Wednesday, 18 June 2014

the German Enlightenment

Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann (2005)

"That was the moment when he grasped that nobody wanted to use their minds. People wanted peace. They wanted to eat and sleep and have other people be nice to them. What they didn't want to do was think."

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was a German scientist and adventurer who mapped Latin-America. He also collaborated and corresponded with another great German scientist, Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855). Gauss was nicknamed the Prince of Mathematics and he also did great things for physics. 

Kehlmann has written an exciting and accessible account of their friendship and Humboldt's travels. Yet I felt that it should be something more to this book, because it felt too light and easy. I think it is because I never got mesmerised and involved with the story as I usually do, but this time I never really connected with the story. And three days later I don't remember much of the book. Which is weird, because it should be right up my alley.

And now it sounds like the book is awful, but it's definitely not! I enjoyed it there and then and I definitely learnt a lot about Germany at that time in history. I just wish it was more to it.

I picked this up after reading Rose-Marie's glowing review, and I read it for Ingalill's biography reading circle where this round's theme was crossovers.

2 comments:

  1. Hadde akkurat samme opplevelse av denne, fort lest, fort glemt. Skjønner ikke helt hva den har gjort for å fortjene 1001status.

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  2. Blæh!
    Jeg ble litt skuffet nå. Hadde sett for meg denne som en slags tys catch22, ei gulrot for alt det andre jeg må tvinge meg gjennom først. Tror jeg får gå tilbake å lese Roses omtale - og glemme at dere to eksisterer - ihvertfall blir det tvingende nødvendig å anta at dere ikke skjønner bæra av krysslitteratur og jeg har rett - dvs hvis jeg liker den.
    Hvis ikke får jeg bare komme krypende tilbake med ydmyke unskyldninger.
    Den skulle jo være så bra???

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