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Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:54 pm
by LanDroid
Our current non-fiction discussion closes at the end of this month. We need to pick the next winner quickly! Please post suggestions here, including a link and a little bit of a sales job - why do you recommend this book? Would you be willing to lead a discussion? Also post if you're interested in any of the books listed, that helps a book make it past the first round to a vote, an executive decision, or some other mysterious selection method. :wink:

Anything new and exciting / old and classic / award winning or best selling? Etc........


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Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:31 pm
by Chris OConnor
Thanks for putting this thread up, LanDroid!

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 11:18 pm
by LanDroid
OK just to get something started I'll recommend A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. I used to have a long commute and this was one of the better non-fiction books I listened to while driving. It's not a rigorous history of science, more of a compendium of interesting stories such as an amateur who attempted to measure gravity by walling off a room of his house and observing instruments within through a telescope. Also a strange story about parrots that used to live in the U.S. Carolinas - the hunter who shot the last two of them felt "joy." And so on....

https://www.amazon.com/Short-History-Ne ... 076790818X

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:01 am
by Harry Marks
I could get interested in the Bryson book.

Do people here like history? Ron Chernow's "Alexander Hamilton" has some interest for me. Chernow is one of the more competent popular historians when it comes to matters of business and economics.

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:01 am
by LevV
I would support the Bill Bryson choice. I read about half the book a few years ago but had to put it down because of a pressing project that took all my free time. This would be a good reason for me to get back into it.
As I recall, I especially enjoyed Bryson's way of humanizing so many of the great discoveries and inventions by including the missteps, bad decisions and accidents as well as his descriptions and implications of the discoveries themselves.

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:57 am
by Chris OConnor
Great suggestion, LanDroid. And it looks like your suggestion has generated some interest.

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 8:10 pm
by Cattleman
Bryson's book does sound interesting. As for "Alexander Hamilton," I have read it (and written a brief review for our local library support group), but it is almost 1000 pages long (and that doesn't include notes, bibliography and index). I fear it would just take too long to do it justice.

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:19 pm
by LanDroid
Here's another possibility...
Over the last half billion years, there have been Five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert.

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:40 am
by DWill
Great suggestions here. But I'm going to nominate one that's maybe the most topical of all: Trump revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power, by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher (2016). Trump granted the writers 20 hours of interview time. I recall reading that they found him rather approachable. Since publication, though, Trump has denounced the book as a hatchet job. The authors, who work for the Washington Post, were backed by a team of Post researchers and fact-checkers..

https://www.washingtonpost.com/trumprevealed/

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:28 am
by Harry Marks
Cattleman wrote: As for "Alexander Hamilton," I have read it (and written a brief review for our local library support group), but it is almost 1000 pages long
Oy! Sorry I had not checked that. I withdraw the suggestion!

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:04 am
by Robert Tulip
DWill wrote:Great suggestions here. But I'm going to nominate one that's maybe the most topical of all: Trump revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power, by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher (2016). Trump granted the writers 20 hours of interview time. I recall reading that they found him rather approachable. Since publication, though, Trump has denounced the book as a hatchet job. The authors, who work for the Washington Post, were backed by a team of Post researchers and fact-checkers..

https://www.washingtonpost.com/trumprevealed/
I read an article from this link and can appreciate Trump's hatchet comment. Guilt by association arguments based on assuming Joe McCarthy was bad are not strong, begging the question of whether the Cold War anti-communist movement which Trump associates like Cohn were part of have moral legitimacy.

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:04 am
by DWill
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:Great suggestions here. But I'm going to nominate one that's maybe the most topical of all: Trump revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power, by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher (2016). Trump granted the writers 20 hours of interview time. I recall reading that they found him rather approachable. Since publication, though, Trump has denounced the book as a hatchet job. The authors, who work for the Washington Post, were backed by a team of Post researchers and fact-checkers..

https://www.washingtonpost.com/trumprevealed/
I read an article from this link and can appreciate Trump's hatchet comment. Guilt by association arguments based on assuming Joe McCarthy was bad are not strong, begging the question of whether the Cold War anti-communist movement which Trump associates like Cohn were part of have moral legitimacy.
I don't know what you mean by "begging the question" here, Robert. What I do think I know is that D. Trump offers social anthropologists a prime opportunity to study myth-making, up close and in the moment. Much of the country has chosen to see this person as the savior of American values under assault. Whether or not these values are ones that are in fact cherishable, the Donald is probably not the embodiment of them; he is just a chosen vessel.

I think I have just "misthreaded"!

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:06 pm
by Chris OConnor
Keep the suggestions and feedback coming. It would be wonderful to pick a book soon so we can start on Dec. 1st.

So far the Bryson book has quite a few people interested.

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:04 pm
by LanDroid
Normally when a presidential election ends, I'm so fed up with it I have no intention of reading about it. But this one was so wild we almost have to go back and try to get perspective on what happened. That Trump book looks good with strong reviews on Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/Trump-Revealed-A ... p+revealed
Mr. Tulip wrote:Guilt by association arguments based on assuming Joe McCarthy was bad are not strong, begging the question of whether the Cold War anti-communist movement which Trump associates like Cohn were part of have moral legitimacy.
Can't quite untangle that sentence, but why don't you bring the blacklist and many other abuses by the House Un-American Activities Committee to Australia and see how much YOU luv it.

Re: Which non-fiction book will we discuss Dec - Feb?

Posted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:49 am
by LanDroid
OK we have a few good books, what should we do - pick one, put it up for a vote, or make an executive decision?