Ok, so in a first for Book Pusher, I’m now going to follow up the first post in a series with a number 2. Let’s have a look at another one of the books I am reading at the moment. Now, before I do that I should say that we all read in different ways, and I have been meaning for some time to write a series on reading habits, but the one of my own habits which is relevant here, is that I read several books at once. Usually too many. Sometimes it is relatively easy to ‘juggle’ books. Working through an exercise book is fine at the same time as reading a novel, for example. Sometimes it is more problematic. If you are reading too many books and not reading a novel regularly enough, for example, you may forget the character’s names and their traits and relationships with others. As I have recently written elsewhere, I have started a course in Czech literature recently, and have been doing lots of reading for it. The book I was reading before I started the course slipped down my priorities a little and it looked like it might stall entirely. The thing is, though, that, since many of the other teachers have seen me reading this book, and have asked to borrow it, I really should try to finish it sometime soon.
The Strangest Man by Graham Farmelo is a biography of genius physicist, Paul Dirac. The title comes from something one of Dirac’s fellow phycisists said of him. On first sight, he was pretty odd in many ways. In other ways, he was less so. I see him as a pretty typical person who had autism, specifically perhaps a type of high-functioning autism known as Asperger’s syndrome. The link between Asperger’s syndrome and certain types of genius is thought to be so strong, that one of the main characters in a series about physicists (and a couple of engineers), The Big Bang Theory, has asperger’s syndrome.
I used to work with children and young adults with asperger’s syndrome and other conditions, so Paul Dirac’s behaviour is not as strange to me as it is may appear to many people.
Still, strange or otherwise, Paul Dirac is a fascinating character, and the world of physics in the nineteen thirties in particular is incredible. If it may be true that “nobody understands quantum physics” as one of its most colourful characters, Richard Feynman, once notoriously said, it is one of those subjects that always repays trying to ‘get your head around it’, as we say in English. Most of those at school will be too young to try to do this yet, but put it on a long-term to do list in your head. You won’t be disappointed.
The first two books in this series have been exceptionally nerdy. I have been getting back in touch with my inner geek over the last few months. I do hope, however, to share with you here some of the fiction books I am reading. Of course, many of these will be adult books which I will hold back from sharing on a school library blog, but I do tend to make an effort to read the books we stock as well so that I can better recommend them, and, of course, not all of the adult books I read are inappropriate.
(Ten housepoints to the first student who guesses two teachers who have asked to borrow this book, by the way.)