September 2010


We’ve had some medical issues here in the last couple of weeks.  Andy had a hernia scare, and I’ve had an infection that was misdiagnosed.  So we’re both grateful for things to have calmed down.

Been reading what appears to be a textbook for a psychology class.  That’s okay by me.  If it’s clear with its explanations, then it works.


It may be a textbook, but Consciousness: An Introduction is pretty darn good.  It’s going to take me a while to get through it, but it really is pretty awesome.


I’m managing to get through the philosophy in Consciousness: An Introduction fairly easily, which means Blackmore is a pretty good writer.  I was completely lost through most of my philosophy class.


Working on Consciousness: An Introduction.  I’m in a section — artificial intelligence — that isn’t that interesting.  I’ve made my mind up, and Blackmore’s subsequent presentation of research and philosophical ideas a bit tedious.  This isn’t her fault.  I’ve just got my mind set, and it would take something extraordinary to budge me from that position.


Okay, now Blackmore is off into stuff that is interesting in a different way.  Dreams, hallucinogenic states, and drug use … very odd, and I can see how it fits in with the topic of consciousness, but it doesn’t really have a lot of the philosophical theory wound in.  I can see that my particular take is completely compatible, but I’m puzzled.  Maybe the end chapters will bring this stuff together.

On another note, my sweaty hands are not doing wonders for the cover of this book.  Sorry, Kalamazoo College.


I’ve moved on to On Aggression.  It’s interesting to read about the behavior of animals, and I agree with him on a couple of things, but I’m interested in how the entire thing, the gestalt, is going to be more illuminating.

Plus, I suspect that more recent research has made a lot of Lorenz’s ideas obsolete.  Just a gut feeling.


Reading On Aggression is interesting, in that I’m learning a lot about animal behavior.  I’m hoping, though, he makes a stronger, convincing, tie to the way humans act based upon the somewhat similar actions of animals.  Right now, I’m not wholly convinced that people are just acting on instinct; there’s a lot of cultural more stuff that plays into our behavior, for example.  Of course, I think he’d argue that culture is instinctual … I guess I’ll have to wait and see.


I had to renew a couple of books today.  Nonfiction, especially scientific nonfiction, is slow-going for me; they’re dense and have small type, for the most part.  I’m looking forward to moving on to something on history or a personal memoir.  Even better would be fiction, but that’s too much to hope for at the moment.  All I have is Cutting for Stone, but that’s my mother’s, and it has to take a back seat to the time-sensitive library books.  Sadness.


Working on We Band of Angels.  It’s such an interesting story, but the author likes to sprinkle more challenging vocabulary in where it’s not really warranted.  Sure, if it’s the word that fits the situation best, use it, but clarity and simplicity is the mark of a refined piece of writing.


Now that we’ve gotten past a lot of the description, I’m liking We Band of Angels a lot.  I’m learning about the battle in the Philippines, the contribution of female nurses to the cause during World War II, and what happened when people were able to get home.  It’s really good.


I’ve moved on to an ARC, The Convent.  One thing I like about it is that it doesn’t hide its character’s secrets.  It’s a different take on a literary pseudo-mystery, and I think it’s awesome.


>SPOILER ALERT for Running with Scissors<

So, yesterday I started Running with Scissors.  I wasn’t particularly enjoying it, but once I got to the oral rape part, I decided that was it.  I can’t handle that right now.  And I really don’t know why people thought it was a funny book.  The psychiatrist is a nutjob, the family is disgusting, and it appears that the one member of the family Augusten liked and trusted actually served him up to her adopted brother.  What, pray-tell, is so wonderful about these miserable, despicable people?

I need more fiction, anyway.  I’ll start something new tomorrow.


I feel like I’ve been neglectful here.  I have been reading, I swear; it’s just taken me a little bit of time to get the page updated to reflect the fact I’m not reading that horrendous Running with Scissors, and am instead reading The Curse of Chalion.  Ah, safe fantasy fiction, how I’ve missed you.