Reading list

As many other readers, my appetite for books is greater than my reading list, and thus I have a pile of to-read books (both physically and virtually). I thought I’d give you a peak into what I am planning on reading until the end of the year and over the holidays. All of the links take you to Amazon Smile, which allows you to purchase books while supporting charity.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum. This has been on my radar for a while, but for some reason or another, I haven’t bought it until recently.

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson. A classic science fiction book that somehow had gone under my radar.

Pratchett’s Women: Unauthorised Essays on Female Characters of the Discworld by Tansy Rayner Roberts.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. It has been highly recommended by several people as a must-read if you want to know more about race relations.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink.

Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery.

The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Beyond the Phoenix Project: The Origins and Evolution of DevOps (audio) by Gene Kim and John Willis.

Stiletto: A Novel (The Rook Files Book 2) by Daniel O’Malley. I greatly enjoyed the first book of this series, The Rook, but for some reason, I haven’t yet gotten around to read the second volume.

Podcast recommendations

I have come across a few interesting podcasts, that I thought I’d share with the rest of you.

The first of them, came to me via Tony, who recommended it. It is Uncivil, which is described thus:

A history podcast from Gimlet Media, where we go back to the time our divisions turned into a war, and bring you stories left out of the official history.

The second podcast, is really a series of episodes of a podcast. It is the Seeing White series of the Scene on Radio podcast.

Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story.

Why? Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?

Scene on Radio host and producer John Biewen took a deep dive into these questions, along with an array of leading scholars and regular guest Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, in this fourteen-part documentary series, released between February and August 2017. The series editor is Loretta Williams.

This was again a podcast that came to me via Tony.

Opening Arguments a podcast by Andrew Torres and Thomas Smith. A progressive podcast, focusing on legal matters. It describes itself thus:

Opening Arguments is the show that pairs a real-life, Harvard-educated lawyer (Andrew) with an inquisitive host (Thomas). Every episode, Thomas and Andrew take on a popular legal topic and give you all the tools you need to understand the issue and win every argument you have on Facebook, with your Uncle Frank, or wherever someone is wrong on the Internet.

Thomas and Andrew have tackled Hillary Clinton’s emails, Jill Stein’s recounts, the Emoluments clause, overtime regulations, Roe v. Wade, the wacky “sovereign citizen” movement, and much, much more!

It’s law. It’s politics. It’s fun. We don’t tell you what to think, we just set up the Opening Arguments.

A few weeks ago, I was at QED in Manchester, where I heard Hannah Fry give a brilliant talk. This made me look up her work, and I was reminded that she is one of the two hosts of The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry, a show that addresses listener questions from a scientific angle.

The Archaeological Fantasies Podcast describes itself thus:

Welcome to the Archaeological Fantasies Podcast. Join Sara Head and Doctors Ken Feder and Jeb Card as they explore the wild world of pseudoarchaeology. They look critically at topics ranging from Transoceanic travliers, Ancient Aliens, and Vikings in America, all the way to archaeological evidence of Big Foot.

Armistice Day – A hundred years ago

Denmark was not part of WWI, except in the lucrative profiteering role, so WWI is not really covered much in history classes – or at least, it was not when I was a kid. I have tried to make up for this, but I feel that I am not as knowledgeable of WWI as I should be.

One thing I know, however, was that it was an absolutely horrible war, with large numbers of young men getting killed. Reading books about life in the trenches, it becomes clear what an absolute nightmare it was to be there.

I don’t think I have ever come across anything that illustrates this better than this recording.

Even knowing that peace was just a minute away, the armies kept fighting, until silence comes, as the agreed upon time is reached.

Why? It is unfathomable to me why anyone would keep trying to kill other human beings once it has been agreed that there will be an armistice. Yet, the sound clip clearly shows that people kept fighting to the very end.

A hundred years ago, the guns fell silent, and people hoped it would be the last great war. This unfortunately wasn’t the case, as everyone knows, and as Putin, Trump, Brexit and other factors are de-stabilizing global politics, it is easy to fear that another “great” war is in the making.

Elections have consequences, so please vote

Back in 2016, US voters had the chance of voting against Trump, and unfortunately failed. The failure came in many forms, but can pretty much be summed up as not voting for the viable candidate running against him – by which I mean, that not enough people voted for Hillary Clinton.

A lot of us warned about the dangers of electing Trump, but many people didn’t take it seriously, so they either didn’t vote, voted 3rd party and in effect throwing their vote away in the presidential election, or even worse, voted for Trump as some kind of protest vote. Of course, many also voted for Trump because they supported him and his monstrous ideas.

Well, two years of Trump has clearly shown that all of worst fears have come to pass – he is a bumbling bigot, navigating the world of politics like a drunken sailor, offending allies, aiding enemies, and pretty much focusing on enriching himself, his family, and his allies.

Now, it is the mid-way elections in the US. This won’t give Americans the chance of removing Trump – for that we’ll have to wait for the 2020 elections – but it will give Americans a chance to reign in Trump, by giving him a political opposition.

So, this election, please vote, and please vote for the Democrats – at least on the federal level. On the state level, I’d also suggest voting for the Democrats, as the GOP generally has done a horrible job at governing states, but there might be the rare exception here and there.