22 November 2005

Picks by Donald Knuth

How often do you get a reading list from a certified genius?
This is from Donald Knuth's website, the page called "Retirement"

Of course I like to read nontechnical books, although I read very slowly. Here are some that I recently read and heartily recommend:

Life A Users Manual,

by Georges Perec (perhaps the greatest 20th century novel)
Gaudy Night

by Dorothy L Sayers (captures Oxford high-table small-talk wonderfully)
An Instance of the Fingerpost

by Iain Pears (also Oxford but in the 1660s)
Death of a Salesperson

by Robert Barnard (who is at his best in short stories like these)
The Haj

by Leon Uris (great to read on a trip to Israel)
Marjorie Morningstar

by Herman Wouk (in-depth characters plus a whole philosophy)
On Food and Cooking

by Harold McGee (applied biochemistry in the kitchen)

by Waverley Root (his magnum opus, a wonderful history of everything delicious)
The Golden Gate

by Vikram Seth (the Great California Novel, entirely in 14-line sonnets)
The Age of Faith

by Will Durant (volume 4 of his series, covers the years 325--1300)

by Stina Katchadourian (diaries and letters of a remarkable Armenian woman)
The Man Who Knew Infinity

by Robert Kanigel (biographies of Ramanujan and Hardy)

by Steven Levy (incredibly well written tale of our times)
The Abominable Man

by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (one of their brilliantly Swedish detective novels)
[end quote]

I had quite forgotten Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. I just requested two of their books from the library. More on that soon, I expect.

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