Archive for August, 2007

John’s Reading Report – July 2007

August 1, 2007

Here’s what I’ve read since my last report:
Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution, Paul Watzlawick et al.
This one is well worth tracking down. I borrowed my therapist’s copy, and wouldn’t mind getting my own. Some very interesting observations on how people can get out of seemingly intractable problems that aren’t responding to common-sense “solutions.”
Teach Yourself Spanish Complete Course Package, Juan Kattan-Ibarra
This came in handy on our family vacation in Cozumel last week. (Pics and summary to follow).
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Daniel C. Dennett
Dennett is highly readable and persuasive, even though I can’t stand the “bright” neologism for freethinkers that he uses in this book.
The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, Neal Stephenson
It took me a day or two to get into this, but then I was completely swept into the story; it kind of fell flat at the very end (it had a very abrupt finale), but I would still recommend it highly.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
Stayed up all night reading this the day after I bought it. A satisfying conclusion to the series, though I wanted to see more from Snape’s point of view throughout the book, instead of in just one chapter towards the end.
In progress:
The Ghost Brigades, John Scalzi
John Scalzi rocks; I am enjoying this as much so far as Old Man’s War. I may have more to say about this sometime in the future. (I’m learning not to commit myself to hard timeframes or expectations here anymore).
Amateur Telescope Making Book One, Albert G. Ingalls (editor)
This is the classic reference, and I have needed it to do some figuring on the 8″ Newtonian reflector that I made with my granddad about 25 years ago. My dad and I had built a somewhat bulky and shaky equatorial mounting for it, and as a consequence it never got much use. However, I recently got the mirror resurfaced, and am now building a new mount: a travel Dobsonian (somewhat like this one) in the hopes of getting out and doing some astronomy with my kids. I’ll be posting pictures to chart my progress.
On Deck:
1776, David McCullough (Still…)
About seven months’ worth of Analog magazine.

Heinlein Quote of the Month (August 2007)

August 1, 2007

“Having your back scratched is not the only reason to be married, but it is a good one, especially for those spots that are so hard to reach by yourself.”

—Maureen Johnson in To Sail Beyond the Sunset.