This book is a popular book about Elliptic curves. But, even though it is a popular book, it is still a math book – with formulas and proofs. As any math book, this book became harder as it went along. In fact by the time I got to the last couple of chapters, I started skimming the proofs – I did not have the gumption to spent the time and deeply understand them.
The expressed goal of the authors of Elliptic Tales was to explain enough mathematics so that the reader could in the end understand the BSD Conjecture. I think I sort understood it while I was reading the end of the book, but I would have hard time explaining it now.
However, despite these difficulties, there were large sections of this book that were very enjoyable to read. The early history of elliptic functions, for example, which goes back to the Greeks. I liked the chapters on projective geometry and how it was used to extend ranges of elliptic functions. I have never studied projective geometry and so all this was mysterious and new to me.
It is possible that I will come back and re-read sections of this book at some time in the future – mainly because there are some cryptographic algorithms based on elliptic functions and I’d like to be able to understand them better.