Monday, December 11, 2006

Two Short Book Reviews

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster.304pages.Faber and Faber.
I found this a more accessible book than one of his other novels The New York Triology which I read earlier in the year.Basically a story of relationships,family and second chances set in Brooklyn during 2000 and ending a few hours before the events of September 11,2001.
I liked the way chance encounters and new characters moved the story on even if some of them such as Harry the bookseller were a bit too over the top and unrealistic to be believable.While I didnt find myself " not wanting it to end" as the blurb on the cover suggests I did find it entertaining.Certainly not memorable but readable.

The Geckos Foot by Peter Forbes.236 pages.Harper Perennial.
Subtitled "How scientists are taking a leaf from Natures Book" this is an account of the fields of bio-inspiration and nano-technology.Bio-inspiration is a relatively new field of science about 15 years old.It describes how scientists are looking at Nature,its mechanisms and principles such as space,shape and patterns to discover and create new products.
The author,Peter Forbes takes a few well known examples to illustrate his point including among others the field of self cleaning surfaces derived from the lotus leaf and Velcro.
The Geckos Foot of the title concerns various studies being done into adhesion and sticky/non sticky surfaces based on the structure and features of gecko feet.
For a non-scientist like myself Forbes explains such things as phages,photonic crystals and Moores Law in simple laypersons language.He also provides some easy practical kitchen table experiments one can conduct to further illustrate the concepts and principles he describes.
Despite the subject its not a difficult book to read or digest thanks to the authors enthusiastic,easy to understand style.I picked up a few new words such as tensegrity and cullet which I'll try to slip into future conversations...

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