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MIT student blogger Bryan O. '07

My Winter Break Reading List by Bryan

"Take a look, it's in a book, it's reading rainbow"

So with all this free time on my hands (not as much as I originally anticipated, but some), I’ll be reading a few books to pass the time.

Some of these books have had their residence on my bookshelf for a long time. Some of these books, it’s the fifth or sixth time I’m reading the book. Some of these books you might ask me why am I reading them, but nonetheless, I’m reading. Also, what do you guys recommend? I’m typically a sci-fi, thriller, satire aficionado but I’m open to any suggestions.

Now to the book list:

Biomechanics: Motion, Flow, Stress, and Growth by Y.C. Fung


This third volume not only stands alone as a comprehensive survey of the broad field of biomechanics, but also complements the explorations of the first two volumes, maintaining its emphasis on methods of classical engineering as applied to biological and physiological phenomena. While consistently recognizing the importance of historical precedence and perspective, Fung presents the most contemporary literature and the latest thinking in biomechanics in thei increasingly complex interdisciplinary subject. Considered here are 1.) the mechanics of body movement; 2.) the flow external to an animal in motion, and the internal flow of blood, gas, water, and other body fluids; 3.) the stress and strain, and the strength, trauma, and tolerance limits of tissues and organs; and 4.) the growth and change in living organisms in response to biomechanical principles. A generous number of problems to be solved and a carefully selected list of references are especially useful and should help to stimulate thought and discussion among advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and others with an interest in bioengineering and medicine.

I’m reading this for “fun” yes. I’m actually reading it for preparation for my new project that I’ll be working on for my UROP during IAP.

Book #2: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Meet Ignatius J. Reilly, the hero of John Kennedy Toole’s tragicomic tale, A Confederacy of Dunces. This 30-year-old medievalist lives at home with his mother in New Orleans, pens his magnum opus on Big Chief writing pads he keeps hidden under his bed, and relays to anyone who will listen the traumatic experience he once had on a Greyhound Scenicruiser bound for Baton Rouge. (“Speeding along in that bus was like hurtling into the abyss.”) But Ignatius’s quiet life of tyrannizing his mother and writing his endless comparative history screeches to a halt when he is almost arrested by the overeager Patrolman Mancuso–who mistakes him for a vagrant–and then involved in a car accident with his tipsy mother behind the wheel. One thing leads to another, and before he knows it, Ignatius is out pounding the pavement in search of a job.

Book #3: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Pretty much my favorite book of all time. It’s probably my 17th time reading it. If you haven’t read it and you’re a fan of sci-fi, check it out from your local library. I just had a Levar Burton moment.

They’re apparently making a movie out of it. We’ll see.

And last on my list thus far:

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Now I just kinda bumped into this book but the title was enough to catch my eye, we’ll see if I can make it past page 10. If I’m not hooked by then, it just becomes an overdue book because I forget about it.

What do you guys recommend? These books will probably keep me occupied until I get back to MIT which isn’t that far away.

13 responses to “My Winter Break Reading List”

  1. Zi Wen Chen says:

    Is MIT having its Independent Studies Period right not? Anyway, reading books is definitely a great way to spend your vacation. Have a Happy Holidays!

  2. Bryan says:

    Hi Zi,

    IAP starts January 9th. I’ll be blogging about IAP and related events once I get back to MIT.

    – Bryan

  3. val says:

    Try Ensaio sobre a Cegueira by Saramago or La Naus

  4. nehalita says:

    “but don’t take my word for it”

    (hopefully you’ll get it. maybe i just watched reading rainbow too much as a child)

  5. SpeckJr says:

    Bigtime kudos for the RR reference!

  6. John Shen says:

    Now all you need is a multiphasic visor and you can also be a Chief Engineer on the baddest ship in the fleet, stardate 42000 or so.

  7. I haven’t actually read any of the Ender books, but if my brother hasn’t oversimplified things, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga is similar, but with an older protagonist.

  8. I was referring to Ender’s as a potential overimplification. I’ve read all the Vorkosigans and can vouch for their entertainment value. Sorry if that was unclear.

  9. Pam says:

    I LOVE Ender’s Game!!! If you have time and you haven’t read the sequels, you should definitely read those. They’re better. smile

  10. dally says:

    I absolutely love Orson Scott Card! You should try The Worthing Saga by him as well. It’s not in the Ender series, but fabulous nonetheless!

  11. sum1uno2 says:

    Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park is also good, if you’re looking for a good thriller. Ender’s Game is awesome!

  12. thekeri says:

    Ha. A Confederacy of Dunces is one of my favorite books, actually…

  13. Wenhao Sun says:

    Yeah, I’m also a big fan of Ender’s Game, but the problem I think with the movie will be the fact that Ender is only SIX YEARS OLD. I wonder what they’ll do for that… a real six year old? Hm.