A Book Meme.

NoProphet from Beware of the Dogma tagged me with this book meme and it’s been awhile since I’ve done one so I thought I’d go ahead and tackle it.

I should mention that I’m an Amazon Associate and all the links here will net me a few pennies should you happen to click one of them and buy the book. Don’t feel obligated to do so, but I thought I should be upfront about it. Just sayin’ is all.

A book that changed my life:
Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do : The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country by Peter McWilliams – This book is largely responsible for the libertarian aspects of my political outlook. It managed to completely change my opinion on everything from the drug war to prostitution. If you don’t want to buy the book (and it’s a big read) you can read it online for free thanks to the generosity of the author. I recommend buying it, though, as it’s a worthy addition to your library that will probably challenge you on many levels.

A book I’ve read more than once:
Neuromancer by William Gibson – The novel that got me hooked on Cyberpunk fiction. Wish someone could do a movie that would do the book justice.

A book I would take with me if I were stuck on a desert island:
Any of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – Most of which would’ve qualified for the “books I’ve read more than once” category as well.

A book that made me laugh:
The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide: Five Complete Novels and One Story by Douglas Adams – I cheated on this one as this “book” is actually all five novels in the Hitchhiker’s Triology (as Adam’s himself described it) in one volume. Few books have made me laugh out loud as much as these have, particularly The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy itself. If you haven’t read them then you owe it to yourself to do so.

A book that I wish had been written:
This is a tough one as I’m always trying to think of something that hasn’t been written so I could try to write it. I’ll have to go with NoProphet’s choice and answer with Credulity: A guide for the perplexed. I wonder if he’d be upset if I wrote that book…

A book that I wish had never been written:
Another tough question. I could go the easy route and say something obvious like The Bible, but the truth is I don’t really have a problem with the fact that The Bible exists so much as the fact that too many people buy into it wholesale as though it were true. My annoyance with The Bible is not unlike my annoyance with Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code in that too many credulous people think it’s non-fiction. My sense of freedom of speech is such that I think people should be allowed to write what they want no matter how stupid it happens to be. I just wish more people had the critical thinking skills needed to sort the fact from the fiction.

A book I’ve been meaning to read:
Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby – I already own this and I’ve started on it, but I keep getting distracted by other things and losing my place and starting over on it so it’s become a bit of the “I’ve been meaning to finish reading this soon” than I’d like it to be. What I’ve read so far has been excellent and the book should be required reading in at least one college class devoted to American History.

I’m currently reading:
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris – It has a strong opening and starts to go astray about halfway through, which is where I am in the book at the moment, and based on some other reviews I’ve read I’m expecting to be disappointed with the last third of the book. Still it’s been an interesting read and the first half or so is one I agree with completely.

Now I’m supposed to tag five other bloggers, but I’m not going to do that—if you feel like doing this meme then consider yourself tagged—instead I’m going to provide a bonus question not part of the original meme:

Book I just finished reading:
A Mind of its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives by Cordelia Fine – I’ll be writing a full review of this book shortly, but in summary let me say that if you want a greater insight into how your mind works then this book is a must read. It’s a very easy read as it’s a high-level overview of a lot of the studies done in recent years on how the brain does what it does that reveals how your mind literally has a mind of its own and why you can’t always trust your brain. It’s bigoted, vain, deceptive, stubborn, and pigheaded, but once you understand that you are better equipped to deal with how it twists your perceptions of reality. Cordelia Fine’s book includes an extensive list of citations for all the studies that she uses as the basis for each chapter so you don’t have to take her word for it, but can look them up on your own. Great stuff.

2 thoughts on “A Book Meme.

  1. I’d be quite happy if you wanted to write “Credulity: A guide for the perplexed”.  In fact, put me down for a copy!

    By the sound of it, some material from “A mind of its own” would make the basis of a chapter.

  2. I read The End of Faith coupla months back.
    It started out very promising.
    I thought it was just me when it crashed and burned as it died in the arse in the latter parts.

    Les: It’s bigoted, vain, deceptive, stubborn, and pigheaded …

    And if you ask a smoker (like me), your brain doesn’t even care if it kills you. wink
    I found the following coupla decades ago when I was studying hypnotherapy:
    My little robot
    I have a little robot that goes around with me.
    I tell him what I’m thinking; I tell him what I see.
    I tell my little robot, all my hopes and fears,
    He listens and remembers all my joys and tears.
    At first my little robot followed my command,
    But after years of training he’s gotten out of hand.
    He doesn’t care what’s right or wrong, or what is false or true.
    No matter what I try now, he tells me what to do.

    Sigmund Freud: What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.

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