## A century of books- reading list

• 1905 Where angels fear to tread (E.M. Forster) ✓
• 1908 A Room with a View (E.M. Forster) ✓
• 1909 The shadow on the dial (Ambrose Bierce)
• 1910 Howards End (E.M. Forster) ✓
• 1911 Ethan Frome (Edith Wharton)
• 1920 Miss Lulu Bett (Zona Gale)
• 1926 Introduction to Sally (Elizabeth von Arnim) ✓
• 1927 The Love Child (Edith Olivier)
• 1929 Expiation (Elizabeth von Arnim)
• 1931 Father (Elizabeth von Arnim)
• 1934 The Jasmine Farm (Elizabeth von Arnim)
• 1935 Illyrian Spring (Ann Bridge)
• 1959 Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes)
• 1960 Night (Elie Wiesel)
• 1961 Catch-22 / The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
• 1967 This way for the gas (Tadeusz Borowski)
• 1978 The bookshop (Penelope Fitzgerald)
• 1979 The measure of my days (Florida Scott-Maxwell)
• 1983 The Colour of Magic (Terry Pratchett) ✓
• 1989 The Shawl
• 2007 God is not great (Christopher Hitchens)
• 2011 Arguably  (Christopher Hitchens)

## A century of books 2014

Simon at http://stuck-in-a-book.blogspot.com.au/ has the wonderful idea of a reading challenge – read a book for every year of the last century. I am going to be part of the challenge, hopefully I should be done in an year and a half, considering that I am addicted to audiobooks as well.

I like this idea since it forces me to focus on one more dimension of a book. The stories we read are mostly timeless but placing them in the context of the period they were written in is an interesting exercise.

I would love to write a little more of my thoughts about the books but I doubt if that is going to happen. My notes will just be passages that I love.

1. If a semigroup has an identity and you tack on another identity to this semigroup then the original identity is no longer an identity.
2. Unlike the morphisms between groups, in monoid morphoisms, 1 going to 1 is a requirement rather than a result that follows. This is because even though the image of 1 under a morphism will act as an identity of the image set,  there is nothing to force it to be the identity of the monoid itself.
3. The definition of kernel of a homomorphism as a binary relation putting elements that go to the same place together is another way of writing cosets in groups.
4. For an arbitrary binary relation on a semigroup, left compatible and right compatible does NOT mean compatible (not so fun ).
5. A congruence on a semigroup $S$ is an equivalence relation on $S \times S$ that is also a subsemigroup.
6. A semigroup is a $0-group$ if it would be a group but for the $0$. A theorem in Howie states that a semigroup with zero is a $0-group$ iff $\forall a \in S \setminus {0},aS=S$ and $Sa=S$. One would think this is a trivial proof, but it is not. Even if $aS=S$ and $Sa=S \forall a \in S \setminus {0}$, you still have to prove that $ab \neq 0$ for any pair in $S$.

## The Count of Monte Cristo

…”has not the count just told us that all human wisdom is summed up in two words? Wait and hope.”

I listened to the Librivox recording of this book last December. Last week, I saw that I could get it on Audible for only \$2.99, if I purchased the kindle book was well. I was tempted to listen to a professional recording of the book. Boy, was that a mistake! Not because the recording is not good, but because this book is so gripping that it sucks you in, even when you know how it is going to play out.  It exercises a fascination exactly of the nature that it tells us its protagonist exercises over everyone who meets him.

Now I can’t do anything but read/listen this book to the end again. Screw you audible! (Or should  I say thanks?)

## The log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck

“Some creative things had happened, a real tempest in our small teapot minds. But boiling water still produces steam, whether in a watch- glass or in a turbine. It is the same stuff-weak and dissipating or explosive, depending on its use. ..There was some quality of music here ,perhaps not to be communicated , but sounding clear and huge in our minds…Below in the hold, packed in the jars, were thousands of little dead animals, but we did not think of them as trophies, as things cut off from the tide pools of the Gulf, but rather as drawings, incomplete and imperfect, of how it had been there. The real picture of how it had been there and how we had been there was in our minds, bright with sun and wet with sea water and blue or burned, and the whole crusted over with exploring thought. Here was no service to science, no naming of unknown animals, but rather-we simply liked it. We liked it very much.”

## A Mathematician’s Apology

“”Judged by all practical standards, the value of my mathematical life is nil; and outside mathematics it is trivial anyhow. I have just one chance of escaping a verdict of triviality, that I may be judged to have created something worth creating. And that I have created something is undeniable: the question is about its value.”

-G.H. Hardy

## Tristram Shandy

Just making a note of the passages/lines/phrases I like in the books I read, this is one is from Trishtram Shandy (hilarious read so far).

Could a historiographer drive on his history, as a muleteer drives on
his mule,–straight forward;–for instance, from Rome all the way to
Loretto, without ever once turning his head aside, either to the right
hand or to the left,–he might venture to foretell you to an hour when
he should get to his journey’s end;–but the thing is, morally speaking,
impossible: For, if he is a man of the least spirit, he will have fifty
deviations from a straight line to make with this or that party as he
goes along, which he can no ways avoid. He will have views and prospects
to himself perpetually soliciting his eye, which he can no more help
standing still to look at than he can fly;

“ It is the nature of an hypothesis, when once a man has conceived it,that it assimilates every thing to itself, as proper nourishment; and, from the first moment of your begetting it, it generally grows the stronger by every thing you see, hear, read, or understand. This is of great use.”

“Have not I promised the world a chapter of knots? two chapters upon the right and the wrong end of a woman? a chapter upon whiskers? a chapter upon wishes?–a chapter of noses?–No, I have done that–a chapter upon my uncle Toby’s modesty? to say nothing of a chapter upon chapters, which I will finish before I sleep–by my great grandfather’s whiskers, I shall never get half of ‘em through this year.”

“…that ’tis owing to the negligence and perverseness of writers in despising this precaution, and to nothing else–that all the polemical writings in divinity are not as clear and demonstrative as those upon a Will o’ the Wisp, or any other sound part of philosophy, and natural pursuit; in order to which, what have you to do, before you set out, unless you intend to go puzzling on to the day of judgment–but to give the world a good definition, and stand to it, of the main word you have most occasion for–changing it, Sir, as you would a guinea, into small coin?–which done–let the father of confusion puzzle you, if he can; or put a different idea either into your head, or your reader’s head, if he knows how.”

O ye powers! (for powers ye are, and great ones too)–which enable mortal man to tell a story worth the hearing–that kindly shew him, where he is to begin it–and where he is to end it–what he is to put into it–and what he is to leave out–how much of it he is to cast into a shade–and whereabouts he is to throw his light!–Ye, who preside over this vast empire of biographical freebooters, and see how many scrapes and plunges your subjects hourly fall into;–will you do one thing?

I beg and beseech you (in case you will do nothing better for us) that wherever in any part of your dominions it so falls out, that three several roads meet in one point, as they have done just here–that at least you set up a guide-post in the centre of them, in mere charity, to direct an uncertain devil which of the three he is to take.”