Book Review

So I stick these titles on the side of my blog and then don't say a thing about them. It's time to change that.

After my rant that followed State of Fear, I had to get a couple of books from interlibrary loan, and the first one to roll in was The Skeptical Environmentalist. This hefty tome is written by a Danish statistician and former Greenpeace activist who, after years of espousing the Greenpeace line, decided to get some numbers together--natural enough for a guy who works stats for his day job. The book is long and intense and strikes me as something better suited as a textbook, but I'll get to the gist of it: stop panicking. According to Lomberg, most of the facts to which we have become accustomed (think global warming, energy shortage, looming famine) are about as right-on as sea monsters at the edge of the horizon. One by one, his meticulous research put one myth after the next to bed.

His conclusion? Things are better than they've been made out to be, but not necessarily good. He's quick to point out that today there is famine, pollution, poverty and abuse of resources. These are real problems that demand thought, energy and money in the here and now. He suggests that instead of waiting for the sky to fall, we get busy cleaning up the mess that already exists. Not a bad idea.

Next on the list is the guaranteed-to-be-a-classic Tuesdays with Morrie. I put off reading it for quite a while because I got the impression this book was a sort of Chicken Soup for the Soul spin-off, which makes me want to barf. I couldn't have been more wrong. When I finished it, I turned to the first page and started over. This short, snappy little book is crammed with wisdom, humor and a stark profundity that made me read certain sentences twice or three times, then set the book down to let what I had just read work its way into my brain. Check that: into my heart. Tuesdays leads the reader through the journey of an honest and optimistic experience of a fatal illness, and allows us to share in the glimpse of light that is only visible at a life's horizon. Don't miss this book.

Okay, then the last bit, a little literary candy. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is nothing if not original. The protagonist is an autistic 15-year-old boy, and his voice is authentic, truthful, and funny as hell. In the course of solving a canine murder mystery, our hero Christopher learns about relationships, the foibles of the emotional heart, and his own bright streak of strength. A totally enjoyable read, highly suitable for airplanes or beaches. I'm sure I won't own my copy long as I can already think of three or four people with whom I want to share this book.

There. If you were burning with curiosity about these titles, I hope I have set things straight. I'll update my list in another day or two with my current round of books. Happy Reading!

No comments: