Friday, December 31, 2010

Currently reading...

This morning, I started reading Trilobite!: Eyewitness to Evolution, by Richard Fortey (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000; 284 pages).

I love science, although I don't have the mathematical knowlege and ability to understand the hard sciences. I especially love geology, and even more especially love historical geology. And I adore trilobites, which lived a very long time ago, long before there were animals, or even plants, on land. So, how could I resist a whole book about them? Add to that the fact that I've already read one book by Fortey, Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth, and found that he can write like a scientist (which he is) and a poet all at the same time, and this book becomes a must-read for me.

Because I often read more than one book at a time, I'm also reading American Conspiracies, by Jesse Ventura, with Dick Russell (Skyhorse Publishing, 2010; 228 pages).

Yeah, I know. You're laughing. The thing is, I don't much believe in conspiracy theories (although I'll be happy to admit that I don't believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone; I just don't), but I'm fascinated by them.

Part of this fascination probably has to do with the fact that I was 7 years old when John Kennedy was assassinated and I pretty much grew up with all of the various theories surrounding his murder. Part of it is that conspiracy theories seem to be more a part of American culture now than they ever have been before, although they've been around a lot longer than most people might think. And part of my interest has to do with the fact that, along with religions, I'm interested in the anthropology, sociology, and psychology of belief systems in general, and conspiracy theories as a phenomenon fit right into that interest. I'm especially interested in what makes people buy into conspiracy theories, maybe because I'm not sure why I'm so adamant in my belief that Oswald was not a lone gunman.

At any rate, I'm not one of those people who only reads books that I know ahead of time that I'm going to agree with. Anyway, I've also got a book that debunks conspiracy theories waiting to be read, and I thought it would be interesting to read the two in tandem, or at least in very close proximity to one another.

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