Saturday, August 28, 2010

Recent and future reads

Just a little update of what I've read recently and what's in my reading stack these days.

Recent reads:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Infidel - my life
I must admit that my impression of Ali wasn't too good before I read the book. She seemed too right-winged and willing to pander to the racists in Europe. My impression of her changed after reading this book though, and I now have a much better understanding of her strategy and goals. What's more, her book got me to re-evaluate my own participation in the immigrant debate in my own country.

Richard Wiseman: Quirkology - The Curious Science of Everyday Lives
Quirkology is Wiseman's introduction to studies into humanity's quirks - studies quite frequently carried out by Wiseman himself. It's a light, but fun, read.

Naomi Klein: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Klein's take on how ultra-capitalists have had a disastrous effect on the world, acting through shock and awe where-ever and when-ever they have the opportunity. Hyperbolic at places, it's nevertheless a real eye-opener.

Jeremy Scahill: Blackwater - The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
Right from the title, Scahill is not afraid to call a spade a spade, and this is indeed what he does in this book, which explains how Blackwater has risen to its current position, and what it has cost the rest of the world.

Stephen Jay Gould: The Mismeasure of Man
Gould's classic takes on the entire concept of measuring human intelligence and to define peoples' intelligence by their race or gender. Originally written in 1981, my edition is the revised and expanded 1996 edition, where Gould included some essays addressing the atrocious The Bell Curve.

Christoper Hitchens: Hitch-22
My review of this book can be found here

Carol Tavris & Elliot Aronson: Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts
A look into why people make mistakes, and how they justify those mistakes to themselves afterwards. It also offers some tips into how one can avoid, not mistakes, but rather the denial and self-justification afterwards.

Currently reading:

Barbara Ehrenreich: Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World
This is the European title of Bright-sided (which is more clever in my opinion). I am about 100 pages into the book, and so far I've enjoyed it.

Paul Krugman: The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008

To-read pile:

Lone Frank: Den Femte Revolution - fortællinger fra hjenens tidsalder
I believe it is the same book as Mindfield: How Brain Science is Changing Our World. I borrowed this book from a friend, so it will almost certainly be my next read.

Kristin Cashore: Fire
I enjoyed her first book Graceling, so I am looking forward to reading this.

Philip K. Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Even though I have been an avid science fiction reader since I was a kid, I've never gotten around to reading this book.

Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird
Been standing on my shelves for years. Time to get around to reading it.

Lyndon Baines Johnson: The Choices We Faces
Johnson's 1969 memoir of his White House years.

C.S. Lewis: The Problem of Pain
Part of "The Christian Challenge Series"

Henri Troyat: Catherine the Great

Tim Flannery: The Weather Makers
I bought it while in Australia in January, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

Aldous Huxley: Brave New World
Another classic I haven't read yet.

Chrisopher Wanjek: Bad Medicine - Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Distance Healing to Vitamin O
I've started once on this book, but got distracted by other books I was reading at the same time.

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