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  • Read “Klara and the Sun” (Zazuo Ishiguro) for my book club recently, mildly interesting.
    For fun read “Appleseed” (Matt Bell) - A recent popular science fiction/ climate change/ historical novel which was better.
    Then read “Bewilderment” the newest book by Richard Powers of The Overstory fame. Both of his books were excellent, so might look at a few of his older works.
    I am currently reading “There are no accidents: the deadly rise of injury and disaster- - who profits and who pays the price” by Jessie Singer. After being intentionally struck by an irate driver while riding my bike last September and continually having to correct various paperwork regarding the incident to emphatically say it was not an accident but on purpose, I am interested in the history of change in terminology describing what are incorrectly called accidents. It may provide useful in my now 7 month journey (and just beginning) through the legal system to eventually feel some justice.

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    • Just read two Laurence Shames Key West comedy - crime novels while on vacation in Cozumel. Time to get back to Alexander Vindman's memoir.

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      • " The Conquerors" by Michael Beschloss. All about WW2 diplomacy with Roosevelt, Truman, Hull, Stimson, and Morgenthou. And oh yes, 2 guys named Stalin and Churchill.
        Last edited by dukehjsteve; 03-13-2022, 05:25 PM.

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        • Elizabeth Kolbert. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. New York: Picador, 2014.

          I bought this at a local independent bookstore while looking for something else recent. I doubted that it was a wise purchase, I read two other books before I got around to it, and only as I neared the last few chapters did I notice on the cover that it had won a Pulitzer Prize (General Fiction, 2015).

          My guess before opening the book were that it would prove to be a standard wringing-of-the-hands thesis of how modernist homo sapiens is wiping out various species, with a catalogue of examples. But no. What the book spends a good while first doing is the presentation of a history of the human discovery OF extinctions, producing a prominent lecture with evidence by Jean-Léopold-Nicolas-Frédéric Cuvier (1796). This followed decades after the discovery of a mastodon tooth (upstate New York, 1705) and the discovery of the first mastodon bones (Kentucky, 1739) that were subjected to scientific study. The list of extinct species then grew. Cuvier hypothesized a long-ago cataclysm, and eventually multiple cataclysms. He was a catastrophist. A differing view--which got mixed up somewhat with the issue of whether species could transform themselves into new species--favored slow earthly change and thus extinction gradualism. The label was uniformitarianism, and found prominent adherents in Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin. That held up all the way into the 20th century even though geology had shown a set of several (five) major extinctions. Then in Italy in the late 1970s, Walter Alvarez discovered the iridium layer, leading to other iridium layer findings in Denmark and New Zealand, and to the June 1980 publication, by Walter and his father Luis Alvarez, of the idea that an asteroid 66 million years ago had caused the demise of non-avian dinosaurs. This was not widely accepted until geologists later reexamined core samples from the Gulf of Mexico area and discovered the smoking-gun subsurface Chicxulub crater. That in turn prompted the idea that all the preceding major extinctions had probably been caused also by the impact of an astronomical object, but that turned out not to be the case. Different catastrophes had produced them, and the author says of such events, "What is sometimes labeled neocatastrophism...holds that conditions on earth change only very slowly, except when they don't."

          So with that background, she gets into the issue of recent extinctions and extinction threats. However, she doesn't just blame modernity. What is now called the Anthropocene "is usually said to have been with the industrial revolution, or perhaps even later, with the explosive growth in population that followed World War II. By this account, it's with the introduction of modern technologies--turbines, railroads, chainsaws--that humans became a world-altering force." She doesn't agree. The megafauna extinctions of more hundreds or thousands of years ago, in her view, suggest otherwise. Human interference goes back further, she asserts at the end of Chapter XI. "Though it might be nice to imagine there once was a time when man lived in harmony with nature, it's not clear that he ever really did."

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          • from a post by me in April of '14 in this thread:

            <<After months of guilty pleasures (by which I mean paperback mystery stuff like Le Carré, Grafton, Leonard) I finally got back to reading something of substance. I usually try to alternate, keep learning things, but the kid in me won out there awhile.

            At any rate, hearty recommendation for The Sixth Extinction (An Unnatural History) by Elizabeth Kolbert.

            Fascinating stuff if you're at all into a wide variety of sciences. Primarily biology, but also geology, geography, paleontology, etc., etc. Mother Earth has had 5 great extinctions already (the most famous being the end-Cretaceous, of course).

            The author makes the case for No. 6, which some call the Anthropocene. The one that's being caused by us. Fascinating read.

            And you can now color me much more concerned with ocean acidification than global warming.>>

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            • It has been a long time since I have posted here. Recent reads include re-reading to large volumes: Making of the Atomic Bomb, Rhodes and Annals of the Ancient World. Both are probably in my top five of all the books I have read. I might re-read a third top-five, the very long (it is a slow read on a long book, making it a very long book for me), Eight Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in by HF Judson. Before that, I need to read The Secret of Life (Markel): Franklin, Watson, and Crick and the Discovery of DNA's Double Helix. Much more on Franklin than in Watson's good but flawed The Double Helix. Another couple of books that have pushed me back into more biology/genetics are The Philadelphia Chromosome (Wapner) (Really good and an easier read) and the the recent Code Breakers focused on Jennifer Doudna and the CRISPR gene editing revolution. My eldest kid is in grad school in Genetics and Genomics and spurred my interest in this part of science. I will have some more reads in another post.

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              • Originally posted by 26mi235 View Post
                It has been a long time since I have posted here. Recent reads include re-reading to large volumes: Making of the Atomic Bomb, Rhodes and Annals of the Ancient World. Both are probably in my top five of all the books I have read. I might re-read a third top-five, the very long (it is a slow read on a long book, making it a very long book for me), Eight Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in by HF Judson. Before that, I need to read The Secret of Life (Markel): Franklin, Watson, and Crick and the Discovery of DNA's Double Helix. Much more on Franklin than in Watson's good but flawed The Double Helix. Another couple of books that have pushed me back into more biology/genetics are The Philadelphia Chromosome (Wapner) (Really good and an easier read) and the the recent Code Breakers focused on Jennifer Doudna and the CRISPR gene editing revolution. My eldest kid is in grad school in Genetics and Genomics and spurred my interest in this part of science. I will have some more reads in another post.
                Making of the Atomic Bomb would also be in my top 5 all-time books. During the height of the pandemic, I also reverted to going back and re-reading many old books I had previously read and really liked. One of them I re-read was Levels of the Game by John McPhee, a great book about tennis at the highest level told in terms of a match between Arthur Ashe and Clarke Graebner - from the early 1970s.

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                • Couldn't make it through Herman Melville's The Confidence Man. Been reading all of Alex Berenson's John Wells novels, am going to start The Once and Future King (TH White) shortly.

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                  • The IQ series by Joe Ide. Not heavy reading but frantically paced crime story action with some wonderful turns of phrase. Best if read in order of publication.

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                    • The President and the Freedom Fighter by Brian Kilmeade

                      ( Lincoln and Frederick Douglass )

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                      • I am in the midst of a depressingly long stretch of my life (that is about to end) where I haven't made time to read a book from cover to cover. I am curious, what is everyone here reading?

                        I'll start: The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer.

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                        • Mysteries and thrillers are my guilty pleasures, and I read about one a week. Being able to check out library books for my Kindle is the greatest thing since sliced bread for my budget. Current book is "The Murder Book" by Mark Billingham.

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                          • Bump. Such a good thread, thought it good to revive it.
                            Last edited by DrJay; 08-11-2022, 11:40 PM.

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                            • I've been reading oldies lately. Currently reading the classic about the Titanic, "A Night to Remember," by Walter Lord. Recently finished "The Last Battle" by Cornelius Ryan, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" by Chuck Barris and "Comeback" by golfer Ken Venturi.
                              Last edited by Chicago; 08-11-2022, 11:28 PM.

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                              • Red Famine, about famine in Russia and particularly Ukraine in the 1930s and whether there was deliberate intent on the part of Stalin and Moscow to starve the whole of Ukraine.

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