I’m continuing to read Fatal Discord (Michael Massing)  and Why Your Five-Year-Old Could Not Have Done That: Modern Art Explained but finished a few other books in the meantime. They are

  • A Burnable Book - this is Book 1 of Ross Holsinger‘s John Gower series. I stumbled across Book 2, The Invention of Fire,  last year and backtracked to this one. I recommend both. 
  • Change Agent - the latest Daniel Suarez book. I enjoyed this one, as I have most of his other novels. 
  • The Japanese Corpse (Amsterdam Cops #5) - This one is quite dated with way too many racial/ethnic stereotypes.  The whole series is like a time capsule of the 1970’s. I have enjoyed most of them, but this on dragged on too long.  Earlier, I’d read The Death of a Hawker (book #4) and found that one entertaining. 

Starting back to to school next week, so I’ve been browsing Halmos’ Problems for Mathematicians Young and Old to get thinking about my Problem Solving course. 

I've started using Goodreads, which is why I haven't added much of my reading to this site lately. Currently, I'm reading three books.  

  • Kill Decision (Daniel Suarez) - light reading that I"m going to finish soon.
  • Fatal Discord (Michael Massing) - parallel biographies of Erasmus and Martin Luther.   This is my big summer book to read on hot days on the deck. 
  • Why Your Five-Year-Old Could Not Have Done That: Modern Art Explained (Susie Hodge) - I've been working on this since Christmas.  This has thumbnail sketches of various modern artists, highlighting one of their works.  Taken alone, this book is superficial, but my strategy is to read one artist at a time and then watch a few YouTube videos about the artist. I think this works pretty well.  I've done around 20 artists so far.  

Prior to these, I read two by Jan Willem van de Wetering:

  • The Corpse on the Dike
  • Tumbleweed

Between those two, I read A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived (Adam Rutherford)


The  Department of Diachronic Operations is tasked with bringing back magic, which had completely disappeared in 1851.  Modern characters Melisande Stokes and Tristan Lyons are at the center of the Department’s efforts to bring it back. Other mOdeon characters include military officers and academics.

I first became aware of Daniel Suarez through an interview on the podcast Triangulation. I picked up his first novel, Daemon, and enjoyed it. Influx is a later novel with in interesting premise.  

Jon Grady is a  relatively obscure physicist who has a major breakthrough creating a gravity mirror. The first few pages make an attempt at describing it but don’t be concerned about understanding. The details or not the point. Early on, we find that there was a government agency that is tasked with suppressing major finds like this.  But it turns out to be a rogue agency that oversteps its bounds. Grady refuses to cooperate with them and pays a price. 

I won’t spoil the plot any more, but I do recommend Influx. 

book′a-neer′ (bŏŏk′kȧ-nēr′), n. a literary pirate; an individual capable of doing all that must be done in the universe of books that publishers, authors, and readers must not have a part in.