Category Archives: Book Notes

Links and Comments: Tyson v. Douthat

I started writing up a few notes about the new (small) Neil deGrasse Tyson book, ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY, and got sidetracked by a passage that reminded me of a Ross Douthat column from a few weeks ago. … Continue reading

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I Can Do Anything: Mark Haddon’s THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

Last week I posted a look back at 20 Years of Locus Online and, having asked my lead contributors over the years for their best or exceptional posts, revisited an 11-year-old essay by film reviewer Gary Westfahl, Homo aspergerus: Evolution … Continue reading

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Harari on THE KNOWLEDGE ILLUSION

In today’s NYT Book Review, Yuval Noah Harari reviews THE KNOWLEDGE ILLUSION: Why We Never Think Alone, by Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach. The review’s opening echoes Harari’s own work, e.g. What gave Homo sapiens an edge over all other … Continue reading

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Lawrence M. Krauss: THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD — SO FAR

Lawrence M. Krauss’ new book is a book by a theoretical physicist, and so the greatest story turns out to be — a history of physics, especially of the last few decades. He begins by emphasizing how this is a … Continue reading

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Rereading LORD OF THE FLIES

Even before the reaction to Tr*mp’s election brought renewed attention to the famous dystopian classics like Nineteen Eight-Four [that’s the proper, bibliographic, title; ‘1984’ is a sort of nickname] and Brave New World, I had contemplated returning to some of … Continue reading

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Anne Fadiman: EX LIBRIS

Here’s a pleasant, ‘occasional’ book of short essays about reading and books — a book about books. The author is the daughter of the famed Clifton Fadiman, an editor for Encyclopedia Britannica, an editor for Book-of-the-Month Club back in the … Continue reading

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Philip Roth, INDIGNATION

I saw the film Indignation a couple weeks ago, and here’s what I posted about it on Facebook: — We saw the film Indignation today, based on a short Philip Roth novel that I’ve not read. It’s about a Jewish … Continue reading

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Thomas Paine, THE AGE OF REASON (1796)

Thomas Paine was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, author of Common Sense in 1776, which inspired the American revolution, and Rights of Man in 1791, which defended the French Revolution. He’s one of those Founding Fathers … Continue reading

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Paul Kalanithi, WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

This is an almost unbearably sad, yet poignant and moving and thoughtful, memoir by a young Stanford neurosurgeon who is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the age of 36. His life changes from being the physician to being … Continue reading

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Carlo Rovelli, SEVEN BRIEF LESSONS ON PHYSICS

Very slender book, drawn from a newspaper column and intended for readers who know nothing about science. I read it because it’s short and because a NYT review of the book, pointed out that its final chapter is about human … Continue reading

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