Thursday, June 11, 2015

books

I keep thinking I'll finish the half dozen books I'm halfway through, but let's face it, that could be years from now.

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery, by Henry Marsh - Fantastic stories from his career as a brain surgeon, albeit terrifying if you think about them too personally. Many thanks to MR for the recommendation.

The Tyranny of Utility: Behavioral Social Sciences and the Rise of Paternalism, by Gilles Saint-Paul - Very interesting, but I think he is too quick too conclude that behavioral social science is in fact justifying more paternalism, and accepts too broad of a scope of this alleged justified paternalism. He is also too dismissive of utilitarianism, which should, after all, include utility from liberty. I don't think (but I'm not sure... this is something I think about often) that I require any compromise with my utilitarianish tendencies* to also place such a high value on liberty itself, both as something that I personally inherently value and something that I believe leads to a great deal of more tangible utility for everyone.

NW, by Zadie Smith - Couldn't make it more than halfway through, and only got that far because I was supposed to read it for a two-person book club. Use some frickin quotation marks Zadie! (That is the most minor of my gripes, actually, but the least excusable due to not being a matter of taste...)

Awakenings, by Oliver Sacks - Mind-blowing, thought-provoking, still lurking in my subconscious. There is a BBC documentary including some of the original patients with Dr. Sacks from the early 70's and it desperately needs to be made widely available. The hollywood movie is also excellent though, although I saw it before reading the book and significantly misunderstood the illness based on the film portrayal.

Musicophilia, by Oliver Sacks - Not as difficult to put down as Awakenings, but the stories of Clive Wearing and a few others are incredible.

My Point, and I Do Have One, by Ellen DeGeneres - My Ellen crush continues unabated... She's much better on camera though.

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*I know, could I possibly make that sounds more non-committal? I'm really quite confused about utilitarianism...

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