I have (had?) a plan for what books I mean (meant?) to read in 2013. I've been reading a lot more fiction instead of, or along with, the planned reading.
The Black Death by Phillip Zeigler
Modern Man in Search of a Soul by Carl Jung
Downtiming the Night Side by Jack Chalker
The Eye of the Monster by Andre Norton
Calculated Risks: How to Know When Numbers Deceive You by Gerd Gigerenzer
To the Stars by Harry Harrison
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
Days of War, Nights of Love: Crimethink For Beginners by Crimethink Workers Collective, Nadia C., Frederick Markatos Dixon and NietzsChe Guevara
Frank Herbert: The Works by Bob R Bogle
The Terror: A Novel by Dan Simmons
The Vanquished Gods: Science, Religion, and the Nature of Belief (Prometheus Lecture Series) by Richard H. Schlagel
Toxophilus by Roger Ascham
Planet of Exile by Ursula K. Le Guin
Kerygma and Myth: A Theological Debate, by Rudolph Bultmann and Five Critics. Edited by Hans Werner Bartsch and translated by Reginald H. Fuller.
Bultmann and his peers were deep into a sophisticated and nuanced theology one does not encounter among our current surplus of evangelical apologists or the ascendant wing of Roman Catholics that seem intent on stealing the Religious Right's conservative credentials. Fascinating stuff.
Time Tunnel by Murray Leinster
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Aslan
There is little in Zealot not already covered by White, Frederiksen, or even Ehrman, but Aslan has a very engaging story telling style so the The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth feels more accessible.
Days of War, Nights of Love: Crimethink for Beginners
Fire in the Lake by Frances Fitzgerald
I regret waiting so long to read this fine history of one the most formative issues of my generation.
So this is where the plot for "Fern Gully," "Dances With Wolves," and "Avatar" came from.
Varieties is both a century-old time capsule and a valuable piece of timeless wisdom. The big questions are not new.
Hybrids by Robert J. Sawyer
I enjoyed this as much as I did "Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved" by Matt Rossano. Can't believe this has been resting on my bookshelf for three years...
Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved by Matt Rossano
This is a book I wish both William Lane Craig and Richard Dawkins would read. Religion need not be God-breathed or factual in order to have played an important role in human flourishing, evolution, and progress.
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
Before I read Meacham's carefully researched and finely detailed biography I was ambivalent about Jefferson - the author of the Declaration of Independence who bedded a female piece of property and who enslaved his children by her until his death. Thanks to Meacham I still hold that ambivalence, but with more and better reason.
On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert A. Burton, MD
An area of deep interest to me is the nature of strongly held belief. Understanding how we come to know we're right and that others are wrong speaks to some very human impulses. It may also hold the key to moving beyond our current fixation with red state, blue state, conservative, progressive, abortion, gun control, religion, global warming, and other inflammatory topics playing out on the battle lines of the Culture War.
Robert A. Burton, MD came to my attention by way of Dr. Ginger Campbell's thoughtful Brain Science podcast. He's been on twice. In Dr. Burton's most recent appearance he discussed his latest book, A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves
After listening to the show I chose to check out Burton's first book, On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not, which Dr. Campbell reviewed in BSP #42. It did not disappoint. At once philosophical, scientific, well-written and entertaining, On Being Certain informs us (or reminds those who have been studying the topic recently) that most of our mental processes operate at an inaccessible subconscious level, that many of our decision are made before we are consciously aware of them, are then experienced as a "feeling of knowing," and then rationalized as needed. That is a daunting and somewhat frightening notion; an important idea that calls for careful consideration.
When it comes to promoting a deeply human understanding of the New Testament there are few writers I like better than Elaine Pagels. In "Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation" she uses the Revelation of John, the last and most controversial book of the New Testament, as a starting point for an examination of the many other apocryphal revelations and apocalypses circulating in the pre-Nicene Church as the pious and the powerful wrestled with what it meant to be Christian, Catholic, and heretic.
The Greatest Raid of All by C. E. Lucas Phillips
UPDATE: Better yet, I am now using an iPhone app titled Listen The Holy Quran (Koran) - Arabic Recitation of All Suras and their English Translation by www.QuranTranslations.info. Perhaps now I can make some progress in drive time...
Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss
The story is as old as I am and may be the grand-daddy of all generation ship stories. Many since have borrowed heavily from it. Great fun!
From Jesus to Christianity: How Four Generations of Visionaries & Storytellers Created the New Testament and Christian Faith, by L. Michael White
I enjoyed L. Michael White's "Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite" so this seemed a good bet. I was not disappointed. While there is some overlap between this and White's other book, they are complimentary rather than repetitive. If you're interested in pre-Nicene Christianity this book belongs in your library.