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Since @BEARGERhas breathed life into this topic again by recommending an excellent book by Richard Dawkins, I thought I'd share one of my best discoveries in years - books and authors always seem to be a process of discovery for me. I've been reading "Basin and Range" and "In Suspect Terrain" by Professor John McPhee, four time Pulitzer nominated, one time Pulitzer winning American academic and author. These are the first of five books in his "Annals of Former Worlds" series, so I've got some distance still to travel. Some notes on McPhee from his Wiki page ......


John Angus McPhee (born March 8, 1931) is an American writer. He is considered one of the pioneers of creative nonfiction. He is a four-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in the category General Nonfiction, and he won that award on the fourth occasion in 1999 for Annals of the Former World (a collection of five books, including two of his previous Pulitzer finalists). In 2008, he received the George Polk Career Award for his "indelible mark on American journalism during his nearly half-century career". Since 1974, McPhee has been the Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University.

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I'm currently reading Middlemarch, by George Eliot. I've just started it. 


I had been working my way through the Penguin history of Europe series:


The Birth of Classical Europe: A History from Troy to Augustine (2011) by Simon Price and Peter Thonemann
The Inheritance of Rome: Europe 400–1000 (2010) by Chris Wickham
Europe in the High Middle Ages (2004) by William Chester Jordan
Renaissance Europe (Forthcoming) by Anthony Grafton
Christendom Destroyed: Europe 1517–1648 (2015) by Mark Greengrass
The Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648–1815 (2008) by Tim Blanning
The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815–1914 (2017) by Richard J. Evans
To Hell and Back: Europe 1914–1949 (2015) by Ian Kershaw
The Global Age: Europe 1950–2017 (2020) by Ian Kershaw


I haven't read the last one - and the Renaissance one hasn't been published yet. They were all quite good; in-depth, thematic exploration of their time periods. 


I've got 'Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947' by Christopher Clark and 'The Gulag Archipelago' by Solzhenitsyn on my table to read next. 


I've always got two or three on my table lined-up to read, but I can guarantee there will be something that will catch my eye and I'll go down another path.


What's everyone else reading? 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Rousseau said:

What's everyone else reading? 

Can't Be Satisfied - Robert Gordon's Muddy Waters biography.  Quite an enjoyable read, particularly the parts about his early life and musical beginnings.


Next up are Samuel Beckett's three novels: Molloy, Malone Dies and the Unnamable (all in one paperback). 

Edited by Gonzo79
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  • 4 weeks later...

On Growth and Form by Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thomson, professor of natural history at Dundee, then St Andrew’s Universities.

One of Scotland’s most eminent scientists and hugely influential on a global scale, he wrote this book in 1917 to examine the mathematical basis of why plants and animals adopt the size, shape and function that they do. 

Unless you’re a specialist academic, this isn’t a book you pick up to read cover to cover. You read this selectively to marvel at the intellectual capacity of truly great scientists and to be convinced that God was, after all, as much in thrall to the physical laws as the rest of us. That seems to me to be a very good reason to read any book. 

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