So astute analysis of my blog would note a distinct lack of book commentary over the last few months. There's a very good reason for that, which if you all settle down in nap position, maybe Unca Tim will say on.

I read Godel, Escher, Bach - An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter. It's a really good book and I'm glad I've read it, but it has been my only non-magazine reading material for six months or so. It's DENSE - I was lucky to read one chapter a weekend. It's hard to say whether I'd recommend it though - I think you need be a pretty logical thinker and interested in the field of AI. And when I say "pretty logical thinker" we're talking mathematician or software engineer. A lot of the book is formal mathematical proofs, which take a certain careful and pedantic approach to process. This is reall a shame because it has a lot of inside that is very artistic, and valuable to art folks - but I don't think many of them will slog through the math-think.

The connection between the three individuals named (Spoiler alert, I guess :-)) is in the author's view these three individuals all incorporate "strange loops" or self-references into their works. Godel proved number theory was incomplete, by making a statement *IN NUMBER THEORY* that said it could not be proved in number theory. Escher had hands that drawselves, halls of mirrors, and stairs that went up in order to meet themselves coming down. Bach used many little tricks in his fugues to play on the structure of the piece itself, playing the them upside down, inverted in time, and so-forth.

Hofstadter goes on to postulate that the heart of consciousness is such a "strange loop" - that human brains can build models of the world that *include* themselves. We can't do that in code, but maybe being able to do so is key in being conscious.

Anyway, it's great, but a difficult slog.

After that I took a literary vacation and read Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and Bruce Sterling's The Zenith Angle. This weekend I started Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene which is quite good, and a much faster/easier read than GEB.