Wednesday, 19 July 2000

Harry Potter and Erdös

Listening to:

Bach, The art of fugue.

Just read:

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the goblet of fire.

This was not on the list of prescribed books, but I had the weekend away in Glasgow (hence I’m in entry deficit once more), and wanted something to read on the train. The train took about 6 hours, and almost all of this I spent reading. It’s a very good read. The characters aren’t wonderfully drawn but the plot is really very good; a positive page-turner even.

However, I hope the next book doesn’t follow its predecessors in structuring the plot around the revelation of the mystery baddie at the end. There must be other ways of putting a story together; surely you don’t have to keep all the interesting details hidden until the end.

Paul Hoffman, The man who loved only numbers: the story of Paul Erdös and the search for mathematical truth.

I read this while in Glasgow (the copy I read belongs to the friend we were staying with). I thought it very interesting. Erdös was clearly a very strange man, but this biography makes sure that this strangeness is never too offputting. It’s well-padded with descriptions of various other mathematicians and scientists, such as Hardy and Einstein, but definitely an engaging read.