Monday, April 23, 2012

Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction by Bernard Wood

I love the Very Short Introduction series. Experts in fields, such as evolution, write short books that make their very complex subjects simple. I have read one on globalization, and I hope that more will pass through my hands in the future.

Humans did not evolve from present day monkeys, but I just love this old picture.

Whiteness of a Different Color by Matthew Fry Jacobson

It's a standard thing in all of my graduate seminars to discuss the ways in which race (and gender) are social constructions. Jacobson tries to understand how European ethnics went from being Celts, Slavs, Italians, etc. to being white in the eventual racial bifurcation of the country along a black/white axis. It was difficult as a reader in modern America to reorient the way I think about race/ethnicity in order to understand Jacobson's argument. The book is mostly effective, but the middle section seems out of place.

I consider myself white, but I suppose at one point I would have been considered Irish? Maybe?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

The title makes me giggle, and the researchers make me scratch my head a little.

I honestly have no idea how to take a photo for this enjoy the light painting.

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

I read this book on my honeymoon in Costa Rica, so my memories of it are a bit obstructed by thoughts of zip lining and sitting on the beach.

Like Potok's other novels, this one gripped me from the beginning and did not let go. My heart broke for Asher like it did for Danny two years ago. If you have never read Potok, do it now; you won't regret it.

On The Beach by Nevil Shute

This book was delivered to my work mailbox after my boss thoughtful acquired it for me. We were talking about scifi books, and I mentioned that I had never heard of this one when it came up. It deals with how humans might handle knowing that they would certainly die from the fallout of a nuclear world war. It is incredible and most definitely a product of the late 1950s. So good on so many levels.