Category Archives: books

The voice of Joyce

I believe these are the only extant recordings of James Joyce reading his work. They’re on the Public Domain Review, and add up to about 12½ minutes. Even though they’re fragments, I listened to them because I wanted to hear his voice. To me he doesn’t sound Irish, but sort of a hybrid between Irish […]

Pinker on the science “wars”, identity politics, and his new book

Steve is doing a full-court press publicizing his new book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, which has now risen to #10 on Amazon.  And this publicity is exactly what I’d be doing if I had his renown and intellectual chops. At any rate, I’ll call your attention to three news […]

Pinker’s new book out tomorrow, previewed in the Guardian and the WSJ

Yes, tomorrow is the release of Steve Pinker’s new book , Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason Science, Humanism, and Progress, which is already at #48 on Amazon. I gave a preview of it here, noting that Bill Gates called it “my new favorite book of all time,” replacing Steve’s earlier book, The Better Angels of our […]

“Huck Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” once again censored in public schools

This battle will never end. According to the Minneapolis (Minnesota) Star Tribune, two of the usual targets of school censorship have now been removed from the curriculum at public schools in Duluth, Minnesota. Yep, you guessed it: they’re The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, and you know why they’re banned: they contain […]

What I’m reading

I’m trying to read three books at once, and keep getting interrupted by the weekly arrival of The New Yorker, which takes an evening to read.  In the interest of all of us sharing our readings, I start the comments (please chime in) with this list of books: 1.)   A Brief History of Everyone Who […]

Today’s reading

Need something to read on this lazy Sunday? I have five items I commend to your attention; each screenshot links to the article: 1.) From the Business (?) section of today’s New York Times, the paper’s reporter (Philip Galanes) transcribes a conversation between himself, Bill Gates, and Steve Pinker held in Gates’s Washington State office. […]

National Geographic has a new book on famous Bible characters

Reader Graham saw this for sale in his local supermarket: It turns out that this is actually a book that came out in November, and the Amazon sales don’t look very good. Now I haven’t seen this, and Graham didn’t describe its contents, but my question is this: what the hell is National Geographic publishing […]

Was Jerry Sandusky, “the most hated man in America”, guilty of sexual child abuse?

Up to now, virtually everyone would have to answer the title question with a resounding “YES!”, but after reading a new article in Skeptic magazine by Fred Crews (former chair of English at Berkeley, a debunker of Freud and recovered-memory therapy and, for full disclosure, a friend), I’d have to answer “I’m not sure.” Jerry […]

My WaPo review of A. N. Wilson’s Darwin biography

The new Washington Post “Outlook” section has on the cover my review of A. N. Wilson’s new biography, Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker.  I panned the book, for it was dreadful on both the historical (biographical) and scientific fronts. You can read my take by clicking on the screenshots below: I’ll give just the last two paragraphs; […]

Templeton-funded researcher defends Templeton Foundation and its call for “dialogue” between science and religion

In the new issue of the Los Angeles Review of Books (link below), Peter Harrison, in a piece called “From conflict to dialogue and all the way back“, purports to review Yves Gingras’s recent book on science and religion, a book whose thesis is that no useful dialogue is possible between science and religion. Harrison is […]