The Goldilocks Enigma is Paul Davies's eagerly awaited return to cosmology, the successor to his critically acclaimed bestseller The Mind of God. Here he tackles all the "big questions," including the biggest of them all: Why does the universe seem so well adapted for life?
In his characteristically clear and elegant style, Davies shows how recent scientific discoveries point to a perplexing fact: many different aspects of the cosmos, from the properties of the humble carbon atom to the speed of light, seem tailor-made to produce life. A radical new theory says it's because our universe is just one of an infinite number of universes, each one slightly different. Our universe is bio-friendly by accident -- we just happened to win the cosmic jackpot.
While this "multiverse" theory is compelling, it has bizarre implications, such as the existence of infinite copies of each of us and Matrix-like simulated universes. And it still leaves a lot unexplained. Davies believes there's a more satisfying solution to the problem of existence: the observations we make today could help shape the nature of reality in the remote past. If this is true, then life -- and, ultimately, consciousness -- aren't just incidental byproducts of nature, but central players in the evolution of the universe.
Whether he's elucidating dark matter or dark energy, M-theory or the multiverse, Davies brings the leading edge of science into sharp focus, provoking us to think about the cosmos and our place within it in new and thrilling ways.
Open the gate to Fairacre, America's favorite English village.
Having bid a last farewell to her pupils at Fairacre School, Miss Read settles down to what she hopes will be a relaxing retirement. It is not entirely so, of course. She finds herself as busy and in demand as ever: on holiday in Florence, helping with church and school affairs, and offering a kindly ear to her eccentric neighbors. With her teaching days behind her, Miss Read discovers her talent for writing, opening a new and exciting chapter in her life and bringing to a close her stories of life in Fairacre, the timeless English village beloved by millions of readers.
A mesmerizing, unsettling memoir about the ever-echoing nature of identity--written in vivid, blooming detail. --Gillian Flynn, best-selling author of Gone Girl On October 17, 2002, David MacLean woke up on a train platform in India with no idea who he was or why he was there. No money. No passport. No identity. Taken to a mental hospital by the police, MacLean then started to hallucinate so severely he had to be tied down. He could remember song lyrics, but not his family, his friends, or the woman he was told he loved. His illness, it turned out, was the result of the commonly prescribed antimalarial medication he had been taking. Upon his return to the United States, he struggled to piece together the fragments of his former life in a harrowing, absurd, and unforgettable journey back to himself. [MacLean] is an exceedingly entertaining psychotic . . . [A] raw, honest and beautiful memoir.--New York Times A deeply moving account of amnesia that explores the quandary of the self . . . MacLean has written a memoir that combines the evocative power of William Styrons Darkness Visible, the lyric subtlety of Michael Ondaatjes Running in the Family and the narrative immediacy of a Hollywood action film. He reminds us how we are all always trying to find a version of ourselves that we can live with.--Los Angeles Times DAVID STUART MACLEAN is a PEN/American Awardwinning writer. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Ploughshares, and on the radio program This American Life. He has a PhD from the University of Houston and is a cofounder of the Poison Pen Reading Series.
In early 18th-century Lisbon, Baltasar, a soldier who has lost his left hand in battle, falls in love with Blimunda, a young girl with visionary powers. From the day that he follows her home from the auto-da-fe where her mother is burned at the stake, the two are bound body and soul by love of an unassailable strength. A third party shares their supper that evening: Padre Bartolomeu Lourenco, whose fantasy is to invent a flying machine. As the Crown and the Church clash, they purse his impossible, not to mention heretical, dream of flight.
Among the file-cards for the living and the dead, one - of an apparently ordinary woman - will transform his life.
By day Senhor José labours in the labyrinthine stacks of the city's central registry. By night he ferrets for facts about the famous, compiling his own archive of births, deaths and marriages. One day he chances upon an index card of an ordinary woman whose details hold as much fascination for him as any celebrity's. Striking forth from the regimentation of his daily life, José starts to track the woman down, obsessively following a thread of clues in a bid to rescue her from an oblivion deeper than the grave.