It’s again time for The Year in Books! (Previous posts: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.) 2020 was challenging in many ways. One consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic was the difficulty of getting books, very minor of course compared to many misfortunes both personal and global, but annoying nonetheless. The Eugene Public Library has been … Continue reading The Year in Books, 2020
A while ago I announced that I’ve been working on a popular science book about biophysics, and a few months ago I noted that the first draft is done. Since people have asked about the present state of the book, I thought I’d make a quick post about it. Princeton University Press sent the manuscript … Continue reading Book Update: Untitled Biophysics
I recently finished reading Ray Monk’s Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius, a thorough biography of the twentieth century philosopher. (Some entertaining comics about Wittgenstein’s philosophy are here, here, and here.) It’s an excellent book, diving into the life of a remarkable, strange, and intense person. Among other things, Wittgenstein refused any part of his … Continue reading Ludwig Wittgenstein, Alternative Careers, and Active Learning
On July 4, I finished a draft of the fourth and final part of Building Life, my popular-science book on biophysics. There’s still a lot to revise, based in part on comments from my editor and others on Parts 1-3 and, I’m sure, comments to come on Part 4, but nonetheless I’m delighted to say … Continue reading Book draft done!
I’ve been working on a popular science book about biophysics, writing as well as illustrating it. I’m about three-quarters done, hopefully on track for my contractually obligated completion date later this year. The book isn’t a secret, but I haven’t broadly announced it, nor have I posted a summary. So here it is: an announcement and … Continue reading Book Announcement: Building Life!
Once again, a post about notable books I read last year, some great, some awful. (Past years’ lists: 2018 , 2017, 2016, and 2015.) Fiction This was the year of long books, at least more so than most years. I finally read all 963 pages of Anna Karenina, which was wonderful — sprawling, fast-moving, and … Continue reading The Year in Books, 2019
There are now no bookstores around the University of Oregon (UO) campus. Until recently, there were two. The two did not, however, go out of business — at least not in a straightforward way. One of the stores is the University bookstore. At least since I moved to Eugene, 13 years ago, the uppermost of … Continue reading A bookstore-free university neighborhood
I’ll start this year-in-review post with some highlights of the year in fiction, noting the larger than usual amount of science fiction I read — a mistake I will hopefully not make again — and then write about non-fiction, graphic novels, and movies. (Past years’ lists: 2017, 2016, and 2015.) Fiction My two favorites of … Continue reading The Year in Books, 2018 (in which I am reminded that I don’t like science fiction)
A few months ago, I read parts of “Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande” (E.E. Evans-Pritchard, 1937). I like cultural anthropology, and I much prefer descriptions of the creative ways that humans have constructed societies to the more “scientific” anthropology that now seems more prevalent, and so it’s not surprising that I found Evans-Pritchard’s … Continue reading Witchcraft, Guts, and Statistics
It’s time again to think back on my favorites of the books I read last year. (Links: the 2015 and 2016 posts.) Looking back at my notes, it’s striking how many of 2017’s books were awful; usually I have better luck. Awful Books The “abyssmal” category for fiction includes Kapitoil by Teddy Wayne (an inept … Continue reading Highs and lows: Books, 2017