Book #51: Angelmaker
Synopsis: Joe Spork repairs clocks, a far cry from his late father, a flashy London gangster. But when Joe fixes one particularly unusual device, his life is suddenly upended. Joe’s client, Edie Banister, is more than just a kindly old lady–she’s a former superspy. And the device? It’s a 1950s doomsday machine. And having triggered it, Joe now faces the wrath of both the government and a diabolical South Asian dictator, Edie’s old arch-nemesis.
Thoughts: Originally spotted at the KFPL … and spotted many times since then. As cool as the cover looks, I don’t see myself checking out this book out in the future.
Book #52: The Man Who Wasn’t There
Synopsis: We are learning about the self at a level of detail that Descartes (“I think therefore I am”) could never have imagined. Recent research into Alzheimer’s illuminates how memory creates your narrative self by using the same part of your brain for your past as for your future. But wait, those afflicted with Cotard’s syndrome think they are already dead; in a way, they believe that “I think therefore I am not.” Who—or what—can say that? Neuroscience has identified specific regions of the brain that, when they misfire, can cause the self to move back and forth between the body and a doppelgänger, or to leave the body entirely. So where in the brain, or mind, or body, is the self actually located? As Ananthaswamy elegantly reports, neuroscientists themselves now see that the elusive sense of self is both everywhere and nowhere in the human brain.
Thoughts: WEIRD BRAIN STUFF!
Book #53: The World Beyond Your Head
Synopsis: We often complain about our fractured mental lives and feel beset by outside forces that destroy our focus and disrupt our peace of mind. Any defense against this, Crawford argues, requires that we reckon with the way attention sculpts the self. Crawford investigates the intense focus of ice hockey players and short-order chefs, the quasi-autistic behavior of gambling addicts, the familiar hassles of daily life, and the deep, slow craft of building pipe organs. He shows that our current crisis of attention is only superficially the result of digital technology, and becomes more comprehensible when understood as the coming to fruition of certain assumptions at the root of Western culture that are profoundly at odds with human nature.
Thoughts: I have Crawford’s other book – Shop Class As Soulcraft – further down my list, which, at this point, I have a greater interest in reading. If that book goes well, I’ll consider adding World Beyond Your Head back on my list.
Book #54: Death: A Life
Synopsis: The shocking new memoir from Death. At last, the mysterious, feared, and misunderstood being known only as “Death” talks frankly and unforgettably about his infinitely awful existence. Chronicling his abusive childhood, his near-fatal addiction to Life, his excruciating time in rehab, and the ultimate triumph of his true nature, this long-awaited autobiography finally reveals the inner story of one of the most troubling, and troubled, figures in history. For the first time, Death reveals his affairs with the living, his maltreatment at the hands of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the ungodly truth behind the infamous “Jesus Incident,” and the loneliness of being the End of All Things.
Thoughts: Yeah. No. Perhaps I thought this was a funny concept once upon a time … Now it just comes across irreverent.
Book #55: The Once and Future World
Synopsis: From one of Canada’s most exciting writers and ecological thinkers, a book that will change the way we see nature and show that in restoring the living world, we are also restoring ourselves. The Once and Future World began in the moment J.B. MacKinnon realized the grassland he grew up on was not the pristine wilderness he had always believed it to be. Instead, his home prairie was the outcome of a long history of transformation, from the disappearance of the grizzly bear to the introduction of cattle. What remains today is an illusion of the wild–an illusion that has in many ways created our world … MacKinnon never fails to remind us that nature is a menagerie of marvels. Here are fish that pass down the wisdom of elders, landscapes still shaped by “ecological ghosts,” a tortoise that is slowly remaking prehistory. “It remains a beautiful world,” MacKinnon writes, “and it is its beauty, not its emptiness, that should inspire us to seek more nature in our lives.
Thoughts: Definitely a keep. There are a lot of doom-and-gloom environmental books out there right now … This one sounds … hopeful?
Down the TBR Hole is a bookish meme created by Lia @Lost In A Story. Here’s how it works:
- Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
- Order by Ascending Date Added
- Take the first 5 (or 10, if you’re feeling adventurous) books. If you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or let it go?