Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top Ten Books I'd Like to See Under the Tree

This week the Broke and the Bookish want to know what books we'd most like to receive for Christmas.

There's virtually no chance of my getting books for Christmas, because despite being from a family of readers,  everyone claims they don't know what kind of books I'm liable to like. I consider this a silly claim given that I read almost everything (I even have a list of books I'd like!), but even my attempts at getting books indirectly -- by requesting bookstore giftcards -- have rendered nothing. I did have some success last year when, on my birthday, I asked that someone please give me cash so I could buy some used books online. I managed to buy three Star Trek novels with my birthday money.

But, if I lived in an alternate universe where people gave me books for Christmas, the ten I'd be most delighted to see under the tree would be...

1. The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human, V.S. Ramachandran. I almost bought this for myself last January, but went with three Trek books instead.

2. The Architecture of Community, Leon Krier OR The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs.

3. On Desire: Why We Want What We Want, William Braxton Irvine. Ho, ho, I'm desiring a book on desire.

4. Star Trek Vanguard: What Judgments Come, Dayton Ward

5. In Praise of Idleness and other Essays, Bertrand Russell

6. Life Ascending: the Ten Great Inventions of Evolution, Nick Lane

7. The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization, Brian M. Fagan.

8. The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the 21st Century, James Howard Kunstler.  Primarily about the consequences of peak oil.

9.  The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P.  Feynman. I've never read Feynman before, but the Symphony of Science series stirred my interest in both him and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

10. On Disobedience: Why Freedom Means Saying "No" To Power, Erich Fromm. I don't know what this   one will be about, properly, but Fromm is a provocative author.

I would have included a book by Phil Plait (Death from the Skies or Bad Astronomy), but I think I'm going to buy one of those for my birthday this year. I'm trying to break myself of the habit of spending my leisure-book money on Trek instead of science and sociology books, which I think I should prioritize since my home library doesn't carry a lot of those.


  1. Wow, these is some heavy duty books, but I sure hope you get them all. Have a Happy Holiday.

  2. That Feynman book sounds great.

    I went to University of California, San Diego which is where Ramachandran teaches. I've seen him a couple times around campus!

  3. Thanks for stopping by my Top 10! Yes, I'm an ex-Pentecostal, AND a P.K.! It's been a strange ride. Love your Top 10, BTW. Full of books of substance.
    The Beauty of Eclecticism

  4. That's a fun list. Did you get any of them?

  5. Heh, nope -- as expected. I did get the latest Grisham thriller, but that's sort of a tradition. He always releases them in late autumn or early winter, so my sister and I get them for Christmas or our birthdays in January. I'm planning on treating myself to a Plait book in January, though.

    Did you get any good books for Christmas, or are you planning a post about that?

  6. My friends and I usually do a Secret Santa thing each year but this year we're running late as their are a few people out of the country.

    I did however just buy myself a few books today:

    Master of Rome by John Stack

    Pure by Andrew Miller

    Arnhem - The Battle for Survival by John Nichol & Tony Rennell

  7. From titles alone, I'm going to guess those are historical...or historical fiction and a bit of history. "Pure" sounds a bit unusual!

  8. 'Master of Rome' is the third book in the First Punic war @ sea series I've been reading.

    'Pure' I picked up on pure spec. Its about the French Revolution and sounds very interesting.

    The Arnhem book is self explanatory (kind of). It's not another rake over the coals of what went wrong but rather about the heroism of the men fighting with their backs to the wall against impossible odds.


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