Waking up at 2:30am is not fun. Compound that with the inability to recapture your sleep state and you have a recipe for this blog post. But why was I having dreams of high voltage electrical wires falling on me? Really?

So I am perusing Think Atheist, listening to CaraColeen's music playlist and debating which book I should tackle next after I finish The Blind Watchmaker. I'd really like to jump right into Dawkins soon to be released The Greatest Show on Earth, but alas it won't be out until late September. I had it on pre-order at Amazon, but canceled that order so that I could order it through the Think Atheist bookstore (which is also Amazon, so it makes no difference) and help out the site with more than my opinions. Thanks to Nelson for reminding me to do that! But until then, I'll need some literature to lull me to sleep at night.

The leading candidate right now is Towing Jehovah by James Morrow. I think I need some light reading as a break from the steady stream of biology books I've been consuming of late. Morrow's tale of of the death of God which leaves a two mile long corpse floating in the ocean promises much humor that I dare hope rivals something on the order of Douglas Adams. From reviews I have read, female atheists attempt to sink the corpse in the name of women's rights as it is being towed to a tomb built by angels. How can this not be good?

Of course I could get Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True out of the way, but I think I know already why it is true. So far Dawkins has been a great source for evolutionary information as he typically introduces ideas that not only do I find compelling in a true sense, but these ideas along with his clear writing help me develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter. However, I would like to sample other voices regarding evolution. I enjoyed Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish immensely and I hope Coyne's book does not disappoint. However, I fear it will be simply a counter argument to creationism.

Or I could finish the second book in The Baroque Cycle; The Confusion by Neal Stephenson. I started that book a year ago and for whatever reason only made it a fourth of the way through. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Quicksilver, but I don't think I realized what I had bought or what I was getting into. The adventures of Half-Cocked Jack, King of the Vagabonds, juxtaposed with the rationality of Daniel Waterhouse's tale read like two completely different books. Well, since their stories are not interspersed it can be said that the tales are two separate books. But any story that carries Isaac Newton as a character and makes it work is no small testament to the competence of the author.

At the end beginning of the day, I wish I had a job where I could sit back and lose myself in a book for my entire work day. Something like a security guard or playboy millionaire.

Views: 17

Comment by Atheist Exile on August 25, 2009 at 8:28am
If you want reading material that will lull you to sleep, try the Quran. It works every time.
Comment by Reggie on August 25, 2009 at 10:33am
I can only imagine that the Quran is as dull and incomprehensible as the Bible. Besides, I said "lulled" to sleep, not "bored" or "tortured" to sleep. ;)
Comment by Dave Nichols on August 25, 2009 at 11:51am
I read Inner Fish and loved it, and thought WEIT was outstanding as well, but not quite in the same vein. YIF was more a chapter-by-chapter look at very specific bits of paleontology/microbiology/anatomy, whereas WEIT is all over the place. WEIT fleshes out some arguments that I've not read a lot about previously, such as Vitamin C deficiency in humans and our close relatives, and really gives a nice look at the blood clotting argument.

While some of it is clearly a counter-creationist argument, it really doesn't read that way. The narrative is much more like YIF in that is concerned with really exploring the science and less concerned with debunking non-science. If I were recommending one or the other to someone who is not well versed in evolutionary thought, or who just needs a refresher, WEIT would absolutely win out. I know I picked up some good points from it myself despite being fairly well versed in evolutionary theory (or so I thought).

I don't read much fiction these days, so I can't help there.

If you find that job that lets you read all work day, please let me know.
Comment by Reggie on August 25, 2009 at 12:28pm
Thanks for the info on WEIT, Dave. I've been following Coyne's blog for awhile now and that exposure to him gives me the sense that my fears about WEIT were probably unfounded. Your Inner Fish was very specific but it was also very well done and compelling. It's been awhile since I read it, but the explanation for hiccups sticks in my mind and causes me wonderment anytime hiccups are had or mentioned.

I don't read much fiction these days either, which is why I am contemplating reading some just as a break from the heavy reading which takes me longer to get through. And if I do find a job that lets me read all day, I'd probably keep it secret so that I won't have to fight to keep it from other book worms. Hehe.
Comment by Dave G on August 25, 2009 at 4:00pm
I just finished The Ancestors' Tale, Reggie, and it was quite interesting. I learned a lot about convergent evolution and what bits and pieces of evolutionary legacies we share with other species, both near and far.
Comment by Reggie on August 25, 2009 at 4:24pm
I read The Ancestor's Tale earlier this year. Inexplicably, it was the most enjoyable book I have read that took me the longest to read. But I loved the format of traveling backwards and meeting up with converging groups of relatives. I'd say it is the best of Dawkins' books that I have read to date.
Comment by Wesley on August 25, 2009 at 10:20pm
"Why Darwin Matters" by Michael Shermer.... is both educational and a good read. I just finished V.S. Ramachandrans 'Phantoms in the Brain'... Brilliant!!!. I'm reading an old one now.. Carl Sagan's 'Billions and Billions'.. I just love Carl Sagan.
Comment by Reggie on August 25, 2009 at 11:38pm
I've got Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things sitting in my "To Read" stack. I have yet to read anything by Shermer. Sagan's Billions and Billions is in my Amazon queue. You are right, Sagan is very lovable. I'll check out Phantoms in the Brain. Sounds like a Scooby Doo episode so I figure I can't lose! Thanks for the suggestions! (Not that this stack of books to read is getting any smaller)


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