The New York Times Book of Mathematics

Book of Mathematics

In our recent arrivals this week is The New York Times Book of Mathematics, edited by Gina Kolata. It’s a collection of some of the best math writings from the newspaper’s extensive archives. From the Goodreads description:

From the archives of the world’s most famous newspaper comes a collection of its very best writing on mathematics. Big and informative, “The New York Times Book of Mathematics” gathers more than 110 articles written from 1892 to 2010 that cover statistics, coincidences, chaos theory, famous problems, cryptography, computers, and many other topics. Edited by Pulitzer Prize finalist and senior “Times” writer Gina Kolata, and featuring renowned contributors such as James Gleick, William L. Laurence, Malcolm W. Browne, George Johnson, and John Markoff, it’s a must-have for any math and science enthusiast!

Our price is $9.00.

What If?

What If? by Randall Munroe

New on our shelves this week is a nice fresh hardcover of What if?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. If you’re not familiar with xkcd, this is a perfect introduction to it! From the book flap:

From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, surprising answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask.

Millions of people visit each week to read Randall Munroe’s iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have an enormous, dedicated following, as do his deeply researched answers to his fans’ strangest questions. The queries he receives range from merely odd to downright diabolical:

What if I took a swim in a spent nuclear fuel pool?

Could you build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns?

What if a Richter 15 earthquake hit New York City?

What would happen if someone’s DNA vanished?

If you enjoy exploring the hypothetical in an informative yet entertaining way, xkcd and this book are for you! Our price is $8.40.


Clive Cusslers latest Isaac Bell adventure, The Gangster


Welcome to Clive Cussler’s latest tale, The Gangster. Co-written with Justin Scott, this book is an Isaac Bell adventure. Isaac Bell is a private detective working for the legendary Van Dorn Agency (like the Pinkerton’s of that era).

The story starts with young Isaac and his friends joyriding in a steam locomotive. This is to suggest Mr. Bell’s daring-do and his mastery of the day’s technology. The adult Isaac Bell is a smooth but very tough character who is relentless in his pursuit of bad guys.

In The Gangster, the bad guys are an organization called the Black Hand. They do typical gangster stuff, such as collecting protection money, but are escalating to dynamite as the tool of choice to persuade victims to capitulate. A group of victims has banded together to pay Van Dorn to run the Black Hander’s to ground.

There is a lot of travel by rail since the technology of the day was the steel highway, and not the information highway. With Justin Scott, there are lots of steam engines, vintage automobiles, fledgling aircraft, and telegraphing. These are techno-thrillers, just not the technology you are used to.

The Cussler/Justin Scott Van Dorn Agency adventures are action packed, fast paced and full of glorious exploits on the part of Mr. Bell. The Van Dorn motto is “We Never Give Up”, and they never do.

The Gangster is the ninth Isaac Bell adventure from Cussler/Justin Scott. I love Cussler’s stuff and have read it all.



Vintage 1946 Sentinel tube radio

If you like old technology, this 1946 Sentinel tube radio might just be your cup of tea. Manufactured by Sentinel Radio Corporation of Evanston, IL, the IU285P features a superheterodyne tuner and operates on either 120VAC or batteries. The “P” in the model stands for portable. This one tunes the AM band and works very nicely.

The case is wood, covered with rich brown and tan faux leather and the carrying handle is stitched leather. There are three tan Bakelite controls knobs: volume, off/AC/batt, and the tuner.  Considering this radio is 69 years old, it’s previous owner took very good care of it. No nicks or scrapes.

Talk about nostalgia. Imagine your great grandparents boogieing around the kitchen to Toot, toot, Tootsie Good-by or Clear, Cool Water broadcast on KELO AM. World War two was over with the surrender of the Japanese in September of the previous year, the GI’s were coming home and there was plenty to celebrate. Own a bit of history.