Sunday, March 09, 2008


15. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
I'm glad I read this classic of science fiction, but I am not sure I can say I really enjoyed it. Basically, a scientist (in the field of psychological history) in the far future predicts the downfall of this huge empire that is running everything. He also figures out how to lessen the "dark ages" between this fall and the rise of a new empire, so he set up a foundation to keep scientific knowledge alive and to carry out this plan of lessening this time between empires. It is an interesting idea, but as a social scientist I am skeptical of the idea that the future is so predictable, and would like to have heard more about that. Also, I am struck by how much, although these are set in the far future, you can still see how much the time period in which they were written -- the 1940's and 1950's -- informs them. Also, there are no women at all anywhere in this book.

16. Hack by Melissa Plaut
This is the true story of a woman who doesn't really know what to do with her life, so on her 29th birthday she starts driving a cab in NYC. It is super interesting to get kind of an insider's view of what being a cabbie is like, and there are some really interesting stories here. The writer had a blog first, and the book is written in a more informal, bloggy writing style which I didn't always like, but it was an interesting book overall.

17. Choice edited by Karen Bender
This is one of the most powerful books I have read in awhile. It is a collection of essays by various women about different reproductive choices. It was so honest, and striking how many women did not have choices about how/when to have children or not. It was really amazing, and I think is helpful in moving the abortion debate past yes/no and seeing the real people's lives ALL reproductive choices impact. Very good book.

18. Radio On by Sarah Vowell
In this book, Sarah Vowell, a regular contributor to This American Life, listens to the radio for a year and records what she hears, and what it makes her think about. Vowell did this project in 1995, and it is funny how dated some of it seems now. Anyway, this was an interesting book, unlike anything else I have ever read. Sometimes I thought I wouldn't really like Vowell, but it was kind of nice to meander through someone's thoughts as related to the radio for awhile. It did make me want to listen to music more.

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