Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

What are you reading? April 3, 2013

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.

If you like to trade books, try bookmooch

I’ve written some book reviews on Yahoo Voices:

Book reviews on Yahoo

Just finished

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.

Protector by Larry Niven  Another novel set in the same universe as the Ringworld novels

Now reading

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.

On politics: A history of political thought from Herodotus to the present by Alan Ryan. What the subtitle says – a history of political thought.  

He, she and it by Marge Percy. Near future dystopian SF set on Earth.

Measurement by Paul Lockhart. About mathematics and, especially, how it should be taught and learned. Lockhart is wonderful; his first book A Mathematician’s Lament was, in my view, the best book on teaching math ever written.

Just started

Standing in another man’s grave Another in the Rebus series of Scottish noir crime novels. Here, Rebus is investigating a series of girls who have gone missing over a number of years.

Weird Life by David Toomey. Life is weird. But, in this book, Toomey discusses weird living things and even weirder things that might be living somewhere else; that is, unusual life on Earth and the possibilities for life elsewhere. Recent years have seen a great expansion in the regions of Earth that are known to have life: Inside of rocks; far under the sea; in places previously thought too hot, too cold, too dry or too acidic for life to exist. Then Toomey goes farther and discusses life that might not be based on DNA or even on carbon. Fascinating and accessible.

The Butcher’s Boy by Thomas Perry.  A hit man and the attempts to find and stop him.

Visions of Infinity by Ian Stewart. A nontechnical look at 11 famous problems of math. So far, it’s a little too nontechnical for my taste.

Woodrow Wilson by John Cooper, Jr. A fairly admiring look at Wilson.


  1. DeniseVelez

    have more time during the summer months to indulge for pleasure.

    Currently reading

    Double Passage: The Lives of Caribbean Migrants Abroad and Back Home, by George Gmelch

    The blurb:

    Based mainly on oral histories of 13 Barbadians who migrated to Britain and North America, this book argues cogently that the experiences of these migrants and the forces influencing them are more diverse than most studies assume. Gmelch ( The Irish Tinkers: Urbanization of an Itinerant People ) writes smoothly, first explaining the history and culture of Barbados, then analyzing patterns of West Indian migration. Clearly a sensitive interviewer, Gmelch has elicited insightful stories: one migrant to England found Africans more prejudiced than whites; another returned with a newfound sense of her black identity, and a student in Canada made a lifelong friend of a classmate. Particularly interesting are the thoughts of leading Barbadian journalist John Wickham, who returned to decry his country’s “rampant nationalism,” and of calypso musician The Mighty Gabby, who gained his political education in Manhattan’s garment district and returned home a protest singer. Gmelch concludes by exploring trends in his subjects’ experiences; unlike most social scientists, he concludes that return migrants do contribute new ideas to their home society.

    Too often the discussion of immigrants and immigration here in the U.S. overlooks West Indians, the emphasis is always on Latinos. It’s also interesting to explore return migration.

    Decided that students will enjoy reading the ethnographic narratives. Gmelch’s work is great for college undergraduate students.

  2. Diana in NoVa

    Good morning, plf, like the sound of the books you’re reading!  Must try to get a copy of “Cooler smarter.”

    I’m reading a bio of Ann Richards, Let the People In. About to start Widow’s Tears by Susan Wittig Albers.

    Gotta run, but have a good day!

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