What are you reading? Mar 2 2011

(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

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

Just finished

Started and finished Split Image by Robert Parker.  This is the last in the Jesse Stone series.  It’s not bad, but it’s not the top of Parker’s form.  full review

Now reading

The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the dark ages by Chris Wickham.  A really good history of Europe and western Asia, from 400 to 1000 AD.

This one is more or less on hold.  I need to pay more attention to it to keep track of all the unfamiliar names.  Right now, I am not in the mood for this sort of book.

The Great SF stories volume 1: 1939 ed. by Isaac Asimov and Martin Greenberg.  I have this whole series on my shelf and I think I will re-read them

Best Writing on Mathematics 2010 by Mircea Picci.  A collection of articles about mathematics.  Most of them are really great.  Math lovers will want this one.  (This book has disappeared on my shelves; I gotta find it)

Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases ed. by Kahneman, Slovic and Tversky.  A collection of now classic works on how people reason under uncertainty.

Washington: A life which I am reading on my new Kindle 2 (my old Kindle broke).  So far, it’s living up to the hugely favorable reviews, although the beginning was a bit repetitive about some aspects of Washington’s personality.

A re-read of Quicksilver, the first in the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson.  A huge novel (3,000 pages altogether) about all sorts of things related to the era of Newton and Leibniz.  Definitely worth a re-read.

Dark Fire by CJ Sansom. The second in the Matthew Shardlake series.  I like this one too.  (spoiler alert).  In Dissolution, Shardlake has been disillusioned with Cromwell (that’s Thomas, not Oliver), having learned that he did a lot of foul things.  But now he is drafted by Cromwell again.  

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks.  Subtitle is “tales of music and the brain” and that describes it well.  Written with Sacks’ typical clarity and humanity.

Charming Proofs.  A book of beautiful (or charming) proofs in mathematics, nearly all of which require no advanced math.

Just started

see above


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    • dennis on March 3, 2011 at 02:44

    I let it lapse sometimes–due to inactivity–because the stuff I’m looking for ain’t there  for the most part, but I really support the idea.

  1. I know you heard of this book.  It was given by Hugo Chavez to Barack Obama.  It’s an incredible work detailing 5 centuries of pillage  in Latin America.  I’m really enjoying it.  Galeano is a wonderful writer, and he manages to tell the story without bogging down.  

    I wish everybody would read this.  It would really change how people in the US view the rest of the hemisphere.  It would make the US a far, far better neighbor.  And it might stop the US from continuing policies that are aimed at impoverishing Latin Americans for the benefit of the Oligarchy.

    • mplo on March 3, 2011 at 10:38

    Puleo’s Dark Tide is about the great big molasses flood that occurred in Boston’s North End in the early 1900’s.  The steel tank, inadequately put together, began to leak molasses from the many, many rivets that held the tank together, and, although one worker, Isaac Gonzales, sensed that something wasn’t right, due to the unusual noises coming from inside the big molasses tank, his pleas fell on deaf ears.  To make a long story short, the big tank of molasses eventually overflowed, inundating an entire (densely populated) urban neighborhood and injuring and killing hundreds of people residing there.   The fact that there were many shortcuts that should not have been taken while the big molasses tank was constructed contributed greatly to this, and, sadly, if today’s shoddy  merchandise that is all too frequently produced thanks, at least in part to the outsourcing of so many manufacturing jobs overseas, and a laxer and laxer work ethic here in the United States, and lack of accountability and responsibility is any indication, the United States, as a whole, has  learned little, if anything, from this great tragedy.

  2. I’m trying to adjust to mine, but am finding it awkward when I want to go back and find something or reread a few paragraphs.  It’s too easy to lose your place and the “Sync with latest page” function has been unreliable.

    That said, the portability is marvelous.  

    • banger on March 3, 2011 at 19:36

    by Wilkinson and Pickett. I’ve known about their work for some time but am just getting around to reading it now–it’s about the result of inequality–essentially, more inequality more misery for all.

    Just finished a wonderful book by Gabor Mate called When the Body Says No which essentially links emotional attitudes and stress to most serious diseases–the evidence is now unimpeachable and yet the medical community still insists as seeing us as machines that run on chemicals–why that is he does not go into but I will at some point (I’m writing about it).

    The two books are linked. Wilkinson/Pickett find that there the hallmark of our era is stress–there’s very strong evidence that since 1950 stress levels have increased enormously in Britain and the U.S. which are two of the most unequal societies in the developed world–in fact the U.S. leads the developed world in, frankly, misery–and it isn’t even close. Americans just don’t get how genuinely fucked-up we are because of our addiction to hierarchy, punishment, mistrust and hatred for community and what I call virtue (as an example, our obsession with “security” is what I call sheer cowardice which for all our collective crimes is the one thing that truly disgusts me about this society).  

  3. WAYR by the dear plf515.

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