Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mathematically speaking, it's logical

Any one who knows me more than five minutes knows that I have many many other interests besides books and movies. One of my other interests is astronomy, and I'd consider myself more of an amateur astronomers if I actually made it outside a bit more.

Any one who knows me also knows I read pretty much anything and everything I can get my hands on, including National Geographic. And this month's issue briefly profiles a topic that I've been following for years.

The search for planets outside our solar system has heated up this past decade, with new discoveries coming almost at a steady stream. As the equipment and search techniques have gotten better the search for a terrestrial, Earth-like planet has intensified.

While the article in this National Geographic doesn't present any new material to someone who's been staying on top of this field of research, it does offer some really cool pull-out graphics that help readers grasp the discoveries and put everything in a physical perspective unlike many other magazines. The article is also a good introduction for those unfamiliar with the search.

As an avid reader and astronomy nut, I recommend picking up this issue, or at the very least, checking it out from your local library.

In the meantime, to borrow and paraphrase a phrase from a few friends of mine:

Until Next Time...
Keeping a Watch on the Skies,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Short People Got No Reason....

I can make that reference to the classic Randy Newman song with no karmic penalty for two good reasons:
1)I, too, suffer from Vertical Challengement
2)I recently published at my review of Bich Minh Nguyen's "Short Girls" in which the father has an obsession with that song.

So, since publishers and like it when we publish our reviews on our blogs (as well as where we were assigned to), I present to you my review of "Short Girls":

"Short Girls" is a wonderful debut novel about two Vietnamese sisters and their father struggling in modern America. The oldest daughter Van escapes through overachieving: she works hard in law school, then in her career as a immigration lawyer, and in her marriage to a firmly implanted Chinese American man who happens to be a perfectionist. Younger sister Linny, the rebel, is her opposite: she relies on her beauty and fashion sense to eventually land a job in a catering company, only to jeopardize that job by having an affair with the husband of one of her clients.

This novel is about discovering ones sense of self in an "alien" land, and is reflected in the title "Short Girls." In a country that seems to be mostly tall people, their father, Mr. Luong constantly reminds his children that they are short people growing up in a world designed for people taller than themselves and that they have to work harder than other people to overcome the world's bias.

Stylistically, Nguyen seems to have a wonderful command of language and is able to pack a lot of emotion into her tight prose. Alternating between the point-of-view of each sister, the reader is able to follow each character as she sorts out her recently troubled life and the author does a wonderful job of firmly establishing each character's unique voice. And while the plot itself is nothing exciting, the story is well worth the time.

Until next time...
Vertically Yours,
Michael OCD