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im probably going to go into the field of optics hence born and wolf is an often quoted choice (perahps the optical coherence text that wolf wrote afterwards also), however I've looked at it, and i dislike the typesetting quite a lot (petty i know but intend to read them) and it is somewhat dated. any other recomendations with the comprehensiveness of born and wolf would be good. but I am also thinking i would like to develop my interests in other areas. like a nice GR text (ideally MTW but that's expensive and impractical, i mean have you seen the size of her!) and definitely a good rigorous maths text with applicability to physics, that doesn't necessarily assume i have the full mathematical foundations of a maths UG. I have done some group theory and would be interested in pursuing that further, but i always felt at the time my lack of familiarity with vector spaces was a weakness (with obvious application to QM).

so here's a shortlist:

1) born and wolf optics (or similiar, perhaps optical coherence by wolf and the other guy)

2)principles of QM by shankar

3)whittaker and watson a first course in analysis (this was recomended by a frined who does maths. he worships it frankly)

other maybes are MTW, courant, or the morse and freschbach.

or maybe scrap the lot and invest in feynmann lectures complete...

any input is welcome. bang for buck is a consideration. if i can get two smaller concise books that are really good rather than one big book with a reputation I am always interested.

to put it in another context, during my UG course me and physics had a falling out, but i starting loving it again about halfway through last year. however passing with a decent grade by that point doesn't necessarily mean you actually learn stuff, and I've played the game quite alot. I want to go back and fill in the many gaps in my knowledge where i glossed over stuff just to pass an exam.