What We Are Reading Today: The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

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Updated 14 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

“The Forty Rules of Love,” written by Elif Shafak, is truly a life-changing book. I have found myself quoting and referencing it in daily life.

The central theme of the book is Sufism and preaching the religion of love. The main character, Shams of Tabriz, is a wandering dervish, while Rumi is a great scholar.

The way the book is written, the readers live the events mentioned through many of the important characters. Readers also live through the story of Ella, a middle-aged women living in 2008, with children and a husband seemingly living the perfect life.

Then she starts reading the story of Shams and Rumi, and while reading sees shifts in her own life and discovers herself. Throughout the book the readers are told the 40 rules covering aspects of life that readers of all ethnicities and backgrounds will find helpful and applicable.

The book carries so much weight that after reading a particular chapter I had to put it down and absorb what I had just read, taking longer than I would have with any other book.

The book is full of lessons while telling a beautiful story of all kinds of love. The popularity of the book makes it easier to find in bookstores. Jarir Bookstore almost always has a copy of the novel. The audiobook on audible.com is also beautifully read out — perfect for those wanting to delve into the story but don’t have enough time to read.

What We Are Reading Today: Taming the Unknown

Updated 13 July 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Taming the Unknown

Edited by Victor J.Katz and Karen Hunger Parshall

What is algebra? For some, it is an abstract language of x’s and y’s. For mathematics majors and professional mathematicians, it is a world of axiomatically defined constructs like groups, rings, and fields.

Taming the Unknown considers how these two seemingly different types of algebra evolved and how they relate. Victor Katz and Karen Parshall explore the history of algebra, from its roots in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, China, and India, through its development in the medieval Islamic world and medieval and early modern Europe, to its modern form in the early 20th century.

Defining algebra originally as a collection of techniques for determining unknowns, the authors trace the development of these techniques from geometric beginnings in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and classical Greece.

They show how similar problems were tackled in Alexandrian Greece, in China, and in India, then look at how medieval Islamic scholars shifted to an algorithmic stage, which was further developed by medieval and early modern European mathematicians.

With the introduction of a flexible and operative symbolism in the 16th and 17th centuries, algebra entered into a dynamic period characterized by the analytic geometry that could evaluate curves represented by equations in two variables, thereby solving problems in the physics of motion.

This new symbolism freed mathematicians to study equations of degrees higher than two and three, ultimately leading to the present abstract era.