Talking About Books . . .

On the Origin of SpeciesIn Great Britain The Academic Book of the Future project considered 200 books that were influential in academia, reduced the list to 20, and asked the public to choose the single most influential academic book in history. Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was chosen with an astounding 25% of the votes.

The 20 finalists were:

  • A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman – Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Critique of Pure Reason – Immanuel Kant
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
  • On the Origins of Species – Charles Darwin
  • Orientalism – Edward Said
  • Silent Spring – Rachel Carson
  • The Communist Manifesto – Marx & Engels
  • The Complete Works – William Shakespeare
  • The Female Eunuch – Germaine Greer
  • The Making of the English Working Class – E P Thompson
  • The Meaning of Relativity – Albert Einstein
  • The Naked Ape – Desmond Morris
  • The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli
  • The Republic – Plato
  • The Rights of Man – Thomas Paine
  • The Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir
  • The Uses of Literacy – Richard Hoggart
  • The Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith
  • Ways of Seeing – John Berger

There’s you list of books to read in 2016. Have fun.

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A disturbing article in The Guardian relates the decline and fall of the venerable National Geographic.

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The BirdsDid you know that short stories are easier to adapt into movies than novels? They are, and here are five reasons why.

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It obvious that Rebecca Solnit is not happy with the list of 80 books that Esquire magazine recommends every man should read. “Scanning the list,” she writes, “which is full of all the manliest books ever, lots of war books, only one book by an out gay man, I was reminded though it’s hard to be a woman it’s harder in many ways to be a man, that gender that’s supposed to be incessantly defended and demonstrated through acts of manliness. I look at that list and all unbidden the thought arose, no wonder there are so many mass murders.”

She blasts many of the authors as well as the books on the Esquire list, and provides her own list of books that women should never read.

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Strange But True!DK has recently published a new book that features some stunning photographs. An article in The Guardian features some of them. The book, Strange But True!, is supposedly aimed at children from ages 8 to 12, but anyone will find it fascinating. The Amazon preview of the book offers additional photos.

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Object LessonsThe Paris Review has just published an anthology of short stories that have appeared in the magazine over the years. Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story is much more than a best-of-the-best compilation, and that’s one of the things that makes the book worth reading according to an article in The Atlantic.

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The 2015 National Book Award winners were announced Wednesday night in New York. An article in USA Today lists the winners, and tells us about other writers who were honored at the event.

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