834 books and counting

11 05 2007

I’ve added a little “Amazon Wish List” widget over on the sidebar, but NOT as a cheap attempt people to buy stuff for me. I’m trying to amass my own library of knowledge, mostly through ordering a few books at a time off my wishlist, and there’s everything in there from books so popular that they’re being sold for $0.01 to late 19th century monographs going for hundreds of dollars; if you’re looking to beef up your own library and have similar tastes you might find something of interest. Even beyond that, I usually share my thoughts of what I’m been reading lately and the wishlist icon is an easy way to pop online, look at my “purchased” books, and get yourself a copy if you’re so inclined. Anyway, if you’re bored it’s a way to kill time and maybe stumble across something actually worth reading.

Update: Warning: In the nether regions of the wish lists there resides pockets of woo, the “Forbidden Zone” (sorry, watching Planet of the Apes last night) of the list, if you will. I probably am not going to buy any of those books, but they’re on there so I can keep track of what nutty stuff has been published in case I need to reference later (i.e. Bonnie Norton’s Keiko Speaks, The Evolution of a Creationist etc.); if I’m going to pay for toilet-paper it’s going to be the nice fluffy kind. There are a few woo-laden texts in the “highest” and “high” priority categories (like the book about “Ropen”, or pterosaurs in New Guinea), but those are in there because they’re rare and I take some amount of pride in being able to name where certain wacky assertions come from. Anyway, if you want to see the best stuff, sort by “priority”, otherwise it’ll be just a mish-mash of books I added as I came across them.


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13 responses

11 05 2007
TheBrummell

Given your immense toughness regarding horrible books by creationists, new-age Chopra-ists, and other lunatics, I’m worried about perusing your wish list. You seem to have an unfulfilled masochistic streak when it comes to the written word. I would hate to order an interesting-looking book from your list only to have it turn out to be a big, steaming pile of woo upon reciept.

Or do you have a good-stuff only list?

11 05 2007
TheBrummell

OK, I had a quick look at your list, and “Keiko Speaks” is on the first page. The whale is listed as an author!

You said you were done with cetacean-woo. Sure, you list it as lowest priority, but it’s still on your list.

11 05 2007
laelaps

Your best bet would be to sort by priority, I’ve tried to relegate all the really horrible stuff to the “lowest priority” category (although a few probably are lingering around). Most of the stuff at the top you probably know about already, though; lots of Huxley, Gould, and paleontology/evolution stuff in the high/highest category. Once you get into “medium” it might get a little shady.

11 05 2007
laelaps

Haha, that is true… but the main page is all listed by date rather than priority. I bumped Keiko Speaks all the way to the end and I’m not going to buy it, although I like to keep track of woo so I can reference it later if I have to. I’m sure you saw “The Message of Creation: Encountering the Lord of the Universe ” too, which was recommended to me by an old church friend. It sounds awfully Hugh Ross-ish so I doubt I’ll read it anytime soon, and certainly not at the price it’s being offered for.

11 05 2007
TheBrummell

I doubt I’ll read it anytime soon, and certainly not at the price it’s being offered for.

Books like that one would have to pay me, handsomely, to read. I like to read before bed, I find I get to sleep sooner and sleep generally better if I read for 20 or 40 minutes before turning out the light. Woo-filled dreck would likely have a strongly opposite effect. Yeurgh.

11 05 2007
Chris Harrison

834 books? You’re nuts Brian, but thanks for putting them up for your fans to peruse.

I read much more than most people I know, but compared to you, I feel weak. I took my last final today, so I’m about to step up my reading during the summer, and I’ll probably be drawing from your list over these next two months.

12 05 2007
laelaps

Martin- My wife would agree with you on that point; she usually tries to make sure that I read something good before bed, being that woo has a tendency to “angry-up my blood” before bedtime. I said I’d actually read it at some point because if I ever finish the first book I’m working on, I want to write another about cetaceans in captivity entitled The Dolphin’s Frown (as a nod to Gould’s “Flamingo” book and the fact that bottlenose dolphins seem to be forever smiling).

Chris- I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to read all of them, but I hope to. I actually read more than I probably should during the semester, but I feel much more intelligent than I did when I wasn’t. I actually have to go back and read some of the “essentials” like “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” and “Speciation”, but because of my monetary situation I usually just get a few of the books that are being offered used for the cheapest price from the top categories.

And I’m glad that I have “fans” too, although I would say that nearly everyone who’d look at the list is either a peer or “superior” (i.e. they actually are on their way to a doctorate if they don’t have one already). I do have a few dectractors though; a creationist e-mailed me today about a post I wrote involving an assertion that irradiated rocks are a sign of God’s anger, which I may soon share.

12 05 2007
Chris Harrison

Awesome, looking forward to that post.
I’m kind of jealous that you get more e-mails from creationists than me. I think my buddy Pat bailed on me, since I’ve not heard from him in since the 23rd.
It’s just not fair that you get more of them!

I’m taking a few night classes this summer as well, but I should get in around 10 books by the fall semester. If you don’t see them popping up soon, remind me to put up some reviews of them!

12 05 2007
laelaps

Now that I actually read the creationist’s e-mail, it’s essentially an article he had written earlier with 30 “problems” for evolution. There’s not much substance in what he said to me (he didn’t say I got him wrong, which was interesting), but I might select a few of the problems he lists and write about them in detail, i.e. Nebraska Man (one of my personal favorites; read Gould’s “Essay on a Pig Roast” if you haven’t already, it’s in Bully for Brontosaurus).

I actually haven’t had too much contact with creationists; the e-mail from the one I got is pretty substantial given he’s a member of CRS but they generally leave me alone. When I was on ProgressiveU it was a lot worse, but then again the arguments helped me win $500 and got me blogging. The worst, to tell you the absolute truth, are some people I know personally who are creationists who claim to have investigated evolution fully and decided creationism is right. Their “investigation” consisted of reading The Blind Watchmaker and seemingly little else; not quite the same effort I put into keeping up on creationist woo.

I hope to see you put up some book reviews as well. For me, there are plenty of things I learn from a given book but it’s almost more like developing a mental catalog-system; I might not remember specifics but I can remember where I saw a fact/story/illustration before and take it out when I need to.

Anyway, it’s dinnertime, but I’llforward the creationist e-mail to you and maybe we can tag-team the list.

12 05 2007
Chris Harrison

Sure. Send it my way. It’s not like I’m going to get out of the house this weekend anyway. Might as well humor myself with some creationist literature.🙂

14 05 2007
TheBrummell

…if I ever finish the first book I’m working on, I want to write another about cetaceans in captivity entitled The Dolphin’s Frown

Nice title.

I thought I saw you hint earlier that you were writing a book, in addition to the boatloads of reading you are doing, plus studying, and the whole being-married thing. Now I understand the creationist woo – if you boil up your blood, you don’t sleep as much, so you get more work done! Personally, I prefer coffee, though some of the digestive-upset symptoms of overdose are similar.

Kidding aside, I’m looking forward to your book. Consider me another fan. Also, I’m looking forward to you and Chris double-teaming a cretinist argument I hadn’t encountered before. If radioactive minerals are a sign of God’s anger, then the old guy’s definately starting to lose it – 4000 years ago he gets mad, throws a frickin’ world-wide flood down. These days, some rocks are 0.001 degrees warmer than ambient, and will expose your film inside your camera without taking a picture.

I tend to imagine people who believe such things walking into lampposts and standing, perplexed, for hours in front of ‘STOP’ signs.

14 05 2007
laelaps

Thanks Martin; I’ve written bits of pieces of the book as I eventually intend for it to be, but you’ve probably already seen a good deal of it; I’ll probably mine this blog for ideas that I’ll reshape when I finally commit them to a word processor. I’m actually reading so much because of my intention to write a book, so this blog is a good way to keep track of what I read and what I thought as I went along.

Speaking of creationist woo, I received a new copy of CRS’ “Creation Matters” the other day where they describe the discovery of a dinosaur that died in the Flood; when they start claiming important fossils is when they cross the line from irritating to infuriating in my book.

I sent you the creationist e-mail I received as well; feel free to join in!

As for walking into lampposts, I must admit that I’ve done that in my day, but it’s even more interesting to see the cognitively-challenged deal with stop signs in spanish-speaking countries, the sign reading “Alto.” I’ve known a few fellow students who could never figure out why the sign that looked like a stop sign at an intersection was saying “Tall.”

Anyway, I hopefully should get some substantial work done on my evolution book done this summer; my wife only puts up with my ever-growing collection of books because we’ll hopefully get the investment back when I finish the thing.

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