March 10th, 2009

breaking bad

The Solitudes and Oscar Wao

I've just finished listening to Aegypt: The Solitudes by John Crowley. Up until now I have been picking books for my i-Pod based partly on whether I like the the voice-artist, and I have been avoiding books read out by the author. My logic is that someone is good at writing, doesn't mean they are any good at reading. However, Crowley read The Solitudes with style, so I've decided not to miss out on books that I think I'll enjoy, just out of some kind of voice prejudice.

So the book I am listening to now is The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, read, yes, by the author. I'm less than an hour in yet but I'm enjoying it, glad I bought it. Blakes 7 gets a mention 34 minutes in (I checked the time when I heard the phrase), which must be the only time it has featured in a Pulitzer prize-winning novel.

Here are some quick pocket reviews so you can decide if these are books you would like to read or listen to.
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breaking bad

Gould on the limits of science

I was saying I really like Stephen Jay Gould, but I have read something in that book that I disagree with. I haven't got it with me so I can't quote exactly. Gould talks about the Vatican ruling that accepted Evolution as the source of man's physical body* but god at some unspecified point inserted a soul into the corporeal form, and this event is within the realm of theology. Gould says 'it's not worth arguing about'. He says nobody can see a soul, its absence or presence makes no difference to anything. So why argue about it? Let the Vatican demarcate 'souls' for its domain, it doesn't hurt anyone else.

I disagree with Gould very strongly on this, for two reasons.
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