Has anyone else read Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher Bach : An Eternal Golden Braid? jpez made a thread about it something like seven or eight years ago : http://www.cemetech.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=532&start=0

Anyways, I'm about halfway done, and I've been reading every day for about two weeks - this is a pretty meaty book. When I finish, I'll post my final thoughts, but so far this is what I think about it.

I love this book - I especially enjoy the discussions and analysis of the works of M. C. Escher and J. S. Bach and how they relate to diverse topics such as formal systems, typographical number theory, molecular biology, et cetera. It has all kinds of goodies, too, in the form of infinite recursive paradoxes, puns not only in content but in form/structure, and a bunch of other stuff. Some things that have stuck out to me quite a bit so far are the discussions of artificial intelligence and Zen Buddhism.

One more thing to point out - before or sometimes after every chapter, there's a fictional dialogue involving characters invented by Lewis Carroll that serves to bring greater understanding and enlightenment to the concepts illustrated in the associated chapter.

The whole thing is brilliant; let me refer you to a review by Google's Steve Yegge : https://sites.google.com/site/steveyegge2/ten-challenges (it's the first one on his list)
I've actually been reading this book as well! And I concur - it is a fantastic book. And I haven't finished it either - I calculated myself to be only 45% of the way through the book, if you count each page as equal. And I'd say I've been reading it for the past 3 or 4 weeks.

It is pretty meaty - it takes a lot to understand this, although it definitely comes easier if you're a programmer. I do like both the dialogues and the standard chapters, although I definitely think that the dialogues do vary in quality: sometimes they're really insightful and better than the chapter that follows, and sometimes you get lost and confused. The recursion dialogue is probably my favorite out of all I've read so far, although I was also struck by the Aunt/ant dialogue.

I remember my college professor for programming simply raving about this book - it was one of the four prizes for a programming contest in our class and clearly the best.
Just to point out, Achilles and the tortoise date back to ancient Greece.

But yes, this is a lovely book.
What I missed on the first read-through was that the dialogues are written "musically," reflective of distinct fugal styles. It makes you hear them differently.
Yeah, being a musician, and especially fond of/familiar with Bach anyways, I really enjoy the parallels between dialogue structure and musical form.
Just finished! Took me four weeks to the day. Freaking long, but totally worth it. Highly recommended to anyone and everyone.
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