This week, get started on a non-fiction epic, ponder the merits of e-books, and renew your love of the classics.
On Your Kindle
In this newest release by the ever-edgy Harvard evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker, the scientist makes the case that ours is an unprecedentedly peaceful society. The claim—laid forth in the title ( Why Violence Has Declined )—grabs your attention from the start, particularly when juxtaposed with heartbreaking news stories and graphic images of violence: wars in the Middle East, genocide in Africa, gangs and drug cartels inSouth America.
In his preface, Pinker acknowledges the incredulity of his statement, and he promises to provide solid data to demonstrate the movement toward peace that has spanned millennia. At about 700 pages, this probably isn’t a book you’ll finish in one commute (or even one week of commuting). But Pinker’s accessible prose—and the optimistic conclusion he reaches—makes the time investment worthwhile.
On Your Smartphone
This interesting essay from the New York Times Sunday Book Review raises yet another dilemma with the advent of the e-book. Horowitz, the author of a book on dog cognition, is a footnote advocate—and she worries about their place in modern books, particularly in e-books where digital constraints often relegate them to the very end of the text.
If you struggle, like I do, with the relative pros and cons of the e-reader, inform your internal debate with this creative, anecdotal piece.
On a Podcast
I’ll admit it: I’m a classics junkie. I get overwhelmed sometimes when I think about how much I have yet to read—how many literary allusions I miss, how many stories in which I have not yet thrilled, how many modern classics go unread by me each year. If you, too, love classics and are also a fan of audiobooks, check out this site, which presents classic options for easy download to your iPod or mp3 player. The selection is varied, with choices from Alice in Wonderland to Common Sense to The King James Bible . So kill two birds with one stone: brush up on your classics and make your morning commute fly by.
This choice is truly old-school, taking the reader back to a quaint New Hampshire town in the early twentieth century. In this iconic three-act play, Wilder explores the traditions of a town and a family with his age-old themes, including coming-of-age, love, and death, while also experimenting with new, modern playwrighting.
The story of George Gibbs and Emily Webb, two adolescents growing in love in the bucolic Grover’s Corners, is a simple one, but Wilder plays with time and narration in a way that keeps the quick play completely engaging. Pick up Our Town this week for some old-fashioned charm with a modern twist.
Photo courtesy of Mo Riza.
TopicsWhat to Read on the Subway This Week by Hope Bordeaux , Education , Break Room , Book Reviews
Molly is The Daily Muse’s resident bookworm. She currently works in communications and is begrudgingly learning to be a grownup. She likes coffee shops and (the bakery aisle of) grocery stores, reading about other places but not necessarily traveling to them, keeping things clean, and stalking the Harvard Opportunes, her beloved college a cappella group.More from this Author