"The book I'm looking for,' says the blurred figure, who holds out a volume similar to yours, 'is the one that gives the sense of the world after the end of the world, the sense that the world is the end of everything that there is in the world, that the only thing there is in the world is the end of the world."
- Italo Calvino, If on a winter's night a traveler

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stats and Poems

The Drunkards Walk by Leonard Mlodinow

Very good book about the history and day-to-day importance of statistics. I tend to think that it's a good idea for most people to have some kind of foundation in probability and statistics, if only because it can help defend against some of the ways in which our brains want to misunderstand probability or randomness (not that I know that much myself). Reading this book is easier and less boring than taking a class. Go read it people!

Delights and Shadows by Ted Kooser

Kooser continues to be the best. Luv. It. Here, read this one:

"Casting Reels"
You find them at flea markets
and yard sales, old South Bends
and Pfluegers, with fancy engraving,
knurled knobs and pearl handles,
spooled with the fraying line
of long stories snarled into
silence, not just exaggerated tales
of walleyes, bass, and catfish,
but of hardworking men
who on Saturdays sought out
the solace of lakes, who on weekdays
at desks, or standing on ladders,
or next to clattering machines
played out their youth and strength
waiting to set the hook, and then,
in their sixties, felt the line go slack
and reeled the years back empty.
They are the ones who got away.

 Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith

I didn't love this as much as I thought I would. The collection won the Pulizter last year, and it has all sorts of references to science and science fiction. Sounds fun! If nothing else, I was just eager to get away from the standard poetic objects of nature (oh blah blah here's a fox drinking water from a shallow pool blah blah). But it didn't get to me. Maybe I'll try again later. There were some nice lines, though! "Tina says what if dark matter is like the space between people/ when what holds them together isn't exactly love"

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