Books I’m dying to read

Richard Wrangham’s Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.

Human beings are not obviously equipped to be nature’s gladiators. We have no claws, no armor. That we eat meat seems surprising, because we are not made for chewing it uncooked in the wild. Our jaws are weak; our teeth are blunt; our mouths are small. That thing below our noses? It truly is a pie hole.

To attend to these facts, for some people, is to plead for vegetarianism or for a raw-food diet. We should forage and eat the way our long-ago ancestors surely did. For Richard Wrangham, a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard and the author of “Catching Fire,” however, these facts and others demonstrate something quite different. They help prove that we are, as he vividly puts it, “the cooking apes, the creatures of the flame.” 

Read more about this book here.

Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science.

Guardian columnist Dr Ben Goldacre takes us on a hilarious, invigorating and informative journey through the bad science we’re fed by the worst of the hacks and the quacks! 

Seth C. Kalichman’s Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy.

Paralleling the discovery of HIV and the rise of the AIDS pandemic, a flock of naysayers has dedicated itself to replacing genuine knowledge with destructive misinformation—and spreading from the fringe to the mainstream media and the think tank. Now from the editor of the journal AIDS and Behavior comes a bold exposé of the scientific and sociopolitical forces involved in this toxic evasion. Denying AIDS traces the origins of AIDS dissidents disclaimers during the earliest days of the epidemic and delves into the psychology and politics of the current denial movement in its various incarnations.

Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism.

Years ago, Adam Hochschild came across a reference to the “five to eight million lives” destroyed in the colonial exploitation of the Congo. Startled, he realised that this had been “one of the major killing grounds of modern times. Why were these deaths not mentioned in the standard litany of our century’s horrors?” His corrective history makes sobering and gripping reading. In King Leopold of Belgium, who decided to buy himself an empire to compensate for his country’s smallness, he portrays a villain of Shakespearian dimensions.

Are there any books you’ve read lately that you think I should read too?

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