For those who are new … we discuss books. I list what I’m reading, and people comment with what they’re reading. Sometimes, on Sundays, I post a special edition on a particular genre or topic.
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I’ve written some book reviews on Yahoo Voices:
Book reviews on Yahoo
Nothing this week
Cooler Smarter: Practical tips for low carbon living by the scientists at Union of Concerned Scientists, a great group. These folk make sense, concentrating on the changes you can make that have the biggest impact with the least effort.
Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman, most famous for his work with the late Amos Tversky, is one of the leading psychologists of the times. Here, he posits that our brains have two systems: A fast one and a slow one. Neither is better, but they are good at different things. This is a brilliant book: Full of insight and very well written, as well.
What hath God wrought? by Daniel Walker Howe. Subtitled “The transformation of America 1815-1848. I am reading this with the History group at GoodReads. This is very well written, and does a good job especially with coverage of the treatment of Blacks and Native Americans.
The hard SF renaissance ed. by David G. Hartwell. A large anthology of “hard” SF from the 90’s and 00’s. I think Hartwell takes SF a bit too seriously, but the stories are good.
On politics: A history of political thought from Herodotus to the present by Alan Ryan. What the subtitle says – a history of political thought.
Far from the Tree: Parents, children and the search for identity by Andrew Solomon.
The title comes from the phrase “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. This book is about apples (children) who did fall far from the tree (parents). This book got amazing reviews and it grabbed me from the opening:
“There is no such thing as reproduction. When two people decide to have a baby, they engage in an act of production, and the widespread use of the word reproduction for this activity, with its implication that two people are but braiding themselves together, is at best a euphemism to comfort prospective parents before they get in over their heads”
I don’t agree with all that Solomon says, but this is a book to make you think about deep questions of humanity.
Rayburn: A Biography by D. B. Hardeman. A very admiring look at Sam Rayburn, former speaker of the House. Hardeman has an odd but readable style, mostly in that he overuses this structure “the” (adjective) (state adjective) form (e.g. “the crusty Texan”, “the wily Missourian”) to an extent that’s almost comical.
He, she and it http://www.powells.com/biblio/… by Marge Percy. Really only a couple pages into it, but it’s near future dystopian SF set on Earth.
A reread of Ringworld by Larry Niven, an SF story about a world that is a ring around a sun.