What are you reading? Feb 13, 2013

by: plf515

Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 06:23:03 AM EST



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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plf515 :: What are you reading? Feb 13, 2013
Just finished

A reread of Ringworld by Larry Niven, an SF story about a world that is a ring around a sun. Full review

Rayburn: A Biography by D. B. Hardeman. A very admiring look at Sam Rayburn, former speaker of the House.  Full Review

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.

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.

Just started
Dead Souls by Ian Rankin. The latest in the John Rebus series of Scottish noir crime novels. I like this series and this is one of the best in it. But it's dark dark dark. Child abusers, serial murderers etc.  

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At the moment I am reading a series of articles on Pleistocene (2.00 / 9)
extinctions.

Blue Jersey Mom - here's the latest theory (2.00 / 6)
on why the Pleistocene mammals went extinct: crappy diet.

Why They Went Extinct

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
Political Worlds of Women: Activism, Advocacy, and Governance in the Twenty-First Century (2.00 / 8)
by Mary Hawksworth

http://www.amazon.com/Politica...

really excellent book for those interested in global women's activism.  

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon


The Life of Pi (2.00 / 7)
Not sure what I expected of this book but it is an unusually good flavor.

Listened to the Life of Pi as an audiobook (2.00 / 5)
and loved it (although it seemed v-e-r-y long). The movie was also good, although it really didn't sync up well in terms of the ending, which was much more raw and visceral in the [audio]book. Enjoy the book.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
Finishing up... (2.00 / 6)
...one of several late-Victorian novels I found for free on Amazon's Kindle site.

Just starting to dip my toe in Flunking Sainthood by Jana Riess, the account of one woman's attempt to follow a different spiritual tradition each month for a year. She also writes a blog by the same name, and she's a liberal Mormon. :-)

There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)


Verdi+his operas, ed. S. Sadie for Dkos 2/16 Rigoletto review... (2.00 / 5)
Book: From the from New Grove Composer Series, excerpted from the Dictionary.
Pimping: Review posts Saturday night, around time that the Saturday Night Loser's Club posts as they are usually a mash up.
Occasion: Understudying for ChingchongChinaman, who usually does the reviews of NY Met's[opera not baseball team] High Def simulcast premieres.
leading to a related question....
 

For Dkos Rigoletto review, anyone know book on Sinatra Rat Pack? (2.00 / 6)
Because that Vegas is the setting for the Met's new production.  

" 'What hath God wrought?' by Daniel Walker Howe." (2.00 / 6)
Sounds like that would be a good companion read to Paul Johnson's The Birth of the Modern: World Society 1815-1830, one of the most enjoyable history books I've encountered over the years. :-)

There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

I am going through back issues of (2.00 / 5)
The New York Review of Books to decide which ones to keep and which to toss. I am such a hoarder. Sigh. Wish I were a minimalist.

Destroyer of Worlds by Niven re reading (2.00 / 2)
and 3 back issues of Analog

"I honor the place in you where Spirit lives
I honor the place in you which is
of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace,
when you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
then we are One."  Namaste Friends!


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