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
As in 2015, I’ll write a quick post about my favorite books and movies that I read or watched in 2016. Like last year, there’s (almost) nothing in this list relevant to the blog’s usual themes of science and academia — I’ve got two posts on grant writing and teaching half-written, though, so we’ll be … Continue reading Books, books, and movies, 2016
A few years ago, after too many instances of starting a book and then realizing that I’d read it before, I began to keep a list of the books I’ve read, making a brief note in it each time I finish something. The list makes it easy to look back on what I’ve read in … Continue reading A random walk through bookshelves — books and movies 2015