pjo: books

The Muse Calliope. Ceasare Dandini (Italian, 1595-1658). Oil on canvas. The Bowes Museum.

Half length figure of Calliope, one of the nine muses, daughter of Jupiter and Mnemosyne. She is wearing a rich décolleté dress of red and blue, and carries a laurel crown over her left forearm. Her right hand rests lightly on Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ and 'Iliad’ and Virgil’s 'Aeneid’. 

When it comes to winter reading, critic Parul Sehgal looks for one simple thing – vindication of her desire to loaf, laze and retreat from the world, “the assurances, in short, of The Wind in the Willows, whose edicts are sane and just:

No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter.’”

How’s that for hibernation reading?

Image: Paul Bransom’s illustration from a 1913 edition of The Wind in the Willows shows Otter traveling through the snowy woods. (Wikisource)

I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel, world… and I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.
—  Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
Ella dice que la gente acaba por lo general sintiéndose desgraciada, nada más que por haber creído que la felicidad era una permanente sensación de indefinible bienestar, de gozoso éxtasis, de festival perpetuo. No, dice ella, la felicidad es bastante menos (o quizá bastante más, pero de todos modos otra cosa) y es seguro que muchos de esos presuntos desgraciados son en realidad felices, pero no se dan cuenta, no lo admiten, porque ellos creen que están muy lejos del máximo bienestar.
—  La tregua, Mario Benedetti 

knightofash-deactivated20150425  asked:

Could you recommend some good cell/genetic biology books to read to get a general handle on the topic? I'm well read in engineering and physics but pretty lacking when it comes to biology. My grandfather was a microbiologist for a few decades and listening to his stories made me interested in cells and the like.

Bookshelf: Part One

Biology & Genetics

First of all, you might want to have a look at some textbook, such as:
Biology by Campbell & Reece.
Molecular Biology of the Cell by Bruce Alberts, etc.
Concepts of Genetics by William S. Klug etc. …

Then you can move more easily through popular science. My favourite books (in English) on genetics/biology are

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.
DNA: The Secret of Life by James D. Watson.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean.
The Snoring Bird by Bernd Heinrich.

The Snoring Bird is not entirely related to the topics you specified, but I love this book (I am particularly interested in the ideological clash between “modern” biologists vs.“old-fashioned” naturalists) and when you have mentioned your grandfather, you have reminded me of it.

It goes without saying (… or not) that you can’t delve into all this without knowing the theory of evolution, it’s like trying to build a skyscraper without foundation or scaffolding.