My 2013 reading habits were more useless than a shriveled up baby Voldemort being held by worm-tongue. So it is with great pleasure to announce that I wrapped up The Witcher titles until the next volume rolls onto tablets in June/July. While the 3rd book suffers from translation issues and a tumultuous political story-line it manages to capture the magic (pun-intended) of the prior works. These are quick-must-reads for any fantasy fan. Sapkow keeps the story moving and the right moments, guaranteeing that you are never bored and continually in wonder.
Victor Stenger is a professor of physics with quite the little bio. He’s written a number of titles on fine-tuning, a scientific search for god, the laws of physics, and so much more. As of late his stances have been anti-theist in nature. This 2009 work takes a look at the recent movement (founded largely after 9/11) of New Atheism. He synthesizes several notable works from Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennet, Harris, and more. He also gathers the arguments of religious communities and refutes them clearly. Unfortunately he is dealing with broad strokes, as Stenger covers an immense amount of ground: from the dawn of humanity, science, religion, Eastern philosophies, Christianity, Judaism, the apocalypse, to the enlightenment, neuroscience, and evolution, to the founding of Mormonism and Intelligent Design.
The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason is a nonstop tour of the intellectual and reasoned struggle taking place in our schools, courts, churches, homes, and daily lives. Stenger cites all his sources (including his own detailed past studies/works) so that topics can be thoroughly explored and challenged. I’d describe The New Atheism as an extremely detailed bibliography with quick facts and analysis. It’s a terrific place to start if you’re wondering about New Atheism, questioning religion, and/or looking behind the curtain.
I’ve taken my time reading Christopher Hitchens’ Letters to a Young Contrarian. The main reason is to ring in 2012 on a positive note of reason. If one were to draw out a main point/challenge to the reader it would be: to think better (if not differently). This feeds into to a constant assessment of the status quo and to give all things (especially tradition) a fair shake against the better forms of ourselves found in logic and human decency. The empowering sense in tackling ancient regimes and lies with true conviction makes 2012 another year worth ardent living and unflappable courage.
We still inhabit the prehistory of our race, and have not caught up with the immense discoveries about our own nature and the nature of the universe. The unspooling of the skein of the genome has effectively abolished racism and creationism, and the amazing findings of Hubble and Hawking have allowed us to guess at the origins of the cosmos. But how much more addictive is the familiar old garbage about tribe and nation and faith.
-Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian
From the looks of it 2011 was the year I read the rest of the Harry Potter series, a number of science titles, and took to a swath of Hitchens/Sagan/Orwell/Steinbeck (with notable exceptions for Woody Allen and The Hunger Games). This 2011 list doesn’t include the comics and poetry I’ve
wasted lovingly enjoyed throughout the year. At any rate, Morrison’s Supergods was thee worst work I read and the best would have to go to Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.
Goodreads bookshelf: 2011
The public library offers more bounties than the eyes, ears, or brain could ever wish to meet. My recent selections include a number of comics and other items, I will highlight two:
- Heathentown – Corinna Sara Bechko (Author), Gabriel Hardman (Author)
I was highly expecting much more from this title. Unfortunately the story did disappoint and was a bit jumpy. It should have been drawn out more, developing the characters, themes, motifs, etc. It went from one thing to the next with little to no explanation. It left me saying, “oh ok”. Luckily the art made up for the time spent. In the picture above is a zombie Wooly Mammoth with non-other than a zombie cave-man riding it! How could they mess that up?! They did and in the end Heathentown has great art and an OK story.
- The Silent World by Captain Jacques Yves Cousteau and Frédéric Dumas
I am little more than a few pages in and know that this is going to be a tremendous read. One that makes me wish I was born a young French boy listening to stories of Captain Cousteau and crew as they traversed the great unknown. Yet there’s nothing stopping me from pretending and enjoying this work with the gusto of young excitement. It’s easy to take for granted the pictures and story within as we’ve come along way in seafaring, thanks to J.Y. Cousteau and company. However, it is too easy to become immersed in his story-telling style. I can smell the sea, feel the cold breeze, and get my heart racing as they make new discoveries. Truly a work for which I cannot wait to finish and one that will begin my path to consuming other Cousteau books.