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Book Suggestions needed for our May & June NON-FICTION book discussion!

Help us pick our next NON-FICTION book for group discussion here. YOU MUST HAVE 5+ POSTS TO CONTRIBUTE IN THIS FORUM!
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Chris OConnor
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Let's pick our MAY & JUNE NON-FICTION book!

The process is simple. All active BookTalk.org members, with 25 or more forum posts, that actually plan to read and participate in the May and June 2011 NON-FICTION book discussion are encouraged to participate in this book selection process. The key word is "participate." Just making a book suggestion is not enough. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE POST!

This thread is for book suggestions. After we have sufficient quality book suggestions and feedback on those book suggestions we will probably conduct a poll where a small handful of the book suggestions are voted upon. The book that gets the most votes will be our next official NON-FICTION book discussion.

However, if there is almost unanimous interest in a particular book suggestion we might bypass the poll and just announce that book as the winner. This is why feedback is so important. Without feedback on ALL of the book suggestions we won't know which books to place on the poll or which book appears to have unanimous interest.

So what do I do now?

Suggest a book.
Please don't suggest a bunch of books. Suggest one or two books (or maybe three if you simply must) that you think would be great for discussion. We need quality suggestions not a massive quantity of suggestions. When we get too many suggestions the task of researching each book and giving feedback on all suggestions becomes tedious and the book selection process becomes like homework. So put a lot of thought into your book suggestion or suggestions. Give us your BEST ideas not ALL of them.

You really need to give more than just a book title. Put some effort into this. Give the title, author name, and a link to the book on Amazon.com at the very least. And if you really want to increase the odds of your book being eventually selected say a sentence of two about why you are suggesting the book. Those of you that just post a quick book title are probably never going to convince anyone that your heart is behind your suggestion. And if you don't seem excited enough by your suggestion to type a sentence or two what are the odds you will actually have the time and energy to participate in a discussion of the book if it wins?

Give feedback on ALL suggestions made by others.
This is the most important contribution you can make to our book selection process. Say a few quick words about each book suggestion. Do you like the suggestion? Would you read it if it were selected as the winner? Why do you like or dislike the suggestion? Be honest and speak up. Our book selection process is an open discussion where participants are encouraged to persuade or dissuade people on the suggestions.

Please suggest books that you think will generate discussion. And massive books have never been a good idea for our official discussions. If you want to create a side discussion of that 750 page monster go for it, but the odds are few people will be willing to read and discuss a book of that size. Use common sense when suggesting books. There is no specific page count maximum.

Again, you need to have 25 or more forums posts to suggest books or vote in our book polls. If you find that rule difficult then you probably wouldn't actually participate in the book discussion. As a general rule the people that have participated in our book discussions have typically had hundreds of posts on the forums. Over the years we have learned that those people that attempted to suggest books or vote that had less than 25 forum post simply never actually participated in the book discussions. So the rule exists for a reason.

So what would you like to discuss as our MAY & JUNE 2011 NON-FICTION book discussion?
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Dexter
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I'll throw one out there. I'm a fan of Richard Dawkins, and I know BookTalk has read several of his books over the years, so why not one more?

Richard Dawkins, A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love

It's a book of essays, so it's easy to read, you can skip around, and it could potentially give us many topics to discuss -- more so maybe than reading his more focused scientific works. (I haven't read this one yet.) You could view the table of contents on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Devils-Chaplain-R ... d_sim_b_51
From Publishers Weekly
Oxford don Dawkins is familiar to readers with any interest in evolution. While the late Stephen Jay Gould was alive, he and Dawkins were friendly antagonists on the question of whether evolution "progresses" (Gould: No, Dawkins: Yes, depending on your definition of "progress"). Dawkins's The Selfish Gene has been very influential, not least for his introduction of the "meme," sort of a Lamarckian culturally inherited trait. In this, his first collection of essays, Dawkins muses on a wide spectrum of topics: why the jury system isn't the best way to determine innocence or guilt; the vindication of Darwinism (or what he insists is properly called neo-Darwinism) in the past quarter-century; the fallacy in thinking that individual genes, for instance a "gay gene," can be directly linked to personality traits; what he sees as the dangers of giving opponents the benefit of the doubt just because they wrap their arguments in religious belief; several sympathetic pieces on Gould; and a final section on why we all can be said to be "out of Africa." Fans of Dawkins's earlier books should snap up this collection. Readers new to him may find that the short format (many of these essays were originally forewords to books, book reviews or magazine pieces) doesn't quite do his reputation justice. Dawkins will antagonize some readers by his attacks on religion: his tone in these essays may fall just short of intellectual arrogance, but he certainly exhibits an intellectual impatience not always beneficial to his argument. Still, Dawkins's enthusiasm for the diversity of life on this planet should prove contagious.
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Chris OConnor
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Good suggestion, Dexter. Dawkins read from "A Devil's Chaplain" at an Atheist Alliance International Convention I attended in Tampa years ago and this book sounded amazing. Quite frankly what he read gave me goose bumps and made me buy the book, but I've not started to read it yet!
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oblivion
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I would, of course, love to read Dexter's suggestion and I enjoy Dawkins. I haven't read this one either.
My suggestion would be:

Civil Disobedience by H D Thoreau

Medusa on Amazon wrote:
Arguably, the strongest idea Thoreau presents, is the notion of individualism. Thoreau encourages skepticism of the government and rejects blind loyalty to it. Thoreau perceives citizens, who give blind loyalty to their government's decisions without questioning them, as participants in every injustice committed by that government. Whether this point of view is correct or not, it is worth debating, especially in view of the horrific injustices that are extant in today's world and the way the masses so easily accept them without considering the negative impact on others.

I think it would be well worth exploring whether or not this tract still has any relevance to our lives today and what we may or may not have adapted from it.

The Amazon link is:
http://www.amazon.com/Civil-Disobedienc ... 184&sr=1-1
Gods and spirits are parasitic--Pascal Boyer

Religion is the only force in the world that lets a person have his prejudice or hatred and feel good about it --S C Hitchcock

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. --André Gide

Reading is a majority skill but a minority art. --Julian Barnes
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!
The clear instructions said: All active BookTalk.org members, with 25 or more forum posts, that actually plan to read and participate in the May and June 2011 NON-FICTION book discussion are encouraged to participate in this book selection process. The key word is "participate."
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The clear instructions said: All active BookTalk.org members, with 25 or more forum posts, that actually plan to read and participate in the May and June 2011 NON-FICTION book discussion are encouraged to participate in this book selection process. The key word is "participate."
We few we happy few we band brothers.

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Jlane5516
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HAI GAIZ!!!!

I have some time off(ie. my job got outsourced, damn the IT field) so I have some free time.

I just finished IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black, and I have to say it was amazing. Would like to do a discussion on it.
"The constant questioning of our values and achievements is a challenge with which neither science nor society can remain healthy. "
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"Someday, on your tombstone, there will be two dates - and nobody realizes that all that mattered to you was that small dash in between"

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
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!
The clear instructions said: All active BookTalk.org members, with 25 or more forum posts, that actually plan to read and participate in the May and June 2011 NON-FICTION book discussion are encouraged to participate in this book selection process. The key word is "participate."
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Chris OConnor
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Any more book suggestions by members with more than 25 quality posts on the forums?
jotex
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I'd be thrilled reading Dexter's suggestion by Dawkins, A Devil's Chaplain OR Civil Disobedience by Thoreau. I've read the latter, but would absolutely love to read it again and discuss it. So I guess I shouldn't make anymore suggestion since I cast my vote for either of those two.
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geo
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Dexter wrote:I'll throw one out there. I'm a fan of Richard Dawkins, and I know BookTalk has read several of his books over the years, so why not one more?

Richard Dawkins, A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love
I'm always up for Dawkins. This looks great, Dexter.

I think it would be great to get a few people to read and discuss Thoreau's Civil Disobedience as well, but perhaps not as the non-fiction book selection since it's just a single essay, only 26 pages long. we can just create a separate thread and discuss it anytime.
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Chris OConnor
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I'm liking the idea of A Devil's Chaplain too.
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Chris OConnor
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I'm not sure why the non-fiction book suggestions were so few this time, but we only had two books suggested by people with over 25 posts. And since one of the two books had almost unanimous support I'm going to just announce "A Devil's Chaplain" as the April and May 2011 Non-Fiction book.

I think you guys are going to be happy with a bunch of things I'm working on behind the scenes right now. hey are all designed to dramatically increase traffic, which will result in more participants in our book discussions.
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Chris OConnor
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Oh, and thank you for this suggestion, Dexter!
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