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Official Poll - 2nd Quarter '05 (Apr/May/Jun) Book Selection 
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Post Official Poll - 2nd Quarter '05 (Apr/May/Jun) Book Selection
2nd Quarter 2005 (April - May - June)


Official Book Selection Poll





This is our Official Poll for selecting our 2nd quarter book for 2005. By "2nd quarter" we mean April, May and June. For those just joining, we read and discuss a new nonfiction book every quarter, so a total of four different books per year.

Please read this entire post before you cast your vote!


1. Please do NOT vote if you have not made at least 10 total posts to our forums.

Our polls stay up for an entire week, so you shouldn't have a difficult time getting your post-count to 10 if you're new to BookTalk. But be aware that we only accept quality contributions towards your post-count. Spam won't cut it. This rule insures that the books that win our polls won because active members wanted them to win. I'm sure you can see the logic in this rule.

2. And please do NOT cast a vote if you don't plan on reading and discussing the book.

Even if you have over 10 posts, you shouldn't vote if you have no intention of being active in this 2nd quarter discussion.




How do I vote?

If you are an active member, as per #1 above, and plan on participating in this discussion, as per #2 above, you are permitted to cast a total of 3 votes. You can use your three votes however you see fit, which could mean assigning all three votes to just one of the book choices, or distributing the three points over the book choices according to your own interest level for each book. You should make a brief post to this thread telling everyone how you wish to distribute your three votes. Nothing further needs to be said, but you're welcome to be as verbose as you like. Just make it crystal clear how you are voting.

It is inevitable that some people will either forget to cast all three votes or will not have read this entire post. They will simply vote on one book. If this happens I will be assigning all three of their votes to the one book they selected.

You are permitted to change your vote during the voting period, but not after I close the poll. The poll is closed on the last day of the polling period, which will be 1 full week after the poll goes up. I estimate the close date to be next Sunday, March 20, 2005.

I'd sincerely appreciate if you didn't exercise this right unless you think you really made a mistake, however, as it makes the polling process much more messy. But you retain the right to do so. This thread can be used as an open discussion of the books on the poll. You're welcome to try to sell people on a particular book, or dissuade them from another.

We have 4 choices in this poll. Please think hard about what book will be the most educational, entertaining, and worthy of discussion. No matter which book wins we will be asking either the author, or a representative of the author, to be our guest in the BookTalk chat room. In the event the authors schedule doesn't permit a live chat we'll request an email interview. All members will be allowed to ask the author questions, and the entire interview transcript will be posted on our Transcripts Page. The member asking the question will see their name associated with the corresponding Q & A.

NOTE:

As always, we will need a few discussion leaders that are willing to be very active in the reading and discussion of the winning book. If you are up to the task please let us all know right in this forum by making a post and stating your interest in the position.

Please don't nominate yourself if you will not be active. Being active means checking the forum just about every day and making posts regularly. Regularly means a few times each week at the minimum.

Being a discussion leader does not entail being an authority on the subject matter or defending the author's position. You simply need to attempt to stimulate discussion. Interested? Let us know!

And here are our 4 book choices for 2nd Quarter 2005. May the best book win! Drum roll please...




Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
by Jared Diamond


In his million-copy bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates?

As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Moving from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe. Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies found solutions and persisted. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society's apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.

Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?




Freethinkers : A History of American Secularism
by Susan Jacoby


At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage that gave Americans the first government in the world founded not on the authority of religion but on the bedrock of human reason.

In impassioned, elegant prose, celebrated author Susan Jacoby paints a striking portrait of more than two hundred years of secularist activism, beginning with the fierce debate over the omission of God from the Constitution. Moving from nineteenth-century abolitionism and suffragism through the twentieth century's civil liberties, civil rights, and feminist movements, Freethinkers illuminates the neglected accomplishments of secularists who, allied with liberal and tolerant religious believers, have stood at the forefront of the battle for reforms opposed by reactionary forces in the past and today.

Rich with such iconic figures as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Clarence Darrow



Sat Mar 12, 2005 4:11 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - 2nd Quarter '05 (Apr/May/Jun) Book Selec
Anyone want to keep a tally on votes?





Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:48 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - 2nd Quarter '05 (Apr/May/Jun) Book Selec
I'd like to cast 2 of my votes for Freethinkers. It's good to know how freethinkers such as ourselves have helped to shape our country, and -- even more so -- it is vital, in this time when "the combination of secular government and religious liberty that is the glory of the American system" is under attack and is already being weakened. I first became interested in this book when I heard the author being interviewed on "The Diane Rehm Show" on National Public Radio. You can listen to that program via RealPlayer over the Internet; the link is on this page, Diane Rehm Show, Susan Jacoby, Freethinkers[wamu.org/programs/dr/04/04/05.php]. I have already purchased this book, because it is one I want to read whether with the group or on my own. It would be great to read and discuss it with the rest of you.

I place my third vote on Collapse. I think it could lead to some interesting discussions.

Why People Believe Weird Things sounds too much like Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World, which you have read as a group and which I've already read on my own.

As for Born Fighting, the Scots-Irish saga isn't of interest to me.

Edited by: Kate Fremont at: 3/13/05 12:43 am



Sun Mar 13, 2005 12:37 am
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Post Re: Official Poll - 2nd Quarter '05 (Apr/May/Jun) Book Selec
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
1 vote

BornFighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America
1 vote

Why People Believe Weird Things
1 vote

Personally, the "glory of the American system" mentioned in the review for Freethinkers is not something that I'm terribly interested in. I would like something a little more global than that.

Lori

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."




Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:27 am
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Post Re: Official Poll - 2nd Quarter '05 (Apr/May/Jun) Book Selec
I'll put all three of my votes for Born Fighting.

...[T]o ignore the classics is ultimately to weaken the very foundations of our society. - James Atlas, Book Wars: What it Takes to be Educated in America




Sun Mar 13, 2005 10:07 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - 2nd Quarter '05 (Apr/May/Jun) Book Selec
Can I put three votes to "no preference"? I'd be happy to read and discuss any of these books.


If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984




Tue Mar 15, 2005 1:17 pm
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BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

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Post Re: Official Poll - 2nd Quarter '05 (Apr/May/Jun) Book Selec
Then maybe put one vote to each book?

Chris





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Post Collapse
I'm going with Collapse.

Michael




Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:35 pm
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Post book choice
Hi Everyone, Looking forward to getting back into this! I'd like to cast my votes for Freethinkers : A History of American Secularism
by Susan Jacoby. Since the religious right considers secularist to be evil, I want to see what all this evil is about!

All the selections look good, but this one is kind of near and dear to my heart.




Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:56 pm
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Post Re: book choice
Welcome back ginof!

Chris





Tue Mar 15, 2005 8:03 pm
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Post Re: book choice
This is not an official vote, because I am unable to get these books, but....

I hope the group chooses either Collapse, or Why People Believe Weird Things.

I have read rather a lot on theories of why civilizations collapse and I live in the middle of ruins of two great ones, the Aztecs and the Maya.

And I am frankly just interested in goofy stuff and the psychology behind it like alien abduction. Although I must say that when I was abducted the last time.....

Marti in Mexico




Wed Mar 16, 2005 10:25 pm
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