The Americas before the arrival of Columbus were not an empty paradise populated by small bands of savages. Mann presents much of the newest research on pre-Columbian Americas and finds that they were the home of great populations of sophisticated people who were killed by disease in numbers that dwarfed the death toll of Europe’s Black Death.
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A story about "The Republican War on Science" — 7 years ago
To my mind, one of the worst crimes of the Bush II administration is the relentless perversion of science by political interests, and the near-medieval attitude towards knowledge espoused by its religious extremist “base”. Chris Mooney goes into depth on this vital topic, and I must advise you NOT to read it if you are of a scientific mind and weak heart, for it will enrage you. Mooney has continued the conversation started in the book on his blog at The Intersection. Both blog and book are must-reads for those interested in the furtherance of science.
A story about "Bangkok 8: A Novel" — 7 years ago
In the first 10 pages, we’re introduced to the dity of Krung Thep (Bangkok), the narrator and his partner — the only 2 Bangkok cops not on the take — and we watch as the partner dies of a snakebite in the eye suffered when opening a barred-shut Mercedes containing a US Marine who is being swallowed by a python amidst a crowd of people who squat on and under an unused roadway bridge! The portrayal of Bangkok and the uneasy movement of this Eastern culture into Western affluence is amazing. And there’s a sequel!
A story about "The Dog of the Marriage: Stories" — 7 years ago
My first encounter with Hempel’s gorgeous loneliness. “The Uninvited”, about a middle-aged woman waiting on the results of a pregnancy test while watching the 1944 movie of the same name — a favorite of mine — is also my favorite story in the collection.
Harris wastes no time in attacking the hypocrisy and danger of organized religion – all organized religion. He is unsparing in his portrayal of religious faith as the leading danger to the survival of our world. Although I was looking forward to reading a critique of religion, I was thrilled and amazed to read such a straightforward attack on the antithetical natures of the modern world and the primitive world which spawned most of our religious traditions.
A story about "Why Are You Doing This?" — 7 years ago
A short, spare and noir-ish novel of mistaken identity and the presence (or absence) of justice. Using animal-headed characters and subdued palette, Jason delivers a graphic novel with a punch and a deep sadness.
A story about "13 Ways of Looking at the Novel" — 7 years ago
Jane Smiley took a break from her own novel-writing to create a guide, an analysis, a companion to the novel as form. After defining and discussing the novel as a form, she provides a few pages on each of 100 novels from Boccaccio’s Decameron through Ian McEwan’s Atonement, discussing them as instruction for the aspiring novel-writer or for a reader interested in how the novel is written.
A story about "To the Lighthouse" — 7 years ago
Amazing in so many ways: as an exploration of the way our consciousnesses interact with the outside world, as an example of the modernist movement at the beginning of the 20th century, and as proof that in the hands of a masterful writer even the slightest of stories can be moving and affecting.
A story about "The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil" — 7 years ago
Like Orwell’s Animal Farm, Saunders examines the current political systemin the US (although he denies it). Unlike Orwell, and fittingly to the inane political environment, the actors in this story are not even as recognizable as farm animals – instead they are bizarre assmeblages of random details which act according to equally bizarre rules – yet recognizable to anyone living through the present regime.
Funny, but never cute view into the alien mind of a 15-year-old autistic savant who is searching for the killer of a neighbor’s dog. The discoveries he makes while on the case would almost be cliched if this were a normal kid. He’s NOT a normal kid.