What We Are Reading Today: The Shoe Shiners by Aishah Al-Dowsari

Updated 08 June 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: The Shoe Shiners by Aishah Al-Dowsari

  • This is an inspirational story that encourages readers to pursue their own dreams despite the hardships one may face

Masihoo Al-Ahziya (The Shoe Shiners), a novel by Aishah Al-Dowsari published in 2013, tells the story of three shoe shiners on the streets of Beirut, Lebanon, and the extraordinary experiences that change their lives for the better.

Ziyad, Walid and Sarkis embark on voyages of self-discovery, discovering their passions and true calling along the way, and work hard to make their dreams come true despite coming from a tough background of humiliation, torment and degradation because of their occupation. Ziyad, for example, leaves his family behind and travels in search of better job opportunities to Saudi Arabia, where he is introduced to a different culture, society and way of life.

This is an inspirational story that encourages readers to pursue their own dreams despite the hardships one may face.

It is also an interesting read because of its use of both the Saudi and Lebanese dialects, and evident cultural colors.


What We Are Reading Today: How to Fall Slower Than Gravity

Updated 14 November 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: How to Fall Slower Than Gravity

Author: Paul J. Nahin

Paul Nahin is a master at explaining odd phenomena through straightforward mathematics. In this collection of 26 intriguing problems, he explores how mathematical physicists think. Always entertaining, the problems range from ancient catapult conundrums to the puzzling physics of a very peculiar kind of glass called NASTYGLASS— and from dodging trucks to why raindrops fall slower than the rate of gravity. The questions raised may seem impossible to answer at first and may require an unexpected twist in reasoning, but sometimes their solutions are surprisingly simple. Nahin’s goal, however, is always to guide readers— who will need only to have studied advanced high school math and physics— in expanding their mathematical thinking to make sense of the curiosities of the physical world.
The problems are in the first part of the book and the solutions are in the second, so that readers may challenge themselves to solve the questions on their own before looking at the explanations. The problems show how mathematics — including algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus — can be united with physical laws to solve both real and theoretical problems.

Historical anecdotes woven throughout the book bring alive the circumstances and people involved in some amazing discoveries and achievements.
More than a puzzle book, this work will immerse you in the delights of scientific history while honing your math skills.
Paul J. Nahin is the author of many popular math books, including In Praise of Simple Physics, Dr. Euler’s Fabulous Formula, and An Imaginary Tale (all Princeton).