Tag Archives: On a Pale Horse

My 2013 Reading List – First Six Months

I started the year with another ambitious goal of 100 books (using the Goodreads site to log and track), as last year I read 119. Through June, I’ve managed 58.

I’m grouping the books as I did in last year’s recap by the month in which I finished them (and fiction/nonfiction subgroups.) As the list is already quite long, and I’ve decided to tag all of the authors and titles, I’m publishing the first half of the year as a standalone.

Some quick stats for the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): heavier on the nonfiction (again) for the six months so far this year:

  • 34 nonfiction
  • 24 fiction
  • 9 of the fiction were Arthur C. Clarke novels. The last of the Big Three (Asimov and Heinlein being the other two, though Heinlein doesn’t warrant the distinction…IMO), I think he did well with science fiction and not so well with things that involve people.
  • I’ve rated 10 as five-star on Goodreads
  • I gave 2 books a one-star rating (not-only-no-but-really-no)
  • I’ve linked all of my Goodreads reviews (even if only one line) to each title, in case anyone is interested in what I thought.

And, now to the books of the first half of 2013…

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Thumbing my nose at Big Brother Apple

Before I dive into the subject of the post title, an observation:

Tuesday, January 8th, is Stephen Hawking’s 71st birthday – amazing given that 50 years ago, he was told he’d have maybe two more years to live. I just finished rereading A Brief History of Time in December and hope to get to both The Universe in a Nutshell and The Grand Design this year. The picture/graphic below appeared on a Facebook page (as quoted in John Boslough’s Stephen Hawking’s Universe) and it made me rethink a position I’ve held for many years.

Hawking - Simple Goal

I generally think that “why” is not a question science need answer. If someone really wants to explore “why”, then take on religion or philosophy. The word I prefer is “how”. “Why” seems to lead to meaningless queries such as “Why am I here?” followed by time-wasting searches for answers beyond the obvious fertilization of an egg by a sperm. I have little use for philosophy as an adult. Just the facts. Opinions are like… (Including mine.)

“How”ever, I can understand the use of “why” in the context of “why the universe is as it is”. I am a little concerned over Hawking saying “…why it exists at all.” Oh, I see that as a consequence of examining time arrows and singularities, but I fear that such a simple phrase can be perverted by the ignorant, much the same as Einstein’s dicey objection to quantum physics and uncertainty. Still, it is an admirable goal, although one he knows is impossible. At least from a 2013 perspective.

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