Thursday, December 26, 2013

Book Report 12/26/13

Finished Reading (nonfiction): Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel Dennett
Dennett’s latest offers a variety of tools for thinking about deep questions regarding consciousness, evolution, free will, artificial intelligence and other topics he’s tackled as a philosopher. Some of his most intriguing ideas are the ones that go right over my head. Still, it is a good book for anyone looking to refine their capacity to use logic and think clearly.
Currently Reading (fiction): The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson
Last book in Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, and the only one I’ve started to read after watching the movie based on it. I’ve had the Kindle file on my iPad for well over a year, but never got around to starting it until this week. Larsson’s prose skills leave something to be desired (or maybe it‘s just mediocrity in the translation) but it’s a quick read. I’m only 70 or so pages in, so far, and having seen the film I expect the story to hold few surprises.
Currently Reading (nonfiction): Carthage Must be Destroyed by Richard Miles
Miles provides an in-depth history of the rise and fall of Rome’s greatest adversary, Carthage. I liked Carthage better before I started reading the book and became aware of how incompetent the Carthaginians were. Just getting to the chapters on the 2nd Punic War and Hannibal’s crossing the Alps. Although Carthage was in fact a fairly successful society, existing for several hundred years, for some reason it reminds me of the Confederacy, a failed state with little more going for it than the military genius of a single general.

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