Eve (blenrock) wrote in dodec,

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Eve's (blenrock's) Introduction

Hi, everyone! I’m excited to be a part of Dodecahedron, and I look forward to getting to know everyone else who’s involved! Here are my answers to the survey questions:

  1. What are three of your favorite books and why do you like them so much?

    1. Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter. This is an absolutely fantastic book that discusses some of the most interesting occurrences in mathematics, music, and art. Hofstadter explains what he refers to as “strange loops” in a brilliant manner. He breaks up technical discussions with cute dialogues, in which the characters experience firsthand many of the more technical aspects of the book.

    2. House of Leaves</i> by Mark Z. Danielewski. Like Godel, Escher, Bach, this book is put together in a unique, creative way. At its core, the book is a piece written by a blind guy about a documentary on a terrifying house. But at the same time, another guy is reading through this piece, adding footnotes as he reads, often as much about his life as his thoughts on the piece about the house. Plus, you follow the life of the creator of the documentary and his family. Definitely the most original book I’ve ever read.

    3. The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman. This is a biography of the famous mathematician Paul Erdos. He was quirky and eccentric, which makes his life interesting, and his mathematical contributions were impressive beyond belief. Hoffman’s portrayal of Erdos as both a mathematician and a man is presented in a fascinating, engaging manner.

  2. What particular genres (fantasy, romance, sci-fi, etc.) do you read the most?

    Honestly, I read a lot of non-fiction. I love biographies and memoirs, especially of people who have experiences either similar or diametrically opposed to mine. I enjoy books about math (and occasionally science) that are written for a general audience, as well as though written for people expected to have a strong background in math. I’m actually somewhat embarrassed at how much I like the former, considering that I’m usually capable of getting through the latter.

    I read lots of fiction too, but I can’t say that it usually falls within a particular genre.

  3. What is a book that you absolutely hated and why didn't you like it?

    I hope I don’t immediately make several hundred enemies by saying this, but I could not stand the first Harry Potter book (and haven’t read any since). I’ll admit that my expectations may have been a bit too high going into it, but it simply didn’t hold my interest. I didn’t connect to any of the characters and I found the plot simply too unrealistic to enjoy. I tried to suspend my disbelief, but I couldn’t. Usually I don’t have that problem; I loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was younger, and I’m sure if I picked them up now, I still would. But Harry just doesn’t do it for me.

    I also didn’t like Grapes of Wrath. The descriptions of all the dust and whatnot were torturous beyond belief. I’ve enjoyed the other Steinbeck books I’ve read though. Another (yes, I know you only asked for one… sorry) book I despised that most people seem to enjoy was Catcher in the Rye. Holden annoyed me and the tone of the book quickly got on my nerves.

  4. Who are five to ten authors whose books you really like?

    When I read a book I like, my first impulse usually isn’t to find other books by the same author and read them. For that reason, there aren’t terribly many authors who’ve written more than one or two books that I’ve read. Let’s see what I can come up with:

    • Margaret Atwood
    • Marcel Proust
    • Keith Devlin
    • Kurt Vonnegut
    • Douglas Hofstadter

  5. What do you consider to fall into the category of "children's literature"? What about "YA literature"?

    I’ve never thought much about this. Books are so nicely categorized at libraries and at bookstores. There’s never been much of an opportunity for me to decide whether something ought to be considered children’s literature, young adult literature, or otherwise. However, I’m pretty certain that it would be intuitively clear to me after reading the book, if not simply after flipping through it. Children’s literature is often characterized by simple language, a plot without confusing twists, a clear beginning, middle, and end, and predictable characters. The line between young adult literature and general literature can be fine at times, but it’s usually safe to say that a book with relatively simple language and characters with whom young adults can identify can be called young adult literature.

  6. What are the last three to five books that you read for pleasure and, briefly, what did you think of them?

    1. A translation of The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. It was short and held my interest, though I was disappointed with the ending. Actually, the entire second half of the book was disappointing after the first half.
    2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This is one of my good friend’s all time favorite books, and he encouraged me to read it. Though it could definitely be considered a young adult book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some aspects of the main character’s life weren’t entirely believable, but I liked him nevertheless.
    3. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. It was okay. Didn’t exactly live up to the hype, but I still liked it.

      All three of the above are very quick reads.

    Currently, I’m reading (and enjoying)

    1. Bobos in Paradise by David Brooks
    2. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
    3. Proofs from THE BOOK by Martin Aigner and Gunter M. Ziegler

  7. Would you have any problem with writing up semi-detailed coverage on any books you read (synopsis, comments, recommendation, etc.)

    No, I can’t imagine I’ll have difficulty completing any of the above.

  8. Why do you want to help out with Dodecahedron, how much time can you put into it, and how long do you think that you'll be able to help out?

    Dodecahedron sounds like an awesome project, and I’ve never really been involved with any literary publications. It’s more than just broadening my horizons though. I’m honestly interested! For the rest of the summer, I can probably put a lot of time (several hours per day, if necessary) into it. Once I start college in September, I can’t really say. I don’t have a good sense of how busy college life will be just yet.

  9. What kind of "job" would you like to have with Dodecahedron - reading, reviewing, articles, interviews, etc. (put down whatever comes to mind - everyone has brilliant ideas, no matter how cheesy they may sound).

    I’d love to help proofread and edit, and I’d also be more than willing to write anything that needs to be written.

  10. Please tell me anything else you'd like me to know - it doesn't have to be books related and could be written in list style for all I care. +smile+

    I like math. A lot. =)

  11. What is your name (first with last initial), birthday (month/day/year), and location (city, state/province, country)?

    Name: Eve D.
    Birthday: 10/19/84
    Location: Fair Lawn, NJ until September 6. After that, I’ll be in Cambridge, MA.

  12. What is your e-mail address?

    It’s probably best to e-mail me at blenrock@livejournal.com because that will automatically be forwarded to the address I’m using with LiveJournal. If, for whatever reason, I stop having a paid account at some point, that address will no longer be valid. In that case, try eve@claymath.org (the address I currently check most often) or edrucker@fas.harvard.edu (the address that will likely become my primary address in the near future).
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