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I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.

~Anna Quindlen, “Enough Bookshelves,” New York Times, 7 August 1991

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.

~Groucho Marx

The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.

~ Mark Twain

Fiction

At the Mountains of Madness, The Complete Works of Howard Philips Lovecraft, Arkham House, Wisconsin

Here are all the novels of Howard Phillips Lovecraft in one volume: At the Mountains of Madness, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, The Shunned House, The Dreams in the Witch House, The Statement of Randolph Carter, The Silver Key, and Through the Gates of the Silver Key.

“1984” George Orwell.

A review at Amazon.Com states: Newspeak, doublethink, thoughtcrime – in 1984, George Orwell created a whole vocabulary of words concerning totalitarian control that have since passed into our common vocabulary. More importantly, he has portrayed a chillingly credible dystopia. In our deeply anxious world, the seeds of unthinking conformity are everywhere in evidence; and Big Brother is always looking for his chance. –Daniel Hintzsche

“The Annotated Hobbit”, J. R. R. Tolkien, Annotated by Douglas A. Anderson, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002

Non-fiction

Amir D. Aczel, “Probability 1: Why There Must Be Intelligent Life in the Universe”, Harcourt Brace

“Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman”, Richard Feynman, Bantam Books

“Secrets of the Supernatural: Investigating the World’s Occult Mysteries”, Joe Nickell with John F. Fischer, Prometheus books

“How To Think About Weird Things” Schick and Vaughn

Teaches us to think critically about the many New Age claims and beliefs that abound in our culture. In an examination of over 60 paranormal, supernatural, or mysterious phenomena, the authors focus on types of logical arguments and types of proofs. This is a versatile supplement for logic, critical reasoning, and philosophy of science courses.

“Quantum Reality” Nick Herbert, Anchor books.

This clearly explained layman’s introduction to quantum physics is an accessible excursion into metaphysics and the meaning of reality. Herbert exposes the quantum world and the scientific and philosophical controversy about its interpretation.

“The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness – Revised and expanded edition”, Simon Wiesenthal, Schocken

While imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Simon Wiesenthal was taken one day from his work detail to the bedside of a dying member of the SS. Haunted by the crimes in which he had participated, the soldier wanted to confess to–and obtain absolution from–a Jew. Faced with the choice between compassion and justice, silence and truth, Wiesenthal said nothing.  But even years after the way had ended, he wondered: Had he done the right thing? What would you have done in his place?

In this important book, fifty-three distinguished men and women respond to Wiesenthal’s questions. They are theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China and Tibet. Their responses, as varied as their experiences of the world, remind us that Wiesenthal’s questions are not limited to events of the past.  Often surprising and always thought provoking, The Sunflower will challenge you to define your beliefs about justice, compassion, and human responsibility.

“Religion and Science”, Ian G. Barbour, Harpercollins

“When Science Meets Religion” Ian G. Barbour, Harper SanFrancisco (Covers the same subjects as the above book, but in a shorter form)

The editorial review on Amazon.Com states that this “is a definitive contemporary discussion of the many issues surrounding our understanding of God and religious truth and experience in our scientific age.  This is a significantly expanded and freshly revised version of Religion in an Age of Science, winner of the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence…[this edition adds] three crucial historical chapters on physics and metaphysics in the seventeenth century, nature and God in the eighteenth century, and biology and theology in the nineteenth century.”

 

“Lies My Teacher Told Me” James Loewen, Touchstone Books, New Press

Americans have lost touch with their history, and in this thought-provoking book, Professor James Loewen shows why.  After surveying twelve leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable.  Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past.  From the truth about Columbus’s historic voyages to an honest evaluation of our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring to it the vitality and relevance it truly possesses.  Winner of the 1996 American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship

“Just and Unjust Wars” Michael Walzer, Basic Books

Is it ever ethical to fight a defensive war or an offensive war? If so, then under what circumstaces? Prof. Walzer takes us through the morality and immorality of many ancient wars, the two world wars, the Vietnam war, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Persian Gulf war, and in the third edition of this book, the war in former Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Kosovo. “A classic treatment of the morality of war written by one of our country’s leading philosophers, with a new introduction considering the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. Just and Unjust Wars examines a variety of conflicts in order to understand exactly why, according to Walzer, “the argument about war and justice is still a political and moral necessity.” Walzer’s classic work draws on historical illustrations that range all the way from the Athenian attack on Melos to this morning’s headlines, and uses the testimony of participants-decision makers and victims alike-to examine the moral issues of warfare.”

“Quantum Reality” Nick Herbert, Anchor books.

This clearly explained layman’s introduction to quantum physics is an accessible excursion into metaphysics and the meaning of reality. Herbert exposes the quantum world and the scientific and philosophical controversy about its interpretation.

“Science Under Siege” Michael Fumento, William Morrow & Co

http://www.fumento.com

In a book sure to stir controversy among liberals and conservatives alike, Fumento “proves conclusively that dioxin, videodisplay terminals, power lines, pesticides, and other products of modern technology are not the deadly threats to you and your family’s health that you have heard, while some touted solutions to the real environmental problems such as the fuel gasohol, are grounded not in good science, but in cynical, dollar-driven politics.

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!” Richard P. Feynman and Ralph Leighton, W. W. Norton and Co.

The outrageous exploits of one of this century’s greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original. In this phenomenal national bestseller, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman recounts in his inimitable voice his adventures trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek, painting a naked female toreador, accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums and much else of an eyebrow-raising and hilarious nature. A New York Times bestseller; more than 500,000 copies sold.

http://www.feynmanonline.com/

“The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America” Edited by Drs. Stephen Barrett and William Jarvis. Prometheus Books

The most important and comprehensive book about quackery ever published. Covers chiropractic, homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture, faith healing, vitamin pushers, mail-order quackery, “fad” diagnoses, overselling of herbs, cancer and arthritis quackery, unproven “allergies,” dubious dentistry, multilevel marketing, immuno-quackery, “organic” foods, weight-control facts/fads, occult practices, holistic hodgepodge, prominent promoters, why quackery persists, what can be done, and more. Some chapters of this book, and related information, are available online at:

http://www.quackwatch.com/

“How To Think About Weird Things” Schick and Vaughn

Teaches us to think critically about the many New Age claims and beliefs that abound in our culture. In an examination of over 60 paranormal, supernatural, or mysterious phenomena, the authors focus on types of logical arguments and types of proofs. This is a versatile supplement for logic, critical reasoning, and philosophy of science courses.

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