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What NON-FICTION book should we discuss in October, November and December?

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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What non-fiction book should we discuss in October, November & December of 2017?

Please make your suggestions here and include a link so we can read about the book.
Monkeybear
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Why non-fiction?
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Chris OConnor
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We read fiction AND non-fiction books concurrently. We select them in separate threads. This thread is for selecting non.
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Chris OConnor
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Any suggestions?
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geo
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Never mind. Likely I'll read Wright's book at some point, but I don't think we'd have enough participants for a good discussion.
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LanDroid
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Here are two on astro-science edumaniflication. ©

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson.
The #1 New York Times Bestseller: The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist. What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson. But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day. While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
This playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics briskly explains Einstein's general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role humans play in this weird and wonderful world. Carlo Rovelli, a renowned theoretical physicist, is a delightfully poetic and philosophical scientific guide. He takes us to the frontiers of our knowledge: to the most minute reaches of the fabric of space, back to the origins of the cosmos, and into the workings of our minds. The book celebrates the joy of discovery. “Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world,” Rovelli writes. “And it’s breathtaking.
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LanDroid
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This one will make some people angry. :P

The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism by Edward Feser.
New Atheists Richards Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris get their comeuppance from philosopher Feser in the spirit with which they abuse believers. “Their books stand out for their manifest ignorance” of the Western religious tradition, he says, “and for the breathtaking shallowness of their philosophical analysis of religious matters.” Far better than such no-quarters rhetoric, however, are the review of pre-Aristotelian philosophy and the summary of Aristotelian metaphysics and Thomas Aquinas’ refinements of Aristotle that make up the heart, soul, and bulk of the book. Feser chooses to argue from Aristotle because he was not arguing from any religious perspective and because Aristotle’s logic, his rationality, hasn’t been improved upon or refuted by modern philosophy. Aristotle’s proof that there is a prime mover or pure being—God—remains solid. Ignoramuses like the four horsemen of the apostasy, whose factual errors, half-truths, and mischaracterization Feser highlights with contemptuous glee, “refute” Aristotle only by changing the playing field from metaphysics to science, from philosophical realism to materialism. With energy and humor as well as transparent exposition, Feser reestablishes the unassailable superiority of classical philosophy. --Ray Olson --
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LanDroid
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I recall we've thought about this annual series before, but haven't formally discussed any.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2016 curated by Amy Stewart. Check out the table of contents, 25 articles.
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Chris OConnor
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Thanks for these suggestions, LanDroid. Does anyone want to give their thoughts on LanDroid's book suggestions?
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LanDroid
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Well if no one else has suggestions, I'll keep going. This book would be a challenge, very uncomfortable reading at times...

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Readers of his work in The Atlantic and elsewhere know Ta-Nehisi Coates for his thoughtful and influential writing on race in America. Written as a series of letters to his teenaged son, his new memoir, Between the World and Me, walks us through the course of his life, from the tough neighborhoods of Baltimore in his youth, to Howard University—which Coates dubs “The Mecca” for its revelatory community of black students and teachers—to the broader Meccas of New York and Paris. Coates describes his observations and the evolution of his thinking on race, from Malcolm X to his conclusion that race itself is a fabrication, elemental to the concept of American (white) exceptionalism. Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, and South Carolina are not bumps on the road of progress and harmony, but the results of a systemized, ubiquitous threat to “black bodies” in the form of slavery, police brutality, and mass incarceration. Coates is direct and, as usual, uncommonly insightful and original. There are no wasted words. This is a powerful and exceptional book.--Jon Foro

I don't know if BookTalk is ready for such a book. To gauge your reaction, you might check out Coates' latest article on Trump.
The First White President.
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Robert Tulip
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I have a suggestion

The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
https://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Sug ... 0307701646

Here is my review, just posted at Amazon

This book tells the tale of the scientific paradigm shift from blaming fat to blaming sugar as the main cause of disease. The noncommunicable lifestyle illnesses of modern sedentary society include diabetes, cancer, heart attack, hypertension, tooth decay, obesity, gout and senility. Sugar is the main culprit for the epidemic explosion of these conditions in recent years. The science behind this discovery, and the social failure to see and address it, is laid out by Gary Taubes in forensic detail. It is a story of grand corruption and stupidity, both moral and political. The sugar industry, hand in glove with its close partner the tobacco industry, has systematically deceived and suborned public health in its pursuit of filthy lucre, at massive avoidable cost in health expenditure and quality of life.

Starting with the key role of sugar in slavery, Taubes explains how the depravity continued with the key role of sugar in making cigarettes so pleasant and addictive by enabling easy inhalation of their smoke. Gross conflict of interest was then allowed by government, allowing so-called scientists paid by the sugar industry to systematically deny and conceal the ghastly and obvious criminal role of sugar in driving avoidable suffering. Like drug pushers, the sugar industry has tried to hook its addicts when young, for example with the lying portrayal of breakfast cereals as health foods, while concealing the scale and effect and coordination of its assault on our health.

The toxic cocktail of Coca-Cola and cigarettes given to American servicemen in World War Two was one example of Big Sugar’s cynical marketing exercise that destroyed health while repaying the advertising investment many times. The marketing of high sugar foods as “healthy” should be a criminal offence. Its continued occurrence shows how badly our politics are corrupted by money and stupidity.

For decades, sugar pushers promoted the baseless false claim that dietary fat is the main cause of bad health, a message enabled by direct conflict of interest for sugar industry employees making decisions on public policy. Without the sugar industry corrupting the research, the false theory that eating saturated fat is bad would have been destroyed long ago. Like the astoundingly impudent attack by the sugar industry on artificial sweeteners, Big Sugar’s war on fat has been a Big Lie. They have successfully displaced sugar’s own cancerous effects, seen in how insulin causes metabolic syndrome, onto innocent products such as saccharine and cyclamate.

As Taubes well explains, sugar and fat are digested very differently, meaning sugar causes diabetes and other noncommunicable conditions while dietary fat does not. The sugar industry has exploited the comfort food factor of its sweet poison, keying into our instinctive desires, while purveying the false but seductive psychological message that eating fat makes you fat. This whole dietary nutrition paradigm of fat restriction is wrong, and has been completely overturned in recent years.

As with other scientific paradigm shifts, those who have vested interests in the old false theory will not give up without a fight, and will remain in denial. The Case Against Sugar is a brilliant summation of the urgent need for dietary change, in the face of the concerted industrial assault that Big Sugar has waged on human health, and the great difficulty of removing its damage.

We can only hope that the information here leads to immediate policy changes of the same type that have been applied to tobacco. Governments should ban companies from advertising sugar products as healthy. They should increase tax on sugar, place health warnings on poisonous sugar drinks, and stop so-called health bodies from promoting sugar. More generally, the public must be informed that the fleeting pleasure of sweetness, especially in sugary drinks, comes at immense price to our health, happiness and prosperity.
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LevV
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LanDroid wrote:I don't know if BookTalk is ready for such a book. To gauge your reaction, you might check out Coates' latest article on Trump.
The First White President.
This is an excellent article. It certainly gives more than a glimpse into his writing style and political views.If you don't have time to read the full article, this paragraph near the end gives us a sense in which to view the Trump presidency and its possible implications for the future of the United States:

"The American tragedy now being wrought is larger than most imagine and will not end with Trump. In recent times, whiteness as an overt political tactic has been restrained by a kind of cordiality that held that its overt invocation would scare off “moderate” whites. This has proved to be only half true at best. Trump’s legacy will be exposing the patina of decency for what it is and revealing just how much a demagogue can get away with. It does not take much to imagine another politician, wiser in the ways of Washington and better schooled in the methodology of governance—and now liberated from the pretense of antiracist civility—doing a much more effective job than Trump."
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I would be happy to discuss "The Case Against Sugar" as someone who has been sugar-free for about 9 months :) But I would also like to suggest my favorite non-fiction book, "Anatomy of Violence" by Adrian Raine. (I haven't figured out the coding yet https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009Y4I4R4/)
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Taylor
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LanDroid wrote:I don't know if BookTalk is ready for such a book. To gauge your reaction, you might check out Coates' latest article on Trump.The First White President.
I agree with LevV. It is an "excellent article".

I have in the past considered Coates' to be a bit of a race-baiter in his writing. With what we have in the white house now, I consider Coates to be spot on.
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Harry Marks
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I would be happy to join in on Tyson's book or Rovelli's book (astrophysics and physics), but I have a Scientific American level familiarity with most of that stuff already. So, okay, but not so enthusiastic.

I would love to have a discussion of Coates' "Between the World and Me."

I would be okay with Raine's "Anatomy of Violence." It sounds interesting and of current interest, even if a bit more focused than I would normally prefer.

Collection of Science and Nature Writing would also be fun.

Has the group looked at Hochschild's "Strangers in their Own Land"? Or "Hillbilly Elegy" by Vance? If not, I would love to go through either one.

Not the sugar book, but go ahead without me if you like.
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