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.