What are you reading now?

Lou

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The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweeden
by Jonas Jonansson.

He is the author of the 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared.

It's almost historical fiction. Almost a crime novel. definitely humorous. Reminds me a bit of Carl Hiaasen or maybe PG Wodehouse.

The book starts off in the 1960's in South Africa and Sweden. And just like the 100-Year-Old Man, alcohol, bombs, and world leaders are parts of the story.

I'm only 100 pages into it. So far, I love it.
 
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hopeful

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@Lou

Thanks for asking! It is about a woman whose child went missing. I re-read the book flap, which also notes that it is driving a wedge between the woman and her husband. I really like Jodi Picoult, who is my favorite author. I found Jacquelyn Mitchard and "The Deep End of the Ocean" under either Jodi Picoult's favorite authors OR books one might like if they like Jodi Picoult.
 

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Halfway through "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari. He traces humanity's ascendance to what he calls the Cognitive Revolution, 70,000 years ago, which vaulted us to the top of the food chain too quickly for ecological checks and balances to counter act.

I like his emphasis on imagined realities, fictions we collectively believe in, as a source of our power.
 

Lou

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Halfway through "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari. He traces humanity's ascendance to what he calls the Cognitive Revolution, 70,000 years ago, which vaulted us to the top of the food chain too quickly for ecological checks and balances to counter act.

I like his emphasis on imagined realities, fictions we collectively believe in, as a source of our power.
I haven't read that book but I've read others that say something pretty similar. My favorite theory is that about the time period our brains developed to the point we could handle grammar. Like the tenses that denote the future.
"you go behind that rock. and when I flush the deer, you jump out and spear him".
or
"If we plant these squash here and water them, next season we can harvest them."

I also like the theory that the reason we are so bad is that for tens of thousands of years being bad (selfish, greedy, immoral, murderous, and war-like) had an evolutionary advantage.
 

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I haven't read that book but I've read others that say something pretty similar. My favorite theory is that about the time period our brains developed to the point we could handle grammar. Like the tenses that denote the future.
"you go behind that rock. and when I flush the deer, you jump out and spear him".
or
"If we plant these squash here and water them, next season we can harvest them."

I also like the theory that the reason we are so bad is that for tens of thousands of years being bad (selfish, greedy, immoral, murderous, and war-like) had an evolutionary advantage.
There's a limited number of personal relationships that people are capable of having. That effectively limited the size of cooperative groups likes tribes. Harari claims that Homo Sapiens gaining the capability to create collective fictions...such as religion and tribal identity in the past, or money and corporations in the present...allowed us to cooperate in larger groups than before, and that this was the "giant leap for mankind". We could form groups large enough to forage for food, raise children, make tools, defend territory, and still have enough manpower left over to waste on hunting keystone species. Soon we spread across the globe, altering ecosystems and causing mass extinctions. The other species of humans at the time...neanderthals, erectus, denisovans...didn't stand a chance. We drove the "missing link" species to extinction, severing our connection to the animal world.

At least that's what Harari is arguing. I'm reading this for pleasure, not academic rigor.
 

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@Sax
That sounds about right. It makes sense to me.

BTW, I too love reading this kind of stuff.

To add a little more complexity to the theory. Homo sapiens sapiens may not be our only ancestor that drove their "cousins" to extinction. Some of the species of Australopithecus disappeared way before modern humans showed up. Several of them lived during the same times.
 

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Lord of The Rings.
And Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good by Jonathan Balcombe. It's evident that non-human animals can feel pleasure from playing, eating etc. Not unlike Otters who love playing in the snow. It's refreshing to read from this, more positive and light-hearted point of view instead of "if non-human animals can suffer".
What I have understood, Balcombe is vegan on top of being intelligent and clever writer.
 
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@strangotter
I have heard of that book but never read it. I am putting it on my list.
 

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I also reread that this year. I think I read it first about 20 years ago. I'm done with keeping books 10-20 years before reading them again though. I'm on a bit of a minimalist thing, steadily reducing the number of physical books I own.

I am currently reading a number of books on China. The current one is Age of Ambition.
 

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I'm on a bit of a minimalist thing, steadily reducing the number of physical books I own.
When I was in my 20s, and just out of college, I must have moved something like 10 times in five years. It didn't take me very long to realize that books were like the worst thing to move. Especially college textbooks that who knew if you will ever need again. and besides, there are libraries.
I almost never buy books. and if i do, for the last 10 years they have been e-books. Still, I've been living in the same place for a long time and it seems that I have collected some extra books.

Usually when I reread an older book it is because I forgot that I had read it the first time. Then around page 100, I find myself thinking, "wait, is he a shadowy CIA assassin who has amnesia?"
 

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Halfway through "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari. He traces humanity's ascendance to what he calls the Cognitive Revolution, 70,000 years ago, which vaulted us to the top of the food chain too quickly for ecological checks and balances to counter act.

I like his emphasis on imagined realities, fictions we collectively believe in, as a source of our power.

I went to the Library website to put this book on hold. I was surprised to see how popular it is. I've got to wait a few weeks for it. and they have over 50 copies and have more than that number of people who have requested it.

While I was there I put Pleasurable Kingdom on hold. I should get that one right away.
 

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Oooops. I just got back from the library and was wondering what had happened to Pleasurable Kingdom. I had put that on hold over a week ago. but I had clicked the wrong button. Fixed it and I should get it next week but it will be still weeks till I get Sapiens.

Meanwhile, I got two cookbooks. Vegan Cooking in your Air Fryer and The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for your InstantPot.

I'm now reading Blood and Bone, more on that later when I finish it.
 

Lou

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Halfway through "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari. He traces humanity's ascendance to what he calls the Cognitive Revolution, 70,000 years ago, which vaulted us to the top of the food chain too quickly for ecological checks and balances to counter act.

I like his emphasis on imagined realities, fictions we collectively believe in, as a source of our power.
Just found this article. I think the author's theories and view dovetail nicely with our discussions.

https://nypost.com/2018/11/17/how-human-evolution-was-shaped-by-pride-guilt-and-gossip/
 

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Children of Blood and Bone
by Tami Adeyemi

I heard an ad for this book and put it on hold at my library. They had the e-book for immediate download so I got the e-book.
It took me a while to realize it was a YA book. I don't avoid YA books but they are not normally my first choice.

Still, I'm glad I read this book. but I can't recommend it to anyone/everyone. The ad I heard said that the book was Harry Potter meets Black Panther. I don't think that is a perfect description but I can't think of a better one. There is magic, there is adventure, there are teens, and the background is a mash-up of African mythology. As far as Black Panther goes there are strange beasts and magical metals. Oh, and royalty.

After reading the afterward I googled the author and I am very impressed with her writing credentials. I was also surprised that there are going to be two sequels (at least). and the film rights have already been purchased and the first film is already in production. Talk about a new writer's dream come true.

In her afterward, she describes what she put into the book. Pain, fear, sorrow, and loss. She is very committed to Black Lives Matter and if you look closely you can see those threads in the tapestry of the novel.

If you like YA books then this one should go on your list. Otherwise, maybe you can recommend it or get it for a teen you know.
 

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The Art of War
Book by Sun Tzu
 

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Pleasurable Kingdom was a good read!

Last book I finished was Death's End by Cixin Liu, last of the Three Body Problem trilogy.

Currently slogging through "Farthest North" by Fridtjof Nansen. Nansen has been a hero of mine for a long time (polar explorer, pioneer of neuroscience, Nobel Peace Prize winner). Pretty tedious read though. At one point he calculates how long his sled dogs will last after he starts feeding them to each other :(
 

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My new year's resolution is to read less junk and read more good stuff.
Starting off the year with my Vegan To Read List

The Omnivore's Dilmena is first
Then the Pleasurable Kingdom
and finally Eating Animals.

I have already checked them out of the library or downloaded them to my Kindle. Reading order was determined by due dates.

I am on the waiting list for Sapiens.

After that, I will switch to some historical stuff.
 
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