Author: David Levithan
Title: Every Day
Publication Info: [New York] : Listening Library, 2012.
This novel is told from the perspective of a person – or perhaps just a consciousness – named A who awakes each morning occupying the body of a different person. Over the years, A has come up with practices and ethics to not interfere in the lives of the bodies occupied, but this all changes at the age of 16 when A becomes obsessed with a girl named Rhiannon. A reveals the secret identity to Rhiannon and tries to find some way to maintain a relationship. Along the way we get sympathetic vignettes glimpsing into the lives of several teenagers each facing their own joys and struggles. Levithan’s writing is well-done and the story works both as ripping good yarn and as metaphor for the teenagers’ search for identity.
Recommended books: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and Fade by Robert Cormier.
Author: Marcelo Gleiser
Title: A Tear at the Edge of Creation
Publication Info: New York, NY : Free Press, 2010.
Gleiser’s work is an attempt to offer an alternate route to the scientific notions of Grand Unifying Theories and symmetry in nature with the idea that the truth may be found in an asymmetric universe. Gleiser sums up the history of cosmology (bringing me up to date since it’s been 20 years since my college course in cosmology) in easy-to-understand language. It’s a good accessible primer in physics (with some chemistry and biology as well) with an interesting central thesis on the manner in which humans will continue to learn about the universe.
“The loss of elegance is the gain of generality. Our cosmos does not need perfection to exist.”
“If we can never know all there is to know, we will always have an element of uncertainty about the natural world. There is no final unification to be attained, only better models to describe the physical reality we can measure. Even as we improve our tools and increase our knowledge, we also expand the base of our ignorance: the farther we can see the more there is to see. As a consequence, it is impossible to contemplate a point in history when we will know all there is to know.”
Recommended books: The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra, Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman, and 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense by Michael Brooks