Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, November 2017
conservation notice: I have no taste, and no credentials to opine
about the sociology of inequality, or even really about social-scientific
- Gail Simone et al., Clean Room: Immaculate Conception, Exile, Waiting for the Stars to Fall
- Comic-book mind candy: apocalypse-fiction horror, in which the maniacal
cultists transparently modeled on Scientology are the
(comparative) good guys, and more or less exactly right. (This is not a
spoiler.) Also, creatures which aren't human, or even apparently mammals,
spout an impressive amount of misogynist bile.
- Tessa Harris, The Anatomist's Apprentice
- Mind candy. I wanted to like a historical mystery about forensic pathology
in the 1780s, but multiple characters referring to "bacteria", a surgeon
unironically addressing common laborers as "gentlemen", and the whole
plot hinging on a titled English estate not being entailed, led me to give up
mentally fairly early on. I finished it because I had left myself without
other reading matter on a long trip. Possibly worth-while for readers with a
much higher tolerance for anachronism.
- Robert D. Putnam, Our Kids: The American
Dream in Crisis
- This is a well-written piece of popular social science about just how much
the life of the more-educated upper and upper-middle classes has diverged from
that of the less-educated poor and working class, and how this utterly,
completely screws over the children of the poor. (Putnam takes some care to
document that this isn't just about race, while realizing that it
is also about race.) Equality of opportunity was never an American
reality, but it is increasingly a mockery even as an ideal. Little here would
be news to anyone paying attention to the issues, but it's still depressing to
see it all laid out in this concentrated form.
- The last chapter, about policy remedies, is so inadequate to the scale of
the problems laid out in the first five chapters that I don't know whether to
laugh or cry. I suspect Putnam doesn't know either.
- Howard S. Becker, Evidence
- My remarks, at 1200+ words, have grown into a review.
Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur;
Pleasures of Detection, Portraits of Crime;
The Beloved Republic;
Scientifiction and Fantastica;
Tales of Our Ancestors;
Commit a Social Science
Posted at November 30, 2017 23:59 | permanent link