Category Archive: Books

Oct 22 2013

Book review: Dirty Wars (2013) by Jeremy Scahill


The book came out earlier this year and a documentary film with the same name was released in June and is available on demand on Netflix. Both cover the same ground but in different ways and are invaluable for anyone who wants to understand how the war of terror has evolved and where it is …

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May 16 2013

Charles Knowlton and the golden age of freethought

If you asked me to list the names of 19th century American atheists, I would have said Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899) and stopped. He is clearly the most famous but it turns out that there is another person who preceded him, and that was Dr. Charles Knowlton. I became aware of him because of a …

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May 12 2013

The Great Gatsby and me

As an immigrant, I figured that probably a good way to understand to nature of my adopted country was to familiarize myself with its literature, especially the ones that are asserted to be classics, since the books that a society values are the ones that reveal its sense of identity. So naturally as part of …

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Feb 01 2013

Bertie Wooster and the n-word

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I want to come back one more time to the question of when the use of the n-word might be appropriate. I am a huge fan of English humorist P. G. Wodehouse, especially enjoying his Jeeves and Wooster series. If you have read Wodehouse, you know that …

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Oct 15 2012

The annual exposure of my ignorance of literature

I like to think of myself as fairly well read but the season of Nobel-prize winning announcements has just ended and of all the prizes, the literature prize is the one that reminds me each year of how wrong my self estimation is because I have never even heard of almost any of the winners. …

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Aug 01 2012

Gore Vidal, 1925-2012

Gore Vidal, a class traitor of the best kind, died yesterday. Born into a well-connected and politically influential family that could have opened doors to a patrician life, he became instead a populist outsider and a scathing critic of the politics of the US. He had wide-ranging interests, writing novels, essays, and screenplays and also …

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Jul 20 2012

Sherlock in love

When you read classics like Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, A Study in Scarlet, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and The Three Musketeers, I am sure the thought crosses your mind, “These books have great stories, excellent writing, and strong characters but there’s something missing. What they need to be really great are some …

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Jun 25 2012

The problem with memoirs

A new book by David Maraniss titled Barack Obama: The Story (that I have not read) apparently challenges certain features of Barack Obama’s life story as recounted by him in his memoir Dreams From My Father (which I have also not read) and says that the reality “was less dramatic — and more routine — …

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Jun 08 2012

Introducing the Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator

Malcolm Gladwell has made a name for himself by publishing superficial books that basically promotes a simple theory for everyday phenomena and cherry picking data to support it. He is a good writer and when you read his books his argument initially sounds plausible and it is only later you discover that things are a …

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Apr 26 2012

Book Review: God and the Folly of Faith by Victor J. Stenger

Victor Stenger has had a long career in experimental high-energy physics. He has become a prolific writer on the intersection of science and religion and I have referred to him frequently in past blog posts, especially to material in his 2007 book God: The Failed Hypothesis. Stenger is an unabashed ‘new atheist’ who thinks that …

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