Thursday, August 31, 2006


WritersBlock of Pereiraville has tagged me with a meme. Alas, she knows not what she asks. In case there were still people in the world with lingering doubts, this will disabuse the last of them of the notion that I might not be a total nerd. I don't usually pass chain-mails on, but I'm going to make an exception for her... but only because she has a Portuguese-sounding name and I've been really craving linguica ever since Colosimo's sold me some linguica-flavored pork sausage. It was definitely NOT linguica, but it tasted enough like linguica that it gave me saudades.

1. A book that changed my life:

Where to start... there have been so many. The scriptures, of course. But also many other books. A couple that come to mind: Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, Excursions in Modern Mathematics by Tannenbaum and Arnold. (Yes, it's a textbook.)

2. A book I have read more than once:

Hands down, the entire Harry Potter series. I have them on audiobook and we listen to them every day. We own four of the six current audiobooks (we're still missing Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban). As big a HP fan as I am, I still have never read either Goblet of Fire or Order of the Phoenix all the way through in hardcopy form.

3. A book I would take to a desert island:

A desert island survival manual, of course! Preferably one with step-by-step diagrams on how to build a raft.

4. A book that made me laugh:

The last book I can remember that made me laugh was a math joke book I had when I was a kid. I know I've read at least one book since then that made me laugh, but I can't remember anything about it. Most of the books I read are serious books.

5. A book that made me cry:

I really don't cry much, except about my own life. I don't read sappy romance novels. So I don't think I've ever read a book that made me cry. But I did read a very scary book, Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics by Liping Ma. I found it rather shocking at the time.

6. A book I wish had been written:

Fair Division: A Practical Manual by Sarah B. Natividad, or

What To Do About Bagel When He Bites, Kicks, Screams, Refuses To Eat Or Sleep, And Thinks You're Getting In His Way, or

the novel my friend Sid Fallon is writing, called Behold The Elect. It's the best fantasy novel I've ever read. Most fantasy novels have me skipping to the totally scripted ending by the middle of the book. This one made me complain loudly to him to write the rest of the book so I could find out what happens next. If I had a bunch of money I could devote to being a patron of the arts, I'd pay him to finish it, it's that good.

7. A book that should have never been written:

Gosh, I'm really not the kind of person to say "The world could do without X," since we all need examples of what not to do. Also because I suspect that as a math teacher I'd make the "little list."

8. A book I am currently reading:

There are three books with bookmarks in them right now:
Kicking the Sacred Cow by James P. Hogan
Sprawl: A Compact History by Robert Bruegmann
War of Honor by David Weber

I know, you can only read one book at a time. But since a lot of my reading time comes in tiny, one-to-two-minute chunks, I have a book on each floor of the house and whenever I get a minute I pick it up.

9. A book I am planning to read:

You want a comprehensive list?

10. Five people I will send these questions to:


They say there are three kinds of mathematicians: those that can count, and those that can't. Sue me.