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July 10th, 2010
Your Summer Reading Assignment
We asked Yale faculty what you should bring to the beach. Here's what they recommended.
Dave Bercovici, Professor of Geology and Geophysics
One of my favorite modern authors is Neal Stephenson. His latter books tend to be long epics and any of them are fantastic: Cryptonomicon, The Baroque Cycle, and Anathem are all 1,000 pages or more each. However, one of his earlier books, The Diamond Age, is not so long and a great read. It's set in a highly socially stratified not-so-distant future Earth (mostly near Shanghai) where nanotechnology infuses all aspects of life. The main story line follows a poor young girl who accidentally acquires an e-book or "primer" that proceeds to educate her beyond her "status," and tells about her subsequent adventures and "rise." There are many other story lines, and Stephenson is really a master at creating his worlds and strange characters in incredible detail, while still moving the story along with a great tongue-in-cheek tone.
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