Love at Absolute Zero

Love at Absolute Zero

by Christopher Meeks

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940012436825
Publisher: White Whisker Books
Publication date: 09/17/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Christopher Meeks's first novel "The Brightest Moon of the Century" made the list of three book critics’ Ten Best Book of 2009. He has had three full-length plays mounted in Los Angeles, and one, "Who Lives?" had been nominated for five Ovation Awards, Los Angeles’ top theatre prize. Mr. Meeks teaches English at Santa Monica College, fiction writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and Children’s Literature at the Art Center College of Design.

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Love at Absolute Zero 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
gincam More than 1 year ago
With some books, you can sense in advance that you are in for a reader's treat, that you will be taken outside your normal reading zone and sent on an involving and entertaining journey through words. "Love at Absolute Zero", by Christopher Meeks, is just such a book. I knew that I would love the hero, Gunnar Gunderson, and that I would be captivated by his adventure of self-enlightenment. What I didn't know, since this was my first read from Chris Meeks, was that the author would blow me away with his skill as a storyteller. Since Gunnar is a physicist, his thought processes center around science and logic. He even uses physics to rationalize human behavior and sexuality. For Gunnar, this is not just his profession, it's the very air he breathes. It is also very much a coping mechanism. Gunnar is not just a brainy geek. He's also a man with a good heart and a longing for love and companionship. We could not really empathize with Gunnar if we didn't understand his physics-patterned psyche, so Chris Meeks makes the science reachable for the reader. When Gunnar lectures his students, gives a speech, or discusses physics with anyone who will listen, the voice you hear is really the author making his hero more accessible to the reader. You cannot read Gunnar's misadventures without finding him endearing, admiring his intelligence, and hoping that he will finally get it right and score his happy ending. When Gunnar reaches a career and life milestone, his university tenure, he decides it's time to bring his personal life up to speed and find his perfect mate. Through scientific rationalization, Gunnar decides that he can make himself over and secure his soul mate in just three days. What he puts himself through to achieve his goal is both alarming and hilarious. I laughed out loud while reading this book, and I truly enjoyed the sense of self-ironic humor which pervaded the story line. While Gunnar was sure of his science, he often stumbled in his personal life. He was a successful man, attractive in his own way, and he was not without sexual experience. However, he was vulnerable, and when he was hurt and acted in ways totally unlike his true persona, then we hurt with him. There is a wonderful underlying wisdom in this book, an understanding of human nature and how it continually shoots itself in the foot when it is already on crutches. I very much look forward to reading more works by Chris Meeks so that I can learn things like this: "Don't dismiss the one-armed librarian." A highly recommended read. Review Copy Gratis White Whisker Books
ilobben More than 1 year ago
Without doubt, Christopher Meeks has done an amazing job with his book "Love at Absolute Zero". The story is powerful and magnificent. Mixing humor and love with science, his novel exudes wonderment and is a joy to read. The author is highly imaginative and writes with a ring of authenticity that makes for a compelling read.  Although I’m a person not particularly interested in physics, this book actually made it seem exciting, and that alone is a magnificent contribution on the part of the author.  Once I started reading the book, I was not able to put it down until I finished. This is something that has only happened to me with a handful of books. I loved the book so much I bought five copies to give to family and friends for Christmas! 
TheStephanieLoves More than 1 year ago
Love At Absolute Zero by Christopher Meeks Release Date: July 22nd, 2011 Publisher: White Whisker Books Page Count: 304 Source: From author, via Bewitching Book Tours for review, as part of the Love At Absolute Zero virtual tour Love At Absolute Zero is the story of Gunnar Gunderson, a 32-year-old physicist at the University of Wisconsin. The moment he's given tenure at the university, he can only think of one thing: finding a wife. This causes his research to falter. With his two partners, Gunnar is in a race against MIT to create new forms of matter called Bose-Einstein condensates, which exist only near absolute zero. To meet his soulmate within three days -- that's what he wants and all time he can carve out -- he and his team are using the scientific method, to riotous results. What Stephanie Thinks: When it comes to the social scene, particularly the female social scene, Gunnar Gunderson has never had the luck. He likes women, he's sure -- in fact, he likes them a lot -- but having grown up a dorky little science geek, as an adult, his charisma is slightly lacking to say the least. As a character, I absolutely adore Gunnar! He's perfectly awkward and well-intentioned and adorable. I could definitely relate to some of his mishaps -- how his life never plays out the way he imagines it. Just because he's a physics professor doesn't mean he's not imaginative. And in a sad way, I learned, just because he is thirty-two, a grown man, doesn't mean he's not naïve. One too many times, he's had his heart fooled, which may be the bane of his inability to score. But he needs game, he discovers. Call it a mid-life crisis, but he needs game -- he needs a woman -- and he needs her now. With the help of supportive (even if ludicrous) fellow-science-nerd friends, and a rock-solid mom and sis, Gunnar learns that the true meaning of love cannot be defined and planned accordingly; that the true meaning of love lies subjectively within the individual, and that it never, especially in the beginning, plays out how you will expect it to. Meeks's writing, I feel, isn't highly laudable. I admire how he can incorporate humor and physics together into a love story (now that I think about it, that feat itself is pretty impressive), but the style is a little stiff, doesn't flow very well. Nothing that keeps me up at night. The story's very readable, though; I didn't have any trouble getting through it, and didn't have to force myself to keep turning pages. If you're in for a rather untraditional happily-ever-after love tale with a little bit of science geek innuendo and a whole lot of genuine emotion -- something we rarely see from the male perspective, but what I think Meeks does an incredible job at conveying -- then pick up Love At Absolute Zero to give it a try! Stephanie Loves: "'The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly one you can never have." Radical Rating: 8 hearts-Would recommend to lots of really good friends.
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
The concept of marrying science and passion as the topic for a novel is a challenging one at best. And that is exactly what Christopher Meeks has succeeded in meeting in his latest novel LOVE AT ABSOLUTE ZERO. Meeks seems to mature literarily by leaps and bounds with each new book he pens. This reader became enamored of his short stories but then that little contagious virus mutated into the novel format, and where most writers begin with the big works and then distill to short stories later (if they are able to move into that challenging realm at all), Meeks appears to have gleaned the technical virtuosity of creating characters in a minimum of space and then unfold those characters in response to the movement of the landscape of a large novel with such aplomb that he is likely to continue on his climb to one of America's more important writers this decade. Gunnar Gunderson is a cerebrally elite physicist who at age 32 has already gained tenure at his University of Wisconsin Madison campus, teaching and immersed in a research project with partners Carl and Harry beginning with the Bose-Einstein condensate and moving toward reaching the ultra cold - Absolute Zero. Gunnar Gunderson is also relationship challenged, hopelessly naïve about affairs of the heart - an unpracticed but very sweet nerd whose preoccupation with physics has subsumed his filling out his life with love. Yet when confronted by his partners, 'He knew the way to find the right person. He should use the same approach that had always served him well: the scientific method. Use the scientific method for love.' His supportive partners disagree; 'Attraction and connection can't be explained anymore than sunspots....It's about chaos'. But Gunnar's hypothesis is that to attract someone he had to emphasize the laws of attraction: sending physical, mental, and genetic healthy signals. And from there the book takes flight on Gunnar's concept that he has three days in which to find the girl of his dreams. He decides to try ScurryDating and in order to physically become everything a girl would want he gets his teeth cleaned, then orthodontia, then hair styling and a wardrobe change and he is off to a social media convocation where he will be paired with potential dates - surely in time for his three day deadline. But fate enters the picture and he is sidetracked by finding an attraction to one of his students, in seeing an old girlfriend Ursula who though paired at the moment might just be the one - until he meets (steps onto) Kara, a Danish redhead bombshell visiting her old girlfriend. Gunnar experiences passion and in the two weeks that Kara has before her flight back to Denmark they have a passionate affair, fall in love/lust, and make plans for Gunnar to move to Denmark where he will do a sabbatical at the highly touted Physics Institute there. Kara leaves, Ursula returns from a nursing stint in Arizona now free of her prior boyfriend and ready for Gunnar, but Gunnar is committed to his Danish pastry - until of course he flies to Denmark and discovers that Kara has fallen out of love with Gunnar and into love with another. So Gunnar is stuck in Denmark sans Kara and faces more and more alterations to his scientific hypothesis about love. The carousel keeps rotating and Gunnar seems destined to miss that golden ring and when Gunnar returns to Wisconsin he reconnects with Ursula and comes to the realization 'I tell my introductory students about certain laws of physics
p_linehan on LibraryThing 17 days ago
I really liked this story. Working in an academic environment I have definitely met people like Gunnar, who are so absorbed in their work that they forget everyting else. There are some really funny scenes. For example, when Gunnar tries speed dating he ends up alienating all his prospective dates by not knowing the right thing to say. The book turns serious when Gunnar arranges to go to Denmark to be with the girl he thinks that he loves, only to find that the whole thing falls apart. The story is strongest at the end when Gunnar does find the girl of his dreams and chooses true love. I highlhy recommend this story for a really good read!
westcott on LibraryThing 17 days ago
I got this from Early Reviewer. As I started to read this book, it started to fall into the box of a Romantic Comedy, competently written, but not really noteworthy. It follows a singleminded scientist whose mind is suddenly fixated on love/lust rather than physics. As in any rom-com, there have to be complications before the relationship can settle in. Here, the main one is Gunnar (the protagonist) and the social awkwardness that comes from his scientific mind and methods for dating. About half way through the book, though, things take an odd turn. Rather than the standard light, inconsequential hurdles for Gunnar to leap, the book tives him more than he can take and gets substantially darker. I don't want to give away too many plot details, but it felt a little odd to go from the fluffier descriptions of speed dating early on to the bleak stretch that it hits in the middle. Eventually, it does get back on the romantic comedy tracks, so don't worry that it will be too much of a downer or anything, but it wasn't just light romance the whole way through. I think the darker part helped the book, partially because I'm not generally a romantic comedy fan, but also because it gave me more reason to sympathize with and care about Gunnar. Also, it tried to look at the connection between his work (physics studying extremely low temperatures) and his life. That was one of the things that made this book stick out to me on the ER list. Some of my favorite authors (David Foster Wallace, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon) have incorporated science in their books in various ways. This is not as well done as that, but was a nice attempt to add some more interest and to make his occupation more than just a way to label him as a nerd.
gincam on LibraryThing 17 days ago
With some books, you can sense in advance that you are in for a reader's treat, that you will be taken outside your normal reading zone and sent on an involving and entertaining journey through words. "Love at Absolute Zero", by Christopher Meeks, is just such a book. I knew that I would love the hero, Gunnar Gunderson, and that I would be captivated by his adventure of self-enlightenment. What I didn't know, since this was my first read from Chris Meeks, was that the author would blow me away with his skill as a storyteller. Since Gunnar is a physicist, his thought processes center around science and logic. He even uses physics to rationalize human behavior and sexuality. For Gunnar, this is not just his profession, it's the very air he breathes. It is also very much a coping mechanism. Gunnar is not just a brainy geek. He's also a man with a good heart and a longing for love and companionship. We could not really empathize with Gunnar if we didn't understand his physics-patterned psyche, so Chris Meeks makes the science reachable for the reader. When Gunnar lectures his students, gives a speech, or discusses physics with anyone who will listen, the voice you hear is really the author making his hero more accessible to the reader. You cannot read Gunnar's misadventures without finding him endearing, admiring his intelligence, and hoping that he will finally get it right and score his happy ending. When Gunnar reaches a career and life milestone, his university tenure, he decides it's time to bring his personal life up to speed and find his perfect mate. Through scientific rationalization, Gunnar decides that he can make himself over and secure his soul mate in just three days. What he puts himself through to achieve his goal is both alarming and hilarious. I laughed out loud while reading this book, and I truly enjoyed the sense of self-ironic humor which pervaded the story line. While Gunnar was sure of his science, he often stumbled in his personal life. He was a successful man, attractive in his own way, and he was not without sexual experience. However, he was vulnerable, and when he was hurt and acted in ways totally unlike his true persona, then we hurt with him. There is a wonderful underlying wisdom in this book, an understanding of human nature and how it continually shoots itself in the foot when it is already on crutches. I very much look forward to reading more works by Chris Meeks so that I can learn things like this: "Don't dismiss the one-armed librarian." A highly recommended read. Review Copy Gratis White Whisker Books
richardderus on LibraryThing 17 days ago
The Book Report: Gunnar Gunderson, physicist and dweeb, looks for love and finds it.My Review: "It is impossible not to like Gunnar Gunderson," says critic Sam Sattler of Book Chase (pulled directly from the back cover of the book). I am here to tell you that it is indeed possible, nay incumbent upon, the critical reader to dislike dull, nerdly, clueless Gunnar. A Candide manqué, a feebly drawn Bertie Wooster sans Jeeves, Gunnar elicited in me no strong desires. He made me laugh exactly once: The author describes Gunnar in the throes of his errrmmm crisis of completion as seeing A CHECKERBOARD! I split my sides. A checkerboard! Fountains of feathers, explosions of fireworks from deep oceans of perfume, celestial travel...I've read some fun and funny descriptions of what folks see when aaahhhmmm arriving at the station after the choo-choo ride, but this one...!But most of the book is just a litany of Gunnar's ghastly gormlessness. His own mother can't be bothered most of the time. His father's death brings forth in Gunnar only the desire to see if he's got a hospital gown on in the deathbed. The charming lassie who ends up, inexplicably to me, responding to this wet mass of protein with favor got the strongest response of anyone in the whole book from me: "NOOO! Save yourself, you're too good for him!"Which, come to think of it, was also my reaction to my daughter's first husband. Are all srtraight women this sucky at choosing men?
BookDivasReads on LibraryThing 17 days ago
Is it possible to use science to explain and find love? And if it's possible, can the love and the researcher survive? Physicist Gunnar Gunderson is on a quest to determine the answers to these questions in Love At Absolute Zero by Christopher Meeks.In many ways Gunnar is very naive about love and relationships. At age 32 he's only been in one serious relationship and that was broken off by his girlfriend. After receiving tenure he has decided the next logical step is to have a wife and he's determined to go about this is a logical manner using the Scientific method to aid him on his quest. What follows are a series of sad but comical incidents. Gunnar is told the gap in his front teeth may be off-putting so he decides on braces, after having his teeth whitened. The naivety comes into play with his expectation that his teeth will be straightened in just a few days because he's given himself a deadline of three days to find love and a wife. He then tries speed-dating and misunderstands what women want and is in turn misunderstood. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on one's point of view, Gunnar does find someone and falls in love. The only problem is that the love of his life is only visiting from Denmark and must return home. The solution is for Gunnar to follow her and follow her he does after a few months. The only thing missing is a sidekick a la Lucy and Ethel from the I Love Lucy show for the comedy and tragedy to be complete. Gunnar seems to be a mix of the absent-minded professor and Lucy. He is an extremely likeable, if not lovable, character that is looking for love in the wrong places. It isn't until near-tragedy strikes and Gunnar is faced with the possible death of his mother that he realizes that companionship and love was right in front of his face. Love At Absolute Zero is a fun but slow read that gets bogged down at times by the scientific discussions.
Sean191 on LibraryThing 17 days ago
Way to go early review program! On a streak with books worth reading!Love at Absolute Zero is a charming, funny, sweet read. I was a little skeptical when I placed it on my list of requests fearing it would be too "chick lit," but if anything it may lean slightly more towards a guy's book, but if so, just barely. The protagonist Gunnar Gunderson is likeable and not quite hopeless as a romantic. Any character popping up generally ends up redeemed as the story progresses and Gunnar's understanding of women and love deepens. Adding to all that, there's just enough science thrown in, that I felt a little smarter by story's end without feeling as if I read a dissertation. I gained just enough knowledge to be dangerous at a dinner party.Easiest way to categorize the book - it's Big Bang Theory meets ....well....print? Christopher Meeks does a good job with the characters, keeps the story moving and entertaining and I'll be looking into his other works.
l_manning on LibraryThing 17 days ago
Gunnar Gunderson has a lot going for him. His research is exciting, and he's just gotten tenure. He feels like something is missing though- love. Gunnar decides the best way to find a mate is to take a scientific approach. If it's good enough for physics, surely it will work equally well for love too? From Wisconsin to Denmark though, he learns that love isn't as easy to figure out. Even with some major missteps, will Gunnar be able to find love? Can finding love coincide with good research? This was a very interesting book. Gunnar was a pretty funny character. Being a somewhat of a scientist myself, I've know lots of guys like Gunnar. Super smart but not so great with social situations. Naturally, once Gunnar decided he needed a wife, he threw himself into the process as readily as he would any experiment. His friends and fellow scientists were also great characters. They seem like they'd be pretty fun to hang around. Gunnar makes rash decisions when it comes to love, but luckily he learns and grows from all his trials. I found the scientific approach to love to be hilarious. Gunnar was endearing, and I found myself cheering him on. I definitely wanted him to succeed in his attempts at finding love. The book could read as a bit choppy and clinical at times, but I felt like this fit the atmosphere of the book. It helped me get a real feel for Gunnar's character. This book is very fun, and you get a great sense of how science and love can combine to make magic. Book provided for review.
LisaLynne on LibraryThing 17 days ago
Gunnar Gunderson is having his midlife crisis a little early. He¿s just gotten tenure and suddenly he decides he needs a wife. Gunnar¿s a scientist, not a romantic, so he decides to play to his strengths: he¿s going to use the scientific method to help him find a wife. Even better, he¿s going to find her in three days.What follows is a little over-the-top but definitely funny. If Gunnar and his wingmen can find a study or a research paper on what attracts women, Gunnar is going to try it out. Braces, eye surgery, speed dating ¿ he¿ll even talk to someone in the theater department.He¿s got just a short time to devote to his hunt for love. Gunnar and his colleagues are involved in very competitive research on Bose-Einstein condensates, which exist only at temperatures near absolute zero. Due to some logistical issues at the university, they have this little window of opportunity and they are determined to take advantage of it. Imagine a couple of the geeks you went to high school with, hanging out in the basement rec room, plotting ways to get girls to make out with them. Age them about 15 years, give them a couple of advanced degrees (but no advanced social skills) and you have Gunnar and his friends. They try to help, in their own way, but Gunnar is determined to make every step in the book.I loved the speed-dating part of the book. The urgency, trying to make an instant good impression, reading all the scientific studies to wear the right colors and say the right things¿and still managing to say the wrong thing, every time. Dating is horrible! No wonder he wants to get it over with in three days.I could also relate to his experiences in Denmark. I¿ve talked about my travels here before, and while I love seeing new places, it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Trying to deal with a simple thing like ordering dinner when you aren¿t 100% positive you know what you¿re ordering? Scary stuff. But he digs right in and gives it a try, instead of slinking home a failure.All in all, it¿s a fun book about the crazy stuff we do to find love. I could applaud Gunnar¿s efforts even as I was thinking ¿this is never gonna work!¿ It¿s tough to try and connect with someone and it¿s scary to put yourself out there, so you can¿t help but root for him, even when you think he¿s nuts. Using the scientific method isn¿t any crazier than buying cologne with pheromones or counting on your zodiac sign to determine your compatibility. Gunnar should give hope to geeks everywhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry but I found this book to be long and drawn out, filled with information I didn't care to know about. I found myself skimming through it at times. I honestly only made it half way through the 1163 pages because I forced myself to read it hoping it would get better...it didn't. I don't know how it got such good reviews, I can't say that I would reccommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THHernandez More than 1 year ago
With a fair amount of critical acclaim and a number of awards, I had high expectations for Love at Absolute Zero. But even if the bar hadn’t been set quite so high, I’d still have been disappointed. The story moves so slowly, there aren’t enough really funny moments to make up for it and it’s almost completely devoid of any heat which seems to fit, considering the title. But after hearing how laugh-out-loud funny it is and that it had been a finalist and winner of numerous awards, I did expect more. I expected to at least smile a few times. Plot In addition to being too slow, a jumble of events take place that don’t seem to really move the plot forward. I never really felt like Gunnar’s character evolved all that much as the story progressed. I kept waiting for the epiphany, that sudden realization of the thing he needed to do in order to overcome his flaw and finally get the girl of his dreams. Instead, his ideal girl seemed to be situationally-based. The girl he wanted was whichever one seemed to want him at the moment. So rather than Gunnar really taking control of the situation, he let the situation control his actions and his emotions. Characters Gunnar is not particularly likeable. He’s awkward, which can be okay, but he lacks  the bumbling endearing qualities that normally accompany an awkward protagonist that we also love. I didn’t really care if Gunnar achieved his goal or not. I was pretty apathetic about him and the story by the end of the book. Bottom Line It wasn’t so bad that I didn’t want to finish it, but I can’t recommend it either. It plods along with less than likeable characters and never once made me laugh, despite its promises to do so.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't love this book, it was just kinda...there. I liked Gunnar - adorably awkward, charming and clueless. For being 1000 pages I felt like the development was a bit choppy and the end was rushed. He got the girl so abruptly all I could think was - what about his sabbatical and guest position. It was just...odd. not a favorite
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
Gunnar Gunderson just wants to find love. Being a physicist, he tries to do it scientifically. Will he find love this way? That's what he hopes to achieve. This is a boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-finds-hope love story, with a lot of science and laughter thrown in. Gunnar is a likable character and the story is enjoyable with bright moments and some sad ones thrown in. I did chuckle at times, so that means I enjoyed the book.
zibilee- More than 1 year ago
This humorous and eclectic story of a physicist and his pragmatic search for love is Meeks' most involving and enthralling work yet. A deeply resonant read that manages to be funny without sacrificing its gravity. Highly recommended!
l_manning More than 1 year ago
Gunnar Gunderson has a lot going for him. His research is exciting, and he's just gotten tenure. He feels like something is missing though- love. Gunnar decides the best way to find a mate is to take a scientific approach. If it's good enough for physics, surely it will work equally well for love too? From Wisconsin to Denmark though, he learns that love isn't as easy to figure out. Even with some major missteps, will Gunnar be able to find love? Can finding love coincide with good research? This was a very interesting book. Gunnar was a pretty funny character. Being a somewhat of a scientist myself, I've know lots of guys like Gunnar. Super smart but not so great with social situations. Naturally, once Gunnar decided he needed a wife, he threw himself into the process as readily as he would any experiment. His friends and fellow scientists were also great characters. They seem like they'd be pretty fun to hang around. Gunnar makes rash decisions when it comes to love, but luckily he learns and grows from all his trials. I found the scientific approach to love to be hilarious. Gunnar was endearing, and I found myself cheering him on. I definitely wanted him to succeed in his attempts at finding love. The book could read as a bit choppy and clinical at times, but I felt like this fit the atmosphere of the book. It helped me get a real feel for Gunnar's character. This book is very fun, and you get a great sense of how science and love can combine to make magic. Book provided for review.