Category Archives: books

Kenan Malik: more on cultural appropriation

Yesterday I highlighted Kenan Malik’s take on cultural appropriation (he dislikes those who police it) as well as some of the pushback he got from Culture Warriors. Grania pointed out that Maliks has issued a series of tw**ts asking critics of c.a. some pointed questions. Those who are quick to deny others the right to […]

Spy novel author advised by an editor not to create black characters because he is white

This story  was reported in the BBC,  but verified by the Guardian and the Torygraph. It’s another example of so-called cultural appropriation, and an example that is risible. It involves Anthony Horowitz, an author of spy and mystery novels and a screenwriter who is well regarded, at least in some quarters, for he has an OBE. I […]

Fact of the day: Moby Dick was based on a real whale

I just found this out while writing a talk. The whale “Moby Dick” in Melville’s eponymous novel was in fact based on a genuine white whale, one called “Mocha Dick.” (You never know where new talks will lead.) The cetacean has its own Wikipedia entry which includes, among other things, these facts: Mocha Dick was […]

An evolutionary biologist misrepresents sexual selection in The New York Times

Friday’s New York Times contained an article on sexual selection in birds (link and title in the picture below) by Richard O. Prum, the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. Prum has a new book out, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate […]

A new book on CRISPR, gene editing, and their ethical implications

Word on the street is that the book shown below, by Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg, is very good (it’s out on June 13; click on screenshot to go to Amazon link). You may have heard of Berkeley professor Jennifer Doudna, one of the pioneers in using the new CRISPR technique to genetically edit cells—”genome editing”; […]

New book on owls

by Greg Mayer Seeing as owls are Honorary Cats™, I think it’s worthwhile to call attention to a book published last month by Yale University Press: Enigma of the Owl, by Mike Unwin, with photographs by David Tipling. I’ve not seen a copy yet, but the publisher’s website says it’s “lavishly illustrated”, and an article […]

Dan Dennett profiled in The New Yorker

It’s early in the morning in Queenstown, and I have a 7.5-hour bus ride to Fox Glacier ahead of me. All I can do this morning is direct your attention to a (free) New Yorker profile on Dan Dennett and his views on the mind, “Dan Dennett’s Science of the Soul.” I haven’t read it, […]

Feminist author: girls shouldn’t read any books written by men

Over on the Penguin Books blog, author, journalist, and feminist Caitlin Moran explains why she think that young girls should not read any read any books written by men. Those books, she says, will infect women with Toxic Masculinity, erode their self-image, and denigrate them to the point they’re not prepared to deal with the opposite sex. When […]

On the non-reading of books by Americans

I’ve long heard the claim that the average American reads less than one book a year, but a Pew Poll released last November shows that that’s not accurate—in two ways. First, as I note below, the concept of “books read by the average American” isn’t accurate, as the concept of “the average American” is meaningless on […]

Milo’s book a bestseller, Regressive Left largely responsible

Dangerous, Milo Yiannopoulos’s new book, doesn’t come out until March 14, but it’s already #34 on Amazon, and #1 in 3 categories. On Friday, based on preorders, it had risen briefly to #1.  Milo was paid $250,000 as an advance by Simon and Schuster, and stands to earn much more than that given the sales. What’s in […]