Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This Week at the Library (5/11)

Books this Update:

I started this week with Wampeters, Foma, and Granfallons, by Kurt Vonnegut. The book is a collection of miscellaneous works produced by Vonnegut, ranging from essays to speeches to short stories. While the material is quite diverse, Vonnegut's wit and commentary prevail.

Next I finished Communism by Richard Pipes, which is a history of 'Communist' governments in Russia, China, and the third world. Pipes is a Russian historian, and so the chapters on Russia were rather strong and informative. Communism in Russia is presented as nothing more than a tool for Lenin to gain power to overthrow those he felt had wronged him.

I moved on to Nemesis, by Isaac Asimov -- a science fiction story set two hundred years in Earth's future, at the beginning of a hyperspace age. An Earth settlement is established on a planet orbiting a large gas giant which is itself orbiting a red dwarf star called "Nemesis" for its potential to end life on Earth permanently.

Next I read more nonfiction, namely Marriage and the Family in the Middle Ages. The book begins by exploring the contributions that the Roman family, the German family, and the Christian religion made to the development of the medieval family from 600 to 1500 CE. After establishing this, they then move chronologically through the middle ages, taking time to explore the effects of the Black Plague and the economic revival along the way.

Lastly, I finished Asimov's Puzzles of the Black Widowers, another of his Black Widower mystery collections. I've been reading it off and on for a couple of months. Entertaining and well written as always.

Pick of the Week: It would be between Gies and Asimov. Let's just go with Nemesis for old times' sake, shall we?

Next Week:
  • A World Made By Hand, James Kunstler
  • Robot Dreams, Isaac Asimov
I am entering into an extraordinarily busy academic period that will not end until Thanksgiving, so my reading will be limited.

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