Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Snowlilly, Aug 21, 2012.
So the book I started for easy reading has become Peter V. Brett's The Desert Spear. Loved the first part, this one's not as great yet (am only 100/500ish pages in) but has promise. Not bad either.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. I originally read it back in High School in the 80s, and recently watched both the 1931 Ricardo Cortez version and the 1941 Bogart version in the same weekend and decided it was time for a re-read.
Just finsihed reading
Abandon: Love and Communism in Central Asia - David Gallagher
Short novel set in Kyrgyzstan during the transistion from communism to democracy. The author spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in small villages in this country.
The novel is about a boy called Tashtan and a girl called Kerez. Both were abandoned as babies. Tashtan was adopted into a poor family, Kerez into a rich one. They are drawn together because they were both foundlings but Kerez's father is against any relationship between the two because he wants a good brideprice for his daughter.
Though the story was rather predictable, the novel was an interesting look at everyday village life in a country I knew next to nothing about.
I just finished Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America by Jeff Speck, and next up is Antifragile: How Some Things Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
Finished The Maltese Falcon last night. Great book!
Moving on to the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.
That last book I read was Asimov's Robots of Dawn
George R.R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones". Haven't read any of them and I'm eagerly awaiting the 3rd season.
While I did enjoy the TV-series it's not the kind of stories I read.
But I did give a box-set of the novels (5 or 6 volumes) to the teen son of my best friend this x-mas. Many of his friends (and his dad), so he told me, have been trying to entice him into reading them.
Apparently all it took was a box-set in original language.
I'm reading The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. It's a fascinating hypothesis, if somewhat outlandish. The text is a little dated, as far as the neurological literature is concerned, but so far only minor pieces of evidence are made moot by modern research, and I can't think of any good reason why the theory couldn't hold up.
That sounds interesting. Without spoiling the entire book can you give a quick condensation of what the book is about and its primary points? What's the overriding theory that the authors are trying to convey to readers?
^It is a single theory, and admittedly, it sounds damned crazy, but the author (Julian Jaynes) makes his case, and I'm only a third of the way through. His theory is that consciousness in humans evolved only around 3000 years ago, and that prior to this we functioned with bicameral minds, with one hemisphere of the brain issuing commands in the form of auditory and sometimes visual hallucinations, and the other hemisphere acting out those commands without any question. He posits that this is the origin of religion, and that illnesses like schizophrenia are linked to this recent past. He uses sound neurological and psychological evidence, as well as literary evidence from ancient texts to support his theory, demonstrating how non-conscious people could develop functioning societies. Yes, it sounds wild, but a lot about the brain is wild. The book is a little technical, and a background in either neuroscience or psychology is beneficial in reading it, but I think a layperson would get through it fine. It is a fascinating idea!
Wow indeed, that ^there would explain all that we call religion.
Thanks. I might have to pick that up at a local library if they have it. I'm always in the market for an interesting read even if I don't necessarily agree with many of the tenets being espoused.
^Tenets? It's a theory, not a philosophy!
Exactly, and that's a big part of his theory. Part of his literary evidence involves comparisons of gods in text 3000 years and older, such as Greek gods and Old Testament Yahweh, to gods in religious texts newer than 3000 years, showing how our understanding of and relationship to gods have changed.
You know what I mean.
But yeah, now I'm going to have to pick this up so thanks for popping in here and mentioning it. It wasn't all that long ago I read a book on Freud and I haven't picked up a tome on psychological or neurochemical theory in a while. I used to be an even bigger science nerd than I am now.
It was actually on Rob Maxwell's recommendation I started reading it, definitely second his rec!
My tastes in books aren't quite that deep. Here is the next one I plan to read...
Robert J. Sawyer used that book a lot in developing the story for his WWW trilogy (Wake, Watch and Wonder), in which the Internet gains sentience. I've considered finding a copy and checking it out, but my "to read" list is still way too long as it is.
My taste in books is all over the place, ranging from science, religion and politics all the way over to graphic novels and humor/joke books. I own about twenty years' worth of the Almanac of American Politics with dogeared pages if that tells you anything about me.
I've also watched a lot of C-SPAN Booknotes and always rushed to see Christopher Hitchens whenever he was on the program. I'm not an atheist but Hitch's books are some of the most interesting and even fun reads I've had in recent years and I miss the man. We won't be able to enjoy more of his writings and that's a real loss.
Separate names with a comma.