Thursday, May 19, 2016

Preview: Books I Want to Read

The Gene: An Intimate History, by Siddhartha Mukherjee. His previous work on cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies, was one of the best medico-scientific books I've read in years.

You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice, by Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us).

Paper, by Mark Kurlansky, godfatherof the single-word-title-biography-of-a-substance book (Salt).

What else should I be reading? Tell me.


  1. Replies
    1. In general, for the same reason I want to read anything. I look at it and think "Huh. That looks interesting."

      In specific, because I've really liked previous books by all three authors.

    2. This is a tangent, but I like tangents. I recently heard about research on dropping birth rates. It relates to the middle book on choice. Simply put, women are having children later. The research I heard suggested that this is because in the past, we had fewer choices, for mates or for life-- especially women. You married someone in your town or village a hundred years ago. Now, however, you have the whole world at your fingertips in your phones. Or you can choose career, same sex, or a fulfilling life without children. I know I will sound old here, but I am still kind of surprised to hear that the main way people find their SO's is via online dating. When you can swipe right through a couple hundred pictures a day on Tinder, you can be choosy, or so they say. Long story short, you get an average age for first pregnancy of 25 in 2003 compared to 21 in 1970. And there are nine times as many women older than 35 that are getting pregnant compared to 40 years ago. So, 50 really is the new 30.

      Anyway, since you're talking about books you want to read, of the three you mention, the middle one is my choice. In fact, I think I'll buy it. What say we both get it (library or otherwise) and share thoughts? That would place us firmly in old age, since it would mean a book club :)

    3. $20 on Kindle. More for the hard cover. I'm sure my local library doesn't have it. I think I will wait till it comes out in paperback. Still interested tho.

    4. For what it's worth, I'm planning on getting all three of these in the near future. I do like the simulread-and-share idea, though. It doesn't have to be these particular books.

      On children and later/fewer children, here's an interesting (tangentially! but you like tangents) related TED talk:

      P.S. Get these damn kids off my lawn, while you're at it.

  2. The Economist favorably reviewed The Gene

    It has also been wringing its hands about demography and the falling birthrate (primarily in the West and Japan) for years. It's thesis is that female education and ability to have a career are the issues -- when you've got options other than wife and mother, the birthrate falls.