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Suggestions needed for our APRIL & MAY Non-Fiction Book Discussion! 
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Post Suggestions needed for our APRIL & MAY Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
What NON-FICTION book would you like to discuss in APRIL and MAY of 2012?

Anyone can suggest non-fiction books no matter how many posts you have on the forums. You do NOT need to have 25+ forums to participate. Just suggest non-fiction books you think would make for great group discussions.

Please include links to where people can read reviews and/or buy the book. If you are suggesting a book that only exists as an eBook say so right up front. Not everyone has a Nook or Kindle or other eReader.

Authors can suggest their own books but make sure you say that you are the author.

We're looking for a book to discuss as a group in the months of APRIL and MAY. This suggestion thread will remain open till we have sufficient suggestions to run a non-fiction poll.

Ideally the poll will start around March 1st and run for a week or more. We should have our next non-fiction book selected by March 15th at the latest but earlier would be ideal.

If your book suggestion is a book available for FREE online or in most libraries please say so clearly. This will increase the appeal of your suggestion.



Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:04 am
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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our March & April Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
Thanks for asking, Chris. Here are my suggestions...

A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing
Lawrence M. Krauss (Author), Richard Dawkins (Afterword)

Book Description

Quote:
“WHERE DID THE UNIVERSE COME FROM?WHAT WAS THERE BEFORE IT? WHAT WILL THE FUTURE BRING? AND FINALLY, WHY IS THERE SOMETHING RATHER THAN NOTHING?”

Lawrence Krauss’s provocative answers to these and other timeless questions in a wildly popular lecture now on YouTube have attracted almost a million viewers. The last of these questions in particular has been at the center of religious and philosophical debates about the existence of God, and it’s the supposed counterargument to anyone who questions the need for God. As Krauss argues, scientists have, however, historically focused on other, more pressing issues—such as figuring out how the universe actually functions, which can ultimately help us to improve the quality of our lives.

Now, in a cosmological story that rivets as it enlightens, pioneering theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss explains the groundbreaking new scientific advances that turn the most basic philosophical questions on their heads. One of the few prominent scientists today to have actively crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss reveals that modern science is addressing the question of why there is something rather than nothing, with surprising and fascinating results. The staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories are all described accessibly in A Universe from Nothing, and they suggest that not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing.

With his characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations, Krauss takes us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved—and the implications for how it’s going to end. It will provoke, challenge, and delight readers as it looks at the most basic underpinnings of existence in a whole new way. And this knowledge that our universe will be quite different in the future from today has profound implications and directly affects how we live in the present. As Richard Dawkins has described it: This could potentially be the most important scientific book with implications for supernaturalism since Darwin.

A fascinating antidote to outmoded philosophical and religious thinking, A Universe from Nothing is a provocative, game-changing entry into the debate about the existence of God and everything that exists. “Forget Jesus,” Krauss has argued, “the stars died so you could be born.”



Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:37 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our March & April Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True
Richard Dawkins (Author), Dave McKean (Illustrator)

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Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Quote:
Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back—earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality—science.

Packed with clever thought experiments, dazzling illustrations and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, graphic detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.

Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist and one of science education’s most passionate advocates, has spent his career elucidating the wonders of science for adult readers. But now, in a dramatic departure, he has teamed up with acclaimed artist Dave McKean and used his unrivaled explanatory powers to share the magic of science with readers of all ages. This is a treasure trove for anyone who has ever wondered how the world works. Dawkins and McKean have created an illustrated guide to the secrets of our world—and the universe beyond—that will entertain and inform for years to come.



Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:57 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our March & April Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions
Alex Rosenberg (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: October 3, 2011

Quote:
A book for nonbelievers who embrace the reality-driven life.
We can't avoid the persistent questions about the meaning of life-and the nature of reality. Philosopher Alex Rosenberg maintains that science is the only thing that can really answer them—all of them. His bracing and ultimately upbeat book takes physics seriously as the complete description of reality and accepts all its consequences. He shows how physics makes Darwinian natural selection the only way life can emerge, and how that deprives nature of purpose, and human action of meaning, while it exposes conscious illusions such as free will and the self. The science that makes us nonbelievers provides the insight into the real difference between right and wrong, the nature of the mind, even the direction of human history. The Atheist's Guide to Reality draws powerful implications for the ethical and political issues that roil contemporary life. The result is nice nihilism, a surprisingly sanguine perspective atheists can happily embrace.



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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our March & April Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
Interesting picks Chris. I'm usually up for a good science book. I'm kind of on the fence with these ones, but I'll think about it.

After reading Hawking's recent book and being disappointed with his speculations about the multiverse that never really got anywhere, I'm worried Krauss might be more of the same.

I'm a big fan of Dawkins, and could probably benefit from his lucid explanations, even if it's aimed for younger readers -- but still not sure if I'm up for it.

I'll suggest Sam Harris's latest mini-book on Free Will which I mentioned before, released March 6 (Kindle version for $4, which in case people don't know, you can read on your computer)

http://www.amazon.com/Free-Will-Sam-Har ... d_vtp_b_20

Quote:
A BELIEF IN FREE WILL touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality—as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement—without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an illusion.
In this enlightening book, Sam Harris argues that this truth about the human mind does not undermine morality or diminish the importance of social and political freedom, but it can and should change the way we think about some of the most important questions in life.


Quote:
"Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it. In Free Will, Sam Harris combines neuroscience and psychology to lay this illusion to rest at last. Like all of Harris’s books, this one will not only unsettle you but make you think deeply. Read it: you have no choice." —Jerry A. Coyne, Professor of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, and author of Why Evolution Is True



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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our March & April Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
I'll read anything as long as it doesn't involve God. So I'll research your suggestions.


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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our March & April Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
Only A Universe from Nothing is available on Kindle in UK. I quite fancied Free Will, but not available on Kindle


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Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:44 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our March & April Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - the movie is coming out soon, a great time to discuss the book!


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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our March & April Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
Lynn, isn't Hunger Games fiction?



Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:46 pm
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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our March & April Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
Chris OConnor wrote:
Lynn, isn't Hunger Games fiction?


Yes, it is.


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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our March & April Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
I deleted a few posts that weren't on topic.

Maybe we need to select a non-fiction book to start April 1, 2012 as opposed to March 1st. There aren't enough suggestions or apparent interest in a new non-fiction discussion right now.

I'm convinced we'll see a massive increase in traffic once the new site is launched and hopefully that means we will have more book suggestions and better book discussions.



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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our APRIL & MAY Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
Here is a suggestion that would definitely get us talking and probably debating.

The World America Made

Book Description

What would the world look like if America were to reduce its role as a global leader in order to focus all its energies on solving its problems at home? And is America really in decline? Robert Kagan, New York Times best-selling author and one of the country’s most influential strategic thinkers, paints a vivid, alarming picture of what the world might look like if the United States were truly to let its influence wane.

Although Kagan asserts that much of the current pessimism is misplaced, he warns that if America were indeed to commit “preemptive superpower suicide,” the world would see the return of war among rising nations as they jostle for power; the retreat of democracy around the world as Vladimir Putin’s Russia and authoritarian China acquire more clout; and the weakening of the global free-market economy, which the United States created and has supported for more than sixty years. We’ve seen this before—in the breakdown of the Roman Empire and the collapse of the European order in World War I.

Potent, incisive, and engaging, The World America Made is a reminder that the American world order is worth preserving, and America dare not decline.

About the Author
Robert Kagan is senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a columnist for The Washington Post. He is also the author of The Return of History and the End of Dreams, Dangerous Nation, Of Paradise and Power, and A Twilight Struggle. Kagan served in the U.S. State Department from 1984 to 1988. He lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.



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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our APRIL & MAY Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
I'm glad to be back on this site! The book suggestions sound terrific. I would like to also suggest my recently published BREAKING THEIR WILL: SHEDDING LIGHT ON RELIGIOUS CHILD MALTREATMENT. It's the first book to take a journalistic approach to religiously motivated child abuse and neglect in the U.S. It's available in paperback and on Kindle and is published by Prometheus Books. Thank you, again, Chris, for suggesting I query PB. They have been great. But I will happily engage in a discussion about another book. Now that BTW is done, I again have time to read.
Regards,
Janet Heimlich



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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our APRIL & MAY Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
Gabor Mate's book "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" is also about childhood/pre-natal abuse, neglect, etal. It is concerned with hunger, physical and psychological abuses which are often 'religious' in nature, but especially wartime disruptions which starve and frighten mothers, whose bodies flood fetuses with adrenaline and construct their brain patterns in such a way as to handicap them in the formative years after they are born. Such children are pre-conditioned for a life of exclusion, excitement seeking and intellectual confusion. Dr. Mate (who is a survivor of Nazi occupation) traces these malformed brains to most social dis-ease, including ADD/ADHD (which he suffers from) and addictions ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to workaholics and others who neglect or fail at intimate relationships.

Mate, an addict himself, is a fine writer and lecturer able to explain complex studies from often ignored sources (they don't fit in with the pill industry) and offers simple but difficult solutions to most of our problems, should any buracracy/politician ever seriously decide to deal with them. The solutions are difficult only because they require genuine care for our mothers and children, and an end to cultural violence. "All war," Howard Zinn reminded us, "is war against children."

Mate treats many addicts at a state-run clinic in British Columbia. He would include the War on Drugs, Poverty, Crime and cancer among those which harm women and children. Wars have powerful people interested in keeping them unresolved because there is so much endless profit, and we, conditioned by fear, must have something done about it.



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Post Re: Suggestions needed for our APRIL & MAY Non-Fiction Book Discussion!
Janet, your book will definitely be on the poll when the poll thread goes up in a week or two. Thanks for the suggestion.



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