) and moved to New Jersey. The main character of the book is in the same situation, and I wonder how much of the book is a reflection of his own life. My wife Sandra is Dominican, and having been down there many times, I understood more of the book than what I suppose most people would. That, and my basic knowledge of Spanish, was helpful since the book has quite a few words and phrases in Spanish. I originally bought this book for Sandra for Christmas, but she works so much that she hasn’t had time to read it. Instead, I picked it up, read a few pages, and found it to be written in an energetic and entertaining way. At first, I wondered how such a piece of fluff could have won the Pulitzer Prize

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - a novel.


, but that’s only at the beginning of the book – after that, it gets much more serious, talking a lot about the life of Oscar’s family under the dictatorship of Trujillo, who ruled the DR from 1930 to 1961. Continue reading

The Gatekeepers – inside the admissions process of a premier college

Sandra bought this book with the intention of reading it, but one day I read a few pages and became interested. I ended up reading the whole thing and telling her the parts of it that I found most interesting. And this is a VERY interesting book – a New York Times reporter tells the true story of the admissions process at the private liberal arts college Wesleyan University (Middletown, Connecticut), as well as the story of six high school students from around the country as they apply to many colleges and wait anxiously to hear which, if any, will accept them.

With Christina just starting out on this long road, I learned many things

The Gatekeepers book cover

that might prove valuable Continue reading

The Martian

A novel – by Andy Weir. I had never heard of this before, Christina gave it to me for Christmas, and it had a lot of glowing comments on the cover. It would (will) definitely make a good movie, along the lines of the recent Gravity.  While it is definitely a good read, interesting and exciting, it is more of a meat-and-potatoes

The Martian book cover

read than I am used to, Continue reading

Children of Men

I just finished reading the novel “The Children of Men”, by the late P.D. James, and I’ve seen the movie twice. The first time I saw the movie, I thought it was fantastic – the second time, I was disappointed in it. I’m going to be getting it soon on DVD from Netflix, and I’m curious to see what a third watching will be like, now that I’ve read the novel. I was quite surprised to see how much different the novel was than the movie – they really changed a lot of things in order to make it into a good movie. I’d say they did a fantastic job of changing and adding things to accomplish that.

The Children Of Men - novel cover.

Children Of Men - movie poster

Spoilers!  Continue reading

Some Remarks

A collection of writings, essays, short stories, magazine articles, interviews, etc. … by Neal Stephenson, my favorite author. I found this to be a fascinating read across the board, whether he’s writing science fiction or discussing technical topics such as laying submarine cable along the bottom of the ocean. This guy knows so many interesting things and has a unique way of expressing them …

Some Remarks book cover

… for example, in “The Spew”, Continue reading