Reading Out Loud, Round 4

I’ve been using my blog to keep a log of the books I’ve read out loud to my husband over the past few years. This is the fourth posting. Click on this link to see the entire set.

We’ve branched out, reading books about social history and biography as well as science. Right now, we are in the middle of Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson, quite a change from physics and geology.

Reading out loud together is a way we exercise our brains together – something recommended by Nancy Andreasen in the book listed below.

Lightman, A. Ed. (2005). The Best American Science Writing 2005. New York: Harper Perennial.Greene, B. (2006). The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006 (The Best American Series) . Houghton Mifflin.

Kolata, G. (2007). The Best American Science Writing 2007. Harper Perennial.

Winchester, S. (2003). The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press.
Sacks, O. (2008). Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Revised and Expanded Edition. New York: Vintage Books.
Quennell, M. & C. H. B. (1918). A HISTORY OF EVERYDAY THINGS IN ENGLAND VOL. I 1066-1499. Originally published by B. T. Batsford, Ltd. London.History of everyday things like clothes, how houses were constructed, how windmills worked.
Quennell, M. & C. H. B. (1919). A history of everyday things in England, done in two parts of which this is the second, 1500-1799. London, B. T. Batsford.
Andreasen, N. (2005). The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius. New York: Plume Book.
Taylor, J. B. (2009). My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. Plume.
Ruse, M. & Travis, J. (2009). Evolution: The First Four Billion Years. Belknap Press.
Hazen, R. M. (2005). Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origins. Washington, D. C.: Joseph Henry Press.
Chown, M. (2001). The Magic Furnace: The Search for the Origins of Atoms. Oxford University Press.This book was a complete delight. Not only did we learn about how atoms were formed and dispersed, from hydrogen to iron to uranium in the two furnaces of the big bang and very hot star interiors and supernovae, but we also had a tour of the science in process, personalities, life histories, deadend ideas, breakthroughs, politics, and all. It also read out loud well, which is not always true of books about science.
Stewart, Ian (2007). Why Beauty Is Truth: The History of Symmetry. New York: Basic Books.This was a challenge for me to read. It explored the mathematics of symmetry from its roots in the Babylonian solutions for quadratic equations through Galois and Group Theory through Lie Groups through dimensions and string theory. I don’t know how much stuck, but I have a new respect for creativity in mathematics.
Atkins, P. W. (1987). Atkins’ Molecules. W. H. Freeman & Co.
Carroll, Sean (2010). From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. New York: Dutton.
Holmes, G. (Ed.) (1997). The Oxford Illustrated History of Italy (Oxford Illustrated Histories). Oxford University Press.Political, economic, and cultural history of Italy from Augustus to the present.
Fairbanks, J. K. (2006). China: A New History, Second Enlarged Edition. Harvard University Press.
Pesic, P. (2005). Sky in a Bottle. MIT Press.
Sobel, D. (2004). The Best American Science Writing 2004. HarperCollins Publishers.Several interesting articles, especially William Langewiesche’s discussion of Columbia’s last flight. It read like a mystery novel.
Lane, N. (2009). Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Rose, Steven (1992). The Making of Memory. New York: Anchor Doubleday
Feynman, R. P. (1995). Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics By Its Most Brilliant Teacher. Perseus Books.
Carroll, Sean B. (2009). Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species. Mariner Books.
Dreyfus, H. & Kelly, S. D. (2011). All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age. New York: Free Press.
Weaver, K. (2005). The Violent Universe: Joyrides through the X-ray Cosmos. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
X-Ray observations of the universe. Many picture,
Villard, R. & Cook, L. (2005). Infinite Worlds: An Illustrated Voyage to Planets beyond Our Sun. University of California Press.
de Botton, Alain (1997). How Proust Can Change Your Life. New York: Vintage International.
Greene, B. (2011). The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. Knopf.
Petroski, H. (2004). Pushing the Limits: New Adventures in Engineering. New York: Vintage Books.
Cairns-Smith, A. G. (1996). Evolving the mind: On the nature of matter and the origin of consciousness. Cambridge University Press.This book traveled all over the place, from quantum mechanics to brain physiology.
DeHaene, Stanislas (2010). Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read. Penguin.
Blackmore, S. (2006). Conversations on Consciousness: What the Best Minds Think about the Brain, Free Will, and What It Means to Be Human. Oxford University Press.Contains 20 somewhat structured interviews with researchers interested in the phenomenon of consciousness, from philosophers to neuroscientists, from Patricia Churchland to V. S. Ramachandran.
Ramachandran, V. S. (2011). The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human. New York: W. W. Norton.
Bellos, A. (2010). Here’s looking at Euclid: From counting ants to games of chance– An Awe-inspiring journey through the world of numbers. New York: Simon and Shuster.
Smith, John Maynard & Szathmary, Eors (1999). The origins of life: From the birth of life to the origins of language. Oxford University Press.
Sacks, Oliver (2001). Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood. Vintage Books.
Levi, Primo (1975). The Periodic Table. Translated from the Italian by Raymond Rosenthal. New York: Schocken Books
Wolf, Maryanne (2008). Proust and the Squid. Harper Perennial.

This one didn’t have as much detail as Stanley DeHaene’s book, but one of her facts really stuck with me: that disadvantaged children may hear up to 23 million fewer words before entering kindergarten then children from other backgrounds. Wow!


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