Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This Week at the Library (17/3)

This week at the library:

It's Raining Frogs and Fishes! proved a breezy but interesting read, containing some forty essays on the world above -- the sky and both the celestial and earth-bound bodies that inhabit it. The essays cover not only weather, but biology and astronomy as well.

The Ethics of Star Trek first illustrates and examines the scope of Western ethical philosophy through Star Trek episodes that are directly or indirectly influenced by them. Author Judith Barad then attempts to sort out which ideas most predominate the series. As both a Trekkie and an aspiring student of practiced philosophy, I found the book interesting if not wholly fulfilling.

Lastly, I enjoyed Frances' Gies biography of Joan of Arc, a thorough and entertaining read that lives up to the high expectations I have for Gies' work.

Quotation of the Week:
"[P]ope Pius II thought that the French were superstitious, which suggests that superstition, like venereal disease and sexual deviation, is always the attribute of another nationality." - 145, Joan of Arc: the Legend and the Reality

I laughed well at this. It's easy to accuse and even write people off as being superstitious, ignoring our own beliefs and assumptions. For instance, my brain is under the impression that if I hit the "Shift" key repeatedly while playing a certain video game, things will go my way. I always feel like one of Skinner's pigeons when my finger itches to start tapping the key.

Upcoming Reads:

  • Letters from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr.
  • The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell. This I'm reading for class: I bought a copy used off of Amazon that was originally sold as a 75 cent paperback back when the US still had a socialist labor movement, so it's endearing already.(I like old books, especially the dainty ones that demand I take care of them.)
  • The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Stephen Miller. My religious/cultural literacy effort has not yet touched Hinduism: the subject is so vast I've been inclined to tread more familiar territory. Still, it's so influential that I can't avoid it forever. I figure it's fitting to begin with the most well-known Hindu text. 
  • I also have a small mound of books about medieval and Renaissance science, since I'm going to be writing a paper on Renaissance science in the coming weeks. Some I may read properly, although I suspect I'll mostly be scanning them for notes. 
  • There are other books in the air, particularly one novel I devoutly want to read but know I should ignore in favor of school-related books. 

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