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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Shopping... & a question for e-reader fans

Got some mathy folks on your holiday list?… I'll mention 5 math-oriented bookish ideas for your shopping list that I particularly enjoyed from the last year-or-so:

1) The Joy of X by Steven Strogatz
2) The Joy of X by Steven Strogatz
3) The Joy of X by Steven Strogatz
4) The Joy of X by Steven Strogatz
5) The Joy of X by Steven Strogatz

…okay, okay, just joshin' (well, not really ;-))… I'll round out that list with these 5 additional eclectic choices (but with the usual caveat that my tastes/interests won't match everyone's):

2) Measurement by Paul Lockhart
3) One, Two, Three by David Berlinski
4) Proving Darwin: Making Biology Mathematical by Gregory Chaitin
5) The Best Writing In Mathematics 2012 edited by Mircea Pitici
6) The Secrets of Triangles by Alfred Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann

and (to formulate a list of 10) I'll throw in four other books that I've not read yet, but from reviews and other indications, expect I'd enjoy:

7) The Universe In Zero Words by Dana Mackenzie
8) The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver
9) The Fractalist by Benoit Mandelbrot
10) Thinking In Numbers by Daniel Tammet

Spend away!

...Now, a question for you Kindle/Nook/iPad/etc. enthusiasts out there: I keep watching the prices drop on these devices and feeling a bit tempted... BUT I ONLY read non-fiction and am not convinced that the reading/learning experience on an e-reader will be that good (especially since most people I converse with buy these gadgets primarily for reading fiction). So am wondering if anyone out there can say what their experience has been (good or bad) reading math/science books on an e-reader?

1 comment:

Walt said...

I guess I don't have experience with books, but I would recommend a reader (I have an iPad) for reading journal papers.

The first advantage is weight and bulk: if you are likely to carry around a number of papers before getting a chance to read them, an iPad is only about 1/2 lb and half the size of a sheet of paper. It's certainly lighter to carry than a book.

Secondly, if a book or document is properly formatted, you can zoom in closer to equations, graphs, and illustrations to see them clearly which can be an advantage for certain texts.

In addition to those reasons, there are smaller benefits such as being able to keep items you've read on the device indefinitely, electronic bookmarks, and searching, all of which are useful for referring back to things you've read. Many devices also recognize http links, so documents that refer to URLs can be directly accessed.

As for readability, I have no complaints. The iPad is not even supposed to be optimized like the Kindles, etc., for reading but I haven't had any troubles.