Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer reading

It has been so incredibly hot here in Houston, about all I want to do is curl up in an air-conditioned space and crack open a book. Or magazine. It's too hot to do much of anything outside.

With that in mind, here's what's on my mind lately. As you can tell from the list, I am not comfortable with religion.

1) Letter To A Christian Nation, by Sam Harris. Excellent short read. Very highly recommended. Ammunition for the rapidly growing number of non-believers among us. Getting rid of the whole faith straightjacket may be the key to our survival as a species.

2) The End of Faith: religion, terror and the future of reason, by Sam Harris. Another very good one from Sam. Just started this one but its already engrossing.

3) Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. A chilling fascinating look at Muslim life, up close by the Somali exile, and it is not pretty. At least Christianity finally stopped all the mass killings. Islam still has a ways to grow up.

4) Idiot America: how stupidity became a virtue in the land of the free, by Charles P. Pierce. As you might imagine, a whole lot of the stupidity is tied to religious belief.

5) The Ayatollah Begs To Differ: the paradox of modern Iran, by Hooman Majd. Majd, the Western-educated grandson of an ayatollah, gives an up-close view of modern-day Iran and Ahmadinejad. Easy to read and fascinating.

6) Nuclear Energy Now: why the time has come for the world's most misunderstood energy choice, by Alan M. Herbst. Emission-free electricity, anyone? Do you wonder why importation of foreign oil continues to climb? Because we have a paranoia of nuclear power. Yeah, we still have the waste problem, but nuclear plants produce a lot less waste than I had imagined.

7) The Portable Atheist: essential readings for the non-believer, by Christopher Hitchens. This is a great collection of short writings by authors thru the ages, with comments by Chris before each article. Do you doubt? Read this.

8) America: what went wrong? by Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele. Kinda small print and chock-full of facts and figures, but very well done.

9) Who Is Mark Twain, by Mark Twain. We could sure use a couple of modern-day Mark Twains. His stuff is always a pleasure to read.

10) Puerto Rico: off the beaten path, by John Marino. Planning for the next vacation.

11) Fodors: the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Ditto to #10. Man cannot live by politics and religion alone.

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